Made with Human Hands: The Rebuild of Evangelion
An essay about how we find ourselves in stories and images, and what that can say about where we are in life.
Part 1.0: A human work
”Eva" is a story that repeats. It is a story where the main character witnesses many horrors with his own eyes, but still tries to stand up again. It is a story of will; a story of moving forward, if only just a little. It is a story of fear, where someone who must face indefinite solitude fears reaching out to others, but still wants to try.
I feel compelled to understand the things that I don't, and this is especially true of my own feelings. As a general rule, I try to move through the world with as much self-awareness as I can manage. I try to be aware of why I feel the things that I feel, and the reasons that I feel them as strongly as I do. Spending my formative years buffeted about by the wants, needs, and expectations of those around me, wherein I was never encouraged to question why things happened the way that they did, has turned me into an adult hungry to know everything about myself.
This is both good, according to the handful of therapists I've sat with over the years, and probably a little annoying. At least, that's what makes it annoying to watch movies with me.
I can't just like or dislike something.
I need to know why I feel the way that I feel.
And, most of the time, that means I need to write about it. And to write about it, I need to understand why other people loved or hated it. Measured arguments only, the content of which I give myself the space to disregard as needed. But in order to know why I feel the way that I feel about a work, I need to study it in good faith.
By which I mean, I need to take it apart, piece by piece, until I no longer understand where all the pieces fit together anymore – only that I now sit amid their chaos, merely a singular element of the meaning-making machine.
This is where I tell you that I've spent the last nine months living inside of Neon Genesis Evangelion, to try to understand why I feel the way I feel about its perhaps sequel, perhaps reboot, perhaps cash grab, the Rebuild of Evangelion film series.
Fifteen years have passed since the first film in the series was released, Evangelion: 1.0. Following 2.0 and 3.0, with a nearly decade long hiatus between the third and fourth installments, in August 2021, I finally arrived at the final film, Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time when it was released internationally. Shinji confronts his father Gendo, says goodbye to everyone he’s known, creates a reality for them free of Evas, and begins a new life with Mari. His choice negates the overriding idea through much of the series that positions the Evas as a symbol of his decision to not run away by piloting Unit 01 and defend humanity against the Angels. Rather than live with the Evas, he unmakes their world and the world thrust upon him, Rei, and Asuka, freeing them of their complex relationships to one another. His is a free world, the “real world” he’s made without Evas, Angels, or Human Instrumentality.
The films can feel...incomplete when taken at face value. A hollow coda to the deeply personal, introspective, and subversive legacy of Neon Genesis Evangelion (NGE). This is especially true, I think, when one inevitably compares the Rebuild series to End of Evangelion (EOE), which had served as a “true” or “definitive” ending for many. I count myself among them, who took the finality of EOE to heart when I was much younger than I am now. Contradicting, clarifying, and ultimately cementing the series finale's hopeful message, EOE has loomed on as a triumph of animated film, casting a long shadow and speaking the final word about the series.
Insofar that it can speak in a world where the Evangelion intellectual property continues to produce toys, mobile games, corporate marketing campaigns, trains, and rollercoasters, but I digress.
Even when first watching Evangelion 1.0 around the time that Evangelion 3.0 became available in America, it felt...strange. I enjoyed what I was seeing, as I enjoyed the rest of the films that followed to varying degrees. But that enjoyment, the same as my enjoyment of NGE and EOE, was – is – strained. It lives in negotiation with itself, a complex web of emotional catharsis, intimate realizations about myself, and the quiet disappointment that comes from loving something since you were too young to understand why you feel the way you do.
That feeling did not get any more clear to me upon the release of 3.0+1.0, or during the five separate times I've rewatched the Rebuild series since August 2021.
Now, here’s everything that is fundamentally true (or true to me) about the Rebuild films:
Rewrites, retcons, production hiatuses, story changes, time skips, revenue-driven decisions, earthquakes, tsunamis, and global pandemics have shaped what this series began as, evolved into, and ultimately became. This is true of Evangelion as a whole, but the shifting, nebulous direction the four Rebuild films take from their inception to their conclusion can feel jarring. Of the infinite possibilities for the sequel films, based on the desires of series architect Hideaki Anno, this is what we are left with, in all its beauty, artistry, and mess.
