What were we trying to make here?
Asked before the start of the Neon Genesis Evangelion animated series.
"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 ressurrection-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 constructed 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 world-view for Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is a world-view drenched in a vision of pessimism. A world-view 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 sufarce 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.”
Author: Hideaki Anno (Writer and Director)
Source: Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 1
Dated: July 17, 1995