Special Talk: Yutaka Izubuchi × Hideaki Anno

Discussion by Izubuchi and Anno of classic mecha anime
anime, NGE, interview, SF
by: Hideaki Anno, Yutaka Izubuchi 2012-02-282013-08-14 finished certainty: log importance: 0

This in­ter­view was pub­lished in the 2003 book RahX­ephon Com­plete; it has not been offi­cially trans­lat­ed, but the ANF user Vir arranged for a rough trans­la­tion. At my re­quest, he gave me a copy and I have heav­ily edited it to what fol­lows. (Names were trans­lated pho­net­i­cal­ly; I have done my best to fig­ure out what was mean­t.)

Izubuchi: “I’m in­ter­ested in Ki­rareyaku.”

An­no: “No, I’m only in­ter­ested in He­roes.”

Primary experience

— To­day I’d like you to talk a lot about anime and Tokusatsu (“spe­cial effects”=live ac­tion) which formed your pri­mary ex­pe­ri­ence, to ex­plore your roots. First, I want to know about Mr. An­no’s pri­mary ex­pe­ri­ence of ani­me.

Anno (A): The old­est mem­ory in my heart is “Tet­su­jin”.

Izubuchi (I): Ac­tu­ally I think “Atom (As­tro Boy)” was for the peo­ple who were a lit­tle older than us gen­er­al­ly.

A: Yeah, I did­n’t go into Atom so much. In Tet­su­jin I watched ro­bots like Black Ox. I loved Rob­by. I watched it in LD and I was im­pressed by my­self be­cause I re­mem­bered lines like “Tet­su­jin is strong, but Ox is also strong,” and even cuts. It was when I was about four years old.

I: I also liked Ox and Rob­by, the vil­lains from that age around. And Dr. Fu­rankyo.

— Mr. Anno also drew pic­tures of Tet­su­jin in “Gi­ant Robo”.

A: I wanted to make it as close to Mr. Yokoya­ma’s pic­ture it­self as pos­si­ble, but I could­n’t be­cause of var­i­ous con­cerns in the adult world (laugh). It was de­cided that we would put in more de­tails in the de­sign, so I drilled a “de­buchi-hole” etc. (laugh)

I: What’s that (laugh)? Oh, was it you An­no-chan who did it?

A: Yeah, just the be­gin­ning of it. Also “Mazinger”, based on the orig­i­nal work that ap­peared in Shonen Jump. The im­ages of hu­man-shaped ro­bots by Mr. Na­gai Go, I think, was also in­spired by Mr. Yokoya­ma’s, like the way he drew legs / feet.

I: The nail-tips look like rub­ber and they are curled out­wards.

A: And the way he cre­ates high­lights, or shade and lus­ter (gloss) effects. So, I still pre­fer the ro­bots’ legs and hands to be round columns, even though they have all be­come square after Gun­dam. You know, like, here, bel­lows, round (join­t), round, and go (fast) (laugh).

I: Cer­tain­ly, when I saw the ma­chine weapons in "Top o Ner­ae! [Gun­buster] I recog­nised the shapes as in­spired by Mr. Yokoya­ma’s. The one who does Gam­ba-S­tar is Hi­to­tume get­ter [?] (laugh).

— Mr. Izubuchi also made a ren­der­ing of Black Fox called Gri­phone1.

A: That’s not a ren­der­ing, the orig­i­nal it­self (laugh).

I: “No, it has wings” (laugh). It did­n’t make air­waves go hay­wire ei­ther. That one (be­came like that be­cause) to make pic­tures like Tet­su­jin, in my mind the vil­lain had to be black.

— Mr. Izubuchi, how did you like “Mazinger”?

I: I liked it, but I did­n’t go into it. At that time things that fea­tured spe­cial film­ing tech­niques (tokusat­su) were much more pop­u­lar. It was a pe­riod when even the boys’ comic mag­a­zines had a “smell” of un­der­ground cul­ture, and car­ried some con­tro­ver­sial works. Each is­sue of those mag­a­zines con­tained an amaz­ing mix­ture of so many differ­ent things.

