Shinji Higuchi

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Shinji Higuchi
樋口 真嗣
Shin Godzilla - Shinji Higuchi (director) (30428611130) (2).jpg
Higuchi in 2016
Born (1965-09-22) September 22, 1965 (age 58)
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
NationalityJapanese
Occupations
  • Film director
  • special effects director
  • screenwriter
  • storyboard artist
Years active1984–present
Notable work

Shinji Higuchi (Japanese: 樋口 真嗣, Hepburn: Higuchi Shinji, born September 22, 1965) is a Japanese filmmaker. Known for his tokusatsu blockbusters, Higuchi is considered one of Japan's leading filmmakers of the 21st century. [1] [2] [3]

Contents

Higuchi became known for his work on Gamera: Guardian of the Universe , for which he won the Special Technology Award at the 19th Japan Academy Film Prize. In 2005, he made his feature directorial debut on Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean . His second feature film, Sinking of Japan (2006), was second place at the Bunshun Kiichigo Awards. His 2015 live-action two-part film adaptation of Hajime Isayama's manga series, Attack on Titan , won the Excellence in Theatrical Live Action Film award at the 2016 VFX-JAPAN Awards. [4] In 2017, Higuchi and Hideaki Anno won the Director of the Year award at the 40th Japan Academy Film Prize, for their work on the 2016 kaiju film, Shin Godzilla. His 2022 film, Shin Ultraman , was a major success in Japan, [5] and has received generally positive reviews from critics internationally. [6]

Biography

Early life

Higuchi was born on September 22, 1965, [7] in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. When Higuchi was in junior high school, his aunt took him on a tour of Toho Studios, where she worked on commercials. Upon watching Toho's special effects crew at work, Higuchi became inspired and frequently visited the filming sets. [8]

In 2019, Higuchi told French interviewers about his education: "At the end of high school, when I had to pass the entrance examinations to universities, I failed everything. But since I was in a very popular high school, the school leaders refused to let me leave empty-handed! [laughs] So they said to me: 'you have to pass an exam, any!' I ended up passing my entrance examination for the Japanese Post Office, as a civil servant. I was sorted, locked up in a warehouse." [9]

Early career

Higuchi entered the Japanese film industry in 1984, working as an assistant modeler on The Return of Godzilla . [7] Two years later, he directed the special effects for Daicon's tokusatsu fan film Yamata no Orochi no Gyakushū . [10]

As a key Daicon/Gainax member, he played an important part in the creation of one of the most popular anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). He was a writer and art director/storyboarder for the series. He was also the namesake for the show's protagonist, Shinji Ikari. [11] He later voice-acted a musician modeled after himself in two episodes of Karekano . [12]

Higuchi made his directorial debut in 1992 with the disaster film The Day the Sun Fissured: The Great Tokyo Earthquake which he produced for Tokyo Fire Department. [13]

Personal affairs

Higuchi supports Japan's whaling and consumptions of whale meats in general, and have appeared in the 2023 pro-whaling documentary film by Keiko Yagi, the director of the 2015 film Behind The Cove . [14] The 2023 documentary featured the pro-whaling claim to highlight the necessity of whaling to control the marine ecosystem to prevent declines of fish stocks by whales, which largely affected public opinion regards the issues in Japan. The Fisheries Agency of Japan withdrew the claim in 2009 at the annual meeting of International Whaling Commission, but didn't correct it domestically afterwards. [14] [15] Yagi and Higuchi remarked that "Godzilla is closely connected to whales and environmental issues in naming of the character and other aspects", [lower-alpha 1] and expressed their supports for whaling and skeptical views towards veganism. [14] [26]

Filmography

YearTitleDirector SFX director Storyboard artistMiscellaneousNotesRef(s)
1984 The Return of Godzilla NoNoNoYesAssistant modeler [7]
1985 Yamata no Orochi no Gyakushū NoYesNoNo [10]
1987 Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise NoNoNoYesAssistant director [27]
1988 Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis NoNoYesNo [28]
Gunbuster NoNoYesNo [29]
1991 The Cat NoYesNoNoWith Kazuo Sagawa; uncredited
Mikadroid NoYesNoNo [30]
1992The Day the Sun Fissured: The Great Tokyo EarthquakeYesNoNoNo [10]
1994 Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still NoNoYesNo
1995 Gamera: Guardian of the Universe NoYesNoNo [10]
Neon Genesis Evangelion NoNoYesYesScreenwriter [31]
1996Space Ship Remnant 6NoYesNoNo [32]
Gamera 2: Attack of Legion NoYesNoNo [33]
1997 The End of Evangelion NoYesNoNo [34]
1998 Love & Pop NoYesNoNo [35]
1999 Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris NoYesNoNo [36]
Betterman NoNoYesNo
2000Sakuya: Slayer of DemonsNoYesNoNo [37]
2001 Pistol Opera NoYesNoNo [38]
The Princess Blade NoYesNoNo [39]
2003 Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker NoNoYesNo [40]
Dino Crisis 3 NoNoYesNo
Dragon Head NoNoNoYesVisual effects designer [41]
2005 Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean YesYesNoNo [10]
2006 Sinking of Japan YesNoNoNo [10]
Onimusha NoNoYesNo
2007 Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone NoNoYesNo [42]
2008 Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess NoNoYesNo [7]
2009 Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance NoNoYesNo [43]
2010Monster Magnitude: 9YesNoNoYesScreenwriter
2012 Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo YesNoNoNo [44]
The Floating Castle YesNoNoNo [45]
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo NoNoYesNo [46]
2013 Kill la Kill NoNoYesNo
2014 Garm Wars: The Last Druid NoNoYesNo [47]
2015 Attack on Titan YesNoNoNo [48]
Attack on Titan: End of the World YesNoNoNo [49]
2016 Shin Godzilla YesYesYesNo [50]
2018 Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan YesNoNoNo [51]
2020The 12 Day Tale of the Monster that Died in 8NoNoNoYesOriginal story [52]
2021 Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time NoNoYesNo [53]
2022RibbonNoYesNoNo [54]
Shin Ultraman YesNoNoNo [55]
Kamen Rider Black Sun NoNoNoYesVisual concept designer [56]
2023Baian the Assassin, M.D.NoNoNoYesTrailer creator [57]
Baian the Assassin, M.D. 2NoNoNoYesTrailer creator [58]
Kyrie NoNoNoYesActor [59]
2024Brush of the GodNoNoNoYesActor [60]
TBAThe Bullet TrainYes [61]

Accolades

Award ceremonyYearWork(s)CategoryResultNote(s)Ref.
Japan Academy Film Prize 1996 Gamera: Guardian of the Universe Special TechnologyWon [62]
2013 The Floating Castle Director of the Year NominatedWith Isshin Inudo [63]
2017 Shin Godzilla Director of the YearWonWith Hideaki Anno [64]
Line News Awards2022Cultural PersonWon [65]
46th Japan Academy Film Prize 2023 Shin Ultraman Director of the Year Nominated [66]

Notes

  1. Production of the 1954 film involved several whale-related aspects; Godzilla's name was based on the nickname of the man who loved whale meats, [16] and early ideas of the monster were a giant octopus to attack a whaling vessel in Indian Ocean, or a gigantic whale monster attacks Tokyo. [17] [18] Godzilla favors to prey on whales, [19] [20] [21] and Godzilla and Godzilla Junior were depicted either to prey on or slaughter whales in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster [22] [23] and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah [24] respectively. Additionally, MV Brigitte Bardot owned by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was at one point named MV Godzilla with a paint of Godzilla on it, and the vessel was used for anti-whaling activities against Japan by the NPO. [25]

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