Gainax: Evangelion References and Cross References

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This page is for listing references in Evangelion to earlier Gainax works, and references to Evangelion in later Gainax works.

Earlier works by Gainax

Gunbuster

Images and themes from Gunbuster, Hideaki Anno's directorial debut, turn up in more than one place in future Gainax productions, as noted below. There are some moments from Gunbuster that did get recycled direct into Evangelion.

  • Noriko's first mecha fight with Kashihara begins with Kashihara's mecha lifting Noriko's mecha up by the head and pummeling it, in a manner similar to how Sachiel attacks Eva-01. Later in the battle, it vents steam in a similar manner to Jet Alone.
  • Jung Freud wears a cross pendant, although hers is smaller than Misato's and golden rather than white.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (ふしぎの海のナディア)

Cue sequel theory speculation.

Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (1990) was Hideaki Anno's second anime series. The show heavily references his previous work, Gunbuster, but it also contains plenty of elements that later found their way into Evangelion. These include things such as

  • Shinji's character design: as admitted by the character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Shinji is basically a genderswapped Nadia
  • Heavy use of biblical references (Noah's Ark, the Tower of Babel and the names of its slave satellites, the story of Lot's wife etc.)
  • Progenitor aliens that use genetic engineering
  • Proto-instrumentality: according to legend, the Blue Water jewel is said to house a conglomeration of innumerable Atlantean souls
  • Sadamoto suggested during conceptualization of Eva that the relationship between Asuka and Shinji would be similar to the relationship between Jean, Nadia's love interest and eventual husband in the earlier Nadia.[1]
  • There is at least one reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey (the Star Gate sequence)
  • The main antagonist, Gargoyle, does the Gendo Pose
    Gee, this feels familiar.
  • The captain of the American battleship USS Abraham and his first officer return as the captain and XO of the aircraft carrier Over the Rainbow in Episode 08

The Nadia fan-site thesecretofbluewater.com has a section that lists most of the smaller, more specific references, like Anno's penchant for telops and panoramic floors, Jean hailing the greatness of air conditioning, the Kermadec probe and shameless cross-series frame recycling. However, the list also contains some dubious, speculative and outright stupid forced similarities ("deep" character comparisons, Leliel = zebra?), so visitors are advised to proceed with caution.

The third Rebuild of Evangelion movie, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo also contains significant but subtle references to Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. Some of the more notable of these include:

  • Misato's redesign, her distant and cold personality, and her insistence on completing her mission no matter the cost all echo Nemo.
  • Likewise, Ritsuko fills a similar role to Elektra, and she also wears similar clothing.
  • Asuka, like Grandis, is 28 years old (as of 3.0), has red hair, comes from a position of power, and wears primarily red clothes.
  • Mari resembles Marie, both of them having blue eyes, reddish-brown hair, and cheerful personalities. Their names are similar in English and identical when written in kanji.
  • In Nadia: The Secret Of Blue Water, Nadia has a pet lion cub named King. While no animals are seen in Eva 3.0, Asuka's Beast Mode resembles a large cat such as a lion.
  • The AAA Wunder bears a distinct resemblance to the Neo Nautilus, as a flying vessel with an implied alien nature. The Wunder's launch sequence is a direct reference to that of the Neo Nautilus.


Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
How Shinji "evolved" from Nadia
The Blue Water - a cluster of souls?
Nadia's version of the Star Gate


Otaku no Video (おたくのビデオ)

The date of Second Impact, September 13th, comes from Otaku no Video (おたくのビデオ), a 1991 pseudo-documentary anime about the history of Studio Gainax and Japanese otaku in general: Otaku no Video in turn took the date and the backstory of the nuclear disaster from Gerry Anderson's classic 1975 science fiction series Space: 1999. Evangelion simply changed the year from 1999 to 2000.

