This post is full of conjectures and theories, so beware. Just take some of it with a grain of salt.
Do you remember my lost Hideaki Anno post? The one that can be found here: Link. The one that I spent an entire month on in terms of researching and creating a power point. Yeah, I am not doing that this time. Consider this the very low budget ova after the series failed, though that post did very well and got tons and tons of views more then I am used to. I am only writing this post in a couple days so this one is going to be a lot looser. The research of this post comes from watching two different Hideaki Anno documentaries and a lot of google searching. Those documentaries being Hideaki Anno: The Final Challenge of Evangelion that can be found on Amazon Prime and Extra Curricular Lesson with Hideaki Anno that can be found on YouTube. I highly recommend watching both of them because they really provide great insight into the man, the myth, the legend Hideaki Anno.
So what did Hideaki do between 1995 and 2021 besides completing Neon Genesis Evangelion, End of Evangelion, and the Rebuild Films? Quite a lot of things. The first one is the infamously problematic production for the anime called His and Her Circumstances (1998). There is his short film called Love and Pop that also came out in 1998. I could mention him working on a newer ova version of Cutie Honey with Re Cutie Honey and a live action version of Cutie Honey as well. Also, Shin Godzilla in 2016. We could keep going with him voice acting as the lead character in the at that time Miyazaki’s last film: The Wind Rises. I could keep going here. He launched a production studio by the name of Studio Khara in 2006 and launched the Japan Animator Expo in 2014. If you wondered who worked on the opening sequence for Yamato 2199, it was Hideaki Anno. This isn’t even everything he’s done. In my mind, the most important thing also got married to the famous mangaka, Moyoko Anno.
In my mind, Hideaki Anno’s marriage to Moyoko is really what helped shift him in the positive direction. We know from Neon Genesis Evangelion and his other work on how it pushed him in a much more positive direction then before. Evangelion always felt like Hideaki Anno at his most vulnerable and it has opened himself up to viewers more then he and everyone else expected. Especially since people didn’t understand the origin ending and sent him death threats. Death threats that you can see pushed him into a depressive state that he revealed that anger in End of Evangelion. There was also break down of the production of His and Her Circumstances as we previously mentioned. Clearly, the late 90’s were not good for him and it took Hideaki Anno sometime to figure himself out.
The early 2000’s was when Hideaki Anno married Moyoko and it seems like he lived a happier life since then. Especially since he got to do his own things. His own stellar passion projects for series he loved since his childhood like Cutie Honey and eventually godzilla. I can’t help but feel that the rebuilds of Evangelion were the result of not only his own change in mind frame but to take the writes away from the at that time dying Studio Gainax. It’s pretty clear to me that Hideaki Anno wasn’t meant for television production. It didn’t help that Gainax was a very seat by their pants studio, but you can see the issues that came from Nadia, Evangelion, and what I already previously stated twice where productions couldn’t last for him. Hideaki Anno is the kind of person that puts everything into his work and I can imagine that doing that work after week after week had to be taxing. The shift to the movies really makes sense to me.
I also feel like besides Moyoko comforting him more then when he was alone and him being a major wife guy, Hideaki Anno branching off to other things besides animating must have helped him a lot too. I still believe that Hideaki Anno is one of the best animators that ever lived and one of the best directors in anime too because he knows how to use shots to convey so much meaning even in stillness. Very few directors have had that ability to put everything they love into a work and create a coherent anime that stands on their own like him too. Still, I think he has a talent for whatever he works on. Shin Godzilla is an incredible live action film that shows his sensibilities in what he loves to bring something new to something older. Shin Godzilla is a film that feels so different from other Godzilla films because he created the film himself to say some very important things about Japanese Society.
With all that said, Hideaki Anno finished Evangelion with Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time. A wonderful ending statement to him saying goodbye to his animator side for now and showing how much he grown and accepted himself through his life’s journey now. What a wonderful statement in not just repeating his own fight for mental health, but to reconcile with his past to finally move forward. He also just does whatever projects he wants to now. For instance, Shin Ultraman is supposed to come out at some point this year followed by Shin Kamen Rider in 2023. It feels like no matter what happens and what he goes through, that side of himself who likes to create things is still around and he has no intention of stopping. There is always just the next thing for him to work on and considering how good whatever he makes ends up, that’s his happy place and we all gain so much just by seeing him produce whatever he is passionate about. I wish Hideaki Anno the best sort of life whether he returns to anime in the future or not. I hope he does though.