A very interesting article popped up on EvaGeeks.org forum discussing an appearance by Studio Gainax founder Hiroyuki Yamaga at the Fanime convention in San Jose just this past weekend. Yamaga is the director of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Mahoromatic, and Wings of Honneamise, which is the first original film by Gainax from 1987.
Yamaga appeared on stage at the end of a screening of Evangelion 2.22 and had plenty to say about the past and future of the studio. Yamaga said that the newest upcoming work by Gainax, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is “very dirty” and that he isn’t working on that but is instead directing another new project which is “more refined” and takes place in early 20th century England. Apparently it is to early in the production for a formal announcement of the project although Gainax has been looking for staff to work on it.
Yamaga then commented that Daicon IV (the very first work done by all of the founding Gainax animators, pictured above) was intended to be a last, big fun project done at the end of college before they all went off and got ‘real jobs’. After Daicon IV was completed they realized that they had too much talent to just leave animation behind, so they decided to form Gainax. After awhile of just meeting up and having dinner together, they approached Bandai about making a Mobile Suit Gundam OVA but were turned down because they were ‘just a bunch of amateurs’. After being rejected they then asked Bandai to sponser an original film and ‘for some reason’ they did which resulted in Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise.
interview goes on to discuss many interesting facts about Gainax and its subsequent works but Yamaga answered questions about two particular points of interest and conflict for American otaku about Gunbuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion. One audience member asked Yamaga if the final episode of the original Gunbuster series (pictured below)was almost entirely in black and white due to budget constraints but Yamaga answered that the style of the final episode had nothing to do with any issues with the budget.
Of course, another audience member asked if the original television ending for Neon Genesis Evangelion (which takes place entirely within the minds of the main characters) was the result of more supposed budget problems but Yamaga answered that the problem was with time, not with the budget. Yamaga then commented that the television ending was what was planned from the beginning and that the creators all agreed that it would be interesting to conclude the story in such a different way.
Another fan said that this ending was ‘not well-recieved’ by fans of the series and asked if the subsequent film ‘The End of Evangelion‘ was created as some sort of ‘revenge’ towards the irate fans of the series to which Yamaga responded that everyone at Gainax was satisfied with the television series ending and that the movie was just the result of the desire “to do more Eva” and had nothing to do with being angry with the fans’ reaction to the final episodes of the television series.
Yamaga’s answers to these questions about Gunbuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion I feel puts to rest the complaints and conjectures by many American fans about the endings of these stories that have become major points of discussion over the years.
I am even guilty of jokingly commenting that the ending of Gunbuster must have been the result of budget constraints. Anyone who watches Evangelion is left with strong emotions after viewing its various endings but it was nice to hear that the original television ending was always the one that Gainax had intended and that the story that The End of Evangelion was the ‘true’ ending that the studio was unable to do originally because of budget constraints and censoring was just the result of rumors made up by the fans.
These comments will of course not stop the wild imaginations of the fans or the fact that we would all have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the production of that series just to see what those crazy people at Gainax were really getting up to, but for now it is just nice to have such a clear ‘official statement’ about topics that have divided fan’s for years.
I have included below the videos for both Daicon III and Daicon IV. These were originally shown at a yearly convention of the same name in 1981 and 1983 respectfully.