Hideaki Anno explains his philosophy of personal improvement while the giant robot from his signature series makes a cameo.

Sapporo Beer’s Black Label line has a long-running ad campaign called the “Adult Elevator” series. In each installment, the main character steps off an elevator and has a philosophical conversation with a well-known figure whose age matches the number of the floor.

In the 31st episode, actor Satoshi Tsumabuki gets off on the 58th floor, where his eyes are greeted by a view of an isolated house on a savanna heated by a shimmering sunset. Inside, he finds “a man who’s having fun creating visual images,” whom anime fans will recognize as 58-year-old Hideaki Anno, creator and director of Evangelion.

Tsumabuki takes a seat in the eclectically decorated rustic home, and asks Anno to share some of the wisdom he’s acquired in the course of his life that’s included dropping out of college, helping to found one of Japan’s most influential anime studios, and being simultaneously one of the most lauded and derided directors to ever work in the anime industry. “What is money?” Tsumabuki ponders, to which Anno responds:

“Even if you have money, it doesn’t matter unless you change it into something. When you change money into something else, that’s when value is created.”

At this point, the video cuts to an outside shot, where what appears to be an Evangelion Unit, backlight by the lingering flames of the late afternoon sun, takes a step so heavy it jostles a pail of Sapporo Beer cans chilling in ice.

▼ The robot’s cameo

“What is challenging yourself?” Tsumabuki asks next, and this time Anno’s answer is:

“It’s standing tall. I don’t think it’s challenging yourself to try to reach something that’s beyond your grasp. It’s when you say, ‘As long as I have this much, I’ll be OK.’”

The two then sip their beers, and the ad comes to a close.

For fans who’ve followed Anno’s career, in which his works have been regularly colored by his bouts with depression and self-doubt, there’s something heartwarming in seeing the director looking so relaxed and content. The image of the famously frustrated Anno seemingly at peace with himself, and the world he lives in, is as refreshing as any chilled brew, and while some anime fans will no doubt shake their fists at the ad and shout for Anno to get back to work on the long-delayed fourth Rebuild of Evangelion movie, it’s nice to see him calmly enjoying a quiet moment in his adult life.

Source: Sapporo Beer, Comic Natalie via Otakomu
Top image: Sapporo Beer

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