Hideaki Anno seems to just be doing whatever the hell he wants after he finally wrapped up Neon Genesis Evangelion (for now, at least). He got to make an Ultraman movie and he’s now directing a Kamen Rider one, letting him live out creating a new chapter for two of his lifelong superhero obsessions. And it turns out for at least one of those, he rather literally helped bring them to life.
Now that Shin Ultraman has been out a while in Japan, new behind-the-scenes footage of the movie’s VFX work has been released—revealing that none other than Anno himself provided the motion capture work for Ultraman’s arrival in the movie, and the first time the giant of light crosses his arms to unleash the iconic specium beam attack.
It’s not the most strenuous physical capture work, sure, but it’s mostly delightful because Anno is an Ultraman die-hard himself, and embodying the character brings him full circle to one of his earliest works as a film student: The Return of Ultraman: MAT Arrow 1 Takeoff Order, a half-hour Ultraman story Anno made for Daicon IV, the 1983 Japan SF Convention. The short stars Anno himself in what can loosely be described as “in costume” as Ultraman, but in reality mostly just wearing an Ultraman Jack-themed jacket.
And so, now he’s an official part of the Ultraman legacy rather literally. The real question remains though: are we going to get him to do a Rider transformation pose in Shin Kamen Rider?
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