neon genesis evangelion review

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stats

also known as: shinseiki evangelion
# eps: 26 eps, oct 1995 – mar 1996
producer: gainax
anidb rating (at time of writing): 8.19 (6911 votes)
my rating: 10.00

thoughts

let me assure you, i am a huge fan of this anime – which kinda explains why i am blogging this series now, even though i watched so many years ago. so if you hate evangelion, can’t comprehend why people ever rate them 10/10, please navigate away now =P

i would consider evangelion as the first proper anime i watched. true, i’ve watched stuff like doraemon on national tv when i was in primary school, but what i watched in my senior’s room back in the year of 2000 shocked me beyond belief. he managed to borrow a cd boxset of evangelion (i still remember one cd could only store 2 eps) from his friend, and his room immediately became the most popular room on our floor =)

i remember the anime sessions we had – after we had lunch, we would huddle on the cramped bed of his, and let our jaws drop while watching the anime. the anime was strong on all fronts: characters, storyline, complexity, obscure references – perfection indeed (well, barring eps 25 and 26. we’ll get to that later).

i’ll start off with a brief review – why did the world need evas in 2015?

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cos conventional weapons didn’t work against a malicious threat called “angels” (ironic indeed). for a lack of better word, OWNED.

evas needed post-second impact kids as pilots, hence some pre-pubescent kids were identified by the ever mysterious “marduk report” as suitable pilots. oh well, since that resulted in some of the most fascinating 14-year olds being chosen, i’d say they made pretty good choices =)

while dealing with the attack of numerous angels, the characters in the story blossomed into life:

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the ever mysterious rei! took me ages to find a screencap that showed her smiling.

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shinji, in berserk-mode – not uncommon throughout the anime series =)

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the ever headstrong asuka.

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misato (and pet penguin pen-pen), the major source of comic relief in the show.

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ritsuko and kaji (with misato in the foreground). the relationships between these three characters are profound – one is kept guessing whether these characters truly like each other or do so in order to use them.

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the ever-scheming gendou. i kinda pitied the way he met his end in “the end of evangelion” though.

the strong cast of characters only made sense with a coherently-told storyline, and this was well done up to episode 24. others may argue, saying that well, on the n-th watching of episodes 25 and 26, they suddenly had an epiphany of sorts – when you get the reason behind these two episodes, it’s way more meaningful than the action-packed alternate ending featured in “the end of evangelion”. in order to save myself from getting my brain tortured, i prefer to believe the story (or is it truth?) that gainax ran out of funding in the later parts of the season, hence cut costs by using less sophisticated animation.

while i recognize the importance of the characters’ self-reflection in some parts of the story – for instance the bit where shinji realised the reason behind his magnifient synchro rate with eva 01, too much of it makes me feel like going:

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(that’s “die”, for those who can’t read kanji)

equally infamous are those scenes which feature shinji on swings, or on trains:

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excess IS BAD. it makes me wonder how much depth the story actually has – i used to think that the mental self-monologues was an utter waste of time, but after 3 rewatches, hey, some bits did make more sense..

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i love this enigmatic line from rei. fyi it’s added on by shinji’s “i wonder if human are a special creature because of that” two lines later. classic.

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to be fair to asuka, i’ll feature one of her classic lines – “あんた ばか!?” aka “are you stupid!?”

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a one-liner from gendou that, i thought, fits perfectly with his pessimistic world-view.

in addition to that, the animation quality was superb. hey, remember, this anime was made in the 1990s. some anime made a couple of years after evangelion made me cringe with their poorly-done cgi. yes, vandread, i’m talking about you.

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i liked the reflection of the positron beam speeding towards ramiel, the octahedral angel.

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doesn’t really mean anything, but this was shown in a split-second frame. the amazing details of the console screen is just.. mad. disk drive sizes were in TBs, btw, which i think might actually be true in a few years’ time. more space to store my anime woohoo! =D

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the ideas that evangelion comes out never fails to astound me. the counter at the bottom (which starts off at 62:00) shows the number of seconds that the evas’ residual power would hold out, and the timer zeroes after 62 seconds of animation time. i don’t recall seeing such things ever done in other anime. also, this screencap shows the importance of the mastery of synchronized dance skills – ddr geeks can actually save the world =P

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another split-second still showing the official “reason” behind the second impact. how i wish my jap was good enough for me to read the newspaper article..

while trawling through the 26 eps recently to get screencaps, i still managed to find scenes that made my spine tingle. i knew what was going to happen, but that didn’t prevent me FEELING it.

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eva 01 emerging from leliel, amidst a sea of blood. the howling of eva 01 post-emergence was really creepy, in a heartrending sort of way.

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the brutality that manifests eva 01 upon the use of the entry plug was seriously disturbing. but nothing beats..

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eva 01 ingesting zeruel’s S2 engine. omg, the thought of a mecha actually EATING an organic adversary and incorporating bits into itself.. truly exemplifies the adage “you are what you eat”. =)

to counteract the seriousness, this anime’s littered with loads of light moments as well.

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misato and her fave beer.

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subtle, but nonetheless funny if you could read the katakana – that’s why i only realised it was comical on my third rewatch. timetable of daily chores when shinji first moved into misato’s. シ (shi) is shinji, ミ (mi) is misato.

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eva 01 and 02, post-thrashing of israfel with imba ddr skills. not a very graceful end indeed.

i couldn’t resist the inclusion of some screencaps which i thought was just.. cool.

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cross-shaped explosions! if only such explosions were possible..

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use of scientific terms! while cool, it’s not really that appropriate. polysome camera.. wtf? multiple cameras beaded on a string? sigma unit and pribnow box: are we dealing with bacterial transcription here? haha.

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dirac’s ocean.. am not a physicist so no idea what it is, but nonetheless profound =P

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an idea that will make darwin flip in his grave. gendou says “the end of evolution is self destruction” (indeed, the angel was defeated by promoting its evolution). as a biologist i strongly disapprove of such comments – evolution aims to make the organism more suitable to its surroundings. to speed up the angel’s evolution, if anything, would definitely overwhelm magi, lead to the destruction of nerv, and lead us to a premature, ep 13 ending. so there =)

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the classic “is my cd drive spoilt?” scene. friends claimed to have done these things: alt+enter to check that media player is still running, putting their ears to the cd rom drive to check whether the drive is spinning, increasing volume to assure themselves that the anime is still running, or downright skipping this bit by fast forwarding. this still is 52 seconds long – truly groundbreaking in its own right =P

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all hail the master storyteller, anno hideaki!

ps phew. this is much longer than the bulk of biology essays i churn out.. i promise not to include so many screencaps next time =P

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~ by 異人 on 27/1/08.

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