At my friend’s consistent pestering, I finally got around to watching Neon Genesis Evangelion. I had considered watching this sooner then, well…now… but kept putting it off. Boy, was that a mistake! The show itself starts off at a slow pace to be sure, but the latter half is both captivating and addicting. I regret not seeing the show sooner and am a bit ashamed in fact.
In 2015, (fifteen years after a global cataclysm known as the “Second Impact”) Shinji Ikari is called upon by his estranged father. His father works and runs a military/governmental force known as NERV that serves as a defense against massive alien-like monsters called “Angels.” Shinji, as it turns out, is one of the few people gifted enough to pilot the newly created EVA-01 mech. He at first refuses as he hates his father. Shinji feels that the only reason his father reached out to him was because he was finally useful to him. Eventually though, he gives in and manages to defeat the Angel that was attacking the city.
Throughout the show, more Angels show up and more EVA pilots are recruited to help fight them. Shinji is a natural and is instrumental in defeating many of the Angels. He even wins praise from his father at one point for doing “good work.” However, as the series progresses, the Angels becomes more aggressive, strategic and more difficult to defeat. Shinji, along with the other EVA pilots, have to confront their past if they are going to succeed in their future. To make matters worse, not everything is as it seems at NERV; the organization has many secrets. Some of those secrets might be detrimental to the human race.
Alright, for starters, I have not seen the entire series yet. I am currently somewhere around episode 20? So not all has been revealed to me. I keep pestering my friend for answers, but, alas, he will not reveal them to me so I guess I have to wait…
I thought at first I would not like Shinji’s character; he seemed extremely whiny at first. He also lacked the ability to make any sort of decision. This reminds me a lot of the protagonists from Attack on Titan or Tokyo Ghoul as they spend most of the series crying, yelling or whining rather than doing anything of real importance. That is not true in Shinji’s case–at least not entirely. The first few episodes he stays that way. However, he really starts to come out of his shell as the show continues. He actually becomes more likable as well– particularly after the introduction of Asuka, the third EVA pilot.
My friend told me that Shinji has a sort of comparison to the director of the series, Hideaki Anno. Anno apparently had some major daddy issues which explains the relationship between Shinji and his father quite a bit. My own research reveals this to be true. Also, the character of Rei was a sort of extra-layer character to Shinji as she represented an unconscious of sorts for him. So any annoyance I had with Shinji’s character has been switched to positive feelings just in terms of his depth.
The show is a bit of a slow build from what I can tell and many of the action sequences (which are amazing when they happen) are extremely short. But the show picks up speed in the latter-half of the series and really dives into the meat of the story. It does a great job of peppering in back story and not revealing too much. There is tons of dialogue in this series and lots of hidden meaning to the content– so I am guessing that this show warrants a second and maybe third viewing. Like, seriously, there is TONS of symbolism.
So, simply put, I really like this show. It has great action, solid artwork, a great story line, and deep characters to boot. I really cannot wait to see more of this show. I only hope it ends strong. Finales are the hardest parts for anime after all!