Evangelion director Hideaki Anno is the chief director and writer of TOHO's upcoming Godzilla film, the first new Japanese one in the franchise in 12 years. Shinji Higuchi, the director of Japan Sinks, Nobō no Shiro, and the upcoming live-action Attack on Titan films, is directing the new film and serving as special effect director as well.
The two longtime tokusatsu (special-effects) fans have been close friends for three decades. They previously collaborated on "Kyoshinhei Tokyo ni Arawaru" (Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo), Ghibli's live-action tokusatsu short. Anno planned and wrote this short that draws inspiration from the Giant God Warriors in Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind manga and anime film, and Higuchi directed the short.
Higuchi worked as a storyboarder for the Evangelion television series and the three recent films, and he served as assistant director on Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnęamise. (Anno was an animation director on that film.)
Higuchi has also served as the special effects director for the Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Gamera 2: Advent of Legion, and Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys films. With Higuchi's collaboration, Anno curated a tokusatsu exhibition that drew 291,575 visitors at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo in 2012.
Anno (left in photo) received the offer to work on the film at the end of January 2013. Mentally exhausted after 2012's Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, he declined the offer once. However, TOHO's earnestness and Higuchi's enthusiasm eventually won him over, and he agreed to work on the project.
Anno is working on Studio Khara's fourth and final new Evangelion film, and the new TOHO Godzilla film is limited in budget and production time compared to Hollywood. However, Anno said that he has pride in the new Godzilla project as a film, and is making both that film and the new Evangelion film with all his effort.
Higuchi (right in photo) entered the film industry when he worked on the 1984 Godzilla film, so he remarked with delight on directing the new Godzilla film, "Finally, the time has come." He added, "Playtime is over," and acknowledged the pressure on him. Still, he vowed, "Next year, I will deliver the greatest and worst nightmare to everyone."
TOHO unveiled an image (pictured above right) of the foot of its new Godzilla on Wednesday. According to Cinema Today, the foot is indicative of the new Godzilla being the tallest one yet, towering over the 108-meter-tall (about 355-foot-tall) incarnation in Gareth Edwards and Legendary Pictures' 2014 Hollywood film. The setting of TOHO's new Godzilla flm is Japan.
Anno is now writing the new Godzilla film's screenplay. Filming begins this fall, and TOHO will release the film in theaters next summer.