Hideaki Anno

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Hideaki Anno
Hideaki Anno
Born May 22, 1960
Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan
Occupation Director, writer, producer, animator, CEO of khara, Inc.
First work Daicon III Opening
Notable work Neon Genesis
(TV 1995-1996)
Godzilla exists in a world of science fiction, not only of dreams and hopes, but he's a caricature of reality, a satire, a mirror image. Recently, Japan has also been careless in the way it has attempted to depict him. In all honesty, Japanese production budgets and schedules are so tight, compared to the world’s capitol, not to mention the constraints imposed on filmmakers in terms of content. Frankly, I’m not sure how far outside the lines we can go. However, movies have pride, even trifling little films; therefore, just as in the case of the new Evas, I’m going in full force. When I think about what I’ve accomplished, the twists and turns befitting a screenplay, everything has led to this point. I write this with the hope that the reader might understand at least to some degree that no matter what a creator says, it’s just an excuse, but I’m under pressure to make a visual effects fantasy film representative of modern Japan, with the full awareness of our current situation, which will be subjected to intentions both good and bad.

— Hideaki Anno, in his statement announcing involvement with Shin Godzilla

Evangelion is like a puzzle, you know. Any person can see it and give his/her own answer. In other words, we're offering viewers to think by themselves, so that each person can imagine his/her own world. We will never offer the answers, even in the theatrical version. As for many Evangelion viewers, they may expect us to provide the 'all-about Eva' manuals, but there is no such thing. Don't expect to get answers by someone. Don't expect to be catered to all the time. We all have to find our own answers.

— Hideaki Anno

Hideaki Anno (庵野 秀明,   Anno Hideaki) is a Japanese filmmaker and businessman best known for creating the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996). He is the president and CEO of khara, which he founded in 2006, as well as the chairman of the non-profit organization Anime Tokusatsu Archive Centre. In recent years, Anno has masterminded the Shin anthology series of films, each of which reboots and reimagines a prominent Japanese sci-fi franchise. This has included writing, directing, and co-editing Shin Godzilla (2016); writing, directing, and co-producing Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time (2021); writing, supervising, and co-producing Shin Ultraman (2022); and writing and directing Shin Kamen Rider (2023).


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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 The Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

Professional work

In 1984, Anno moved to Tokyo, where he was hired as a key animator for Hayao Miyazaki’s then-latest film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Soon after, he worked on another film, Macross: Do You Remember Love?. 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, 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 Uru in Blue (a sequel to the 1987 film Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise).

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 anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion. The production of the series suffered from numerous issues, involving multiple re-writes, poor budgetary planning, and the backing-out of sponsors after they realized the dark nature of the latter half of the series. Once the show finished its initial run, Anno gave into his depression. He didn't work on anything until 1997, when he wrote and directed The End of Evangelion, an alternate series finale. He then worked on multiple live action projects, as well as several animated works, before forming khara in 2006, where he rebooted the Evangelion franchise with Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone and its sequels 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, and 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time.

Anno wrote and directed Shin Godzilla, with his longtime friend and collaborator Shinji Higuchi as co-director.

Selected filmography

Key animator





Executive producer






  1. 4th unit director with Masayuki and Ikki Todoroki.
  2. Episodes 2, 7-8, and 11 with Yoji Enokido. Episodes 3, 5-6, 9-10, 12, 15, 19, 21, and 24 with Akio Satsukawa. Episode 13 with Mitsuo Iso and Satsukawa. Episodes 16 and 22-23 with Hiroshi Yamaguchi. Episodes 17-18 with Shinji Higuchi.
  3. Writer of "Death" with Akio Satsukawa.
  4. Episodes 1-2 and 24 with Masayuki. Episode 7 with Keiichi Sugiyama. Episode 10 with Tsuyoshi Kaga. Episodes 20, 23, and 25 with Kazuya Tsurumaki. Episode 26 with Masayuki and Tsurumaki.
  5. Mechanical designer with Ikuto Yamashita. "Death" animation director with Masayuki and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
  6. Mechanical designer with Ikuto Yamashita. Episode 26 storyboarder with Shinji Higuchi and Junichi Sato. Episode 26 animation director with Shunji Suzuki and Tadashi Hiramatsu. Setting designer with Kazuchika Kise and Kazuya Tsurumaki.
  7. Storyboarder with Kazuya Tsurumaki. Designer with numerous.
  8. Storyboarder and designer with numerous.
  9. Storyboarder, image boarder, and designer with numerous.
  10. Editor with Atsuki Sato. Storyboarder with Ikki Todoroki, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Mahiro Maeda, and Shinji Higuchi. 4th unit recordist with Masayuki and Todoroki. Trailer director with Sato, Hideyuki Koe, and Taichi Terahara. Marketing supervisor and poster/pamphlet designer with Todoroki.
  11. Storyboarder with Kazuya Tsurumaki and Mahiro Maeda.
  12. Producer with Kazutoshi Wadakura, Takehiko Aoki, Tomoya Nishino, and Masaki Kawashima. Planner with Takayuki Tsukakoshi. Editor with Yohei Kurihara.
  13. Title logo designer with Hiroyasu Kobayashi. Posters designer with Ikki Todoroki.


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