EVA-01 Entry Plug
Review by EVA_Unit_4A
This item appears here courtesy of Aoshima.
In 2015, Earth is under attack from mysterious, powerful beings called Angels. Their origins and goals are unknown, but the focus of their attacks are on the post-apocalyptic, high-tech metropolis of Tokyo-3- a city designed to be a hidden fortress for the secret headquarters of the United Nations special organization NERV. What makes the Angels such an imposing threat is their ability to project and manipulate AT Fields- natural, invisible, omni-directional defensive shields which cannot be penetrated by any physical attack or weapon, including the most powerful N2 bomb. Learning of the Angels’ existence years earlier, NERV constructed a small group of advanced biomechanical robots called Evangelions to fight the Angels. However, only 14 year old children are capable of merging their minds on a near-spiritual level with the 700’-tall armored humanoids. Shinji Ikari is only one of a select handful who has been able to accomplish this. ...But he does not care. He has been push aside and ignored ever since his father abandoned him when he was four years old. And he does not care if he dies or lives, or if humanity dies or lives. Together with two female pilots in their own EVA Units- the confident, confusing redhead Asuka Langley Shikinami; and the curiously silent, red-eyed, blue-haired Rei Ayanami- the abandoned son of NERV’s Supreme-Commander must face his inner demons and find the courage to go on protecting humanity while fighting to preserve what little is left of his own!
A full twelve years after its debut in 1995, the anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” has remained a staple in Japan as one of the most dramatic and controversial; its fan-base ever vigilant for debate, answers, and new material. 26 episodes for the original series ended with pains after behind-the-scenes difficulties forced it in a different-than-planned direction, and so two films- “Evangelion: Death and Rebirth” and “The End of Evangelion” (both 1997)- sought to fix the deflated final episodes, but succeeded only in adding fuel to the fire. And so, in 2006, Studio Khara- founded by Evangelion’s creator, Hideaki Anno- took on the challenge of refreshing the work that had been started by Studio Gainax over a decade earlier, and bringing it to full blossom on the big screen. No longer restricted by a limited TV budget, the four films collectively known as “Rebuild of Evangelion” cover the length of the entire series- inviting new viewers, pleasing previous fans, and expanding & trimming all 26 episodes into four bite-sized chunks. Additionally, acting as a type of reboot for the franchise, “Rebuild of Evangelion” seeks to rewrite the ending of the original series and further expand what was not possible before- including new special effects-sequences, more-detailed scenes, and generally grow from both the mistakes of its namesake & long-standing fan input.
. . .
The Entry Plug is the control center for the pilot of an Evangelion. They are inserted diagonally under an armored section on the back, directly between the shoulders and lock deep into the upper torso. Each one is a hardened cylinder over 60’ (20m) long and about 10’ (2.3m) in diameter, and only allows for one occupant at a time. When piloting an EVA, the Children are completely immersed in, and breath, the LCL manufactured at NERV Headquarters in Tokyo-3. This liquid serves two functions: to protect the Children against high-G forces when maneuvering, and provide a clearer mental & spiritual Synchronization between EVA and pilot. Within the confined space of the Entry Plug is a sled-like dark gray pilot’s seat with two joysticks that allow the Children to manipulate the EVA’s arms and hands more deftly than they could with their standard A10 nerve receptor headsets. Around the pilot’s seat is a full 360° projection of the outside environment transmitted from both cameras and the EVA’s own eyes. On the wrap-around screen, any number of heads-up display (HUD) operational & tactical information and visual communication channels can be shown. (Under natural lighting, LCL is light orange-toned, but when the projection is on, it becomes clear.)
As the survival of the Children is paramount to the defense of the world, Entry Plugs also act as escape pods. At the back end of each Entry Plug is a set of small solid-fuel rocket motors which are designed blast it hundreds of feet into the air away from an incapacitated EVA. Once clear of the combat zone, a white cap above the rockets separates, and a set of parachutes deploy to bring it slowly to the ground, and then rescue teams are dispatched for recovery. While a long sliding door across the top of an Entry Plug is usually used to enter & exit it, a small emergency exit hatch also exists forward of the pilot’s seat which has a fold-out manual handle.
This is the Entry Plug which is placed inside of Evangelion Unit-01, and is piloted by Shinji Ikari. Even though this display set is being released under the “Rebuild of Evangelion” banner in 2009, it is more-or-less identical to the one seen in the earlier TV series & sequel films. Other than the two-part display stand, it requires no assembly. For the special lighting effect, three AAA batteries (not included) are required. (There are no sound effects in this display set, only lights.)
The Entry Plug is 20¼” (51.5cm) long and 2 3/16” (5.5cm) in diameter... which makes this thing huge, and it really helps give you an idea of how big the EVAs are! (Not to mention how little space there is inside...) As a static display piece, its base white coloring with smaller red, gold, black, orange, and gray highlights may not gain much attention compared to its physical size, but the bland coloring does lend it credit for not being a toy-like gimmick- this is a practical function-before-form emergency vehicle and should not draw unwanted attention to itself as much as possible except to dispatched human teams.
