Since the third movie in the Rebuild series is only a few months away at this point, I thought it would be worth looking at the original televesion series and the first two Rebuild Series movies to identify the most compelling scenes/moments. Obviously, my tastes are different that all of yours, but to give the reader a sense of my reasoning behind my choices, I gave preference to scenes that advanced the plot, superb fight scenes, and moving character development. So, with that in mind, let us begin. (As a note, I list a lot the Angel’s names in this list. I’d like to thank Wikipedia for that, because there is no way in hell that anyone would know them.
Number 20: Shinjji trapped by the Angel – Episode 16: Up until this point in the series, there had been hints that things would get much darker, especially in hindsight. However, the first Angel to launch a psychological attack against the Eva Pilots marked a turning point in the series. The psychological mindfuck of Shinji, and his subsequent disappearance and recover is probably one of my favorite arcs in the series. What is amazing in my opinion is the amount of time devoted to this sequence of events (Yeah, I know there were budget cuts, and what is equally frustrating to me is that there was no equivalent in the Rebuild movies as of yet.
Number 19: Asuka’s Introduction – Episode 8 and Rebuild 2.0: Since this list is going to have a lot of Asuka moments, it’s probably best to get this one in here now. The introduction of Asuka, in both instances, provides the series with a new direction, ultimately forcing Rei and Shinji to re identify who they are as individuals. All that plot stuff aside, both introduction scenes are set against intriguing fight scenes. While the ship jumping in the television series was interesting, Asuka’s quick dismissal of the Angel, coupled with the musical score and animation angles in Rebuild is truly memorable. See it below.
Number 18: Psychoanalysis of Asuka – Episode 22: This scene is remarkable for a couple of reasons. First, the music combined with Rei’s Lance of Longinus throw was amazing. However, seeing Asuka finally breakdown was a great, though terribly sad moment. Plus, the context we received from Asuka’s backstory in this episode cleared a lot up about the relationships among the three main Eva pilots.
Number 17: Welcome Home – Episode 2: The sequence of events depicting Misato and Shinji’s first night under the same roof really sets the tone for the rest of the series. Following the initial awkwardness Shinji has about the situation, we get to see these two characters in a different light. The revelation of Misato’s personal habits adds a little depth to her character, and provides for humor. Shinji’s toothpick scene and the introduction of Pen-Pen add the lighter mood. Then, almost immediately, the series shifts in darker tones as Shinji relives his first angel fight, and then pretends to be asleep as Misato tries to console him.
Number 16: Ritsuko fights Iruel – Episode 13: I know, you’re probably thinking what the hell is Ritsuko doing in this list. But this was an important episode. The fight against Iruel was intriguing enough, but this episode did a whole lot more. First, we get the first real introduction to Ritsuko’s feelings towards her mother, and really any characterization at all. But more importantly, I think this episode does a better job than any other moment in the series of encapsulating the “be wary of technology subplot”. Obviously, episode 7 (A Human Work) makes the point blatant, but it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the series. Shinji’s constant reliance on his headphones, which increases his loneliness is another symbol, but the drama that this episode presented made this moment noteworthy.
Number 15: Gendo and Shinji at the Cemetary – Episode 15: Two of the greatest mysteries of this series were who exactly is Rei Ayanami, and what is the purpose of NERV. While this scene was certainly compelling on its own with the father-son dynamic and futuristic helicopters, the “that will have to do for now” quote is one of the best lines in the series considering what we know now.
Number 14: Other Realities – Episode 26: While this sequence of events was pivotal in Shinji finally coming to terms with instrumentality, I’m going to leave the psycho babble for down the road. Instead, this comedic take on the characters of Evangelion was something different, and certainly enjoyable considering all the pain the characters had gone through. Obviously, the contrasts this scene drew are apparent enough for everyone.
Number 13: Fuyutsuki’s Exposition – Episode 21: Pretty much the backstory to the entire series.
Number 12: Fight against Sahaquiel – Episode 14 and Rebuild 2.0: While the movie version is obviously the better animated version of this fight (which is why I included it below), this fight set the scene for so much in the series, most notably it was the beginning of Asuka’s fall from grace after realizing that she couldn’t do everything by herself, and that some people may be better at things that her. This scene also set Shinji up for his inevitable downfall, after feeling too good about himself (a theme prevalent in the episodes near this one).
