Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angel Attack   First Watch 
June 25, 2019 9:03 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Shinji Ikari, a 14-year-old boy in the city of Tokyo-3, is delivered to the secret organization NERV, where he is requested by his enigmatic father to save the city from an invading creature called an Angel.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit (46 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
The theme song still slaps! Sad that the ending theme's been cut from the U.S. Netflix stream for copyright(?) reasons, but thank god the opening's been untouched.

I just started my NGE rewatch this weekend, having first watched it in high school anime club (not the greatest intro to it), didn't get it, then watched it all again (+ the movies) when movie 3.33 came out. Now it's one of my favorite cultural works ever, top ten anime of life, etc.

Kinda forgot how the first ep starts in media res but I love that it didn't try to explain everything linearly. Sort of jarring to remember Shinji and co are high schoolers. Get in the fucking robot, kid!
posted by rather be jorting at 9:12 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I was super-bummed they cut out "Fly Me To The Moon," it's just as important as "Cruel Angel's Thesis" in maintaining the atmosphere of the show.

It's a big purple robot with an extension cord! Get in, Shinji!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:21 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Is this a rewatch thread or do we avoid spoilers for future episodes ?
posted by Pendragon at 12:22 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


The theme song still slaps!

Every time NGE comes up in public discourse for some reason (eg the recent Netflix release), two things happen:
- I make another half-hearted attempt to watch the show from the start, and fail.
- I get the theme song stuck in my head for a solid four to six weeks.

I am going to listen to Waypoint's podcasts on the show, however - I love listening to them discuss media, even shows and films I'm not interested in watching.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:09 AM on June 26 [5 favorites]


Netflix is good. I think I will stick to my DVD's though, if they cut the many versions of Fly Me to the Moon. The evolution of the series is too well reflected in the various takes on it.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 5:27 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


The first angel attack sequence is incredibly tight. It shows you at once how powerful the angels are--almost unstoppable, how weak the military is in comparison, and how special and important NERV is, and Gendo in particular.

I mostly dislike Shinji as a character... He's one of the all-time most reluctant heroes, obstinately defiant bordering on criminal. He often wallows in self-pity at the worst possible time. Yet the show withholds so much information from us at the beginning that there is no one else to identify with. He gets grabbed up and dropped into the middle of the most serious situation in human history, it's all up to him, and everyone is waiting on him. Nations are starving to fund the EVA project... It's immeasurably bigger than him. And Shinji comes into it expecting everyone to drop what they're doing and pay attention to his emotional needs. It makes me angry at him as a viewer, again and again, but it's a great metaphor overall.

The sequence when Shinji arrives and his conflict with Gendo plays out has some beautiful artistic composition.
posted by heatvision at 6:12 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I was debating how to post this thread. The whole series seemed too big to take in at once! On rewatch there is a lot in just this first episode.

One thought that occurred to me was to post two at a time like the original VHS tapes I had, but that seems gimmicky. What would people prefer?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:19 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


One thought that occurred to me was to post two at a time like the original VHS tapes I had, but that seems gimmicky.

HA! Man, I remember the days of wishing I could buy an entire shelf of tapes just to finish a series. Posting two episode posts at a time wouldn't be a bad compromise, I think. The whole series would definitely be too much to take in all at once - I'm only rewatching 2-3 episodes at a time myself. There really is a lot going on in each ep.

Are there any first-time NGE watchers checking FanFare? I'm ok with refraining from spoilers (though it'll be fun to compare notes with other rewatchers as we go along).
posted by rather be jorting at 9:35 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Oh hell yeah two at a time. That's how I'm planning on re-watching it - just like in 1998 when I bought the VHS tapes off ebay. I still remember the price: $187. That took a LONG time for my highschool self to save up for.
posted by weed donkey at 9:37 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


Film Crit Hulk has a twitter thread reacting to the episodes as he watched them the first time and it's a fun read. His point about the kind of spoilers that seem overrepresented in this kind of thing is well worth keeping in mind for anything not explicitly labeled as rewatch.
posted by Drastic at 10:27 AM on June 26


Is this a rewatch thread or do we avoid spoilers for future episodes ?

Hopefully, there will be enough people watching for the first time that we should try to avoid spoilers.

