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10 Years of Neon Genesis Evangelion 312

Posted by Zonk
from the get-in-the-robot-shinji dept.
smooth wombat writes "Mainichi Daily News has a lengthy, multi-part article on the history of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The article looks back at the 10 years since Evangelion appeared and how it changed the world of manga." From the article: "In a series of 26 episodes, Evangelion told the story of a 14-year-old boy called Shinji Ikari, who piloted a biomechanical combat robot called an Evangelion, which fought against mysterious extraterrestrial monsters known as Angels. But Shinji was also a regular junior high school pupil, and his school life featured strongly in the anime's plot too. As did psychotherapy and the Old Testament, which director Hideaki Anno attributed as influences while creating the series. Evangelion become a huge hit across Japan, attracting fans across generations, sparking a massive public debate over its controversial final episode -- which many criticized for leaving the work unfinished -- and sparking unprecedented merchandising sales that set the scene for the current manga market."
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10 Years of Neon Genesis Evangelion

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  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:55PM (#15271671) Homepage Journal
    I understood about two words of that. Anyone else just not that impressed with Manga and Anime in general? I feel that I'm doing an injustice to my geek heritage, but I just don't appreciate it like some do.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theJML (911853) on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:05PM (#15271776) Homepage
    Honestly, my main reason for liking Anime (some atleast, not all... it is a rather broad spectrum you know) is that it's not American TV. It's not crappy re-runs, it's not "reality tv" which sucks the perverbal donkey, nor is it overhyped "funny" shows that aren't that funny. It is what it is and it's different. The perspectives on issues are different, the way it's drawn is different, the plot and humor is different, etc. It's like drinking a glass of soda after having nothing but water for years. Sure they're both refreshing, but the soda is more interesting to your palette.

    I used to watch a lot of it, I still watch a decent amount when taken in a percentage to the amount of TV/movies I watch, but in the end I it's because I end up choosing the Anime, it wasn't forced on me.
  • by trybywrench (584843) on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:09PM (#15271816)
    No adult CARES about these silly cartoons.

    Actually, Evangelion didn't start to get really popular in Japan until it was shown in a timeslot that was targeted torwards adults.

    Eva is a very intricate and complex series that appeals to adults more than children.
  • by tenchiken (22661) on Friday May 05, 2006 @01:21PM (#15271909)
    One of the more controversial things about Eva is some of the scarier linkups that (thankfully for ADV) havn't been widely reported. A few years back I was on staff with a large anime con, and talked with ADV staff about Eva. One of the things they mentioned was that they got heat from the police because both the Columbine Killers [wikipedia.org] and Hale Bopp Crowd [wikipedia.org] apparently were big fans of Eva, and the police stopped by to have a word with ADV.

    One of the more interesting connections was also with Aum Shinrikyo. Apparently at least one of the assistant directors on Eva was a member of Aum Shinrikyo. Anno himself mentions this, and also mentions that he started writing eva right around when the Aum Shinrikyo attack occured. Aum Shinrikyo apparently also used Eva tapes for recuriting afterwords, but apparently stopped after GAINAX started complaining.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:15PM (#15272388) Homepage
    I really dig Evangelion. I recognize it for being a fairly uneven mess, which tends to be very repetitive. One of its biggest problems is that you sort of have to watch the whole thing, or at least most of it, to get everything that's going on -- and yet it's way too long to ask anyone to actually sit down and do that.

    I also thought the original ending was pretty lame... but if you add to it the re-done, arguably "real" ending seen in End of Evangelion, [imdb.com] it's great! Really harrowing, and leaves you scratching your head with that "what the fuck?" feeling you get after seeing "2001: A Space Odyssey" for the first time. (Interestingly enough, that article includes at least one screen cap from End of Evangelion, without ever mentioning that exists and wasn't part of the original 26 episodes.)

    Yeah, a lot of the religious stuff in Evangelion seems tacked-on. It's more accurately described as "pseudo-religious" anyway, because aside from stealing a bunch of names from old Christian mythology it doesn't really have much of anything to do with Christianity. That's OK, though -- it makes it interesting. I'll take a show that even pretends to make you think, as some people are accusing Evangelion of, than one that doesn't even try at all. Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner" is another show that comes to mind that's vulnerable to a lot of criticism, but if you watch it with an open mind it can be very rewarding.

    The psychoanalytical stuff in Evangelion is more interesting than the religious stuff. A lot of people here describe it as "Freudian," but while I don't know a whole lot about the various schools of psychoanalysis, I don't know if that's strictly accurate. What it does do is try to get inside the heads of these characters in a way that is, at times, profoundly disturbing (if you've managed to pay attention through the whole show).

