Upcoming Studio Ghibli movie “Kaze Tachinu” features the voice talent of… the director of Evangelion!?

Studio Ghibli, made world-famous for memorable classics like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, is set to release their latest animated feature film later this month.

Kaze Tachinu is a film directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and is a fictionalized biography of a Japanese aircraft designer that created the Mitsubishi Zero fighter which served in World War II. It has been five years since Miyazaki’s last film, Ponyo in 2008.

What’s so surprising is that the voice actor for the main character is none other than Hideaki Anno, best known for his work as the director for the mega-hit anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. It may seem a bit random, but Anno’s first encounter with Miyazaki was during production of Nausicaa the Valley of Wind, one of Miyazaki’s first works. The studio was short on animators, and Anno saw the classified ad in the papers; Miyazaki was impressed with Anno’s skills, putting him in charge of animating the complex God Warrior scene:

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Anno went on to become a co-founder of Gainax, directing such classics like Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise and Gunbuster.

Miyazaki approached Anno to be the voice of the lead character, and Anno recalled the auditions for the part:

I went to the audition, and once it was over, Miya-san was smiling in a way that I hadn’t seen in a long time. When he asked me to do it, I pretty much had no choice.

He first approached me about the part, and he told me that the character is a quiet guy with only a few lines of dialogue. I took his word and went to audition, thinking that it’ll work out if I don’t have many lines, but I saw the storyboards and I was shocked. He just keeps talking forever, not to mention he sings, and has lines in French and German. He totally tricked me!

When asked if he did anything special to prepare for the part:

I’m a complete amateur when it comes to voice acting, so I didn’t do anything special. I just spoke the way I speak, and if Miyazaki-san liked it, great. If something was off, I decided that I’d work on fixing it.

As for his budding career as a voice actor, Anno sternly replied “no thank you, I don’t like to hear my own voice.”

Kaze Tachinu hits theaters nationwide in Japan on July 20. Original interview below:

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