Mark Watches ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’: Episode 19 – A Man’s Battle / Introjection

In the nineteenth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, I’m certain that the remainder of this show is going to destroy me. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion. 

Trigger Warning: For talk of gore/blood, and trauma/PTSD.

A lot just happened. Good god, y’all. I know that it’s actually common of me to ask, “What has this show become?” It happens whenever I’m watching something and the narrative seems to have taken an abrupt turn into new territory. However, as shocking as the previous episode and “Introjection” both are, they’re a natural progression in the show. In hindsight, these developments fit in a larger story about Shinji’s willingness to defy his own morality in order to save the world. Now, most of this wasn’t what was going through my mind while watching the episode. I’m thankful for the way Mark Watches has evolved since I’ve started it because I feel like there are two completely separate forms of critical analysis here. The video serves to show you my immediate reaction, much of which is emotional. INDEED, I WAS QUITE EMOTIONAL WATCHING THIS.

But now I get to think about what this all meant. I get to talk about where I think the story might go and what thrills and excites me about that. If “Ambivalence” was a turning point for the greater narrative, I’d argue that “Introjection” is an even bigger moment. The writers manage to combine reveals about the series’ mythology with perhaps one of the most intense explorations of Shinji’s characterization. IT’S SO PLEASING TO WATCH IN THAT REGARD. I mean, it’s also the bloodiest and bleakest and most emotionally devastating episode, too, so THERE’S THAT. But after Shinji experienced his father’s stubbornness and discovered that he nearly killed Toji, the writers don’t ignore the toll this takes on Shinji. I think that’s probably the most admirable thing about this episode. Shinji’s emotional state matters so much to this episode, even when we’re getting so much more information about the Evangelions and the Angels.

Yet I can’t deny how frustrating it is to watch all of the NERV personnel – especially Commander Ikari – speak to Shinji in such an awful way. These people want him to obey their orders without question all the time; they submit a fourteen-year-old to constant trauma and violence; and they give these pilots little-to-no information about what’s actually going on. In that sense, they’ve left these pilots ill-equipped for what is going to happen to them. Did Commander Ikari think that his son wouldn’t react poorly to being controlled to the point that his Eva nearly murdered his friend? Actually, I’m asking the wrong question, aren’t I? See, that assumes that Ikari thought about his son or considered his emotional well-being or LITERALLY DID ANYTHING INVOLVING HIS SON THAT WAS POSITIVE. Commander Ikari is a possibly a brilliant leader, but he is – point blank – an abysmal father. When his son refuses to leave his Eva out of anger, Ikari just writers off his son’s VERY VALID reaction as “childish.” It’s just a tantrum to him, and he has better things to deal with.

Thus, it makes perfect sense that Shinji gives it all up, despite that he’s been criticized openly by his own father for “running away” whenever things get tough. And it’s so sad to watch because he’s not “running away” from a problem; I saw Shinji’s actions as his public statement. This was his refusal to be part of this system. This was his direct way of saying that he could not be a pilot if this is what piloting meant. I respected him! I didn’t see him as a coward; I thought that it was incredibly brave of him to set this clear boundary and to reject these people for forcing him to be a part of something so monstrous. At the very least, I think Misato understood him, but practically no one else did. (Including Kensuke, who phones Shinji in order to have THE LEAST HELPFUL CONVERSATION POSSIBLE. Dude, being an Eva pilot is not what you think it is!)

There’s a period in this episode where everything feels listless and confusing and surreal, and it’s incredible. As Shinji leaves NERV, I had to wonder: what the hell was he going to do next? How could this show go on if Shinji wasn’t in NERV? In that moment, I realized what a huge decision he’d made, and it’s a testament to how great the writing is for “Introjection.” I couldn’t conceive of the future of this story, but I also felt something familiar in Shinji’s choice. It’s a scary thing to make a choice like that! And yet, through sheer coincidence, Shinji is IMMEDIATELY forced to re-think what he’s done when an Angel attacks Tokyo-3 and is IMPOSSIBLY POWERFUL RIGHT FROM THE START. Seriously, do these Angels have a base somewhere that they use to plan out these attacks? They seem to be adapting, no?

It was horrifying to watch this Angel slice off the arms of Asuka’s Eva, but the writers have Shinji confront the brutality of this attack face-to-face. GET IT? Because Asuka’s Eva gets decapitated and the head falls into Shinji’s shelter and WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW??? But you know, it’s a scene that brings the fight to Shinji in a way that makes him more susceptible to Kaji’s reasoning later in the episode. He sees the direct affect of the horrible, horrible fight, and he asks himself whether or not the end of the world is worth this one particular moral battle. Note that Kaji doesn’t try to invalidate why Shinji left; he merely asks him what he’ll do in the future.

Look, there’s also SO MUCH NEW INFORMATION. Kaji’s “moonlighting” has been discovered; Rei makes a really cryptic statement about being “replaced; we learn that the Angels are definitively trying to get to Adam IN ORDER TO START THE THIRD IMPACT. And we learn that the Evangelion is… oh my god, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS. Another Angel? A giant human? WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENS AT THE END OF THIS EPISODE? Where does Shinji go? WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THAT EVA CAME ALIVE? How can it regenerate an arm?

why is it eating the angel


The video for “Introjection” 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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