Throughout Otaku no Video, placards with dates of (more or less) important world events are used to mark the frequent time skips in the show. The following translations of the placards are from AnimEigo's DVD subtitles:

March 18, 1982: Broadcast Premiere of "Magical Princess Minky Momo."
May 1, 1982: British Troops invade the Falkland Islands.
February 10, 1983: Six 16-year-old boys commit repeated assaults on homeless persons in Yokohama, killing 3 and injuring 13.
September 1, 1983: A Korean Airlines jet is shot down by a Soviet plane.
October 13, 1983: Court reaches verdict in the Lockheed-Marubeni bribery scandal.
October 13, 1983: Ex-Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka is sentenced to 4 years in prison.
July 7, 1984: Theatrical Premiere of "Super Dimension Fortress MACROSS: Love--Do You Remember?"
March 7, 1987: Theatrical Premiere of "The Royal Space Force (Wings of Honneamise)."
July 23, 1988: Self-Defense Forces submarine "Nadashio" and fishing boat "Dai-ichi Fuji Maru" collide and sink in Yokosuka Bay. 30 fatalities.
January 18, 1989: The Showa Emperor dies, ushering in the "Heisei" era.
September 13, 1999: An accidental explosion occurs at the Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility on the far side of the Moon.
May 5, 2035: Launching of "Eltrium," 5th-Generation Space Battleship.
Shameless Gainax self-plugging
Bye bye Moon
The world after 9-13


In the epilogue set in 2035 Tokyo has been flooded by raising sea levels, much like in Evangelion. Battleship Eltrium is a reference to Gunbuster. Other references to earlier works by Gainax staff include snippets of Daicon IV opening animation and Hideaki Anno's key animation sequences from Super Dimension Fortress Macross. A comprehensive list of the references can be found in AnimEigo's liner notes.

The Orphan Conversation (Nadia and Kare Kano)

Hideaki Anno has made multiple uses of what has been dubbed the "Orphan Conversation." Which always ends with some variation on "we're the same." We are placing this in its own section because it has both forward and backward looking references.

From Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water (Anno's series before Evangelion):

Jean Questions Nadia about her parents
It's the same with me
Nadia tells Jean she has no parents


(Jean and Nadia have just escaped from the Grandis Gang and are traveling down river by boat.)
Jean: "Where will you go now? Back to the circus?"
Nadia: "I can't go back."
Jean: "What about your folks?"
Nadia: "I don't have any."
Jean: "I see. It's the same with me."

From Neon Genesis Evangelion:

Shinji mentions Kensuke's mother
I'm the same as you, Ikari
Kensuke tells Shinji he has no mother


(Shinji has met Kensuke in the wilderness.)
Kensuke: "I really envy you. Living with such a beautiful woman and getting to pilot Evangelion. Oh, I wish I could get behind the controls just once!"
Shinji: "You'd better not. Your mother would be worried."
Kensuke: "Ah, that's okay. I don't have one."
Shinji: "Ah…"
Kensuke: "I'm the same as you, Ikari."

From Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo, aka Kare Kano, aka His and Hers Circumstances (Anno's series after Evangelion):

The kneeling girl pats the sandpile
Brings back the memories? It sure does!


(Yukino's parents, Hiroyuki and Miyako pass by three children in a sandbox with the ubiquitous pail and shovel.)

Miyako asks about Hiroyuki's parents; he has none.
Guess we're the same
Miyako tells Hiroyuki she has no mother


(In a flashback episode about Yukino's parents' courtship, Hiroyuki and Miyako are hiding on top of a public restroom while playing hide and seek.)
Miyako: "Hey, Hiro."
Hiroyuki: "Yeah?"
Miyako: "Hiro, is it true that you don't have a father or mother?"
Hiroyuki: "Yeah, that's right."
Miyako: "Um, you know? I don't have a mother either. Guess were the same."
Hiroyuki: "The same?"

Later Works by Gainax

Diebuster (トップをねらえ2!)

Diebuster, or Gunbuster 2, is an OVA from 2004 by Gainax. In episode 6, the final episode, there is an overt reference to Gendo putting his hand over Rei's left breast and it going inside her body.

Hand over left breast, then goes into body


FLCL/Fooly Cooly (フリクリ)

The Gainax/Production I.G. OVA Fooly Cooly (Furi Kuri or FLCL), naturally contains several Evangelion references.

In the second episode of the series, main character Naota Nandaba remarks that his father, Kamon, "wrote an ‘Eva’ book a long time ago."

