Takeshi Honda MAD + Discussion/Profile
Takeshi Honda is undoubtedly one of the most legendary animators in the anime industry. His name carries considerable weight amongst sakuga fans and in the industry. This was shown to be the case a couple of years ago, when a man pretending to be Honda himself to score art jobs at a university was tracked down by Studio Khara and had to resign. Honda was born in 1968, and has had a long, successful career as an animator and designer since 1987. He originally worked for the short-lived Studio Atelier Giga (1987-1988), which also produced famous animator Keiji Gotoh. His first known credit is with them as in-between animation for Relic Armor Legaciam (1987). He is best known however, as being one of the founding members of the venerated Studio Gainax and worked there from the age of 22. Like any good Gainax member, he had dropped out of college (Tokyo Design Academy).
While working on the Bubblegum Crisis OVA series (1987-1991), episode 8 to be specific, Kishida Takahiru, who was the animation director for that episode coined his enduring nickname of ‘Master’ (Shishou). Later, Takashi Murakami referred to him as “end-of-the-century prodigy animator” (Seikimatsu Tensai Animator) in a newspaper article, a title which stuck among fans. He worked on many great projects such as Stoshi Kon’s Millenium Actress, Jin-Roh, and note-worthy TV anime such as Denno Coil. He’s worked on classic Gainax stuff such as Otaku no Video (as animation director), Gunbuster and Neon Genesis Evangelion. In the West he is probably best known for his contributions to Evangelion, the climax of which was his seminal work on the End of Evangelion. He continues to work at studio Khara (which was formed by Hideaki Anno in 2006), on the new Evangelion films as a designer and animation director (again, handling mecha animation).
I find it interesting that he’s become a mecha specialist working on Evangelion given that he originally became known in Bubbglegum Crisis for his ability to animate girls running and jiggling breasts. That’s what Kishida Takahiru recognised him for, anyway! It’s just an example of his versatility, which sits alongside creativity as one of his greatest assets!