For reasons that I won’t get into, I’ve seen The End of Evangelion five times over the last six months, and at no point during this self-flagellation did I think “You know, I’d really like to raise one of these Angels as if it were my own child.” (My thoughts were more along the lines of “How is this happening again?” and “I’m going to become the Joker.”) Apparently I’m in the minority though, because Bandai has teamed up with Eva studio Khara, Inc. to produce three special Neon Genesis Evangelion-themed Tamagotchi units, set for launch in Japan (presumably through a series of enormous underground elevators) on June 13.
The three designs, seen above, are based on the first three EVA units from the series and films, as well as the “plugsuit” uniform of their associated pilots: Rei Ayanami’s EVA Unit-0 Prototype, Shinji Ikari’s EVA Unit-01 Test Type, and Asuka Sohryu/Langley’s EVA Unit-02 Production Type. Presumably, these Tamagotchi will operate for longer than five minutes on battery power.
I’ve had to made some inferences about the features of the these new Tamagotchi — or EVATCHI, as the official website calls them — on account of not being able to read Japanese, but a few things are obvious. First off, EVATCHI don’t contain the usual critters that Tamagotchi have historically allowed folk to raise. Instead, players start with an Adam-like fetus that grows into one of the many Angel creatures from the series, including such fan favorites as Israfel, Sachiel, Shamshel, Zeruel, Matarael, Ramiel, and Sahaquiel. The website also shows sprites for Rei Ayanami and Kaworu Nagisa, but again, the language barrier prevents me from knowing if these characters are part of the available pet pool, or if they serve some other purpose.
You may also notice that, unlike other modern Tamagotchi, which feature comparatively higher resolution color screens, the new EVATCHI hearken back to the good ol’ days of Game Boy-style green and black dot-matrix displays. This was probably a cost-saving measure (these new units should only cost about $25, compared to the $50 price of a modern Tamagotchi), but it’s also a fun callback to the virtual pet technology that was most prevalent when Neon Genesis Evangelion first uprooted anime in the late 1990s.
Considering the price and the lo-fi screen to relax/study to, it’s probably a safe bet that EVATCHI units won’t have wireless connectivity like high-end, modern Tamagotchi. But like, that’s fine? These things seem like they were brought forward in time by 20 years — fun merchandise from an alternate universe’s 1998 that somehow washed up on the shores of our rapidly crumbling timeline. As a Tamagotchi purist, I don’t think I would want one of these to be any more advanced than it is.
There’s no word on a western release, so Evangelioids and/or Tamagotcheads looking to snag one of these will probably have pay an import premium and order through eBay, or one of the many otaku websites that cater to these exact needs. My main question is, what is the ideal end goal of raising an Angel? With a normal Tamagotchi you just want your pet to be happy and healthy, but that’s not really what Angels are all about. Am I roleplaying Gendo Ikari by owning one of these? Will LCL pour out if I crack it open? Does an EVA show up and murder my Angel if I neglect it for too long? I may not actually be ready for this.