Today is the much-anticipated opening of Pacific Rim: Uprising, the sequel to the popular 2013 Guillermo Del Toro Mech/Kaiju film. Over the course of the last week, I kept thinking about the influences of the original film and the fact that Del Toro did the film not just as a love letter to his beloved monsters, but also as a tribute to Kaiju and Mecha. I kept thinking about the long list of anime that featured the concept of Kaju and Mecha doing battle and it quickly became clear that if I was going to do a fancast for an anime featuring these concepts, Neon Genesis Evangelion was a perfect choice to do so. I began to go over the characters and the story and I knew that this anime would be the perfect fancast to do not only in honor of the Pacific Rim franchise but also in honor of Kaiju and Mechas. So without further ado here is my fancast for one of the most iconic anime ever, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Ryosuke Yamada as Shinji Ikari
Shinji is the series protagonist which means that much of the story centers around him and the complexities of his life and struggles. Shinji is the pilot of the series most recognizable mecha which is known as Evangelion Unit-01 or Eva 01 for short. Shinji is the son of Nerv Commander Gendo Ikari. The two have a tumultuous relationship as Gendo sent Shinji away after the death of his mother. The death of Shinji’s mother greatly affected and continues to affect the relationship that he and his father have. He holds the rank of 3rd Children as Eva pilots are referred to as “Children” even when it’s a singular pilot. Over the course of the series, we see Shinji advance not just as a person but as an Eva pilot. I chose Ryosuke Yamada to portray Shinji due to his portrayal of Edward Elric in the Japanese live action Full Metal Alchemist adaptation.
Takeshi Kaneshiro as Gendo Ikari
Gendo is the commander of NERV and the father of Shinji Ikari. Gendo played a huge part in the development of the Evangelion as well as the Human Instrumentality Project. After the loss of his wife Yui Ikari, Gendo abandoned their son Shinji with his sensei who would come to raise the boy. Years later Gendo would call Shinji to Tokyo-3 in order to pilot Eva Unit-01. While he is a brilliant scientist and politician Gendo is an awful parent, having been cold, distant, and downright mean to the very son that he had already abandoned. He works hard and diligently not just for his organization but also towards the goals that he has. Gendo is ruthless and has no issue doing what must be done to accomplish his goals. I chose the amazing Takeshi Kaneshiro to portray Gendo because I’d like to see him play an extremely intelligent character willing to do anything to get what he wants.
Satomi Ishihara as Rei Ayanami
Rei is one of the series protagonists and one of Shinji’s fellow Eva pilots. She is the 1st Children and the pilot of the Eva Unit-00. While not much is known about Rei’s origins, which is know is that she was born deep within the headquarters of NERV from the remains of Yui Ikari after her absorption into Shinji’s Eva Unit-01. She was originally characterized as enigmatic, antisocial, and emotionless, however, as the series progresses so does her emotional state. Rei begins to develop relationships with other characters and we get to see a more emotional side to the character. I chose the talented Satomi Ishihara to portray Rei because I think it would do a good job of portraying the core aspects of the character.
Kiki Sukezhane as Asuka Langley Sohryu
Asuka Langley Sohryu is one of the series main characters and another of Shinji and Rei’s fellow Eva Pilots. She is the 2nd Children and the pilot of Eva Unit-02. She is only a quarter Japanese which results in her European appearance, but Japanese last name. German culture and language play heavily into Asuka’s character, but I decided to put a spin on the German aspects of the character. Rather than making her a quarter Japanese I thought it would be better to cast a full Japanese actress and change the character’s backstory. Rather than having her be mostly German, what if the character is a Japanese military child who spent most of her life in Germany. I chose Kiki Sukezhane to portray Asuka.