Speaking of Waypoint, I just listened again to their podcast from shortly after the announcement was made last fall, which covered just the first two episodes. I think it was Rob Zacny who made the observation that the Eva pilots in many ways are basically just the key that turns the Eva on. Especially the way that Shinji pilots it in this episode, where Unit 01 goes berserk and slaughters the angel after Shinji has blacked out from the pain of feeling his arm crushed into pulp and then having his cranium pierced with a laser jackhammer or whatever the fuck that was.

Anyway, this is not a new observation, but the idea of being forced to take responsibility for solving a literally existential crisis affecting all of humanity that you had no hand in causing because you weren't even born yet is, uh, kind of relatable in 2019.
posted by tobascodagama at 10:53 AM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Really excited to finally be able to watch this show. I was never able to afford it when I was a teen and in my Peak Anime Years and by the time I was old enough to actually pay for it I wasn't especially interested.

However, I am a big fan of WP and hearing them talk about it made me excited again. I've watched the first seven episodes and really enjoying it so far.

I think doing two episodes at a time makes a lot of sense and I feel like we should try and avoid spoilers as much as possible.
posted by Tevin at 11:15 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


I did a rewatch last summer and I really enjoyed this podcast, which does a running commentary on each episode:
Evangelion: A Commentary

I have watched the series probably...going on 20 times? since the first time I saw it when I was not much older than the Eva pilots themselves. I was super excited for it being on Netflix and I hope this brings the show a lot of new fans. The subreddit is mostly people bitching about changes in the translation to the point that they are telling people not to watch it; I have high hopes that we can avoid that here. I've just finished "Magma Diver" in my Netflix watch.

I agree that two episodes at a time would be a great way to present this! Spoilers are going to be really difficult to avoid, since the series is so very opaque at the beginning and you really have no clue what is happening till most of the way through the series (and some would argue you never do).
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:40 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


(Glad to see that the idea isn't too weird! OK, will do that thing! The Beast is up now!)

I really wish there was a full version of this LMFAO video for the theme.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:02 PM on June 26


Get in the fucking robot, kid!

He does, almost immediately, and it's far more traumatic than even his completely reasonable misgivings would have led him to imagine. He gets in the robot again and again and again.

And Shinji comes into it expecting everyone to drop what they're doing and pay attention to his emotional needs.

A deeply depressed 14-year-old has just been asked to save the world with zero notice or training, by his alternately absent and abusive father, who responds to his misgivings with emotional blackmail to force a literal child to confront a cosmic horror.

And Shinji does it, and saves the world, and somehow the meme is still "get in the robot."

Swear to god, we don't deserve this show.
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:44 PM on June 26 [33 favorites]


There is just a small snippet of it in the first episode, but the sound of cicadias every summer never fails to give me the Eva feels.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 1:47 PM on June 26 [11 favorites]


Well, some of the popularity of the "GET IN THE FUCKING ROBOT, SHINJI" memes definitely comes from the voice acting in the first few episodes. It's...really whiny. Really whiny. And honestly, he does grow up a lot during the show. But showing it to new people, I've noticed that I have to reassure them that it's not going to be all Shinji whining for the entirety of the show.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:54 PM on June 26


He does, almost immediately, and it's far more traumatic than even his completely reasonable misgivings would have led him to imagine.

Actually, what I love about Shinji is that, when he does get in the robot in this episode, it's not because his dad told him to or because he believes in Nerv's mission. The reason he gets in the robot is that he doesn't want Rei to suffer. Once it's reduced to a Trolley Problem -- either he does the painful thing or some specific stranger he's never met before does it in his place -- he no longer hesitates.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:22 PM on June 26 [18 favorites]


He gets grabbed up and dropped into the middle of the most serious situation in human history, it's all up to him, and everyone is waiting on him. Nations are starving to fund the EVA project... It's immeasurably bigger than him. And Shinji comes into it expecting everyone to drop what they're doing and pay attention to his emotional needs.

Well gosh and golly, if its such an incredibly important project, maybe they could have told him AHEAD of time? Maybe they could have invested some of that enormous budget in bringing him in and I dunno, TRAINING him? Instead of just grabbing him off the street and having a 14 year old fight Cthulhu? And maybe if nations are starving themselves for this project they could invest some money in a child psychologist and adequate housing?