A: There were tons of Tokusat­su, manga and ani­me, weren’t there? I think we were born and brought up dur­ing the best pe­ri­od. Along with the evo­lu­tion of the tele­vi­sion—the tele­vi­sion spread when we were very young and be­gin­ning to un­der­stand things, and we grew up at the same speed as TV the TV caught on. We were lucky in that we were able to ab­sorb many things , both good and bad. I won­der how the kids who grow up with the anime nowa­days are go­ing to turn out in the fu­ture.

— You mean they are bi­ased from the be­gin­ning?

A: I guess so. They watch those in­tri­cate im­ages with shades and every­thing from the mo­ment they start to be aware. The amount of in­for­ma­tion their mind has to process is huge. It’s very de­mand­ing. And it’s also scary that they be­gin with a pre­con­cep­tion that they can take per­fectly done CG for grant­ed.

Combattler and Gowapper

— Mr. Izubuchi said be­fore that “Eva” was Com­bat­tler [Chō­denji Robo Com­bat­tler V] and RahX­ephon was Brave Raideen, did­n’t you?

I: You know Eva’s face shows up be­fore [in front of] Shinji in the first episode, right? That made me hap­py…it was like, “That’s Con-V!”2

A: Yeah, the first episode of Con-V is the stan­dard, or­tho­dox way of do­ing it. All char­ac­ters are gath­ered, and the ro­bot is shown from the face first. In the manga Mazinger, be­yond the star­tled face of Ko­ji, there’s the face of the ro­bot. You have a ro­bot, and it has a face. That’s what the face is there for.

I: I like Chizuru3 too, but what about her did you like most? Panchira (show­ing a bit of her panties)? No? (laugh)

A: Her traits, like, that she is a spunky woman.

I: But there were many spunky fe­male char­ac­ters around that time, weren’t there?

A: Yeah, like Yoko Mis­aki from Gowap­per 5 [Go­liath the Su­per Fighter], right? The voice-over by Terumi Niki was good. To think she was just an 8th-grader…! (laugh) Orig­i­nally the plan was that “Eva” was to do “Gowap­per”. I don’t know why it turned out like that (laugh). It’s strange.

I: Oh, it was “Gowap­per”! (laugh) I’ve never heard of that. But once when we talked about it after “Eva” end­ed, I said “That has be­come your own Space Run­away Ideon”, An­no-chan." But you said “No, I was aim­ing for Gun­dam.” That con­ver­sa­tion stuck to my mind.

A: I cer­tainly was as­pir­ing to do that. Ac­tu­ally I was try­ing to go above “Gun­dam”. I could­n’t, though…

— What in ‘Gowap­per’ were you aim­ing for?

A: The sense of sheer weight (sound). I re­ally liked that kind of ro­botic move­ments, es­pe­cially the episode in which Dr. Mi­tarai’s holo­gram com­puter gets de­stroyed. You see the mis­siles in one cut. It was thrilling that Gun­dam is re­ally pushed into a mer­ci­less fight. The next episode where the Gun­dam Dragon ap­pears was the work of Mr. Funo, and the way the parts are fired in it, looks just like the Gun­dam’s “trans­for­ma­tion in the air” (laugh). In my im­agery Gun­dam [Drag­on?] is di­rectly con­nected to Gun­dam.

Izubuchi’s version of Eva, and the question of just how many eyes should be there

— Ac­tu­ally I’ve heard that Mr. Izubuchi also took part in the de­sign­ing of Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion at that time, and I want to know about the sto­ry.

I: The ini­tial ti­tle was “The Flash Ar­gion”, was­n’t it?

A: The name changed a few times. The first one was Evan Gerion, but it was hard to re­mem­ber and so we changed it. Then the next one had no im­pact (laugh). Fi­nally it was named Jin­zou Nin­gen [Ar­ti­fi­cial Hu­man] Evan Gerion. It was also trashed be­cause they said “Jin­zou Nin­gen” sounded old fash­ioned, so the bit was re­moved.

I: I gave out a cou­ple of de­signs of Eva’s body. I got the rough sketch and some re­quests about the de­tails from An­no-chan, and it was more like a (me­chan­i­cal) ro­bot than now.

