[OWLS – The Mini CONmmunity: Anime is Never Cancelled] Hideaki Anno: The Road to Neon Genesis Evangelion

Hello everyone newer and . Welcome a part of our OWLS mini convention with a really long name. You know, OWLS – The Mini CONmmunity: Anime is Never Cancelled. That’s almost a light novel title. It is also my birthday. Since it is my birthday, I got the honor of posting on it. Not a bad thing for something I’ve spent almost a month working on. In an attempt to act like an oldtaku in the place of people who are more qualified but not attached to OWLS, I’m here. I suppose that I am the closest one to being one in the group. At least I am among people who are involved with this month’s tour.

The concept of this post is simulating some sort of power point panel presentations you would see at conventions. In real life this might be some sort of actual thing with me talking in front of you. It would be an easy thing to record my voice and put it on Youtube. The problem is that I don’t like my voice and I am shy. So, use everything I say underneath each slide as what I am trying to say. This should be fun. I hope. *gulp*.

I will not be repeating what is on the slide though, so hopefully you can read them in whatever way you are reading this post.

The idea of this panel came from a lot of confrontations I’ve had with people on twitter who distinctly don’t like Hideaki Anno. I don’t know if it’s just because they don’t like Eva or not, so call this one a test of some sort IF they see it. If not, then this is something that could be a lot of fun regardless.

For the rest of us, this should be a fun experience. Mostly. There is some dark stuff here. It was fun for me to research all of this and it’s interesting to do a deep dive into a famous person’s life when they were younger. You know, when they weren’t famous? That’s where the fun comes from, sort of. It’s interesting to see how a person’s early interests effected who they were later on and how they got to being famous.

Ok, I spent enough time introducing things. Let’s get started.

This is what I am covering today. A lot happened in his life in 35 years.

So, a lot of this is what you would expect from the Hideaki Anno you know of today. He’s a massive nerd and a lot of how he approaches the anime he directed, created, and so on shows off he and the rest of his crews worked on displayed their nerdiness in front of an audience. It’s kind of wonderful in that sort of way. He sounds like someone I would like to have grown up with perhaps.

The most shocking thing here, of course, is the abuse. The article I read, which is linked in the end in the works cited, mentioned a bunch of times where Hideaki’s dad shouted and abused him so much, his mom would runaway with him for a small amount of time. It’s really scary and sad. As you can tell in a lot of his work, Hideaki’s relationship with his father made it into a lot of his early work too.

I don’t have much to add to this portion other then this sounds like a gifted student who got completely tired with the school’s curriculum and just wanted to live his own life instead. You could also say, he’s the typical art student who didn’t care about curriculum either. Whatever the case is, he sounds very relatable. To me at least.

Once again, very relatable here. He seems to be living the life and even found a college that doesn’t require things like transcripts from high school, ACT exam scores, SAT exam scores, and such. I know that Japanese high schools are different have there own sets of exams, but it’s nice he found something that works for him.

In a lot of ways, I feel like Hideaki Anno’s time at school was the time that would truly define his attachment to the anime sphere of the early 80’s. I say this because of the people he worked with and the art and passion he and others put into the short Daicon films. They are the ultimate sort of fan animations possible and have so much creative effort put into them that it’s astounding. I have a post about them if you want to read it.

Those films were his ticket to being an animator in the anime industry on a product that he ended up loving and boring from a lot of ways. Without even realizing it, Hideaki Anno was setting himself up for the his own future.

As you can tell from this slide, Hideaki Anno was never one to live based on how others perceived him. To me it seemed like he was either not a planner, which happens, or just never cared enough about what society values. That is along way of saying that Hideaki Anno screwed the rules because he had his own things he wants to do.

Not a thing that can work for everyone, but it seemed to work for Hideaki Anno. When he was expelled, he saw an ad in a newspaper for an animator position. The director in question was the famous and infamous Hayao Miyazaki who was starting production work on Nausicaa. Apparently the two really hit it off and formed a great relationship that I am sure is continuing now?

