Mark Watches ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’: Episode 18 – The Choice of Life / Ambivalence

In the eighteenth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, I can’t. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Trigger Warning: For blood/gore.

In the end, Shinji chose life, and Toji nearly paid for it.

So, now I know what that flash of lightning was in the clouds. I was suspicious of it when it happened, and then I kind of forgot about it until the big twist at the end of this episode. I’m still a bit numb after watching that, but my shock is mostly due to the severity of this Angel attack. All of the signs that this would happen have been liberally spread throughout the past episodes, and I’m now realizing how inevitable this moment was.

You can see the seeds of this in Ikari’s behavior; we always knew that he cared about killing Angels more than anything else. That includes his son, and “Ambivalence” is the ultimate demonstration that he sees Shinji as either a tool or an obstacle, nothing more. Toji’s behavior in this episode is another clue, too. His anxiety renders him nearly unrecognizable, at least in the sense that he does not act at all like he has prior to being chosen as a pilot. He’s torn by his hatred for the Evangelions and his desire to help out his sister, who gets a better hospital out of the arrangement. Hell, the very fact that everyone avoided telling Shinji about who the Fourth Child was stood as evidence that Shinji would most likely find out in the worst way possible. There’s so much anxiety in the first third of this story from Shinji and Toji and it’s all so quiet.

Was I ready? No. Not at all, and for a number of reasons. It took me a few minutes to process the sheer absurdity of an Evangelion unit becoming an Angel. It seemed impossible for this to happen, and then the full implications hit me: regardless of what I thought, Toji was still piloting that Evangelion. How the hell was the rest of the Eva team going to take out this Angel without destroying Toji in the process? Surely, there was a way to remove the “infecting” Angel, right? They wouldn’t sacrifice a pilot who just went out on his first trip, right?

Ha. Ha ha ha.

Remember when I said that there wasn’t a more disturbing moment than the last time Shinji shrieked in terror as he was swallowed up by the Angel’s shadow? I was wrong. This is worse. Demonstrably worse. 100% worse. It’s worse because it’s Shinji’s father. It’s worse because Shinji chooses to refuse to kill the pilot of the other Eva unit. And at that point, he doesn’t even know who it is! Their identity is irrelevant; Shinji just wants to spare a human life.

SO HIS FATHER CUTS HIM OFF FROM SYNCHRONIZATION AND ACTIVATES THE DUMMY PLUG. In the most horrifying sequence in the show so far (AND I HAVE TO SAY “SO FAR” BECAUSE THIS GODLESS SHOW KEEPS ESCALATING), the dummy-controlled Unit-01 eviscerates Unit-04. I do not use that word lightly, and I’m certain it’s still not violent enough. However Ikari and his scientists programmed that dummy plug, it meant that it was not satisfied killing the Angel. It tore it apart. The Angel’s limbs are strewn about Tokyo-3, and its blood literally stains the city. While Neon Genesis Evangelion is a violent show (it has to be), there’s never been anything like this.

And Commander Ikari smiles as it all unfolds, as his son screams in pain and begs him to stop, as this creature paints Tokyo-3 with the blood of another Evangelion.

I am honestly frightened to see the next episode. I don’t even know what else to say, y’all. Ikari is fucked up. THIS SHOW IS FUCKED UP. What have y’all done to me?

The video for “Ambivalence” 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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