Platinum Booklets – Episode Commentaries 07-13

Originated from evamonkey.com (5/9/13)

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EPISODE:07 A Human Work
Aired November 15, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Yoji Enoto, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Keiichi Sugiyama, Hideaki Anno / Director: Keiichi Sugiyama
Assistant Director: Masahiko Otsuka / Chief Animator: Shunji Suzuki / Assistant Character Designer: Mitsumu Wogi

This episode has the conflict between NERV and the government in the background and depicts the heroic actions of Shinji and Misato as they try to stop the rampaging giant humanoid decisive weapon, the J.A. (Jet Alone). Through it is not flashy, the story is involved, and the animation is meticulous. Its level of finish is high. You can also enjoy the Kihachi Okamoto-esque camerawork that Director Anno excels at. The drama of communication between Shinji and Misato also hits a plateau. The segment From Episode One to this episode can be thought of as the “Prologue Arc” of the series.

Misato is normally slovenly, but here, she gallantly stops the J.A. without any regard for her own life. Shinji is disappointed by the enormous difference between these two sides of her, but at the end, he learns that the reason she shows that defenseless side of her to him is because that’s how much she trusts him. Back-to-back with that is revealed the ironic truth that the J.A. going out of control and the miracle that Misato and the others brought about were all plotted by Gendo, but the way Shinji begins to walk forward when he understands that his relationship with Misato has become closer is refreshing enough to even erase the sense of upset.

At the beginning and end of the episode, the image displayed on the floor and ceiling of Gendo’s office is a chart called the Systema Sephirotica. This is a chart symbolic of the Kabbalistic arts, which became the basis of alchemy, mysticism, astrology, and other such fields, and it explains the creation of the world. The same chart appears in the opening sequence.

Also, in this episode, Ritsuko’s dialogue reveals that the Second Impact occurred when the First Angel exploded 15 years ago. Make note of the fact that Misato turns away while Ritsuko explains this. The notes in the textbook in this scene also explain that the First Impact is what is also called the Giant Impact, which happened 4 billion years ago when an asteroid struck Earth. In other words, it is called the Second Impact because it is the first enormous impact since the Giant Impact.

The name of J.A comes from the robot, Jet Jaguar, which appeared in the special effects film Gozilla vs Megalon (1973). Jet Jaguar was a robot whose design was chosen from submissions from the public, and when it was initially announced, its name was Red Alone. Jet Alone is a name made by combining Red Alone and Jet Jaguar. It is truly a geeky GAINAX-like name.

 

EPISODE:08 Asuka Strikes!
Aried November 22, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Yoji Enokido, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Shinji Higuchi / Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki / Assistant Director: Masahiko Otsuka / Chief Animator: Takeshi Honda / Assistant Character Designers: Mahiro Maeda, Mitsumu Wogi

This episode depicts the actions of Eva Unit-02 and its pilot, Asuka Langley Sohryu. Starting here, the series charges into the second part, the “Action Arc,” which depicts battles with various Angels in standalone episodes. The spirited character of Asuka ushers in a new phase of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Apparently, Asuka’s character became solidified in Director Anno’s mind when he came up with the lines “This is my Chance!” and “What are you, stupid?!”

The storyboards for Episode Eight and the following Episode Nine were done by Shinji Higuchi, known for such things as his work on the Heisei Gamera series. The Chief Animator is Takeshi Honda, who also worked on Episode Three. Tense action, catchy characters, fun expressions and visuals make for plenty for the eye to see. Asuka’s energetic character, Higuchi’s storyboards, and Honda’s animation work together to create the series’ foremost amusing episode. There are also a lot of comical depictions, and in that sense, it is a unique episode in Evangelion. Shinji Higuchi has been involved in various projects at GAINAX since its establishment and has worked on such shows as Wings of HonneamiseAim for the Top!, and Nadia: Secret of Blue Water. Episodes Eight and Nine were apparently referred to as the “island arc” among the staff members due to its feel being similar to the “island arc” (episode 23 and onwards) in Nadia which he directed.

The U.N. naval fleet appears in this episode, giving it a heavy military feel. The U.N. naval fleet’s flagship is Over The Rainbow, and the fleet consists of ships and craft from both the Eastern and Western camps. Its main force consists of formerly American naval ships, and each has been given a codename from among Shakespeare’s plays, such as OthelloTitus AndronicusCymbeline, and Tempest.

