[EVA] If it weren't for Sadamoto -- Redux
bochan at r4.dion.ne.jp
Thu Nov 30 04:30:59 EST 2006
The following is an excerpt from the "Interview with Sadamoto
Yoshiyuki" first published in the Deluxe Edition of the artbook "Der
Mond" in September 1999, and then again in the "Osadabon (Book of
Sadamoto)" included as a supplement to the December 2000 Ace-A manga
"The Initial Title was Alcion (Arushion)"
- In the first place, just what kind of story was Evangelion in the
When the very first meeting was held before the title had even been
decided, Anno had already provided the theme of "a battle between
gods and humans". Both Anno and I -- our generation -- was
influenced by Go Nagai, so making something on a grand scale meant it
ended up like "Devilman". The character design request from Anno was
that "the lead character is a girl, and has an older-sister type
figure like Coach next to her," so it was structurally similar to
"Gunbuster". So I first designed an Asuka-type girl as the lead
character, but after "Gunbuster" and "Nadia" I felt some resistance
to making the lead character a girl again. I mean a robot should be
piloted by a trained person, and if that person just happens to be a
girl then that is fine, but I couldn't see why a young girl would
pilot a robot... So I remember saying to Anno, "It's a robot story,
so let's make the lead character a boy." And just about that time, I
was watching the NHK [public TV channel] program "Brain and Heart"
and learned about the existence of the A10 nerve, and I told Anno
about the idea that popped into my head at that time. That was the
idea where "the dead mother is inside the robot, which is operated by
mental/psychical bonding with the child. Moreover, parent-child
relations are parched/strained due to the death of the mother at a
young age." As soon as I had this idea I was filled with confidence
that "This will work!" and I just whipped out a setting drawing.
That setting drawing became the character chart for the Planning Papers.
- What points did you take care for with that character chart?
An easily recognizable silhouette is also important, but I designed
the characters so that their personalities could be more or less
understood at a glance. For example, even the color and length of
the hair expresses personality. I thought that Asuka would occupy
the position of an "idol" in the Eva world, and that [Asuka and]
Shinji should be just like the relationship between Nadia and Jean.
And then I set Rei as the opposing "Ying" portion. It was my idea to
have her wrapped in bandages. The most difficult was Misato. So I
thought it would be interesting to have someone like the older girl
next door as a military person. I really wanted to make her a
character who changed her clothes constantly, but I have no fashion
sense so I wasn't able to do it. (laugh) I imagined Misato as a
looser girl who, taken to the extreme, would be sleeping with all the
men at Nerv and so on. Furthermore, she would not think too
seriously about all of that... Gendo and Fuyutsuki were modeled
after Commander Ed Staker and Col. Alec Freeman from the TV series
- Were there any title proposals other than "Evangelion"?
One of the names proposed by Anno was "Alcion (Arushion)". But a
robot story title that doesn't have a voiced consonant sound in it
just isn't catching. So I pushed "Evangelion", which had been
rejected once, as sounding stronger. We had talked a lot in the
beginning about wanting a title like "Space Runaway Ideon (Legendary
Giant God Ideon)", so I think I did push that. And to tell the
truth, the story composition is also similar. For example, Nerv can
be considered the same as the Solo Ship fighting a lonely battle
against both humankind and the Buff Clan, and then there are the
incomprehensible robots that can only communicate with children and
tend to geo berserk, etc. It might not be an exaggeration to say
that if you add "Ideon" and "Devilman" together and divide by two,
you get "Evangelion". (laugh)
At that time the media venue also had not been decided yet, but I
really wanted to do it as a TV series or movie instead of as an OVA.
Sure, you can do higher quality with an OVA, but I felt that OVAs
were a minor media compared to TV, so it was out of self-
gratification [that I wanted to do it as a TV series]. When you are
in Tokyo and constantly reading the anime magazines, you succumb to
the illusion that OVAs are a major media. But when you live in the
provinces like me, the anime selection at the video rental shops
isn't that great, so you think of it as a more minor world.
And the interview goes on and on for pages...
But that is the relevant part.
So there you have it:
- A boy for the main character
- The character designs and personalities
- The title "Evangelion", which from an etymological viewpoint was
quite possibly the cue for the use of Judeo-Christian symbolism
including the entire structure of Adam, Lilith and the Angels
- Dead mothers (souls) in robots piloted by mental/psychical links
with their children via the A10 nerve
- Strained/parched parent-child relationships
- Pushing for a TV series instead of an OVA
And last but not least:
- Rei's bandages ^^;;;
So thank you, Sadamoto.
Without you, Eva would have been a completely different and, dare I
say, lesser animal.
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