Evangelion episode IV: A New Hope
Anyone who cares about Feral Entertainment (all....none of you) may recall the rather ribbing review I gave of Neon Genesis Evangelion. I'll be the first to admit it was ass, I know it was, but let's face it, I was younger and wasn't really taking it seriously. So, now here's the REAL Neon Genesis Evangelion review!
Ok, first of all, let me make it very clear. I. HATE. Evan-fucking-gelion. I'm yet to find anything in anime that grates my nerves more than Evangelion. But! Fair is fair, I'm even minded and willing to give it a fair review. I'll try to keep the spite and venom to a minimum but keep in mind it's hard to praise something you have a personal vendetta against.
Before I get into the meat of it, let me give my brief explanation of what I have against it so badly. In itself, I found the series to be boreing, near pointless, extremely long and unsure of what the hell it's trying to be. But I can live with all of that, after all, I don't like School Rumble either but I don't go on about that, what REALLY gets me about Evangelion is the sheer amount of fandom the thing generates. I mean, why!? What do they see in it? I mean, yeah, they harp on and on about the 'deepness' of it (which I don't see) which is fine and also about the religious references; these I do get, but still don't see the point in. I am dead serious people, not one seccond of this series gripped me. At all. It was not gripping me, I am totaly and utterly ungrippeded! Anyway, I also find it amazing that so many fans will defend Evangelion to the death! My only conclusion is that it's so boring that by the time it's over those of us with poor mental resistance must be desensitised to the point where not only does Evangelion appear to be good, but also appears to be fight worthy. I mean, I'm a diehard Haruhiist but even I will admit it's failings, to these fans Evangelion can do no wrong. I'm not saying they're all like that but come on! This is something that people have complained about since even Naruto came into the picture, the Otaku really need to keep a leash on our own people. But that's a debate for another time, for now let me just say you have been duely warned! Please for god sake don't message me with hate mail, hear me out first.
"Ok guys, aaaaaaand POSE!"
Ok, so the plot is difficult to gather and can be confusing at first glace, it is really one of those anime where paying attention is key. In general, the plot revolves around a boy named Shinji Ikari during some time/thing. He goes to New Tokyo to meet with his father Gendo Ikari and quickly becomes wrapped up in the activites of NERV, what's NERV? Well, you see, strange alien creatures known only as Angels are attacking the Earth and NERV is the organisation built to fight them. To this end, they have created the Evangelion program. In this program, under age, mentaly unstable kids get to pilot homicidal weapons of mass destruction which can barely be controled at any given time called Evas. As you can tell, we are in safe hands. The fact that these machines are near impossible to control doesn't seem to be much of an issue though, as the Angels only send down one at a time to fight them. Yes, it takes 3 Evas to take down 1 alien, lord help us if multiple Angels appear to fight. If you're wondering why they need the Evas, keep in mind the world is protected only by NERV and the Godzilla Military are the only things keeping the post-apocolypse world safe. Oh yeah, can't forget that, the world is in a state of post-apocolypse thanks to something called First Impact. What is that? I have no idea, all we're really told is that it has something to do with Angels and that's about it really. To aid Shinji in his quest to whine and moan about his lot in life is the almost as whiney Asuka and the Yuki Nagato-esque Rei, or is Yuki like Rei-esque? One or the other. 26 episodes all based on that, there's more to the plot but it's sort of confusing and really only gets going towards the end of the series. Why does it last so long? Most of the series is devoted to character development, I know, I feel it to. Ok, I'll fully admit it's not the worst plot in the world, in fact if it was edited slightly it would be pretty good. And there is two things about Evangelion that I do enjoy, but I'll get onto that in a moment.
