Episode 01: "Angel Attack"
Welcome back to EVA: Rehashed! Before we get into the
review proper, I'd like to congratulate loyal reader Prince
Mercury for participating in the "Evangelion Screwed-Up
Name" contest! He properly identified "Misato" as the
character whose name I spelled incorrectly as "Masato". Your
--ah, hell, so I made an error. Sue me.
When we last left Misato (See? I can spell it
correctly!) and Shinji, they were somewhere within NERV
headquarters. In fact, they're still there. Hopelessly lost.
Misato's even looking at a map and complaining about how bad
escalators are for... You know what? No one cares why Misato
is bitching. No one.
Next scene, and there's a random vat of jelly with pipes
leading to a big...uh, thing. Remember, no technical terms
here. Dr. Ikari is being paged, while a woman in a wetsuit
climbs out of the vat (fanservice!) and complains that
someone--obviously Misato--is lost again. Never fear,
though, for the doors open and Misato appears. The woman in
the bodysuit--now wearing a lab coat over a one-piece
bathing suit, glares at Misato with lesbian implications so
strong they'd make Gertrude Stein blush. Misato apologizes
and tells the other woman--Ritsuko--that Shinji is the
"third child". The third child according to the Marduke
report, of course.
Misato comments that Shinji is a lot like his father--the
"gruff and unfriendly" part, that is--and we cut to Ikari on
an elevator telling a subordinate to handle things. Ikari
descends, and the subordinate observes that this is Ikari's
first meeting with his son in three years. Told that the
target is moving again, he orders Battle Stations Level One.
On an ascending elevator, Misato and Ritsuko discuss Unit
One's status, which is "undergoing regeneration using the
b-type equipment." Sounds like the kind of faux-techno
babble a couple of kids playing with Star Wars action
figures would come up with... Ritsuko mentions that the
possibility of regeneration is "0.0000000001%". She says it
in an annoying sing-song voice, and calls it the "oh-nee"
factor, as in "oni, a Japanese devil!"
Ha ha ha that was so funny I forgot to laugh. Jesus, folks,
I kinda saw where you were going with that but it sorta...didn't
work. Here's where I regret taking French instead of
Japanese. Maybe then I'd actually sort of get the jokes.
(To answer a concern brought up last week: Yes, I am watched
dubbed episodes, not subbed. I'm also watching them on
ancient VHS tapes. To give you, the readers, the most
authentic EVA experience possible, I'm watching the same
exact tapes that were released when the series first
came out in America. No expense has been spared.)
(Special thanks to Project A.F.T.E.R. webmaster Alex Barry
for not sparing any expense.)
A giant hand floats in the background. Note it. It'll become
The elevator lands in its destination: a pitch-black room.
Shinji whines about how dark it is; when the lights come
back on, he's staring at a purple face that takes up the
entire screen. Now if this had been me, I would have needed
a change of underwear and a strong sedative, but Shinji
doesn't show much if any emotional range beyond "annoyed,"
"bored," "whiny," and "resentful". He begins to flip through
his training manual to the "Robots, Giant" section when
Ritsuko announces that he won't find it.
This, as Ritsuko says, is man's last defense: a "synthetic
life form known as Evangelion, Unit One." Pronounced as "Eee-van-GELL-eee-un."
I'd always thought the G was soft. To go with the sort of
Jell-O-ish substance that the Eva rests in, of course. Eva
One, whom I shall affectionately refer to as "Gerald", is
mankind's last hope.
Shinji's not impressed and wonders if it's his father's
work. A voice tells him that he's correct. It is, of course,
Gendo Ikari himself--one of the few anime characters besides
Jet Black that I'm hairy enough to cosplay as. He mentions
that it's been a while since they saw each other, then
announces that they're moving out.
Gotta love the cheery reunions. Misato protests. "Unit One
is still in cryostasis," she says. Besides, their usual Eva
pilot, Rei, isn't able to pilot it. Oh noes! Who in the
world could they get on such short notice who could pilot
Ritsuko tells Shinji that he's going to be the pilot of Unit
One. Misato protests further--Rei took seven months to
synchronize with her Eva, apparently. Certainly Shinji can't
synchronize or whatever in time. Ritsuko is stubborn--all
Shinji needs to do, she says, is sit on the seat. "We don't
expect more than that."
