"Rain, and After Running Away" is the fourth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Overstressed from being made an Evangelion pilot, from the events of the previous episode, and arguing with Misato, Shinji runs away from home. Shinji is soon recaptured by NERV, but he quits being a pilot. However, at the last minute, Shinji does not board his train to leave Tokyo-3 and decides to stay.
Misato wakes up on a rainy day, and wonders if Shinji is going to skip school again after five days of his battle against Shamshel. She then goes to check on his room only to see it empty with Shinji's ID card and a letter to her. Being worried about his sudden absence, Toji and Kensuke go to his place, but got surprised for seeing Misato for the first time. They ask her about Shinji, and she lied and told them that he is at the training facility.
Shinji boards a local train and rides it all day, repeatedly listening to tracks 25 & 26 on his SDAT, leaving only when the train is taken out of service. He tells himself, "I've got to go back", but instead attends a late-night showing of a movie about Second Impact. The few other people there seem to be either sleeping or making out. He spends the night in the theater's lobby. Shinji leaves the theater in the morning, and hallucinates about the buildings rounding and closing on him, thus fleeing away to the countryside.
Back at NERV Headquarters, Ritsuko is examining Rei, and Misato is with her talking about Shinji and what occurred before he left -after he was rebuked by Misato by disobeying her orders to retreat in the last episode, and thinks he shouldn't pilot it if doing that will only bring pain to him.
During his walk in the forest, Shinji accidentally meets up with Kensuke who was playing survivalist alone. Kensuke tells Shinji that Toji was sorry for what he has done, and that his sister scolded him for that. Kensuke tells Shinji that he envies him for living with Misato and piloting the Evangelion. Some agents of NERV Security Intelligence had come with orders to take Shinji to NERV Headquarters, with Kensuke frozen as Shinji is taken with them, and Toji blames Kensuke for not doing anything.
At NERV headquarters, Misato asks Shinji if he doesn't want to pilot Unit-01, then he shouldn't if he is to continue with his attitude. Ritsuko informs Gendo that Shinji will leave Tokyo-3 the next day, which he replied Evangelion Unit-01 to be reconfigured for Rei. Shinji was taken to the train station to leave Tokyo-3, where he met Toji and Kensuke, and Toji asks him to hit him hard to be even and not to hold back. While being taken away, Shinji condemns himself for being cowardly and weak, and tells Toji and Kensuke he's the one who should be hit.
Misato realized that Shinji accepted her offer to live with him because he wanted a family, and rushes to the train station. Seemingly too late, she looks away, but notices that Shinji hasn't boarded the train. Shinji says "I'm home", to which Misato replies "Welcome home".
- Shinji's fragile psychological state is further expounded upon in this episode. He is shown to run away from not only difficult situations, but also from developing relationships and his own emotions.
- This is the only episode that series creator Hideaki Anno did not write (or co-write). This might be because it wasn't originally planned in the plot outlines: "In actuality, this episode was once omitted in terms of the series composition and it was planned that what is now Episode Five would come after Episode Three. But as production progressed, staff members voiced their opinion that perhaps there was a need to depict Shinji’s relationship with the people around him after Episode Three, and thus, this episode was made, greatly changing the contents from what had originally been conceived. Because of this, the script for this episode written after the script for Episode Five had already been finalized. This is the one and only episode of all the TV and movie episodes in which Director Anno did not have a direct hand in the plot and script." - Platinum Episode Commentaries
- Rei is referred to as the "First Child" for the first time in this episode. Shinji had already been referred to as the Third Child in Episode 01, hinting that there is another pilot who had been chosen before Shinji and is about to be introduced.
- Kensuke: "This is an unexpected development"
Toji: "She was a real babe, wasn't she?"
- Toji: "And if anyone tries to blame you, I'm gonna give them a head butt"
- This title refers to an analogy about human interaction by Arthur Schopenhauer. See here for details.
- Inside Kensuke's tent, there is a time table which says "Summer Training Drill Operation Outline"
Today's schedule operation
15:00 Deploy for Combat
16:00 Prepare for Attack, commencing fire
19:00 was left empty"
- Kensuke said that his mother was dead, and Toji didn't mention his when he talked about his sister being with no one near her, indicating that all of Class 2-A students' mothers are dead, another of the Children's specifications
- First mention of the title "Fourth Child"
- In terms of performance, the highlight has got to be the final cut at the train station where Shinji and Misato gaze at each other. This cut, which has absolutely no dialogue or movement, lasts roughly 50 seconds. It is a silence that would normally be inconceivably long, but it depicts Shinji’s feelings in finding it difficult to express himself in words. Incidentally, the ballad playing during this scene is “Bay side love story –from Tokyo-.” And the song playing before that, when Shinji hits Toji, is “FACE.” Both are songs sung by Masami Okui. Platinum Episode Commentaries