Hideaki Anno

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Hideaki Anno
Godzilla Resurgence World Premiere Red Carpet- Anno Hideaki (28526527191).jpg
Anno at the premiere of Shin Godzilla in 2016
Born (1960-05-22) May 22, 1960 (age 61)
OccupationArtist, animator, anime creator, director, screenwriter, actor, producer, designer and businessperson
Years active1982–present
Known forNeon Genesis Evangelion
Shin Godzilla
(m. 2002)

Hideaki Anno (Japanese: 庵野 秀明, Hepburn: Anno Hideaki, born May 22, 1960)[1] is a Japanese animator, filmmaker and actor.[1] He is best known for creating the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). His style is defined by his postmodernist approach and the extensive portrayal of characters' thoughts and emotions, often through unconventional scenes presenting the mental deconstruction of those characters. The Evangelion franchise has had a significant influence on the anime television industry and Japanese popular culture, with many deeming Anno as one of the medium's first auteurs.

Anno's other directorial works include Gunbuster (1988), Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990), Kare Kano (1998), Love & Pop (1998), Shiki-Jitsu (2000), Cutie Honey (2004), Re: Cutie Honey (2004), Rebuild of Evangelion (2007–2021), and Shin Godzilla (2016).[2] Anime directed by Anno that have won the Animage Anime Grand Prix award have been Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water in 1990, Neon Genesis Evangelion in 1995 and 1996, and The End of Evangelion in 1997.

Biography & legacy[edit]

Childhood and personal life[edit]

The son of Fumiko and Takuya Anno, Anno was born in Ube, Yamaguchi; he attended Wakō Kindergarten, Unoshima Municipal Elementary School, Fujiyama Municipal Junior High School, and Yamaguchi Prefectural Ube High School where he was noted for his interest in artwork and making short films for Japanese Cultural Festivals.[1] Anno is an agnostic and has stated that he has found Japanese spiritualism to be closest to his personal beliefs.[3] Anno is also a vegetarian.[4][5]

Early work[edit]

The God Warrior from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which Anno animated.

Anno began his career while attending Osaka University of Arts as an animator for the anime series The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982–1983).[6] Wrapped up in producing the DAICON III and IV Opening Animations with his fellow students, and also busy making self-financed films, Anno stopped paying his tuition, eventually getting expelled from Osaka University of Arts.[1] He did not gain recognition until the release of his work on Hayao Miyazaki's 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Running short on animators, the film's production studio posted an ad in the famous Japanese animation magazine Animage, announcing that they were in desperate need of more animators. Anno, in his early twenties at the time, read the ad and headed down to the film's studio, where he met with Miyazaki and showed him some of his drawings. Impressed with his ability, Miyazaki hired him to draw some of the most complicated scenes near the end of the movie,[7] and valued his work highly.[8]

Anno went on to become one of the co-founders of Gainax in December 1984.[6] He worked as an animation director for their first feature-length film, Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise (1987), and ultimately became Gainax's premiere anime director, leading the majority of the studio's projects such as Gunbuster (1988) and Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990–1991).[9] However, Anno fell into a four-year depression following Nadia — the series was handed down to him from NHK from an original concept by Hayao Miyazaki (of which Castle in the Sky is also partly based upon) and he was given little creative control. In 1994, the minor planet 9081 Hideakianno was named after him by his old friend Akimasa Nakamura.[10][11]

Neon Genesis Evangelion[edit]

Anno's next project was the anime television series Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Shin Seiki Evangerion) (1995–1996). Anno's history of clinical depression[12][better source needed] was the main source for many of the psychological elements of the series and its characters, as he wrote down on paper several of the trials and tribulations of his condition. During the show's production, Anno became disenchanted with the Japanese "otaku" lifestyle. For this and other reasons (although perhaps by design as well), Evangelion's plot became increasingly dark and psychological as the series progressed, despite being broadcast in a children's television timeslot. Anno felt that people should be exposed to the realities of life at as young an age as possible, and by the end of the series all attempts at traditional narrative logic were abandoned, as the final two episodes take place within the main character's mind.

The show did not garner high ratings in Japan at its initial time slot[citation needed], but after being moved to a later, more adult-oriented venue, it gained considerable popularity. Budgeting issues[citation needed] at Gainax also forced Anno to replace the planned ending of Evangelion with two episodes set in the main characters' minds. In 1997, Gainax launched a project to re-adapt Evangelion's scrapped ending into a feature-length film. Once again, budgeting issues left the film unfinished,[citation needed] and the completed 27 minutes of animation were included as the second act of Evangelion: Death and Rebirth. In response, Anno received several letters both of encouragement and criticism.[citation needed] Eventually, the project culminated in The End of Evangelion, a three-act film that served as a finale to Neon Genesis Evangelion. In September 1999, Anno appeared on the NHK TV-documentary "Welcome Back for an Extracurricular Lesson, Senpai!", answering some Evangelion-related questions, including the origin of the name Evangelion, and teaching children about animation production.[13]

