~Neon Genesis Evangelion~

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REVIEW BY RYO DARK

~Evangelion the Series and Movie~

Title: Shin Seiki Evangelion (Eva)

Translated: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Form of Anime: Series/2 Movies/Manga

Released in the U.S.: Yes

Quite possibly the most famous anime ever, Evangelion is also very dear to my heart. After I got into anime through Pokemon, I went to the movie store looking for something better to sink my teeth into. I ended up purchasing the last (eps. 25-26) VHS tape because on the back it said "Warning: not for children. Contains violence and sexual situations." Hehe. It was dubbed, and as I watched it, basically I was thinking "what the hell is this?" Despite it’s weirdness and depth, I enjoyed it. I then got the next tape backwards (eps. 23-24), including the episode with Kaworu. I thought "if this anime has such a hot character plus hints of shonen-ai, it must be good. So THEN I went and bought the first tape, and continued in order, until I finished the series and two movies. I was so in love with this series, I made an Evangelion Image Gallery website known as Dark Tabris 666 (look here for more pictures!). Yee, my old webbie. Ok, 'nuff background.

Evangelion is the story that exists slightly in the future. Set in a time where Tokyo has already been destroyed twice, it takes place in Tokyo-3. Man is fighting against the Angels. Angels (ugly creatures they are…’cept Taebris o’course) are looking to reunite with Adam, the Angel that arrived on earth 15 years before, causing what was known as "Second Impact" and wiping out like, 1/3 of Earth’s population. If an Angel reached Adam, (yes, like Adam and Eve) and rejoins with it, then the Third Impact will occur and basically everyone will die. We don’t want this. And so, to fight the Angels, we bring in the all-powerful Mechas! The Mechas in this anime are called Evangelions, and they are named as their unit number (unit 00, unit 01, etc.) There are ultimately five pilots who can use the Evas, and they are known as the Children. The Children are all either 14 or 15 years of age, and have special synchronization with their Eva. The Children are as follows: First Child, Shinji Ikari (our main character); Second Child Rei Ayanami (Blue hair, red eyes, zero personality); Third Child Asuka Langely Sorhyu (red hair, firey German biyatch); Fouth Child Toji Suzahara (Shinji’s classmate, nice guy, tough exterior); and finally, Fifth Child Kaworu Nagisa (hottie! Grey hair, red eyes, mysterious background). *Phew!* Got all that?

This section contains minor spoilers: It’s quite important to mention that all the Children have series emotional and mental issues, i.e.. A TON OF BAGGAGE. Ikari-kun hates his father; his father abandoned him after his mother died, and he and his jackass daddy have ZERO relationship. Gendou Ikari (his father) was the one who called Shinji to pilot the Eva, but Shinji’s got confrontation issues…he, uh, always "runs away" from his problems, and has lot’s of difficulty connecting with people and dealing with human interaction. Asuka’s mother was psychotic…her father got divorced and remarried, but her dad and stepmother ignored her. Her mother replaced Asuka with a doll, and eventually, her mom hung herself, with little Asuka arriving home only to see her mother’s dead body hanging from the ceiling. Asuka copes with her inner problems by lashing out at everyone. She always needs to be the best and hates not being number one (so she despises her competition, Rei and Shinji). She basically behaves like a bitch to everyone to cover up her own problems (but she's still my favorite character). Rei is the one with no emotions. She always follows orders, even if it would mean dying for the cause, and has no sense of self. We learn later why she’s so apathetic, so I don’t want to spoil the big surprise. ^.~ Kaworu was called in to replace Asuka as the pilot of Eva unit-02 when Asuka goes into a catatonic state. He is more than he seems…He befriends Shinji but then…dramatic stuff happens. Don’t wanna spoil! ^_^ Kaworu only appears in one episode and the movie, but he is everyone’s favorite Eva bishi!

This is an incredible series for many reasons. The plot is complex and may be difficult to follow at times (I recommend re-watching the trickier episodes a couple times) but it drags you in and hangs on tight. There is a lot of Mecha action for the boys and emotional problems for female viewers to analyze (No, seriously, I've spend days on end psychologically analyzing the characters). Not much romance, but this series doesn’t need it. The main reason this is such a phenomenal anime is the characters however. They are all unique and react to their problems in very human ways. Although this is an unrealistic anime regarding the plot, the characters are very real. Their emotions are so raw and powerful…even Shinji, who may come off as a whiner, is only behaving that way because he is unconfident and afraid. I wouldn’t blame him!! The story is incredibly original, and I love how the series slowly unravels all the secrets of the plot and characters. The timing is perfect.

Many people have a problem with the last two episodes. Instead of the normal plot, it delves into the psyches of the characters, esp. Shinji. In the end, Shinji conquers his self-doubt and gains a sense of himself. It’s very uplifting and deep, though complex. Hideki Anno, the creator, based Shinji on himself. Apparently at the time, he was suffering from some depression and those episodes, of Shinji overcoming his issues, helped Anno as well. The fans were not satisfied however, because it left many questions still unanswered. This is where the movie comes in. Death and Rebirth, Air, End of Evangelion, were created as another ending to the series. This is more like an end to the series, and it reveals quite a bit. It’s quite violent, and basically everybody dies, but there is a very interesting, highly interpretive ending. Some may hate it some may love it. Like the series, it continues the "deep" themes, so everyone’s interpretation of the ending may be slightly different. I loved it and expected nothing less from the creators at Gainax. A fantastic series of great animation, plot, characters, and even some good music that reminds me for some reason of the 1930’s, this is highly recommended to everyone! There are adult themes, violence, etc., so I’d keep it out of the hands of anyone with a mental maturity of less than age 13-ish. You really need to be older though to fully appreciate all the complexity that went into it, but that’s just my opinion. Eva is one of my favorite series and an ALL-TIME CLASSIC!!!

Music: 4.5 stars out of 5 (The soundtracks have some great songs, check Tamashii no Refrain!)

Animation: 5 stars out of 5 (I love the style~)

Plot: 5 stars out of 5 (Amazingly original with many layers of depth)

Character Development: 5 stars out of 5 (You can't get any better than this)

Overall: 5 stars out of 5 (You aren't an Otaku until you've seen Eva)