Rebuild's general lack of nuanced character work in the first two entries often feels strange and cold. The films solely rely on your intimate understanding of both the original show and EOE. They explicitly require your familiarity to divine the characters’ complex histories, relationships, and motivations. Otherwise, you will have no real investment in or understanding of this version of the characters or their world, especially once things take a sharp turn in 3.0. It isn’t a bad thing, per se, it just complicates the nature of the films and how they function.
Character arcs are truncated and anybody who isn’t Shinji largely fades into the background as side characters rather than members of an ensemble. Mari’s history, relationships, and integration into the world as the series newcomer are brisk and disjointed. There are tantalizing glimpses at her full characterization, but the pacing of the film series doesn't allow Mari the time she needs to be much more than Asuka's flirtatious counterpart. This makes it difficult to buy into her relationship with Shinji, even if I like her personality, design, and thematic purpose in the narrative.
The Eva/Angel fight sequences in 1.0 and 2.0 are successful in that they either rely on the established grammar or are a shot-for-shot replication of NGE's action scenes. In 3.0 and 3.0+1.0, the 3D animated Eva/Eva action is sometimes incomprehensible. The frenetic direction and totally unrestrained mecha choreography often tips past energetic into pure visual noise, sacrificing clarity for spectacle. It doesn’t necessarily bother me, but it’s a fact.
The fan service across the new series is frequently devoid of any context, critique, or subversion. Uncomfortable as it can be given the characters’ ages, the films seem so determined to show Asuka's panties and Mari's jiggling breasts that it can become laughable. The best example of this is Asuka's final scene on the beach in 3.0+1.0, with her now adult body bursting out of her shredded plug suit in a scene that directly references the most iconic and gut-wrenching sequence of Evangelion’s history. I don’t even find it offensive, it just makes me laugh, which contradicts the emotional drive of so many scenes and creates an unnecessary dissonance for me.
The Rebuild series did not need to exist from a narrative standpoint because NGE and EOE already ended the story. Everything that matters in the story, all the emotional crescendos between the cast, are driven by a meta-narrative of the films reinterpreting and reflecting on what came before it. This culminates in 3.0+1.0 as the meta-narrative of the franchise. The series as a whole and this film in particular lives and breathes its own complicated production, Anno’s personal history, his relationship with his work, and our responses to it as an audience. That can be impossible to overcome if you’re expecting a story that more traditionally expands on the established narrative put forth by NGE and EOE, rather than a meta-narrative that reflects on and discusses its own history, ultimately affirming its own conclusion albeit through different events.
Here’s something else that is fundamentally true (or true to me) about the Rebuild films, and 3.0+1.0 in particular: I can’t separate myself and my personal history from these films. And, try as I might, I don't think I ever will.
Part 2.0: Weaving a story
On a cool spring night in 2000, when I was 14 years old, I sat on my back porch across from my father at a white plastic folding table.
My father had done something to hurt me. He did this every day for what felt like my entire life. It was some passing cruel remark or accusation, one of many that accumulated in every interaction we had. Every feeling that I had, positive or negative, no matter how small or insignificant, was met with a sneer of “Are you done yet?” Everything I said, did, or felt reflected on him and he took it personally to the point that I often didn’t speak at all so that he wouldn’t have a reason to speak to me.
And that night, I made the mistake of speaking to my mother in front of him, and he called me…something. I don’t remember what, exactly. Ungrateful? Selfish? Stupid? I think I was making a plate of food from what my mother had cooked for dinner and said I would eat around the meat, because I didn’t like the texture that much. It didn’t really matter what I said. I deserved punishment for it.
In response to that cruelty, I fled the house. I didn’t eat. I didn’t deserve to eat. I cried and sat outside in the backyard for hours, in the dark, refusing to come inside. My mother, always playing peacemaker, coaxed my father into going outside to talk to me.
He spat venom at me, said that I was being unreasonable, and then closed the door.
And so, I sat, in the dark, retreating to the corner of the yard. I held my knees to my chest in the grass, my dog Lily resting against me. She wagged her tail limply to console me as best she could. I couldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t want to go inside. It was maybe nine, ten o’clock at night. The night was only getting colder.
When my father finally came back outside, he convinced me to meet with him at the folding table. He sat in a flimsy white plastic chair. I sat opposite. Then my father told me the story of why he couldn’t love me. His parents hurt him when he was a child in such profoundly destructive ways that he never got over it. Lived through it and moved away at the age of 18, but never healed. He was still too wounded, too broken on the inside to love his children. He said he would never treat me the way I wanted to be treated, because it's too difficult, and that I just needed to accept that.
