Image source: Utada Hikaru on YouTube
Gather, my children, and listen to the fairy tale of one man, his struggles, and the films he has made.
Last year, Studio Khara—the animation studio founded by Evangelion creator, Hideaki Anno—celebrated its tenth anniversary with a special gallery. As part of that exhibition, an original manga by Anno’s wife, Moyoco Anno, was put on display. There was also an adapted anime short of said manga. That anime short has been released for the world to see.
Titled, Yoiko no Rekishi Anime — Ohkina Kabu (Kabu) (Rough translation: History Anime for Good Children — Giant Turnip (inc.)), the roughly ten-minute short reflects on the history of Studio Khara from the eyes of Moyoco Anno. Those who have seen the 2014 short anime series, Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki — Insufficient Direction, will recognize the character design style.
The anime is mainly voiced by Megumi Hayashibara as the narrator and voice of Old Lady and Kouichi Yamadera as the voice of Old Man.
The video uses various foods as metaphors for different forms of media. Starting back in 2006, it features Old Man (Hideaki Anno) who only really eats vegetables—although he doesn’t necessarily like them—deciding to create his own garden where he can grow his own vegetables.
Moyoco Anno—depicted as a talking baby called Old Lady—remarks that the garden is “pretty small.” Old Man turns to Old Lady and asks her to come up with a name for the garden. After stressing over the issue for days, Old Lady comes up with the name, “Khara:” the Greek word for “joy.” The Old Lady informs Old Man who says, “Not bad. Check it out, I planted some seeds.”
As people come to help, they note that the garden is too small to grow the seeds that Old Man has planted. So, while Old Man continues to work, his helpers search for a larger garden. They finally find a garden that’s the perfect size in the Nishi-Ogikubo area. With a larger garden, more people join to help grow the turnips that Old Man had planted.
In 2007, Old Man realizes that his turnip has grown bigger than he imagined. He gathers everyone to help and together they harvest the giant turnip, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. While everyone rejoices, Old Man sets about planting the next seed.
More and more people join and things continue this way through 2009 with the harvesting of the giant turnip, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. But despite the impressive size of his turnips, Old Lady remarks that Old Man always seems a little sad.
One day, Old Man announces that he’s going to take some time off from gardening and tells everyone to grow whatever they like. He goes off to do other things and help with other gardens, but eventually returns and plants a new turnip.
In 2012, the giant turnip, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo is harvested, but in the process, Old Man is crushed and is hurt.
As Old Man recovers, Super Old Man (Hayao Miyazaki) arrives from the west to hire Old Man to lay some bricks (voice act) for a month. Old Man goes with Super Old Man, but returns unchanged.
While Old Man recovers, his helpers continue to farm and await his return. The brick tower Old Man helped build (The Wind Rises) is released—Anno Hideaki voices the protagonist—but Old Man’s wounds still don’t heal, and when Old Lady asks him if there’s anything he’d like to eat, he replies, “nothing.” Old Lady remarks, “Things aren’t turning out like the name of the company.”
Finally, in 2014, Old Man returns to the garden, but instead heads to the garden next door. Old Man asks some of his helpers to help out in the garden next door.
In 2016, they harvest the giant carrot, Shin Godzilla, and for the first time, Old Lady notices that Old Man seems a little relieved for once.
Old Man heads back to his garden and tells everyone that they’re going to plant and grow a new turnip…
The manga version by Moyoco Anno can be seen here (Japanese only). Studio Khara is currently working on the next Evangelion anime movie.