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7 Things You Might Not Know About Hideaki Anno

by Lynzee Loveridge,

There are few "household" anime names in the English speaking anime community: Hayao Miyazaki, Kunihiko Ikuhara, Osamu Tezuka, Shoji Kawamori, Yoshiyuki Tomino, Riyoko Ikeda, and Shotaro Ishinomori to name a few. Hideaki Anno is easily one of those names fans recognize as the creator of the Neon Genesis Evangelion television series and its subsequent "rebuilds." The merchandise has never stopped flowing in since the series started. Fans love or loathe protagonist Shinji Ikari and battles continue to be fought over whether Rei or Asuka is the "best girl." This week we'll look at seven lesser known facts about the man behind Evangelion.

7. Anno was a delinquent Like many creative types, Anno wasn't a huge fan of the educational system. Despite getting into an elite high school, teenage Anno wasn't concerned with subjects he wasn't already interested in, sometimes flunking and other times acing exams. He instead spent a lot of his time playing mahjong, working on independent projects in the art club, and staring at the stars in the school astronomy group. The faculty labeled Anno as a delinquent but he graduated anyway, thanks to makeup classes handing out the answers to tests prior to exam day.

6. If Anno hadn't been expelled from college, he never would have met Hayao Miyazaki Anno's approach to school didn't work out for him once he started his college career. His absenteeism got him expelled. Out of college and needing cash, Anno responded to a newspaper ad for an animator position at Studio Ghibli. He was hired as a key animator for Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, starting a long friendship between the two. Miyazaki gave Anno a moped, which he'd ride to cruise around Tokyo. Anno gets to call the acclaimed director "Miya-san" which is adorable. Anno would later voice the main character in The Wind Rises and Miyazaki designed the logo for the currently running Animator Expo series of shorts.

5. He has an asteroid named after him Throughout his school career, Hideaki Anno met a lot of people who would go on to do great things in their own right. One was Akimasa Nakamura, a staff astronomer at KUMA Kogen Astronomical Observatory. Nakamura and Anno went to high school together, and as it would turn out, Nakamura became one of the keenest asteroid discoverers. He's found at least 112 and named one of his discoveries 9081 Hideakianno after his old friend.

4. Anno received death threats after the Evangelion TV series ended. It's no secret that the Evangelion television series' themes and explorations were highly influenced by the director's ongoing struggle with depression. The series' two episode finale abandoned traditional storytelling altogether and delved into the mind of Shinji instead of addressing the impending Third Impact. Fans were outraged and sent Anno letters, some of which included death threats. The Gainax office was vandalized. When The End of Evangelion film was created, Anno used some of his fanmail, and the death threats, in shots for the film. Of course, if you've seen the film's ending, it thoroughly flips off anyone hoping for a positive conclusion to the show.

3. He walked off of Kare Kano, so FLCL director Kazuya Tsurumaki took over Anno was pretty disillusioned with the whole television anime production process before he started Evangelion, but the Kare Kano series fiasco would effectively keep him away from animation directing for years afterwards, outside of Ghibli Museum works. His and Her Circumstances is a romantic drama manga series by Masami Tsuda. Anno was tasked with directing the series but Tsuda grew displeased with the more comedy-focused adaptation. A lot of Anno's directorial marks were on the adaptation as well, which utilized traffic signals and railroad crossings as symbols. As Tsuda's displeasure grew, the show began resorting to less and less actual animation, at one point replacing characters with literal popsicle stick cut-outs. Anno left his directorial duties and the remaining seven episodes were overseen by Kazuya Tsurumaki.

2. His college classmates would also become major industry folks You hear about this in Hollywood sometimes. Lady Gaga went to school with Nicky Hilton, Cameron Diaz went to school with Snoop Dogg, etc. Anno had a similar experience, as many of his college peers went beyond working on the DAICON animations to found Gainax with him or established themselves in their own right. One alumnus was Kazuhiko Shimamoto (born Hidehiko Tezuka), another Osaka University of Arts drop-out known for penning Skull Man. He'd reconnect with Anno later to create Anime Tenchō. His other classmates include Hiroyuki Yamaga (Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise director) and Takami Akai (Crest of the Stars character designer).

1. He owns an absurd amount of expensive tokusatsu merch If his wife's representation of him in Insufficient Direction is anything to go on, Anno spends a large chunk of change on tokusatsu merchandise. The director has been a fan since childhood and more recently curated a museum exhibit on the topic. At home, he spends hundreds of dollars on replica superhero belts and owns enough limited edition figures that he jokingly suggests they invest in more shelving.

The new poll: Which Japanese shonen magazine runs the best manga?

The old poll: Last week we asked who is anime's most deadly assassin. Edging out slightly ahead of Killua is Baccano!'s Claire Stanfield. A couple of entries were removed because the characters weren't assassins (i.e. they aren't payed to kill people) Here are the full results (anything under 1% has been omitted):

  1. Claire Stanfield (Baccano!) 11.7%
  2. Killua Zoldyck (Hunter x Hunter) 11.2%
  3. Golgo 13/Duke Togo (Golgo 13) 10.9%
  4. Hei (Darker than Black) 7.5%
  5. Akame (Akame ga KILL!) 6.2%
  6. Alucard (Hellsing) 5.0%
  7. Kirika (Noir) 4.7%
  8. Kenshin Himura/Battousai (Rurouni Kenshin) 4.5%
  9. Roberta (Black Lagoon) 3.4%
  10. Train Heartnet (Black Cat) 3.3%
  11. Makoto Shishio (Rurouni Kenshin) 2.8%
  12. True Assassin (Fate/stay night) 2.0%
  13. Henrietta (Gunslinger Girl) 2.0%
  14. Ein (Phantom: Requiem of Phantom) 1.8%
  15. Triela (Gunslinger Girl) 1.8%
  16. Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Trigun) 1.6%
  17. Crying Freeman (Crying Freeman) 1.1%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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