I started watching Neon Genesis Evangelion a year later, stumbling across the series on anime message boards.
I fell in love with Shinji Ikari, the broken, needy boy whose father could not love him, because I had a Gendo Ikari of my own living at home. My father was little more than a ghost, dispassionate, displeased. Venomous. There, physically, but not present in my life by any measure other than to scold me. He didn’t speak kindly to me unless I did something that merited his attention or reflected well on him. And in the end, he kept his word.
He could never love me the way I wanted to be loved, and he would never treat me the way I wanted to be treated.
I would always be a burden, someone – some loathsome, ugly thing – undeserving of my father's love.
I would always feel like Shinji Ikari, no matter how old I get.
I would always be Shinji, again and again, when I would collapse into periods of despair and self-loathing. Wanting to run away.
Wanting to not exist.
So, when it comes to Rebuild, and I mean this with all sincerity: I don’t care that they’re not “great” films in the way that we understand Evangelion to be “great.” I am, however messy I find the films to be, deeply grateful that they exist.
Part 3.0: Love is destructive
Many different desires are motivating us to create the new "Evangelion" film.
The desire to portray my sincere feelings on film.
The desire to share, with an audience, the embodiment of image, the diversity of expressions, and the detailed portrayal of emotions that animation offers.
The desire to connect today's exhausted Japanese animation [industry] to the future.
The desire to fight the continuing trend of stagnation in anime.
The desire to support the strength of heart that exists in the world.
Finally, the desire to have these wishes be realized.
I understand that there’s still some contention about what the Rebuild films are. A sequel, reboot, reimagining, cash grab, an autobiography committing Anno’s professional and personal experiences to film. I read them as something else entirely in the ongoing story of Eva. To me, NGE and EOE aren’t stories with literal events and discreet arcs. They are representations. They are stage productions, with sets, characters, and a director.
The works tell you as much. They bare their sound stages and props, break down the animation into cells and storyboards to reveal their own artificiality. From NGE to 3.0+1.0, they are fully transparent in their functions as pieces of fiction, of art made by human hands and designed to tell a story to you, the viewer. A person sitting in a darkened theater. And that story is about how difficult it is to be a person. It’s an unflinching, uncompromising look at the complexities of trauma, grief, isolation, and self-destruction.
Evangelion, as presented in NGE and EOE, reads to me as a close examination of the abusive cycles Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and all the rest are trapped in as they struggle to heal. Both the show and the film close in tonally different but ultimately identical conclusions, taken as parallels, complements, or parts in a sequence. However, due to its tonal shift and considerable emotional dissonance compared to either NGE or EOE, I read Rebuild as being about the process of recovery following the conclusion of the initial storyline.
Kaworu also tells Shinji as much in the last film, but since this is still a topic for debate, just hear me out.
In my mind, each iteration of the series is but one step toward that goal of processing trauma, learning to live with it, and coming out the other side capable of surviving. Each time we see Shinji, he must choose to live or die. Whether through the idealistically hopeful original series ending or the wrenching conclusion reached in EOE, Shinji chooses to reject the painless oblivion of Human Instrumentality. He chooses to live and love others even when it hurts over the blissful non-existence and finality of escape. Or, rather, death. Death of the self, the ego, everything that makes us human, exchanged for a hedonistic fantasy where we never have to suffer or struggle to understand others.
It's...a comforting fantasy, of which I can speak to from experience. If not suicide, then the promise of nothingness. A dreamless sleep where no one can hurt you again.
But even after choosing life, Shinji’s still faced with the reality of his choice. That's how recovery works, after all. It's an ongoing process, with setbacks and stumbles. You'll fail. You'll keep trying, or you won't. You'll emerge on a red shore and face the people you've hurt.
You'll face the reality that life still hurts, with all the relief and terror that comes with that realization.
Shinji decides to keep going and honor his mother Yui’s words in EOE, but that’s just one step. Acknowledgment of trauma is not the same as healing from trauma. As powerful as the first two endings are in their own ways of addressing the choice to live, Shinji still hasn’t healed. How could he? He’s taken a step back from the abyss, but the rest of the journey still awaits him.
