September 22, 1965 |
|Known for||Animation, Film|
|Notable work||Lorelei, Sinking of Japan, Hidden Fortress|
Shinji Higuchi (樋口真嗣 Higuchi Shinji?, born September 22, 1965 in Tokyo, Japan) is a storyboard artist, particularly in anime, and one of the top special effects supervisors in Japan, best known for his work on Shusuke Kaneko's Gamera trilogy in the 1990s. He works on both anime and tokusatsu projects.
As a teenage fan, he started out as one of the four founders of Daicon Films (now Gainax), along with Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and Takami Akai. A highly talented artist, he worked on many of their early anime and tokusatsu productions, doing storyboarding as well as special effects. Soon, he got to help out special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano as an uncredited assistant for The Return of Godzilla (1984). But his first major FX credit came with Daicon's 1985 low-budget daikaiju epic-comedy, The Eight-Headed Giant Serpent Strikes Back. He continued to be a storyboarder for anime such as Gunbuster (1988) and Otaku no Video (1991), and was the special effects director for Toho/Tsuburaya Productions' 1991 SF-thriller, Mikadoroid.
As a key Daicon/Gainax member, he also played an important part in the creation of one of the most popular anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). He was a writer, assistant director, and art director/storyboarder for the series. He was also the namesake for the show's protagonist, Shinji Ikari. He later voice-acted a musician modeled after himself in 2 episodes of Karekano.
That same year was another turning point for Higuchi - he had directed the special effects for the highly acclaimed revamped Gamera trilogy, all three films directed by Shusuke Kaneko. Higuchi proved himself to be a top master in the field of Japanese special effects with the final film, Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys in 1999. He continued to direct FX for movies such as Sakuya - Slayer of Demons (2000), Princess Blade and Pistol Opera, both 2001. That same year, he helped out with the sequence in Kaneko's Godzilla film, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, where Godzilla is confronted by JSDF jet fighters, and retaliates with his radioactive breath.
In addition to special effects direction, Higuchi provided the CG animation for the first Hamtaro movie, and storyboarded the fight scenes for the CG tokusatsu superhero epic, Casshern (2004), based on Tatsuo Yoshida's 1973 anime series.
In 2005, he has directed the tokusatsu SF/World War II epic, Lorelei, which became a box-office success in Japan. His next project was a remake of the classic 70s Toho disaster film Japan Sinks, released in 2006. The latter film was a massive success at the box office, but was poorly received by critics and won second place at the Bunshun Kiichigo Awards (the Japanese equivalent of the Razzie Awards) in 2006. Recently Shinji Higuchi directed Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess, released on May 10, 2008. It is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.
- Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean (2005)
- The Sinking of Japan (2006)
- Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess (2008)
- The Floating Castle (2012, co-directed with Isshin Inudo)
- Attack on Titan (2015)
- Wings of Honneamise (1988)
Special effects director
- Mikadroid (1991)
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
- Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996)
- Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys (1999)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001, jet attack sequence)
Assistant special effects director
- The Return of Godzilla (1984)
- The End of Evangelion (1997)
- Casshern (2004)
- Rebuild of Evangelion (2007-present)
- Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011)
- Kill la Kill (2013)
- The End of Evangelion (1997)
- Shinji Higuchi at the Internet Movie Database
- 樋口真嗣 (Shinji Higuchi) at the Japanese Movie Database (Japanese)