Evangelion 3.0+1.0 ended the movie reboot series of the classic Neon Genesis Evangelion with a relative bang, likely putting the venerable franchise to sleep for a while. The franchise is, in part, the brainchild of Hideaki Anno, who's become known for anime featuring dark and esoteric storytelling. Despite this, the animator's origins in the industry are far more innocuous.
Long before deconstructive mecha shows, Hideaki Anno got his start at Studio Ghibli, the arguable Japanese equivalent of Disney. Ghibli not only worked with Anno afterward throughout the years, but it also came to the rescue on the production of 3.0+1.0. Here's how the final Evangelion movie ended up facilitating a trip down memory lane back to Anno's first feature film.
Studio Ghibli's Assistance With the Third Evangelion Movie
This insight was shared on Twitter in a BTS video by Studio Khara, and translated by SoraNews24. In the video, it's revealed that Khara's animators on 3.0+1.0 wanted to create part of the film with traditional animation. That process would have involved a shooting table, wherein photographs of each drawing were made frame-by-frame. The only issue with this ambition was a technological one. 3.0+1.0. Khara made its debut in the industry in 2006. By that point, many of Japan's animation studios had ditched traditional animation in favor of the more modern digital animation process, with shooting tables, therefore, becoming an antiquated thing of the past.
Luckily, classic animation company Studio Ghibli still possesses a shooting table due to its desire to keep some form of these old-school techniques alive. Thus, the people working on the Evangelion movie took their drawings over to Ghibli, who allowed them to use its machinery. It's worth noting that this was the only shooting table that even Ghibli possessed, showing how much the rest of the country has moved past the technique.
#シンエヴァ 上映中— (株)カラー 2号機 (@khara_inc2) May 11, 2021
Hideaki Anno's Ties with Studio Ghibli
This situation is an ironic homecoming for Hideaki Anno, one of the creators of the Evangelion franchise. Long before he became known for dark, introspective and deconstructive works such as his iconic mecha series, he worked as an animator for Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli.
Back in the '80s, Anno worked as an animator on shows such as the classic mecha series Macross, which would become the Robotech series in America. Despite his role on the show, he never came into much prominence until a fateful day paved the way for his rise to greatness. Anno saw an ad in the magazine Animage from Studio Ghibli for work on its upcoming film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which was running low on animators. The young artist quickly went to meet Miyazaki himself, and his impressive artwork got him a job.
From there, Anno would go on to be one of the founders of Gainax, and, following a depression after the production of the show Nadia, became known for his psychological, post-modern experiments in television. He's maintained a working relationship with Studio Ghibli throughout the years, creating several short films for its museum and even voicing a character in the movie The Wind Rises. These ties have constantly come full circle, with Miyazaki and Anno aiding each other in one way or another for decades now.