In this article, we will discuss about Hideaki Anno’s Depression. We will see what is it about him that makes one wonder if he is in depression, the work and his creations that make people feel he is suffering. We will look at how his life was before he created his anime. We will then move on to do an in-depth analysis of his personality through the work he has done to see if he has symptoms of depression.
Was Hideaki Anno depressed?
Yes. He himself revealed about his mental health struggles as he created the much-loved characters.
Who is Hideaki Anno?
Among his many abilities as a creator, Hideaki Anno is essentially an animator, director and writer. He has been a creator in the japanese entertainment industry for over three decades.
He is popular for some of his finest works that began with “Shin Seiki Evangelion”, a 26-part series broadcast from 1995-1996 that aired on TV Tokyo. The franchise went onto produce five feature films, all well as manga, games, a theme park attraction and merchandise. From being a small scale project, evangelion became a mainstream success in Japan and gained popularity all over the world.
A particular reason why he and his work gained so much appreciation is because it incorporated postmodernism with the extensive portrayal of the thoughts and emotions of every character through unconventional scenes. The mental deconstruction of every character was something Hideaki focused on which helped in the audience relating to the characters very well.
Hideaki Anno’s early life as an artist
Hideaki Anno had a tough time with formal education all his life. He was always drawn towards the creative world of manga, anime and live action TV dramas. He spent his childhood and teen years engrossed in books and cartoons, and having a group of close-knit friends with shared interests. Besides this, he was honing his creative skills with self-made art and short films, as well as doing work at conventions.
Given his track record in formal education, it was rather surprising that he was accepted at Osaka University of Arts and by the early 1980s was doing his first professional work in the industry, working as an animator on the classic Super Dimension Fortress Macross (better known in the West as Robotech). His studies fell by the wayside because of his professional commitments and Anno was expelled by the university. Things were looking bleak, but fate had other plans for him as he cofounded Studio Gainax. After very few hits and many flops as a director, Anno had a lot of mental health struggles. These struggles would then turn into Anno’s greatest accomplishment yet: Neon Genesis Evangelion.
His Anime work and expression of his psyche
The characters in Evangelion were born out of the trials and tribulations that Anno himself experienced mentally. Anno had an history of clinical depression which he brought into light using his animation, characters and the show as a whole. The story line of Evangelion became psychologically intense as the series progressed even though it was placed in the children’s television timeslot. Anno believed that people, including young children, need to know about the harsh realities of life.
The show was moved onto a later time slot it gained considerable popularity.
At the end of the show, Anno leaves the viewer with at a very interesting though provoking and open- for- interpretation node which is much richer than the good- versus- evil plots that other stories usually have.
His revelations about personal mental struggles
After the creation of the third movie in the franchise, Anno took a long gap for himself. He struggled to put his thoughts and emotions in place. He speaks of losing a sense of clarity and purpose, asking “What am I trying to make again? And why have I decided to make fictitious, special effects kind of film?”. He was also recorded saying that he suffered from unshakable feeling of fatigue and a “decaying psychological unease”.
Anno revealed that there were years in his life where he could not bring himself to the studio even once because of his mental health status. He mentioned that he acknowledged his inability to do so but that undoubtedly caused difficulties for his colleagues and others who were dependent on him for their work and careers.
In another instance, Anno said “I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion — myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years. A man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead. Then one thought. ‘You can’t run away,’ came to me, and I restarted this production. It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film.”
In a gist the plot of Evangelion can be described in the following way. When violent monsters descend upon Earth to destroy humanity, a reluctant young man joins a small squad of pilots under the command of his cold and dictatorial father to eradicate the menace using giant machines that seem to have minds of their own.
Even after the creation of Evangelion, Anno grappled with depression because he poured so much of himself into the creation of the show.
In a post on the official Evangelion website, Anno describes his mental state following the release of Eva 3.0 thusly: “…after it was released, I was broken. I fell into what’s called a depressive state, the natural result of having spent six years grinding down my soul making Eva again.”
Writing as a method of expression and healing
Writing, especially creative writing has been proven to have numerous psychological benefits.
It helps people connect with other people who are on similar journeys
Very often people who are in depression feel lonely because they feel nobody else is capable of understanding how they are feeling. Close friends and family members may be unable to offer the expected support making the struggle much more worse.
For Hideaki Anno and many other writers and content creators, it might be very helpful to present their personal emotional content to an audience that relates and understands. Getting feedback and reviews about the relatability with the characters and the story line makes the author/writer feel understood, accepted and appreciated in a world which otherwise doesn’t.
It is a cathartic way of expression, yet yields beautiful outcomes.
Catharsis is an emotional release of pent- up emotional energy. Catharsis is usually considered as a task that involves great physical and emotional energy; for example, punching a bobo doll when one is extremely angry.
Though there is nothing wrong with using physically intense activities to vent out energies, using creative ways to channelize cathartic energy can be very beneficial. It helps people express at the same time be mindful of how they are releasing their energy.
When the end result of the creative catharsis is a beautiful poem, a painting or a well written piece of literature, the person feels a sense of satisfaction of having created something beautiful out of their pain.
It aids self-reflection on a regular consistent basis
Writing creatively, as a recreational activity or a professional commitment can help people to explore their own thoughts and emotions quite often. It demands the person to set out time to be with their thoughts and explore sides of them that would otherwise not come up in their consciousness.
Journaling everyday has helped people to keep a track of their thoughts and mood fluctuations. It is also considered as a safe space for free expression for many.
It can also help people gain insights from a different perspective
Putting down your own thoughts on paper can sometimes bring attention to anomalies in behaviour and thought process of the person themselves which the person would have otherwise not thought about.
Having tangible content to look at, analyse, recreate and present can help people in dealing with emotional challenges immensely.
In this article, we discussed about Hideaki Anno’s Depression. We learnt more about him, the work and his creations that make people feel he is suffering. We looked at how his life was before he created his anime. We then moved on to do an in-depth analysis of his personality through the work he has done to see if he has symptoms of depression. We also attempted to understand how writing can be a beneficial source of expression.
Frequently asked questions: Hideaki Anno depression
Is the end of Evangelion sad?
Sad is an unjust word to use for Evangelion’s ending. The sad scenes in the movie are very impactful and leave a lasting impression on the viewer. In a gist, the ending suggests that we are all one consciousness experiencing life in our own subjective terms. It says, there is no such thing as death because life in itself is a dream that we are imagining for ourselves.
Why did Anno make the End of Evangelion?
He did so not only because studio Gainax for the Evangelion TV show’s last two episodes was running out of money but also because the fans’ outcry about how weird the last two episodes were. Many demanded a better closure of the show.
Is Hideaki Anno married?
Yes, his wife’s name is Moyoco Anno.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.