FGC:Episode 03 Scene 02

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Hedgehog's Dilemma

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Morning. Exterior of Misato's apartment.The doors to the other rooms are shut.

SE <<Voices of birds>>

Morning Newscast Woman:“And now, from the studio, we go to Natsuko Shinohara in Matsuzaki.”

thewayneiac: It may or may not be meaningful that "Shinohara" is the name of the corporation that manufactures the Mechs in Patlabor, Mobile Police, which was animated from 1988-1990. (It's also the name of one of the main characters, whose father owns the company.)

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BGM START: C-4 [Waking up in the morning]

Weather Girl:“Yes! Good morning. This is Shinohara.”

Dining room. Misato's dining table has a rice bowl and instant miso soup.


HeWhoPostsStuff: "Waking Up in the Morning" is another very "retro" sounding piece of BGM. Tracks like this tend to give the scenes they accompany a very surreal feeling: NGE overall is focused on the divisions between people, the things they do to hurt each other, etc., while such "Leave it to Beaver"-esque tunes as this one are unapologetically happy-go-lucky. It's as if the soundtrack is trying to ignore what's going on and half-heartedly attempt to put a happy "spin" on it.

In this scene, for instance, Misato is more or less completely brushing Shinji off and making him feel worthless, but the music suggests a scene along the lines of "Honey, I'm home! And guess what, I got a raise and Junior won the science fair!" "That's just spiff-er-iffic, darling! The house is spick and span and the pork chops with applesauce are just about ready; here are your slippers!" The latter scenario, and the music which suggests it, is otherwordly enough as it is, but putting it on top of a scene like this one only makes it even weirder to listen to, from my point of view.

Shin-seiki: Yuko Miyamura (Asuka's VA) is earning her paycheck by doing Weather Girl's voice here (since we still have a ways to go before Asuka shows up).

thewayneiac: Weather Girl is irritatingly perky in this scene.

Reichu: You should see Miyamura in Battle Royale. She's got a gift for it.

Notice the complete transformation of Misato's apartment from the previous episode. As alluded to last time ("She calls this a 'little' messy?!?"), Shinji is a neat freak of Hamtonian proportions. Although cleaning up after Misato seems like it would be a full-time job; one wonders how Shinji finds time for it in between school and work.

OMF: It's Shinji's prudish side, hard at work. He probably couldn't sleep if he felt there was an unwashed dish in the sink! He's rather poignantly set Misato's place at the breakfast table. I wonder if this is his own, silent little way of pleading for attention.

Reichu: I imagine his obsession with cleanliness also serves, on a basic psychological level, as one of the only means by which he can actually bring some order to his life…

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Weather Girl:“This morning I'm in Matsuzaki in West Izu for a little scuba diving!”

Empty beer cans, books, etc., in Misato's room.


Reichu: Izu is the peninsula just south of the Hakone region, and Matsuzaki is on the southwest coast. Here's a little geographical aid I stole from Yahoo! Maps Japan.

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Shinji opens the fusuma (sliding door). He looks apologetic.

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Weather Girl:“The Izu-Hakone region has good weather today. The forecast predicts a high of 30 degrees, 2 above the average.”

Shinji is further in.

Shinji:“Hey, Misato-san. It's morning already.”

Weather Girl:“We have hot days all year now, but Japan once had four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.”

The futon wriggles about (Misato turning over in bed).

Misato:“———. Uh… I just got back from night duty. I don't have to go to work until this evening… So please, let me sleep.”

Keisuke-kun: ("High of 30 degrees.") Wow… That's hot.

OMF: Indeed. The temperature is of course measured in degrees Celsius, which works out at 86° Fahrenheit for those living in the US.

Hexon.Arq: "Where am I? Who am I?" So, does anyone think she's got a hangover right now, or is she just tired?

Shin-seiki: One should never ignore what's playing in the background on the TV or radio in NGE.

Reichu: This kind of background dialogue will be used heavily to present additional information to the audience, albeit in a disguised manner. Here it is just feeding us tidbits on the current state of the world, which will be followed up on presently.

