In the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to start Neon Genesis Evangelion.
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I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED. A LOT.
1) What happened in 2000?
So, this show aired in Japan in the mid-nineties, but the events were set twenty years in the future. I admit to being surprised to see “2015” at the opening of “Angel Attack,” because I don’t expect things to be set in a “modern” area. If there’s anything I knew about Neon Genesis Evangelion, I knew it was a classic and had been around for a while. (Mistakenly, I thought it was from the 80s.) That’s all I had going into this, so I WAS VERY OVERWHELMED BY THE ONSLAUGHT OF INFORMATION GIVEN TO ME IN JUST OVER TWENTY MINUTES. I was also highly entertained by it, because holy shit, this was a lot of fun. I do love it when a story doesn’t give me all the details I need right off the bat, so there’s an immersive element to “Angel Attack” that I appreciated.
So, something happened in 2000 to give rise to this post-apocalyptic world. (Is it even post-apocalyptic? Currently apocalyptic might work better here.) I’m guessing that’s when the Angels first arrived. So why set the story fifteen years later? How was humanity able to drive off the Angels prior to this? I’m only making that assumption because the world clearly hasn’t been wasted away. There are still buildings standing in Japan, so… maybe people still live aboveground? Are all the shelters below ground? Now I’m using a single question to ask a thousand questions. I’m cheating at my own organization, y’all.
2) What are the Angels?
WHAT THE FLYING FUCK ARE THOSE HORRIBLE CREATURES? WHY DO THEY LOOK LIKE THAT? WHY ARE THEY CALLED ANGELS? What if this is just an accurate depiction of what angels look like according to the Bible??? Y’all, have you ever read the descriptions of angels in the Bible? FUCKED UP SHIT, MY FRIENDS. I’m very intrigued to see if this show will give me any background on these creatures. Why do they rise up from beneath the water? You know, I’ve seen very little mecha anime, so it might just be a trope that this happens and I don’t know about it. Also, to get it out of the way: I imagine that this show and others were a huge influence on Pacific Rim. I AM UNDERSTANDING THINGS NOW.
3) What are those underground shelters?
Since I don’t have a book to rely on when I do these reviews, I have to hope I remember what everything is called. Now I can’t recall what the underground shelters were called. “Globe” something? Anyway, LET’S TALK ABOUT THOSE. The Angels rise out of the ocean, bent on destroying humanity, so humanity built intense shelters under the ground. Except it’s entirely possible that I am misunderstanding what I saw here. What if there’s only one shelter for NERV and the UN and no one else? What if the shelters mentioned during the Angel attack (when Shinji is waiting for Katsuragi) are separate from these? I don’t actually know! But goddamn, the design of them is AMAZING. I’m guessing that there’s some kind of gravity compensation at work to help with the UPSIDE-DOWN BUILDINGS. Why was there a pyramid? WHO FUCKING CARES, IT’S COOL AS HELL.
4) Who has Shinji been living with?
All we know is that Shinji has not seen his father, Commander Ikari, for three years. He’s clearly not old enough to have been around for the 2000 incident, so I’m curious about where he’s been living. Were the Angel attacks consistent or did they only occur every once in a while? I’m guessing they couldn’t have been relentless or no one would be able to live aboveground. So, was Shinji with his mother? Someone else? What did his father tell him three years earlier that made him so certain that he was unworthy of his father’s love and respect??? HOW DARE THIS SHOW BREAK MY HEART IN THE FIRST EPISODE?????
5) The Evangelions are synthetic humans???
Did I hear that correctly??? SYNTHETIC HUMANS? I mean, given that Unit 01 reacted all on their own and protected Shinji from falling debris, I’d say I heard that right. BUT WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT???
6) Why do the Evangelion units need pilots?
If they are synthetic humans, why do they need someone to control them? Is it because they’re so early in their development that they need a human to help them along? I say that because there’s a lot of talk in “Angel Attack” about how these units aren’t ready, how there’s little chance of them working, and stuff like that. Again, I may be misunderstanding these scenes, but I got the sense that this was the first time either in a while or ever that an Evangelion had been launched. So, they’re still not done? Maybe? Are there other units?
7) WHAT HAPPENED TO REI?
Seriously, what the hell happened to her? She was barely alive, and when Shinji pulled his hand away from her, it was covered in blood. Did the Evangelion do that to her??? Was she in some other battle with a different Angel? Maybe none at all????
8) WHY IS A KID A PERFECTLY REASONABLE PILOT TO USE????
Perhaps the most disturbing element of this episode is the fact that it seems totally sensible to practically everyone in NERV that a young teenager is the perfect pilot for one of the Evangelion units. I know I’m missing a lot of information, given that at no point does anyone explain why the synchronization is expected to be perfect for Shinji. I expect that Commander Ikari has the answer to that. Look at the knowing smile on his face! He knows something. But what? Why this kid, and why did he work perfectly when other pilots did not???
I NEED ANSWERS, SO I’M GONNA GO WATCH ANOTHER EPISODE TO GET THEM.
The video for “Angel Attack” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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