In the twelfth episode ofÂ Neon Genesis Evangelion, Misato is reminded of her past when she is promoted to major and must command NERV by herself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watchÂ Neon Genesis Evangelion.Â
AHHHHH THIS SHOW IS SO MESSED UP AND SATISFYING AT THE SAME TIME.
I am just soÂ pleasedÂ that we’ve got an episode of this show that heavily follows Misato, her character motivations, and how her past defines her present. AND WE GET TO SEE THE SECOND IMPACT AS IT IS HAPPENING. Now, perhaps I shouldn’t sound like I’m full of glee because it’s not like what I saw in this episode was something worthy of joy. No, it’s distressing and horrifying, and it gave me a glimpse of the destruction that rained down upon the Earth. Considering the conversation that Ikari has with his second-in-command (I can’t remember the guy’s name!), there’s no doubt anymore that humans didÂ somethingÂ fifteen years prior to cause the Angels to appear on Earth. I’m guessing that Misato doesn’t actually know this; her perspective on this massive, worldwide disaster is limited and traumatizing. She’s close to death in the flashback here, so she only witnesses her father leaving her in some sort of survival pod. Then, she awakens an indeterminate time later, after the Angel’s blast has leveled most of (what I’m guessing is) Antarctica, all to watch as an Angel’s wings burst upwards and EVERYTHING IS THE FUCKING WORST.
It is a miracle that she survived. (Though miracles are whatÂ weÂ do, this episode reminds us.) Her father sacrificed himself so she could live. So she joins NERV so that she can destroy the Angels that took her father’s life. It’s a fairly standard revenge trope, sure, yet it doesn’t feel stale or unoriginal here. Misato’s intense focus as a leader is given an emotional basis that makes her a billion times more interesting than she already was. Plus, each of these characters has been asked the same question at one time or another. Why become an Eva pilot? Why work for NERV? Why risk your life over and over again? The necessity of NERV is undeniable at this point; they’re the only organization who has been able to stop the Angels. (Of course, I have to ask another question. If humans caused the Angels, then is this a self-defeating cycle? Is NERV necessary only because someoneÂ guaranteedÂ their existence?) But each major character – Rei, Asuka, Misato, and Shinji â€“ has their own justification for their presence.
The other title for this episode, however, gave me a little pause at first. “She Said, ‘Don’t make others suffer for your personal hatred'” seemed to imply that this is what Misato was doing: pushing the EVA pilots too far or too hard all because she felt a personal hatred for the angels. By the end of this episode, however, I don’t feel like the writers went in that direction. MisatoÂ doesÂ ask a lot of Rei, Asuka, and Shinji, and she’s well aware of how dangerous this mission is, given that she ASKS THEM TO MAKE A WILL. (Which they all decline. Do any of them haveÂ anyÂ property or wealth to pass on anyway? THEY’RE TEENAGERS.) There’s evidence that she’s a little insensitive at worst, since she offers them a nice steak dinner if they survive. As if that’s an incentive not to die??? But I felt like Misato proved herself to everyone here. She devised a method for protecting Tokyo-3 and the rest of the world in very little time, and there was minimal damage to the Eva units. So maybe that anger and hatred isn’t such a bad thing after all.
How cute is the party celebrating her promotion, by the way? I love that she takes time during it to check in on Shinji, knowing that he has a hard time during social events. I CARE ABOUT MISATO A LOT.
Indeed, Misato’s motivation for joining NERV influenced her actions in the present time. So the writers don’t waste this opportunity to remind us that Shinji is following an eerily similar path. Yes, his father is still alive, but the resentment he feels towards Commander Ikari is part of his motivation in the present. Notice that he doesn’t initial respond to Asuka’s demand to know why he is a pilot. It takes the fight itself to give him a reason he can latch on to. Perhaps he became a pilot because it increased his chances of hearing praise from his father.
AND IN ONE LINE,Â NEON GENESIS EVANGELIONÂ DELIVERS A PERFECT K.O. Holy shit, who gave you theÂ rightÂ to do this to me??? That poor kid, I swear. He has to PILOT A SENTIENT BEING INSIDE A ROBOT SUIT IN ORDER FOR HIS FATHER TO PAY ATTENTION TO HIM. Like???? HOW DARE YOU, COMMANDER IKARI.
How are these things getting more and moreÂ abstract? It’s like a goddamn painting came to life and then floated through space and DROPPED OFF PARTS OF ITS BODY IN ORDER TO BOMB OUR WORLD. This show is out of control, y’all. I mean that as a compliment, of course, but I’m reminded ofÂ Baccano!Â or perhapsÂ FLCL, anime shows that just did weird, unexplained shit and hoped we were along for the ride. I like it, and I appreciate thatÂ Neon GenesisÂ is not giving me any easy answers.
The video for “The Value of Miracles” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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