Click for subtitles

In the third episode, Naota’s teacher "Miya-Jun" (Junko Miyaji) is seen wearing bandages similar to Rei Ayanami’s after an accident.

An injured Miya-Jun

Hideaki Anno also provides the vocal effects for Miyu Miyu, the Nandaba family cat.

Hanamaru Kindergarten (はなまる幼稚園)

Hanamaru Kindergarten is a 12 episode TV show by Gainax about a preschool that revolves around teacher Tsuchida and 3 of his students.

Misato Katsuragi's Renault Alpine A310 appears in episode 4 as a toy car:

Renault Alpine toy car

Episode 5 had more Evangelion references:

Evangelion toys

Tsuchida finds a machine filled with Evangelion toys.

He gets a Makoto Hyuga

He tries it out and gets a Makoto Hyuga toy. He keeps putting money into the machine hoping to get a Rei Ayanami.

He decides to throw one away

Later on, he decides he doesn't want one of them. It looks like he has an Asuka one in his hand as well.

What if 2nd Impact happens?

During the second half of Episode 5, Hiiragi is listing the possible reasons of a schoolmate, Yu, leaving as a reason for Koume to confess her feelings for him.

He Is My Master (これが私の御主人様)

From the anime He Is My Master, a 12 episode TV show by Gainax, there is a scene in episode 8 where several female characters from different productions of the studio show up as chibi-dolls on a shelf. The characters are:

  • Top left shelf: Glenda, Elmina, Yucie and Cocoloo from Petite Princess Yucie.
  • Middle left shelf: Mitsuki, Izumi and Anna from He is My Master.
  • Lower left shelf: Mayumi from Neon Genesis Evangelion: Second Impression, Misato, Asuka and Hikari.
  • Top right shelf: Mamimi from FLCL, Noriko from Gunbuster, and Nono and Tycho from Diebuster.
  • Middle right shelf: Patricia Burnmite (unofficial romanization, from パトリシア・バーンマイト), the main character from the Gainax-produced game Grapple Gear, with character design by Mine Yoshizaki; Mahoro and Minawa from Mahoromatic, and Melody from Melody of Oblivion.
  • Lower right shelf: Nadia from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Yukino from His and Her Circumstances, alternate reality Rei from Evangelion Episode 26, and Arumi from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi.
Several Evangelion characters show up as dolls


Also from episode 2, there is a quick shot of the inside of a computer room after Mitsuki unlocks a secret on her PC. The computer room looks exactly like the shot of the inside of the Magi computers in End of Evangelion when Misato is hacking to find Nerv's secrets, right down to the metal grating.

The inside of the computer room from Episode 2
The inside of the Magi from End of Evangelion


Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi (アベノ橋魔法☆商店街)

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi is a 13 episode series by Gainax that aired in April of 2002. In episode 3, when Satoshi realizes what's going on in this world, you can see grey Evangelion Unit-01 floating in space in the same fashion at the very end of End of Evangelion, with flowing hair. When Satoshi gets to pilot a combiner robot, the Evangelion background music, Decisive Battle, can be heard in the background.

During the brief flash of the "Anime Pyramid," you can see Eva-01's head in the 3rd tier. Other notable anime references here include mechs from Mobile Suit Gundam and Mazinger Z, Space Battleship Yamato, Tetsuo from Akira, the Scopedog from VOTOMS, a guardian robot from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and what seems like the robot Godmars. Other non-Eva related references in this episode include, among other things, several scenes spoofing 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ideon, a space station that looks exactly like Ultraman's face, references to Leiji Matsumoto's works, Gaiking, etc.

In episode 8, Satoshi's sister is seen running down the street, toast in mouth, wearing Rei's school uniform, saying "I'm late, I'm late," taken directly from the alternate reality in Episode 26 of the Evangelion TV Series.

