Classic Cult Anime Evangelion Gets the VR Treatment

Image Credit: Bandai Namco (Fair Use Doctrine)
Image Credit: Bandai Namco (Fair Use Doctrine)

Back in 1995 the world of Japanese animation (or Anime) was taken by storm when a hot new show hit the airwaves. Neon Genesis Evangelion tells the story of a young boy named Shinji Ikari and the world-shaking responsibility put onto his shoulders.

Evangelion was a deconstruction of the popular and trope-filled mecha anime genre. It was an awesome subversion that starts of in the expected ways but quickly descends into a psychological thriller that leaves one questioning the nature of reality.

Now, if you live in the right part of the world, you can experience what it’s like to pilot an “Eva” for yourself, with a simulated VR Evangelion game.

Get in the Eva

Image Credit: Bandai Namco (Fair Use Doctrine)
Image Credit: Bandai Namco (Fair Use Doctrine)

Ironically, in the show itself Shinji is highly-reluctant to enter the giant biological machine that holds the key to saving the world from invading creatures called “angels”. Over the course of the series Shinji becomes more and more emboldened, only for everything to go downhill from there. If you’ve never seen Evangelion we won’t spoil it any further, but suffice it to say that this show is as fresh now as it was more 20 years ago.

Getting Your Head in the Game

Image Credit: Bandai Namco (Fair Use Doctrine)
Image Credit: Bandai Namco (Fair Use Doctrine)

The game itself uses a physical replica of the “throne of souls”, which is basically the pilot’s seat in the show. Luckily the VR sim does not require that you be drowned in breathable fluid, as the characters in the story had to endure.

Players can control their stompy death machine with physical controls that are built into the seat. That seat also provides force feedback and shakes and shudders in response to events in the game.

For fans of the show the creators seem to have gone to great lengths when it comes to authenticity. The iconic and dramatic elements of the show all seem to be there. Even a simulation (thankfully) of the liquid immersion process.

A Lucky Few

Since this is an elaborate VR experience it’s obviously not available worldwide. In order to try the game out you’ll have to be at the 2017 VR ZONE conference in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The Evangelion VR game will open up to attendees on the 13th of June 2017.

Whether an Oculus-compatible version of the game will be released for home users either in Japan or worldwide remains to be seen. This appears to be an arcade game with a limited run time and only a single battle, but for hardcore fans with the means to get there finally sitting in the big chair could be a dream come true.

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