Magami no ER: NGE's known for having many subtle messages that are important for understanding the plot, but it's weird how the Weather Girl blatantly says "We have hot days all year now, but Japan once had four seasons." I guess they were testing the audience to see if they would pay attention, though it's a pretty clear message. It's rare to see such an easy clue in Eva.

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Weather Girl:“We never see snow these days, instead, due to the recent warmth, aquatic life has been coming back little by little.”

Shinji, through the gap of the fusuma.

Shinji:“Then I'll…”

He is about to shut the door when Misato abruptly speaks. Shinji notices and stops.

Misato (OFF):“Is today Thursday?”

OMF: This whole scene really emphasises the poor relationship between the two characters at this point. They haven't connected at all. Misato's seeming lack of interest in him is contributing to Shinji's low regard for himself. He probably feels he's just an Eva pilot to her.

Soluzar: He clearly is disappointed that all she wants from him is to dispose of the trash.

Reichu: I think if Misato told Shinji what she REALLY wanted this early, he would have run away now instead of in the next episode… "Misato-san! You just think of me as a side-dish, don't you?"

Mr. Nice: "No, I think of you as dessert." :devil:

(Reichu: This "side-dish" thing emerged as a forum in-joke at ANF. Its origins will be explained in full much later, but, until then, see here. )

03 C034.jpg

Shinji's feet in front. Misato takes her hand out of her futon and waves it.

Misato:“Take care of the burnable trash, please.”

Reichu: Garbage is a big problem in Japan, partly because of the lack of space for landfills in Japan. (Another is shear quantity, due in part to the overpackaging of items to satisfy consumer preference.) For this reason, it is standard practice to incinerate garbage. One upside is that the energy from burning can be used to generate electricity, but the downside, of course, is the nasty stuff that is produced as a result.

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Shinji's face is of the mood, "It can't be helped".

Shinji:“——— Okay.”

03 C036.jpg

Weather Girl::“As you dive into the sea you can clearly see an abundance of fish. It makes me think of catching some for tonight's dinner.”

The room is slightly dark, except for the white from Misato's room, which Shinji peers into.

Misato (OFF):“Are you used to school yet?”

The bad timing sours the conversation.

Shini (from behind):“Yeah…”

Misato (OFF):“Alright. See you later.”

Weather Girl:“Although the submerged town brings back sad memories, this is a hot diving spot.”

Shinji (from behind):“Later.”

Incisivis: ("Are you used to school yet?") The script notes bad timing, and this question also comes across as feeling "scripted" rather than natural, as if Misato just wanted to do what's expected. Besides the fact that she's really tired, one wonders if she cut off the conversation because she felt she'd "done her duty".

Hexon.Arq: To this day, possibly due to my lack of reason to be that observant visually, I'm totally clueless about the layout of that apartment. Also, the girl on the radio is diving over a submerged town — I wonder if they still have aqua-looters at this point? You could have made an entire subplot about someone doing a little yesteryear archaeology.

Reichu: Misato says "Itterasshai"; Shinji, "Ittekimasu". Wada-kun notes the following in the LTP:

"JAPANESE GREETING LESSON: We always say 'ITTERASSHAI' when someone who belongs to the place leave there. We always say 'ITTEKIMASU' when we leave home (or the place where we belong to, like the office)."

Keisuke-kun: Another note on itterasshai: Let's say I'm gonna go to Tsutaya (or Blockbuster, same thing). I want my friend to come along, so I hint at this by saying something like "Hey, I'm going to Tsutaya…" ("Boku wa Tsutaya ni iku"). Well, if he doesn't want to go, he can just say, "Hai, itterasshai", meaning you're the only one who's going.

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Shinji closes the fusuma.

BGM END: C-4 [Waking up in the morning]

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Trash repository. Shinji puts the trash down. There is no other trash. He walks away

SE <<Voices of cicadas and the city>>


Keisuke-kun: Another indication that no one else lives at Misato's apartment complex.

Reichu: A sign of Tokyo-3's emptiness in general, it seems.

