ANN Hideaki Anno page

My average ranking: 6.00

Director Pantheon: Hideaki Anno Rating
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (movie) Decent

The whole franchise is terribly overrated.
1) If you were the angels would you send your troops in one-at-a-time to be cleaned up by NERV? A basic military premise is to apply overwhelming force on an enemy’s weak point. Clearly the angels aren’t dumb, so what on earth are they trying to achieve? If it were me I’d wait until all sixteen (or was it seventeen?) were ready and give Tokyo a real good shellacking.
2) I have a theory that the only people who think Evangelion is brilliant are or were about 15 years of age when they first saw it. Sadly for me, I lucked out and didn’t have the privilege until much older. The teenage pilots may well be justified in feeling set upon but do we have to be trawled through all their wretchedness. And then some. I get the picture. More finesse with the exposition, please.
3) Evangelion suffers severely from rabbit-out-of-the-hat syndrome. It goes like this. Heroes must fight monster. To be exciting the monster must push the heroes to the very limit of their capabilities. To continue the excitement the next monster must be stronger than the previous one.
Warning. Warning. This will exceed the abilities of the heroes.
Heroes pull a rabbit out of the hat to win. Problem escalates. Credibility suffers. Evangelion is the worst example of this I have ever seen.
4) They had the nerve to go and saturate all the water in red. It's not as if the franchise wasn't already pretentiously overblown.
5) Oh, and did I mention the infantile fanservice?
I don't know why I have persevered with the franchise. It all rapidly becomes very tiresome.
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (movie) Decent

The various rehashes of the original series generally make worthwhile efforts to ameliorate its many problems. As in E1.0, E2.0 compresses the original story, emphasising the drama and downplaying the psychological issues of the pilots. No longer does the sight of the kids make me want to puke they way they did over 26 episodes. Shinji comes across far more heroically than has ever before and Rei more appealingly. The coming Human Instrumentality Project denouement is better flagged, however the final battle tries so hard to emphasise these metaphysical notions it becomes something of a giggle. There's more emphasis on the fights with the Angels than in the Death / Rebirth / End of Evangelion suite, highlighting the rabbit-out-of-the-hat problems of the franchise. Happily, the artwork and animation take a huge step forward and the fights are a kinetic marvel.
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (movie) So-so

His and Her Circumstances (TV) Good

For the first 18 episodes His and Her Circumstances is one of the best and sharpest anime romantic comedies around. Director of these episodes, Hideaki Anno, has the marvellous gift of being able to simultaneously give us a story while providing an ironic critique of it. He doesn’t spare the sensibilities of any of his characters. By providing a multiplicity of points of view – though mostly it’s Yukino’s perspective – and wielding a scalpel sharp with irony, His and Her Circumstances is never less than highly entertaining. It isn’t just the humour. Anno has a great visual sense, even if he is prone to frequent use of stills, rotoscoping and the recycling of scenes and images. Add the constant use of on-screen text and the effect is to provide the viewer with a continuous editorial commentary, tearing apart the dishonest posturing of the characters. The forensic, albeit hilarious, examination and protagonists’ uncomfortable growth into self-awareness makes these two essentially unpleasant characters surprisingly lovable. Yukino, especially is an outstanding creation.

Yukino and Arima are both given extensive family back-stories, enhancing their depth as characters. Both situations reveal how Yukino and Arima developed their dishonest personalities. Arima’s history is darker while Yukino has been blessed with a happier domestic environment, though not without its own trials. Yukino’s wise-for-their-age younger sisters, Tsukino and Kano, frequently steal the show while their voice actors provide hyperactive next episode previews. Indeed, when Anno is at the helm, each episode ends on a high – with those over-the-top previews and the simple but captivating roving camera live action EDs.

Unhappily, everything changes after episode 18, with new director Kazuya Tsurumaki: the irony vanishes; the best characters (Yukino and Arima) become insignificant; the ramped-up attempts at comedy almost entirely fall flat; the scattergun visuals continue but their impact is lost; the various plots and introduced characters are boring; and there is no longer any strong connection between the viewer and the characters. Worst of all, Yukino, who had been one of the rare anime females whose character is enriched by love, becomes yet another simpering addendum to the male romantic figure. To put it simply, the last eight episodes are animated tedium. Where Anno’s craft had me engaged with the characters; Tsurumaki’s lack of craft left me detached from them. Really, other than an impulse for completion, there is no need to continue beyond episode 18.

I would rate the episodes directed by Hideaki Anno (1-18) as excellent.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV) Decent

Giant robot anime was immensely popular with boys in Japan in the 1980s. This market had grown into teenagers by the 1990s. The guys at Gainax thought to themselves, “How do we ensnare this demographic?” The answer was easy. Give them some more giant robots, have them piloted by teenagers with issues, add in an evil parent figure, some hot babes and lots of cryptic symbolism. Bingo! A terribly overrated series is born. It never manages to convince that it is anything other than a child’s robot show with a teenage veneer on top. How can you take sereiously self-obsessed kids v. mecha with no strategic sense whatsoever? At least the ending was a surprise.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (movie) Decent

The first half - Death - is yet another re-hash of the series but, being massively compressed, it lacks the terminal tedium that so afflicts the original. Further, the individual battles with the Angels are not emphasised and therefore the rabbit-out-of-the-hat syndrome is also no longer a problem. The second half - Birth - is unexpectedly exciting and the story reasonably comprehensible. All in all, somewhat more rewarding than the TV series but, nevertheless, it's still a kids' story with a veneer of sophistication.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion (movie) Decent

Terminal faults ruin yet another re-write of the Evangelion saga: the long rehash of the Death and Rebirth episodes and the ongoing tedium of the self-absorbed protagonist. The outcome is typically ambiguous and typically silly, however there is some reasonable action on the way there.