A: It was­n’t dri­ven by mo­tor gears or oil pres­sure, it was pre­sented as an mod­i­fied hu­man be­ing that moved with ar­ti­fi­cial mus­cles.

I: I was told that they wanted a de­mon-like air. So I put the mouth, and the two eyes that looked like they are raw and star­ing. I ended up giv­ing it four eyes (laugh).

A: With just one eye, it was hard to rec­og­nize his face as such when he stood ful­l-screen it as a sil­hou­ette. So we needed two eyes in or­der for it to look like a hu­man shape. Ab­solutely two, I thought it needed two eyes.

I: I’ve been told that Gun­dam’s eyes would have looked bet­ter and more re­al­is­tic if they were like Béziers [Bézier curve], but I don’t think so. It would­n’t have suc­ceeded if we ex­cluded the el­e­ment of hu­man-like char­ac­ter.

A: In the end, it’s about the differ­ence be­tween the “hero” genre and the “mil­i­tary.” Zaku4 has only one eye, and the rea­son why peo­ple rec­og­nize Gun­dam as a “hero” is be­cause he has two eyes. Jim5 has no eyes at all. Nei­ther does Gan­can­non nor Gan­tank. The rea­son why Gun­dam is the only one that sells so well is be­cause that’s the only “hero” one among them.

I: Talk­ing about Za­ku, the sys­tem where his “mono (s­in­gle) -eye” are the only parts that moves in an oth­er­wise im­mov­able neck and head, and the eye glares at you, leaves a last­ing im­pres­sion and will prob­a­bly sur­vive as a con­cept.

A: I re­ally liked the idea that Zaku usu­ally has no eyes but only when he looks at some­thing his mono-eye lights up.

Is being a director a rotten deal?

— Mr. Izubuchi, how was your ex­pe­ri­ence as a di­rec­tor?

I: I did it care­fully con­sid­er­ing the sit­u­a­tions be­cause I am older now. If I did it when I was young, maybe I cracked up and had fun.

A: That’s why you should have done it when you were young, I told you. Me and Sei-chan [Shōji Kawamori] kept telling you to do it but you were like “No, no, no way!”

I: He called me “a cow­ard!!”, this guy (laugh).

A: Be­cause he would­n’t do it him­self and just com­plain about our work from the side. So I told him to do it by him­self.

I: I am sor­ry! (jok­ing) It looked such a hard job to do, and I was­n’t go­ing to both­er. Much nicer to look at some­one else do­ing it (laugh). Ba­si­cal­ly, if some­one else cre­ated what I wanted to see, that was per­fect. But when it got to a stage where no one was mak­ing what I wanted to see, I just had to make it my­self.

A: It was the same for me ac­tu­al­ly. But then you should have made Pat­la­bor your­self. Like the Gri­phone one.

I: That, I did the script, even the conte [con­ti­nu­ity?].

A: Not only the con­te, you should have di­rected the whole thing. The di­rec­tor’s job is just to take re­spon­si­bil­i­ty. Do it, be­fore you get old.

I: I tried to take re­spon­si­bil­i­ty. If it fails, it’s my re­spon­si­bil­i­ty. If it suc­ceeds, it’s thanks to the staff.

A: Yeah, that’s the ground rule. But you Mr. Izubuchi are still young, so you’ll be OK.

I: What are you talk­ing about? Is that what you say to an el­der?

A: All I want to see is Buc­chan hav­ing a rough time!! (laugh).

— Mr. Izubuchi, did you ac­tu­ally have a hard time?

I: Yeah, so to say (laugh). Every­one hates the di­rec­tor.

A: Any­way when work­ing as a di­rec­tor, you have a hard time. It’s like it’s time you put your­self on the line.

I: When was your de­but, An­no-chan?

A: I was 28 or 29 years old.

— Did Mr. Anno as­pire to be a di­rec­tor from the be­gin­ning?

A: No, not at all. I’d pre­fer not to do that.

I: It’s the same as me!! (laugh)

A: The mo­ti­va­tion was that I did­n’t want to waste the sec­ond episode of Top wo Nerae. Ya­m­a­ga’s script was in the air, no­body would di­rect it, so I had to take the job. I was­n’t re­ally hop­ing to go into di­rect­ing.

