At the huge success of the new movie, we felt joy and impatience at the same time.
“Until that time, we, the makers, only thought about what illustration of the character to make and how to show it. Eva changed that. After the old movies, there were game and spin-off expansions, but the waves subsided. But even then I didn’t think that we should stop making Eva products.”
A few years later, another change came in the form of the pachinko’s huge success in 2005.
“Eva was a great opportunity that spread to and infiltrated the groups of ordinary people, old and young, male and female alike. It was also around then that the project for the new movie was announced to those concerned. They invited publishers and makers who were previously involved with Eva to the conference; I also had the pleasure of being there. They shared with us the stage of production and directives for each company’s merchandise projects. This is called a “liaison meeting,” and they are held even today. Eva started such organized advertisement and product making after the new movie. This was a first time experience for us.”
It was clearly said that the new movie would be different from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Even in manufacturing, plans that adhered to the design concept of the series or the old movies weren’t cleared for production.
“To us, Eva was the most symbolic anime, and somewhere deep down we even felt proud for having kept on making Eva merchandise. On the other hand, we later felt an impending crisis with the expansion of products by other companies and all those convenience store tie-ins. Plus, after Eva, the number of late night TV anime had increased, and all the companies pressed by the need to produce started applying for the copyright illustrations we made up until then. It became pretty strictly administrated after that. In the past, we would go directly to an animator and ask for a better illustration, and when put on products, the customers acknowledged it. But this is a time when it’s hard to do such things. With the growing number of anime goods makers similar to us, the picture materials at our disposal are still limited. In terms of Eva, even abstract concept clothing like those by Radio Eva has appeared. How do we makers make our products stand out from the others? What gave me the hint was the method of the “only shop.”
An “only shop” is similar to the sales promotion campaigns Animate has been holding since the beginning. It is a kind of limited period shop in the corner of an Animate shop or a commercial facility where they only arrange products related to a specific show, and at the same time also display life-sized pop images or original pictures from the anime. This method captured the hearts of fans as it allowed them to experience the world of the anime itself.
Around the same time, the instances of fashion brands and anime collaborations, branches that didn’t take off in the past, were growing, a new expansion in anime goods was taking place. Eva following after the movie also has “only shops” offering apparel and miscellaneous goods established at Marui in Shinjuku and Shibuya Parco.
“You Are (Not) Alone has hit with an unprecedented force, and through its process of crossing the boundaries of TV anime and becoming the Eva among Japanese movies, we felt a bright future. Which is why instead of just receiving the rights and making products, we wanted to be involved in a way only we can. And that was when the thought of making a permanent “only shop” featuring only Eva came.”