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Evangelion Reviewed In LA Times 339

peter_gzowski writes "Neon Genesis Evangelion, perhaps the greatest anime series ever, has been reviewed in the LA Times. This coincides with the release of the box set of the entire series (not including the movies, which come out on DVD in the fall). Hooray for mainstream credibility!" Best series if I can somehow overlook the final eps of the original series.
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Evangelion Reviewed In LA Times

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  • by Yam-Koo ( 195035 ) on Thursday April 11, 2002 @10:48PM (#3327346)
    Unless of course you were somehow deluded into thinking this was some sort of mecha action kiddy show. :) :)
    • A lot of people in Japan were angry about the last 2 episodes. There was such a public outcry that three movies were made, the last two of them gave a more finite and clear ending to the story.
      • by Roland Walter Dutton ( 24395 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:40AM (#3327992)
        The Prisoner [] 's influence on Eva goes beyond the deliberate references (such as Magi error code 601, "cannot be computed"). ITV's telephone lines were jammed solid after "Fall Out" (The Prisoner's final episode) was shown, and Patrick McGoohan [] was being assaulted in the street in the following days. I could continue expanding on the similarities between the ending of Eva TV and the Prisoner's confusing, chaotic, magnificent final episodes, but suffice it to say that there were plenty of people who had expected "a more finite and clear ending to the story".

        Evagelion's bombastic, sarcastic use of theme music in some scenes (Worthy is the Lamb, the Ode to Joy) is another place where The Prisoner's influence (especially that of "Fall Out") is apparent. (The Prisoner came well before Kubrik's Clockwork Orange, let alone Reservoir Dogs.) More generally, both shows took a popular genre of TV action serial and subverted it into a statement about the human condition, full of weirdness, symbolism, and angst. HIDEAKI Anno [] probably owes Patrick McGoohan a beer for that one.

        For those out of the know: The Prisoner is not Prisoner: Cell Block H [] . The Prisoner is a British TV show from the 1960s. ITV is a UK commercial TV channel. The Prisoner is a one-hour show with 17 episodes. The Prisoner is the Greatest TV Show of All Time, Ever. (So far, at least. :) )

      • three novies were made, and all of them took all the character development of the series and threw them out the window. "End of Evangelion" was a final "Fuck You!" to everyone who didn't like the series. God did the movies suck.

        At any rate I don't think Evangelion holds a candle to the likes of Cowboy Bebop.

    • I definitely agree. Not matter what some people may say, I think the whole 22 or so episodes before the end were icing on the cake for those last 4.

      My favorite quote: "The tragedy of NERV is it's people". Pretty much sums up the whole series.
  • ...Worst episode, ever.
  • by tenman ( 247215 ) <> on Thursday April 11, 2002 @10:54PM (#3327371) Journal
    As someone who has never watched this series before, I would like to know how many of these DVD's I need to look for. Of course I'm only going to watch them because of the /. peer presure, and so I only want the good ones. I ended up reading LOTR because it seems to be a /. geek shrine, so I'll bite on this one too. So, what should I get?
    • The box set. I just got it, and it blew me (a jaded anime fan) away. It's worth the cash (and cheaper than all eight DVD's seperately)
    • Just get the boxset, which consists 8 DVDs - 26 episodes of the TV series. I had already received mine from You won't regret :) Then get the movie later (I'm sure you will if you watch the boxset). The movie is essential and can be considered as an 'alternative ending' to the TV series.
    • Evangelion is good but it can be slow at times. For a livlier story that is just as wide ranging try out the first few episodes of Bugglegum Crisis. The characters are perhaps less troubled, but the animation is much more captivating. There's about 20 episodes is all I think.

      my two cents worth
    • by newbiescum ( 190145 ) on Thursday April 11, 2002 @11:57PM (#3327635)
      Like the others have said, 8 DVDs total for the TV series released by ADV. At least 2 DVDs for the two movies (Death and Rebirth, End of Evangelion) which are suppose to be released this year by Manga. The movies have been delayed quite a while now. BTW, many proclaim the movie as the true ending versus the last 2 episodes of the TV show. Others proclaim the movies as alternative endings. And even some others claim that both are happening except each is told from a different perspective.

