Almost made a typo in the title there. This series does not deserve it.
I finished watching Neon Genesis Evangelion recently. It’s an anime classic, so I figured, why not. Boy did it live up to its name. It’s really that good.
The story for the most part follows the struggles of Shinji, a young boy whose neglecting dad works for the organization Nerv. They make mechas (called Evas) for those kids to pilot, with the use of destroying Angels (alien-esque creatures that intend to destroy humanity) in mind. Sounds like a pretty standard mecha sci-fi plot, right?
Well, it is.
But it is executed so brilliantly. (Also it’s deeper than your average plot, so mind that.)
As becomes apparent relatively quickly, Nerv has its own secret agenda. It’s all… pretty grim stuff. Even the whole “fight and destroy Angels” thing the kids piloting the Evas have to go through. The job comes with its own share of dangers, and the teens handle with those in what feels like a very real way. Sometimes depicted a bit overdramatic, but I don’t think I’d be able to keep my calm when faced with death on a daily basis either.
It all just feels so honest. The things they struggle with, the things they can forget, the things they want to keep to themselves. Most characters are really flawed in a multitude of ways, and that’s exactly what makes them so lovable. We get to see their fears, their struggles, their fights against insanity. And the way we do, they do, it feels like we’re watching the lives of real people unfold, instead of a fictional story being told.
With that said, the series does have its weaknesses. The ending is so-so (maybe it was too deep for me), not much in the way of a resolution, and it feels like a lot of information has been withheld from the viewer throughout the episodes. I take it these holes are meant for the reader to contemplate about the “how”s and “why”s, but some points aren’t even hinted at. Especially the motives of the more shady characters remain very unclear in my opinion.
The moral of the story is capitalized on though, they spend the last two episodes wrapping everything around it, and it’s sort of effective. Great to see them casually mention they’d do this and that, but don’t have the time for that (episode limit, I take it), so they cut to more important matters.
All in all a good worthwhile watch. Want to see some kids deal with life, death and more? Into seeing conspiracies evolve and unfold? Neon Genesis Evangelion has your fix.
I’d complain about the aspect ratio they used back then, but it’s actually kind of charming.