Set in an apocalyptic world, where humanity’s only chance for survival against the giant monsters that threaten the world, are gigantic humanoid mecha, each controlled by two pilots whose minds are joined by a neural bridge. If you have thought about Neon Genesis Evangelion, then you were not the only one. I am talking about the new movie that appeared on 12 July this year, titled Pacific Rim.
This movie is the talk of the Internet among otakus right now because of the few similarities it shares with the aforementioned Neon Genesis Evangelion and a few others mecha anime like Ultraman Mazinger Z or Gundam. But the one that seems to pop in your mind, at the beginning of the movie seems to be Evangelion. This movie draws heavily on the kaiju and mecha sub-genres, which is good, because this will refresh the new generations of otakus that don’t know the mecha feel.
What links the movie and the anime together are the similarities they share so, let’s talk a little about them!
First of all, the epic fights between robots and giant monsters
I am well aware that this is not a defining trait of Evangelion, however, fighting against Pacific Rim’s Angels (a.k.a. Kaiju) is the first thing that made me-and apparently a lot other anime fans- think about the anime; even though some of the robots take more after those of the Gundam series as opposed to those from Evangelion. But that may be just me.
The mind linking between the two pilots that control the Jaegers
Now this is a defining trait of Eva: the part where the two pilots must develop an intimate connection with one another to do well in battle. This is something that has led many people to think about the anime series, because the coincidence is just too big to ignore.
The way pilots use some sort of fluid-like type of liquid to induce their link with the machines
This is also a strong enough coincidence to take you back to the Evangelion series. But this doesn’t actually prove anything because this could have happened in any mecha creation (I guess fluids are a very important part in the future of humanity in this sub-genre, because I have seen this idea in other movies and books). However, the way the way their machines are being transported off shore by aircrafts, to fight monsters that come from the bottom of the ocean – sounds familiar?
Well, this is not that strong a similarity, but I listed it just for my selfish reasons. You can see in the movie a glimmer of romance between the pilots, even though it is under a foggy veil. I really enjoyed the romance in Evangelion and I was actually hoping that the same thing would be reflected in the movie as well. But all I got was a little hug at the end of the movie. But hey, still a better romance than Twilight! (I kid the Twilight fans! That was a good movie too)
Although there are many similar elements between Pacific Rim and Neon Genesis Evangelion, the screenwriter Travis Beacham said on Twitter that, even though he loved Evangelion, he didn’t take his inspiration from it; on the contrary, he had already written Pacific Rim long before he saw the anime series. The anime series which influenced him was Tetsujin 28 (Gigantor in the US) – and this was in his childhood.
Just to be clear, the elements that the movie and the anime series have in common are way too small and reduced in number to call Pacific Rim a copy of the anime. If you will look closely, del Toro doesn’t use elements from the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. He uses what stands at the base of the mecha and kaiju sub-genres. Saying that these two are the same is like saying that, just because there were robots in the movie, they tried to copy Power Rangers. Plus, the differences between the two (which are represented by the movie as a whole, excluding the similarities listed above) should be taken into consideration as well. The balance shifts, in an obvious way, in their favor.
A lot of fights between fans of the movies and fans of the anime broke out on the Internet because of this slight resemblance they share, however, I don’t really see what is there to fight about. They both belong to the mecha sub-genre, thus, it was bound to share some elements. I honestly think that mecha fans were actually really happy that they finally have a good movie to compare to the anime, and they just used this as an excuse to release their pent up frustration and show their excitement (no pun intended).
In conclusion, despite this slight indigo effect between the movie and Evangelion, Pacific Rim is different through many aspects that I won’t share with you to avoid spoilers at all cost, but similar enough to make you nostalgic (if you have already seen the anime). Try the movie and definitely try the anime because Evangelion stands at the core the mecha anime production thanks to its ample plot. And when I say ample I mean that there are religious, psychological and philosophical themes mixed with giant robots versus giant monsters epic fights (what more could you ask?). And this way, you will be able to see and enjoy the similarities, while the movie takes you on an epic journey to a world where humanity creates monsters, to defeat monsters. Brace yourself and see one of the most interesting mecha movies out there with the thrilling robot vs. monster fights, and let your eyes be amazed and your fists clenched, while you enjoy them along with the cutting edge special effects.
Until then, I will leave you a short YouTube fan video below, in which you will be able to compare scenes from Pacific Rim and Evangelion. Cheers!