      The boxset is cheaper and has the "remastered" volume 1 (no overlays among other things). Reviews and whatnot are available on []. Best price is around $95 plus S&H if you can still get the preorder price. BestPrices [], DVDPlanet [], Amazon [] (if you use their Share the Love program with coupons), etc. can nail you a good deal. It's a really good value for anime DVDs considering most are around $20-$22 each via preordering and normally retail around $30. So this post isn't totally karma whoring, personally I think, Evangelion, while not necessarily the best anime, is something every anime fan has to watch just to keep up with the times. It's like not watching the Star Wars trilogy for anime fans. You don't have to agree that it's the best anime out there (rumor has it that the director also thought it was not good in the end), and I can bet that most would agree it is definitely not the most fun at times, but it's intriguing just because it has influenced the perception of anime in so many people's minds.

  • Evangelion (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Thursday April 11, 2002 @10:55PM (#3327378) Homepage
    Evangelion is kind of like Lain. Its not all supposed to make sense. The best anime I've found doesn't lead you around, rather, it lets you come to your own conclusions. Evangelion seems to be doing just this. I only have the first 4 out of 8 DVDs, but I'm loving it so far. I really reccomend this series to anyone that is tired of the good-guy-always-wins situation. This anime makes you ask, "What price is too high for victory?"
    • Re:Evangelion (Score:2, Informative)

      by iotaborg ( 167569 )
      This is true, it does not tell you answers. For this reason, many fans did not like the original ending of Evangelion (eps 25 and 26) and complained. Anno got pretty mad at this and the fans wanted the series to conclude, so Anno created the End of Evangelion, one of three movies. All is answered in here, and in my opinion, has to be the greatest ending of any series ever (I wont reveal anything). In a way, Anno was saying "fuck you" to all of the fans in End of Evangelion, leaving you with an extremely strange ending that is insanely powerful.
    • Lain was a trip. My mind still tries to grapple with the series every once in a while. When I finished the series, I suggested it to all of my friends. Surprisingly, I still haven't seen Eva. I look forward to it.
    • Re:Evangelion (Score:3, Interesting)

      Um, no, not really. It might have made sense, but they ran out of money. That's why there were no conclusions. There are movies that also make you come up with your own conclusions, but they don't degenerate into nonsense. Watch the last two episodes (don't pay for them) and then tell us that they're just avoiding "good-guys-always-win". The first half of the episodes make the viewer ask, "Why are we fighting angels?" Which makes them question the idea of pure good and evil. Always a good thing, IMH(athiest)O. Then they get a little repetitive, but still fun. And then they turn into whining BS and nonsense. And it's still one of the few pieces of anime that I consider excellent.
    • I had watched the entire Evangelion series + movies, and Lain. In my opinion, Evangelion is so much better than Lain. The most interesting part of Lain is probably that IPv7 (or v8?). Also Evangelion makes a lot of sense if you make some effort---at least the biological-theological thread, even if you don't like the psychological thread.
    • Offtopic (Score:3, Funny)

      by Myuu ( 529245 )
      Oh God, if lain made sense I woould shoot myself...

      I always said that you would have to be high to get Lain. My friend tried it...he still could not understand it.

      I should befriend a Mushroom junkie and see if it takes a little more =/
    • Not to play Jeff Bezos, but if you liked Evangelion (and Lain) you might also like Boogiepop Phantom.

      Oh, and I would have to say that my vote for best anime series ever would be Cowboy Bebop. Also not a good-guy wins type show.
    • Lain about an AI software girl (Lain) who was created by a researcher (the old white guy with the beard)

      The experiment (the program) got stolen (or hacked) by a group called "Knights" who played with Lain.

      Near the end, Lain found out that she was in fact a program (as with the girl at the beginning who commited suicide, and the professor dude). Lain is just one of many AI "agents" in the artificial world that "got smart"... (This is why the "knights" are interested in her...)

      Once she found out that she is an AI, she becomes a "god", kind of like "the matrix", and she can do wierd shit.

      There are wierd parts thrown in to trick you, like Lain's sister. (She got "erased" and "replaced" by a dumb AI because she started to know too much). Also, the fact that people from the outside knew how to get in the Lain world "matrix style".

      The key phrase in the series was "The real world and the computer (navi) world" are really the same. This means that Lain's world (you would think "real world") is really the computer world. Also, notice that the artists draw the real real world (non-Lain world) in MUCH more detail than the Lain world.
    • Re:Evangelion (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GuavaBerry ( 50743 )
      Its not all supposed to make sense.