Why Robot Anime?

— Why did Mr. Izubuchi think of mak­ing “RahX­ephon” a Ro­bot Anime in the first place?

I: Be­cause ro­bots brought me my liveli­hood. It was like re­pay­ing.

— How about the “Eva” of Mr. An­no?

A: For me it was be­cause I worked best with Ro­bot Ani­me. In “Na­dia” there were no ro­bots ap­pear­ing and I thought “Oh a ro­bot would have made it much eas­ier” (laugh). My fa­vorite and best type of work is bat­tle­ship or ro­bots. With them, I run a good chance of suc­ceed­ing. And the vir­tual en­emy in the “Top” is “Pat­la­bor”.

I: Is it?

A: Yeah. If La­bor took the re­al­is­tic line, I wanted to make a proper gi­ant ro­bot one. There was a back­ground rea­son within the in­dus­try—the two movies were planned around the same time and they de­cided on “Pat­la­bor” to go first. So when I saw it, there was no ac­tion at all and it ended right be­fore the ro­bots bat­tle start­ed, with a line “Rocket Punch!” I thought “You’ve gotta be kid­ding.” My plan was be­ing scrapped by some­thing like this? I was­n’t hav­ing it. There­fore, the vir­tual en­emy at the time was Pat­la­bor.

I: Hey (laugh). But I did­n’t know that. I think I can un­der­stand the sit­u­a­tion maybe. I like ro­bot works, but I thought I was not so good at it. I be­came more in­ter­ested in fid­dling around with char­ac­ters. Try­ing to vi­su­alise fan­tasies can get very risky in­deed, you know. For ex­am­ple the en­e­my, when they get knocked out, they don’t blow up, they just re­turn to earth or sand like Golem. I wanted to put in that kind of de­scrip­tion. That’s why I named it Dolem.

— The soil?

I: It’s the im­age of Bastodon, the gi­ant fos­sil beast in the sec­ond episode of “Raideen.” When the body made of grey stone is cut it just “cracks,” in­side there is­n’t mus­cles, it’s just a red coloured stone. I orig­i­nally wanted to do it with that kind of im­agery.

— In “Eva”, Mr. An­no’s work, the en­emy is not a hu­man shaped ro­bot.

A: If I made them hu­man-shaped, it would have been much more work. They do bat­tle prop­erly in the first and the sec­ond episodes, but that was be­cause at that time we still had re­sources to em­ploy an­i­ma­tors. In the fifth or sixth episode it was just done with­out.

I: That’s what hap­pens some­times. If we make an im­pact strong enough to hook the au­di­ence in the first or the sec­ond episode, we can sur­vive on it.

A: Then we re­duce the num­ber of the char­ac­ter (draw­ings) and use more in the bat­tle scenes. In Eva we used fewer than 4500 cels, but it looks like we used 6000 cels. That’s be­cause we did that trick.

I: Yeah, sub­trac­tion is the rule.

The Crucial difference between the two directors

— Nowa­days, the stan­dard, or­tho­dox type of ro­bot ani­mes for chil­dren seem al­most ex­tinct.

A: The over­whelm­ing fac­tor is the chil­dren’s di­min­ish­ing imag­i­na­tion. That’s one of the rea­sons why gi­ant ro­bots are dis­ap­pear­ing. They can’t imag­ine like “What if there were huge ro­bots in this world?” As for me, even now, when I’m look­ing around in town I think to my­self “Oh I wish Ul­tra­man were stand­ing right here…”

I: Like, tak­ing a walk and you see a build­ing, and this im­agery of a “kaiju” over there, about this size and with such and such sil­hou­et­te…

A: When I am trav­el­ing on the and come up to , I imag­ine build­ing a film­ing set around there (laugh). And how cool it would be if I imag­ine if the Mighty [Birdy the Mighty; Izubuchi worked on the 2008 ani­me] made an emer­gency land­ing there.

