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"Angel Attack" is the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
In 2015, for the first time in 15 years, a monstrous being known as an Angel appears, attacking the Japanese city of Tokyo-3. At the same time, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari arrives in the city at his estranged father Gendo's demand. Gendo Ikari is the Commander of NERV, a UN agency organized to defeat the Angels by any means necessary. Against his initial protests, Shinji is placed in NERV's ultimate weapon, Evangelion Unit-01, and sent to do battle with the Angel.
The episode begins with the Third Angel, Sachiel's, approach to Japan from the ocean. The coast is lined with tanks, and the surrounding areas are under a state of emergency, having been evacuated. In an empty city, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari tries to reach the woman who promised to pick him up, but resolves to instead find a shelter as the phone lines are dead. He then notices a girl in a school uniform standing in the middle of the street nearby, who disappears when he briefly looks away. His confusion is cut short by the thundering footsteps of Sachiel as it walks into the city, pursued by UN VTOL aircraft. The Angel quickly dispatches its attackers, one of which crashes in front of Shinji. Before the VTOL explodes, Misato Katsuragi arrives in her car with the words, "Thanks for waiting!"
As Misato and Shinji drive away, the UN forces throw everything they have at the Angel, failing to even injure it. Sitting behind the three UN Generals, Commander Gendo Ikari and Sub-Commander Kozo Fuyutsuki of NERV muse that normal weapons are useless because of the Angel's protective AT Field. Finally, an N2 mine is launched against Sachiel, managing to stop it for a short time. Shinji and Misato are caught in the shockwave of the blast, but are unharmed aside from a damaged car. They introduce themselves and continue on their way to NERV Headquarters, where Shinji's father Gendo awaits. At Headquarters, control of the operation is transferred from the UN Army to Gendo's organization NERV after they realize their strongest weapons have no effect on Sachiel. Gendo tells his second in command that he intends to use Evangelion Unit-01 to defeat the Angel, and that a spare pilot is about to arrive.
Misato and Shinji arrive at NERV Headquarters, which sits underground in a massive artificial dome known as the Geofront. The two talk as they ride the tram down, and it is revealed that they both have problematic relationships with their fathers. Despite working for NERV, Misato soon becomes lost after entering the maze-like headquarters, and the two have to be escorted by chief scientist Ritsuko Akagi. While they travel to the cage of Unit-01, the two women discuss the low probability of it activating and Shinji reads the NERV introduction booklet in silence. The group enters a dark room, and Ritsuko switches the lights on to reveal the massive armored face of Unit-01, its body standing in a deep pool of liquid. She introduces it as mankind's ultimate weapon, and their final trump card.
Gendo Ikari then appears before Shinji, telling him to pilot Unit-01 against the Angel or leave. Shinji refuses, despite Misato's attempts to convince him, and the heavily injured Rei Ayanami, whom Shinji seemingly saw in the street earlier, is rolled out on a stretcher to pilot in his stead. As she struggles to sit up, Sachiel reaches the city's edge and blasts a hole in the Geofront. The blast waves echo all the way to the cages, and a hanging light is knocked loose over Shinji. Before it can hit him, however, Unit-01 raises its hand and protects him despite its cockpit being empty. Shinji runs to the collapsed Rei, and upon seeing the extent of her injuries, convinces himself that he "mustn't run away." He agrees to pilot.
They place Shinji in the entry plug, and insert it into the spine of Unit-01. The plug fills with LCL, a strange liquid that can be inhaled, and the neural synch between Shinji and the Eva is established. After the Eva is raised to the launcher, Fuyutsuki questions Gendo's faith in the Unit, to which the latter only smiles. Misato gives the order to launch and Shinji is blasted to the surface to face the Angel. The episode ends with Unit-01 staring across the city at Sachiel, and Misato hoping for Shinji's safety.
- Misato Katsuragi: "I see. So you don't get along with your father. It's the same with me."
- Ritsuko Akagi: "This is mankind's ultimate multipurpose decisive weapon, the synthetic human Evangelion, Unit-01. Built in absolute secrecy, it is mankind's trump card."
- Shinji Ikari: "I mustn't run away. I mustn't run away. I mustn't run away..."
