Hideaki Anno, the auteur behind the mid-‘90s smash-hit mecha anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, recently revealed that his work schedule is clear for the first time in 30 years.
During a press event for his new tokusatsu-tribute film Shin Kamen Rider, Anno spoke about what creative ventures were on his horizon. According to Anime News Network, outside of soft confirming that, if asked, he’s willing to work on a sequel to Shin Kamen Rider called Shin Kamen Rider: Masker World, his creative future is unknown.
“Nothing about my next work has been decided yet,” Anno said. “For the first time in over 30 years, my future is a blank slate. I’ve worked so much that I want to take a break.”
Hideaki Anno needs a vacation
Anno got his start back in 1985 as an animator for Hayao Miyazaki’s seminal feature film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. For those curious, the future Evangelion creator specifically animated the God Warrior’s destructive blast, a virtuoso sequence you can see echoes of in his later works. Outside of writing and directing Gainax anime like the ‘88 sci-fi action hit Gunbuster and 1990’s TV smash Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Anno is most famous for creating the cult-classic 1995 mecha anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Following the release of NGE’s final episode in 1996, and the release of subsequent film The End of Evangelion, Anno went on to create theatrical “rebuilds” of the anime, which served as a retelling of the anime’s original story with their own continuity. If that’s too confusing to parse, Anno’s rebuild films are basically to the NGE anime as Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake is to the OG Final Fantasy VII. The first of the four rebuild films, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, debuted in 2008, and the much-delayed final rebuild, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, came out last year.
Outside of the rebuild movies, Anno stepped into the director’s chair to create new live-action film adaptations of popular Japanese heroes like Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Godzilla. In 2016, Anno wrote and co-directed Shin Godzilla. “Shin” is the Japanese word for “new,”and sure enough, Anno’s take on the classic material was nothing if not fresh. Following the release of Thrice Upon a Time, Anno went on to write 2022’s Shin Ultraman and wrote and directed last month’s Shin Kamen Rider.
At the end of the Shin Kamen Rider press event, Anno said the elevator pitch for his hypothetical sequel film would involve the Japanese government butting heads with Shocker, the Kamen Rider universe’s terrorist organization. If you’ve had the pleasure of watching Shin Godzilla, you’ll know Anno doesn’t pull his punches when it comes to political commentary against the Japanese government. Let’s hope, after a little break, Anno gets to bring his Shin Kamen Rider follow-up to life.