Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

10 Years of Neon Genesis Evangelion 312

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

10 Years of Neon Genesis Evangelion

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:00PM (#15271729)
    For creating a generation of anime and video game creators who
    • don't finish the story they started writing
    • just throw in random religious and psychological references and think they have a "deep" story
    • star whiny teenage wimps as the hero of the show
  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by torchdragon ( 816357 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:02PM (#15271746) Homepage
    Not all Anime is good. In fact, I'd go out on a limb and apply the 80/20 rule to it. Fortunately, NGE is part of the 20% that isn't crap. Is about big robots? Not really. You have to think a little harder about that. Is it about aliens? Not really. Can it really be described in a summary without giving it all away? Eesh, probably not. I *thumbs up* this anime specifically, but I don't think you can generalize about NGE and anime any more than you could generalize about most everything else. All governments suck because of African warlords? All TV is crap because of The Simple Life? Nah. Unfortunately there are still some things in this world that require some personal research.
  • by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:04PM (#15271762)
    I don't mean to troll, but I find zero appeal in the show. It falls in the category I call "psuedo-literature," a group which includes works that try so very hard to actually be quality literature, but ironically, trying so hard ruins the whole exercise. The writers for the show obviously through from the start that they were going to write a grand epic; they put enough twists and turns into the plot to get people convinced, even. If it's that complicated, it HAS to be good, right?

    Wrong. The quality of a piece of literature isn't in its complexity, it's actually in the simple, easily apparent parts. The complexity adds dimensions to the simple story, but it does not add meaning itself, and often *confuses* meaning by adding extraneous material in the attempt to make "a really cool story."

    So that leaves us with Evangelion, admired by hordes and spurned by people who are described by said hordes as "not getting it." Perhaps there's just not that much to get? Perhaps you're adding too much into a reading, because they left so much hanging you constructed around the work? That's not literature. Literature guides your faculties, it doesn't fool them and then expect them to expand things past the breaking point.

    To wit, look at shakespeare. Generally, a couple rich people who get in trouble with someone else, and either laugh it off or die. The end. The complexity is internalized in the characters; the plot itself is simple. That is why Shakespeare is Shakespeare, and Evangelion is just another mecha anime.
  • by doctor_nation ( 924358 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:06PM (#15271784)
    Not truth so much as close-mindedness on your part. A lot of anime has plotlines and characters that put things like 24 or Lost to shame. Watch before you judge- just because you grew up with Walt Disney doesn't mean that all things animated are for kids.
  • by carbontetra ( 952283 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:19PM (#15271895)
    I beg to differ. Death and Rebirth was basically the creator going "What, you didn't like my ending? FINE. HERE. Everyone dies and is miserable, you happy now?" The ending of the anime was fine as is, if you bothered to think about it. I highly reccomend ignoring the two movies that followed it.
  • Overrated (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lbbros ( 900904 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:39PM (#15272056) Homepage
    Neon Genesis Evangelion was widely acclaimed, and IMO overrated. The main reason for the weird ending on first show was caused by lack of funds (did you see the drop in animation from episode 21?) Hideaki Anno, the director, and surely a person with a huge ego, didn't like the criticisms and lashed out at everyone in a Newtype interview published shortly after the end of the series. The subsequent movies and "final episodes", aside being a display of an incoherent plot, are just his revenge against those who didn't "understand" him. As for the so-called references... I firmly believe there is no "second meaning" in Evangelion. There are a lot of things thrown at the viewer, but I don't find any real sense. I suspect they were put in just to "look cool" and have people think a lot about nothing. The consequences on the anime market were sadly bad (a whole round of series with stories that made no sense) but more on the fandom, since they're now convinced that everything that looks "strange" on a series MUST be tied to "hidden meaning". Examples are in The Soul Taker, or Shojo Kakumei Utena, where there is no trace of a hidden meaning, but the extreme oddity of the situations "spices up" what could have been a pretty basic storyline.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:44PM (#15272092)
    "So that leaves us with Evangelion, admired by hordes and spurned by people who are described by said hordes as "not getting it." Perhaps there's just not that much to get?"

    Frankly, I think you've hit the nail on the head - and I think you'll probably be crucified on /. for it.

    I've got to admit I wasted a few hours of my life watching Evangelion recently, after hearing so much about it from a couple friends. Here's my impressions of the series:

    Start of series
    Producer: "Hey, let's make an anime about mecha! That always sells!
    Writer: "Great idea!"

    Roughly halfway through the series
    Producer: "This really isn't very good - let's turn it into a mystical/psychological story!"
    Writer: "Great idea!"