      This is kind of the problem with 'high-concept' animation. Lain is very disorienting and has anything but a happy dynamic between the characters. Really, you just don't get to know the characters in Lain (not even Lain herself). This is a different kind of disorientation you receive from watching Evangelion. Evangelion is, on several levels, going out of its way to depress its viewership. You get to the end of the 26 episodes and all you can feel is loss and alienation. Hideaki Anno wrote this after years of depression, reportedly, and it shows. But a failure to make us feel good about ourselves is what makes this kind of unsatisfying. And many viewers are discontent with the somewhat arrogant 'high-concept' response of that as a successfully delivered message. It's not that they refuse to 'get it,' they just don't all believe getting slapped in the face by the artist is a good way to spend your money.

      That Evangelion's conclusion fails to thrill and entertain is probably not its biggest detractor. By far what turns people off about this is the absolutely abhorrent characters put in charge of saving the world in Evangelion. While most of them on the surface have decent 'hero' facades, they are all deeply broken on the inside. Shinji mortally despises his father. Misato is permanently emotionally scarred from the trauma of surviving the Second Impact. Shinji's father is cruel and unfeeling towards his only son. The other two pilots do not reach out emotionally to anyone. Everyone else is part of some paranoid agenda to destroy the world.

      The plot progression is one where the awesomely scripted robot action decays to the low-level corrosion of the character types in the series. The transition happens about halfway through the series, and it is jarring. "Hey! Where'd the cool robot fights go?" And all this in a series where the ultimate message is one of futility and failure? The ending is just plain gratuitous to these points, especially after the release of the final films (I felt worse after watching them than after watching the 'normal' endings). I hate to spoil the ending for anybody, but you won't feel any better watching it than watching all of Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil,' for comparison.

      I don't argue that anime needs to have a happy ending to be engrossing and acceptable to the mainstream. It's just that calling Evangelion the 'greatest anime ever made' both oversells Evangelion and undersells the remainder of the Anime industry.

      Try these, if you think I'm lying. Cowboy Bebop [] delivers a gritty and dark message, but it's plenty fun for all involved. Metropolis [], the 'Brazil' of the anime world (although the source greatly predates Gilliam's work) also wanders into the brittle realm of the cheerless mechanization of life. But it's better than Evangelion at doing it. People who declare Anno's work the pinnacle of Anime really do need to watch more Anime. Odds are, all they've watched is Evangelion. It would be particularly enlightening to them, if they get the opportunity, to check out what Anno's been [] doing [] since [] Evangelion.
      • Re:Evangelion (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Kizeh ( 71312 )
        I have not seen either of the two movies. However, I did not find the ending of the series to be all that depressing. Giving the audience enough room to interpret things for themselves is one of the things that makes it such a valuable work. I am getting tired of entertainment that readily hands you all the answers, whether you want them or not, and never gives the viewer much chance to question the ethics and motivations of the characters.
        Also, there seems to be a strange conception that happy endings are the only kind allowed. Is the American mind really so brainwashed? Maybe some more foreign films are needed in this country... One good start for Anime fans is Jin-Roh, which toured the US in theatrical release, no less, and is an immensely powerful animated feature.
  • Ah, the joy of seeing my most hated of all anime characters in English. "I don't want to fly the Eva and save the world because my father hates me." Grrrrr.

    My thanks to my anime club pres for the plush Shinji to torture.

    I don't remember if it's at the end of the regular series or in the movies, but the one redeeming part of the whole show for me is Asuka's looks and attitude when fighting the white Evas alone.
    • See the great thing about it is, It produced a real strong feeling in you, what other anime have you watched that produced a feeling as strong as your hatred towards Shinji? (okay you could probably name a few, but my point is, this isn't just your everyday toonami anime) this is something that you'll remember, and love in the long run
  • by danny256 ( 560954 ) on Thursday April 11, 2002 @11:01PM (#3327408)
    as it is a summary.
    Three actual reviews I like are found here []. I Personally love this anime and have all the episodes on DVD.
  • Engrish (Score:2, Funny)

    by Da Penguin ( 122065 )
    I hope the transaltion is better then in some of the fansubs. This is one of the top series (Lain is also groovy), but I've always wondered what is meant in the opening theme by "The cruel angel's thesis bleeds".