Subsequent work[edit]

Anno with Ryūsuke Hikawa. (October 30, 2014)

After Evangelion, Anno directed the 1998 anime series Kareshi Kanojo no Jijō (Kare Kano for short, also known in English as His and Her Circumstances), the first Gainax television series to be directly adapted from previously-written material. During the production of Kare Kano, Anno became frustrated with the restrictions placed on the show by TV Tokyo after the Pokémon seizure incident[14] and has not directed television anime since then. The director has also made forays into live-action films, beginning with Love & Pop (1998), a cinéma vérité-style film about enjo kosai ("compensated dating", a form of teenage prostitution) in Japan, of which a major portion was shot on miniature digital cameras with constantly shifting aspect ratios. He won Best New Director Award at 1998 Yokohama Film Festival for the film. Asumi Miwa who played the lead role won Best New Talent award respectively. He and his friend Masayuki also directed the documentary "Gamera3" which documented the production of the third Gamera film. His second live-action film, Shiki-Jitsu (2000) ("Ritual Day" or "Ceremonial Day"), is the story of a burnt-out former animation director (played by popular indie director Shunji Iwai) who falls in love with a woman disconnected from reality. Though an experimental work like Love & Pop, this film was shot using the more traditional 2.35:1 aspect ratio and has a generally more polished presentation, eschewing the cinéma vérité grittiness of Anno's first live-action film. This movie earned him Best Artistic Contribution Award at Tokyo International Film Festival and very positive reviews.

Anno's third live-action film was Cutie Honey, based on Go Nagai's 1973 manga and anime series. Released in the summer of 2004, this lighthearted fantasy/superhero film was a stark contrast to his earlier, more realist live-action works. Later in 2004, Anno supervised but did not direct the three-part OVA, Re: Cutie Honey, instead directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi (part 1), Takamichi Itō (part 2), and Masayuki (part 3). Also released in 2004 was the movie Funky Forest (ナイスの森, Nice no Mori), in which Anno makes several acting cameos: as the student in the front row of the "Home Room!" skit sitting next to Hataru, in "Who's the Director?" as an animator who feels he is being overworked, and finally in "Singles Picnic" he is among the men awaiting females who never come.[15][failed verification]

On August 1, 2006, Hideaki Anno's official website was updated with job listings for key animators and production staff at a company he founded, Studio Khara.[16] In September 2006, it is reported by the October edition of the Japanese animation magazine Newtype.[17] On September 9, 2006, GAINAX's official website confirmed that Rebuild of Evangelion was in the works. The first three movies would be an alternate retelling of the TV series (including many new scenes, settings, backgrounds, characters), and the fourth movie would be a completely new conclusion to the story. Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki would direct the movies while Yoshiyuki Sadamoto would provide character designs and Ikuto Yamashita would provide mechanical designs. Shinji Higuchi would provide storyboards for the first movie. The first was launched in Summer 2007, and the second and third were planned to be launched in 2008, however, the second installment was released by itself on June 27, 2009. The third movie was to be released simultaneously with the fourth, instead, the third movie was released on November 17, 2012 and the release date for the fourth movie in Japan was announced to be June 27, 2020.[18] On February 17, 2007, Anno published an official statement[19] on the Japanese Yahoo Portal for the films regarding his personal involvement and goals in their production.[20] In October 2007, Hideaki Anno resigned from Gainax.[1] In 2011 Anno co-produced the Koinobori Pictures movie Kantoku Shikkaku ("Failed Director"), directed by Katsuyuki Hirano featuring Yumika Hayashi.[21][22][23][24][25]

In 2012, Anno was the curator of an exhibit entitled Tokusatsu- Special Effects Museum-Craftsmanship of Showa and Heisei Eras Seen Through Miniatures, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, featuring actual props and suits from many of Japan's tokusatsu films and TV shows. Anno also produced a short live-action film for the exhibit, entitled A Giant Warrior Descends on Tokyo, featuring the Giant Warrior-God from Studio Ghibli's animated film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.[26][27] He has gone on to work with Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli on several short films which have been shown at the Ghibli Museum. He also voiced the main character Jiro Horikoshi in Miyazaki's 2013 feature film The Wind Rises. He also designed the Space Battleship Yamato 2199 sci-fi anime television series opening sequence.[28] In 2014, Anno and Studio Khara launched Japan Animator Expo, a series of original net animations made by various directors.[29] In March 2015, it was announced that Anno would team up with close friend and Gainax cofounder Shinji Higuchi to write and codirect Shin Godzilla, the 2016 reboot of Toho's Godzilla franchise.[30]


Anno has appeared in manga twice, both created by personal acquaintances. His wife, Moyoko Anno, wrote Insufficient Direction, a chronicle of their courtship and marriage and depicting Anno's "true face" as "the founder of the otaku cult".[31] In 2007, a college-age version of him appeared alongside other Gainax founders Hiroyuki Yamaga, Takami Akai, and Toshio Okada in the Kazuhiko Shimamoto manga Aoi Honō. Anno attended Osaka University of Arts with Shimamoto. Aoi Honō was adapted into a live-action television drama in 2014, where Anno was played by actor Ken Yasuda.[32] The 2014 animated series Shirobako has a walk-on appearance by a character named "Mitsuaki Kanno", a caricature of Anno.


