This is written from the perspective of someone who has watched the entire franchise. Be assured, I am not as knowledgeable on the series as someone dedicated to it full time. Included are no spoilers for Rebuild. There shouldn’t be any spoilers for the episodes to come, either, but you never know, do you? This is a commentary, not a review.
It’s ironic, I think. The “future of humanity” (Geofront) is built with a pyramid, and yet so long ago Jews, slaves to the Egyptians, built pyramids to use for their dead kings. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It seems unlikely that this was Gainax’s —or Hideaki Anno’s intention– but, personally, I don’t think it matters. It’s very representative of the way humanity as a whole has become a slave, in Neon Genesis Evangelion. In multiple aspects, too: a) a slave to circumstance–no option but to either die or fight the Angels; b) a slave to emotion–living in a pessimistic, dying world that only hangs on by a thread; c) and, most importantly I think, a slave to ignorance– it’s evident the true nature of the situation is tucked away for only the top brass to know.
Circumstance produces no characters with mercy in Neon Genesis Evangelion. If you ever wanted to fool yourself in the afterglow of defeating an Angel, it won’t work for long. In this world where even the most apparently sane characters are willing to sacrifice a child to the depths of a volcano, just for the slim chance you’d be able to catch and analyze it, there is only the most perverse kind of mercy. “It’s the future of Humanity at stake, of course it’s worth it.” Mercy only exists for yourself, and you have to shake it out God’s hand yourself.
Even if you obtained that mercy, almost everything you knew is dead. The emotion of it all, inhale it and absorb your situation. How have you not gone insane? There are, quite literally, monsters not all that distinct from you floating about the Earth. Robots are trying to kill them, and again, if either one happens to kill you it’s just too bad. You can be replaced.
And, perhaps most laughable, you have no idea why you’re doing any of this. The darkness present for most of episode eleven, where I stopped for this commentary, is a metaphor for your mental state. Your mind–your soul— is surrounded by darkness, by ignorance. Ironically, both the lack of power and the ignorance these characters have to struggle with is cased by one thing, and one thing only: Humanity itself.
Let that sink in for a moment.
PS. This was supposed to be written last week, but life (and writer’s block) got in the way. There’s more than half the series left to review, so the next one of these (posted sometime soon) will consist of information from episodes one to twenty-two.