Rinko Kikuchi as Misato Katsuragi
Misato is one of the series main characters, she is the Operations Manager of NERV originally holding the rank of Captain, but she is later promoted. She acts as the guardian of Shinji Ikari, choosing to have him move in with her rather than live on his own in Tokyo-3. Misato was originally tasked with bringing Shinji to Tokyo-3 in order to have him pilot Unit-01 at the behest of his father. As the series progresses Misato also brings Asuka Langley Sorhryu to live with her as well. In her professional life, Misato is the perfect picture of order and professionalism which was the complete opposite of her personal life which was an absolute mess. Over the course of the series, Misato learns the truth about NERV and the depths that they’re willing to go to cover up their secrets. I chose the amazing Rinko Kikuchi to portray Misato because this seems like the perfect role for her.
Tao Okamoto as Ritsuko Akagi
Ritsuko is NERV’s head scientist and she is heavily involved with the maintenance of Tokyo-3’s defense against the Angels, most specifically the Eva. She is the daughter of the original head scientist of NERV who helped to develop the Evas, Naoko Akagi. In many ways, Ritsuko lives in her mother’s shadow because she both admires her and can’t stand her mother. Ritsuko’s mother not only helped to develop the Evas, but she also helped develop the Magi supercomputer system. She is a workaholic who is very dedicated and stoic in her approach to her work. She and Rei share a very detached attitude, which gets contrasted with Misato’s attitude quite frequently in the series. I chose Tao Okamoto to portray the character because she is great at playing characters who are very stoic and hardworking.
Ryan Potter as Toji Suzuhara
Toji is the 4th Children and the pilot of Eva Unit-03. He is the stereotypical jock and rebel which is expressed by his defiance of the school dress code. When his younger sister was injured in a battle between Unit-01 and an Angel, he beats Shinji up after finding out that he is the Eva’s pilot. However, as the series progresses the two become friends. I chose Ryan Potter to portray Toji because he just very much felt like the character. He felt like he could give off that tough guy/jock energy and provide a great contrast to Ryosuke’s Shinji.
Haruma Miura as Kaworu “Tabris” Nagisa
Kaworu is both the 5th Children as well as the 17th Angel of the series. He was sent to NERV by SEELE as the replacement pilot for Asuka after her synchronization ratio falls below the acceptable level. He asks for Shinji to destroy him after he breaks into Terminal Dogma in an attempt to return to his creator Adam only to find out that the being held there is Lilith rather than Adam. It is revealed in the series that Kaworu is a seed of life living within a human body. He is the result of unknown human DNA making contact with the flesh of Adam. I chose Haruma Miura to portray Kawora because I believe he would be able to perfectly portray the core characteristics of the character.
Hiro Kanagawa as Kozo Fuyutsuki
Kozo is the right-hand man of Gendo Ikari. He is the 2nd in command of NERV HQ and is the Deputy Commander of the organization. It is revealed that Kozo at one point was a Professor of Metaphysical biology at Kyoto University where he would meet the mother of Shinji Ikari, Yui Ikari, and become her “sensei”. Little did he know he would eventually become the right-hand man to Yui’s future husband Gendo Ikari. Kozo has no problem taking control of any situation that requires it. I chose Hiro Kanagawa to portray Kozo because of his work on Altered Carbon.
Ken Watanabe as Keel Lorenz
Keel Lorenz is the leader of the mysterious SEELE Organization, an organization which very little is known about. Keel Lorenz acts as the head of the Human Instrumentality Committee which directly oversees NERV’s Evangelion project. The organization acts as a shadow organization manipulating the UN and world governments. Keel Lorenz is one of the series main antagonists and would prove to be a perfect villain for a live-action adaptation. I chose Ken Watanabe to portray Keel Lorenz due to his ability to portray fleshed out multilayered characters.
In conclusion, Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most iconic examples of the Mecha/Kaiju genre of anime. In an era of live action anime adaptations and Pacific Rim, this seems like the most logical anime to make the jump to the big screen. The anime is full of vivid and fleshed out characters that would make for amazing roles for actors to portray. The opportunity for cinematography and visuals is absolutely perfect. Also before I go I would love to give a shoutout to the amazing @britany_murphs for creating the amazing graphics in this fancast.