Seriously, somebody came up with the worst, most incompetent child soldier scenario, so don't put the blame on Shinji. Its almost like the people in charge wanted it to fail...
posted by happyroach at 2:35 PM on June 26 [13 favorites]


And yeah, I'm new to NGE too, but I'm relatively relaxed about spoilers on 20 year old media. If anything it might just be a "oh hey so that's where that's from" for me.
posted by Kyol at 3:00 PM on June 26


> He does, almost immediately, and it's far more traumatic than even his completely reasonable misgivings would have led him to imagine. He gets in the robot again and again and again.

;) I do get that (and empathize that it's a deeply traumatic task, especially keeping in mind that these are high school teens and the superhuman burden of protecting the world has been forced upon their adolescent shoulders). Referring to the popular meme was more of a nod towards nostalgia, as my usual fandom communications have been largely confined to the wilder terrain of non-MeFi social media hyperbole - I get that it can be annoying, though! Personally, I don't think Shinji's notably or particularly whiny as a character, he really does take on a lot and the psychological toll is staggering. Episode 3, for example, hammers that point home, and I actually had to stop watching for the day when I finished it.

> - I get the theme song stuck in my head for a solid four to six weeks.

btw, while I'm here, I do have to mention my favorite Cruel Angel's Thesis mashup is: this one!
posted by rather be jorting at 3:12 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


"spoil NGE" is an interesting writing prompt. I've seen the endings and I'm still not sure where I'd even begin
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:12 PM on June 26 [22 favorites]


A couple other notes I had on this episode while rewatching:

- Hadn't noticed this before, but during the scene of Gendo reprimanding Shinji for not getting into Unit 01 right away, there's a couple shots of various other NERV employees witnessing the exchange. Ouch. I read their expressions as a grim kind of stunned silence, like "whoa, that's harsh for a dad to tell his kid," but also they're drawn just neutrally/seriously enough that their reactions are fairly open to interpretation. NGE's really good at utilizing brief moments of silence to create a certain mood.

- When Misato, Ristuko, and Shinji are in the elevator, Misato jokes about one of the ways Shinji takes after his father: "a total lack of charm." Oof!
posted by rather be jorting at 3:37 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


When i was younger and first approaching this show I was a lot more frustrated with Shinji than I am now. It came from a couple of places.

For one thing, I was informed there would be lovingly animated giant robots wrecking shit, and Shinji was delaying the wrecking with this wholly plausible human drama. How dare he!

But more to the point, genre fiction has this tendency to speak in a lot of short hands, and the abbreviated emotional language of pulp sci-fi sort of codes fearlessness as bravery, to the point that they become interchangeable sometimes. I think one of the things that sets this show apart is that it understands the distinction. Shinji has a lot of fear. Shinji also has a lot of bravery. But in order for that arc to work they have to establish the fear early on, and as a viewer, it's not a thing one is used to seeing in a show about city-eating space monsters. I badly wanted Heero Yuy to kick in the door from the Gundam universe and start in with the stoic ass-kicking just to ground this in more familiar territory, but I'm glad it didn't play out that way. It'd be a lot less special.

It's a lot easier to swallow once you know where they're going with it, I think. Ultimately it's rewarding, but it is a bit of a rough start.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 5:04 PM on June 26 [7 favorites]


Instead of just grabbing him off the street and having a 14 year old fight Cthulhu?

So this reminds me that there's a fanfic where they're fighting Lovecraftian horrors instead of the Angels. It's here. (There's a final chapter floating around someplace too.)
posted by mordax at 7:47 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


I think people get frustrated with Shinji because he's a deliberate subversion of a standard Kid Hero/Unlikely Hero wish fulfillment that is common in anime and teen media. Who wouldn't want to operate a kickarse robot and save the world? Well, when you're also battling depression, abandonment issues, and operating the robot has real-life consequences, it might be a little harder to step up.

Rewatching older anime just reinforces to me how deeply we messed with the Japanese psyche with the atomic bombs. So much of their "ultimate weapon" imagery is the mushroom cloud and nuclear-related, and in the first episode it reiterates how desperate the humans are against the angels where it shows they're willing to nuke the countryside, but it still doesn't work. American action media typically shows gas explosions, but the Japanese continually return to the mushroom cloud, with the occasional tsunami imagery thrown in.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 7:37 AM on June 27 [13 favorites]


I am going to listen to Waypoint's podcasts on the show, however - I love listening to them discuss media, even shows and films I'm not interested in watching.