    Even the stuff on [] makes more sense then that

  • Could Evangelion be going mainstream??? I don't know if i want it too...
    • Cowboy Bebop already went mainstream (it was on the cartoon network). That wasn't so bad.
    • Eva could never go main stream, with the exception of Encore Action Network. Encore is the only national network that shows uncut anime. And they don't even show it all that often, plus no one really watches the network much. (If you live on the west coast there are some cool PBS stations, and if you can speak japanese you could get TV Japan on Dish Network)

      Eva deals directly with religious symbolism. Even mild religious references are a no-no for Cartoon Network. Screening rights would not be cheap, Anyone big enough to afford it wouldn't want to play it.

      Besides ADV is more than happy to sell yet another set to people.
      • Re:Frightening (Score:2, Informative)

        Intriguingly, SBS here in Australia screened NGE in its entirety, twice, back in 1998. It was the dubbed version though.

        Still, you'll find here in Australia that a lot more people know what NGE is than in many other parts of the world. Mind you, SBS is clearly our best TV station, showing everything from South Park to freaky cult movies presented by the legendary Des Mangan. And that's just on the one night.

        Unfortunately they passed on screening Serial Experiments Lain...
  • Hopefully it will be translated better then some of the fansubs out there. I'm still wondering what is meant by "The cruel angel's thesis bleeds / through a portal like your pulsing blood" in the opening theme. The song is pretty catchy though, despite the inevitable engrish []

    PS: this might be posted twice since the submit button looks a hell of a lot like the preview button

  • Psychic??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Burst_R8 ( 544308 )
    The only effective weapon against the Angels are the Evas (short for "Evangelions"), NERV's enormous cyborg robot-suits piloted by psychic teenagers.
    Did i miss this(i have the adv dvds)? or did the reviewer add this?
    • I think that the reviewer may have been grasping for a word that would convey the uniqueness of the people qualified to pilot the Eva's. While it's never explicity stated what about the children of 2'nd Impact is so special, supposing that it's a mental/pshycic effect is as plausible as any other speculation.
  • But I did. And considering the amount of Evangelion merchandise available right after its release, I think it probably saved me from being in the poor house. Apparently, it's saving me again. Me, I'm an Escaflowne fan. Now THAT'S a giant robot show. Mechs, in capes, fighting with swords. Pure genius.

  • I'll just wait until I can find a morpheus or winmx user who has all the episodes. Hey, it worked for the other series!
  • by Enonu ( 129798 ) on Thursday April 11, 2002 @11:21PM (#3327500)
    Read this link: Analysis of Evangelion Characters According to the Sephiroth Tree of Life []. Tell me that doesn't blow your mind. I've watched the entire series twice and the movie, End of Evangelion, at least three times. It's such a mind fuck that you can't sleep for a bit after watching it. To quote some genius:

    Mountain, heavy are the mountains
    But that changes, with the passage of time
    Sky, blue sky, what your eyes can't see, what your eyes can see
    The sun, one, only one
    Water, it is agreeable, Commander Ikari
    Flowers, so many the same, so many without purpose
    Sky, sky of red, red the color, the color I hate
    Liquid flows, it drips, ripples, and pours
    Blood, scent of blood, woman who does not bleed
    From the red soil the humans come
    Humans made by man and woman
    City, a human creation
    Eva, a human creation as well
    What are humans?
    Are they creations of God?
    Humans, that which is created by humans
    This is that which is mine
    My life, my heart
    I am a vessel for my thoughts
    The entry plug, the throne of the soul
    Who is this? This is me
    Who am I? What am I? What am I? What am I?
    I am I.
    This object that is, is myself
    That which forms me
    This is the self that can be seen, and yet this is not like that which is myself
    A strange feeling
    My body feels as if it is melting
    I can no longer see myself
    My form, my shape fades from view
    Awareness dawns of someone who is not me
    Who is here? There? Beyond me, here
    This person I know, Major Katsuragi
    Dr. Akagi
    People, my classmates
    The pilot of Unit Two
    Commander Ikari
    Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?

