Back in the mid 90’s there came out probably what i wouldn’t hesitate to question as the bench mark of all anime story telling. This is not about that amazing though mind bending series but about the movies which to part followed the same story line but at the same time are completely different.
This is the first in what will eventually be (we all hope) a quadrilogy of movies with the fourth movie being quite a number of years behind and even the lead developer stating that in 2015, director and producer Hideaki Anno suffered from depression and that stated he cannot do another film.
He has since gone on to say he will be working on the fourth movie after Shin Godzilla which we all hope he can follow through with.
This installment of the movies deals with the innocence of the characters. From Shinji Ikari the main ‘hero’, though you would never see him as such at this stage, to Rei Ayanami and dozens more. One of the more surprising of which is Misato Katsuragi, the ‘boss’ of Shinji and Rei as their Operations Director.
Shinji we find is a shy recluse that has been called to pilot Evangelion Unit 01 for NERV
by his long distant father with whom he has a strained and fractured existence. We see his abandonment issues and hos he’s basically lived on his own terms for years. Always doing what is asked of his, not out of any loyalty, but just because it’s expected of him. We see him mature throughout this movie though to someone that cares for others such as Rei and Misato.
In the series we can see the unit activate itself when an Angel (the enemy of mankind) has attacked and damaged the base causing debris to fall and Unit 01 to react of it’s own accord to protect Shinji much to the shock and awe of everyone that saw this happen as it wasn’t known that this was even a possibility. We don’t get to see this in the movie and i will try not to cross the two over if possible, but i feel this should have been included in the movie as a developing characteristic of Shinji and Unit 01’s relationship.
Yes, i said relationship. Unit 01 is part of a series of mecha’s that are being build to defend mankind from the ‘Angels’ and foretold in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are not ordinary ‘mecha’ though as they are basically living organisms that have pilots. It is through the meshing of the consciousness of both pilot and machine that creates the Evangelion. Though there are inherent dangers with that that i will go over in another review.
Rei we are introduced to almost immediately when Shinji first refuses to pilot Unit 01
and Rei us wheeled in on a stretcher. Shinji’s father Gendo is asked by his second in command if they can still use her in such a state, to which Gendo replies; ‘She’s still breathing isn’t she?’. This shows his cold calculated nature and the lengths he will go to to prevent the Third Impact. The Second Impact having happened 14 years earlier when the Katsuragi Expedition accidentally initiated the explosion of the first ‘Angel’, Adam, during a contact experiment.
She is the pilot of Unit 00 which was an experimental unit but became a standard unit in the fight against the ‘Angels’. She is withdrawn from other people and society in general and even in school doesn’t take part in the lives of other people and even lives on her own.
The only person she appears to have any attachment with is Gendo, Shinji’s father who during a experiment with Unit 00 that resulted in Unit 00 going beserk, rescued her from her pilot capsule burning himself and showing her that, at least to him, she was worth more as a person than just as a pilot.
It is shown later that Shinji would do the same this for her when rescuing her from her pilot capsule after defeating a considerably powerful ‘Angel’ earning her trust and respect. She seems surprised that people would care for her at all and for the most part seems devoid of all emotion except for one moment when she slapped Shinji for disrespecting his father to her, the man she respected more than anyone. It could even be said she loved Gendo as a father.
Misato Katsuragi is a different kettle of fish from both Shinji and Rei though as much as
she tries shes as much the same as they are.
Her father saved her during the Second Impact but afterwards after her rescue didn’t speak again for years. Only in college did she seem to come out of her shell again but many profess that this was just a sham to hide her pain.
Her best friend at college, Ritsuko, who is later either her equal or supperior in NERV, joked that Mistao talked so much now to make up for lost time.
Secretly though her drinking, partying and sleeping around of which is talked about during this movie is a cover to mask the pain she hides from everyone around her.
Don’t be mistaken though, shes a tough woman and not one to cross and is extremely protective of her charges both Shinji and Rei. She even has Shinji move in with her instead of him living on his own both for her and his benefit i believe.
The first movie is a quiet affair really compared to what’s to come and is technically a rehash of the first six episodes of the series though with some different scenes and slight twists to the story telling.
If you’ve not seen ANY Evangelion you are very much missing out on what i, and many others, consider to the bench mark with story telling and character development.
I just hope that this review has done some justice to what is such a stellar series and movie this is.