Those women longed for the touch of others’ lips, and thus invited their kisses.:

Revenge of the gigantic title! Fourteen words! Woo! Okay, that’s about as light and fluffy as this week really gets. It says something about a series when the big, bloody (why are they bloody) mecha battles are the light and fluffy parts of the series. When a show takes a week off to engage in ship-to-ship combat and it comes out angstier and more awkward than before, something is fundamentally wrong with the people in this universe. Are you ready for parental issues and soon to be revealed to be inappropriate sexual tension? Cos I’m not.

I’m reviewing this series on my second pass through, so I have a few pieces of knowledge that the uninitiated don’t have going into this. The opening of the episode, with Fuyutsuki and Gendo talking about how Seele is on NERV’s case about how on schedule everything in their conspiracy is going, is actually the most plot important moment in this episode until the very end. Aside from that, there’s only all this character interaction and psychological stuff, and that couldn’t possibly be of any importance right? This series ends with mecha battles, after all, right?

Plot developments: Ryoji Kaji is actually a triple agent, working simultaneously for NERV, against NERV for the Government and then against the Government for Gendo. We find out he’s a double agent at the opening of the episode, when he visits Kyoto and finds out that the 107th corporate partner of the Marduk Institute (responsible for the reports that say which kids can pilot the giant robots) is a dummy corporation. They’re a dummy corporation just like the first 106. The implication is thus that the Marduk Institute itself is a fake. Then who’s selecting the kids to be pilots?

His triple allegiance is revealed at the end when Kaji finds himself at the end of a gun barrel, held by Misato. Between these two times, she got horribly drunk at a wedding and pukes in an alley, he carried her home then she started crying about how Kaji was just like her father and that’s why she broke it off between them–daddy issues, that’s new–and she’s no better than Shinji when Kaji kisses her to shut her up. All I’m thinking is “Dude, she just puked! At least pop a mint in there!” Back to reality where she has him at gunpoint, he leads her into the NERV basement where they have the first Angel, Adam, crucified on a giant cross.

In Shinji-shipping news, he and Rei have palpable sexual tension between them again, as the day before the anniversary of his mother’s death, he finds her motherly. She’s embarrassed to be called such. He keeps staring at her. After visiting his mom’s grave the next day, Asuka’s come home from a blind date early. She asks him if he’s ever kissed a girl. They kiss. It’s awful.

An interesting reading of the text: Asuka’s affections for Kaji that she expresses outwardly are really her bottled up feelings for Shinji. Indeed, in a two or three hour span, she compliments him on something and then makes out with him. Then she’s off and away on a sea of Kaji-lust again.

Splitting of the Breast:

You know what a harbinger of doom looks like? It looks like domestic comedy between people who, just days prior–well, one of them had been carried home drunk, and the two kids had shared possibly the worst kiss in fictional history. That’s what a harbinger of doom looks like in Evangelion. And then, after all that happy domestic comedy, it turns out that Shinji’s sync ratio (you know, that thing they test every week that’s never gone anywhere?) is higher than Asuka’s. You know, child prodigy Asuka. “I pilot Evangelion for attention” Asuka. In the words of the poets, this does not bode well.

Indeed, Shinji’s newfound “confidence” at this discovery lands him deep in the body of an Angel that’s only three microns tall. The Angel manifests as a shadow while projecting a gigantic sphere as its actual shadow. That’s what Shinji is stuck inside. And he’s been there for twelve hours by the time we get back from the ad break. The purification system breaks down. The LCL filling the cockpit reeks of blood.

There’s a lot of really good stuff in this episode. Misato and Ritsuko are finally butting heads. Misato is demanding answers to what Evangelion actually are. Ritsuko is quick to blame Shinji’s almost certain death on Misato. Rei and Asuka in the heat of battle both erupt into legitimate concern for Shinji’s well-being when he’s taken under by this week’s Angel, only to go back to their standard personalities after. Best conflict of the series: Asuka starts blustering about how Shinji deserves to be where he is for being such a dummkopf and how obviously since he’s the better pilot he should be able to get out of this himself. Rei sees through her denial, just as we do, and asks her if the only reason she pilots Eva is for the praise of others. Snap, Asuka. Snap.

This also marks the second voyage deep into the psyche of a main character, this week it’s Shinji. Tell me, any long-time fans out there, how did you not see episodes 25 and 26 coming? For Eva’s sake, it’s all here. Little Shinji, fish-eye lenses, asking himself why he hates himself. Who is the bad person in his life. Who is at fault for everything. Eventually, Shinji is rescued from certain death by the soul of his mother, telling him “that’s good for you”.

This manifests in the real world as possibly the bloodiest thing seen in a mech-fight on this series yet as Unit-01 rips itself out of the shadow of the Angel, soaking Tokyo-3 in an unending rain of blood and gore. … What are these things anyway? The Evangelion. When Shinji goes deep enough into his, his mother’s soul manifests. Unit-00 felt like Rei trying to invade his mind.

Speaking of Rei, she’s waiting by his bedside. When he wakes up, she tells him that he gets a few days off. “That’s good for you.” Pardon? First you tell me she looks motherly, now she’s echoing lines from Shinji’s mom’s soul…

Just what the hell is Rei, anyway?