  • my sig (Score:3, Funny)

    by joenobody ( 72202 ) on Thursday April 11, 2002 @11:29PM (#3327536)
    For the funniest commentary I've ever seen on the silliness that is Evangelion, start here []. It's a condensation and parody and I anyone in the "it's such a great and moving series!" camp should read it. And take a cold shower.
  • Yes, they did suck. But there's a reason for that. Gainax actually ran out of money, so when they got around to the last two episodes, they had to do SOMETHING. Basically they took a bunch of concept sketches and put them to some strange voiceover so they could fulfill a 26 episode contract. The next two movies were their attempt to raise money for End of Evangelion, the real episodes 25 and 26. It turns out they ended up making a killing off the series and especially EoE, so their financial woes were over. I'll agree that they suck, but I also know that they weren't really what Gainax wanted to do with the series, but what they were forced to do. I still want the boxed set though. :)
  • There is so many different ways of trying to explain NGE. Is it Foucault's Pendulum with mechas? Is it the Red Chamber Dream with Hebrew cosmology instead of Buddhist? Or is it just a heap of anime cliches? I still don't know, and I am a pretty dedicated Eva-no-Otaku. But I tried to explain it here:

    Why I love Neon Genesis Evangelion []

  • I was pretty surprise when I first look at the storyboard(from a magazine, before any film was being made) of Evangelion - it's entirely anti-christ in the eyes of religion people. I'm not a Christian myself, but I was worrying that the use of religious concept would ignite anger of sensitive Christians.

    It turns out a great success. There aren't much discussion on the contraversial religion elements in it but instead the film was being appraised for the creativeness.

    People nowaday has higher tolerance to imaginative stories based on derived interpretation of popular religions, it seems.
    • by GospelHead821 ( 466923 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:52AM (#3327825)

      I wasn't particularly bothered by the Christian themes presented in Evangelion. I considered it as an alegory of the Garden of Eden.

      And the Lord said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. KJV Gen 3: 22-24

      I always supposed that tampering with Adam was part of humanity's effort to acchieve instrumentality, which I understood to be an immortal group mind. The Angels, of which Adam was only one, were the Cherubims, set to protect the garden of Eden, "lest he [mankind] put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever"

      The only objectionable theme I found was that humanity defeated the angels. However, the symbolism of this is not clear. I have considered three interpretations and cannot decide which, if any, is correct.
      1. Man is more powerful than the servants of God. It is his destiny to suceed at achieving eternal life by his own power.
      2. God, having been created by man, may also be destroyed by man. Thus, his servants are ineffectual.
      3. Man thinks that he is greater than God, an so names his enemies 'angels' so that he can affirm his own superiority. He is deluded and ireverent.

      The first two, obviously, are critical of Christianity, the third is critical of man. Which of these, if any, was intended, I don't know.

      • by Uller-RM ( 65231 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @01:27AM (#3327942) Homepage
        There were two possible results of the Human Complementation Project. Both would result in the annihilation of mankind as it's known today - one would simply be the complete destruction, the other would join and merge all souls into a single uniform being, continuing life with a single soul. The former would happen if an Angel came into contact with Adam, the first angel, the latter through a a ritual involving Rei. (There's actually a third option, also, below.)

        The series portrayed NERV (the organization behind the Evas) as a puppet for a council of planners called SEELE - a group of old men who had a hand in the original discovery of Adam, attempting to save their own skins. According to the script, they used technology pioneered by Dr. Katsuragi (Misato's father) to force Adam to revert in time to an embryonic form, allowing them to restrain him - however, the energy produced triggered the melting of the ice caps. (No debates about embryos and life please, that's another topic for another time.)

        Thus, the Evas were created to prevent the Angels (sent by God) from coming into contact with Adam before they could complete the ritual and trigger the "good" type of complementation. In the first episode containing Asuka, Kaji is carrying around a cryogenic container holding Adam - it stays with Gendo Ikari after that.

        As for the ending... in the original series ending, the "good" ending is assumed to occur, and the final two episodes trace what happens to Shinji as he merges with the souls of his cloest friends. (The ritual that triggers this is left undisclosed.) I thought it was a great ending - however, it left a lot of questions unanswered, and many fans complained. So, Gainax dragged Anno back, and released the movie End of Evangelion, which presents a different ending. In EoE, the ritual and creation of the group being is very explicitly shown, along with the freeing of all souls on earth - however, at the last minute, Shinji (inside EVA-01) rejects the new life form, and it all falls apart. The movie doesn't say what happens to the souls of humanity explicitly - they're shown coasting back to earth, and most people figure their bodies will reform.

