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In the year 2000, a 10 millimeter meteorite that was moving close to the speed of light smashed into Antarctica. This collision resulted in massive environmental changes and the death of nearly half the population of Earth. It was also the herald of the Angels, a group of malevolent space aliens.
After 15 years, the Angels have returned, but mankind has not been idle. Gigantic artificial life forms called Evangelion have been developed. However, these genetically engineered life forms require a human "brain", and not just anyone will do. The "brain" must be a 14 year old, that is, someone who was born 9 months after the Angels first appeared.
Shinji Ikari is one such person. For years he was ignored by his father, who was busy at NERV, the organization that is responsible for the development of the Eva units. One day he is called by his father to come to NERV headquarters located in, or rather under, Toyko 3.
Shinji does not really get along with his father, and does not find it simple to make friends, but he is one of the very few people in the world that can pilot an Evangelion unit. Other featured persons:
As the series progresses, however, it is clear that many many things are not as they first appear and nothing should be taken at face value, including some things which are written above.
In episode 14, a nice recap of the story, to date, occurs. A number of the mysteries and motivations of the various people and organizations are made know. Of course, many more mysteries are introduced. Some of the Angels are named, however:
The Third Angel, Sachiel, was the first Angel that Shinji defeated upon his arrival at NERV. Of course the Eleventh Angel was not mentioned.
The tone of the series is altered starting with episode 15. Some of the secrets and lies are brought into the daylight and allegiances are questioned.
In episode 16, Shinji is captured in a pocket dimension by an Angel. He only has 16 hours of power before the Eva unit gives out. During this time, Shinji has a rather odd conversation with himself. As the power gives out completely, a violent, beast-like, side of the Evangelions is shown, much to the horror of all present.
Meanwhile, a rift begins between Misato, whos' thoughts are for Shinji, and Dr. Ritsuko, whos' thoughts are only for Unit 01.
The intensity of volume 9 is quite a bit more then the previous volumes. As the title implies, the 4th child is found, who is none other then Toji, one of Shinji's school friends. Nearly everyone is aware of this, except Shinji. That, of itself would be sad, but when the 13th Angel invades Eva Unit 03 it is then decided that remaining Eva Units are to destroy Unit 03. Of course, in the end, Shinji and Unit 01 must destroy the possessed Unit 03, alone. Shinji can not bring himself to do this act, however, and so is effectively replaced by a dummy plug system. This puts his Unit 01 under a sort of remote control from Central Dogma, and in particular, under control of his father. Unit 01 then literally rips Unit 03 apart without any thought as to the safety of the pilot and Shinji could do nothing. The volume ends with the screams of Shinji as he finds out who the pilot was.
The most intense actions to date occur in volume 10. Shinji does not take the events in volume 9 very well, and threatens to destroy Nerv with Unit 01 and has to be forcefully removed from the Eva unit.
As can be expected, he quits Nerv, with the intent of never returning. However, just as Shinji is leaving the area, the strongest Angel to date attacks. Both Unit 00 and Unit 02 are damaged beyond repair and the Angel focuses its attack directly on Nerv.
Shinji is torn with what to do, but in the end chooses for himself to pilot Evangelion Unit 01. In the battle something unexpected occurs. Shinji's sync. rate rises to over 400% and he is merged with the Eva Unit physically and ceases to be a distinct person.
While in this state, he experiences an odd dream sequence and in the end, perhaps, it is only the pleading cries of Misato that causes the Eva Unit to reconstruct and release Shinji.
In the first episode of volume 11, some of the history of NERV is shown. In particular, Professor Fuyutsuki, now Vice-Commander of NERV, is forced to tell what he knows of Gendo Ikari's plans to SEELE. Hints to the fate of Shinji's mother, Yui, and the entire Second Impact event are shown.
In addition, Kaji finally meets his fate, probably at the hands of Misato, who cries without comfort in her apartment.
In the second episode of volume 11, a new Angel attacks and Asuka rushes to attack it. Her sync. readings have been falling and, the 15 year old going on 45 year old, Asuka knows that she must win this battle or she will not be allowed to be a Eva pilot anymore.
From high orbit, the Angel launches a mental attack that nearly destroys Asuka. In the end, Rei is sent out with the Lance of Longinus, a mysterious weapon that destroys the Angel in one blow. This is the ultimate humiliation for Asuka.
The animation quality of Evangelion is excellent and the story seems quite well done. Anyone who enjoyed Gunbuster and the like should also enjoy Neon Genesis Evangelion. David Vuthichaipan (DincoDee@ix.netcom.com) was kind enough to send me a fan translated script of the entire Evangelion series. They are available right here. These are fairly literal translations and, as such, the English is not all that great in most of them.