Director Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shin Godzilla, Shin Kamen Rider, Shin Ultraman) attended an Ultraman Taro screening at the Tsuburaya Film Festival 2023 event last month. Anno selected episodes from the 1973 live-action series for the screening.
Anno stated during the screening that he was a first year junior high school student during the series’ original broadcast. However, he was the only one among his peers who watched the show. He felt that those around him did not think Ultraman Ace and onward were good, and that people his age reject all but certain seasons. Anno felt sorry for those who won’t change their minds after rejecting something when they were young. Nonetheless, he continues to spread his appreciation of shows like Ultraman Ace, Ultraman Taro, and Ultraman Leo.
Anno is one of the seven co-founders of legendary anime studio Gainax. The company was first noted for producing the anime shorts that opened the Daicon III and Daicon IV science-fiction conventions in 1981 and 1983. The 1987 film Royal Space Force – The Wings of Honnêamise was the studio’s first major anime project, and like many of the Gainax founding members, Anno wore many hats in the film’s production, including animation director, layout designer, production designer, and special effects artist. Anno would remain a fixture in the animation of the studio’s later works.
Anno is perhaps best known for the studio’s seminal Neon Genesis Evangelion television anime, which spawned a massive media franchise with films, spinoff manga and novels, and many other related media. The work was influential to the late-night anime world, and many later otaku media and anime creators cite it as an influential work. Anno later founded the Studio Khara in 2006, and parted ways with Gainax in 2007.
At Khara, Anno completed a tetralogy of Evangelion films that reimagined the original 1995 anime, beginning with Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone in 2007, and only recently concluding with Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time in March 2021.
Anno is also the writer and co-director of the Shin Godzilla film, the writer of the Shin Ultraman film, and the director and writer of the Shin Kamen Rider film. Shin Ultraman opened on May 2022, while Shin Kamen Rider opened in March 2023. All three are some of Japan’s most well-known pop culture characters, representing kaiju (giant monster) films and tokusatsu (special effects) films. Anno has not shied away from his love of tokusatsu and kaiju media, and has openly cited their influence on his work.
At a Shin Kamen Rider stage event in April 2023, Anno spoke about his future creative plans—revealing that for the first time in over 30 years, his future is a blank slate.