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Neon Genesis Evangelion: A Blog and Discussion


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Initial post: Apr 11, 2012 4:38:20 PM PDT
Mike Gordan says:
Okay, for those of you who are participating in the Most Overrated Animated Movies thread, I had just recently challenged a user of these forums named Suzanne to prove that I can make my case against Neon Genesis Evangelion. The conditions are the following:

1. The first time through, I will be watching 3 episodes at a time for 5 straight days per 3 episodes; in the case of the last 5 days, I will only be watching the last two episodes.

2. After that, I will compile my notes, and watch the movie back-to-back with the last 3 episodes for 3 straight days.

3. Finally, I will conclude my marathon with 5 episodes at a time for 2 straight days, saving the movie for last.

4. I will then draft, edit, and finally, post my final draft of a heavily lengthy essay reviewing both Neon Genesis Evangelion, and the movie, End of Evangelion. Due to the overwhelming size of the review, however, I will give you guys summary review and then post a link to the essay as a whole.

5. I've got until the end of June 7th of this year to finish the review; otherwise, I will lose the challenge. I am allowed to cut corners if necessary (for example, I don't plan on spending a single cent on the show or the movies), but I aim to meet the deadline, preferrably by 9 PM Rocky Mountain Time (that's 8 PM according to Amazon).

These rules apply to me and me alone. Should I not meet the conditions by then, I will plan to finish what I started, but I will gracefully accept defeat to Suzanne, having failed to meet the rules I set up for myself. If you guys like, you can post your thoughts on my challenge, discuss the series between friends and foes, and even give me tips or constructive criticism on said challenge (heck, you can call this challenge stupid for all I care; just explain your reasons why).

Now, before I start this challenge, let me be frank with you; I have yet to begin the challenge myself. Not a note was taken, not a single episode has been seen. I will update you guys once per day, with markers if necessary stringing my thoughts together so that you guys can follow. I encourage Permalinks for those who wish to keep track of my thoughts of the day to better follow my little...blog if you will.

So for today, let me give you my first reactions for the first 2 things that caught my attention:

1. The opening theme song (because it's the first thing anyone listens to when they turn on and watch): Pretty catchy, I guess; the first lyrics I caught on translate into, ''Like a cruel angel...young boy, become a legend.'' I don't know if that's dodgy subtitles at best, or Japanese lyrics don't make much sense, but 9 times out of 10, when it comes to openings to cartoons, they tend to be the best part of the show itself. It actually gets people hyped for the show itself, and the visuals look rather fascinating. There are a ton of charts and symbols spliced in as well, and while I've made my stance against this series as a whole, I will make this abundantly clear on the offchance that my opinion magically changes; the show better know what it's talking about. I know I'm not saying much about the opening itself, but then again, this is the first day, and this is just a first impression on my part.

2. The titles of each episode (I'll cover them as I proceed through each episode, 3 episodes at a time): Okay, I found a YouTube channel that holds the entire show and the movie in its entirety, and all I've got to say is this; the titles are freaking idiotic. I know it's their attempt to be witty, but the titles of these episodes are exceptionally stupid. I'll share with you the titles tomorrow when I start my critique of the entire series, but considering the fact that even the title of the show on this channel is different, I'll share it with you: The Robotic Adventures of Emo Lad. Okay, I got to love what the user decided to dub the show, and yet nothing else is different. Unfortunately, I'll have to settle on the English dub here because it's the only version where I have consistent access to each and every episode and the movie, all of which free of charge.

So, feel free to do whatever you want. The only rule of thumb is to keep the discussions focused on Evangelion in some way, shape or form. Enjoy, and stick around because I'll be keeping you guys posted.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 5:02:13 PM PDT
Anne says:
"the titles are freaking idiotic. I know it's their attempt to be witty, but the titles of these episodes are exceptionally stupid. I'll share with you the titles tomorrow when I start my critique of the entire series, but considering the fact that even the title of the show on this channel is different, I'll share it with you: The Robotic Adventures of Emo Lad."

Nope. Necessary to avoid copyright claims. Nothing more.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 5:22:13 PM PDT
Evangelion on Trial!

The Charge: Evangelion is incomprehensible.
The Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: I like it anyway.

The Charge: The characters are contemptible.
The Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: I like it anyway.

