a review by Nalini Haynes
Creator: Hideaki Anno of Studio Khara
Cover: © khara. All Rights Reserved.
Evangelion begins with Shinji Ikari, a boy called to a government agency, NERV, to pilot an Eva 1, a giant robot, in defence of humanity. In a rewrite of the creation legend, Lilith is an angel who fell to Earth bringing life. Lilith remains alive but crucified under NERV headquarters, while other angels come to free her. If Lilith is freed, humanity will be completely wiped out. Misato, a lieutenant, takes Shinji to live with her. Shinji is also enrolled in middle school, where he is bullied as the new kid and the pilot who failed to prevent damage to the city. Shinji’s father works for NERV. Having left Shinji alone for 3 years, Shinji questions his existence while seeking his father’s approval. When approval appears impossible to gain, Shinji starts to question why his father seems attached to Rei Ayanami, the girl who pilots Eva 00.
Throughout the movie there are hints at deeper workings. Shinji’s father appears cold-blooded towards his son. Plans for Shinji’s life and Shinji’s relationship with Rei are hinted at. There are occasional scenes where audio-only communications discuss theology and politics of this situation. This is left for future development while providing hints to greater depth in the story.
Art work is of a good standard for anime, with a similar style to series such as Full Metal Panic with the long legs and big eyes. Some scenes have ‘fan services’ such as more detailed, 3D-style depictions of robots. Other fan services include a focus on the women, both clothed and unclothed, for which Evangelion earns a rating of PG. At the close of the credits there is an announcement advertising the next movie instalment, with a cheeky comment about more fanservices in Evangelion 2.
Evangelion 1.11 is part of a story, without a final revelation of the politics or a final conclusion to the story. Characters are set up well, with a plot continuing at a good pace. My curiosity is definitely aroused – I want to see where they’re going with Shinji’s father and the angels. Highly recommended.
Previously published in Dark Matter issue 4, July 2011.