TOKYO – Japan and anime are two terms which aficionados of the genre cannot separate, but despite the sector’s potential in the country, the influential director Hideaki Anno says that “Japanese animation cinema is not sufficiently well appreciated.”
After 27 years, the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) has decided to focus its agenda for the first time on animation which is considered as a victory and recognition for anime and its fans, the filmmaker said in an interview with Efe.
Anno, born in 1960, is one of the cult authors of the Japanese animation industry and presents most of his creations in “The World of Hideaki Anno,” the retrospective at the TIFF until Oct. 31.
“It is an honor to be the first to represent the animation world, I am very grateful and a little embarrassed,” says the director, adding that seeing all his work being exhibited is like reviewing his whole life in a short time.
His creativity has resulted in some of the most successful animations, such as his world-renowned “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995), the psychological complexity of which still dazzles devoted fans.
The animator says there is no clear answer in the message he wanted to convey in the film and he intentionally stimulated the intellectual curiosity of the audience.
“If the main character of a series is clearly defined, the audience will realize that he is completely different from them and will be incapable of identifying themselves from his sentiments,” Anno says.
“It is overwhelming for me to see people around the world have different interpretations of the animation,” he adds, referring to the work’s complexity and ambiguity.
Psychological depth, attractive esthetics and enigmatic argument converted “Evangelion” into a phenomenon which came out as two movies shortly after, “Death and Rebirth” and “The End of Evangelion,” in addition to a new saga as a “reboot” of the already released three series.
A fourth is expected to premiere in 2015.
One would expect such complex films like his to put off the audience as many people watch the movies to escape, but Anno believes that the key is to consider “what is the distance or how many want to get away from reality.”
“It is possible that the viewers of my work want to escape from the reality at the same time they want to find a solution for something occurring in it,” says the director of “Love and Pop” (1998) and “Cutie Honey” (2004).
“Taking people from a comfortable state to the one with complex interpersonal relations generates emotions which could help find a solution to their life’s problems. I think there are many film directors who want to achieve this, and I have been one of them.”
Anno says that to get the desired result in a work, the first thing to do is determine what one wants to express in a story and then see what type of animation is most adequate.
Considered by many as the only true heir of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, Anno animated the warrior gods, the most monumental creatures that appeared in the second feature from the retired co-founder of Studio Ghibli, “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” (1984).
It is not a topic he likes to talk about, but when asked, he said: “I do not think I bear any resemblance to Hayao Miyazaki. I understand what people mean but I am not conscious of having the same success as him.”