Shin Seiki Evangelion - 1: Angel Attack

Title:Shin Seiki Evangelion
Episode:1: Angel Attack
An Angel, the first in 15 years, has been ravaging Japan and is now quite close to NERV's base near Neo-Tokyo #3. Shinji Ikari has been given vague instructions to meet Misato Katsuragi on a matter of the utmost importance. After a close call with the Angel, she delivers him to his estranged father, Gendo. Shinji is amazed by the EVA-01, and shocked to be told by his father that he is to serve as it's pilot. At first he refuses, but when he sees that the alternative pilot is a badly injured girl, he reluctantly agrees. Everybody in the NERV command center is amazed that this boy can "synchronize" with EVA-01 without any training. As it battles the huge Angel, however, EVA-01 is badly damaged and Shinji loses consciousness...

(Synopsis partially borrowed from "Protoculture Addicts" Magazine)
Seeing as Evangelion is now freely available on Cartoon Network, I've decided to try and make sense of the overall plot using a technique I also used on Trigun; that is, writing individual episode reviews to refresh my memory, identifying perplexing questions and searching for answers as the series progresses. In this initial episode, the following questions come to mind:

1. Why did Shinji seem to glimpse Rei on a deserted street, before they had actually met?

2. Why has a 14 year old boy been selected as the EVA pilot? At one point, Misato comments that "According to the Marduke report, he's the third child". What does this mean?

3. Is Shinji's relationship to Gendo a coincidence?

4. Why is Shinji able to "Synchronize" so well with EVA-01?

5. What exactly are the EVAs? At one point, Unit 01 is described as a "synthetic lifeform".

An article in Protoculture Addicts #39 theorized that "it has only been hinted that Shinji could be the result of a mix between human and Angel genetic material, the genetic material possibly coming from Gendo and and the Angel Material that was used to create EVA-01. This could explain Shinji's perfect synchronization with EVA-01 and the machine's instinctive protection (of Shinji) in the first episode." Perhaps a program was hurriedly initiated after the "second impact" 15 years ago to crossbreed humans and Angels; this would explain the age of the EVA pilots (Question 2), Shinji being Gendo's son (Question 3), and, of course, his ability to "synchronize" (Question 4). Shinji being a sort of half-Angel bastard might explain Gendo's cold and indifferent attitude towards him--he doesn't regard him as a true son. As of yet, I haven't detected any of these "hints" myself...


[2005-12-13, Devil Doll]
It's difficult to address these questions without spoiling the story but I'll try. If you want the full answers with all spoilers then read the entry for episode 27 of Shin Seiki Evangelion.

1. Rei's appearance in episode 1 is never explained, this is one of the two unresolved mysteries of the story. Then again, it's part of her nature to be able to be at that location and vanish; watch episode 24 to see another example of this ability, and learn about who Rei is in episodes 21-24.
2. To make things even more confusing, Shinji is referenced as "the third children" (sic, that's no typo)!. Again, watch the final episodes to understand why. As for the 14 years old, this is linked to the date of the Second Impact; but actually there's never any explanation given why this age would be necessary, it might well be a red herring. Actually there are other required qualifications for pilots, see question 4.
3. Shinji is the son of Ikari Gendou (former Rokobungi Gendou) and Ikari Yui. There's no Angelic material included.
4. To understand the link between pilot and EVA means to understand the nature of the Marduk Institute and the nature of the EVAs themselves. This will become clear in the final episodes.
5. Everything about the nature of the EVAs will be explained in episodes 22-24. Watch the Director's Cut if possible, otherwise you might miss some important background information.

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