‘Evangelion’ Director, Hideki Eno, Explains How He Finally Found His End

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‘Evangelion’ Director, Hideki Eno, Explains How He Finally Found His End


Hideki Eno’s “Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon a Time,” which begins streaming on Amazon Prime on August 13, is the film that anime fans have been waiting for over 25 years. The fourth and final dramatic feature in his “reconstruction” of the landmark 1995–96 television series, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, brings the epic adventure to a definitive conclusion.

A compelling, complex work that mixes mecha battles with apocalyptic Christian symbolism, Jewish mysticism, and teenage rage, “Evangelion” (pronounced eh-WAN-GEH-lee-on, with hard gee) is one of the most widely discussed anime. One of the TV series made. History. Its influence is broad and includes Japanese animated fantasy and Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 sci-fi adventure “Pacific Rim”. And fans continue to debate its importance, subtext, and details.

“My influence on other creators isn’t something I think about when I’m working on a film,” Anno told me in an interview. “I decide what I’m best suited for and what to make based on what interests me most at the time. The ‘Evangelion’ project came up over and over, so I made new theatrical films. I don’t think so Will get the chance again.”

In the series, which takes place in the not-too-distant future, humanity is locked in a mortal conflict with strange, startlingly powerful beings known as Angels. The only effective weapons against them are Evangelions or Evas, giant cyborgs commanded by psychic teenagers. The protagonist is Shinji Ikari, an isolated 14-year-old who is drafted by his cruel father to pilot Eva 01.

Despite its popularity, “Evangelion” never had a satisfying ending. The original series, with its religious and elemental motifs, failed to resolve the complex plot. Shortly before “Evangelion” aired, Eno wrote that he made it after four years of severe depression when he was “a wreck, unable to do anything” and that “the story hasn’t ended in my mind yet. Is.”

“I don’t know what will happen to Shinji or (the other characters), or where they will go,” he wrote.

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Eno was clearly not satisfied, as he continued to seek a conclusion, revisiting previous episodes and reworking them in “Death and Rebirth” (1997) and again in the second 1997 feature “The End of Evangelion”. .

In 2002, Eno announced plans for a four-feature “rebuild”, a reimagining of the story, unrestricted by the financial and technical limitations he had originally faced. “Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone” (2007) was a flamboyant retelling of the first six television episodes. “Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance” (2009) and “Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo” (2012) took the characters and story in completely new directions. Nine years later, “Three Upon a Time” brings the saga to a surprisingly upbeat conclusion.

Speaking from Tokyo through Zoom and a translator, Eno said, “For the reconstruction series, my intention was for the first ‘Evangelion’ film to be similar to the TV series, with the second gradually changing the story, and the third and fourth. Will be completely different. . At first, I didn’t intend to do the same thing as a TV series.”

These four films showcase Anno’s skill at creating more powerful iterations of his original philosophy using new computer-graphic technology. In the TV series, when soldiers attacked Angel Ramiel, it destroyed the humans and their weapons in a series of impromptu explosions; In “You’re (Not) Alone”, viewers can almost feel the heat when Angel reduces tanks and missiles to glowing slag.

In the reconstruction, Anno delves even deeper into the delicate psyche of his flawed, traumatized hero and the eccentric personalities around him. When Anno described his attitude towards the characters, he spoke with an intensity that transcended linguistic boundaries.

“In animation, nothing is real. But I wanted to bring a sense of reality to this made-up world – I wanted to make the characters more human,” he explained. “What people say in real life and what they really mean There’s a difference between what they mean. In animation, unless the characters intentionally lie, they always say what they mean. I wanted to reverse it: when the characters in ‘Evangelion’ speak, they Don’t necessarily say what they mean. I wanted to add this human behavior to the animation.”

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“People think Shinji is an unusual hero,” he continued. “I think it’s because of the sense of reality I bring in, which is based on my experience and knowledge. But Shinji and the other characters aren’t just a reflection of me; they contain elements of the personality of all the actors on the creative team. “

The original “Evangelion” was a huge hit that helped reverse the recession in the Japanese animation industry: when the final episode aired in March 1996, more than 10 percent of all TV shows in Japan were tuned for it. “Evangelion” continues to be popular, with millions of dollars in sales of videos and related merchandise. New features continued that success: “Three Upon a Time” opened in Japan on March 3 and ran for more than 135 days in theaters there, earning more than 10.22 billion yen (about $93 million) despite the pandemic. Of.

Reflecting on that continued popularity, Anno said, “As a producer, I want to make things that are entertaining but have depth. I didn’t want our show to be some reality escaping entertainment, I wanted people who watch it to feel encouraged to live their lives.

Anno is shifting to live action for his next project. In April, Toei Company announced that he would be directing “Shin Kamen Rider” as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of that popular superhero franchise. It is planned to release in March 2023.

When asked how it felt to say farewell to “Evangelion” after more than 25 years, Anno concluded, “I don’t feel the need to see Shinji and the other characters anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean I Never want to see him again: There may come a time when I see him again.

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