Number 11: Kaji and Misato’s Confession – Episode 15: So you have kids in giant robots fighting ginormous monsters bent on initiating the end of the world. That’s stressful, and I think we all get that. However, what I love about this scene is that it is the first time that we would see an adult, in this case Misato, break down from their pasts and realize, or at least acknowledge the disgusting things that people can do, something that would go on to become a major theme in the series. The addition of “Fly to Me to the Moon” in the background doesn’t hurt either.
Number 10: Shinji v Toji – Episode 18: This scene is extremely well done in my opinion. First, you have Shinji not wanting to fight the Eva turned Angel because he knows that there is a person in there. Then to watch in horror as his father turns the Eva over to the dummy plug. While we know that Toojji is in there, Shinji does not, which makes it even harder for the viewer to watch. When Shinji finally sees that it was Toji in the Eva, it is beyond words. Unfortunately, the scene loses some of it’s impact the second time around, as we know what is coming. As such, Shingi vs. Asuka from Eva 2.0 is not included.
Number 9: Shinji’s Self Gratification – End of Evangelion: What a way to start a movie, eh. I suppose there is a lot that can be taken away from this scene, but what always struck me was that this scene showed that Shinji, who had always been a projection for other people’s hopes and dreams and who always did what he was told, to do this of is own accord, shows just how pathetic and sad all the characters in the series are.
Number 8: Congratulations – Episode 26: Was it confusing? Check. Was it ambiguous? Check. Was it creative? Sure. Whatever your opinions at the time you first saw the end of the original television series were, this scene was made far more digestible given the End of the End of Evangelion. Further, this ending gives this sad series a more cheerful ending than the movie does. The general leadup to Shinji’s realization is also pretty good, so I got a clip showing the concluding parts of it.
Number 7: Shinji and Asuka’s kiss – Episode 15: The culmination of episodes 8 through 15, in which Shinji and Asuka share many important scenes and moments. While events that followed provided more context to this scene, Shinji’s nonchalance towards Asuka in the aftermath of the kiss clearly has an effect on negative effect on her, which eventually lead to her breakdown.
Number 6: Rei does (not) Blocks Asuka’s Slap – Episode 22 and Rebuild 2.0: This is kind of a prospective ranking. In the original series, this scene probably provides the most foreshadowing for my number 4 moment. While the original series provides a lot of evidence as to who Rei really is, the intersection of Asuka’s Doll complex intersecting with Rei’s story line at this moment was something special. Then, quite unexpectedly, Rei blocks the slap in the Rebuild series in what is the culmination of her character’s change, and leads to her assert herself in a new way.
Number 5: Unit 01 Saves Shinji – Episode 1 and Rebuild 1.0: Unit 01 loves going beserk in the original series, and while each one of those moments is special, especailly after the fight scene with Zureal in the original anime, this moment was the first hint that this show was something different, something special. Add to it the father and son reunion, and the anguish of an injured Rei, and this scene is chock full of drama. While the revelations about what Unit One was would come later in the series, I’m going to give preference to this scene.
Number 4: The Truth (and Destruction) of the Dummy System – Episode 23: Yeah, this was heavily hinted at throughout the entire series, and in this post. Still, that doesn’t change the impact of this scene for all the parties involved.
Number 3: Fight against Zureal – Episode 19 and Rebuild 2.0: This is really one moment with two endings. While the leadup to and fight against Zureal and both incarnations is the peak of what made Eva the show that it is, the events that followed are the pivotal differences thus far in the series. Though I love the television version, the music in the Rebuild version makes it far superior. Also, let’s here it for Shinji, who is able to man up and take a stand far sooner than his predecessor. All that aside, I think the moment I remember the most is when, against all expectations, Unit 01 ran out of power, but didn’t go beserk.
Number 2: Back On Earth – End of Evangelion
Number 1: Human Instrumentality – End of Evangelion – If you thought any other moment could have possibly been number 1, than I feel sorry for you, son. The imagery alone could have made this the number one moment in the series. The addition of “Komm, Susser Tod” amplifies the impact of this scene by a magnitude of 9,000. See video of it below.