2.0 Complete Records Collection [PART 2]
A script bogged down in revisions upon revisions
— It seems that during the scriptwriting process an enormous number of serious revisions accumulated.
Anno: Yeah. Counting both large and small revisions, there was a total of more than forty revisions of the script. The first major changes took place from November 2006 to the start of December, while we were still working on Prelude.
— What sort of changes were those?
Anno: Asuka became the test pilot for Unit-03. Up until that point Touji had been the test subject, just as in the TV series. The only difference was that Shinji knew that in advance. Up to that point, the script as a whole was filled with various nuances reminding of, or tastes of, the original series: an adult depiction of Kaji and Misato, Asuka’s discord with her mother, Asuka’s idolization of Kaji and her immediate friendship with Hikari, and so on. In addition, the climax around this time was a kind of synthesis between episodes 19 and 23 of the TV series, where Shinji would be persuaded by Kaji to launch in Unit-01 and Rei would sacrifice herself in order to save Shinji; faced with this grief, Shinji’s heart would be unable to bear it, and Unit-01 would go out of control. The drafts up to number five were written according to this plan. [The first draft storyboards up to part C that were requested before the premiere of Prelude were generally based upon the drafts of the script written up to this point. ???]
— What was the impetus for the change?
Anno: The big thing was the comments made by Makki (Director Kazuya Tsurumaki’s pet name). For this, we can’t make films just by summarizing the TV series. He also said, I want Asuka to have a film-like role. At this rate, she will just be making an appearance – she provides no drama vis-a-vis Shinji, the protagonist; she is not involved. Furthermore, As a story, it’s not different enough from the original series – all these in succession. He further said, Isn’t a change as drastic as having Asuka pilot Unit-03 necessary? I think, because this was a major, fundamental change, opinion was divided when I researched the views of a number of staff members. (Ikki) Todoroki, in particular, was tremendously opposed. After thinking about it, I ultimately adopted Tsurumaki’s proposal and decided to change the pilot of Unit-03. That was the sixth draft of the script. It was finished following the 2007 new year, on January 8th. In this draft, the test pilot was simply changed from Touji to Asuka, [and the reason for it – Mari, the new pilot, is reassigned to NERV HQ from Europe, and Asuka will be taken off of Unit-02, so she volunteers – was really just improvised. ?] The change of test pilot was forced into the draft, with the characters and situations left unaltered. [1 – Ikki Todoroki is a CM director who is credited in the Rebuild films as Anno’s assistant and also as being involved in publicity or advertising. In the interviews so far he’s been mentioned as taking notes at Atami and modifying one of the 1.0 posters according to Anno’s directions.]
So, naturally, I received, and agreed with, a proposal memo sent out by Tsurumaki, which said, We have to provide Shinji, as well as the audience, with the same degree of shock and sense of loss as when Touji was lost in the TV series. For that reason, by boldly portraying Asuka as a good character, I hope to greatly convey that sense of loss. Because of that, I wanted to have Asuka pilot Unit-03 in order to do something for Rei, and Shinji, and others – something for other people. As Tsurumaki put it, it’s like a death flag is raised. As a result, Asuka piloting Unit-03 ended up being made into the peak of her drama. I changed various parts of the script in accordance with this. For example, Asuka’s impetus for piloting Unit-03 would connect with the story of Rei [learning to cook and?] preparing a dinner party for Shinji and Gendou. It seemed like these things, as well as Asuka’s character, dialogue, and so on, had gradually become solidified. [2 – 『良いキャラ』 can be “real character” or “well-developed character”, but “good” makes sense in this context.] [3 – a death flag is a sign a character is going to die.]
Aside from Mari, the course of the story and drama up to Part C was roughly the same in the eleventh draft of the script, dated March 11, 2007, as it would be in the film. However, Part D still followed the course of the original series. Up to the eleventh draft, the plan for what would be done with Unit-02 during the battle with the tenth angel – for example – had continually changed. I went from a proposal from Tsurumaki which suggested that, as it puts pressure on production, it would be better if Unit-02 did not appear [during that scene], to Mari will pilot Unit-02, and at one point I even settled on a plan where an unconscious Asuka will pilot Unit-02 using the dummy system. The eleventh draft [?] was written along those lines. The development following the defeat of Unit-02 and Unit-00 just followed the course of the original series, where Rei, who is consumed by or united with the angel, tries to take in Unit-01, and, when she notices what she is doing, self-destructs. At this point, I temporarily stopped working on the script. That was because work on Prelude was facing a great crisis, and I had to focus upon it. If I’m not mistaken, at one point I requested image boards and storyboards of the last battle based upon this draft from Shin-chan [Shinji Higuchi].
— When was the suspended work on the Break script resumed?
Anno: I was in a daze for a little while following the first Prelude screening. From there I once again uncovered various issues, large and small. Gathering [the various opinions expressed at ?] the script retreat held at the end of October, as well as my own thoughts, I revised a large portion of the script, producing what you might call a new version. This twelfth draft was completed on December 6, 2007. At this point, there was a development where, during the fight with the falling angel, Mari and Asuka are present in the [Unit-02] entry plug together. Then I wrote the entire script anew, rewriting it with the feeling that it was an all-new work. Because of that, the parts of the script predicated upon the appropriation of materials [genga etc.] from the original series were largely eliminated.
In addition, one more new, significant change emerged at this time. Abandoning the scenario where Rei self-destructs in the last scene to save Shinji, I decided on a course where Shinji saves Rei. This was due to (Toshimichi) Otsuki’s opinion as a producer that, because [the story of the second part would also lead to the third part ?], he wanted it to end hopefully, with a positive feeling. Regarding this, opinions among the staff were again divided. This time, it was Tsurumaki who particularly opposed, or resisted, this change. Makki said that he wanted to prominently feature Rei III, who was barely present in the old work, in the third part [of Rebuild], developing her in depth. It seemed like this had been one of his motivations for participating [in Rebuild]. However, in the end I decided on the scenario where Rei is saved, and he assented, saying If it’s all right with Anno-san… I think I decided that way because, with Break, I was searching for something called change. As well, I thought this would lead to the next change. At this point I could generally see what the roles of Asuka, Rei, and Misato would be. The problem was Mari.