One of the towering figures of Japanese animation, Hideaki Anno, will be honored at this this fall’s Tokyo International Film Festival with a major retrospective. The timing is apt: this year marks the 30th anniversary of the start of Anno’s career. Back in 1984, Hayao Miyazaki was so desperate to get the film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind finished on time, he put an ad in a magazine seeking additional animators. Anno was still in his early 20s and had been booted from Osaka University of Arts, ironically for spending too much time on an animation project. He sent in some drawings that caught Miyazaki’s eye. Today, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki recalls that once the young man was given the important task of creating the God Warrior character for the film’s end, he never left the studio until the work was done, even sleeping under his desk. By the end of 1984, Anno had co-founded his own studio, Gainax. “That was three decades ago,” Suzuki says, “and now there is no one in Japan now who doesn’t know of him.” The main reason for that recognition is the Evangelion series, which has become a global export. But Anno has worked in a wide variety of fields. “The World of Hideaki Anno” will showcase over 50 live and animated features, TV episodes, commercials and more.

The Tokyo International Film Festival will run October 23-31.