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Evangelion:2.0 CRC interviews, part 12

Evangelion:2.0 CRC interviews, part 12

Nov 14, 2022

Part12: Is Mari a middle-aged male character from the Showa Era?

The Secret


Looking back on the character Mari, what did you feel about her overall?


I had a hard time hearing positive feedback from Anno about the elements that would establish her personality. That's all I can say.

She has no special characteristics other than being a new character.

Her role, or rather her involvement in the story, at times she is like a stand-in for Rei, at other times for Asuka, and there is no need to be Mari.

“We have to establish her personality anyway. For example, ..." When I told him such a story, in the next draft he mirrored in character what I had told him as a metaphor.

"How about using glasses to build up her personality? For example, how about comically depicting the scene where she searches for her glasses?"

Then, it came back as a revised draft of the script as it was (laughs).


So that's where that comical description came from (laughs).


I was just telling him examples. I wanted Anno to think about it, so I told him a very cliche story to prevent him from adopting my opinion as is, but for some reason he always adopts it as is (laughs).

He likes big breasts, so I suggested "let's make her breasts bigger," and even after the character design was finalized, he made them bigger.

Then she could call herself by the pronoun that men use to refer to themselves, or add "nyo" at the end of a sentence. Then again, it came back as a revised draft of the script as it was.

On the contrary, none of the ideas or specific situations that I seriously proposed were accepted.


I would like to hear a little more about what you used and how you directed the existence and character of Mari.


Well, one of the difficulties is the circumstance that the script is accepted by Anno, who is also the author and general director of the film.

I try to follow the script as much as possible, but there are many problems when it comes to the storyboarding process.

With Mari in particular, not only establishing her own personality, but also the two scenes on the school rooftop and the conversation between her and Shinji in the shelter have been on hold for a long time.


The common point is the scene between her and Shinji.


Right. I don't see any problem with scenes where she is alone.

Cold open is a good example. At first I got the impression that Anno did not want to stereotype her personality. But when I pointed out that her personality was weak, he presented a bold character.

However, when it came time to have her and Shinji talk to each other, it just didn't work. I imagine that he probably did not want to make their relationship definitive.

Whether she and Shinji eventually become lovers, or whether they become opponents, or whether one of them takes the upper hand in the relationship, he would like to keep their relationship vague at this stage of their relationship.

This may mean that he does not want to decide. It's the same as the chicken or the egg causality dilemma.

He wanted to keep the story moving forward, leaving open the possibility that it could go either way, until he was sure that "this is it."

Even in the first draft of the script, they only meet as they pass each other at a railroad crossing.

They have no conversation, no depiction of how they felt about each other.

Even in such a scene, when a staff pointed out that she seemed to be waiting for Shinji, he dismissed it without hesitation.

I felt that he didn't even want to make their relationship definitive that she was waiting for Shinji.

Since we made her such a weird character in the cold open, I told him, "You have to give us more of a surprise. For example, she could fall from the sky...".


And then she fell from the sky?


No, at first she fell from the top of the fence (laughs).

Shinji was on his way home from shopping and was walking around complaining, "Misato-san, I wish her would help me with the house chores a little," and then she came down from the top of the wall and bumped into him.

It's not too high or too low to fall! (laughs)

In the script, which was written in several drafts, there was a scene where Shinji meets her on the roof of the school while she is waiting for Rei.

I was thinking that the best situation would be for him to meet her when he was alone on the roof. If that was the roof, there was no way to go higher than that, so we had no choice but to use a parachute.

Anno said something like, "I don't like that because that would make her look like Shutaro Mendou (a character from ‘Urusei Yatsura’)”...

I felt it would be better for her to have that much impact than for her to be a very ordinary character.

I guess her character has changed not two or three times, but about ten times. Even in the cold open, she was initially portrayed as a "kind and modest young lady who has dogs and cats".

But then, the character somehow came to look like a deformed version of Rei Ayanami.

At the time she was portrayed as a girl who is from a wealthy family lived in a boarding school for girls. She was like, "I'll do my best for my many friends (pets)."

There was also a time when she was accompanied by an elderly butler who called Mari "My lady".


I have a little bit of an impression that she is a person of high status when she is on the phone with someone like the Secret Service.

How did the middle-aged male character from the Showa Era nuance that came out during voice recording come to her?


I had always said something like, "I think we need to make her an irresponsible character". But Anno has a different opinion. He thought she was a character who would destroy the world of Evangelion.

If she can destroy the world, it means she is the strongest character there.

Being stronger than Seele, Gendo, and Kaworu means that in Eva's world, she is a character who knows deeper secrets.

For example, Seele says, "It's going according to our scenario," or Gendo thinks, "I'm going to do something differently to get behind Seele's scenario." Or, if you have more information, like Kaworu, you have more leeway. I guess he means those people would be the most powerful.

Then she would say something like, "Shinji, you probably don't even realize it, but you really have this personality".


I see. So her character becomes more like an omnipotent god.


In front of him, she says "EVA is nothing more than this" and acts as if she knows everything. He reacts surprised.

She becomes such a character.

However, this would be an overlap with Kaworu and Seele's characters.

Even though Kaworu has already become a rather inhuman character, I feel like how much of a character is she in the same level as that?

When we talked about this, I think I said, "In this direction, she can't compete with Kaworu unless we make her a metafictional girl who comes from outside the story. She has to destroy the world of Eva with the attribute of being an ordinary girl."

Even Kaji looks irresponsible but is actually sincere, so if she were a completely irresponsible character, she would definitely be different from the other characters.

Then Anno may have interpreted the image of a middle-aged male character from the Showa Era wearing a headband and driving an excavator with a humming tune as "irresponsible".


So he took the irresponsible one who has emotional leeway than cunning?

But why is the "middle-aged male character from the Showa Era" the final conclusion?


I guess the deciding factor is the meaning of the EVA ride.

Shinji is pathetic, "I'm in pain, I'm scared, I don't like it, but I'll fight."

Rei is like, "That's the only thing that connects me to the world”. She is also pathetic.

Asuka is cheerful and not pathetic, but she says, "There is no place for me but to keep on fighting”.

Everyone carries a kind of pathetic feeling on their shoulders.

But Mari, on the other hand, enjoys fighting, and fights because she wants to.

When asked the question, "Do you fight or not?” she never hesitates.

She may not even have the option of choosing.

She doesn't waste her time waking up to her ego and thinking, "Is this what I want to do with my life?".

I think the Showa-era nuance came out when we tried to depict a character who is the opposite of the modern character that Eva used to depict, who asks himself questions and keeps searching for answers.

Well, I honestly don't know either (laughs). 

For Anno, I think the Showa era must have played a major role in his desire to create a film that only contains his favorite things.

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