Finally got around to reading this.
Very fun and interesting read. To finally get a clue behind the production of the Rebuild films is a real delight and well.... it doesn't seem to be any different from the way Hollywood works with established franchises. A lot of ideas thrown about, some practical & interesting, most out of place not really fitting the established universe.
To me, this is incredibly depressing. They really are just randomly tossing around ideas. What happened to the new idea and vision for Eva that Anno claimed lead to the initiation of this project?
So far, the big changes seem to be motivated by toyinetics more than anything else.
Though I got to say from the readings I'm getting the image that Anno & Khara really have no place for Asuka in this version of Evangelion. She's too demanding a personality. If only the production staff had the balls to take a true risk and say "Asuka just won't work here, so she doesn't exist in this universe". But of course that's a no-win scenario.
Once again, commercial considerations win out. The thing that drives Eva's popularity and merchandising sales, more than the mechs, are the characters, and there are too many Asuka fans out there that they'd be afraid of alienating. But if cutting her would have caused fanboys heartache, at least it would have been a decision made for artistic reasons. As it is, it seems that she exists to be marginalized so the focus can be pushed away from her. If the story Khara wanted to tell didn't involve Asuka, they should have been honest and excluded her from the films.
But what makes it all the more baffling is that the story very well could
have involved Asuka. A new character drives merchandising, so it was deemed necessary, but Khara lacked the courage to actaully shake things up. Mari replaces Asuka, yet both characters were included so the series could be as profitable as possible.
Maybe Asuka will be revealed to have major importance in the following installments, and maybe Mari really is going to bring something new to the table (her agent activities point in this direction), but money appears to be the force driving the 'creative decisions' here. Anno, what happened to you?