        (The whole idea of the ending was that the so-called AT field was the intangible, inpenetrable barrier of the soul, keeping us in human shape; if our AT fields were somehow countered, the human body would break apart into base elements - which Eva calls LCL - and the soul float free.)

        Personally, I don't see a need to interpret it in terms of my religious beliefs, just because it has symbols and imagery from it. I just enjoy the series for what it is, and for the philosophical issues it presents :)
        • MEGA Spoiler ahoy... shame there's no LJ-Cutalike.

          There's one problem with this; you're assuming that after Shinji rejects the hive-mind one-critter one-soul aspect, that all the bodies will 'eventually reform'. We don't have any proof of that; if anything, we have proof to the contrary.

          We see the 'sea' of LCL lapping at the shores... and Shinji. And Asuka, of all people. Remember, Rei warned Shinji that he had to be able to picture himself alone in order to get what he wanted, and he couldn't do that. And in those last two minutes he rolls over, strangles her, whines, and that's the end of the movie.

          Looks to me like Shinji, as usual screwed up and pretty much doomed humanity in the process.

          Boy, did I feel lousy after staying up all night to catch an early showing of the movie at Katsucon 2. Nothing like wandering around in an alienated daze in a dealer's room...

          Anyway, I've got big philosophical contentions with the whole one-soul merging thing... I don't likes it, it denies us what really makes us human. Regardless of whether humanity is self destructive or not, we've got the right to live as we've always lived without some old guys in SOUND-ONLY monoliths deciding we're better off completely losing our sense of self because this will supposedly make things waiwai better... but that's another topic, I guess.

  • In my personal opinion, the best Japanese anime series of 1996 (Shin Seiki Evangelion was shown from late 1995 to early 1996 in its first run in Japan) was not this series.

    The last two episodes just confused the heck out of me, to say the least.

    The best anime series for calendar year 1996 was Tenkuu no Escaflowne (known in the West as The Vision of Escaflowne), which had WAY better animation, superior storytelling and of course the excellent musical score by Yoko Kanno, a legend in Japan for her work on music for anime series.
  • The real message (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Cat ( 19816 ) on Friday April 12, 2002 @12:02AM (#3327655)
    utterly unlike any American animated film.

    Slowly, surely, inevitably...

    anime, because of its stories and quality...

    overtakes the U.S. animation companies...

    and leaves them behind.

    The Metropolis review, the popularity of Toonami, the 20 feet of DVDs at Suncoast and now this. It's no longer a question of 'if.'

    Toonami's popularity was described as "out-of-nowhere." Isn't it funny how executives always describe genuine quality-driven popularity as "out of nowhere?" Of course, the two shows that built Toonami: Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon, weren't exactly "out of nowhere," but we can't actually expect the cynics to do any work now can we?

    That an animated series can generate so much substantive discussion should just about wrap it for the "animation is for kids" crowd.

    The real message to the animation industry:

    better wake up.
  • Anyone who thinks that episodes 25 & 26 sucked largely misses the point of the whole series. In brief, what NERV was attempting to do was improve humanity. In the case of the series ending, they were successful. In the case of the movies however, Gianax wanted to show what happened if NERV fucked up. Shinji represented, for intents and purposes, the whole human race in BOTH versions of the ending. Both are equally valid and make sense from this context. Personally, I find episodes 25 & 26 to be more meaningful than just watching the entire human race die.
    • Well, frankly there's a lot of 'Mericans who generally make the same "What the hell just happened?!?" comments with many animated series/movies, happened with Akira, happened with Mononoke Hime, it was inevitable it would happen here as well...

  • Overall, I preferred Gasaraki over Evangelion. Gasaraki has giant robots, political intrigue, interesting characters, a great musical score, better production values, a complicated plot, and bad-ass hardware. Fewer confused teenagers in skin-tight outfits, but, well, everything's a trade-off, I guess.

    Evangelion had a slow start, but just kept getting better, until it had me rivited near the end... until the final two episodes. Yes, I understand them. Yes, I "get it". No, I didn't find them to be very good.

    Gasaraki, at least, got to finish its story, and it is very similar in certain ways -- most notably the "click your heels three times and think of home to defeat the bad guys" ending many giant mecha animes seem to have. Still, far more satisfying than the interminable idiocy of the final Evangelion.