    One thing that's probably lost on a lot of American, non-otaku audiences, though, is that much of what was going on in Evangelion was meant to be sort of a criticism of otaku culture. Early episodes of Evangelion regularly feature teasers of the next episode that promise lots of "fan service" [wikipedia.org] and seem to make it clear that it's meant to be the ultimate show for fans. But the later, more psychological episodes try to delve in to the characters' minds, many of whom have personality traits that the producers of the show thought were common in anime fandom in Japan.

    The long and the short of it: That joke about Slashdot people living in their parents' basements, watching anime? That's how the creator of Evangelion saw anime fandom, basically.

    The main character of Evangelion, Shinji, is extremely introverted in a way that a lot of Japanese anime fans are. He can't connect with girls, or with anyone really. He feels his parents can't understand him, and has a bad relationship with him. Then he discovers that he can pilot this giant robot and it makes him feel worthwhile. His fellow pilots have this same feeling too; they begin to feel worthless if they are no longer able to fly the giant robots. In that sense, you could say the purpose of the larger pseudo-religious conspiracy storyline going on in the background is really just to point out, Meanwhile there's a whole big world going on out there. All the characters are just too wrapped up in themselves and their angst to see it at first. Shinji's main character arc is his discovery of himself as an individual and coming to terms with what it means to be an adult living in the world.

    This subject matter isn't going to appeal to everyone. If you aren't interested in fun stories about cool-looking giant robots battling alien monsters, then the first few episodes aren't going to appeal to you at all. But if you can't get that far, then the later episodes are going to seem hollow, silly, and contrived. Basically, though Evangelion has a broad audience, if there's no part of y

  • Evangelion Otaku (Score:3, Interesting)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:17PM (#15272402)
    Eva is done by an otaku, targeted to otaku, to shake them.

    An interesting thought. I've mentioned already [slashdot.org] that I think of Shinji as an archetype of what geeks hate in themselves. But that's my own impression of Shinji, as a foreign geek watching Evangelion in isolation.

    Looking at him in the Japanese cultural context from which he came, might Shinji be on the borderline of becoming a hikikomori [wikipedia.org]? Look at his position: his father is distant and entirely consumed with his work, he himself has great difficulty coping with the unrealistic pressures placed upon him both by his family and by the system, and he's almost completely unable to deal with social situations...

    He's run away more than once, and he frequently shuts himself up in his room, then further cuts out the outside world with headphones. He's getting worse with time. Now there are two ways it can go; either Shinji comes out and rejoins society, or he shuts himself in for good. Except, of course, that the critical point is Third Impact, and if Shinji turns hikikomori then he doesn't so much shut himself off from the world, as liquidate the entire species... Personally I'd prefer the happy smiling CONGRATULATIONS! ending.

  • Re:Congratulations! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Golias (176380) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:00PM (#15272875)
    I never buy anime because I hate how there is never a single "definitive" edition -- something with all the extras of the all the previous editions.

    Kindly name two examples other than Evangelion.

    There is almost ALWAYS one, and only one, version of an anime TV series. What might be confusing you is that there are sometimes completely different programs based on the same story.

    For example, there is a new TV series right now called "Ah, My Goddess", which is a completely different production from an earlier series (and an earlier OAV) of the same name. Each is a different show, just like how if you go to IMDB.COM, you can find about 200 different movies about the gunfight at the O.K. Corral (the best of which were probably "My Darling Clementine" and "Tombstone.")
  • Re:Congratulations! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MasamuneXGP (824006) on Friday May 05, 2006 @05:39PM (#15274002)
    Uh, no.
    http://www.netflix.com/MovieDisplay?movieid=700380 22 [netflix.com]

    Cowboy Bebop is in fact being rereleased as a remastered version. Supposedly, it's finally free of that damn rainbow effect that plagued the previous encodes. (and it's totally on my shopping list)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2006 @06:17PM (#15274211)
    just because you grew up with Walt Disney doesn't mean that all things animated are for kids.

    Actually, Evangelion was initially marketed to teens, and its principal sponsors were toy companies.

    link [wikipedia.org]

    Around Slashdot there is a peculiar myth that it's normal in Japan for adults to watch cartoon shows about giant robots.

    But don't kid yourself. Japan is not so different from the US. These things are intended for children and teenagers. The vast majority of adults are not interested in watching these shows.

    Of course there are (geeks / nerds / otaku) who continue (watching anime / reading comic books / playing D&D) well into adulthood. There's nothing wrong with that in itself. But don't get fooled into thinking that most adults pursue the otaku lifestyle, whether in Japan or anywhere else.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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