September 30, 2010
[tl:dr - Recommendation: Watch Code Geass instead. No comparison. CG is amazing. Evangelion is okay.]
Watched this over the last month or so. It is a sort of famous classic anime series set a bit in the future after a fairly massive catastrophe called the Second Impact, which may or may not have been caused by an angel landing on earth.
There are 26 episodes, and it takes 10 sort of quirky episodes to introduce characters and warm up the plot. Then it is giant robots and teenagers fare, with a fairly straightforward structure of Angel (being giant quite random monsters) attacks, except they have biblical angelic names, gets repelled by kids in giant robots. Very cartoony.
Except that it spends at least half its time focusing on how fucked up and miserable the characters are, and the details of their estrangement. To be fair, the characters are mostly pretty fun. The last half dozen episodes get a lot stranger.
Ultimately the main plotline, about Angels and veiled mutterings about the end of the world, and prophecies in the Dead Sea Scrolls, sort of goes nowhere. Just peters out. And this other really unspecified thing that has been mentioned in the background happens instead. (Maybe the fan sub stuff on streaming anime is a bit dodgy; or perhaps the story itself is just a bit oddly put together. Certainly subtlety is lost in translation.)
Enjoyable, but definitely felt like a bit of a slog after a while; the ending saves a lot.
The ending. Whoa. The last two episodes, particularly the last one, wherein the Other Thing happens, more or less without warning.
So out of nowhere the finale is all about humanity merging into a group mind, and realising that we are all contingent on each other to know ourselves, and that we just need to get over ourselves, and accept and love ourselves – and this happens in the course of this thing happening to everyone alive for some reason, as demonstrated by the main character going through a pretty intense psychedelic deconstruction, resulting in him realising that he has worth after all, and everyone else thinks so too. So basically an eschatological apocalyptic merging into a new uber consciousness mindfuck. And this is the solution to the estrangement isolation and misery of humanity as experienced by everyone.
So yeah. That was that.
Was alright. But if you’re gonna watch some anime, watch Code Geass instead. Evangelion is genre-defining – Code Geass is genre-transcending.
Don’t see much anime in my near future.