I: Gante [giant stone de­mon, Brave Raideen] has an im­pos­ing fig­ure, so if he ap­peared from be­hind the build­ing… The good thing about the Gante is that he has his face on the fin­ger­tip.

A: That’s bad. We don’t need a face on the fin­ger­tip.

I: Why not!

A: Then it would­n’t be me­chan­i­cal.

I: But I keep say­ing, Gante is­n’t me­chan­i­cal.

A: That is your prob­lem. It has to be me­chan­i­cal.

I: Then what about the eyes? Are eyes OK? Like the Gabrin6.

A: The eyes are OK. I per­mit that.

I: Ky­owan Gan­gar (the Gi­ant Arm) [?].

A: OK!

I: There he goes, see? (laugh). I like the bal­ance where they look like the hands and they are not. He’s sup­posed to be able to con­trol every­thing, but he hurts when he gets shot. I re­ally liked the hy­brid feel, be­tween ma­chin­ery and liv­ing crea­ture.

A: No way! I want ro­bots to be ro­bots.

I: Stop be­ing diffi­cult.

A: Ro­bots are ro­bots. Hy­brid? And made of rock­s??

I: That’s what’s good about it! I liked it be­cause it was rock, not an or­ganic mat­ter. What’s wrong with that?

A: It’s no good when they have like a lion here (in the chest), or when an an­i­mal is a ro­bot. You see like Go­lion [from Beast King Go­Lion], there’s a hu­man face in­side the li­on’s mouth when the beast opens it. It’s the face of a hu­man be­ing he’s eat­en… (laugh).

I: Ba­si­cally I do not like the kinds like Go­lion ei­ther, but I like Gante.

A: For me the only gim­mick that was OK was when the Dar­ta­nias [from ] trans­forms, the joint of the shoul­der stretch­es.

I: I was do­ing the en­emy of the Dar­ta­nias at that time. I’m not in­ter­ested in the main char­ac­ter’s mech­a­nism.

A: I’m only in­ter­ested in the main char­ac­ters (laugh).

— Now I see, there is a huge gap be­tween you two…

A: His work is only for “pe­tite mecha”, so he can’t help it…

I: Can’t help it? Ex­cuse me (laugh). When I say en­e­my, I mean the vil­lain, I’m in­ter­ested in the back­bench guys, the anony­mous ac­tors with char­ac­ter who end up over­shad­ow­ing the hero.

A: No, the he­roes!! I’m only in­ter­ested in the he­roes.

I: See, here is a huge gap (laugh).

Eva’s transfiguration from the orthodox robot anime

I: You told me when I helped you with Eva that you would go for a straight­for­ward, stan­dard type of work, did­n’t you? How did it end up the way it did?

A: Strange, is­n’t it? There was a point when I adopted an any­thing-goes at­ti­tude, and I went with the flow, and the re­sult was some­thing en­tirely differ­ent from the orig­i­nal plan. It was re­ally strange. For me the ini­tial idea was “Mazinger” and “Gun­dam”.

I: You said that you were think­ing of a big happy end­ing. It was a kind of happy end, but was­n’t it differ­ent from what you were thought of in the be­gin­ning?

A: Yeah, it feels differ­ent. I think it’s strange.

I: Strange…? (laugh).

A: It changed grad­u­al­ly…

I: I felt you were a bit wor­ried about the genre it­self. The genre of gi­ant ro­bots was al­most ex­tinct ex­cept the Tokusatsu Sen­tai Robo at that pe­ri­od.

A: Yeah. I wanted to work with proper gi­ant ro­bots, not de­signed pri­mar­ily as toys, but de­signed with a per­spec­tive in the real world. But it’s strange that it turned out like that.

I: I think as a re­sult it was good, but I re­mem­ber there was a point of time when it was sud­denly el­e­vated to a sub­cul­ture sta­tus. And it was be­com­ing ir­rel­e­vant to the pas­sion for ro­bots you have, and taken out of con­text to a differ­ent di­rec­tion. Watch­ing it, I felt like “Ah, Anno is get­ting crushed…”

A: In that way… I did­n’t plan it like that. It was very strange.

I: How did you plan it?

