We learn a hard lesson about being good parents while trying to take care of our little Angel.

It’s a testament to the wide variety of Japanese pop culture that late-‘90s debuts of psyche-scarring anime Evangelion and adorable virtual pet Tamagotchi came only 13 months apart from one another, and both went on to become global hits. So if there’s a place in this world for Evangelion, and a place for Tamagotchi, why shouldn’t there also be a place for Evangelion Tamagotchi?

We have no answer to that, and that’s how we ended up buying ourselves one of toymaker Bandai’s brand-new Evatchis when they came out this month.

Officially, it’s called the General-Purpose Egg-Type Ultimate Weapon Evatchi, sort of like how Evangelion is officially titled Neon Genesis Evangelion. Announced back in the spring, we’d been waiting two months to get our hands on an Evatchi, and though they’re also available in red and white varieties (saluting characters Asuka and Rei), we opted for a purple Evangelion Unit-01 model.

Much like Daiso light-up poop sticks, the Evatchi comes with a charged battery, and you pull out a strip of tape to power it on. The three physical buttons along the bottom (for cycling through options, confirming, and canceling) might seem outdated in our increasingly touchscreen world, but just like Shinji’s in-anime tape player, they’re also a charming retro touch.

While the Evatchi itself has the color scheme of an Evangelion, what you’re actually raising are Angels, the anime’s bizarre yet devastatingly powerful aliens bent of bringing about the end of humanity. After pulling out the tape, you enter the current time and date, and then you’re presented with your Angel, who’s still in fetus form at this stage.

Like all Tamagotchis, Evatchis require regular care to grow up healthy and happy, so now we had to decide who was going to be our Angel’s primary caregiver. Asking around, we found out that our ace reporter Mr. Sato managed to somehow completely miss out on the Tamagotchi craze the first time around, and had never had one of his own, so he volunteered.

While the initial concept of the Tamagotchi is a virtual pet, being presented with an Angel fetus instead stirred parental instincts in Mr. Sato, and he began to think of himself as the Angel’s father.

“It’s me, otou-san. Grow up big and strong!”

After breaking out of its egg, Mr. Sato’s Angel child had needs that had to be met. Occasionally its LCL liquid environment gets dirty and has to be changed. It’ll also get cranky when it gets hungry, so Mr. Sato had to be ready to provide it with S2 engines and watermelon slices to eat, since pseudoscience energy sources and fresh fruit are apparently both important parts of the Angel food pyramid.

After about half a day, Mr. Sato’s Angel crawled into a cocoon, in order to begin metamorphosis into its final form. His emotions a bittersweet mixture of sadness and pride that his alien child was growing up, Mr. Sato waited patiently. “I hope he grows into Ramiel, the Fifth Angel” Mr. Sato admitted, expressing his fondness for the flying, laser-shooting octahedron that almost kills all of humanity in episode six of the TV series and the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie.

Half a day later, the Angel emerged from its cocoon to reveal that it had become…

…Shamshel, the Fourth Angel! While it wasn’t the Ramiel Mr. Sato had been hoping for, it was still pretty cool, and this super-deformed, palm-sized version has its own special cuteness.

However, later in the day Mr. Sato ran into a problem. Remember how we said looking at the Angel fetus had awakened paternal feelings in him? Combined with the Evangelion atmosphere, this made him act a little to much like Gendo Ikari, the emotionally distant and unsupportive father of Eva’s protagonist Shinji. For half a day, Mr. Sato neither attended to or even looked at his Angel son, and when he finally did…

… Shamshel had sealed itself off behind an AT Field!

“Ah, come on Shamshel, don’t be like that!” Mr. Sato pleaded. “I raised you to be tougher than that!” But like a sullen teenager who refuses to come out of their room, no amount of verbal coaxing would convince Shamshel to lower its AT Field. However, if left behind its AT Field for too long, the Evatchi Angels will die, so Mr. Sato had to repeatedly tap the left button on the unit to break through the barrier and reunite with his Shamshel.

▼ We were so worried about you!

Since this incident, Mr. Sato has been taking better care of his Shamshel, hitting the far right button to call it out and play with it, which is keeping it in a friendlier mood. He’s also occasionally getting surprise visits from some of the human Eva cast members, and hears that under certain conditions the Magi supercomputer system can even appear.

Maybe a father-son trip to see the life-size Evangelion statue in Kyoto when it opens this summer is in order, and if you’d like to follow Mr. Sato into inter-species parenthood, the Evatchi can be purchased for 2,737 yen (US$26) on Amazon here.

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