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Hidekai Anno: Animation has the ability to transcend borders

The Evangelion franchise by Japanese animator Hidekai Anno is one of the most popular works of modern anime  

Evangelion 3.01 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is the final film in the franchise
Evangelion 3.01 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is the final film in the franchise

Veteran Japanese animator Hideaki Anno, best known for creating 1995 anime classic "Neon Genesis Evangelion", believes the imaginary world of animation has the ability to "transcend borders and cultures".

The animator has received worldwide praise for his work on the 26 episode mecha anime (robot anime) series, which is considered as one of the most influential anime ever. He followed it up with "Rebuild of Evangelion" film tetralogy, a contemporary retelling of the original show.

The TV and the film series revolve around a boy named Shinji who has been conscripted by his estranged father to pilot an Evangelion, one of the titular giant robots. The intergovernmental agency Shinji's father works with, aims is to defeat the Angels—equally large aliens that are hellbent on destroying the human race.

Anno said the success of the show and films have made him realise the power of animation.

"Animation is actually a fictional world, entirely made up. That makes it the best medium to put one's imagination to the picture. It has the ability to transcend borders and cultures. There was a time when cartoons were for children. But I think now animation is something that we are developing for adults as well," Anno told PTI during a virtual group interview.

"Rebuild of Evangelion" film series features titles "Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone" (2009), "Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance" (2011) and "Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo" (2016). "Evangelion 3.01 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time", the final film in the moviefranchise, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Anno said when the film series was conceived, he was looking for an "interesting" opportunity and an Evangelion retelling made for a good subject.

"At the time, I felt I could do interesting stuff with Evangelion again... Because time has changed, the world is now a different place from back in the 1990s, and I am also a different person now. So, I thought that I could do something different and interesting with the series."

But returning to an already popular show, with an idea to give it a new ending, was a "stressful" process, the 61-year-old filmmaker said.

"Changing something that has already been done before is a very stressful process. There are so many fans who have their emotions attached to the series. And when I was making the 'Rebuild...' I always had to keep in mind that and also create something interesting at the same time," he added.

The filmmaker, also known for directing animes like "Cutie Honey", "Shiki-Jitsu" and the 31st installment of the Japanese Godzilla movie franchise "Shin Godzilla", said after the film, he wants to focus on "live-action" for a while.

Anno said he was able to do a lot of things in the rebuild series as he had the budget, which was not possible when he began the series on TV.

"Evangelion: 3.0 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time" is produced by Japan's Studio Khara. The film also has Katsuichi Nakayama, Kazuya Tsurumaki and Mahiro Maeda on board as directors.

Evangelion: 3.0 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.


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