People love samurai swords, and people love Evangelion. Combining the two makes a perfect storm of coolness. A current museum exhibition hopes to capitalize on the anime's fandom by presenting weapons from the Evangelion series crafted by master Japanese sword smiths.
The Bizen Japanese Sword Museum has opened the long-anticipated show "Evangelion & Japanese Sword Exhibit." Running from July 14-September 17, the exhibit features 18 works modeled after weapons from the Evangelion series. The recreated weapons will be displayed among traditional examples of Japanese swords and knives. The aim is to demonstrate the history of Japanese craftsmanship from the past to the future. Beyond just drawing a crowd of young people, the museum hopes to educate people of all ages on how traditional Japanese culture and technology influence anime and pop culture.
The showpiece of the exhibition is the "Spear of Longinus." Though the spear falls short of the 70 meters needed to be wielded by a giant EVA, it is still an impressive 3.3 meters long. It took a Japanese smith with 40 years of experience six months and the equivalent of 20 swords' worth of steel to craft the weapon.
Last summer the museum presented an exhibit of weapons and armor from the Sengoku Basara game and drew nearly 20,000 visitors. Using the appeal of pop culture to lure people into museums is a great idea. It makes education fun and potentially staid cultural institutions relevant.
Spear of Longinus
Flyer advertising Evangelion & Japanese Sword Exhibit