A: I planned to do it more like stereo­typed. See, it was like, the fa­ther is mak­ing the ro­bots, and there is a lab­o­ra­to­ry, and the ro­bot comes out from the base­ment, it is in­tro­duced in the first episode, then the en­emy comes out, and they fight… Ba­si­cally it’s the or­tho­dox line.

— Then why?

I: That’s what every­one wants to know (laugh).

A: Why…? It just turned out like that. I guess it’s be­cause I was try­ing to in­cor­po­rate ideas from many peo­ple around, it just went in that di­rec­tion. I did­n’t mind, that was OK the way it went too. Maybe I have mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ty. I don’t even un­der­stand my­self.

I: Maybe the in­flu­ence of Makky (T­su­ru­maki Kazuya) and Masa (Masayuki) was big, right?

A: Yeah, and also oth­ers like Mr. Sat­sukawa (Akio), Enokido (Yōji), Shin-chan (Higuchi Shin­ji), and Mr. Honda (Yu­u), Mr. Iso (Mit­suo), and lot of oth­ers are all mixed in me. Well… I did plan to work in “Gun­dam”…

— Then, is it pos­si­ble that you’ll re­make a ro­bot anime along the line of “Gun­dam”?

A: I want to try. But now it’s like there is no soil for ro­bots work it­self to grow…

— Then what did you aim for in “RahX­ephon” as a stan­dard of ro­bot ani­me?

I: Genre movies only gain power when they’re con­tin­ued. So I thought I could work with “Raideen” as a re­sponse to “Con-V” of An­no-chan…

A: “Raideen”, you’ve al­ready done that.

I: “Chousha (Su­per-be­ing Raideen)” is differ­ent, “Chousha” is!! That’s not my Raideen! (laugh)

A: I see. But was­n’t it pos­si­ble to do “Raideen” within “RahX­ephon”?

I: The set-up of Raideen, in view of to­day’s re­al­ity it seemed no longer plau­si­ble to have ‘the devil’ as the en­e­my.

A: That’s an “old fart” way of think­ing! If you’d done it when you were younger, you would­n’t have hes­i­tat­ed.

I: I won’t have that from a guy who can’t make up his mind about the en­emy in . Q7, why don’t you go ahead with Q?

A: Q… It’s not pos­si­ble any more…!

I: See? It’s the same with me.

A: No it is­n’t the same!

I: It’s same. How is it differ­ent? Say it! (laugh)

A: Well I’m al­ready over 40 but you, Buc­chan, could have tried ear­li­er.

I: Be­cause I was over 40 when I did my first di­rec­tion. I débuted 20 years after Kawamori did (laugh).

A: That’s why you should have done it when you were young.

I: I could­n’t help it. An­no, you should have done “Mighty Jack” when you were young, too.

A: But I did “Na­dia” when I was young, so it’s OK (laugh).

I: Oh, you say that.

Where is robot anime going…?

— Do you think the screen ex­pe­ri­ence of you two is go­ing to be passed down to the next gen­er­a­tion?

I: Cre­at­ing some­thing with vi­sual im­ages—what be­comes the im­ages are the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of what you have seen and ex­pe­ri­enced, so there re­ally is no “orig­i­nal.” And then there’s the mat­ter of “con­tin­u­a­tion.” No­body starts from scratch, but we all re­lay down what we have in­her­ited from the ones be­fore us. That is an im­por­tant func­tion, and one day I came to re­alise that was fine.

A: I think that there is no one who can cre­ate from scratch, ex­cept the very few ge­nius­es…[­lines miss­ing]…An en­tirely orig­i­nal work from scratch, I think, is the re­sult of those very few peo­ple’s brains short­-cir­cuit­ing or some­thing, pro­duc­ing to­tally new ideas.

I: If it were pre­sented straight­for­ward­ly, it would be seen as mad.

A: Yeah. After all, it’s a sim­ple mat­ter of bas­ing your work on a pre­de­ces­sor’s but not get­ting too close to the work it’s based on, that kind of lev­el, I think. Like if my par­ents did­n’t speak Japan­ese I would­n’t be speak­ing Japan­ese, ba­si­cally that’s the way hu­man life is, and you can’t go for­ward if you get too stuck in try­ing to be orig­i­nal. But I can’t tol­er­ate over-sam­pling (of oth­er’s work).

