Tokyo Festival: Hideaki Anno Warns of Trouble Ahead for Japanese Animation

TOKYO — Hideaki Anno, whose work is the subject of an ongoing retrospective at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, says the Japanese animation industry is heading for turbulence.

He was speaking at an event that is part of the Japan Anima(tor’s) Exhibition, a project initiated by his Studio Khara and Dwango, which operates the giant Nico Nico video site. Together they are backing the production of short films by up-and-coming animators. 

”The Japanese animation industry has hit a dead end — it will be tough to escape unless we can make animation without commercial considerations,” Anno said in explaining his support of the project. “It may even be too late.”

The plan is to make an initial line-up of about 30 animation shorts, an average of five to six minutes in length. The shorts will be made with production support from Khara and distributed on Web and as smartphone aps with technical backing from Dwango. 

Asked about the fourth and last instalment in his new “Evangelion” series, Anno offered no new info about production. “I am definitely doing it, but I have to do this sort of thing as well. I’m thinking that I’ll return to ‘Evangelion’ after I do something different,” he said.

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