Interview #03A Journey to Solve the “Mystery” of Animation

Anime and tokusatsu researcher Ryusuke Hikawa

So This Is What It Feels Like to Be Incorporated in Eva

Hikawa’s first Evangelion-related job was writing a press kit on 1.0 for the media.

“After the press kit, I was also requested to put together a pamphlet for the movie. I heard that they were planning to aim the new movie toward people who would become new fans, so I just assumed something standard would be fine, but at the last moment, King Records told me to interview the staff and thoroughly explain Rebuild. You know, the production was just at its climax and it was hard to get hold of the staff, so I ran harsh interviews where I would listen to 11 people in half a day (laughs). But as I was making the interviews, something inside me resembling a sense of calling was steadily getting stronger. That being that the new movie was a new challenge aimed at the digital age, different from the ‘90s. I needed to tell them this.”

Director Anno makes another Eva, going as far as establishing his own company.
This news brought great surprise and great expectations to the fans of the old series. However, at the same time, didn’t people who were crazy about the Eva of the ‘90s wonder “Why?”

“To a degree, that can’t be helped. Even in the industry, reactions were cold from the time of the announcement even until just before the release. ‘You’re doing it again?’ or ‘It’s just a remake, isn’t it?’ - that kind of air was flowing. But that’s not how it is. Even though it follows the TV series, the pictures are redrawn. In the root part that it was named “Rebuild”, I felt a clear intention to utilize digital techniques and CG to support anime culture from the ground up. This is a piece directed at the future. I summarized the results of the interviews, using all my might, with the feeling of wanting to figure out how to make that known to the world.

Hikawa accepted the job with the genuine feeling of wanting to help. However, at this point, he was already thoroughly incorporated into the world of Evangelion.

“There is a kind of unique mysteriousness surrounding the scene of Eva. The staff members also say it in chorus that once you start working on Eva, you can’t leave the job half-done. After becoming involved myself, I was able to directly experience it. Like, ‘I see, so this is how they go about it’” (laughs). 

And so 1.0 became a huge hit hitting with a force that almost blew away the initial stagnating mood in the anime industry.

“What most moved me was the spectacle of light and color coupled by rich sounds that made me remember my origins as an anime lover. And the feeling that “New, young customers are coming!” when I visited the theater. There was an atmosphere that someone who was 14 at the time of the TV series, the same age as Shinji, might be coming with his girlfriend. Then I thought, so Eva has become one of those movies you can watch with girls (laughs). I myself felt a kind of fear that along with the aging of anime fans, anime itself might decline sooner or later, but I also had a feeling that the answer to that has started to nicely reveal itself. The generation of anime fans is certainly being replaced. To be honest, I hadn’t anticipated such a massive response.”

The article Hikawa wrote for the movie pamphlet of 1.0. It is titled, “Special Article: Closing Up on the ‘Mystery’ of Rebuild!”, and the body of the article shows the intention behind production of the new movie. We recommend those who own it to read it once more and watch 2.0 and 3.0 again; there will surely be new discoveries!

Hikawa’s individual magazines sold periodically at Comic Market. As they contain an overwhelming amount of information that couldn’t fit into a commercial magazine, they also have many enthusiastic fans. By the way, the “Roto” on the covers is Hikawa’s nickname in Nifty Serve, a PC communication network that became popular among anime fans around the second half of the ‘80s. Until the screening of Eva, Hikawa contributed a huge amount of writings to this anime forum. He was also part of the staff when the anime and tokusatsu forums were established.


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    What’s Nifty Serve?

    A paid PC communication network service provided by Nifty Corporation between 1987 and 2006. Unlike other highly anonymous forums such as 2chan, specialists of various fields were running meeting rooms called “forums.” It was a service directed at working adults where only credit card owners could become members, and although members used nicknames, they were responsible for the statements they exchanged, as they had a fixed ID.
    The “Anime Forum,” the staff of which Hikawa was also part of, was the scene of exchange between hardcore anime fans before Windows 95 and the Internet became widespread. Numerous people working in the industry participated as well. Gainax even established a self-run official forum. During the time of Eva’s broadcast in ‘95, it had an explosive upsurge reflecting the raw voices of fans.
    Especially after the last episode of the TV series aired, countless members gathered on bulletin boards to endlessly express their feelings. Hikawa calls this event the “original net flaming.”