Gainax Interviews

I was cruising on ebay the other day, and came across this little gem.

As you can tell from the picture, it's entitled the Gainax Interviews. Published in 2005, this is a 536 page book featuring very lengthy interviews with almost everyone remotely noteworthy who has ever been a part of Gainax.

For those who don't know, Gainax is a Japanese Animation Studio responsibility for such anime movies and television shows as Wings of Honneamise, Gunbuster, Nadia : The Secret of Blue Water, Neon Genesis Evangelion, His and Her Circumstances, FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Panty and Stocking, and a couple others, mostly maid anime.

I've been a fan of Gainax ever since I first watched Neon Genesis Evangelion. Akira initially showed me how detailed and brutal Japanese animation can be, but Evangelion showed me the amount of depth most anime go into when describing and building a character while still having some amazing animated scenes.

I watched their other work, and they continued to impress and amaze me. More over, I began completely amazed by the director and chief creative input behind many of their shows, Hideaki Anno.

The book has a sizable interview with him. I can't really read Japanese (yet), but above the specific question deals with the work he did before he, Takeda, Masayuki, and Higuchi banded together to form Gainax. He worked as a key animation on the Gundam series for Sunrise, and, as the photo in the corner indicates, he got his big break key animating the God Warrior scene at the end of Ghibli's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Aside from Anno, the book focuses on the interviews of 15 people who helped shape Gainax throughout the years.

Yasuhiro TAKEDA : co-founder, general manager
Hideaki ANNO : co-founder, creator of Evangelion, director of Evangelion, Nadia, Gunbuster, His and Her Circumstances, and some others
Masayuki : assistant and alternate director of Evangelion
Yoshiyuki SADAMOTO : co-founder, character designer for Honneamise, Evangelion, Nadia
Toshimichi OHTSUKI : producer of Evangelion, FLCL
Hiroki SATO : producer of FLCL and most of their maid anime shows
Masahiko OHTSUKI : technical director of FLCL, Evangelion, and some others
Shinji HIGUCHI : co-founder, storyboards and special effects for Honneamise, Gunbuster, Evangelion. Also, special effects director for most of the Gamera films.
Shouji MURAHAMA : worked at Daicon Film. Later founded Gonzo.
Yasuhiro KAMIMURA : key animator for Evangelion. digital artist for FLCL.
Kazuya TSURUMAKI : protege of Hideaki Anno, director of Evangelion, FLCL, His and Her Circumstances
Tadashi HIRAMATSU : storyboards, and key animator for Evangelion, FLCL, Gurren Lagann, and shit loads more.
Takami AKAI : character designer for Daicon III.
Shigeru WATANABE : producer of Honneamise and Gunbuster. Later, did MANY other things.
Hiroyuki YAMAGA : co-founder, director of Honneamise

Also, in the back there's a glossary of a bunch of terms, and other things related to Gainax for quick reference.

Overall, this book is over 500 pages of first hand accounts and information of the founding, rise, success, and aftermath of one of the most influential Anime studios of all time. All of which I can't really read at the moment. :(

This is very similar to another book I own, but from a single point of view.

The Notenki Memoirs is written by one of the co-founders of Gainax, Yasuhiro Takeda, and from the way he writes about it, it seems that he's the responsible one of the four main founders. Originally published in 2002 in Japan, ADV translated and brought this book over in 2005.

Takeda talks about meeting Hideaki Anno, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and Shinji Higuchi in college, and forming an Anime club. Together they, and a couple other members, worked on an opening animation for the upcoming Sci Fi convention being held in Osaka that year, Daicon III. The year was 1981.

The way he talks and reminiscences about their work on Daicon III reminds me of my own time in college in my own anime club, SPAMM, as we worked on a film of our own, The Secret of Crystania (which is really a fandub, not a complete original work). And much like both of our projects, they were finished only an hour or two before it aired to the public.

You can view the whole short film on Youtube, as well as the amazing sequel, Daicon IV, that they did 2 years later.

Daicon III : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xLAVWf-N3c
Daicon IV : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeDBIwRe2AE

With the completion of Daicon IV, they founded Daicon Film which specialized in special effects and animation. Later on, the special effects business splintered off, and the remnants became Gainax. In the beginning, the mostly did animation work for Sunrise (Gundam), but later created original works that I mentioned above.

Anyway...

The Gainax Interviews looks like a fascinating read into the history of my favorite Anime studio, and I look forward to reading it someday. It's my goal to someday have enough knowledge of the Japanese language to actually read this thing. Maybe, at that time, I'll actually work to translate the whole thing since it doesn't seem like a translation exists.




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