Anime Meta-Review


Neon Genesis Evangelion


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Evangelion
  • seen: 1-26 of 26
  • type: TV
  • grade: exemplary
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
    • This title is a personal favourite.
  • genre: mecha
  • people: Gainax
  • made: 1995
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

There is no way that Evangelion could be in anything but exemplary. While many people hate it, and it has flaws, it has aroused such depth of feeling, and challenged the notion of what anime can depict, to such an extent that it must be respected. Whether it can be enjoyed is a more complex question, but it is certainly worth experiencing.

The story follows the young Shinji Ikari as he joins a secret organisation that uses giant robots to fight strange alien invaders for the sake of the world. At least that is how it starts. Shinji is emotionally hollow, fairly fragile, and about as far as you can get from the hero archetype. Many of the other characters around NERV (the secret organisation) have their own secrets, weaknesses and outright flaws which are strongly represented. This is not done in a simple manner as the characters are all quite complex and it is easy to get drawn into their lives and the dangers they face. The depiction of these personalities interacting, often negatively, is strong and skillfully depicted, with the anime willing to spend time exploring this aspect. This is enhanced by the unusual aspects of the giant robots, and the combats they get involved in, to build up a feeling of pressure.

However if you are hoping for release then leave at this point, because the series begins to fragment under the pressure. The personal pressures rise, the nature of the conflict becomes more confusing and terrifying and the actual matter of what is being fought over begins to emerge. Under this pressure the characters, and their interactions, begin to collapse in a way that can be very painful. Some people feel this latter half indicates the director loosing control, some that this is the desired intent of the director, but few can debate that the show becomes more intense. This is enhanced by the fact that the show is willing to be confusing and mysterious, willing to leave things up to the intepretation of the viewer. This, along with the complexity of the deep background story, is what has lead to evangelion being such a focus for discussion. The final conclusion is epic, enigmatic, and aroused such passion that argument still rages today.

This story energy is enhanced by the high production values of the Gainax Studio which are well demonstrated here. The animation is clean, detailed and full of atmosphere, amongst the best quality animation seen in a TV series. Also technical design, character design and plotting are all different from what is expected, very mature in their conception and very skillfull in their execution. The action is strong, well animated and believably terrifying. Likewise character animation, and dialogue, is excellent for a TV series. Of course there is also a reasonable selection of very attractive, unlikely proportioned young girls in skintight piloting suits which hasn't hurt the merchanising and advertising effort.

Whatever else is said this mature production, while being painful in parts, has had a fairly profound affect on anime and anime fans. It is almost certainly worth watching for yourself and making your own mind up about. If nothing else then you can at least get involved in the frequent discussions about it.

One of the deepest, and coolest sites for visiting after watching EVA (several times) is here. However do watch Eva a couple of times before you visit, you will enjoy both the anime and this site more if you do.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:17 WST 2009