Hideaki Anno

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Hideaki Anno (庵野 秀明,   Anno Hideaki?) is a Japanese animator, screenwriter, and director who is most well-known for writing and animating the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. He is the writer and chief director of Shin Godzilla.


Early Life

As a child, Anno was a fascinated by manga, anime, and tokusatsu, all of which influenced his later work. In junior high, he was a member of the school’s art club and spent his time sketching manga and creating oil paintings. He entered a high school that was known for being a stepping-stone for prestigious universities, however, Anno decided not to participate in major subjects and spent most of his time at the school’s art club.

Due to his grades fluctuating between low and high, the school labeled Anno as a problem child. During his second year in high school, Anno filmed live-action tokusatsu productions and cel-animations, which he showed off at the school’s annual festivals. Towards the end of High School, he formed an independent production group known as SHADO with his school friends, but that was short-lived.

Early Work

During his sophomore year at Osaka University of Arts, Anno participated in the intro animation for DAICON III (or the 20th Japan Science Fiction Convention in Osaka), and he realized how much fun it was to work with other people on big projects. Two years later, Anno participated as a director in the production of the next DAICON animation for the 22nd Japan Science Fiction Convention, and this was when Anno also realized how hard it was to be in a directorial role. He later received an invitation from Studio Nue, who were impressed with his work on the DAICON III animation, and this led to his first huge project known as the television version of Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

Professional Work

In 1984, Anno moved to Tokyo, where he was hired as the key animator for Hayao Miyazaki’s then-latest film Nausicaä and the Valley of the Wind (1984). Soon after, he worked on another film, Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984). During production, Anno established Studio Gravitron with Shō-ichi Masuo, which is where he spent most of his time.

Later that same year, Anno founded Studio Gainax, where he worked on several big projects while occasionally working with Studio Gravitron on other projects. When Anno accepted the job of being the chief director of the 1990 anime series Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990), he began to sink into his now infamous depression due to the incredible amount of stress he had during production, as well as the cancellation of Blue Uru (a sequel to the 1987 film Royal Space Force).

Struggling with his depression, Anno was approached by King Records in 1993, who said they would guarantee Gainax a television time-slot for “something, anything”. Thus began the conceptualization of Anno’s most popular animation series Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). The production of Evangelion suffered from numerous issues, involving multiple re-writes, poor budgetary planning, and the backing-out of sponsors after they realized the nature of the latter half of the series.

Once the show finished its initial run, Anno gave in to his depression. He didn’t work on anything until 1997, where he worked on The End of Evangelion. He then worked on multiple live-action projects, as well as a couple animated works before forming Studio Khara in 2006, where he rebooted the Evangelion franchise with Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, and its sequels.

Anno wrote and directed the film Shin Godzilla alongside his longtime friend and collaborator Shinji Higuchi.



  • Hideaki Anno was frequently on set during the production of the Heisei Gamera trilogy, due to his friendship with special effects director Shinji Higuchi. Anno even directed a documentary about the making of the film Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, titled GAMERA1999.
  • Hideaki Anno reportedly refused Toho's initial offer to write and direct Shin Godzilla, but was convinced to join the project after his friend Shinji Higuchi signed on. - Dead Kamoebas REL

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