Evangelion director Hideaki Anno has received Japan’s Medal with Purple Ribbon, which recognizes individuals for their academic and artistic contributions.
In a statement on the Studio Khara website, Anno said that he was unsure if it was okay for a “hopeless otaku” like himself to receive such an award, but gratefully accepted it after thinking of how his late parents and grandmother would have been pleased. The director acknowledged the support of his wife, friends, the staff and cast of shows he worked on, and anime and tokusatsu fans.
Anno added that he will involve himself in the creation of “interesting anime and tokusatsu films” and continue with his archival project (Anno is the chief director of the Sukagawa Tokusatsu Archives Center) so that he can give back to anime and tokusatsu culture.
The Japanese Cabinet Office describes the ribbon as one “awarded to individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments.” The Medal with Purple Ribbon, which was first awarded in 1955, is conferred twice a year, first “on April 29 for the spring” and again “on November 3 for the autumn.” Inu-Oh director Masaaki Yuasa received the ribbon last year.
Anno was born in 1960. In the early 1980s, he worked on the opening animations for the DAICON III and DAICON IV conventions and contributed key animation to shows like The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, and Macross: Do You Remember Love?. He made his directorial debut with 1988’s Gunbuster and later served as chief director on 1990’s Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
Anno later directed the famous 1995 science fiction anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, and served as chief director on the Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion movies, which were released in 1997. Anno battled heavily with depression during this time, with his biography on the Studio Khara website noting that “Anno encountered a wide array of experiences he had never faced before, and immediately after the series finished airing, he broke down.” Anno founded Studio Khara in 2006 and returned to Evangelion with 2007’s Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, the first of four installments in the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series that ended over a decade later with 2021’s Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time.
Some of Anno’s other notable anime credits include directing the anime adaptation of Masami Tsuda‘s His and Her Circumstances manga and the Ghibli Museum short The Invention of Imaginary Machines of Destruction, serving as chief director on Re: Cutie Honey, and serving as supervisor on Gunbuster sequel Diebuster. Additionally, he voiced the main character in Hayao Miyazaki‘s The Wind Rises and was the inspiration for the cameo character Mitsuaki Kanno in 2014’s Shirobako.
Anno has also worked in live-action, directing movies like Love & Pop, Shiki-Jitsu, and Shin Godzilla (which he co-directed with Shinji Higuchi). The upcoming Shin Ultraman, which will release in Japan sometime this year, features a screenplay written by him. He also has various acting credits.
Anno has won several awards for his work, including the 18th Nihon SF Taisho Award for Neon Genesis Evangelion (which he co-wrote), the 48th Seiun Award (Media Category) for Shin Godzilla, and the 45th Japan Academy Awards’ Best Animation Award for Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time. At Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2022, Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time won the Anime of the Year Award, while Anno was recognized in the Creator, Scriptwriter, Director, and Episode Director category.
Sources: Studio Khara website, Comic Natalie