The Breath of the Production Era Embedded in the Film
In producing this box set, these two guys have created so many jaw-dropping moments in their restoration.
Yukita:“Just in the final checks alone I watched it five or six times. Because I watched all the parts of all the episodes in the editing process over and over again, I can’t even count the total number of times I saw it. The strange thing is, even watching it so many times I was still captivated. For example, even if I thought ‘Today I’ll check Ritsuko’s eyebrows!’ I still found other surprising things here and there.”
Fujimori:“When I first saw it I honestly couldn’t quite grasp the subject matter. It was around the fifth time I watched it whilst editing that my understanding began to deepen. While working I really did discover various things. For example, these days you’d use CGI for numerals and characters, but these were all done by hand, even taking it this far everything had its proper setting. Now most of the time there are a lot of opportunities to handle full digital anime packages, but there’s an overwhelming amount of information packed into the original Evangelion film negatives. Including the technical elements of animation and video, animating a TV series with such a short production period with cel animation, to go this far - you can really feel that surprise every time you watch it. That’s because it’s raw film stock, everything is transmitted directly. It’s that degree of passion.”
Yukita:“What the staff from that time put into the project, if I had to say, is something like tenacity. It’s almost like the very breath from the studio whilst they were drawing is locked away inside the cels. When you watch the film, you might think “Oh, the cel imaging table was dirty in this scene” (laughs), but it’s interesting because the production conditions from that time are really coming through.”
Beginning with the Evangelion box set which was released in 2003, the company has handled the videos for a great many anime series which were broadcast on TV.
Yukita:“As the materials from back then aren’t as organised as they would be now, in truth there was a lot of trial and error involved in making that box set. For video, if it all goes as you thought it would in the end then in terms of working processes anything goes. Therefore, back then compared with this time, there was a lot of trial and error. However, for the limits of that time period, we challenged ourselves to create the highest quality video, and precisely because we wanted to make a convincing product, our individual know-how also increased. After that, we’ve worked with King Records on various other projects like Nadia and the Secret of Blue Water, so I think this box set became an inevitable course of events.”
At the time the TV series first broadcast there was only LaserDisc or VHS. After that came DVD and now Blu-ray is being developed from the new theatrical movies. It might just be a coincidence, but with the perfect timing of the shift in recording media and the release of the new instalments, Evangelion has been a smash hit in every form.
Yukita:“Yes but in the end it’s so popular because the story is so interesting. I don’t think it’s because of any other reason.”
Fujimori:“Incidentally, the Blu-ray discs, including the additional corrections, are also a record of information about the production process. Personally speaking, for example, next time doing it in 4K, if you’re talking about making the video quality higher again, it’ll be even easier than this time (laughs)”
Yukita:“You’ve spoken well (laughs). I absolutely don’t think it just ends here.”
Fujimori:“Evangelion is definitely something that will continue to be watched for years to come. I think 4K is definitely on the way.”
Yukita:“Well, if you’ve experienced Evangelion once you have the power to endure it again. If only in the accumulation of technology, it’s been a fantastic experience for our company. I don’t think the agony will ever be exhausted though because of all the energy put into the project each time.”
Sony PCL is involved in all areas of film production, from film planning, post production, event planning, production and management, to carrying out total production of film projects utilising advanced film technology.