Platinum Booklets – Episode Commentaries 21-26

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

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EPISODE:21 He was aware that he was still a child.
Aired February 21, Heisei 8 (1996)

Script: Akio Satsukawa, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Kiichi Hadame / Director: Hiroyuki Ishido / Chief Animator: Satoshi Shigeta / Assistant Character Designers & Layout Supervisor: Shinji Suzuki

Video Version Staff
Storyboards: Kiichi Hadame / Directors: Masahiko Ohtsuka, Shunji Suzuki / Director of Animation: Shunji Suzuki

Starting with this episode, Neon Genesis Evangelion launched into the final series, the fourth part, where the creators’ distinctiveness comes into play even more with additional radical content. In Episode Twenty-One, “NERV is Born”, as the timeline slips in and out of the past and present, the past of the various characters and of NERV is revealed. How Gendo and Fuyutsuki met, and the conflict between them, how Misato and the others were as students, the relationship between Naoko Akagi and Gendo, the experiment in which Yui vanished, Rei Ayanami getting strangled to death, etc. The drama herein is both powerful and exciting. The amount of information in it is also extremely large. The fact that the location of NERV Headquarters was built on the giant spherical space that had been previously created by some unknown entity and that it is approximately the same as the underground cavern found at the South Pole is also revealed in this episode.

If you look at Eva as a story whose protagonists are Gendo and Fuyutsuki, then the heroine would be Yui Ikari. She fascinates Fuyutsuki and she says, “He’s quite a sweet person,” of Gendo. Gendo’s resolve to advance the Human Instrumentality Project is surely also related to her disappearance. Many mysteries, such as the Eva and Adam, the circumstances of Ayanami’s birth, Unit-01 going out of control, etc., are linked with Yui’s existance.

The big additions in the “video version” are the South Pole scenes at the beginning, Fuyutsuki being an unlicensed doctor in Toyohashi City in Aichi Prefecture, the scene where Fuyutsuki and Yui meet out in front of the Artificial Evolution Laboratory, and likewise the scene with Fuyutsuki and Yui at the Ashinoko Lakefront. There are also many other minute modifications and final cuts.

When it was first aired on TV, it seems no few fans suspected that it was Misato that shot Kaji in this episode. In the “video version,” dialogue explaining that SEELE has discovered that Kaji has delivered a sample of Adam to Gendo and has made his position precarious has been added and the way the scene where Kaji is shot conects to the next scene has been changed. It leads the audience to think that the culprit is someone on SEELE’s side.

 

EPISODE:22 Don’t Be.
Aired February 28, Heisei 8 (1996)

Script: Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Hideako Anno / Storyboards: Kazuya Tsurumaki / Director: Akira Takamura / Chief Animator: Mau Hanabatake / Chief Mecha Animator: You Yoshinari / Assistant Character Designer: Kazuya Tsurumaki

Video Version Staff
Storyboards & Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki / Directors of Animation: Takeshi Honda, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Kazuya Tsurumaki.

In the fourth part, the drama unfolds taking an even deeper look into the characters. Not only Shinji, but Asuka, Rei, and Misato are put through hearth-wrenching experiences. In Episode Twenty-Two, the spotlight is on the Unit-02 pilot, Asuka Langley Sohryu. It becomes clear why she had been so hung up on the Eva and worked so excessively hard, and when that is uncovered by the Angel, she loses her psychological balance. Just as it holds true for the Fifteenth Angel that appears in this episode, non of the Angels that appear in the fourth part launch brute force attacks, but instead, try to shake the Eva pilots psychologically.

The big additions in the “video version” are the carrier at the beginning, the scene where Asuka is looking at Shinji and Rei at the station, and the bath scene. The highlight is the struggle in Asuka’s inner space when she is being attacked psychologically, which took as much as 70 cuts to accomplish. In the station scene, she speaks nastily of Shinji and Rei’s relationship, saying, “He is totally back to his usual thing again.” Perhaps Asuka thought that the two were a couple or at least in a relationship close to it. Note that in the struggle in her inner space, a scene where she is hanging her head in dejection with the sliding door closed has been newly inserted after the scene from Episode Nine, “Moment and Heart Together,” where she shuts the sliding door. And likewise, after the kiss scene from Episode Fifteen, “Lies and Silence,” there is a new scene showing her looking frustrated after rinsing her mouth. And from Asuka’s dialogue that overlaps these scenes, it becomes clear that she has been looking for help and love from Shinji.

In the same struggle in her innner space in the “video version,” when the voice that speaks with Asuka’s mothers voice asks, “Who are you?” various Asukas with different voices appear as if in response. Those playing her various voices are female cast members we are familiar with: Kotono Mitsuishi, Megumi Hayashibara, Miki Nagasawa, Yuriko Yamaguchi, and Junko Iwao. In her phone conversation with her stepmother in Part A, Asuka speaks German. The contents of which are roughly as follows: “Hello? Mother? We just finished eating. What about you? You want me to introduce him? Please, of course not. He’s not sociable. Uh-huh, uh-huh. Really, wow, I didn’t know. That’s great. I don’t have anything to say, either. Talk to you again later. I’m hanging up, okay? Well, goodnight!” This dialogue was not written in the script, and was left up to Yuko Miyamura, who plays Asuka.