Anno participated in "The World of Hideaki Anno", Tokyo International Film Festival on October 30, 2014.

Director and screenwriter[edit]


Year Award Category Work Result
1997 The 18th Nihon SF Taisho Award Neon Genesis Evangelion Won
1999 The 20th Yokohama Film Festival Best New Director Love & Pop Won
2016 The 41st Hochi Film Award Best Director Shin Godzilla Nominated
2017 The 71st Mainichi Film Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
The 90th Kinema Junpo Awards Best Screenplay Won
The 38th Yokohama Film Festival Special Grand Prize Won
The 40th Japan Academy Prize Director of the Year Won
The 26th Tokyo Sports Film Award Best Director Won


  1. ^ a b c d e "Personal Biography - 庵野秀明公式web". khara.co.jp. Archived from the original on 14 June 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  2. ^ Frater, Patrick (March 31, 2015). "Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi to Direct 'Godzilla 2016′". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  3. ^ "Anno's Roundtable Discussion". Animerica vol.4, no.9. Animerica. July 6, 2002. Archived from the original on June 6, 2002. Retrieved 9 September 2012. On his religious beliefs: ANNO: "I don't belong to any kind of organized religion, so I guess I could be considered agnostic. Japanese spiritualism holds that there is kami (spirit) in everything, and that's closer to my own beliefs."
  4. ^ TV.com. "Hideaki Anno". tv.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Hideaki Anno". imdb.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Official biography". Gainax. Archived from the original on 2007-08-19. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
  7. ^ Studio Ghibli, The Birth of Studio Ghibli video, c. 2003 (included on UK Nausicaä DVD)
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  9. ^ "IMDb Profile". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
  10. ^ 祝!小惑星「庵野秀明」が誕生しました。. www.town.kumakogen.ehime.jp (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  11. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". ssd.jpl.nasa.gov. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Evangelion, Depression and why Hideaki Anno is the Lars Von Trier of anime".
  13. ^ "Hideaki Anno talks to kids".
  14. ^ "Tokyo Travelogue February 3rd, 1999". nausicaa.net. Archived from the original on 2003-11-01.
  15. ^ "ナイスの森". Tōga. 27 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-27.
  16. ^ "New Hideaki Anno Project in the Works". Anime News Network.
  17. ^ "Neon genesis evangelion renewal animation movie". meguriaite. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-07.
  18. ^ @evangelion_co (27 December 2019). ""#evangelion #eva t.co/Pz7Lx0ICwC"" (Tweet) (in Japanese). Retrieved 1 January 2020 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies". Anime News Network.
  20. ^ "Rebuild of evangelion". Gainax. 10 September 2006. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-12.
  21. ^ "株式会社カラー on Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  22. ^ [1]
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  24. ^ "Interest: Evangelion's Anno Produces Kantoku Shikkaku Film". Anime News Network.
  25. ^ "『エヴァ』庵野秀明の独占コメント掲載 実写映画初プロデュース作品は伝説の女優・林由美香を元恋人・平野勝之のカメラが追ったドキュメンタリー!(1/3)". cinematoday.jp. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  26. ^ "SciFi JAPAN TV #02: Tokusatsu Museum 第2話「特撮博物館」". scifijapan.com. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  27. ^ CHO Japan (24 August 2012). "Tokusatsu Museum・特撮博物館 (SciFi Japan TV #02)". Scifijapan.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016 – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "Evangelion Director Hideaki Anno to Design Yamato 2199 Anime Opening". Crunchyroll. 2012-02-25. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  29. ^ "Khara, Dwango Launch Weekly Animator Expo Anime Shorts". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  30. ^ Frater, Patrick (1 April 2015). "Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi to Direct 'Godzilla 2016'". variety.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  31. ^ "Moyoco Anno's Insufficient Direction Manga Launches Project - News". Anime News Network. 2014-02-16. Retrieved 2016-10-22.
  32. ^ "Ken Yasuda to Play Hideaki Anno in Aoi Honō Drama". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  33. ^ Frater, Patrick (March 31, 2015). "Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi to Direct 'Godzilla 2016′". Variety. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  34. ^ "デスカッパ (2010)" [Death Kappa (2010)]. Cinema Today (in Japanese). 27 November 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  35. ^ "Newspaper: Evangelion's Hideaki Anno to Star in Ghibli's Kaze Tachinu Film". animenewsnetwork.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  36. ^ "Evangelion's Studio Turns 'Dragon Dentist' Short Into Its 1st TV Special". Anime News Network. August 26, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  37. ^ "Studio Khara Produces Shin Ultraman Film for 2021". Anime News Network. July 31, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.

External links[edit]