WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim Uprising, in theaters now.
Pacific Rim fans finally had their patience rewarded this week, as the movie's long-awaited sequel is now playing in theaters nationwide. The five-year wait may have proven painful to Jaeger Faithful, but half a decade is nothing compared to the amount of time fans of another beloved mecha franchise, Neon Genesis Evangelion, have endured just to see the series adapted to live-action, period.
Fortunately for fans of both properties, Pacific Rim Uprising proves that the two projects aren't so mutually exclusive. The sequel not only works perfectly as a faithful followup to Guillermo del Toro's original film, but also gives Evangelion fans the live-action adaptation they've so desperately been seeking -- unofficially, of course.
Best of Both Worlds
Fans of Hideaki Anno's Neon Genesis Evangelion have been drawing similarities between the popular anime and Pacific Rim since the original film's debut, with many making note of how each Kaiju series makes use of a special gel that connects pilots to their respective mecha. The callback has since been proven incidental by Guillermo del Toro himself, but the introduction of a brand new monster in DeKnight's sequel definitively hammers home a connection between Jaeger and Evangelion tech: the Kaiju-Jaeger hybrid.
In Uprising, our heroes eventually come into contact with cutting edge Jaeger drones that have been hijacked. While it initially seems that the mecha are being remotely controlled by an unknown individual who plans to use the tech for devious purposes, peeling open the cockpit of one reveals that the monstrosities are in fact being controlled by Kaiju brains. The hybrids are simultaneously machine and organic, an aspect that will definitely ring some bells in the minds of Evangelion fans.
In the anime series, the Evangelions are more cyborg than machine, with each consisting of a mostly biological entity that has been outfitted with a mechanized shell and weaponry. Each hybridized Eva matches up with a pilot directly through a psychological link (very similar to Pacific Rim's drift compatibility), enabling the mecha to become the controller's avatar. The Kaiju-Jaeger hybrids in Pacific Rim Uprising are essentially the same design, albeit with a much more deadly entity at the controls.