The characters range simply on an annoyance scale. Mostly because every single one has some sort of issue that they love to whine endlessly about. The one you'll hear the most about is Shinji, who's dialogue ranges from "But I don't wanna pilot the robot!", "Noone understands me!" and my personal favourite "Yes I'll do the dishes". I swear, all Shinji does is whine, whine, whine. At least Asuka and Rei actualy DO something. Speaking of which, Asuka's issue is actualy understandable, but not really well executed. You see, Asuka really wants to outmatch everyone and everything, that's not bad except this desire causes her to go into a drug trip, have an affair with an older man and sit in a bath full of blood. I swear, that happens, in one scene she is in a bath full of blood just zoneing out into the sky. Which brings me to another problem I have, Asuka's drug trip scene is regarded as one of the key scenes in Evangelion, but all that happens is Asuka runs through doors, alot, sees her mother dead, flashes her flat chest and whines, whines, WHINES, WHINES! Rei is...Rei, she doesn't have an 'issue' like Shinji or Asuka but she is in herself a walking plot point. I suppose if she did have an issue it would be her seemingly illadvised obsession with Shinji's father but that is exaplained, sort of, later. Other than that, the characters aren't all that memorable and very rarely do they stray from the whineing theme of the show. Admitedly, they don't whine as much as Shinji of Asuka but they still give it a try.
And before you all complain about the over use of the word whine, I'm going to move on now to the movies. Yes, the movies. The first one is called End of Evangelion, which is in itself a remake of the final 2 episodes of the series. And you know what, I like it. Yes, I liked End of Evangelion, I admit it. And you know why? Because it shut up and got on with what it does well, robots beating the crud out of eachother! It's awesome! The plot is revamped slightly to actualy make sense and the ending is actualy pretty satisfying, instead of just Shinji realising that yes! Friends matter! Then there was Rebuild of Evangelion, ohhhh boy where do I begin? You know those filler episodes where they just recap the series so far? Rebuild is like that if the episode lasted over an hour! Ok, there are some minor changes but unless you are a diehard Eva fan or just someone who notices these things they'll pass you right by, I even refuse to rate it. And then, finnaly, there is Evangelion 2.0. This movie is a total remake of the series, begining to end. Cutting out all the filler and most of the character development. And you know what? It works. 2.0 is actualy very, very good in my opinion. They keep in the vital character development, edit out the fluff and give us relateable characters. Even Shinji doesn't whine as much, although when he does it actualy means something now. We also get the addition of a new character by the name of Mari. I like Mari, she adds new blood and new motivation into the mix. Shinji pilots Eva 01 because he feels he has to, Rei pilots 00 out of loyalty to Shinji's father and Asuka pilots 02 because she wants to prove she's the best. Mari pilots her Eva for no other reason than she loves it! Even in the heat of battle she treats her situation like she's in a video game, it's awesome. I mean, isn't that how you would treat a situation where you were in a giant robot about to clash with aliens? I certainly would, which is probably why the world would be screwed but whatever.
Mari: Making Evangelion bareable since 2009
Now that plot and the characters are out of the way, let's talk technical. Animation wise, the series is very gritty. Towards the end of the series character sometimes stop moving entirely, leaving only their mouths to animate what they are saying. From what I understand, the production team had very little in the way of budget and decided to sink most of their time and effort into the mech battles, good move but leaves us bored out of our minds watching the endless speeches with almost nothing moveing (well it bored me anyway). The budget was greatly improved for the movies and it shows, the colours and nice, the movement is fluid and it's just nice to look at. The music, however, falls flat on it's face. It's dull, it's not very exciting and even during the mech battles it does little to get the blood pumping. Even the opening is boreing, the song has nothing to do with the series at all. It's almost like the creators just went to the people makeing the song, told them to write a song about a boy saveing the world, and used that. Bah.
All things considered, Evangelion isn't a bad series really. It has it's problems, and they're executed badly, but they're easily fixed in 2.0. If you want my opinion of course, instead of a reviewers opinion, it's long, tedious and full. The characters are annoying, the music is painfull to listen to and the less that Shinji says, the better. However, as a reviewer, I can't fault it on much so:
Final Score: 2.5/5
End of Evangelion: 3.5/5
Evangelion 2.0: 4/5
Check it out, it's worth a try, right?