For surface details, it’s nothing particularly elaborate. Perhaps the most intricate you’re gonna get is the small non-functioning emergency hatch on the left side, the red effects activation button at the back, and some vent-like holes along the front. Though it will obviously never emit smoke or light-up, the rocket vents along the back are shallow (as they should be) but have no hole(s) for the propellant to appear from, and I thought this was the only sticking point on the whole set. Printed details include the large identifying “EVA-01” across the upper left side, very tiny lettering on the emergency hatch, and a panel across the main hatch. To Aoshima’s credit, there are no visible seam lines or screws anywhere on this set except along the colored bands!
To access the cockpit, the main access hatch needs to be removed. The hatch has a thin metal strip running along the underside, and is held in place magnetically at both the front and back. (Be aware that the hatch does not snap or lock into place, so it will fall off if the Entry Plug is turned upside-down!) The walls of the cockpit section- unlike in all of the animated versions- is mirror-silver ABS plastic rather than light brown or dark orange; this specifically to emphasize the light-up feature. The curvy sled-like 6” (15cm)-long pilot’s seat is fixed to the inside and cannot be removed.
As in all of its on-screen appearances, the main hatch slides backwards across the top of the Entry Plug when access is needed to the inside. As when fixing the hatch to cover the hole, an additional magnet rests inside the rocket nozzle section on the top to which the cover can be placed. (I decided that it is fair for Aoshima to use a magnetic set-up rather than a mechanical one which may have been difficult to organize & execute without potential QA complaints from customers. It may not be anime-accurate in that regard, but it’s close enough.)
Unit-01’s Entry Plug seat is different from all of the others in one way: it has a lap belt-like extension coming from the central panel which cross over Shinji’s hips. To recreate this, a small removable piece fits into a hole between the slots for Shinji’s legs. Then, when the figure is placed inside, the lap-belt fits over his legs the same was.
Figure and Display Stand
It would have been unreasonable to produce an Entry Plug of this size and not include a figure of the Children. Thus a 2” (5.5cm) vinyl representation of Shinji Ikari reclined in his standard blue-&-white Plug Suit appears here. (I think the final size of the set was really dictated by how big the figure inside would be. I mean, if the set were half this size, he wouldn’t have even been an inch long!) The non-poseable figure is pose laying in a seated position with his arms reaching out for the control joysticks. (Ironically, when placed inside, his hands only barely touch said joysticks! Manufacturing error? I don’t know, but it's funny.) For its size, the figure is appropriately detailed and proportionate (though I will say his feet are angled downward kinda painfully).
As mentioned earlier, the display stand is made of three ABS plastic parts- a clear support arm, cradle, and a transparent-orange base which is meant to emulate the octagonal appearance of an AT Field being hit. (Ch-- c’mon... what Evangelion single-figure or bust hasn’t used an imitated AT Field for its base!? Oh, well- can’t argue with tradition, I suppose.) Along the inside of the cradle are two small raised circles which fit with two indents along the bottom of the Entry Plug. When put on display, the Entry Plug will sit comfortably in the cradle, but be aware that it does not snap into place; if you bump it in just a way, it will slide out or fall over! However, if not disturbed, the Entry Plug is carefully balance and will sit soundly in place.
While the elaborate light show and images that the Children see inside the Entry Plug cannot be recreated, some of the general lighting can be. Inside the cockpit section are four LEDs- two of them are clear, and the other two are orange. (The clear ones are just for the sake of showing off the interior of this display piece, while the orange represents the LCL liquid that the pilots breath and are surrounded by at all times.) These are placed alternately at the front and back of the inside. When the red activation button along the back cap of the Entry Plug is pressed once, the clear LEDs inside will slowly turn on. Then, after about 15 seconds, they will dim slowly, and the orange LEDs will switch on automatically. The set will then switch back and fourth in this manner until you press the red activation button again. (Thinking that it may turn itself off after a short time, I let it run to see what would happen. After twelve minutes, it kept on going, so I’m assuming that it will go forever until the batteries run out.)
Also, be aware that when you try to turn it off, it will not immediately go out; instead it will wait for the current coloring cycle to finish and then power down, so don’t be impatient!
This is unquestionably a collector’s piece. Why do I say that? Well, other than its size and the built-in LEDs this is an important if unglamorous component of an Evangelion Unit that, until now, was never represented physically any larger than one-and-a-half inches long! They would come in a model or poseable figure or glimpsed in a static display, and would be very simple, very tiny, and would often get lost. (Hell- they give ya three of ‘em in Bandai’s Soul of Chogokin sets because they would literally spring out of their sockets!) And so to get a large and accurately-detailed representation of the EVA’s cockpit & escape pod is a welcome addition. Perhaps the only negative side to these is their size, and maybe that there’s no scenery on the walls inside (though the latter can be explained away in favor of reflectivity for the LEDs). This is definitely a piece for the absolute-hardcore EVA fan out there. And while priced just-shy of $90, it is because we have never had a larger-sized representation of them that makes it worth it, and I find the internal sculpts to be of sufficient quality as well. And so, I recommend getting the EVA-01 Entry Plug set; it is very much worth it.
|Posted 13 June, 2009 - 00:54 by EVA_Unit_4A|