The contents of the trunk that Kaji is carrying looks like a human embryo and Gendo calls this “the first man, Adam.” In Episode Seven in the SSTO conversation, they were talking about the “revised budget for the sample collection,” but that sample is probably this Adam. Adam’s existence is one of the greatest mysteries in this show. Could it be related to the Adam that appears in the Old Testament? The name of Adam’s wife in the Old Testament is Eva.

 

EPISODE:09 Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!
Aired November 29, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Aiko Satsukawa, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Shinji Higuchi / Director: Seiji Mizushima / Chief Animator: Shinya Hasegawa / Assistant Character Designers: Mahiro Maeda, Mistumu Wogi

This episode depicts Shinji and Asuka’s cooperative Angel counterattack operation with a most lighthearted touch. Following Episode Eight, “Asuka Arrives in Japan,” this is another amusing episode that fully exhibits Shinji Higuchi’s distinctively cheerful quality. The is also a plot development where Shinji ends up spending a night alone with Asuka and almost kisses her, giving it a youth drama feel as well.

Each of the 5 episodes from Episode Eight to Twelve is designated as having a plot where “the characters become as one to defeat the angel.” In Episode Eight, Shinji and Asuka work together to fight the Angel, but this story is the developmental form of that idea. With their perfect unison, they defeat the Angel.

The elegant and yet cheerful fight scene in the second half of the episode is the ultimate high point. The beauty of it lies in the fact that the 62 seconds of combat in the show is actually depicted in approximately 62 seconds. In this scene, various methods such as split-screen are used to produce a flashy presentation that is truly benefitting a robot anime, but depictions of this sort in this show can only be seen in Episode Nine.

Episode Nine is also the episode where Asuka’s character gets filled in. At the beginning in the scene where she talks to Rei at school, she is standing on the edge of the flower bed, but this is because in Director Anno’s plans regarding her, one of the things was “she is a girl who endeavors to stand at a higher spot compared to the person she is addressing when greeting people.” In Episode Eight, she also addresses Shinji from the top of the elevator.

Asuka says, “This is the wall of Jericho, never to fall!” of the sliding door that separates the two rooms, but the “Wall of Jericho” is a reference to the Western film It Happened One Night (1934, America). In the movie, a rich runaway girl and an unemployed newspaper reporter end up spending a night in the same room, and they put a blanket as a divider, calling it the “Wall of Jericho.” Incidentally, the original “Wall of Jericho” is a castle wall that appears in the Bible. Also, she says, “It is proper that boys and girls sleep apart after the age of seven,” but the correct proverb is “it is proper that the boys and girls sit apart after the age of seven.” This is a saying in the ancient Chinese Confucian text of The Book of Rites, and the seat refers to a straw mat. In ancient China, sitting on the same mat meant that the two were husband and wife. Is it the genius girl’s pride that leads her to want to use difficult sayings, even though she’s not supposed to be used to Japanese yet?

The Chief Animator is Shinya Hasegawa, known for his work on the Sailor Moon series and Revolutionary Girl Utena. In terms of the visuals, his unique touch is very apparent and the finished product is catchy, with its colorful characters and punchy action. They key animation team is also most luxurious. The first battle between the Eva and the Seventh Angel was done by Fumitomo Kizaki, known for such things as designing the characters inShadow Skill. The “6 days of training” with its brilliant action matching the music was done by Masayuki. The first half of the “62 second decisive battle” was done by Keisuke Watabe, know for his work on such things as Crest of the Stars. The second half was done by Yutaka Nakamura, who made the fans roar at the characters in Cowboy Bebop. The helter-skelter exchange between Shinji and Asuka after defeating the Angel was done by Nobutoshi Ogura. The section of key animation that Shinya Hasagawa drew was the scene where Shinji almost kisses Asuka. The ampleness of her bosom is impressive.

At the beginning, Hyuga compares the data on the Seventh Angel and says, “Pattern blue, confirmed as an Angel,” and at the time, the screen displays “BLOOD TYPE: BLUE.” In the scene before that, with the data on the Sixth Angel that Ritsuko had analyzed, it also has “6th ANGEL pattern: BLOOD TYPE: BLUE.” This indicates that it is an Angel. The term “BLOOD TYPE: BLUE” comes from a sci-fi film directed by Kihachi Okamoto calledBlue Christmas (1978, Japan).

