I just recently started watching Aoi Honoo, a Japanese drama based on a semi-autobiographical manga created by Kazuhiko Shimamoto. It’s similar in tone to Gundam Sousei, another manga about the early career of Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino, but in this case it’s actually told by the guy who lived it. Shimamoto was lucky to attend Osaka University of Arts at the same time as Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, Gainax producer Hiroyuki Yamaga, and Gainax board member Takami Akai. It was such a influential group for the Japanese animation industry, which makes Shimamoto’s story even more interesting.
The thing that surprised me the most about Aoi Honoo is how much Hideaki Anno – portrayed by Ken Yasuda – sticks out as such a polarizing and interesting figure. He is alternatively lauded or hated in the show, and the depths of his artistic talent and drive set him apart from the rest of the cast. That led me to wonder how to close to the actual Hideaki Anno, the fictional version is. The answer is apparently “pretty close”.Read More