And that’s fine. The original series and film couldn’t possibly cover that territory, nor did they have to. They told the stories that they told beautifully and sent you back into the world with Anno's original intended message in mind.
You deserve to be here.
You deserve to be alive.
Don’t run away.
As long as you’re alive, you can save yourself.
Then we finally come to Rebuild, which retells the story we already know from a different and, in my mind, more sentimental perspective. It’s the story Anno wants to tell, even as he’s tired and frustrated and unsure of how to even get his message across. This is not armchair diagnosis; we know this because this is how Anno describes his relationship with his work in interviews. He isn't just the personality behind the series, or the convenient face of it, as this essay might have you thinking if this is your first time hearing of Evangelion. He looms over it, his well-documented struggles shaping much of its course, his psychology embedded within its language and iconography insofar as he's publicly disclosed.
His self-worth issues and sense of shame about his perceived professional failures. His struggles with the reception of his work and how his impossible standards for himself impact his ability to create. His complicated relationship with his disabled father and how it shaped the themes of amputation, body horror, and strained parental relationships that have carried through much of his work. Anno as man and myth is woven into the fabric of Evangelion, forever present in it, along with the animators, writers, and directors who have shaped it over the decades. Moreover, he's present in Rebuild in a way that is difficult to contend with because it doesn't function like Evangelion as we've known it.
It just doesn't...feel right.
The Rebuild series is set in a wilder world than we first saw in the original show, bearing the scarred moon and red seas of an Earth unmade by Instrumentality as seen in EOE. The characters are just slightly different than when we last saw them, just a little softer in how they come across, with smoother edges and teeth less sharp than we remember. Disarmed. They try to understand each other and establish healthier relationships early on, letting down their defenses in subtle but often striking ways.
Shinji is a little steadier and less self-loathing as he reaches out to Rei, Misato, and Asuka. Rei is quicker to open to the possibility of friendship, having rejected Gendo and chosen autonomy in EOE. Asuka is less thorny and self-destructive, having made peace with her mother the last time we saw her. Misato, who violated boundaries with Shinji in both NGE and EOE, now tries to reach out without getting lost in the haze of her own trauma. When she takes Shinji’s hand in Central Dogma during 1.0, he squeezes it and accepts her plea to pilot Unit 01. The ways she's taken his hand in the past, and the ways she's projected her own issues with her father onto him, falls away in that moment, because he can now trust her not to hurt him.
We see Kaji assume a more active role in Shinji's life and as the voice for the preservation of the natural world, reinforcing the characters' connections to material reality. We see more of Kaworu, allowing him and Shinji to develop a deeper bond than they were previously allowed in NGE with Kaworu as the subject of Shinji's desperate and naive affections. We see Mari, who explodes into the scene to offer an outside perspective that isn’t rooted in cycles of trauma and grief. Everything just feels…gentler. A little less painful. A little more hopeful. Shinji is trying, and it makes sense to me that he would try. He’s been through hell and back, over and over.
Part of him has learned, and part of him is trying to make it better this time.
I don’t need to be reintroduced to the characters. I don’t need to see their psyches taken apart piece by piece again. They’ve been unmade and remade already. This Shinji is my Shinji, just a little less hurt. A little more open. He makes different choices, some for the better and some for the worse. He breaks the world trying to save Rei and then loses Kaworu again trying to fix it. But he’s still trying to fix it because this is a world worth saving. When he and Asuka fight in Central Dogma in 3.0, screaming through the years of conflict between them as their Evas flail against each other, they're evenly matched in a way that feels something like progress.
This Shinji is also now living with the Curse of the Eva, as introduced in 3.0. It's a somewhat story-breaking device but it gives us characters who are frozen in time for 14 years. The children never grow, never age, locked in young bodies doomed to endless cycles of violence. Yes, Evangelion is a symbol for Shinji standing his ground and not running away, but it’s also a symbol of what’s killing them all. It’s the monstrous responsibility placed on Rei by Gendo as one of Yui's innumerable clones. It’s the horrific purpose that at once bolsters and tortures Asuka, finding purpose in piloting for fear of losing her identity. It's the way Shinji begs to be seen and wanted and loved through his service to others, and is thwarted at every turn when it fails to bring him peace. Evangelion is the obligations we feel, the relationships we keep trying to have, the people we keep running back to, the things that feel familiar even as they hurt us.