 

Episode: 10 Magma Diver
Aired December 6, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Akio Satsukawa, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Tsuyoshi Kaga, Hideaki Anno / Directors: Tsuyoshi Kaga, Hiroyuki Ishido / Chief Animator: Satoshi Shigeta / Assistant Character Designers: Seiji Kio, Mitsumu Wogi

Continuing on from Episodes Eight and Nine, this episode also centers around Asuka’s actions. For the first time, NERV takes an active approach towards an Angel and tries to capture it in a pupal state. In the second part, the “Action Arc,” that started with Episode Eight, the key focus of the plots is in just what kind of situation they must fight the Angel, and in this episode, the fight is in magma. The operation itself is carried out by Asuka alone, but Shinji is there to provide support and ends up risking himself to save Asuka. As a result, in the fight in the following Episode Eleven, Asuka volunteers for a dangerous offensive role to repay this debt. The story progresses from depiction of normal life, discovering the Angel, forming a plan, and then carrying out the operation, but this kind of traditional story development is unusual for Eva. Also, several new mysteries are presented in this episode: Kaji’s inexplicable behavior, Misato and Asuka’s past, and others.

During combat, Asuka and the others remember the thermal expansion that they had talked about in the pool scene and form a plan to defeat the Eighth Angel. Planting a plot device in the depiction of daily life in the first half of the episode, and then using it as a hint to turn the tide of battle in the second half is a classic robot anime theme plot. The key here is having a character who remembers something useful for the battle to say “I know! Let’s… !”

There is also a scene depicting the three operators taking a break between work. Maya Ibuki is reading a romance novel. Makoto Hyuga is reading a comic magazine. Shigeru Aoba has a music magazine next to him as he mimics playing a guitar. Aoba’s hobby is to play the guitar, and in Episode Eleven, he can be seen coming to work with a guitar case containing an electric guitar. This was never realized, but there was an idea of having him play his guitar and singing nearby Shinji and the others in the final scene on the hill.

The model that the Eighth Angel was based on was the Anomalocaris, the largest carnivore of the Cambrian Period. The Anomalocaris was taken up on the NHK Special Life – A Long Journey of 4 Billion Years (1994, Japan), and at the time the show aired, the creature was a hot topic.

 

Episode:11 The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still
Aired December 13, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Yoji Enokido, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Masayuki / Director: Tetsuya Watanabe / Cheif Animator: Toshio Kawaguchi

This episode depicts the commotion and a battle with an Angel with the great blackout at NERV Headquarters in the background. Paper fans, candles, buckets and other small props that are generally not seen around NERV Headquarters make an appearance here. The “It’s lukewarm” at the end of Part A is the one and only gag utilizing Gendo, but there are numerous humorous scenes, including when Hyuga takes over an election PR car and the various raggedy antics of the three Children. The glimpse into an awareness of the problem of modern life relying too much on a technological civilzation could also be said to be very Director Hideaki Anno-like. The English subtitle is a reference to a sci-fi movie classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951, America)

Unit-00, which was heavily damaged in Episode Six “Decisive Battle, New Tokyo-3,” has been repaired and retuns to the frontline as of this episode. For the first time, Units 00, 01, and 02 take part in the action together. During the outage, Gendo has faith that Shinji and the others will rush to Headguarters and proceeds with preparing the Evas for launch. And Shinji, Rei, And Asuka destroy the Ninth Angel by working together. This was an episode where Gendo and the trio worked as one and where the trio worked as one to rise to the occasion.

Note that the military personnel of the U.N. Forces refer to the Ninth Angel as the “Eighth Angel.” It seems the U.N. Forces consider the Angel that appeared at the South Pole 15 Years ago and caused the Second Impact to be the first one and the one that appeared in Episode One to be the second one. The existence of the Second Angel must be a secret that only people in NERV know.

The animation for this episode was handled by Studio Ghibli, known for their work on such films as My Neighbor Totoro. Nozomu (written as “peek”) Takahashi, the city assembly electoral candidate, who only appears as a name is a twist on the producer of Ghibli, Nozomu (written as “aspire”) Takahashi.