I would listen to Austin Walker discuss the phone book.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:20 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


but the sound of cicadias every summer never fails to give me the Eva feels

saaaaaaaaaaaammeeeeee
posted by numaner at 1:18 PM on June 27


Sad that the ending theme's been cut from the U.S. Netflix stream for copyright(?) reasons

I'm also super bummed about this. Because of when I grew up, this was actually my first version of this song and I loved it.
posted by numaner at 1:19 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


for anyone missing Fly Me To The Moon, here's all of the versions, one for each episode.
posted by numaner at 1:29 PM on June 27 [8 favorites]


also, here is a version of Cruel Angel's Thesis sung by Megumi Hayashibara, Rei's voice actress
posted by numaner at 1:41 PM on June 27 [4 favorites]


I first saw NGE in the late 90s as an 18 year old who had been depressed for -- well -- as long as I could remember, was never good socially so I didn't have much in the way of friends, and had a father with whom I was not on speaking terms, so even though he was younger I found Shinji very relatable at the time (14 was actually about the age my father and I stopped communicating, and it's not like I wasn't an extremely depressed, friendless 14-year-old, too). I think the last time I watched through the series was probably about 10 years ago, while I was finally starting the process of dealing with childhood-related PTSD. It was fitting then, too: trauma is definitely a theme throughout NGE.

I'll probably have more to say as we get further in the series, but hearing the theme song really brought me back.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 4:38 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I never got all the Shinji hate. Oh, wow, you're mad at a 14-year-old for... not wanting to be a child soldier? But then again I watched Eva for the first time as an adult who saw Shinji as a traumatized child and not a peer.
posted by storytam at 7:11 PM on June 27 [9 favorites]


I maybe watched 3 episodes of this in 2003 and didn't get it, but I enjoyed the first episode this time. Really interesting lighting and sense of scale. One shot that stood out to me was of the vibrating electric wires in the evacuated city. A simple but scary sound effect that grounded everything that came after in that sense of being on the ground in a terrible disaster.
posted by sonmi at 7:37 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I can't figure out where my Eva DVDs have gone. I know I still have them, I saw them not that long ago, but I haven't been able to find them again. More than I can say for the manga, which I had most of, up to what was released at the time (the late oughts), but I haven't seen it in forever. I hope I didn't get rid of it in a date-ability panic. The manga is great. If you can find it, check it out.

I watched Eva a lot as a teen, and read a lot of fanfic. One of my preferred versions is actually Children of the Elder God that Mordax linked above--it's great--and which actually introduced me to Lovecraft, but I recommend watching all of the actual show before reading it. I don't know that it'll be the same without a lot of familiarity with the show.

(I was going to wait patiently through the whole watch thread before dropping CotEG, but mordax just went ahead and did it so I'll just talk about it. And I'm pretty sure I can find the end again if people care.)
posted by Caduceus at 4:59 PM on June 28


Shit, mordax. I'm very sorry.
posted by Caduceus at 5:05 PM on June 28


One of the central tenets of Evangelion is "Actually it would be really fucked up to make a child to pilot a giant robot," building on decades of Mecha Anime going right back to Gundam's "Actually giant robots would be used for war and it would be really fucked up." Evangelion later goes off in other directions too, but at its core it's a subversion of and response to the many "wow cool robot!" series that came out in the wake of Gundam, where combat is glamorized and nobody hesitates to get in the robot or experiences trauma from being in the robot.

It's easy to imagine someone who sees Shinji as a peer to miss this and focus instead on the part where a 14 year old boy is entrusted with a cool looking robot and gets to hang out with girls in sexy skin-tight outfits. It would be easy for such a hypothetical viewer to see Shinji's response as being whiny and insist he's a fool for not leaping at the chance to jump in the cool robot.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:34 PM on June 28 [12 favorites]


God rewatching this as a real adult is harrowing.

Your father sent for you.
Really? My father, who abandoned me three years ago without explanation, who hasn’t spoken to me since?
Yes.
Great! I’ll be there soon.
* A TERRIFYING MONSTER APPEARS*
*BOY NEARLY DIES*
*BOY NEARLY DIES*
*BOY NEARLY DIES*
*A FUCKING NUCLEAR BOMB DETONATES*
Uh, hey dad, that was pretty intense. Will you come down here and look me in the face? Or, uh, hug me? Handshake?
No. Get in the robot.
What? The what? The rob.. HOLY SHIT A HUGE ROBOT.
Yes. Get in. The robot.
What?
Get in the robot. Fight that terrifying monster.
But I don’t know how?
Get in or we’ll torture this dying girl.
What dyin... HOLY SHIT WHAT HAPPENED TO HER?!
Get in the robot.
YEAH GET IN THE ROBOT. GET IN GET IN GET IN.
Ok ok, I’ll do it. Please don’t torture that girl!
Also we’re going to FUCKING DROWN YOU. DEAL WITH IT.
Wha...? Don’t drown m... *glub glub*
Oh yeah BTW you can breathe that stuff. So go fight the monster.
*MONSTER POUNDS TERRIFIED CHILD TO A BLOODY PULP*

