8

As everyone who's seen Evangelion knows, the alternate-reality segment in the last episode (of the 1995 TV series) prominently features a scene where Rei, mouth entoasted, runs into Shinji on her way to school.

To those of us living in the year 2016, this is an obvious cliche; countless many anime have portrayed the same thing in the two decades since (episode 1 of Nichibros has my favorite rendition). But would viewers in 1995 have seen this as a cliche?

It seems plausible that Evangelion could have been using the toast-collision trope as a touchstone to really drive home the prototypical-slice-of-life nature of the alternate reality. But then again, it also seems plausible that the toast-collision was only an incidental feature of the segment, and that the trope's present-day status as a cliche is a consequence of other shows imitating Evangelion. I don't really have enough of a pre-Evangelion knowledge base to discern which is true.

10

Yes. It has been around for a long time...long before Evangelion.

It's hard to track down any real info, but I ran across a reddit page that pointed me in the right direction.

As it stands, it looks like the earliest instances of the 'running late to school with a slice of toast in your mouth' grew from 'running late to school with a roll in your mouth' that I could find a first confirmed instance as far back as 1968 in the manga "Patty's First Love." Some suspect that it was pulled from some 1950s Soap Opera, originally.

At any rate, that page went on to talk about how the book "Even a Monkey can Draw Manga" that was published 1990 to 1991 or so (4 to 5 years prior to Evangelion) considered the 'running late to school with a piece of toast in your mouth and crashing into someone' such a cliche that it parodied it on this page

So, I'd say that's pretty darn conclusive...it is definitely significantly older than Evangelion, and was already a running joke to the level of parody by that time.

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