The Japanese government announced on Thursday that director Hideaki Anno will receive the Medal with Purple Ribbon in the spring of 2022. The medal is given to "individuals who have made significant contributions to academic and artistic advancements, improvements, and accomplishments."
Yasushi Akimoto, the creator of the One Missed Call (Chakushin Ari) novel and film franchise as well as the founder of the AKB48 idol group franchise, is also receiving the Medal with Purple Ribbon.
Anno is one of the legendary anime studio Gainax's seven co-founders. The company was first known for producing the anime shorts that opened the 1981 and 1983 Daicon III and Daicon IV science-fiction conventions. The studio's first major anime project was the 1987 film Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise, and Anno, like many of the Gainax founding members, wore many hats in the film's production, including animation director, layout designer, production designer, and special effects artist. Anno would continue to be a fixture in the studio's later works' animation.
Anno is perhaps best known for the studio's seminal Neon Genesis Evangelion television anime, which spawned a massive media franchise that included films, spinoff manga and novels, and a plethora of other related media. The work had an impact on the late-night anime world, and many later otaku media and anime creators cite it as a source of inspiration. Anno later founded Studio Khara in 2006, and left Gainax in 2007.
Anno completed a tetralogy of Evangelion films at Khara, beginning with Evangelion: Resurrection, which reimagined the original 1995 anime. 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone in 2007, and Evangelion: The Last Evangelion: The Last Evangelion: The Last Evangelion: The Last Evangelion: The Last Evangelion: The Last Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Three Times a Charm in March 2021.
Anno is also the writer and co-director of the upcoming Shin Ultraman film, as well as the director and writer of the upcoming Shin Kamen Rider film. Shin Ultraman will be released on May 13, 2023, while Shin Kamen Rider will be released in March 2023. All three are well-known pop culture characters in Japan, representing kaiju (giant monster) and tokusatsu (special effects) films. Anno has not hidden his love of tokusatsu and kaiju media, and has openly acknowledged its influence on his work.