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

Anime and tokusatsu researcher Ryusuke Hikawa

Discovering the Essence of Evangelion in the Production of 2.0

The movie pamphlet of 1.0 not only didn’t have character introductions, it didn’t even include the plot. Though, Hikawa’s article, in which he wove “testimonies” he drew out from 11 people together, was so concentrated that an ordinary pamphlet wouldn’t even compare. However, it is the official document collection Evangelion Shin Gekijoban: Jo Zenkiroku Zenshuu (Everything about Evangelion: 1.0) created by director Hideaki Anno and Khara’s editor that contains the full length of those interviews, adding another three staff members to the 11 of that time, making it 14 in total. The above-mentioned volume not only acts as a film story and settings collection covering the full length of the story and all lines, it’s an unprecedented work that unsparingly contains all information regarding 1.0. And Hikawa participated in it.

“Our company previously published document collections for former original hit anime - Zenkirokushuu (Full Collection) for Yamato and Kiroku Zenshuu (Full Collection) for Gundam. Eva respects that tradition as well, so it’s name unifies the above two in one. Zenkiroku Zenshuu might be weird Japanese, but that’s Anno’s style, expressing respect this way. This series of jobs was really interesting for me, and I kept on discovering new things.”

Hikawa was also responsible for writing the movie pamphlet of the second part, 2.0. It’s entirely different from the article in the previous one, this time only consisting of a long interview with director Kazuya Tsurumaki.

“That’s because Kazuya Tsurumaki was the key element in destroying Evangelion.
I felt that with 2.0, I finally understood the mystery surrounding the way of making Evangelion. Firstly, I myself am an engineer who used to be a maker designing industrial products, so I somewhat understand that during manufacturing, you can revise the product as much as you like until it’s complete, but the moment it’s completed, it turns into something not even its creator can touch anymore. Evangelion is a work that was already completed in the ‘90s once, so one couldn’t just add new components to it. A representative example is how just by adding one new character, the relationships between all the characters change.”

And in the interview with director Tsurumaki, it was how he destroyed that complete product Hikawa talked about.

“Actually, in order to add the new character Mari, he had to repeat trial and error many times. For example, should they try a tandem (two people riding at the same time) of Asuka and Mari when intercepting the descending Angel (the 8th Angel)? Regarding the the production of 2.0, making the movie that way was a series of creation and destruction, and it was all for making ‘something new.’ Having said that, it wasn’t like Tsurumaki controlled it all. And still, the completed 2.0 seemed as if all of it was planned. And with that, I felt that I was finally able to grasp the secret of the disharmony I felt when everybody was looking for the correct answer in the ‘90s Eva.”

In the end, what was it the fans of that time were so absorbed in seeking? If one were to put it simply, wasn’t it something similar to a concise “blueprint” to the world of Evangelion?

“Such a thing never existed. Which is why you can make new things even the creator doesn’t know. In anime, the usual course is to make a detailed plan in the beginning, break it down to smaller pieces and gradually form into shape like a belt conveyor. Evangelion, however, denies such a flow. Although Anno has been using the phrase ‘live sense’, that’s just one of the answers. I think that the message of putting importance on the experience of enjoying the relationship between the anime and yourself is embedded in this movie from the beginning to the end. The moment animation starts working on a person’s heart, it shares something new and important, so it repeats a complete scrap & build.
There is no correct answer, so it can be repeated to the extremes. And that’s why if you think about how Anno himself established Studio Khara so he could control 100%, everything becomes clear. [The new movie] was close to being produced by an American hit director such as George Lucas or James Cameron, but I felt a strong spirit to take responsibility in a wider scope.”