Monday, June 20, 2011

Anime Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion

So here it is, one of the best known anime titles that is literally known and loved/hated all over the world and one that many people say changed the mecha genre. I haven't seen that many mecha shows actually (I don't dislike the genre, I just never seem to end up watching most of it) and I don't believe I've seen any from before NGE so the show never felt really "revolutionary" to me in that respect, but plenty of non-mecha fans have loved the show as well so why not try it? Plus, now that I finally had both the time and the access to the local college library that had a copy of the Platinum collection what did I have to lose? Well, 13 hours of my life but that's not really so bad....

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Summary: The year is 2015 and the world suffered a terrible disaster around the turn of the century which destroyed Antarctica, changed the global climate and wiped out a large chunk of the human population. But soon they have even more pressing concerns, the world is being attacked by beings called "angels," believed to be responsible for the aforementioned disaster, and the only weapons that can defeat the angels are the evangelion series of mechas, of which there are disturbingly few and can only be piloted by equally disturbed young teenagers including our protagonist, one Shinji Ikari who will do anything to get praise from his father including piloting one of these mechs. 
Also, just to make things clear, I watched episodes 1-20, the directors cut version of episodes 21-24, episode 25 and 26 and then watched End of Evangelion so I think I've seen all the important parts from the tv show and I have not watched the Rebuild movies yet.

The Good: I enjoyed the ending of End of Evangelion more than the end of the series so I'm glad that was created, also because there was some plot related stuff that was finally confirmed/explained in this installment. The side characters in the series (such as the bridge trio, Shinji's classmates and a number of the adults) were surprisingly well-fleshed out and Nerv itself is one of the more capable evil-fighting, government organizations I've seen in a while*. And, while none of the characters are mentally stable by the end, a few of them do seem to (at least temporarily) overcome their issues and do what they needed to do and this feels particularly satisfying considering how long it took. 

The Bad: For most of the show I didn't understand why there has been so much hate over how whiny Shinji is over the years, there have been plenty of unlikeable protagonists after all, but the final two episodes of the tv series really tried my patience and simply felt really dumb. If I had seen this show back when I was still in high school and a tiny bit depressed maybe then I would have been able to better emphasize with the characters but instead I found myself getting more and more annoyed that there was no one to help these characters, the fact that a lot of the plot moves along because of there are no therapists just feels like sloppy plotting. I was also puzzled by what all the "Christian symbolism" people keep going on about in the series since I didn't see much of what I would call symbolism. There was some Christian imagery, and End of Evangelion certainly had some symbolism, but other than a few instances I really didn't see what everyone was talking about^.  

The Audio: While the opening song is surprisingly catchy (and almost prophetic in a few lines, "Just like the vengeful angel/young boy become a legend") the ending song just grated on me with it's English lyrics that didn't quite make sense. I watched the Japanese dub for the show and thought it worked well, Rei's voice was not as emotionless as I expected surprisingly, although Asuka's German sounded forced and rather bad. 

The Visuals: I watched the Platinum collection which, as I understand it, has the best video quality but the show hasn't aged well in places. At some parts the darker areas of the screen became grainy, the colors weren't always as vibrant and the lines sometimes weren't as nice and sharp. And at other times everything looked perfectly fine which left me a bit puzzled. 

So, other random thoughts, Misato is a total badass, Shinji is gay for Kaworu (seriously, how else can a one episode character have that big an effect, I don't even ship this!) and what was the production team smoking when they thought that episode 26 would be a good end to the series? All in all, no I didn't really like it (although I liked some part much more than I expected) and yes I will be watching the Rebuild movies for two reasons. One, I've seen a number of people who didn't like the original series like the movies (specifically, people who also have similar tastes to mine) and two, I somehow already have a copy of the Eva 2.22 blu-ray (would love to know how Funimation got my address) so I feel like I should see the movies, even if I don't have a BR player to watch it on....

*not telling everyone the full story? Sure, being manipulated by other government agencies, oh yeah, but actually doing their jobs with what they have? Yes and that's a lot more than what a lot of other fictional government agencies can say.
^I'm also fairly familiar with Christian imagery, having been raised/spent 13 years in a Catholic school and deliberately looking out for it in my English classes so I'd have something to write about in my essays and I honestly didn't see that much stuff. There was some random imagery but imagery isn't symbolism, symbolism needs to have meaning attached to it and the stuff that other people have pointed out online just didn't seem to have actual meaning, the stuff was just kind of there for visual effect. 

1 comment:

  1. count me to the people who love evangelion, as a matter of fact i did purchase at PIJ. I do also follow the episode and get addicted to it. I guess majority of the story finale has a beautiful ending but depend's on one perspective he/she love it. What i like this story is they fight against people who want to destory the earth, like climate change.