Any kid would be catatonic after episode 1.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:51 PM on June 28 [31 favorites]


Waypoint discuss episodes 1-7 (spoilers for these episodes, obviously).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:50 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]


They do use different arrangements of the new ending theme at different points in the story.
posted by Quonab at 8:08 AM on July 1


They do use different arrangements of the new ending theme at different points in the story.

Yes, and it's changed.
The pre-Renewal releases of Evangelion (the original televised — or OA — version and LD/video version) had multiple versions of this song that it would use for the end credits of different episodes. However, for the Renewal DVD release, even more new versions were created: some edits of versions previously released to album, others completely new (the vocal tracks, anyway). In the Renewal, every episode has a unique version of FMTTM for its ED (or, at least, was supposed to… see the endnotes). It's quite a mess, so here's a concise guide to exactly which versions of FMTTM are used in both the original and Renewal versions of the series. Hopefully, it will be the final word on the matter.
Text from and link to EVA Geeks wiki. No mention / theories on the meanings for associating each theme with each episode.


rather be jorting: The theme song still slaps! Sad that the ending theme's been cut from the U.S. Netflix stream for copyright(?) reasons, but thank god the opening's been untouched.

I played the first episode on Netflix just to see that intro :) Review from my 4 and 7 year old boys: confused. (Don't worry, I'm definitely not watching this with the kiddos. I stopped after the intro.)

There's no mention of it in this thread, and I haven't even checked out the English audio (subs, not dubs, 4 EVA ;) but here's an article on the new English dubbing from Hypebeast. EVA Geek is getting updated with Netflix credits (site search), if you want to track those changes.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:12 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: Also we’re going to FUCKING DROWN YOU. DEAL WITH IT.
Wha...? Don’t drown m... *glub glub*
Oh yeah BTW you can breathe that stuff. So go fight the monster.
*MONSTER POUNDS TERRIFIED CHILD TO A BLOODY PULP*


Hey kid, relax! That pain isn't really the pain in your arm! And you're not actually getting your eye gouged out and your head impaled by some light baton/ ram rod thing.

Really, for everything that's thrown at Shinji, he's doing pretty fricking' well. He was in the frickin' blast radius of non-nuclear super weapon (EVA Geek). He was just chillin' out, enjoying the view from a car that was on its side, then he helped turn it right-side up.

But at this point, I realize they've withstood some Angel attack(s) already, given that Rei is torn up, so this attack on the city from a giant being thing isn't new to him.


Also, I love that this is 2015, but how much more advanced is the technology from the 1995 production era? Somehow the lack of now ubiquitous smart phones seems ... dated.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:26 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


It's easy for me to imagine that whatever happened to make the construction of giant robots for fighting angels seem like a good idea more or less froze the development of consumer-grade technology even as military/industrial technology continued advancing.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:07 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Hermeowne Grangepurr: There is just a small snippet of it in the first episode, but the sound of cicadias every summer never fails to give me the Eva feels.

In Japan, cicadas are symbolic of summer, and possibly symbolize reincarnation as well, based on summer being the time when the cicada comes out to sing. (Anime.stackechange.com answer, copied from The Life of Animals blog).

Cicadas feel like the summer in an anime world to me, too, until I moved to a place where they're a natural summer visitor, too. I didn't realize they're native to this state until this summer, but we've been here for 7 years, so I'm surprised to only notice them now.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:12 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


If you want a CRAZY detailed read of each episode (and full of spoilers, I'd imagine), EVA Geeks has The Scene Index for The Fangeeks Commentary: Episode #01, starting with a reference to the font used on the title card (Mincho Boldwhite, if you were wondering ;)).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:04 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


Rewatching older anime just reinforces to me how deeply we messed with the Japanese psyche with the atomic bombs.

The art book "Little Boy" is pretty much all about this and Evangelion features quite prominently in it (which is how I got into Evangelion).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:37 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


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