Welcome back to EVERYDAY EVA, the blog series where I aim to cover one episode of Evangelion every single day for Mecha March 2022!
When Shinji is bullied for saving mankind, he doesn’t feel up to piloting again.
A new two-part story arc begins. Episode 3 opens with a strikingly deadpan Shinji as he engages in target exercises with Ritsuko. The Rebuild changes this sequence to occur in an auxiliary practice model cockpit instead of the Unit-01 in a cage, which I always found interesting. Three times, Shinji is shown submitting to the orders of others, a habit which Ritsuko diligently notices. She describes the Hedgehog’s Dilemma to Misato, which also makes me wonder if she has experienced his position before. Moreover, I love Ritsuko as much as the other main characters in Eva—cat figures, lipstick stains, and all.
Episode 3 introduces Shinj’s classmates, Tohji and Kensuke. I didn’t realize until now how truly smart Kensuke is. He knows all the right buttons to push with Tohji, such as leading Tohji to want to engage with Shinji so he can learn more about the Eva. Kensuke even has a unique silver laptop (compared to his classmates’ standard red), which leads me to believe he’s the type to bring his personal computer to school for his hobbies. It’s easy to want to play his relationship with Tohji off as simply the nerd and the jock. Kensuke also demonstrates his sociable side when he readily prepares Shinji’s phone number for Tohji, predicting full well in advance that his friend would want to apologize. Unfortunate for both parties, Shinji doesn’t appear to answer. Shinji is the hedgehog, after all. His spiky quills both protect him and isolate him.
An interesting observation during combat against the Fourth Angel is that, when Shinji draws the progressive knife and prepares for battle, he dons the same dead and tired expression that he wore in his target exercises. Perhaps, after enough practice, Shinji has already ingrained the sole drive to survive in his mind, and this is what that face looks like.
While fighting off the Fourth Angel prevents the apocalypse, it doesn’t do much to improve his standings with Misato, for in Episode 4: “Hedgehog’s Dilemma,” Shinji runs away. We’ll have to see where he goes tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and ‘til then!
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