Now, stop me if you’ve heard this one:
Neon Genesis Evangelion becomes an ordinary mecha show when you reverse the genders.
With Shinji now a girl, his cowardess and seeming ineptitude become shyness and seeming inferiority. It’s not that he’s a whiny emo boy with daddy issues, Fem-Shinji is now an average teenage girl with an overbearing, workaholic mother. Why would her mother now randomly want to see her, when she ordinarily is too busy with work? It makes the exchange with the two of them in the first episode when Shinji initially refuses to pilot make more sense, too. The overbearing mother will only use her daughter on a need-only basis; otherwise, get someone better. And better is Rei. This now makes the animosity that she holds for Gendo more believable. You don’t even speak to me, but you treat that guy like he’s God’s gift to Earth? The situation with living with Misato becomes one of a dude trying to be a father figure for the girl who’s own mother won’t speak to her. The Shinji-Asuka dynamic becomes more of the typical “You’re just a girl; what can you do?”, with the underlying romance element. Even the Shinji-Kaigi scenes become a bit more heartwarming and big-sister-y. Also, now Shinji’s father dies after an early experiment with the Evas and his spirit now lives in it. That’s pretty typical of a mecha show.
Rei has now becomes the silent male protagonist with a mysterious past. Of course he always follows orders; he was raised by a secret military group. Even Rei 1’s death is a bit easier to understand. Rei 1 calls the senior Akagi a worthless old man who’s useless. Senior Akagi (who’s work makes NERV work in the first place) has been insulted by some punk kid who looks just like the dude the chick his plowing still loves. Punches kid in the face out of rage, causing him to accidentally break Rei 1’s neck. Rei even accepting to pilot Unit 01 in the first episode is standard mecha; last time he drove it, it nearly broken his whole body, but second time’s a charm. Even the willingness to sacrifice himself is very standard silent protagonist fare. Speaking of standard mecha fare, if the silent, brooding lead is the hallmark of Real Robo mecha, then the hallmark of Super Robo is a hot-blooded young man; which is now Asuka.
Male-Asuka being a hot-blooded pilot with a chip on his shoulder is a complete no-brainer. Rei is the upstanding atta-boy, Shinji’s just a girl, who deso this Misato bastard think he is hitting on my hot tits Kaigi? Asuka is the very epitome of the hot-blooded Super Robo pilot now. Even the screaming German is manly as hell. Hell, his backstory is even more solid. Father dedicates his life to the EVA project, ends up going crazy, abandons his son, and then kills himself. Not too mention that his mother is now remarried. Asuka HAS to proved himself, and NO ONE is going to make him second best EVER AGAIN. That makes his rage at Shinji even more real; some whining piss her pants GIRL is not only treated better than me, but is even DOING better than me.
Hell, now the Magi make a bit more sense, too. Woman, Mother, Scientist would become Man, Soldier, Scientist. Makes that scene in End of Eva easier to swallow; of course the Man would go with his woman’s wishes. Speaking of Ritsuko, he and Misato are college buddies who work for the same military complex. Misato is now the headd-strong young leader who looks out for his crew and really does know what he’s doing. Ritsuko is the dedicated loner scientist who’s in the shadow of his brilliant father. Kaigi is now the hot mysterious woman from Misato’s past who also happens to be a spy. Also, the whole Shinji-Kaworu thing?
Also. Shinji’s revelation at the end of End of Eva is that she finally understands that it doesn’t matter what people think or do, just be yourself.
Hope that wasn’t too much for you to take in, because once you change the genders, Eva’s just an ordinary show; all the stuff that made it so different really just boils down to genders.
Change the genders in Gurren Laggann and it becomes a show about feminism and women’s rights.