The anime/merchandising franchise Evangelion is one of the few animated series, like One Piece or Gundam, to have achieved true cultural mainstream status in Japan. Even people who have never watched an episode of the TV series (or seen an installment of the movie, or read a chapter of the comic, or played one of the pachinko machine adaptations, or shaved with one of the Eva razors, or eaten one of the Eva burgers… like we said, franchise) can recognize its iconic characters and giant robots.
It wasn’t always like that, though. When Evangelion (or simply Eva, as its fans call it) began airing in 1995, its robot designs took some getting used to. Whereas most anime robots were inspired by a body builder’s physique, Eva’s machines had an almost gangly appearance, with lanky limbs, stooped posture, and what appeared to be tennis shoes. Their fragile look would turn out to be a perfect match for the psyches of their teenaged pilots, but things didn’t start out that way, as shown in Eva’s early planning portfolio. Read More