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03 C039b.jpg

A telephone. Misato's hand hunts around for the phone. It rings 2 times.


Shin-seiki: (039~045) This scene is mirrored much, much later in NGE…

Soluzar: The title lied! The phone DOES ring!
Okay, so I'm not really a complete numbskull; I know that the phone that never rings isn't this one.

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Misato's room is messy as usual. Misato's hand goes out of her futon. She brings the telephone receiver inside.


Misato (OFF) (sleepy):“Hello? Oh, Ritsuko.”

03 C041.jpg

BGM START: B-1 [Hedghog's Dilemma]

A book computer on top of a desk. A mountain of documents. A coffee cup being held and a woman's legs are in the foreground.

Ritsuko (OFF):“How's it going? Are you getting along with your boyfriend?”

Misato (OFF - TEL):“Boyfriend?”

Shin-seiki: "How's it going? Are you getting along with your boyfriend?"

A little dig, possibly referencing Misato's "It's not like I'm going to 'put the moves on' a kid" line from #02.

thewayneiac: Though it's disguised as teasing, Ritsuko once again indicates that she knows where Misato's head is at.

Soluzar: More foreshadowing for #23's "Irony Bomb"?

OMF: I have actually heard grown women say pretty much these exact lines to each other when referencing adolescent boys. And given Ritsuko's genuinely friendly tone, maybe it's just a playful prod.

The desk from above. A full ashtray. Small cat ornaments. Documents.

Misato (OFF - TEL):“Oh, you mean Shinji-kun. He transferred into school two weeks ago and he hasn't changed.”

Keisuke-kun: First time I saw this I thought, 'Goddamn she smokes a lot!'

Hexon.Arq: Doesn't that woman have a Nerv trash bin? Those things are gonna start rolling off that tray pretty soon. "How many butts can we possibly draw on this tray? Let's see…"

Soluzar: This shows the age of the show. I bet there isn't a desk job in the world that still would allow smoking. Thankfully. Bleugh, see how many butts are in that ashtray? Her breath can probably penetrate A.T. Fields.

Reichu: :lol: They should have sent Ritsuko out to face Shamshel!

Shin-seiki: While I generally tend to regard Ritsuko as possessing above-average physical attractiveness, I must say that chain-smoking is a big turn-off. Kissing a girl who smokes is about as inviting as licking an ashtray.

Reichu: While I really am no expert on the matter, it's my impression that Japan generally seems to be "behind" Western nations, the U.S. especially, regarding its policies and social views on cigarette smoking. I doubt the fact that Ritsuko smokes so heavily would phaze many Japanese males. I'm uncertain of the policies regarding smoking in the office there, but, elsewhere in Nerv, I think smoking is restricted to the employee lounges we see later on. But Ritsuko IS one of the head honchos and she's got this spacious office all to herself. If she smokes in isolation, no one can complain.

Keisuke-kun: I think most Japanese women smoke in secret. My host mom (while I was studying in Japan) did. I never saw her smoke, but if I come down in the middle of the night I could smell smoke in the living room.

Shin-seiki: On a side note, here's the first appearance of her little cat figurines, which symbolize something that doesn't come up till near the end of the series.

03 C043.jpg

Computer. Coffee maker to its side.

Misato (OFF):“He hasn't gotten any phone calls”

Shin-seiki: Episode title explained.

03 C044.jpg

Ritsuko UP.


Cell phone on top of a desk.

Misato (OFF):“———. Since I figured he'd need one, I gave him a cell phone a while back.”

Gundampilotspaz: The ability of Anno to take a single object and mold the basis for a character as complex as Shinji is amazing.

tv33: I guess cell phones really are getting too small, seeing as how in the future they decided to make them the same size they were in, I don't know, say 1995?

Gundampilotspaz: We are seeing a skewed future here. The world nearly ended and science has been geared toward the survival of the human race, not small phones.

