I think this episode is probably my favourite so far as it involves both the brilliant character moments we’ve come to expect as well as the great action we’ve come to love.
This episode is a direct follow up to the previous (not just in name only) because the events could easily flow as if they were in the same episode. We continue from Shinji in the robot screaming at Toji in outrage. This is a new peak for Shinji’s outrage and he actually threatens to destroy half the NERV base. Shinji’s attitude to authority completely shifts as soon as he is given orders he’s morally opposed too and this way of thinking is really cool to see but I’m opposed to it. He is eventually shut up by his dad using a gas.
My opinion of morality is that if one person could be killed to save the rest of the world then it should happen. However if nobody can be killed I think that way is the best at least conceptually. With Shinji in the Eva he has full control of it and can do basically what he wants. If Shinji had kept in control of the Eva he could have killed the angel while saving Suzuhara. Yes he would have hurt him a hell of a lot but it’s a lot better than the alternative which is switching to the dummy and then risking it.
Just like Shinji after his first piloting attempt Toji wakes up in hospital with no memories at all. Speaking of memories if you like comedy you’ll love this. Shinji wakes up next to Toji and I’m sure the feelings of betrayal still ring strong in his head. And a mix of relief for Toji’s safety as well as anger wells up inside him.
What I admire about Toji is that he still is able to keep a level head and remember things about the class president such as the lunches. What I also like about him is that he has the intention of reassuring his sister that he’s ok, which is something I can really respect and it’s clear that they love each other very much.
It’s been a long time coming and Shinji leaves NERV again. It seemed for a while like Shinji was being arrested for disobeying orders and threatening but he in fact gets away. His dad tries to stop him by saying they won’t see each other again and that he’s disappointed in him. Shinji feels the exact same way and it’s understandable (even though he’s kind of wrong) why he would leave. He is furious and nobody can take him seriously, I think the people commenting on the situation feel a lot of distance between it in contrast to Shinji. To them it was a sacrifice for the greater good but to Shinji it’s like he nearly killed a guy which are two separate things where both ideologies are easy to sympathise with.
What impresses me about Shinji leaving is that this time he’s not leaving because of cowardice or pain; he leaves because of an ideological difference in principles which is a stronger and more impressive thing to part on. He doesn’t feel like he can associate with people who oppose his ideals. He also has clearly found out what kind of person his dad is, and hates him for it.
This is the moment where the world is fleshed out a lot more, and starts to feel like a real thing. Shinji hears an evacuation alarm due to an angel and for the first time he needs to hide away. In Shinji’s wake some changes occur at the NERV HQ which is just brilliant, I love the following moments of the show.
Rei needs to use Shinji’s Eva but she cannot synch despite the test working previously. Then when they try the dummy plug it doesn’t work either and is rejected by the Eva. This is a great moment because it shows Shinji has achieved a great synchronisation with the Eva and sort of bonded with it. The Eva (which does have somewhat of a personality) agrees with Shinji and probably rejects people against its principles. I wouldn’t like to think this is just a coincidence and it’s so much artistically better to use this interpretation!
Shinji watches (or hears) the two remaining pilots lose badly from an underground bunker. The panic of his fellow humans makes you realise how terrifying it is for these people and gives you a greater sympathy for the population. The shelter seems to cave in and even Shinji, who should be used to this, freaks out. It’s not a nice scene to watch but the show just gets better as Shinji runs away to the next shelter which they’re told to go too.
When Shinji goes out he just stares as Asuka fights and loses badly. But we then see the surrealist scene ever! Kaji is just watering his watermelons whilst the fighting is going on, what a crazy man! I really love Kaji’s personal and calm chat with Shinji and if an event happened where Kaji was just in Shinji’s imagination I would have no surprise what so ever. We also learn that NERV’s 1st angel has the power to cause the third impact which is terrifying. I think it’s safe to say that NERV are trying to use Adam to retaliate against the angels but it’s dangerous to keep a thing of that power anywhere!
Rei tries to blow the angel up using a bomb in a self-sacrificing way. This act of selflessness coupled with Kaji’s encouragement gives Shinji the inspiration to go and fight back!
I’ve never seen Shinji this happy for combat before! He feels a belonging to the battlefield and his friends that once he sees them suffer he just can’t help but try and solve the situation! I don’t think this means that Shinji has forgiven NERV, it’s just that that he’d rather help his friends supporting a cause he doesn’t believe in than let them die.
Anyway Shinji absolutely crushes it in combat! He takes the angel and completely mashes it up! But his return to glory doesn’t last long when his power runs out. As he gets beaten up the angel tries to pry Shinji out of the Eva, but Shinji cries for help from his Evangelion and it unlocks some secret potential that all Eva’s have locked up inside them. His synchronisation level is through the roof: 400% and Shinji’s deathly human instincts merged with the Eva’s biology to create a terrifying… thing… that insistently claws and bites at the creature. As the angel trapped within the Evangelion synched with Shinji and turned more biological than machine I thought it was the best mecha show of all time. It lets out a ferocious cry and you realise that the Eva is a living being.
Something about the takeover was so brutally effective in creating a moment of desperation as well as huge growth within Shinji and his Eva. The massive all-out attack looks so brilliant that you can’t help but feel pumped! The emotions within Shinji for both his own safety and the hurt of his friends lead to a desperate relentless attack ending with the mecha consuming the angel’s flesh, eating its engine. It’s face and body morphs to something unrecognisable, the Eva sprouts teeth and grows muscles, letting out a triumphant roar and you know that this show will never be the same again.
“It all begins here.” – Gendo Ikari