I'm torn between whether to feel sorry for Shinji--the woman
really isn't giving him a chance!--or for
Ritsuko--humanity's last hope for destroying the angel is
this little punk kid who's been here not five minutes and
has still done nothing but complain.
Never mind. I'm not torn any more. Ritsuko, I feel for you.
"Destroying the angel," Ritsuko says, "is the main
priority." (The implication: Whatever happens to Little Punk
is irrelevant.) He's got a chance of synching with the
Eva--albeit a small one--and it's therefore worth the risk.
To Shinji's credit, he stands silent--if mopey--while the
adults are talking. Say what you want about Gendo--he
deserves a commendation for instilling the "children should
be seen and not heard" ethic in his son.
Ritsuko addresses Misato very pointedly as, "Captain
Katsuragi", and Misato answers with a repentant, "Yes,
ma'am." I'm assuming, because I know nothing about military
rankings, that Misato is Ritsuko's subordinate. Still,
Misato did very well for herself making it all the way
through the ranks to Captain, and I'm very proud of her.
Unless, as her short skirts and tight tops imply, she slept
her way to the top. In which case I have nothing but scorn
Shinji starts whining. "You're asking me to take this thing
and go ahead and fight?"
Damn. Shut up, Shinji. He goes on to blah blah blah
woeisme about how dare Gendo suddenly call for him now and I
thought you didn't want me and shut up, Shinji.
"I have a use for you," Gendo says. I'm surprised that
Shinji is so shocked at this. Think of it this way: You
don't see your father for years, he's doing something "vital
to the safety of the world," the city is being attacked by
an evil being, and you're surprised that you're a
pawn in his scheme?
I repeat: Shut up, Shinji.
Gendo tells Shinji that no one else can pilot the Eva. "No!
I can't!" Shinji wails. "I've never even seen anything like
Okay, folks, I'm going to skip the next few minutes of
footage. I really can't handle transcribing these lines.
Shinji delivers them in this really squeaky voice. I'm
really ready to kill the guy. And this is just the first
episode. Gendo and Shinji argue for another few seconds.
Everyone looks on. There are literally shots of technicians
looking embarrassed for the two of them. I once worked at
the offices of a construction company. It was a family
business--a father and his two thirty-something sons. One of
them had a fight with his father one time. It was really
loud screaming and yelling, the son throwing basically a
temper tantrum in the middle of the office. This is how I
know exactly how these technicians feel. Cause, really, what
do you do when the boss is reaming out his son in front of
you? Do you just go about your business and pretend
nothing's happening? Do you look with sympathy at one of
them? It's a sticky situation.
Fortunately, these technicians don't have that problem.
They're just still pictures. Gendo gives his son an
ultimatum: Pilot the Eva, or leave. I've had ultimatums like
that, but the choices were generally much simpler--clean
your room or you're grounded, like. Japanese kids have it
Outside, the Angel is attacking and symbolically exploding
things in the shape of a cross. Gendo comments that it can
sense them. Ritsuko tells Shinji they don't have much time,
and Misato orders Shinji to get inside. This is followed by
more whining from the Shinj--he's come all this way, why did
he come, my foot hurts and I'm hungry! Hey, good
point--why did Shinji come here?
Misato says, "You mustn't run away... you must
confront your father... and you must confront yourself!"
"I KNOW THAT! But...I...just...can't!" And score one for The
Shinj. He'll grow up to be a great lawyer some day. Holding
his opponents in the crushing grip of Reason--that's our
Gendo's given up. He gives the order to wake up Rei. "She's
not dead yet," he says. He calls Rei on the intercom,
tells her the spare is unusable. "You will do it again," he
says. Ominously. All of Gendo's lines are delivered
ominously. Rei agrees.
Ritsuko orders the unit be reconfigured for Rei. Internal
monologue from Shinji: "I knew it! I'm not needed after
all!" Jesus Christ. Yes, Shinji. We don't need you. Now get
into another anime so we don't have to deal with you for the
next 25 episodes.
They wheel in Rei. She's on a stretcher, with an IV
attached--wearing a form-fitting bodysuit. Because even
dying girls have to look sexy. Especially if they're
fourteen. She tries to get up and struggles for a while.
