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Makinami Mari Illustrious is a mysterious girl who is a secret operative that was the pilot of Eva Unit-05, and sneaked into Japan to infiltrate NERV for a yet unknown purpose.
Little is known about the true origins of Makinami Mari Illustrious, other than she was born in England and is an Eva pilot from the Euro Branch of NERV. She is a remarkably talented Eva pilot that is working in association with a third party to control the Evas for a as of yet unknown goal, and she shares some connection with Ryouji Kaji.
Makinami Mari Illustrious is a new character from the Rebuild of Evangelion series of movies that was designed to be the true vision of the Neon Genesis Evangelion story that was created by Hideaki Anno. Much of her design would actually be finalized by the co-director, Kazuya Tsurumaki and Yoji Enokido, a script writer from the original anime. Enokido was brought in as a consultant after a writers retreat. Little of chief-director Anno's vision for Mari was clear other than his desire to have her to "Break Eva".
Mari's first appearance was in the second film of the Rebuild of Evangelion project, Evangelion: 2.0 You can (Not) Advance and it was released on June 27, 2009. In Japan, she was voiced by Maaya Sakamoto, and the English dub produced by FUNimation she was voiced by Trina Nishimura. She does make a brief appearance at the very end of Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (2007), during the preview for Evangelion: 2.0. Her personality is best described as enigmatic. She takes incredible joy in piloting an Eva, and her demeanor is quiet and playful. She has a scent fetish and loves the smell of the LCL fluid from the Plug Capsule, describing it as her favorite smell in the world.
As with most characters in the Evangelion series, Mari was named after two WWII warships. Her family name of Illustrious (イラストリアス, irasutoriasu) comes from the British aircraft carrier the HMS Illustrious, which was commissioned on April 16, 1940 and decommissioned at the end of 1954. Her given name of Makinami (written as 真希波, "noble true wave") comes from the Japanese destroyer the Makinami (巻波, "overflowing wave"), which was completed on August 18, 1942 and sunk in action on November 25, 1943. The mixture of Japanese and British craft is designed to reflect her own mixed origin, similar to Asuka Langley Shikinami. Her first name was first unveiled in the Nintendo DS game Petite Eva: Evangelion@School. The Mari in her name was first seen in a teaser poster for one of the films, but appeared as "*** Mari ******". Her full name, all together, would not be seen until a later revised poster was released and included in the first issue of Eva Extra, a four set promotional magazine leading up the the release of Evangelion: 2.0.
Much of the debate of Mari's creation revolved around how she would be integrated into the original Evangelion story framework and the nature of her personality. Originally, she was intended to only appear during the pre-title Third Angel scene of Evangelion: 2.0 and be present to witness the Tenth Angel's attack. Script and storyboard evolutions would include her taking over the role of another Neon Genesis Evangelion character. These idea were all eventually rejected to give Mari her own unique identity. Enokido suggested she play the role of a rival to Asuka that would usurp her position.
" Happiness wont come walking to you. That's why you have to walk to it. One step a day, three steps in three days. Three steps forward and two steps back. Go at life with a one-two punch. "
sung by Makinami Mira Illustrious "Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance" CH. 2
Mari's personality is very energetic and she appears to actually take joy in piloting. Her desire for victory in battle gives her a drive to move forward despite suffering serious injury. After killing the Third Angel she expressed some guilt for using adults to get what she wants, but her motive has yet to be revealed. Her connection to the Evangelion program is still unknown, as well as her connection to Kaji ,and the role she played in assisting him in acquiring the Lost Key of Nebakanezer. Her knowledge is deep enough to be aware of the back door code installed in Eva Unit-02 to unlock Beast Mode. Mari has brown hair that is always worn in pigtails, and she wears glasses.
Mari wears two different Plug Suits during the film. The first one is green with plugs that attach to the controls which help her move Eva Unit-05. It forces a synchronization, but the lack of calibration prevents her from using the Eva's complete strength. She also complains that it wasn't designed large enough for her bust. When she steals Eva Unit-02 to fight Tenth Angel, she wears a third generation pink plug suit that is similar in design to Kaworu Nagisa. With this design, she's pleased with the fit for her chest. Though Eva Unti-05 was destroyed, her pink plug suit also bares the mark of Unit 05.
Mari began her carrier as a pilot of the rather questionably designed Eva Unit-05 during the escape of the Third Angel from the NERV Euro Branch Headquarters. It had been dug out of the permafrost of the North Pole and dissected. It still managed to regenerate and escape. Mari was given an older plug suit that was designed for a force synchronization. Though it worked, the response was not what the more modern plug suits would provide, and she wasn't too happy about the constraints it put on her breasts, either. Still, she went into battle to face the Angel, singing along the way.
Her first attacked missed due to the poor synchronization with Unit-05 and it was difficult to turn to peruse. Finally fed up and angered, Mari was determined to kill the Angel. The Angel had pierce all the many layers of surface security layer and had a free line of escape to the surface. Mari was slow to catch up, but still pierced it at the base of it's thin, centipede-like spine. Though, it was still alive and turned it's head to fire. The beam only grazed the Unit-05's arm but still inflicted incredible pain. Despite incredibly pain, Mari pushed through the pain because of her thrill from battle. After the Angel sliced the track-legs of Unit-05, Mari forced both of the Eva's pincer arms onto the core and struggled to crush it. The forced synchronization wasn't giving the out put of strength that was needed. She managed to destroy the Third Angel and ejected just as Unit-05 self destructed.