Reichu: This recalls Dr. Nick's earlier comment about NGE's "futuristic technology" (or, ahem, lack thereof). It's "futuristic" only as needed, and otherwise representative of the mid-90's

Hexon.Arq: You know, now that I think of it, that phone really doesn't seem that big; it just has a tiny display. It's more outdated in aesthetics than size… What? Don't look at me like that! Hey, some of us can't afford those little E-sized tablet phones that are all the rage now, so hmmph!

03 C046.jpg

A route used for school commuters, a road under construction, a red light switching on and off. Several people in a group. Shinji walks alone, apart from them.

SE <<Sounds of construction>>

Misato (OFF):“But I don't think he's ever used it, or received any calls.”

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Shinji walking, hanging his head.

At the end of the cut, the screen is covered roughly by a grove of trees.

Misato (OFF):“I'm not sure, but I don't think he has any friends.”

Keisuke-kun: Reminds me of when I was 9.

Reichu: Reminds me of… my entire life. Well, okay, that's a slight exaggeration.

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A view from the window of Ritsuko in her office.

Ritsuko:“I would guess that Shinji's not the sort who makes friends easily.”

Mr. Tines: The sloping exterior wall here seems to indicate that Ritsuko's office is in the pyramid.

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The school entrance hall, lined with getabako (shoe boxes). No one is there.

Ritsuko (OFF):“Are you familiar with the story of the 'Hedgehog's Dilemma'?”

Misato (OFF - TEL):“Hedgehog? The things with the spikes?”

Beer Goggles: The Hedgehog's Dilemma originates from the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) who used the fable he'd created as a metaphor for his theories on interpersonal relationships between people. It wasn't until Freud adopted the fable later on that it became a figure of speech in psychology.

Soluzar: The whole "Hedgehog's Dilemma" speech seems out of character for Ritsuko to me. It always did. She doesn't seem to have that type of emotional sensitivity.

Reichu: Well, recall the scene last episode, C-161~C-164. Every once in a while, we see little moments like this from her. I think it may be that Ritsuko's character is, much like the others in NGE, built on opposing, even contradictory, forces. While she normally is cold, scientific, and professional, there is a warmer, perceptive, humanistic side to her that seems to have been beaten down over the years as a result of her work. Not to jump the gun or anything…

03 C050b.jpg

The classroom before school starts. Several students.

Ritsuko (OFF):“Even though a hedgehog may wish to get close to another hedgehog, the closer they get…”

Shin-seiki: (050~054) This sequence is also mirrored several episodes from now.

OMF: See that guy in the middle of the shot? That was me, all through school. What wouldn't I have given for a classroom like Shinji's so I could get some decent kip in the morning!

Reichu: "Kip"? I feel my vocabulary expanding.

Mr. Tines: Slightly old-fashioned slang in the UK. Meaning obvious from context.

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Boys reading weekly comics.

Ritsuko (OFF):“…the more they injure each other with their spines.”

Soluzar: dumbass n00b]But Shinji doesn't have any spines on his body! I don't get it!!!! Waaaahhhh!! This show SuX0rZ!![/dumbass n00b]

Mr. Tines: Nor one in it, come to that! ;)

Reichu: Thankfully, I've never heard of any n00bs who couldn't comprehend this particular metaphor.

Dr. Nick: Okay Soluzar, since you started the stupid jokes this time, let me ask you something: Do you know how hedgehogs have sex? ……… Carefully. Very, very carefully.

Reichu: Funny, I thought that was said of porcupines? Same difference, I suppose.

Speaking of which… In Japanese, Ritsuko speaks of the "yama'arashi no JIREMA", translated as "hedgehog's dilemma". However, it had been my understanding that the Japanese word for "hedgehog" was harinezumi — indeed, this is what our old buddy Sonic is identified as — whereas yama'arashi referred to porcupines. They are completely different animals, after all. (On a pointless side note, the collective term "porcupines" actually encompasses unrelated animals, not unlike "vultures".)

03 C052.jpg

Girls playing with each other's hair.

Ritsuko (OFF):“It's the same with some humans. Shinji-kun is probably afraid of pain…”

Boy using T-shaped ruler as a guitar.