Flash to outside. More things are exploding in crosses. The
explosion rocks the lab. Rei falls off her stretcher, and a
piece of metal starts to fall on Shinji--
Okay. I have a friend over, and he's watching the tape with
me as I write this. It's a tedious process--I pause the tape
every couple of minutes to play catch-up, as well as rewind
scenes when I'm transcribing dialogue. Right now the tape is
paused with a girder about to fall on Shinji's head.
"Hey," my friend says. "Maybe he dies in this episode."
"Oh, God--that'd be lovely," I say. "I'd worship this series
if they killed him off in this episode." I pause for a
second. "Maybe that's why people worship Eva."
"Wait a second," he says.
"If he dies... maybe we'll have to deal with him as a
I contemplate this for a second. "They'd definitely put in
some reverb and things--"
"Imagine his voice with reverb and ghostly shaking," he
To the TV, then: "Come on, Shinji! You can make it!"
"Can I have a cough drop?" my friend says, discovering a bag
on my desk. He has this weird addiction to cough drops. I
don't understand it myself.
And now I'm noticing that the girder kind of looks like a
cross. That either means that a) I'm inventing religious
symbolism in Eva that's unintentional or b) this inane
degree of religious symbolism is intentional. Either way is
not good. I can picture myself by the halfway point of the
series: "Evangelion begins with the letter 'e'! You can't
spell 'Jesus' without the letter 'e'!"
At the last second, the Eva reaches its arm up and blocks
the girder from falling on top of Shinji's head. I don't
know whether to curse it or to bless it. Gendo looks on
smugly, and a bad voice actor informs us that the Eva
activated itself. "That's not possible!" Ritsuko shouts.
Shinji runs over to Rei, who suffers for a bit in Shinji's
arms. He stares at the Eva, and at Rei, who suffers some
more, then at his hand, which is covered in Reiblood. Then,
he goes into an interior monologue, which goes like this:
"I mustn't run away I Mustn't Run Away I mustn't RUN AWAY I
MUSTN'T RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111" It's delivered with
the reverb that we were fearing earlier, which is why
Evangelion is sometimes used to disprove the existence of
God. Shinji, seeing that Rei is suffering (which is almost
as aurally grating as Shinji delivering any line) announces
that he shall pilot the Eva.
Good job, Shinjster. He will be rewarded for his good deed
by seeing her naked in a few episodes' time. HOT PREVIEW
They start to drain the Jell-O from the Eva tank and begin
generic giant robot startup procedures. At one point they
insert an "entry plug". I'm not going to sully the good name
of the site by saying what I think it looks like. It
probably has something to do with the fact that it's 1:30 in
the morning. Shinji is in the pilot's seat. Suddenly,
lemon-flavored Jell-O begins to fill the cabin. He,
predictably, freaks out. Ritsuko calls it LCL and says that
once he inhales it, his blood will be oxygenated directly.
He takes a big gulp, and says that he's going to be sick.
Misato, true to form, just yells at him. "Stop complaining!
You're a boy, you know!" I guess this is what passes for
humor in this anime. See, we're supposed to laugh at Shinji
because he's all strong and masculine and yet he's acting
all wimpy and--
--ah, hell, I give up. There's a lot of babble about the
synchronization ratio: 41%. No disturbances. Misato faces
the camera and tells us that we're beginning launch
sequence. And, ah, hell, basically the next few minutes of
the anime are choppy launch preparation sequences that will
just end up being tedious if I try to describe them. After
the preparations are complete, Misato turns to Gendo. "Can
we really do this?" she asks. To which he replies: "Of
course. Unless we defeat the angels, we have no future."
Aaaaaand...EVA LAUNCH! Misato gets the responsibility of
vocally deploying the Eva. I guess that's what a Captain's
job entails. Gerald is now on the streets, facing the Angel.
We close with a shot of Misato's face, and her monologue:
"Shinji... Don't get killed out there."
Way to be confident, babe. End of Episode One. I'd like to
take the opportunity to quickly say that I really can't
stand the closing theme to Eva, that Shinji is a wimp, and
I'll be back next week with a recap of Episode Two, Part
Note that Misato, in her preview for Episode Two, promises
us "A little fan service as well. And what service!"
I don't know about you, but I'm fucking terrified.
Recap by Richard Goodness.