His career hasn’t always been an easy one, but right now Hideaki Anno is living the dream. With the release of "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time" last month, he was able to bring the Eva franchise to a conclusion on his exact terms. Anno has also been riding high in the world of his other great passion, tokusatsu special effects productions. His live-action follow-up to directing 2016’s "Shin Godzilla" is writing and producing the upcoming "Shin Ultraman" theatrical feature, and after that he’ll be writing and directing the "Shin Kamen Rider" movie.
So after helming one of the most influential anime of all time and big-budget films for the holy triumvirate of kaiju/tokusatsu series, will Anno have any creative ambitions left to fulfill? Yes, at least one, according to Toshio Suzuki, one of the founding members of Studio Ghibli.
While Suzuki was appearing on last Sunday’s episode of broadcaster Fuji TV’s "Bokura no Jidai" talk show, the subject of the conversation turned to "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind," largely considered the first Ghibli anime (though its theatrical release came before the formal founding of the studio). One of the guests mentioned to Suzuki that Takashi Yamazaki, director of the highly acclaimed "Always Sanchome no Yuhi "(Always: Sunset on Third Street), has been saying for years that he’d love to direct a live-action film adaptation of "Nausicaä."
This, however, wasn’t news to Suzuki. “I’ve heard that many times from Yamazaki personally,” he replied, “but the answer has always been no.” The Ghibli veteran then made a revelation of his own, though, adding “Hideaki Anno is saying he would like to make [a live-action 'Nausicaä'] too.”
Rumors have been floating around for years that Anno, who worked as an animator on "Nausicaä," would like to make an anime version of the remaining parts of the source-material manga that weren’t covered in the 1984 animated film. This appears to be the first time, however, that anyone has said anything about Anno wanting to transfer the story of the warrior princess to the medium of live-action.
That doesn’t mean that it’s time to start reserving tickets for a screening of "Shin Nausicaä" quite yet, though. Suzuki’s delicately phrasing of “but the answer has always been no” implies that a live-action "Nausicaä" isn’t happening without creator Hayao Miyazaki’s approval, which is going to be very hard to come by. “Everyone really wants to make a live-action "Nausicaä," don’t they?” said one of the "Bokura no Jidai" guests, only for Suzuki to smile ruefully and politely correct her with “Well, the one person who doesn’t want to make it is Hayao Miyazaki, so…”
Suzuki has spoken before about Miyazaki repeatedly shooting down offers for a Hollywood live-action "Nausicaä" remake, but apparently his aversion isn’t any less when it’s a Japanese filmmaker trying to put their spin on the story. Still, Miyazaki did give his blessing to the recent "Nausicaä" kabuki stage play, on the condition that he not be asked to help with it in any way, so it’s likely that if a live-action "Nausicaä" movie ever happens, Miyazaki will again want to be completely uninvolved, and it’s doubtful there’s anyone other than Anno that he’d feel comfortable handing over the reins to, if he ever hands them over at all.
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