    Three episodes before the end
    Producer: "I have no idea how to wrap this up - let's get totally hammered for the next few weeks!"
    Writer: "GREAT IDEA!!"
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @02:45PM (#15272106)
    Could never stand Shinji. But the point of Shinji, as I saw it, was that he's the part every geek hates about himself. I frequently wanted to punch Shinji because his continuous weakness hit way too close to home. Would I go pilot the giant robot? HELL YEAH! Would I dare even try to talk to Ayanami? Nope. I'd go to pieces. Melt into yellow goo twenty episodes early.

    So I scream at Shinji for his pathetic weakness when he runs away from having to pilot Eva, because I can't scream at his weakness in dealing with Rei, Asuka and Misato...

  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:11PM (#15272352) Journal
    This is one of the best series anime has to offer

    No, it's not. As is repeatedly demonstrated with other genres and other media, just because something is popular doesn't mean that it's not tripe.

    and it's not THAT great.

    Yes, NGE isn't that great. However, it does have the ability to appeal to a wide range of people. I related to it because I empathize with Shinji; I understand the mindfuck at the end. That doesn't mean that I think it's the best or even really that good.
  • by fudoniten ( 918077 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:40PM (#15272656)
    C'mon, now, be fair:

    - Thank you, Star Wars, for inspiring a generation of crappy Sci-Fi space operas
    - Thank you, Seinfeld, for causing another cycle of lousy sitcoms, just when the idea seemed to have run it's course
    - Thank you, Doom, for all the dozens of shitty FPS that flooded the game industry in the mid-90's

    All dated examples, but they've already run their course, so they're good examples. LotR will be responsible for lousy new fantasy, you can be sure; and Spiderman is to blame for all the lousy new superhero movies in theatres these days. Any classic will be imitated, badly; that doesn't mean you should stop making classics. IMHO, Neon Genesis is a really, really weird sorta classic. It's weirdness is classic, and oh-so-refreshing. I agree with theJML here; Anime is Japanese TV, nothing more or less; but when you're sick as hell of sitcoms, reality TV, home renovation shows, and music videos, discovering Anime is like reaching the New World and discovering chocolate and potatoes. It's still just food, but it's a welcome change from old salt pork and pickled cabbage.
  • by sc0ttyb ( 833038 ) * on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:42PM (#15272672)
    In fact, they weren't robots at all. Labeling them as such is actually very misleading and contradictory to the plot. If I were to label them anything, cyborg is probably the closest word I'd use to describe them, and even that's not really very accurate. I can't say further without spoiling anything for folks who may or may not have watched or read anything related to the series.

    The Evas are very, very important to the plot. They aren't just some mechs that were added in just for the coolness factor (though they certainly do add that). There is a very lengthy background concerning their creation, origin, and ultimate purpose. The fact that most people will watch maybe the first handful of episodes and then dismiss it as nothing more than a "mechs kill shit" series leads to the wrong ideas about what this series actually is. The Evas aren't just used for killing humanity's enemies. They're used in both political and personal agendas, and oddly enough, the Evas, well, damn, almost gave something else away.

    I made it a point to watch the entire series several times to try and pick up on things I missed. End of Evangelion pretty much confirmed a lot of my suspicions about the true motivations behind the simultaneous projects going on, almost all of which were connected somehow. Granted, it went almost a bit too far with the "what the hell?" mindfuck aspect near the end of the movie, but it was an interesting picture and merely one person's interpretation of Judeo-Christian themes.

    So, to dismiss this series as "just another giant robot anime" is pretty short-sighted, in my humble opinion. I'll admit that it takes a while for it to really get started, but when it does, it runs full-on.
  • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @03:52PM (#15272788)
    You can't go judging all of anime based on just one series.

    Despite its problems, there are some interesting elements in Eva. It's just unfortunate that the execution of the show be desired.

    The show did run out of time and money - something that happens quite often. After all, Eva was being marketed as a TV series product - not as a piece of art.

    Eva wasn't even the first show that the studio had problems with regarding money or time... The story goes, that one of their earlier works was a direct-to-video series called Gunbuster (which STILL hasn't been released on DVD in the US. GRRRR!) ran out of time and money. So, they took a risk and released the final episode in black and white. This time they got lucky. The dark look of the epiosde worked well and helped underscore the desparation the characters faced.

    In the case of Eva, they weren't so lucky. The main writer had suffered a nervous breakdown, and the TV stations were demanding that the show be wrapped up on time.

    At any rate, you should not - and can not - judge all of anime by just one or two series. You must remember that anime is not a single genre intended for a single audience. Just like with American TV and movies, there are different genres and different audiences.