How is it possible for the very controlling Miyazaki to work alongside the free throwing Anno? Here is my reasoning for it other then opposites attract. First off, Anno is a talented animator that Miyazaki can teach and challenge. Second off, Anno deeply cares about everything he animates. That feels like a natural door to me.

I don’t have much to add here other then Anno seemed to be himself and did what he wanted even after prestige. Once again, it adds to the whole not caring about the system is making his own way sort of life style he wants to live. Oh, and Studio Gravitron was short lived apparently.

Ok, this is where we dig into Anno starting to make a massive name for himself. You remember some of the name of projects and people he worked with in the College slide? Well, Anno and the friends he made there made yet another studio. So essentially, Anno formed two studios of his own with different people in less then a year. This one is going to be a little more famous. Just a little bit.

This is also his first time working in a much larger position when working on a film. He was an animator before this with some talent. Now, on the Royal Space Force movie project, he was the Mechanical Designer and Director of Animation. It was a movie about man spaced flight in a another world then ours. That’s a big step up because it means he has some supervising and leadership roles to do. Essentially, this is the first time he had to show responsibility which is a big grow up moment for him.

It’s too bad that was a flop. As you will see in a future slide and in the future of Hideaki Anno’s life along this timeline, he was very attached to this film he put so much effort in.

Following Royal Space Force where he took some important roles, he took the director gig on a special script that made him cry when he read it. It’s name was Gunbuster. This is where his name becomes legend. Gunbuster is a show centered on a certain Noriko Takaya who recently lost her father in a space battle against bugs. To push forward for her own reasons, she is the constant underdog at robot piloting school until she shows everyone that she can do anything. The Gunbuster comes later in the second half and it’s awesome and sad at the same time.

Gunbuster was aimed at a completely different then Royal Space Force. It wasn’t aiming for prestige, it was focused on an otaku audience instead. The OVA featured a lot of references to other anime works from sports to space operas to general super robot mecha shows in one six episode package. The main cast for the show were older teenage to younger adult women, with some boys in that age on the side, who don’t wear pants. There are also plenty of normal fanservice (skinship) around the main pilots as well.

Unlike Royal Space Force, this one was a hit. It sold well and they also made some hentai games that brought in a profit. There was no way that this show didn’t decide the future of how Gainax and Trigger will produce their anime. Otaku forward in a way that people love them. Also, you can really see Hideaki Anno growing up more and more in a way the he decided for himself.

Almost immediately after closing up Gunbuster, Hideaki Anno took the directing job on his first TV anime series. As you can tell by the title in this slide, it was the vastly important Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. An anime produced by a script that from Miyazaki based Castle in the Sky on. It feature Nadia, a 14 year old girl with the mysterious origins and a mysterious blue crystal riding aboard the submarine called the Nautilus led by Captain Nemo. They must survive and win against the Neo Atlantean forces led by mysterious Gargoyle who wants to take over the world. Also, Nadia’s father is the captain of the ship who she has tons of problems with. Almost sounds familiar.

As this was a TV anime, it was supposedly tightly controlled by network NHK. A network that had tons and tons of requests and restrictions for Nadia which Hideaki Anno had to deal with. Like Nadia’s circus outfit for instance. She was only supposed to wear it in episode one, but Hideaki Anno wanted her to wear it more because he unfortunately knew what sells. The strategy Hideaki Anno and his team used to get the way they wanted was turning in story boards late so NHK barely had any say in what went on television. It was brilliant and lazy at the same time.

This show is also infamous for Hideaki Anno’s burn out. After twenty two episodes and many twelve hour production days, He gave the director position to Shinji Higuchi for a while until returning in a big way for the last set of episodes. Considering how much work and himself he put into those episodes, I wonder if he also felt super exposed from putting all of himself into something.

A really crushed Hideaki Anno coming off the abuse of Nadia with NHK and his failed project of Blue Uru made Evangelion. Doesn’t that kind of make sense to you? There really is a feeling of understanding and thoughtfulness with Eva because ,from the people I know who have watched it with depression, it understands depressing in a larger. It really is an outpouring of everything in him and that’s what is so interesting about it too. Maybe not to everyone, but at least to people like me in some ways.