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi
Eva-01 floating in space.
The Anime Pyramid
Sashi's sister doing her alternate reality Rei impression


Medaka Box (めだかボックス)

Medaka Box, a Gainax TV series from Spring 2012, is a fan-servicey school action/comedy. In the second season's episode 6, while Zenkichi Hitoyoshi is banging on some emergency shutters and wonders if they are "hiding an Evangelion" behind the shutters:

Zenkichi Hitoyoshi wonders what they're hiding behind the shutters

Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann (天元突破グレンラガン)

Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann is an anime by Gainax that aired in Japan from April to the November of 2007. In episode 6, the animators were said to have "gone crazy,"[2] dressing several females from other Gainax shows in bunny outfits similar to the Daicon III and IV animations, and then putting them in a bathhouse. The girls are, from left to right, Rei, Mahoro from Mahoromatic, Nono from Diebuster, Asuka, and Lal'c from Diebuster.

"Gainax bunnies" make an appearance as bathhouse hostesses

In episodes 24 and 26, Nia is depicted as a giant white figure in space. This is a possible reference to the giant Rei from End of Evangelion.

The Giant Naked Nia

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World (この醜くも美しい世界)

In episode 9 of This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, a 12 episode series produced by GAINAX (amongst others), the foriegn lush, Jennifer Portman, mimicked Misato drinking a beer. Normally, a chug and a yelp would be considered an unconfirmed reference. However, this one used nearly the same framing, camera angle, and motions as Misato, and being a show produced by GAINAX, it's very possible that this was an intentional tip of the hat to Evangelion.

Jenny Portman yelping after chugging her beer
Comparison shot of Misato in Episode 02

Works by Gainax alumni

Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill is an anime made by Gainax alumni- namely the Gurren Lagann creators, Hiroyuki Imaishi and Kazuki Nakashima.

Berserker Mode

Episode 12 features main characters Ryuko Matoi and Senketsu going berserk in a scene that is laden with both Evangelion and Gurren Lagann references. Notable examples of this are Senketsu's eyes turning into spirals, and Ryuko turning into a blood-stained monster that resembles a berserk, bloodied Eva-01.

Contact Experiment

In episode 6, we are treated to an exposition story of how a character was consumed during a "contact experiment" with life fibers. The consumption scene is garnished with the sparkly crosses which are the hallmark of life fiber activation, but that also bear a strange resemblance to the crosses from End of Evangelion.

Locations

In episode 13, the design of Ragyo Kiryuin's office is strongly reminiscent of Gendo's office.

Tearing your way out from inside

Ryuko tears off Junketsu from her body in Episode 21 in a manner nearly identical to the berserk Eva-01 tearing its way out of Leliel in Episode 16. She then stands drenched in her own blood while a shower of blood rains down upon her.

Losing your keys

Ragyo thrusts her hand into Ryuko's chest in episode 18, much in the same way that Gendo does to Rei in End of Evangelion. Ragyo also does this to herself in episode 24.

Ripping open an A.T. Field The scene where Gamagoori tears through the transmitter's barrier in Episode 24 is a direct reference to Eva-01 tearing its way through Sachiel's A.T. Field. The shot of Gamagoori from the back as he tears through the barrier and the image of his hands as they pull it apart are very obvious references.

Kill la Kill
Ryuko and Senketsu go berserk in the bloodiest way imaginable.
Those bulging eyes look awfully familiar...
Those sparkly crosses are familiar too!
Ragyo's office of fibrous evil
Gendo's office of doom and dread
What kind of monster did Ritsuko copy from?!?
Good lord, that's got to hurt.
Blood drops keep falling on her head...

Reflist

<references>

Tributes Pages
Tributes to Other Shows in Neon Genesis Evangelion | Tributes to Neon Genesis Evangelion in other Anime and Manga
Similarities to Neon Genesis Evangelion in other Anime and Manga | Tributes to Neon Genesis Evangelion in other Media
Gainax: Evangelion References and Cross References


  1. "An easily recognizable silhouette is also important, but I designed the characters so that their personalities could be more or less understood at a glance. For example, even the color and length of the hair expresses personality. I thought that Asuka would occupy the position of an "idol" in the Eva world, and that [Asuka and] Shinji should be just like the relationship between Nadia and Jean." -EVA If it weren't for Sadamoto – Redux Translation of interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto about designing the series.
  2. This is according to Hiroyuki Yamaga at the Fanime 2007 Gurren-Lagann panel, on the topic of how the character cameos "weren't scripted to turn out like that."