    And despite what you may think, there are plenty of good stories being told via anime. Unfortunatly, there's also a lot of garbage out there. But if you keep an open mind and keep looking, I'm sure you'll find something.

    I would put forth Cowboy Bebop as a show you should look into. It's perhaps one of the best titles for introducing the potential that the medium can accomplish. It's not a kid show, but isn't hyper-violent and graphic like Akira. While it does incorporate some sci-fi elements, it's really just a human drama that deals with a wide variety of issues while not being "too Japanese" in its philosophies or actions. And, finally, it has an excellent English voice-over.
  • Re:Final Episode (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @04:44PM (#15273252) Journal
    The actual, underlying premise and plot is pretty straightforward and coherent... at least what I see. They just didn't drop it in your lap like many other stories do, and instead presented you with a "giant robot anime" facade and a lot of character development.

    Spoiler warning, although this is strictly my personal interpretation of the story.


    The underlying premise is an attempt to describe the nature of the human soul.

    When you are first conceived, you have no soul. (Rei is the key to this interpretation, as this is pretty much the reason she exists IMHO)

    As you grow, your soul is constructed by copying parts of the souls belonging to the people you interact with (including pre-birth interactions though the womb). Individuality and personality arises from the unique mixture of these copied portions and personal experiences. This is important to understand the ending.

    The concept of the "Absolute Terror Field" is introduces as a barrier that keeps each soul separate. (Although throughout the series it is also manifested as a physical barrier). This is also important to understand the ending, as well as a few things throughout the story.

    Because of the above, no single soul can ever be "complete", with the exception of the "First" - Adam and Eve (From the Genesis account of the creation of life) and, from a particular interpretation/version, Adam's first wife Lilith - Eve being the third with an unnamed second wife - who is actually the one who mankind is descended from). The creation of man caused the separation of these "perfect" souls.

    Man discovers the "First Angel" - which they name Adam - In Antarctica. While trying to capture him/it, it self destructs and causes what is refereed to as "Second Impact". However, man was able to recover a portion of Adam. (And, apparently, most of Lilith)

    The "Human Instrumentality Project" mentioned in the series intended to 'fix' this problem and get all of the imperfect, partial souls to recombine into a new perfect soul - and supposedly usher in the next major step in man's evolution, and becoming closer to God.

    NERV and the EVAs were essentially a front for the whole operation. (I still haven't been able to pin down exactly how the Angels themselves work into it. Maybe they're pissed that man has stolen Adam and want him back?)

    At the end (This is in EoE), Rei rejoins Lilith - from which she was directly created. Lilith's/Rei's soul is thus completed, and begins the "Third Impact" by neutralizing the AT fields of all life on the planet, which removed the barriers keeping the souls apart.

    Rei's soul then becomes the nexus of this event, in which all souls are being recombined into a single, "perfect" soul. But Rei was created by Gendo Ikari without a soul of her own. His plan was to impress enough of his soul into Rei so he could be at the center of the event, which is why he was always so protective of and spent so much time with her. Ultimately, it was Shinji's soul who had the most influence, and so he became the center of it all.

    In the end, all life on the planet was essentially destroyed and Shinji (with his now perfect, complete soul) effectively becomes God. The last two episodes are basically about him thinking about his life, having dialog with the other character's, reflecting on everything, and eventually deciding he would like to continue existing along with everyone else.

    Pretentious? You bet! But the whole giant robot thing was actually very superficial to the actual story. Inserting EoE before the last two episiodes really, really helped put it all together.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, 2006 @05:10PM (#15273432)
    Anyone who does not understand it's references or considers them as shallow, simply does not understand the show. Which is to be expected in the US, where all that counts are the number of explosions and pairs of tits
    Read any manga/anime-related bulletin boards in Japan, and you'll find as many people flaming each other over Eva. In fact, this entire slashdot story looks exactly like what you would see in the Japanese bbs'es, except in English.

    The reason many people think Eva is shit is not because they're not Japanese. It's because people honestly believe it sucks and that the people who like the series are shallow people full of themselves that really need to go read a real book or two.

  • Re:RahXephon (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kadathseeker ( 937789 ) on Friday May 05, 2006 @06:43PM (#15274035) Homepage
    Meh, I disagree. RehXephon had a really good beginning and middle, but the "mechs" weren't as cool and the ending felt as vague as NGE without being as epic. Really, I think it got the worst of NGE but like it because of its similarity to Haibane Renmei, Lain, Paranoia Agent, and that style.

APL hackers do it in the quad.