With Evangelion, the world will be shaken up in a lot of ways. How people will look at anime will change, how people produce anime will change, and the mecha genre will change in a lot of larger ways. Eva is a good and bad launching off point for a lot of series because they want to be their own show like Evangelion. Some production teams understood how to do this, others didn’t.

Not much to add here other then Hideaki Anno does seem like the kind of person who met the right people at the right time to further his own sort of life. That’s not a mark against him in anyway because that’s how life works. Otherwise, he’s such an interesting person that has had a great career. Some of it is venting, but it’s kind of fascinated how a creative person has the most interesting way to do that. Creatives are really cool.

Just wanted to remind you what we covered today.

Well? In this case, I will be answering questions in the comments section of this post if you are interested in doing so. No pressure. Don’t feel like you need to.

Here are the five sources that I used for this panel. Look up the sites yourself if you want to dig further into Hideaki Anno’s life more then I did. There is a lot more to still learn. Believe me. I haven’t even dug into massive details and there is also his after Evangelion life and success which could I could make another slide show presentation of if everything he has done is available.

Thank you for coming to my presentation for OWLS, everyone. If you want to know more about OWLS, it is a multiple media group that will not judge people based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, or disability here. All of this is about humanity for humanities sake and hopeful betterment. Each month, our members are given a topic to write about and each of us approaches that topic in our own way. If you want to know more, please click here to go to our OWLS Blog Page. Find us here and maybe you can join us! We are always looking for more people.

For OWLS – The Mini CONmmunity: Anime is Never Cancelled, please look into our fan art contest here and short story contest here that will be continuing through out the month. Also, look forward to Aria’s post on how to buy Anime and Manga on a budget here in a couple days. Learn more about is going on at during our convention here.


  1. Wow. I’m an Evangelion fan myself, and I learned quite a good bunch about Anno’s history from here. Now that you presented the background behind his life it’s no surprise that he worked Evangelion into an analogy of his own life story, especially with his own struggles and successes.

    Thanks for sharing this post – if this were an in-person con I would definitely check yours out (and this is coming from a guy who’s not big into panels at anime cons)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh, that’s a huge compliment. Thank you so much. I don’t know if I would be able to do this in person but I knowing at least one person would be interesting is so good.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dang Scott, you really outdid yourself this time! Seeing how much research you had to do for this project is admirable enough, but then you go ahead and add your own takeaways at the end that I found super important and touching. This is a great write-up, as it really puts into perspective the life of this legendary creator, all the troubles he had to go through, and how his life’s work is certainly much more than “creating Eva.” I would’ve loved to see this as a video, but I think the blog style also suits you very well! 😉

    As a fellow Anno fan, you continue to earn my respects. I hope lots of people come find this post and learn even more about the man behind the iconic sci-fi titan that is Evangelion!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. I guess I don’t have the video know how to create one, but I suppose that’s something that I can try to do later on. I wonder how long that would take to learn and put everything together.

      Thank you so much. That means quite a lot to me, Taku. You had no idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “some boys in that age on the side, who don’t wear pants”

    At that age, I didn’t like wearing pants either. Still don’t. Big fan of Grey Fullbuster. 🙂

    “It was brilliant and lazy at the same time.”

    That is brilliant squared!

    Evangelion is the story of a nervous breakdown. Hideki’s breakdown, only expressed thru Shinji. Not something everyone understands. Not something that everyone who understands appreciates. He got death threats and the studio got terrorist threats after the original Eva ending. That’s what inspired the next variation on the Eva theme. After that, it was just money.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Birthday! This is really neat; there are some things that I didn’t know about Hideaki Anno in here! Evangelion is one of the series that definitively made me into an otaku. RE: Cutey Honey is in my top 10 OVAs, too! Brilliant director!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!

      I really need to get around to watching more of his later works other then the rebuild films, Shin Godzilla, and His and Her Circumstances. I’ve heard some great things about RE: Cutey Honey though I haven’t checked anything out from that series.

      Liked by 1 person

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