    "Congratulations! Congratulations!"
    • Gainax works (Evangelion, FLCL, KareKano, Mahoromatic) may get pretty wacky sometimes, and certainly give way too much fan service, and Hedeaki Anno has a rather bipolar approach to direction, but their works are passionate. The premise in Evangelion was outlandish. But the premise in Gasaraki (along with the plot, character development, and "acting"), like so many other Sunrise shows of the same ilk (namely Argento Soma, Brain Powered, and Scryed), is ridiculous and forced.

  • This is the only word that can be used to describe what Eva does to you. If you want to see some fucked up shit, see the End of Eva movie (before you do that, watch all of the episodes in the series, as it is a SERIES and no episodes should be skipped or watched out of order). I'll try not to spoil, but the bulk of the clustermindfucking is done in the last half of the movie, and that comes to a head just before (perhaps 15 seconds before) the very end. I guarentee that after watching this, you will find yourself crying naked in a corner, covered in your own excriment, unable to speak. Yes, it's that good.

    Also... to those not aquainted with the world of Ultra-CMF (see title of this post) viewing: if The Matrix is a 0 on the CMF scale, and Eva is 100 (and it is)... then Ghost in the Shell is roughly a 93, Serial Experiments: Lain scores about an 85, and Akira scores a good 25. EVERY GEEK SHOULD WATCH THESE.

    Though, I'll offer a word of warning: once you have viewed the above titles, your opinion of the bulk of Hollywood movies will go down the shitter. Personally, I find myself watching The Matrix and other movies that I had previously found to be "profound" and thinking to myself how blatently obvious they are.

    As for the rest of the world of anime, I generally stay away from ~99% of it, as it is underbudget, retarded crap. Of course, if it's something you're in to collecting as a hobby (as CmdrTaco is), then that's your own thing.
  • As far as Evangelion goes, call me an early adopter. A friend in Japan mailed me the entire series taped off of Japanese TV. I had to watch it while sort of guessing what was really going on while waiting for the "Literal Translation" scripts to come out. I wound up buying most of the series on Japanese laserdiscs (I would kill by the way, for disks 0:7, 0:8 and 0:09 containing episodes 13-18).

    Eva is unique and important as an anime because it completely deconstructs the "giant robot" genre, in which the typical story line is that a boy pilots/commands the giant robot built by his scientist father (who usually dies) against evil monsters or other giant robots. While Giant Robo celebrates this genre, Evangelion attacks it.

    Plot Summary:

    Essentially Shinji Ikari, a 14 year old introvert, is more or less blackmailed into piloting a robotic monster created by his father. He endures great suffering, all for the purpose of saving the world, or at least that's what he thinks.

    Instead of his father being the friendly scientist, Gendo Ikari is a complete rat-bastard who inflicts suffering on the Evangelion pilots for the purpose of making them more mallable to further his plan. Shinji's guardian, Misato, is a good woman, but she's also a dysfunctional alcoholic. His fellow pilots Rei and Asuka are both, like him, emotional cripples in their own way. The show is a 26 episode train wreck that doesn't let up.

    Along the way Shinji:

    1. is forced to cripple one of his friends.
    2. learns that the girl he loves, and who dies for him, is a clone of his mother.
    3. learns his mother's soul is trapped in the robot he pilots.
    4. watchs his fellow pilots become crippled, get psychically raped, and die.
    4. is forced to kill the only person who has ever shown him true unconditional kindness.

    And instead of saving the world, he's set up to be the key player in bringing all of humanity to a new stage of evolutionary development in the manner of Arthur C. Clarke's "Children's End".

    If you want a summary of each episode, most of them can all be described as "Shinji has a bad day in the entry plug." (entry plug: the removable "cockpit" of an evangelion)

    The first four episodes are a very good beginning and an example of what happens later on. It gets a bit better, but at episode 18 it gets dark and never ever lets up again.

  • Best series if I can somehow overlook the final eps of the original series.

    Especially if you exclude the "additional" final espisode made because the real final episode was just a wonderful montage of imagery and narration. My friend and I watched each episode with growing anticipation. With the last episode, we just scratched our heads. WTH?

    The action packed, everbody dies, final-final episode made more sense, but was still disatisfying. Best anime of all time? Sorry--there are too many others that are far better.

