After a three week time skip we see Shinji learning to use the Eva in a simulator and the bad thing is that he doesn’t even seem as good at piloting as he was during his berserk moment in the previous episode. He’s really starting from zero and has no skills what so ever except for the small amount that he’s learned in the recent time period. All the characters around Shinji didn’t actually believe he would return to the Evangelion and it’s really sad for two reasons.
The first is that they understand the harm of piloting the Evangelion and don’t really feel much sympathy towards the pilot, who is struggling very much. It’s clear the Shinji is being pushed to his limits to the extent where it’s just repeating instructions in his head instead of actually practicing fighting. I mean he was probably a little damaged before (as revealed later) but right now he’s become in a far worse state.
The second reason why I think it’s sad is that they don’t seem to have any faith in ShinjI! Most people think of themselves as a good person unless they take pride in not being good yet I’m sure out of all of these people nearly all of them would still take on the pain of fighting in the Eva because it’s for the better! If I had the choice to save the world at the cost of a year or so of terrible suffering I would just have to accept, provided the world needed saving of course. I think Shinji understands the responsibility, he doesn’t want it but he knows that he has a duty which is something I can absolutely get behind!
The characters think he’s doing it because he just does what he’s told but I’d really hate to think that this was the reason. Whilst Shinji is still a child, at his current state of mind he would know the importance of his role. The only thing that may make him run away is a traumatic experience worse than all previous ones. He’s not adjusting well to life but I think he’ll become competent by the end, either that or completely insane. I’ve not made my mind up yet!
We are given the simple fact that nobody ever calls Shinji on his mobile and has no friends. It’s really sad, this means that Shinji has been going to train and then sit at home doing nothing for the whole time. It must be pretty boring. I’m sure there are lots of people who rarely get calls, me being one of them. But these days things like Facebook messenger exist along with skype and discord so it doesn’t really mean the same thing anymore. In this version of 2015 Shinji has no human contact his own age and that’s pretty terrible.
Shinji is clearly a very lonely and shy individual who lacks social skills and the longer he spends on his own like this the worse it’s going to get. You hear a lot of cases of people who have been home-schooled and lack the social skills to talk to anyone and whilst this hasn’t happened to Shinji I think it’s making his problem worse. Something tragic about a few cases I’ve heard about in home schooling is the complaints that the children make e.g. “They wouldn’t let me go to school dressed as Sonic” where the strangest things become normal to them. Shinji hasn’t been home-schooled but I think it makes a good example because he’s too used to being on his own and it’s just painful to watch really.
As Shinji was sat in the classroom I remarked that the other pilot Rei was there just as blank and introverted as our main character. I wonder if it’s that kind of personality type which fits better with the Eva’s, I wouldn’t have thought so but you never know. I also thought of a reason why the pilots must be 14. The first war broke out in the year 2000 and the next is starting in 2015. People who are 14 would have needed to be born in 2001 so that means these 14 years old are the first people to grow up after the end of the war. I wonder if something happened where a chemical was released into the air or something like that which fundamental changes on the children had born. I guess we’ll find out! Or it will just never be explained…
Once Shinji reveals that he’s a pilot the whole class freaks out and starts talking to him. It makes me wonder if Rei has been suffering in silence as will since they should have probably mentioned that there were two pilots in the class. He has the opportunity to become the most popular guy in the school, but he doesn’t, later he’s just lonely again. I’m not sure if it’s because he likes his own company or is genuinely worried about human interaction and standing out. I’m not sure if Evangelion will try and answer questions like these, it strikes me as a show to leave lots up to interpretation, which makes it pretty nice to episode review!
Guess who gets beaten up after this event happens? I don’t even need to tell you because you probably already know. After a serious punch I can imagine you being outraged and furious. Shinji just seems able to hold a lot of it in because he knows he can’t win, especially with that attitude. He lets out that he didn’t chose to pilot the Evangelion which makes sense and it pretty apparent yet that attitude seriously annoys the classmate.
Our mean classmate is in a bad state because of his sympathy towards his sister who is in hospital due to the recent attack. But the whole scene plays out really weirdly. Here’s the transcript:
Mean guy: “Sorry transfer student, but I’ve got to beat you up! I won’t feel right until I smack you.”
Friend of Mean Guy: “Sorry, his little sister was injured in the incident the other day. Well there you have it.”
Shinji: “I’m not piloting it by choice either.”
This is from the start of the scene until the end of the scene and it makes me wonder if the guys were having a conversation earlier than this and we were just thrown in. When Shinji says his line it’s extremely effective in creating a reaction within the mean guy. As the audience we understand that he feels obligated because he’s the only one who can actually pilot it and would rather someone else did. The subtext is that this opinion is strange to outsiders as they are most likely unaware of the stress piloting causes whereas to us as a viewer it’s very easy to empathise with Shinji. The mean classmate is so annoyed because he would have wanted to pilot it in Shinji’s place so that he could save his sister. This brings up the idea of pressure, as a consequence of Shinji’s actions people will die and he will be blamed even though others would be absolutely useless in his situation. Living up to society’s expectations is going to be difficult for Shinji and he might get just as much gratitude as grief for doing his job, which is to save the world.
Getting a glimpse of the underground shelter shows how safe the people feel during these attacks, they don’t appear worried in the slightest even the guy whose sister is dying as a consequence of these. In fact these guys even escape the shelter because they are unaware of the dangers.
Oh yeah that’s right, another invasion happens and Shinji is forced to yet again pilot his Eva. So it’s time to see what he’s learnt over the course of his training! Oh wait, he’s still not actually that good. He gets pinned down and can’t fight because of the transfer students, once he saves them he’s told to retreat, but he doesn’t. He has a one track mind to never stop fighting and to win. It doesn’t come across as heroic, more of a desperate trance. Shinji Is in fight or flight mode and all he can do is lash out in desperation.
We get a stalemate; both angel and Eva stab each other and just stay there. But while the robot is damaged Shinji and the classmates should still be alive as shown later on.
The classmates remark that Shinji hasn’t shown up for three days and try calling him. They don’t get an answer. What this basically tells me is that Shinji is still in that terrible state we saw when Rei came back injured in episode one and that he’s got a long process of recovery to go though. Good luck Shinji, you’ll need it.
(An episode review 1500 words long? If they start getting longer I might have to start splitting them into parts, the ten minutes before the ad break and the one after. Why do I have to have so much to say about you Neon Genesis Evangelion? And I thought I’d be able to talk about the ED at the end of this one…)
As an extra PS I talked about the difference between my notes from this series and Shiki and how I was writing far more for this. Theirs a huge contrast will all of them but for my notes from this episode I think it’s shown best:
Left is Shiki and it has a lot less stuff along with slightly bigger writing and more gaps. On the Evangelion side I almost ran out of room, in episode 2 I did! It doesn’t matter any way since none of you will be able to read my hand writing.
The Mean Guy isn’t angry because he want’s to pilot the Eva, in fact this is only the ambition of the nerdy guy. In fact his internal monologue is more “why do you pilot it then” (if you don’t pilot it by choice). The mean guy interprets the events as if Shinji caused more bad than good which we know isn’t the case. The mean guy wishes he didn’t pilot because the damage caused to her sister was Shinji’s fault.
We know that Shinji has no real option: Pilot or let the world die aren’t great options. This is why the disagreement is caused and it makes you think that mean guy might not be as bad as we first thought. Perhaps he should be called mourning guy or angry guy, or angry at the wrong person guy.
The credit for spotting this goes to Lina, thank you! You’ve made my coverage of Evangelion that much better!