Ritsuko (OFF):“…and has become a coward somewhere in his heart.”

tv33: Mighty big words, coming from Ritsuko. Is this a case of "takes one to know one"? A pot calling the kettle black, perhaps?

Shin-seiki: (049~058) "It's the same with some humans. Shinji-kun is probably afraid of pain… and has become a coward somewhere in his heart."

I don't see how you could possibly nail Shinji any more precisely than that. Ritsuko seems to be remarkably insightful about everyone else but herself…

It's interesting how, while Ritsuko is explaining the "Hedgehog's Dilemma" (a major theme of the series, BTW), we see most of the kids in Shinji's class socializing together in a normal manner. It's our two pilots charged with saving the world who seem to be almost autistic in the way they fail to connect with the others.

HeWhoPostsStuff: This was about all I ever could bring myself to use my T-square for back when I was (for a brief time) a graphic design major.

Students having a friendly conversation as Shinji enters the classroom.

Misato (OFF):“Well, he'll learn sooner or later.”

Shin-seiki: I always notice in this episode that Shinji's class seems to have an abundance of really cute girls. Unfortunately, with the exception of Hikari, we don't get to know any of them as the series goes on.

HeWhoPostsStuff: As opposed to all those other anime classrooms (or anime ANYthing) that don't possess such an overabundance? :P Seriously, this is all anime bread and butter.

Keisuke-kun: Anyone else think the girl in the foreground looks like Akane Tendo?

Reichu: I can see that…

AchtungAffen: This site suggests that the girl looks like Nadia.

Reichu: If that's the case, that would effectively makes this random classmate Shinji's female counterpart. (But the best place to find female Shinji are, of course, in the works of demented fans…)

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Shinji sits in his seat and glances behind him.

Misato (OFF):“Growing up means finding a distance with other people…”

Incisivis: I think this is another example of Misato's emotional paradox: She knows intellectually the right thing to feel and do in an emotional situation, but is unable to apply such methods to herself or enforce them for those around her. Episode #15 is another good example of this.

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From Shinji's point of view.

A girl in bandages at the window, all by herself.

Misato (OFF):“…where you can avoid hurting each other too much.”

Soluzar: (055~056) Sure. We all know how good Misato is at finding a safe emotional distance with people, so that nobody gets hurt. Right?

Reichu: In her case, a "safe emotional distance" is the number of miles between Germany and Japan…

Hexon.Arq: This quotation is the most practical thematic statement of the entire series. The gimmicky use of this exchange doesn't end with its payoff in the next episode; I suppose that's why they call this the Prologue Arc.

Rei gazes outside blankly.

Misato (OFF):“He'll just have to find that out…”

Hexon.Arq: "Just look at those dogs going at it. Procreating. Fullfilling a need that does not exist. My neck — the betrayer. So pointless."

Shin-seiki: The quiet, mysterious girl staring out the classroom window, in her own little world, is a pretty common, recognizable type in anime. Sakaki-san in Azumanga Daioh! and Madoka Ayakawa in Kimagure Orange Road are two other examples.

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Shinji gazes at her and sits down.

BGM END: B-1 [Hedghog's Dilemma]

Soluzar: Here, Shinji makes the wise decision to not hit on a severely wounded girl. It's a tough choice, especially with that whole subconscious Oedipal attraction thing going on!

Reichu: Flirting? What would Shinji know of such things? Subconscious Oedipal attraction or no, I think a lot of the staring Shinji does at Rei is motivated by this naggingly intense sensation of familiarity.

Incisivis: (045~058) I love this entire sequence. The "Hedgehog's Dilemma" BGM perfectly reflects Shinji's mood: slow, melancholy, and subdued. Ritsuko's description of him is spot-on, and somehow these aspects and everything else just work together so well, you get a clear picture of how Shinji's feeling. There's a very realistic feel to the scenes, too — as I can attest, since I behaved pretty much like Shinji does in a school setting when I was his age, and was told almost the exact same things, only without involving hedgehogs. I also like how the fable ties in not only with Shinji, but to NGE's characters in general: When people get close in this series, they hurt each other in a number of different ways.

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