I: I can take crit­i­cism so long as it’s prop­erly analysed go­ing back to the pre­ced­ing work and the ones be­fore that. But when I get a shal­low crit­i­cism I feel like telling them “Do your home­work!”

I: [not An­no?] It’s OK if it’s an­a­lyt­i­cal and ob­jec­tive, but when they see it purely from a sub­jec­tive view and show off “Look how much I know”…it’s a bit much.

— What are your views on the mean­ing of “mak­ing ro­bot ani­mes while con­tin­u­ing on oth­ers’ foot­steps”?

I: After all, to­wards the things we’ve been in­flu­enced by, I mean like to­wards the her­itage…

A: Whether we can beat them…

I: Yeah. It boils down to whether we can beat them or not.

A: I don’t feel any threat from el­derly guys to­day, but the point is that how we can do bet­ter than the works we saw in child­hood. After all, that’s the only way.

I: It’s maybe too much to say that our boy­hood was blessed, but we had the chance to meet the orig­i­nal, the works that broke the ground (“epoch-mak­ing”). Pre­cisely be­cause of that, now that we are on the cre­ator’s side, we want to show the chil­dren and young peo­ple to­day works of sim­i­lar stan­dards. In an ideal world I would have liked to give the kids to­day an ex­pe­ri­ence of spot­ting, by chance, some­thing amaz­ing on the ground wave (con­ven­tional tele­vi­sion) in the evening, or some­thing like that.

A: But half past 4 in the evening is too ear­ly.

I: Yeah. Even if one goes to school near home and runs back home, it’s hard to get home in time. So it ends up be­ing shown late at night and so forth… re­al­ity is­n’t easy.

— I think that one of the rea­son for the de­crease of ro­bot anime is the de­crease of the num­ber of chil­dren.

A: That be­ing the case we just have to make up (for the lack of au­di­ence) with big friends (the adult­s). Any­way I feel it’s OK if it ex­ists as long as we are liv­ing. If it lasts 30 to 40 more years.

[miss­ing lines]

A: But Buc­chan has not so changed from 10 or 20 years ago. I don’t think you will change much past the age of 40 or 50. I’m not go­ing to change, ei­ther.

I: I want to in­tro­duce to the younger, not my own, gen­er­a­tion, what I think is in­ter­est­ing. I think it’s im­por­tant to hand down.

A: If you ask us if there is some­thing that only us have or not, no, there is noth­ing. We ad­mit that we have noth­ing, but we’ll be happy if we can hand down the “feel”.

I: That’s the point. Won’t you make any more ro­bot ani­me?

A: I won’t, for a while.

I: It’s been a while since Eva.

[miss­ing lines]

A: The world we are liv­ing in to­day is no longer a world where brute force is the an­swer to prob­lems. But soon it will be again a “power is jus­tice” world, and then the ro­bot work will re­vive, I think.

I:Yes, as the world changes for the worse that is pos­si­ble…

A: All the same, we solve every­thing with pow­er. The baddy has to GO! by the Specium8

I: I won­der what is that (laugh).

A: In the end it’s like this!! (a pose of Ul­tra­man) All the en­emy is smashed!! That’s it. But not now…

I: To­hoho (de­pressed)…(laugh)

— Thanks a lot for your time. I’m look­ing for­ward to your next works.


  • Izubuchi Yu­taka

    Born in 1958, Tokyo. Cre­ative de­sign­er, di­rec­tor, il­lus­tra­tor. Started as guest me­chan­i­cal de­signer in the 16th episode of Tōshō Daimos. He was in charge of the me­chan­i­cal de­sign in many anime works like Aura Bat­tler Dun­bine, Mo­bile Suit Gun­dam: Char’s Coun­ter­at­tack. In the Tokusatsu shows, he took part in the de­sign from Ka­gaku Sen­tai Dy­na­man As il­lus­tra­tor, he worked in The Rhodes Is­land’s war his­tory [Record of Lo­doss War?], and as man­gaka in Kishin Gensō Rune Mas­quer etc. He worked as a mem­ber of the heads in Ki­dou Sen­tai Pat­la­bor [Pat­la­bor OVA?] un­til WXIII: Pat­la­bor the Movie 3. He is one of the most cen­tered cre­ators now after he worked in the [live-ac­tion movie] Ka­men Rider Ag­ito and RahX­ephon.

