Shinji Higuchi

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Shinji Higuchi
Shinji Higuchi
Born September 22, 1965
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Director, special effects director, storyboard artist
First work Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984)
Notable work Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
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Shinji Higuchi (樋口 真嗣,   Higuchi Shinji) is a Japanese film director, tokusatsu special effects director, and artist. He first received widespread recognition for his work as the director of special effects on Shusuke Kaneko's Heisei Gamera trilogy, receiving a Special Technology Award for Gamera the Guardian of the Universe at the 1995 Japan Academy Film Prize. He has since broken into dramatic directing, helming such projects as the 2005 submarine epic Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean, the 2006 disaster film Sinking of Japan, and a pair of live action adaptations of Hajime Isayama's Attack on Titan in 2015. Most prominently, Higuchi has (co-)directed two entries in longtime collaborator Hideaki Anno's Shin series of films: 2016's Shin Godzilla, for which he won the Japanese Academy Award for Director of the Year, and 2022's Shin Ultraman, for which he received a Director of the Year nomination.

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As a young man, Shinji Higuchi was one of the founding members of Daicon Films (now Gainax), along with his friend Hideaki Anno. Higuchi worked on storyboards for Daicon's early anime and tokusatsu productions in the 1980s, and eventually had the opportunity to join the creature unit of The Return of Godzilla in 1984 as an uncredited assistant. Though he did not work directly under special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano, his duties included assisting the makers of the 84Goji suit, helping Kenpachiro Satsuma in and out of the suit on set, and swinging Godzilla's tail. Higuchi and Nakano would eventually work together on the Kitakyushu theme park Space World, which opened in 1990. Previously, Higuchi had also worked as a production assistant on the Toho film Bye-Bye Jupiter, where he worked with Koichi Kawakita, who would go on to serve as the special effects director for the Heisei Godzilla films. The next year, Higuchi received his first major credit on a film as director of special effects for Daicon's low-budget comedy kaiju film Orochi Strikes Again. Higuchi worked on various other Daicon productions throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s as well as the Toho, Tohokushinsha, and Tsuburaya Eizo co-production Mikadoroid.

Higuchi's career began to take off in 1995, when he worked as a writer, assistant director, and storyboard artist for Hideaki Anno's immensely popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion. The main character of the series, Shinji Ikari, was even named after Higuchi. That same year, Higuchi was hired to direct the special effects for Shusuke Kaneko's reboot to the Gamera series, Gamera the Guardian of the Universe. Despite having half the budget of Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, the most recent Godzilla film, the film was a huge success. Higuchi returned to perform the same position for its sequels Gamera 2: Attack of Legion and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, experimenting with blending computer-generated imagery and traditional tokusatsu effects, which cemented his position as one of the top special effects technicians in Japan.

Higuchi worked on CG animation and storyboarding for some animated productions in the early 2000s. Higuchi made his directorial debut with Minimoni the Movie: The Great Sweets Adventure in 2002, and three years later directed the box-office hit Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean. He went on to direct remakes of two of Toho's classic films, Sinking of Japan (a remake of Submersion of Japan) and Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess (a remake of The Hidden Fortress).

More recently, Higuchi has worked as a storyboard artist for various anime series, including Rebuild of Evangelion and Kill la Kill. In 2015, Higuchi directed both parts of Toho, Nikkatsu, et al.'s live-action adaptations of the popular manga and anime series Attack on Titan, using a combination of prosthetic makeup, suitmation, puppetry, and CG enhancements to portray the giant Titan creatures. The same year, Toho announced that he would be the director of special effects and co-director of Shin Godzilla, where he would work alongside his longtime friend and creative partner Hideaki Anno, the film's writer and general director. Shin Godzilla was a massive box office hit, and Higuchi and Anno were honored with the Director of the Year prize at the 40th Japan Academy Awards.

Selected filmography

Director of special effects

Storyboard artist




Selected bibliography



G-Fest XXIV interview, part 1
G-Fest XXIV interview, part 2
G-Fest XXIV interview, part 3
G-Fest XXIV interview, part 4
Famous Monsters TV interview
Higuchi voices himself in a
promotional video for Fussa, Tokyo
2020 Kaiju Masterclass panel


  • Shinji Higuchi is a close friend of Hideaki Anno, and reportedly convinced the latter to write the script for and help him direct Shin Godzilla after he previously refused when Toho first offered him the position.[citation needed]

External links


This is a list of references for Shinji Higuchi. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. Horai, Sanae (2012). "Autodesk×Digicon6 コラボ企画 Top Creator's Eye ~CG業界のフロンティア達の視点~ 『のぼうの城』樋口 真嗣 監督 インタビュー". Area Japan.
  2. "Cast". Brush of the God official site. Retrieved 27 February 2024.


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