So before it came out, you couldn't mention Pacific Rim without someone (myself included) likening it to Evangelion. Del Toro is a confirmed anime fanboy, and Eva's revolutionary influence on the mecha genre is legendary. But there really wasn't much Eva present, aside from a few superficial things. SPOILERS AHOY
I'm actually kind of glad that del Toro made the conscious effort not to lean too heavily on any one of his Japanese influences. The plot was basic enough that it would have been easy to fall into cliche territory. However, he kept skeletal archetypes of the genre but built his own flesh around them, making PR something fresh and original. That being said, I'm not a huge mecha fan, but I'm a huge Eva fan, and these are the little nods that I noticed:
- the rapid upward launch of Gypsy Danger in the opening fight (Hashin junbi!)
- mental synchronization with the Jaegers + repeated technobabble about synchro rates (also dual piloting, but I'm sure del Toro had this idea long before 3.0)
- Rinko Kikuchi's hair - similar style to Rei Ayanami's, with blue streaks (but I'm so relieved she did not have Ayanami's winning personality)
- the visual of Idris Elba standing next to Kikuchi - reminiscent of Gendou and Rei (however, their father/daughter relationship was actually a healthy and loving one)
- Kikuchi emerging from the escape pod - like young Misato during the 2nd Impact
And that's it. The Elbow Rocket could have been a nod to The Big O but more likely to Go Nagai's classic Rocket Punch. Like I said, I don't know much other mecha stuff. So if any of you mecha or kaiju otaku out there noticed anything, please post it in the comments.