    Besides, *everyone* knows the greatest anime series of all time is Macross

  • Honneamise and Gunbuster will be GAINAX's masterpieces for the foreseeable future.

    If you like Eva, you must check these titles out.
  • Reading people's reports on the ending was enough to make me go out and read the screenplay for the movie (gotta love the internet...) and I have to agree: truly vicious ending. Evil evil twists.


    It is NOT a cooler ending than the ending of 'Brazil'.

    And this is because the point Evangelion makes is much less interesting than the point Brazil makes. It's NOT that hard to use art to cut away a person's foundations- you just make them identify and then put the protagonist through a lot. It's much more interesting to give a sharp twist, not to the viewer's self-worth, but to their view of reality and the value of sanity, which of course is the brilliance of the every-bit-as-shattering ending of Brazil.

  • Eva, is the German name for Eve.
    This should be a pointer towards Adam, the first Angel, which the EVAs originated from.

    Like the most other things (Seele = soul, etcetc) this is a germanism.

    The Evangelion in NGE refers to something like
    "The book of the new Beginning", which makes more sense after all.

    • Actually, Evangelion is greek for "gospel", and the actual japanese words "Shin Sheiki" (which were translated into english as "Neon Genesis") actually mean "New Century"....

      So, we put it all together, and we get the real meaning of the title: "Gospel for a New Century"
  • The big fighting robots and monsters from space? Metaphors. As cool looking as anime is, even the most-american friendly stuff is still pretty bewildering to many.

    There's nothing wrong with the last couple episodes the same way there's nothing wrong with some other foreign film you've watched and didn't quite "get" but it did look pretty.
  • Nice review; my box actually came in yesterday (actually, it came in on the 4th; fucking Canada Post never bothers to actually try to deliver packages,and often forgets to actually drop off the pickup slip) and the review will be a nice little primer for my wife, who's getting into Anime. Too bad the reviewer seems to watche the dubs, though.
  • Ive seen quite a lot of comments that are complaining that Hideaki Anno created End of Evangelion in order to spite the fans.

    This is simply not true.

    This is a horribly old rumor, and there is no backing to it whatsoever. Id like to kill it right now.

    Anno does not hate the fans! He never has!

    Actually, the man just got married. I hate to think what his kids will be like *shudder*
  • Hooray for mainstream credibility!

    Darn! It went mainstream! Now I'm gonna have to search for something non-trendy again..
  • Am I the only one who finds anime a bit stupid and very repetitious?

    I'll admit I got a charge out of Akira w-a-a-y back in the day, but everything I've watched since is... well, almost exactly like everything else. A lot of perky teens (or brooding adults), shiny robots, spiky hair and "deer-in-the-headlight" vacuous stares.

    If I wanted to watch the same cartoon over and over again, I'd watch "Scooby Doo", which at least has a talking dog hyped up on some derivative of canibus.

    I look at my video shelf with it's Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and other anime titles (whatever happened to the term "japanimation"?), and I realize I am so over the fad. I just can't be bothered anymore.
    T(H)GSB []

  • Sheesh. A big long review like that, and somehow Rei and Shinji are the lead pair of characters while Asuka is relegated to no-name status. Perhaps the Asuka-haters might like that but it isn't an accurate depiction of the show. Rei, Asuka, and Misato were the triad of women in Shinji's life and dreams, and Shinji was definitely the main and central character.

    (Side note - somebody do a Music Video for Evangelion to the tune of "Three Libras" by A Perfect Circle)
  • Evangelion is certainly not the best anime series.

    Evangelion sucks. Really.

    At the beginning it was a great mecha-action show with excellent characterization.

    Then they destroy everything. Viewers are made to
    "hate" the characters they've gotten to know.
    The characters don't develop, they regress.

    A load of B.S. philosophy that was obviously intended to maliciously bash western religion was made the center point of the show. None of it makes much sense any way you put it.

    Then, in typical Gainax fasion, they save money with low-budget crap (such as elevator rides and still frames), using "tricks" to make it seem "artistic."

    And the only good thing about "End of Evangelion"
    is that it is a nice thing to show before another movie. It is so crappy and depressing that it will always make the movie shown after seem 1000 times better.

    If you want a GOOD "artistic" anime with philosophical themes, then I suggest Lain.
    It is much better, lets you know what to expect at Episode 1, and actually makes much more sense.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison