Mark Watches ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’: Episode 5 – Rei, Beyond the Heart / Rei I

In the fifth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, what the HELL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of PTSD/trauma.

This show is consistently disturbing, isn’t it? Each episode’s got something in it that’s just unsettling, y’all. LET’S TALK.


So, as I understand it, the scene at the opening of “Rei I” is the accident that injured Rei so badly that she was unable to pilot an EVA when the Angels first returned. I have so many questions about this whole project, but I feel like I’m supposed to. The writers leave much to guesswork and my ability to put things together, but that’s okay. I am having a good time freaking out every time I do learn something new. But I wonder why this program is dependent on fourteen-year-old kids. Why that age? Is it a developmental thing? What is it that makes these pilots qualified?

The reason I ask is because I don’t have much to go on yet. What I do have is overwhelming evidence that this is THE WORST POSSIBLE AGE TO MAKE PEOPLE PILOTS OF GIANT KILLING MACHINES. Okay, maybe not the worst, but being fourteen is a volatile, confusing thing. So why put pilots in control of the EVA units if they’re going to be so prone to “mental instability”? That word basically DEFINES my experience at that age. How do they expect these kids to suddenly conquer their emotions so young? I’m thirty-two and I still haven’t done it! (Not that I want to; I love being an emotional person.)


There’s such a fascinating use of science within this show, and even if I don’t understand some of the references or the terminology, you can see how these people are attempting to understand this Angel phenomenon, which includes examining the remains of the last Angel killed. I’m guessing that there wasn’t a body left behind in any of the previous attacks, so this is a huge deal. And what’s with the Angel having a 99.8% genetic compatibility with humans? I DON’T LIKE THIS AT ALL.

But the corpse isn’t the only ramification dealt with in this episode. Like Shinji, I was gutted by watching the seemingly affectionate interactions between his father and Rei. Now, it’s possible that the actual conversation they had was as far from affection as it could be, but it’s hard not to sympathize with Shinji. His father hasn’t spoken to him once since his return in the last episode. He’s been distant, unemotional, and uninterested. And here, Shinji learns that his father burned his hands to save someone else. He watches his father smile and speak to someone else. It’s awful to watch because Rei has something he’s not had… possibly ever?

But where does that come from? There’s a very interesting moment in “Rei I” where she seems comforted by the thought of Commander Ikari saving her, and she’s certainly offended by Shinji saying he mistrusts his father. Does she idolize the man??? What’s their relationship?

The ID Card 

Holy awkward.

I’m not really sure what the show is aiming to tell us about Shinji or Rei. Is Rei so unemotional that she is barely bothered by a peer of hers entering into her apartment and laying on top of her while he clutches her breast??? That whole sequence seems both an intentional exploration of awkward sexual tension and titillation. I felt gross after watching it, and it didn’t help that I can’t figure out why it happened at all. The whole “unemotional” thing doesn’t really work to explain it since Rei clearly can feel and express emotions.

So… why does she ignore Shinji the whole time? Shouldn’t she know how important her ID card is? Why does he get the cold shoulder? Perhaps she doesn’t want to get too close to any of the other pilots. We still haven’t met the one who came after her. ARE THEY DEAD???

The New Angel

This is number five, right? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING? Why doesn’t it look like a creature??? Angels can be geometry? I DON’T REMEMBER ALL THAT MATH FROM HIGH SCHOOL, ABORT MISSION. Holy shit, the Angels are so terrifying. I just don’t understand them, but neither do any of these characters. We’re all on the same level, and it makes them frightening as hell. So, why does Commander Ikari send his son out to fight it??? The same son who has had no combat training and had a full-on breakdown the last time he fought an angel, mind you! Why does he make this decision??? I NEED ANSWERS.

How the hell is Shinji going to survive??? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW???

The video for “Rei I” 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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