What were we trying to make here?
Asked before the start of the Neon Genesis Evangelion animated series.
Author: Hideaki Anno (Writer and Director)
Source: Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 1
Dated: July 17, 1995
The year: 2015. A world where, fifteen years before, over half the human population perished. A world that has been miraculously revived: its economy, the production, circulation, consumption of material goods, so that even the shelves of convenience stores are filled. A world where the people have gotten used to the ressurection-yet still feel the end of the world is destined to come. A world where the number of children, the future leaders of the world, is few. A world where Japan saw the original Tokyo destroyed, discarded and forgotten, and built a new capital in Nagano Prefecture. They consructed a new capital, Tokyo-2, then left it to be a decoy-then constructed another new capital, Tokyo-3, and tried to make it safe from attack. A world where some completely unknown enemy called the "Angels" comes to ravage the cities.
This is roughly the worldview for Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is a worlview drenched in a vision of pessimism. A worldview where the story starts only after any traces of optimism have been removed.
And in that world, a 14-year-old boy shrinks from human contact. And he tries to live in a closed world where his behavior dooms him, and he has abandoned the attempt to understand himself. A cowardly young man who feels that his father has abandoned him, and so he has convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.
And there is a 29-year-old woman who lives life so lightly as to barely allow the possibility of a human touch. She protects herself by having suface level relationships, and running away.
Both are extremely afraid of being hurt. Both are unsuitable-lacking the positive attitude-for what people call heroes of an adventure. But in any case, they are the heroes of this story.
They say, "To live is to change." I started this production with the wish that once the production complete, the world, and the heroes would change. That was my "true" desire. I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion-myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years. A man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead. Then one thought. "You can't run away," came to me, and I restarted this production. It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film. I know my behavior was thoughtless, troublesome, and arrogant. But I tried. I don't know what the result will be. That is because within me, the story is not yet finished. I don't know what will happen to Shinji, Misato or Rei. I don't know where life will take them. Because I don't know where life is taking the staff of the production. I feel that I am being irresponsible. But... But it's only natural that we should synchronize ourselves with the world within the production. I've taken on a risk: "It's just an imitation." And for now I can only write this explanation. But perhaps our "original" lies somewhere within there.
July 17, 1995,
In the studio, a cloudy, rainy day.
By the way, Shinji's name came from a friend of mine. Misato's name came from the hero of a manga. The name Ritsuko came from a friend of mine in middle school. I borrowed from everywhere. Even names that have no bearing on anything actually came from the countless rules that govern these things. It might be fun if someone with free time could research them.