Hideaki Anno Says Evangelion Is A "Robot Anime"

Image for article titled Hideaki Anno Says Evangelion Is A "Robot Anime"
Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Over the years, Evangelion fans have often pointed out that the large Eva units are not actually giant robots.

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As the EvaWiki explains, “Evangelions are often mistaken for giant robots, but as early as Episode 02 Evangelion Unit-01 is seen without its helmet on, revealing that Evangelions are clearly not robots, but cyborgs, living creatures with mechanical components incorporated into their bodies.”

And now, Hideaki Anno is here to muck everything up.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time is a massive hit in Japan, where it has made 7.42 billion yen ($67.7 million) in its first three weeks, reports Mainichi and ANN. The movie has already surpassed Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, which made 5.3 billion yen at the Japanese box office. The movie also set a record in Japan for opening day IMAX earnings.

During a recent press conference, Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno talked about the movie’s box office success with Megumi Ogata, the voice of Shinji Ikari. He explained that anime features from Makoto Shinkai and Studio Ghibli are expected to make over 10 billion yen. These are movies with wide appeal. Massive box office success is a given.

Image for article titled Hideaki Anno Says Evangelion Is A "Robot Anime"
Screenshot: Oricon@YouTube

Evangelion is robot anime,” Anno said. His revelation surprised even Ogata, who exclaimed, “Ah, it was robot anime?” Continuing, Anno said, “Among robot anime, Gundam is famous, but even Gundam doesn’t reach 10 billion yen.”

“I’m truly thankful that with a niche robot anime like this we can aim at 10 billion yen,” he added.

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This announcement has surprised fans! In Japanese, the official description for an Eva unit is Hanyou Hitagata Kessen Heiki Evangelion, which is sometimes translated as “All-purpose Humanoid Fighting Machine Evangelion.” I remember about a decade ago, talking to someone from Gainax, the original studio behind the anime, and referring to an Eva unit as a robot. Was I ever quickly corrected!

But now, in 2021, here’s Hideaki Anno going, nah, actually, Evangelion is a robot anime. He came right out and said it! Just like that.

DISCUSSION

By
Ink

I think mostly what this suggests is that Hideaki Anno doesn’t really care about the difference between a robot or a cyborg or an artificially-grown humanoid fighting machine cloned from your dead mother’s DNA. To him, the phrase “robot anime” encompasses a larger genre of “big machine, boy pilot” stories, and in that sense he’s absolutely correct (of course, he wrote it). Evangelion is, in many ways, a response to his own childhood fantasies of Gundam and Ultraman.