In the fourth part, the effectiveness of certain important scenes has been increased by the use of well-known classical pieces as BGM. The piece used in this episode is Handel’s oratorio “Messiah.” Messiah means savior and the lyrics have been taken from the Bible. The piece portays the prophecy of Christ’s birth all the way to his resurrection in three parts.

 

EPISODE:23 Rei III
Aired March 6, Heisei 8 (1996)

Script: Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno / Director: Shoichi Masuo / Assistant Directors: Masahiko Ohtsuka, Ken Ando / Chief Animator: Shunji Suzuki / Assistant Character Designers: Shunji Suzuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki

Video Version Staff
Storyboards: Masayuki, Anno Hideaki / Director: Shoichi Masuo / Director of Animation: Shunji Suzuki / Director of Mecha Animation: You Yoshinari

Episode Twenty-Three is the episode where the spotlight falls on Rei Ayanami. The secrets of her inner thoughts, her death, and her third self are depicted. This is also the episode where Ritsuko’s drama is depicted, and just as the title “Tears” indicates, Rei cries in the first half and Ritsuko cries in the second half. The way the story unfolds in a cool, detached way in spite of the fact the episodes portrays the life and death, and the love and hate, of the characters is very much in character with this show.

This DVD contains both the “on-air-version,” whose source is the TV broadcast version, and the “video version,” which has had animation retaken and scenes added to the TV broadcast version. Some of the big additions to the “video version” of Episode Twenty-Three include the latter half of the combat scene, the fleshy object that bursts out of Unit-00’s back, and the depiction of the Angel taking on Rei’s form. In Part B, the scene where Gendo and Fuyutsuki look up at the dummy plug is also a new addition. There are also other added cuts and changes to layouts. There were also an extremely large number of revisions made to the character animation, giving it a rich style overall.

Standing before the Reis in the tank, Ritsuko speaks of the relationship between Rei and the dummy plugs, and also of the relationship between “God” and the Evas. It is a scene that provides the greatest amount of information regarding the mysteries in Eva. What exactly is this “God” who disappeared 15 years ago? Was it not Adam appeared 15 years ago? She said that the “God” humans resurrected was Adam, but is this Adam the embryo-like Adam that showed up in Episode Eight? Or could it possibly be the giant underground? In the same scene, Ritsuko says, “The Chamber of Gaf was empty, you see.” The Chamber of Gaf, according to Hebrew legends, is a room in the house of God in Heaven where the souls dwell. Babies receive a soul from this room before they are born. It is said that if there are no more souls in the Chamber of Gaf, it is an omen that the world will fall to ruin.

 

EPISODE:24 The Beginning and the End, or “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
Aired March 13, Heisei 8 (1996)

Script: Akio Satsukawa, Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Masayuki, Hideaki Anno / Director, Layout & Chief Animator: Masayuki / Assistant Directors: Masahiko Ohtsuka, Ken Ando / Layout Supervision: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Video Version Staff
Storyboards, Director & Director of Animation: Masayuki

The appearance of a new friend, Kaworu, seems to be the salvation of Shinji’s soul. However he is in fact the Angel SEELE has sent in, the final messenger. If humans have no contact with others, they will never be betrayed, never hurt. But then, they will never be able to forget their loneliness, either. Humans constantly feel emotional pain and feel that living is suffering. And Kaworu himself, who speaks eloquently about the human heart to that effect, draws Shinji to him emotionally and then deeply hurts him. Episode Twenty-Four is an important episode, both in terms of the plot and the theme, leading up to the climax. The incredibly polished dialogue and the visuals done by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and Masayuki were brilliant. The big additions ins the “video version” are the scenes where Asuka leans of Kaji’s death at the start and where Misato is observing SEELE conversing with Kaworu. There are also other revisions to the animation and composition, as well as additional shots and dialogue.

Kaworu only appears in this episode of the show, but his unique atmosphere and his relationship with Shinji led to his character garnering overwhelming support from female fans. When you disassemble the character for his last name, “Nagisa”, it becomes “shi” and “sha”. Thus, it is a play on the sub-title, “The Final Messenger (saigo no shisha)”. The “Nagisa (shore)” also forms a pair with Rei Ayanami’s “nami (wave)”.

Only the fourth movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125 “Choral” is used as BGM in this episode. Event what Kaworu is humming when he first appears and what Shinji is listening to on the S-DAT are from No. 9, showing quite a thoroughness. During the climax, it plays for over 7 minutes making a strong impact on the audience. The lyrics for the choral “Ode to Joy” are from the poem “To Joy” by the German poet and playwright, Schiller. There is a passage in those lyrics that goes, “We enter, drunk with your fire, Oh heavenly one, into your sanctuary.” it can be thought of as linking to the content of the second half of this episode.

Also, note the scene where Gendo says, “Yui.” when addressing Unit-01. Considering Shinji’s monologue in his own room, it seems he has noticed the relationship between Yui and Rei and is convinced that it is true.

 

EPISODE:25 Do you love me?
Aired March 20, Heisei 8 (1996)

Script: Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno / Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki / Assistant Directors: Masahiko Ohtsuka, Ken Ando / Chief Animator: Takeshi Honda

This is a singular piece of work with an exceedingly experimental structure. In spite of the story unfolding only through monologues and conversations between characters, the directing does a brilliant job maintaining the high tension. When it was originally aired, many voiced their opinion that they could not understand the story in Episode Twenty Five and the Final Episode. However, there is actually a bare-bones explanation of the story within the show. That being… Gendo uses Rei to execute the Human Instrumentality Project and the complementation of man begins. Seeing the remakes, Episode 25 “Air” and Episode 26 “A Pure Heart For You”, may in fact make the content of Episode Twenty-Five easier to understand. The depictions of Misato and Ritsuko being shot to death, Unit-02 hugging its knees in the lake, and Asuka likewise hugging her knees within Unit-02 all correspond to Episode 25.

Gendo says, “All souls will become one and find eternal peace”. His Instrumentality Project must have been for all human souls to be combined as one and to compensate each other for what they have been deprived of. In the story that follows from Episode 25 “Air” to Episode 26 “A Pure Heart For You”, he was not able to execute the scenario he had drawn up. It may be that it was in Episode Twenty-Five and Episode Twenty-Six that his wish actually came true.

The English subtitle, “Do you love me?” is from the book of the same title written by a British psychotherapist named R.D. Laing (Ronald David Laing: 1927-1989). It is a work that is done in a distinctive style as a discourse between individuals, and the style in which this episode is advanced through conversations between the characters is reminiscent of “Do you love me?”

In “The Third Character – In the case of Rei Ayanami” part, three Rei Ayanamis ask and answer their own questions. In the storyboards and the recording script, the child is denoted as Rei 1, the one in the plug suit as Rei 2, and the one in the school uniform as Rei 3, and they appear to correspond to the three generations of Rei Ayanamis. Rei 1 is heartless and Rei 3 appears to have a shallower awareness of “self” compared to the other two. The one who said she existed because Gendo needed her is Rei 2, who knew Gendo for the longest.

“Vividly drawing people” is a distinct quality of this show, and it was also the creative theme. In that sense, stepping deeper into Misato’s mind using the reason she slept with Kaji as a lead into it can be called the end point for Neon Genesis Evangelion in depicting people.

 

EPISODE:26 Take care of yourself.
Aired March 27, Heisei 8 (1996)

Script: Hideaki Anno / Storyboards: Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Hideaki Anno / Directors: Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki / Assistant Directors: Masahiko Ohtsuka, Ken Ando / Chief

This is the final episode of the TV series. The year is 2016 A.D., and the complementation of mankind is ongoing. Shinji agonizes over the value of his existence and his relationship with other people and comes to a conclusion. The subtitle “The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World” is fron a story by American sci-fi author Harlan Ellison (1934 – ) of the same name. Taking the subtitle of the final episode from a sci-fi novel is a tradition of Director Anno’s works, continuing from Aim for the Top! and Nadia: Secret of Blue Water. The “love (ai)” being written in katakana is likely a play on the “love (ai)” and the English “I”.

The final episode also takes the unusual route of unfolding entirely within what appears to be the world within Shinji’s mind. In terms of technique, there are also various modes of expression used in abundance, such as still photographs, paper anime, and illustrations. Director Anno and the animator You Yoshinari are the ones who did the key animation for the paper anime.

In “one of the possible worlds”, Shinji lives with Gendo and Yui, and in this world, Asuka is his childhood friend. Note that on the newspaper Gendo is reading is the headline “South Pole Base Opening Its Doors To Visitors”. The Second Impact has not occurred in this world. Incidentally, part of this newspaper headline was revised in the renewal. The parts that were “MPEG2” for the TV broadcast and LD and VHS versions are now “MPEGX”.

The moment that Shinji gains conviction that it is okay for him to be there, the background changes, and the blue Earth spreads beneath his feet. However, there are no continents on this Earth, and it is covered by a gigantic coral reef. It seems this is the Earth that has been transfigured by the Instrumentality Project. This episode ends with the captions “To my father, thank you.” “To my mother, farewell.” “And to all the Children.” “Congratulations!” Eva is something of an Oedipus complex story, where a boy feels love and hatred for his father and mother, so the first two captions can be thought to means that Shinji has come to an understanding with his father and grown out of his dependence on his mother. Perhaps the latter two captions mean, “This is a world where all the children born into it deserve to live.” It is left for the audience to decide whether this ending is the Best Ending or the Bad Ending.