In the fifteenth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji goes on a brief trip with his father; Misato has an epiphany about Kaji; Kaji’s purpose is revealed. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion.
What the fuck did this show just turn into?
The Human Instrumentality Project
Well, the show just gave me a huge answer, and SURPRISE: I don’t quite get it. The end of this episode is perhaps the biggest shocker so far, but even prior to it, the largely slow and thoughtful “Lies and Silence” tracks the difficult emotional journey that the characters are experiencing. That’s important in the grand scale of things because in stepping back, the show can ground us in the human emotions at the heart of this story. At the same time, the mysterious mythology is a big deal. You can’t ignore it, and “Lies and Silence” finally starts to address many of the weird details head-on.
Sort of. I’m still left with a ton of questions, but it’s clear that the Committee of international men of some importance (I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW WHO THEY ARE) is pressuring Gendo Ikari to push forward as quickly as possible on the Human Instrumentality Project. What that is? I don’t know. And the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that I completely failed to recognize that image at the end of the episode. But the project is either one of two things: Adam or Rei. Or both, now that I think about it. BECAUSE THAT WAS REI IN THAT TUBE, WASN’T IT? THAT WAS NOT ADAM. But I’m also confused because… does that mean Adam in the Bible was always an Angel, not a human? Was Kaji hired by the Japanese Department of Home Affairs to keep tabs on NERV, or is his double agent situation a lot more complicated than that? What was that embryo thing that one of the Angels tried to get back?
WHEN DID THEY CAPTURE ADAM? How long have they kept Adam alive while crucified to that board? OH MY GOD, I HAD NO IDEA JUST HOW INTENSE THE RELIGIOUS IMAGERY WOULD GET. The first Angel, mutilated and crucified to a giant cross-like structure, is most likely what NERV uses to conduct research on the Angels. Y’all, I just had a thought. What if the other Angels are trying to get Adam back? What if they just want their fellow Angel to be returned to them?
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW?
You know, I couldn’t remember if there was ever a definitive statement as to Yui’s status, so the reveal that Shinji and Gendo’s visit to Shinji’s mother was at a cemetery still stung. While the interaction Shinji has with his father is the longest we’ve seen in THE ENTIRE SHOW, it’s still utterly depressing. After all this time apart, the man can still only say a few sentences to his son. Even when Shinji speaks positively of the VERY BRIEF conversation they have, Gendo says: “I see.”
That’s it? THAT’S IT? It’s especially hard to watch because we’d just seen how difficult of a time he had in the day leading up to the anniversary of his mother’s death. Why??? Why is Gendo like this? Why would he destroy all evidence of his wife and become hopelessly cold with his son?
Look, parental issues are at the heart of this show, and that’s not just because of Shinji or Misato. While their issues with their distant fathers are certainly key elements of Neon Genesis, there are still parental motifs spread throughout the show. Hell, there’s even that awkward scene where Shinji compares Rei to a mother, all for the way she wrung out a cloth. It’s how Shinji relates to the world, but in that moment, we see how it can make him hopelessly uncomfortable. Once you consider how Misato’s story unfolds, then you can see how the disappointment with one’s parents plays such a huge emotional role for many of these characters.
I feel like “Lies and Silence,” however, gives us the best glimpse at what fuels Misato. We knew that her father’s absence played a role in her work at NERV, but this episode gives us a fuller context to her insecurity and her fears. It’s a sad thing to watch only because I felt so deeply for her. It’s not easy to lose a parental figure, and it’s even worse to have the fear and grief from that affect other aspects of your life. I KNOW THIS FEELING DEEPLY. I feel weird about Kaji being present during all of this because… well, it’s complicated. I get that she feels guilt over lying to him in order to break up with him, and for the most part, he doesn’t take advantage of her inebriation. The kiss is more inappropriate than not because consent is dubious at best when one person is significantly drunker than the other. But given that he’s a double agent, I’m also worried that he’s befriending Misato for other reasons. Why else would he choose her to be the first NERV employee to see what’s inside Terminal Dogma? Is he turning her against NERV or something???
You know, I think there’s one other character who fits within the theme of disappointment in this episode: Asuka. In continuing the exploration of sexual desire, Asuka is disappointed that Kaji (who is significantly older than her) does not reciprocate how she feels for him. This happens after she finally kisses Shinji, which is somehow not the most awkward moment in the whole episode. That’s saying something, y’all. Perhaps she really does feel something for Shinji; after all, she’s flirted with him multiple times. The problem is that it foreshadows what happens with Kaji just moments later: she gets no reaction at all. Well, not no reaction, but she doesn’t get what she wants from either person, thus she’s disappointed. I can easily empathize with that because HELLO, I WAS A YOUNG CLOSETED GAY AND NO ONE EVER RECIPROCATED ALL MY SUPER GAY LOVE. It sucks! It sucks feeling that isolated with tons of CONFUSING EMOTIONS are pouring out of you! But where is this leading? What does this emotional development have to do with the show as a whole?
I DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW ANYTHING. IT ALL HURTS.
The video for “Lies and Silence” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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