 

EPISODE:12 She said, “Don’t make others suffer for your personal hatred”
Aired December 20, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Akio Satsukawa, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Masayuki / Director: Hiroyuki Ishido / Chief Animator: Satoshi Shiteta / Assistant Character Disigner: Mitsumu Wogi

This is essentially the climax of the second part, the “Action Arc.” The largest Angel that comes plummeting from satellite orbit, the desperate operation betting all on a one in a million chance, Misato’s past, the giant of light that appeared at the South Pole during the Second Impact and the giant wings… This episode is full of highlights.

Shinji, Rei, and Asuka give their all to obliterate the Tenth Angel. Misato gambles on those three, and those three show concern for Misato. Toji and the others celebrate Misato’s promotion and after the battle, Gendo expresses a word of thanks to Shinji. Episode Twelve is an episode that most strongly depicts the harmony of mankind in Eva. Shinji’s doubt regarding his reason for piloting the Eva which will become key in the story development from here on out, is also presented here.

At the sea at the South Pole, where Gendo and Fuyutsuki travel on board an aircraft carrier, the waters are red and there are giant pillars of salt. This is also due to the effect of the Second Impact. Gendo calls the post-Second Impact South Pole “a world that has been purged, untainted by the original sin.” In general, original sin refers to the sin Adam, the father of mankind, committed in “Genesis” of the Old Testament, as well as to the sin that all of mankind was burdened with as a result of it. In the conversation in this scene, it is revealed that Fuyutsuki and Gendo disagree on various topics, such as the Second Impact, mankind, and science. Fuyutsuki says, “I prefer the world where man lives, no matter how tarnished by sin it is.” One wonders how he felt being involved in the Human Instrumentality Project.

“By the hand of man” and “a miracle has value when it is brought about” are two lines that are familiar from some of Director Anno’s previous works. In this episode, it is revealed that Rei dislikes meat, but Nadia: Secret of Blue Water was also a vegetarian. Director Anno himself is also famous for not eating meat. Incidentally, Rei orders a garlic ramen without the pork at a ramen shop, but the script has Rei ordering seaweed ramen. It is a rare example of pure adlibbing on the part of a voice actress in this show.

 

EPISODE:13 Lilliputian Hitcher
Aired December 27, Heisei 7 (1995)

Script: Mitsuo Iso, Akio Satsukawa, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards & Director: Tensai Okamura / Assistant Director: Masahiko Ohtsuka / Chief Animator: Kazuya Kise / Assistant Character Designers: Mitsuo Iso, Kazuya Kise

Adorning the finale of the second part, the “Action Arc,” is the most intensely sci-fi episode of the series. It depicts the battle between an angel that possesses attributes like a computer virus and the NERV staff trying to protect the brain of Headquarters, the supercomputer MAGI, from the Angel. This story of battling “an invisible enemy” is an idea that is hardly suited for a visual work, but the skill with which this was scripted and directed into a high tension drama was brilliant.

The script is a collaborative effort by Mitsuo Iso, Akio Satsukawa, and Hideaki Anno. The original idea and plot for this episode was proposed by Mitsuo Iso, who is also an animator. Mitsuko Iso not only contributed to the episode, but has also proposed numerous ideas concerning the premise relating to the core aspects of this show.

The supercomputer MAGI is composed of three different computer systems, Melchior-1, Balthasar-2, and Casper-3. Various calculations, problems and operations are examined by these three. The naming of the MAGI come from the three wise men from the East, who foretold the birth of Jesus in the “New Testament.” The names Melchior, Balthasar, and Casper are also taken from each of the wise men. The word “magi” also means “astrology” and is the origin of the English word “magician.”

In order to prevent the Angel from invading the lower regions of NERV headquarters, Gendo completely physically seals off the region in the Central Dogma below the Sigma Unit. The pyramid-shaped building standing in the Geo-front is but a small part of the NERV Headquarters. Stretching directly below the square lake adjoining the pyramid-shaped building is an incredibly deep facility going down approximately 7km. The majority of this incredibly deep facility is called the Central Dogma and the Sigma Unit is a part of it. Incidentally, the name Central Dogma came from biology. Genetic information is transferred DNA=>RNA=>protein, and this flow of genetic information is called the central dogma.

The animation was done by Production I.G., known for their work on such projects as Blue Seed and Mobile Police Patlabor 2 the Movie. The cool visuals that they were known for fit this episode dealing with computers.

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