Notes and References
- When Shinji comes to New Tokyo-3, he sees a girl that seems to be Rei Ayanami for just an instant. Considering how she is injured and wrapped up in bandages, when he later meets her in NERV Headquarters, the natural assumption would be to think that this was a phantom vision. But in Episode 26, "My True Heart For You," [from End of Evangelion] a different possibility is suggested. The girl that appeared for just one cut in this scene may be the Rei Ayanami who is "the existence that gazes upon man." - Platinum Episode Commentaries
- Misato's handwritten note to Shinji was actually written by Anno himself - Film Book Vol. 1
- A spelling mistake can be seen on the hexagonal door as Shinji and Misato ride the conveyor belt in NERV HQ. "CAUTION" is misspelled as "CAUNTION"
- Background announcements in Nerv HQ after Misato and Shinji enter state that the "Sigma Unit" is under a complete lockout. It also states that "a special state of emergency has been declared for the Kanto and Chubu regions"; Tokai is the district between Tokyo and Nagoya. Kanto and Chubu contains Tokai and the large area north of it.
- Eva-01's shoulder normally just has the word "EVA" written on it, with a number "1" superimposed over it. However, when Shinji and Misato first drive up to Eva-01 in a hovercraft, the entire word "Evangelion" is written on its shoulder due to an animation goof.
- Although it is never mentioned in the series, a comparison between the tactical map displayed in Central Dogma's command center in the episode and maps of the region reveals that the town where Shinji first meets Misato is the city of Atami, 25 kilometers away.
- When Shinji hands Misato the summon letter, we can see that the letter was torn to pieces then sticked back together with black tape. Misato makes no comment on the matter, and it's never explicitly stated what drove Shinji to break the letter nor what drove him to repair it.
- While going down the Nerv HQ's elevator, Misato tells Shinji "I see, so you don't get along with your father. It's the same with me" in response to Shinji's remark that Gendo wouldn't have called him unless he had a use for him. This is one (probably the first) of the many similarities between Shinji and Misato that are noted or established throughout NGE.
- Misato mailed Shinji a photo of herself to let him know what she looked like when she picked him up: it is an inappropriate photo of her in revealing clothing and posing, winking at Shinji and giving him the V-sign. The Japanese writing on it translates as "To Shinji: I'll be picking you up, so wait for me, okay?"). Misato also punctuated the photo with a highly inappropriate message, "Check these out!!" and left a lipstick kiss on it. See Theory and Analysis:Sexuality In Misato and Shinji's Relationship.
- Despite being the head of NERV's Tactical Operations division, Misato is apparently a relatively new arrival at NERV HQ, as she gets lost on her way into the base, prompting Ritsuko to comment that she's "lost again". In the next episode, Misato says that she just moved to Tokyo-3 "the other day" and there are still unopened boxes in her apartment.
- Sachiel approaches Tokyo-3 from coast to the east, and is said to be "moving from Highway 83 onto 88" when it arrives at Shinji's original position. When Shinji first appears at a phone booth before he arrives in Tokyo-3 itself, a road sign he is standing next to says he is 12 kilometers from Tokyo-3 and 35 from Gotenba. Also, an aviation support unit spreads "from the direction of Odawara". Soon afterwards Sachiel "penetrates the Tonosawa area" crossing the "tertiary self-defense line".
- Ritsuko tells Misato that the odds of Eva Unit 01 activating are "0.000000009%. "O9 System" seems like a fitting thing to call it". This is a pun in Japanese, so the English dub inserted an extra line clarifying this, with Ritsuko explaining that "O-Nine" is a pun on "Oni", the Japanese word for "demon". Eva-01 is also designed with a traditional "Oni" as an inspiration.
- Gendo never properly wears his uniform, even while in front of the JSSDF generals who at the time are technically his superiors. Fuyutsuki keeps his uniform properly zipped up the entire time, but Gendo just wears his uniform's jacket open. It's possible that this is just economy of animation, but it can also hint that Gendo has no respect for the JSSDF at all.
- When Ritsuko first meets Shinji and Misato, she is wearing a one-piece swimsuit, under a diving suit, with her lab coat over it. However, when they later meet in the elevator and when they reach Unit 01, Ritsuko has changed into her normal clothes, and so has Misato. They're supposed to be hurrying to Unit 01, Misato could conceivably have just thrown her jacket on, but Ritsuko apparently took the time to change her entire outfit.
- The writing process for this episode took a long time, as much as six months according to Anno., and the opening sequence was not yet finished. This is probably why A Cruel Angel's Thesis's songwriter says she only watched two unfinished episodes, as she was probably called in during their production before Gainax would make the opening sequence based on the then unwritten song. In Proposal, it was originally called People's Reunion. Shinji would fight an angel called "Raziel", not to be confused with Ramiel. This was moved to the second episode with Sachiel.