Mari landed in the sea and opened the plug capsule to see the giant glowing cross of destruction. She reeled from the pain she suffered and expressed some guilt for using adults to meet her own goals. Looking into the aftermath of her actions, she thanked Eva Unit-05 for it's sacrifice. As she waited for her rescue, Ryouji Kaji had stolen the Lost Key of Nebakanezer.
It was not long after the attack of Eighth Angel when she was called on to covertly infiltrate Japan in Tokyo 3, where the Japanese NERV Branch Geofront is housed. She opted to use a low altitude air drop and fly in via parachute. Things didn't go as planned, and the winds blew her off course to crash on the roof of a local school.
At the time, Mari had no idea that the young boy she crashed into was that of Shinji Ikari, the First Child and pilot of Eva Unit-01. She landed breasts first right in his face and had him buried there unit she recovered from the harsh landing. By then, she realized her glasses had fallen off. She claimed them and apologized to Shinji. She got a call on her cellphone as she was gathering her parachute together. The person on the other line was asking about her, but she had to explain why she missed their meeting. She told the person the story and told them to be ready when she needed her extraction.
After hanging up, Mari crawled over and atop Shinji to take in his scent. She told him that he smelled of LCL fluid, a scent she really enjoyed. She gathered up her supplies, handed back Shinji's tape deck, and asked he pretended she wasn't there. She would remain in hiding at an unknown location until the attack of the Tenth Angel occurred. At the time, Eva Unit-02 had been sealed. She now had a new plug suit that was designed for her body and ready to fight.
Without any authorization, she was able to override the codes that had locked down the Eva Unit-02 to take on the Tenth Angel alone. She had locked out any communication with the local NERV headquarters, and this new plug suit gave a far better sync rate than her previous one did. The rifles had no effect on the most powerful AT Field of any Angel before. She attempted a close range attack with Unit-02's rail launcher, but she still couldn't strike the being. She was sent flying away and was nearly crushed by the projected AT Field. What was left in the area of the attack was only a huge crater. Rather than being scared, she was thrilled by this new opponent.
The fight was proving to be more than she could handle under the current conditions. Deciding to take it to the next step, Mari gave the verbal command to release the restrictions on Unit-02 with the backdoor code "Beast Mode". In this sate, the she bonded on a dangerous level with the Evangelion. It was a painful process, but once completed unlocked an incredible level of power and speed. This still proved fruitless. Mari was able to break through several layers of the AT Field, but wasn't enough. The Angel retaliated by slicing off left arm and gashing the chest of Eva Unit-02, then just as she was still reeling from that attack. It sliced at the head, opening the skull and exposing the brain matter of the Eva.
Eva Unit-00 soon appeared on the battlefield and was attempting to force an N2 Bomb through the AT Field and detonate it directly inside the core of the Angel. Mari did her best to aid this attack by biting and tearing away at the layers one at a time. Together, they were able to break through. Just before the bomb could detonate, the Unit-00 pilot thanked Mari for her help by tossing her and Unit-02 out of the imitate blast radius. She was further carried away by the massive shock wave, landing head first into an almost empty civilian underground shelter. The only person inside was Shinji Ikari.
By this time, Mari had learned Shinji is the First Child. After asking why he was hiding there, she grabbed him with the Unit-02 to show him the scorched Earth of the Geofront. Smoke filled the air from the heat of the N2 Bomb. As the smoke cleared, the Eva Unit-00 was charred but the Angel was untouched. hay both could only watch as the Angel reached out and consumed Unit-00 and bonded with it and the pilot. Mari told Shinji to run for his own safety. Just as he leaped from Unit-02's hand, Mari lost power. Unable to fight any longer, she ejected the plug to watch what would become of this fight.
To her surprise, Shinji didn't run. He got into the Unit-01 to pilot and fight the Angel. Unconsciously he went into a form of Beast Mode. Mari watched as Unit-01 began to transcend it's limits to evolve. It became so powerful that it ripped through the At Field defenses of the Angel. Reaching into the very core, he reclaimed Rei Ayanami, the Unit-00 pilot. She wondered if the reason Shinji smelled so good is because things seem to go the way he wants. This process though had caused the Eva to start the transformation of becoming a divine being. Inadvertently, Shinji was beginning the Third Impact and the end of the world. To the surprise of everyone, the entire process was brought to a complete halt by the intervention of the Sixth Child, Kaworu Nagisa, in the Evangelion Mark 06. He had pierced Unit-01 with the Spear of Longinus. Mari could only wait as the NERV security moved in to capture her.
Mari Illustrious' story is continued in Evangelion 3.0 Q Quickening, which has yet to have a release date.
In the English dub of Mari's song she sings before battle with the Third Angel, the lyrics were slightly changed. When sung by Trina Nishimura the lyrics went as:
" It's time to face the day. Time to make it snappy. But first you know...you gotta make it out of bed. Hello Mr. Sunshine, today you're gonna be fine. Make them think there's only gonna be sunny skies ahead. Take on the day with a one-two punch. "
In the English cast commentaries for the Evangelion: 2.0, Trina Nishimura talked about the daunting task of singing Mari's opening scene song that was originally sung by Maaya Sakamoto, one of Japan's more popular pop singers. She also joked that what's best known about Mari is how little is known about her.
Nishimura expressed an interest in learning the meaning behind Mari's cryptic comments about her goal that she's using adults for.
There was a product placement advertising deal with UCC Milk Coffee made for Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (2009). This brand of canned coff ee was used in the movie during the scene of Kaji and Shinji. An ad was also produced showing the Eva pilots all holding cans of the branded coffee used in the scene.
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