Newtype, April 4, 1995, “Skill Up,”

Originated from acsys.com/~tallman (6/7/13)
Japanese

From Newtype, April 4, p. 4, article entitled “Skill Up” about “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” This is the English-only version.

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Main Article

Gainax is on the move! Extraordinary, having gripped our hearts by the introduction of fascinating new characters, Gainax, (“Aim for the Top!”, “Nadia of the Mysterious Seas”), breaking a silence of four years, has at last announced a new work. It’s called “New Century Evangerion” (Neon Genesis Evangelion). Anno Hideaki, the director, and Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, the character designer, are working from planned, original work developed by Gainax.

The “angel” in the name means “apostles,” called to protect the human race from its enemies; the name is for invented, general-purpose humanoid battle weapons. “What, another robot anime?” we thought. But we have to tell you there’s never been one like this.

Until this, there has never been a period about which so much must be told. We got together and saw a robot anime that was clearly different, something as exciting as the front line of a battle.

And now, on the next pages we have published an image board and selected topics from Director Anno, to give you a “premonition”. It’s planned to be on television this fall!

Director Anno Hideaki’s comments:

“It isn’t completed yet, but in episodes one and two my recent ‘feelings’ should be faithfully reflected. When I realized this I thought ‘Ah, well done.’ ”

These are his personal impressions of the work that is probably nearly complete. He had some other very interesting comments.

“I think this will become a greater cult film than ‘Nadia’, because there will probably not be another work with this ‘feeling’.”

What on earth could this ‘feeling’ be that he is talking about? As we expect, could it be that in “Evangelion” the anime fans will encounter something they have never seen before? That is what we anticipate.

We visited Gainax towards the end of January. By then, they were busy refining the first few episodes of the new TV series “New Century Evangelion.” To start off our information gathering, Anno Hideaki said, “How could I think of doing an old-fashioned robot anime?”

This was a stimulating remark. With an over 20 year history of robot anime, certainly fresh genres would be better. Thinking this, we wondered why he would participate in and direct a robot anime project.

“One reason is that we thought it would be good to put on TV a robot anime that is not sponsored by a toy company.”

He said that since having an attached sponsor can interrupt how the mecha is designed, this work was not going to have one. He also said, “Robot anime has been stuck in a pattern, and we wanted to break out of it.” They are trying to make a film with an entirely different stance than “robot anime” being made with tie-ins to ordinary toy companies.

He said that originally this was not a project that started with a psyched-up feeling, but when they began the real project it began turning into a fairly “hard and heavy” robot anime.

Also, as he was involved in this work he had a thought something like the following. “For example, I wonder if a person over the age of twenty who likes robot anime is really happy. He could find greater happiness elsewhere. Regrettably, I have my doubts about his happiness.”

For fans who love robots and beautiful girls, these may be exciting episodes.

The protagonist, Ikari Shinji, is not portrayed as an “otaku”, but from my point of view he is not making a positive start in his work, and he could be considered a dependent young man.

“As I was making this work I wanted to try to consider what in the world could the ‘happiness’ of such a person be?”

Of course, that is what this work is supposed to tell us in the course of its drama. How will it be? Won’t the episodes be a bit anxiously anticipated? Once again, he has given us such episodes.

[What follows is a set of character images, along with character descriptions from the article.]

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Ayanami Rei
Voice by: Hayashibara Megumi
Pilot of Evangelion device #0. Reticent, rarely showing her emotions, a nihilist. She’s 14.

Katsuragi Misato
Voice by: Mitsuishi Kotono
Introduced as being like Shinji’s older sister. She appears to be an optimist, but she has a core of firmness. Her private life is quite….. She’s 29.

Akagi Ritsuko
Voice by: Yamaguchi Yuriko
The person responsible for the Evangelion development team. Intellectual, firm. She and Misato are close friends. 30.

Ikari Shinji
Voice by: Ogata Megumi
Protagonist of the stories. He becomes the pilot of the #1 Evangelion device. He’s a relatively obedient honor-student type. He’s 14.

Souryou Asuka Langrey
Voice by: Miyamura Yuko
Pilot of the #2 Evangelion device. High-spirited personality, Japanese-German ancestry, from the American quarter. 14.