Shinji Higuchi in 2016
|Known for||Animation, Film|
|Gamera: Guardian of the Universe |
Neon Genesis Evangelion
The Sinking of Japan
Attack on Titan
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 in the west 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, Mikadroid.
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 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.
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 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.
In 2015, Higuchi directed the two-part live action adaptation of Attack on Titan. He recently co-directed Shin Godzilla with screenwriter and Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno, which was released in Japan on July 29, 2016, and in the U.S for a limited theatrical run in mid-October of the same year. Higuchi was nominated for a Japan Academy Prize Award as co-director for Shin Godzilla, which won seven awards, including his award that he won along with co-director, Hideaki Anno. Shinji Higuchi appeared as an honorary guest at Famous Monsters Convention Dallas May 26, 27, 28, 2017 with veteran special effects cameraman Keiichi Sakurai, sponsored by the tokusatsu culture magazine Monster Attack Team. The convention screened Shin Godzilla by Toho Co., LTD, distributed in North America by FUNimation Entertainment, and was released on Blu-ray stateside in August 2017. July 14 to 16, 2017 Higuchi appeared as a special guest at G-FEST XXIV at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, the largest regularly scheduled gathering of Godzilla fans.
- Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean (2005)
- Sinking of Japan (2006)
- Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess (2008)
- The Floating Castle (2012)
- Attack on Titan (2015)
- Attack on Titan: End of the World (2015)
- Shin Godzilla (2016)
- Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan (2018)
- Shin Ultraman (2021)
- Wings of Honneamise (1987)
Special Effects Director
- Mikadroid (1991)
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
- Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
- Shin Godzilla (2016)
Visual Effects Director
- Shin Godzilla (2016)
Assistant Special Effects Director
- The Return of Godzilla (1984)
Special Effects Designer Filmography
- Dragonhead (2003)
- Gunbuster (1988)
- Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990-1991)
- The End of Evangelion (1997)
- Pokemon: Jirachi Wish Maker (2003)
- Casshern (2004)
- Rebuild of Evangelion (2007-present)
- Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011)
- Kill la Kill (2013)
- Attack on Titan Season 3 (2018)
- Shinji Higuchi is a close friend of Hideaki Anno, and reportedly convinced the latter to write the script for and help him direct Shin Godzilla after he previously refused when Toho first offered him the position.
- Character Name Origins: NGE, archived from the original on August 19, 2007
- "untitled". gainax.co.jp. Archived from the original on February 11, 2005. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Director of Japanese Reboot Promises Scariest Godzilla Yet