I'm not a big fan of the cyberpunk concept -- teenagers who end up being heroes because they're smarter than the bozo adults who run the world, or because they've got some unique ability that no one else in the world has. (Sounds somewhat like the teen 'sexploitaition' flicks from ten years back, doesn't it?) But perhaps the biggest reason I don't like them is because the writers are then obligated to introduce the hero's acquaintences. Sometimes they're more annoying than Phylis Diller (boy, am I dating myself!), or in some cases, they're only minor annoyances -- as in Evangelion. Aida Kensuke and Suzuhara Toji are two classmates of Shinji's; and are what could be considered to be character foils -- Aida being the brainy, intellectual type who's often lost in his own world, and Toji, the brawny, practical type who's a natural leader, but not always the brightest person around. (Once again, we see a complementary pair!) We get to find out why so much of the Earth had been devastated -- the official version of the so-called "second impact," which Shinji and his classmates learn about in their school. But when you get introduced to two obviously important secondary characters, you know that you'll see them get involved (unintentionally, of course) in the middle of a major conflict, which forces the main character (Shinji) to rise above his limitations...
There were a couple of interesting elements -- Shinji's almost robotic manner in which he copes with the pressures of being an Eva pilot, and the glimpse into what the civilians go through while waiting for trouble to pass. It's not often that you see people in bomb shelters feeling bored, from having gone through same the ordeal ad nauseum. But the revelation to Shinji's classmates that he is indeed the Eva pilot came across as some socially-inept writer's attempt to live out some adolescent fantasy.
Technically, the animation and soundtrack continue the same level of quality that we've seen in the previous two episodes -- though I sure I'd get pretty annoyed with the launch sequence music if I keep getting subjected to it. I think I made a crack about wishing that the Angels do something about the EVA's tether cable in an earlier episode review... It was meant as a joke; I guess I should have expected this to happen. The strongest feature of the series so far? The directing, but it's not enough to make me want more. - AN
Still, I found much of this episode to be too predictable. Shinji getting beaten up by one of his classmates, and then having it affect his performance in battle is just too... typical. Worse though was having that predictablility pre-confirmed by the speculative narrative of one of the kids who had snuck out to watch the battle doesn't help matters any. Oh, and didn't I say something about predictability with respect to that umbilical cord? Sure didn't take long for them to pull the plug and go from there. Still, we get a good idea of just what sort of person Shinji is supposed to be; follows orders to get through life and make everyone else happy regardless of what he thinks or feels... or so he also says. Shall see the truth in this in subsequent episodes undoubtedly. The animation, while not as good as Gainax can do, is still above average, and the music isn't bad, but again nothing particularly special. I have to admit, I wonder how much time they really have in order to transform the city for battle. Considering the height of most skyscrapers, either they have everything completely bolted down with nothing loose in the buildings or they have a fair amount of time to put things in place. If not, there's bound to be a lot of structural damage from objects suddenly going through the ceilings.... - JYN