Monday, July 3, 2017

Anime Corner: Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995-1996)

To deny the massive influence Neon Genesis Evangelion has had on anime as a whole would be almost admirably stupid and ignorant. That being said, if I were forced to sit down and watch anime for a year solid, it would probably take over 6 months before I'd willingly put this on again. It's not that it's bad or that I hate it, I would probably just forget it even existed for that long, and rewatching it would simply be wishful thinking that my thoughts on it might improve. This is the first anime show I have watched in its entirety and really didn't care for.

'90s anime has a mostly different look to it. I can't quite explain it, as I am by no means some sort of anime expert, but characters look clunky and the complete lack of smoothness is definitely a distraction. Watching this show I became more aware that I was watching an animated flip book than I would ever like during a show -- but then again, anime has always had an issue with frame-by-frame clunkiness, so this is by no means a complaint that only applies to NGE. But while most anime shows have a tendency of offering up some beautiful images, this one was severely lacking in that department.

Shinji is a very polarizing character in the anime world (I even know this and I am NOT part of this subculture) and it's not hard to see why. He's a creepy little 14 year old who spends most of the show whining and being generally unlikable, rarely ever displaying any heroic strength or admirable qualities. But you know what? In spite of my general issues with the show, Shinji is actually a highlight of sorts. So many shows have untouchable badass main characters, it becomes a huge relief to have someone like Shinji, who is the complete opposite of that. He's just a kid in an impossibly difficult situation. Who wouldn't, realistically, be a big whiner?

I can tell there is a lot more than what's on the surface to this show, but the fact it never was able to fully grab ahold of me and get me invested makes it hard for me to want to go back and dissect it further. And while some of the blame does indeed fall on my shoulders, I don't feel personally responsible for not loving it. I shouldn't have to force myself to want to watch a show that doesn't seem to want to make me like it. I know it's not a sentient program, but it simply lacks that hard to define attribute that makes something want to be seen. I wasn't bitten by the bug, to put it simply. And that particular bug apparently didn't care if the show had no real resolution -- but they did release feature length films for that.

I wouldn't say this is a bad show. And being one of the most profitable franchises in history, NGE has more than its fair share of fans, so odds are I'm in the relative minority on this one. But that actually makes it easier for me not to care for it; this show doesn't need more fans. And while I didn't care much for it, I can appreciate some of the things it has done (particularly with Shinji) and I wouldn't hold it against anyone if they loved it. It was just not for me.

Episode count: 26

My grade: C-
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