  • Anno Hideaki

    Born in 1960, Ya­m­aguchi pre­fec­ture. Be­longs to Gainax. As a col­lege sopho­more he joined in the mak­ing of open­ing an­i­ma­tion for the 20th Japan SF Os­aka Con­ven­tion (called ). In 1983, he took part in the mak­ing of The Su­per Di­men­sion Fortress Macross. In 1984, he was hired to work on staff to make the orig­i­nal car­toons of Nau­si­caa by the di­rec­tor Miyazaki Hayao. That year he also set up a com­pany Gainax with his col­leagues from his Os­aka pe­riod and made Wings of Hon­neamise: The Royal Space Force. In 1988 he di­rected his orig­i­nal work in Aim for the Top! [Gun­buster] and di­rected Na­dia: The Se­cret of Blue Wa­ter. In 1995 he di­rected Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion, and it be­came a record break­ing hit. In 1998 he first di­rected the film Love and Pop. The lat­est work [re­leased in 2004] is [the live-ac­tion film] Cutie Honey.

  1. Gryphon? Pat­la­bor’s ‘Griffin’ Labor?↩︎

  2. Com­bat­tler V; Or­nette ex­plains the ref­er­ence:

    They’re talk­ing about this scene from the first episode of Com­bat­tler V:

    Com­bat­tler V, episode 1

    Where all the pi­lots have been gath­ered (while the big bad guy is out­side lay­ing waste to the city), put into a dark room, then the lights come on re­veal­ing the big ro­bot at face lev­el. They’re prais­ing Com­bat­tler V here, noth­ing to do with Shinji or Eva. Chizuru is the grand daugh­ter of the white haired guy in the scene and the 4th pi­lot.

  3. : “Chizuru Nan­bara. The fourth mem­ber, and only fe­male mem­ber of the team, dressed in pink. Chizuru is also the grand­daugh­ter of Doc­tor Nan­bara. She pi­lots the Bat­tle Marine, which forms the legs of Com­bat­tler V. Upon learn­ing that she has valvu­lar heart dis­ease, she tries to hide it un­til it dis­ables her in the mid­dle of a bat­tle. After­wards, she un­der­goes surgery to cor­rect the con­di­tion and re­turns to con­tinue the fight against the Camp­bel­lians. Even­tu­al­ly, she falls in love with Hy­ouma.”↩︎

  4. eg. the MS-05A Zaku I Early Type↩︎

  5. RGM-79 GM↩︎

  6. Pos­si­bly an­other , ‘Gab­iron’:

    “Ap­pears in episode 46. Pow­ers in­clude flight, a pair of spiked tails that act like a buz­z­saw, fin­ger mis­siles, a mouth flamethrower from the dragon head, launch­able bull horns from the head on the ab­domen with them cre­at­ing elec­tri­cal bolts to start fires, six mis­siles in each shoul­der, a chained ax on the back that can slice through Mutro­n­i­um, a launch­able jet pack, and a large how­itzer can­non hid­den in the neck and head. It is a com­bi­na­tion of two colos­sal mon­sters fused to­gether by Barao named Stori­gato and Stari­ga­lom.”

  7. The ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion that the pro­tag­o­nists of Mighty Jack fight.↩︎

  8. An : “Ul­tra­man crouches slightly for­ward and crosses his wrists to­geth­er, with his right fore­arm ver­ti­cal and left fore­arm hor­i­zon­tal in front of it, and the thumb edge of his hands fac­ing his body, to shoot from the outer edge of his right hand a par­ti­cle/­light-ray that kills most op­po­nents. The effect is ei­ther an ex­plo­sion or a fa­tal burn. The ray can be re­flected (see Alien Bal­tan II) but loses in­ten­sity once re­flect­ed.”↩︎