This series is an episode guide to the Japanese anime television show Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 - 96) and the spin-off films. Each entry includes my own reflection on the episode, followed by a conversation with fellow bloggers Bob Clark and Murderous Ink.
This entry covers the Director's Cut version of Episode 21.
Origin story, flashback, even prequel - call it what you will. After twenty episodes of allusive hints toward the shared history of the characters, dropping cryptic clues about various motives (both personal and organizational), and constantly reminding us that the past which haunts the present cannot be recovered...Neon Genesis Evangelion recovers the past. And it's surprisingly effective; in fact, this is probably my favorite episode of the series up to this point. Above all, I'm a sucker for backstories - especially when we get to visit them firsthand. Motion pictures, be they cinema or television, live action or animation, even narrative or experimental, root their approach in observing moments unfold in physical reality. Just as in everyday life, movies and TV episodes give us a sense that time moves forward as a general rule. But of course memory works differently onscreen. As I wrote about Fire Walk With Me, the film which rewinds Twin Peaks to before the TV show began: "Movies have a unique and potent ability to break one of the surest laws of our existence. Time can be shattered, history unearthed, the past rediscovered."