Mark Watches ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’: Episode 11 – In the Still Darkness / The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still

In the eleventh episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, a blackout strikes New Tokyo-3 just as an Angel makes an appearance. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Trigger Warning: For arachnophobia, because that Angel is NOT OKAY.

This is such a cool concept for this episode! The previous ten episodes showed us the futuristic world of the Angels and the Evas and how much technology has played a vital part in protecting the world from these creatures. From the science that powers the Units, to the means that enables Tokyo-3 to descend into the Earth, this world relies on technological advancements. So what happens when it all shuts down? How can NERV protect Tokyo-3 with no power whatsoever?

I find it creepy that the mystery of the blackout is never addressed, though I see that as the point of “The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still.” This episode is much more of an experience. How does high command react? What plan do they come up with to combat the Angel that coincidentally arrives right as the power goes out? What of the pilots, who must find a way to headquarters without any active trains? Through this journey, we learn more about some of these characters, and that’s a sign of good writing. Having characters react to some big event can provide fulfilling development for the audience.

Let’s start with the Eva pilots, who get locked out of NERV when the power outage hits. I’ll talk more about the life outside of NERV in a bit, but I loved that this attack happened when many of these people were doing “mundane” things, like laundry or taking the train. They’re all caught off-guard, but only momentarily. Each group snaps into action quickly and efficiently… except for Asuka. Bless her heart, she entertains me so much. I do get that she’s trying to compensate for the fact that she’s an outsider in NERV. She’s not from Japan, she’s desperate to prove herself, and thus, she’s concerned about her appearance and how she’s perceived in general. That’s a hard thing to overcome, so I’m sympathetic to her, even if she’s brash and stubborn. And lord, she’s a mess here at times, barging down wrong corridors, assigning herself the leader of a three-person group, and generally not making good decisions. It doesn’t help whenever Asuka perceives Rei as her foil, either, when I believe Rei has no interest in being arrogant or cruel.

You know what’s even more fascinating, though? When the trio of pilots are facing the absolute horror of the arachnid Angel, Asuka is FUCKING PERFECT. She comes up with an incredible plan to defeat it, delegates responsibility based on who can best provide each task, and then executes said plan while putting her safety below that of the mission. She is not incompetent or incapable of being a leader, and I’m glad that the episode doesn’t let us forget that.

The NERV personnel are just as resilient during the blackout. There’s a heartbreaking little story amidst all of this concerning Commander Ikari and his refusal to show his son any affection. It’s so blatant, y’all, which is why it hurts to see him respond so actively during the blackout. I know it’s not exactly the same thing, but I’m guessing that Shinji wishes his father would come running to him in the way that Ikari runs to the aid of the other workers at NERV. When has he ever done so? When has Shinji ever meant that much to Ikari?

We also see more of Hyuga than usual in this episode, even if his role is still pretty small. I just loved how crafty everyone was because it showed us that despite that technology played a huge part in their professional lives, that wasn’t why they’d been successful in fighting off the Angels. If anything, “The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still” caused me to reflect on human nature, especially in the context of these characters. How many malfunctions have there been since the start of the show? How many times have these people had to improvise when the technology they relied on failed spectacularly? Humans are still an integral part of this equation, and they’ll remain so.

Yet I still can’t help but think of the Angels. We can understand and dissect and analyze human behavior all we want, but it was Shinji’s question at the end of this episode that haunted me the most. What the hell do the Angels want? What’s their motivation? I still think there was a huge clue in “Asuka Strikes!,” since that episode suggested that the Angels are following the humans for a specific reason. But up to this point, everything is still deliberately ambiguous. It’s a mystery, and it’s one that some of the characters don’t even care to solve.

The video for “The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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