Get back in the Eva.
Hurt someone else.
Do what you’re told.
After all, what are Evas if not subjugated beings, things made in labs with human souls, bound to metal skeletons and forced to fight?
What is Evangelion if not suffering?
What is Evangelion if not the boundless hope that something better is possible, as long as there's love and light and hands to protect the things we hold dear?
And this time, this time, for all the retcons and rewrites and inconsistencies that plague these films, Shinji does something he never did in NGE or EOE.
He discovers hope before death, rather than after it.
In 3.0 +1.0, Shinji finds a vibrant world despite the horrors it's endured. It's presented as full of people and life in a stark departure from the frequently empty, sterile environments of NGE and its neurotic characters. Furthermore, at his lowest point following Kaworu's cyclical death, he finds a true sense of community in the village with Tohji, Kensuke, and the other survivors. Unlike the previous times Shinji has lost Kaworu, someone is here to help him. They take Shinji at face value and embrace him. They’re patient with him and his trauma, telling him he's done enough and doesn't need to fight anymore. They show him he can have value beyond piloting Unit 01. They show him that he can survive insurmountable despair by building a life through the friends he meets and the family he makes. They repeat what Kaworu has always told him, but give Shinji the chance to experience it firsthand.
We see Rei learn to grow and harvest rice in the fields with the old women in the village. People work the soil with their hands, suckle and raise children, and grow food to sustain them. These moments bring a physical character, a sense of weight and time, to Evangelion in ways only the complicated intimacies of sex and gnashing, thrashing violence had previously. The world feels real in the village, and so do the stakes. Before, Shinji was just a single soul adrift, wrestling with his own fate in a cold facility sparsely populated by broken, tortured people. Every character was but an actor on a stage, speaking to the audience to prove they were real and worth the life they had been given.
But now it feels like my life in a way it didn't feel in previous versions of this story, with soil and sunlight and dirt under your nails. The fight is no longer for the abstract concept of the ego or the soul, but for the heart itself – a heart that beats beneath a friend's borrowed jacket and breaks when a friend must say goodbye.
It isn't quite Evangelion, this new thing that's fashioned by human hands and held together by memories and sunshine. To me, that's okay.
Finally, Shinji must make the choice to live or die again. He takes on half of Misato’s burdens and pilots Unit 01 to protect her and the others, the way he promised to in 1.0. He confronts Gendo once and for all, as his father remains the source of so much hurt and suffering. He decides to create the world he wants to live in, where his friends are free from the things that are killing them, and they don’t keep hurting each other.
Shinji sits with Gendo in a scene that retells Gendo's story as he awaited death in EOE, but this time for Shinji to finally hear. He listens to Gendo tell him why his father couldn't love him, the same way my father told me, and allows his father to exit his life once Gendo sees the mistake he's made. He says goodbye to Kaworu so his teenage love can find a life for himself beyond his devotion to Shinji's happiness. He returns to the red sea with Asuka, the place where he once hurt her to prove they were both alive, to let her and his childish crush on her go. He finds Rei still lost inside Unit 01 and frees of all her burdens, now able to create a unified version of herself beyond Shinji and Gendo.
And Shinji decides to die to make it happen; in an inversion of Instrumentality, his planned suicide is designed to close loop in a final act of responsibility rather than escape. Then Yui emerges once more from within Unit 01 to take that burden from him. It’s all she can do for him now as his mother, to send her son into the remade world one final time, better prepared for it as an adult. No longer just deciding that he’s capable of loving and being loved but believing it.
Because...now he can. All the world is a stage, and he’s simply an actor – albeit the most important actor – who walks it. Rather than passively accepting his role again, given to him by their director, trapped in a loop of pain and suffering, he changes the story. To paraphrase Anno, all Shinji could do before was save himself. Now he can save everyone else. His friends are all still there in this new world he’s created but held at a safe distance. We see Kaworu once more through the windows of a passing train on a station platform because, as he promised Shinji, they will meet again.
Perhaps they all will, one day, when their hearts are healed and their hands are ready to reach out for someone else.
Perhaps there is a literal version of this film where Shinji stays behind in the village and builds the world back up with the others, and that is where we derive a sense of closure. Perhaps it would feel more narratively coherent in that case, with everything tied up more neatly. Where it couldn't be so easily read as running away when Shinji changes their stories and fates. But I personally feel the ending that we received makes the most emotional sense in the context of the films we’re given, as pieces of fiction that acknowledge their own fiction, speaking directly to the audience.
