Very few people would have expected this news. The official website
for Miyazaki Hayao's new film Kaze Tachinu
(The Wind Rises
) has just made the surprise announcement that Anno Hideaki, director of Neon Genesis Evangelion
, is providing the voice of the film's lead character Horikoshi Jiro, the man who designed the Zero fighter plane used in the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Anno worked as an animator on Miyazaki's 1984 classic Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind, and recently collaborated again with Miyazaki on the short film Giant God Warrior Appears In Tokyo. He apparently got a call from Studio Ghibli producer Suzuki Toshio one day asking if he wanted to play Jiro, and he agreed to do it.
This is the first lead role for Anno, who has previously voiced a character in FLCL and had appearances in live-action films like The Taste Of Tea and Japan Sinks.
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