The episode begins with Shinji in training to pilot his Eva. The shot begins in red, flashes a few colors, before settling on a natural lighting. Notice that the bags under his eyes disappear under the normal lighting. While he looks noticeably tired under the different colors, his fatigue disappears under natural light. A subtle way to express how he projects himself to others, versus how he feels inside. ("This is the me that exists in your mind")
As the scene continues, Ritsuko lectures him on the workings of the Eva. Emphasis is placed on the monotony of the routine. "Position the target in the center. Pull the Trigger". He's not enjoying what he's doing, but rather he's doing it because he's been told to. Ritsuko and Maya even discuss as much. We soon get another glimpse at Shinji's fatigue, this time the shadows under his eyes are created by his hair, the angles of which mimick bags under eyes.
The next morning, Shinji gets ready and leaves for school. Notice how clean the apartment is since we've last seen it! Shinji is no slob. Misato's room is still clearly a mess however.
Misato and Ritsuko have a conversation about Shinji over the phone, while we're shown shots of Shinji and other students from the school. Notice the distance he places between himself and the other students. This is when Ritsuko explains the Hedgehog's Dillemma. We get a lot of shots of students interacting with each other, enjoying each others company. If you look closely though, there are a few loners in the crowd too. Also, are those Shinji clones in the second to last image??
Before moving on, let's examine this shot of Ritsuko's desk we see during the conversation as well. Ritsuko occasionally wears purple lipstick. I wonder if the black and white cats are there to symbolize her duality, between that of friend and that of a mad scientist working for Nerv.
Back to the classroom. We're introduced to our school trio, Hikari, Kensuke and Toji. Hikari and Kensuke discuss possible injuries from the Angel attack, and Toji walks in a moment later confirming that his sister was one of the injured. One thing I noticed is that Shinji can be seen in the background in many of these shots. Given that they're talking about him, and we know how sensitive he is to that sort of thing, I wonder if Shinji is eavesdropping on them? I know he has his headphones on, but it's a simple thing to turn the volume off and listen. I do it all the time in my day to day life.
The teacher arrives, class begins. Shinji receives a message from a classmate, asking if he's the pilot. He looks around and sees the sender is a girl! What, a girl paying attention to him? Well, of course he's going to respond positively. And as a result, he gets embarrassed by the entire classroom. Perfect example of the Hedgehog's Dilemma at play. He was tempted by the possibility of friendship by another, opened up a little, and as a result was left completely exposed to the classroom. Oh, and he also gets beat up because of it. Lesson here, kids, is to have no friends.
As Shinji is left there, bruised and on the ground, we see the mysterious blue hair girl come and approach him. For the first time she speaks, and she calmly informs Shinji that there's an emergency before running off. Weirdo. The camera shoots her from below, giving us Shinji's POV, but also giving her a distorted, unsettling appearance, emphasizing her mystery.
And that's all I have time for now. Will have the rest of the episode posted sometime this week. I'll perhaps start splitting the episodes into multiple posts and post them throughout the week of the episode.