Evangelion fan bid to re-create lunar ‘spear’ scene held up by controversy


Staff Writer

A group of volunteers has launched a project to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Neon Genesis Evangelion by re-creating a scene from the popular anime series on the moon.

Only a week after the announcement, however, they are considering whether to cancel the project due to criticism it might offend Muslims and Christians.

About 30 people launched the crowdfunded project on Jan. 30 to send a landing craft to the moon and stick a 24-cm “spear” into the surface.

In the TV and movie series, teenage characters clamber onto Evangelion robots to fight enemies. In one scene, the Evangelion Unit 0 robot throws a weapon called the Spear of Longinus from Earth at an enemy in outer space. The spear destroys the opponent, but then goes into orbit. One scene from the movie series shows the spear after it landed on the moon’s surface.

Since it is impossible to re-create the scene exactly, the group is trying to collect ¥100 million by April 5 to fire a rocket from the U.S. It will carry a moon-landing craft that would shoot a tiny 24-cm-long spear into the surface of the moon and take pictures.

As of Friday afternoon, the crowdfunding campaign had collected ¥34.1 million.

But some people have opposed the project online, saying it is environmentally unwise and lacks consideration for religions that give the moon a special spiritual meaning.

The Spear of Longinus is also mentioned in the Gospel of John. Planting a device with that name on the moon risks sending an offending message to people of other religions, according to one blogger who was critical of the project.

An expert on Islam also said the project could be considered controversial by some followers of that faith.

“I think it might offend some Muslim people. There’s an aspect of the Muslim religion that regards the moon as sacred,” said Osamu Miyata, chairman of the Center for Contemporary Islamic Studies in Japan.

For instance, Miyata pointed out the moon is emblazoned with the flags of many Muslim countries, including Turkey, Tunisia and Pakistan. Also, since the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the holy month of Ramadan begins and ends with the sighting of a new moon, he said.

Thus, Miyata said, it isn’t a good idea to place something on the moon, as some people may regard it as harmful.

Meanwhile, some Internet users made supportive comments on the project’s web site, saying it is exciting.

A project spokesman said the group is taking all criticism seriously and thinking of the best way forward.

According to the plan, if the group is able to collect ¥100 million, an engineering team called Team Hakuto will be charged with sending the spear to the moon. Hakuto is one of 18 teams participating in the Google Lunar Xprize, a competition to land unmanned probes on the moon, make them traverse over 500 meters of its surface, and transmit photographs to Earth.

The Hakuto team plans to fire the rocket between the end of 2015 and the end of 2016.

For more information about the project, visit https://readyfor.jp/projects/evangelion (in Japanese only)

  • echykr

    Big deal, these bloggers are making a controversy out of nothing.

    There’s an American flag stuck there since 1969, you don’t see the fundamentalist religious groups making a lot of noise for that, do you? Let alone 14 men trampling their feet on the “sacred” surface in the early 1970s.

    • alex santana

      There’s a difference here though. And the difference is the name of the object rather than what it is.

      Idk what this article is taking about, Christians don’t worship the moon, that would be idolatry.

  • J.P. Bunny

    Almost anything on this planet and in the heavens is sacred to someone. Miyata and the others are just whinging for the sake of whinging. A giant toothpick on the moon may be harmful?….. (insert bilabial fricative here.)

  • Three ‘structural’ problems with this story. Or rather, not with the story itself but with the minds of the anime fans about which it is reporting. All the problems are revealed in the statement that “the Spear of Longinus is also mentioned in the Gospel of John.” It’s true. But since the gospel came first and the Japanese producers take the name from that source, to say that the spear is “also” from the gospel indicates a failure to understand Christianity and a simultaneous failure of chronological thinking and comprehension of English grammar. (Misunderstanding of chronology makes me wonder if they properly understand the idea of cause and effect, as well.) Misuse or misunderstanding of the word “also” rank equally with misunderstanding and misuse of words like “so” and “too.” Oh, well.

  • The moon is not “emblazoned with the flags of many Muslim countries”, the moon is emblazoned on the flags of many Muslim countries. If the moon was “emblazoned with” flags, that would mean Turkey, Pakistan et al were somehow launching rockets up there and sticking their flags on the moon – which would go against Miyata’s whole “point” (in quotes because he really does not have one.

  • Best Million bucks you can spend. Make it happen.