A youngster who dwells on pop culture to the point where this easily outweighs social life? Japan has a name for this, especially when it involves manga (comic books) and anime (animations): otaku. And few titles were more important in building this culture than Neon Genesis Evangelion, a mecha (machines controlled by people) anime TV series that originally aired in 1995. Its creator, Hideaki Anno, revisited the work a decade later when the Rebuild of Evangelion series was born, with its fourth and final movie having been released in March this year. So, what does this universe, which involves biomechanical humanoids controlled by teenagers fighting mystic creatures known as “Angels”, have to do with racing at Le Mans?
This is where the rendering sitting on our screens enters the stage, with the work imagining a prototype racecar designed for a standout Eva pilot named Mari Makinami Illustrious.
Like most racecars from the real world, the one portrayed in this pixel stunt has four wheels. It’s just that it adds a pair of wheels at the back for extra traction!
Fans of the series will tell you Mari is the only one who actually enjoys piloting rather than simply doing it to save Earth from the cataclysms-causing Angels we mentioned above. So it makes sense for her to receive another type of machine, even though this fights against the stopwatch rather than being used in combat, doesn’t it?
For one, back in 2016, Anno encouraged other creators to bring their takes on the Eva universe, aiming for the expansion of this realm, an open approach that, for instance, has pushed another series of the sort (that would be Gundam) to new heights.
You might already be familiar to the work of the artist who created this piece, plus some Gundam goodies he made
The artist responsible for the work is Walter Kim, whose work you can see in Call of Duty games or various titles from DreamWorks Animation.
The LA-based pixel master built this LMP1 racecar (more on the class below) around the features of the Evangelion Unit-08 that Mari handles in Rebuild of Evangelion, even though a motorsport fan’s first thought when seeing the dominant shade here might go to Porsche’s Pink Pig livery.
The rendering is part of a series that has seen Kim, who is currently on a freelance journey, dreaming up F1 cars for other mecha pilots that are part of the said Gundam franchise, as he explains on Instagram (you can check out an example in the second post below).
“No way I was going to leave out Mari’s ride. I thought it would be appropriate for her to have her own unique vehicle based on an LMP1 race car. She joins the other EVA pilots later in the remakes and that’s my reason for not giving her an F1 machine,” the artist states.
Come to think of it, rebuilding the Evangelion series via three movies that tell a different version of the original story, plus a fourth one delivering an alternative ending, is a bit like endurance racing is working to reinvent itself these days—with the top-tier LMP1 category and the next-in-line LMP2 having strayed from the glory of Le Mans’ old days, fresh Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh classes are being introduced to once again link these beasts to road cars (LMH) and reduce costs, so small teams can enter the arena alongside big names of the industry.
Besides, as the other Eva pilots, Mari is about 14 or 15 years old, so we can look to the real world and mention Ken Block’s daughter Lia—this 14yo has shown on repeated occasions (i.e., sliding the hell out of her dad’s 1,400 hp Hoonicorn Mustang) that we’re talking about a perfect age for handling high-powered beasts.
Update (January 2, 2022): Walter Kim has dreamt up yet another Evangelion machine, turning Misato Katsuragi’s Alpine A310 (this one was actually in the series) into a Time Attack beast.