[EVA] If it weren't for Sadamoto -- Redux

M 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  
initial stages?

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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