To its audience, and all the scared children and wounded adults who have grown alongside Evangelion with these characters over the decades.
Who have grown to become something else.
Part 3.0+1.0: Take care of yourself
As the creator of this project, [I assure you that] a very new-feeling Evangelion world has been constructed.
For this purpose, we are not returning to our roots at Gainax. I have set up a production company and studio, and it is in this new setting that we will start again.
Without looking back, without admiration for the circumstances, we aim to walk towards the future.
Thankfully, we have gathered staff from the old series, new staff, and many other fantastic staff to work on this series.
We realize that we are creating something that will be better than the last series.
Of course, all of this, this rambling interpretation, it just…sounds sentimental. I know it does, even as I write this. The Rebuild series didn’t have to be made to provide closure for the franchise, outside of the closure Anno wanted to append to it. The closure that Anno needed to put into the world. Shinji is not me, and Gendo is not my father. Rei, Asuka, and Misato are not the friends who I’ve let go of when I realized we were no longer in a healthy place with each other. I don’t need this film series to tell me it’s going to be okay, so that I’ll finally understand, for all time, that Evangelion is about choosing life.
But that’s the story the Rebuild series tells. It takes you by the hand and tells you to find hope, from the weight of Kaworu's dying words to something as small as Kensuke showing Shinji how to fish. To sit with the people you’ve hurt and who’ve hurt you and do the hard work of creating a life for yourself. The films, and 3.0+1.0 in particular, position themselves as a declaration, a call to people sitting in a darkened theater:
You can survive this.
No matter how badly you mess things up, you can find a way to come back.
You can heal.
You can get better.
You can build a life worth living.
As long as you're alive, you can save each other.
Rebuild isn’t as contemplative or impactful as Neon Genesis Evangelion. It isn’t groundbreaking cinema like End of Evangelion was. The films don't say anything bold or new. Anno isn’t the same person he was when he first created Evangelion. He isn’t the same creator who made EOE to delve into the darkest corners of his characters’ psyches and implore his audience to choose reality over escapism. To choose life. To grow and learn and love themselves.
I’m not the same person I was when I first found NGE 20 years ago, either. Anno is old enough to be my father, as I am now at 35, and his views have changed. His personal struggles to express himself in a post-Evangelion world and to communicate his meaning led to the film series we have. Whether this is a sequel, reboot, reimagining, cash grab, or an autobiography, this is the story he needed to tell. This is what he wanted to leave us with, flaws and all. And for me, at least, I didn’t need to see this conclusion to feel resolved about Evangelion as a story, but I think I still needed it on some level.
For me, at least, it felt like watching my own life on screen.
I felt seen.
I felt like Hideaki Anno gets this shit in a way I don’t think many other storytellers do.
I watched the Shinji Ikari I first met when I was a scared 15-year-old survive to 28, growing into an adulthood that I didn't think I'd see in my own life. I'm of a generation that didn't know life after 25 was an option, in a similar way to these kids. He takes Mari's hand and runs into the future he's made for them because he chose to save everyone by letting them go. The boy who was never loved by his father finally realizes his family and friends loved him in their own ways. Yui, Rei, Asuka, Kaworu, Misato, Tohji, Kensuke, everyone. Not just that he can love himself or that he’s worthy of being loved, but that he was loved all along.
And now they can all move on because sometimes you just have to say goodbye.
And sometimes it’s okay to say goodbye.
It’s fine if you don’t agree with me. I understand that it’s frustrating to feel that after these decades, all Anno has to say is “Grow up, find a nice girl, and settle down.” That it feels like he’s telling you to try to understand your abusive father, or that you can just brush off difficult relationships and start over. That all these characters can hope for is a quiet life in Ube, in Anno’s hometown, without Evas, Angels, or each other. But I just don’t feel that's what these films are meant to say, because I think they're meant to be something else.
A conversation about Evangelion, with the people who made it, for those who find themselves in it. I found myself in Evangelion, and I find myself in Rebuild, too. A different version of myself, who, like Shinji, is looking for a place to rest.
Shinji Ikari, who for every horrible thing that he’s endured or done, survived.
He healed despite it.
And so can I.