I plan on detailing my rationale on this and other charges this weekend, when I have more time. Big ticket items like this rather than nit-noid stuff like the opening credit sequence or the way titles get translated will probably be more interesting to folks.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 7:41:45 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
Let it be known that as the person that inspired you take on this challenge, I find it rather stupid myself! :D I've just never ever seen anyone have this kind of reaction to me challenging their negative opinion about NGE. I can't imagine why you'd rather go through this rigamarole than simply sitting down and having a good-spirited dialectic. OK, I can understand your wanting to rewatch it and take notes so as to have it fresh in your memory, but this whole schedule seems silly to me. Even if you DON'T complete it doesn't make you a "loser" and me a "winner", no more than if you write a 20,000 word essay to which I can't respond to completely it will make you a winner. We're talking about two people's opinions of a work of art. There's nothing either of us can do to PROVE the other is right or wrong. All we can do is talk about our various biases and assumptions that lead us to think one way or the other.

So, despite my nervousness at the entire idea of this project, I'll reluctantly follow and do my best to regularly check this thread and respond to your posts.

1. There's a frame-by-frame break down of the opening song on EvaGeeks on the commentary page. For those who think Anno just "made stuff up" as he went along, there's a lot of clues in that opening to many of the common questions posed in and about the series. The opening theme is superb if nothing else for showing off Anno's talent at montage. There are some wonderful editing patterns and rhythms that are regular enough to keep to the beat, but irregular enough to offer exciting syncopations. It also establishes one of Anno's key motifs in the series (the red/blue dichotomy -- it's no accident the first image of the series is a blue ripple giving way to a red world. That will happen again. Watch for it).

2. The titles are usually references to the various sources that inspired the series. Some are attempts at a kind of Haiku-like poetry. Japanese poetry never translates well into English. It's too minimal and relies too much on a different prosodic system. Some can't even be accurately translated, like the final ep. of the series that contains a word that has two very different (but both substantial) meanings.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 8:24:31 PM PDT
Mike Gordan says:
Suzanne: Okay, just as a headsup here, I will barely be responding to any of your comments, but they are duly noted. I do read them, but I want to maintain a consistent level so that I am only talking about the series as I revist them. And the schedue is set up the way it is so that I could take my time and watch each episode repeatedly. That way, not only are the contents of said episodes fresh in my mind, but so that I can actually pick up on things that I missed before. That way, I can either solidify my case that Evangelion is a wretched series, or in the most unlikely case, change my case and learn to admire it.

I seriously doubt it's going to be the latter, but one can never tell for certain. I hated American Beauty for the longest time, but as I grew older, I became less hostile towards the show. Of course, that doesn't prove that I will fawn over the series either because in the case of American Beauty, I never became a fan of the film, but my opinions towards it remains generally mixed in that I have no idea what to think in regards of the film. That is more likely to happen to me than for me to change my mind and enjoy something. It's very rare for someone who has hated something their entire lives to learn to appreciate it, but not so much for them to loosen up towards that very same something.

Now with that said, let me respond to each and every one of your responses:

1. I can at least see your point in regards to the song, but to be fair, I speak on the inexperienced side regarding what is true poetry in Japanese lyrics. That much, I will freely express. I have learned that their poetry is drastically different from the rest of the world. Now whether or not that gives them an advantage or they're simply hacking it, I am not qualified to say, but I'll give myself the time to discern what the meaning of the song, and for that matter, the opening itself, means. I can catch on to basic poetry like the change of color hues and whatnot, and I can tell for certain that ''...young boy, become a legend'' is referring to the main character, Shinji. Again, let me make this clear; the opening will probably wind up becoming the best part of the show itself, and I'll reveal more as I go.

2. Credit goes to George Sands for confirming this for me (I caught on relatively quickly, but felt it necessary to comment on it anyways): The titles used on the YouTube channel are bogus. The reason for this is to get around copyright claims and air the whole series without any immediate reprocussions. For instance, Neon Genesis Evangelion was renamed on that channel into The Robotic Adventures of Emo Lad. Strangely enough, that title sounds appropriate for the show, but nothing else about the contents of the program are noticeably different. And there are other examples in that the other episodes are renamed into something completely moronic...but, anything goes for allowing me to watch a show I can't stand for free. I'll list them all off episode by episode as I get to them, and you can humor yourself with what they decided to go with.

And to think. For a second, I thought Eva was trying to be witty with their title selections and failing miserably. Therefore, I will not be holding such idiocy against them. But I will also reveal the real titles of each episode as I get to them.

This is a very rare instance of me responding to somebody, so don't expect me to partake in the discussions frequently. But I am listening. I am paying attention to what you say, however, so it's not like I'm ignoring you guys or anything. I'm just trying to remain silent unless I have something big to say, such as my daily updates as to what I am uncovering and what my thoughts are piece by piece. I will most likely be cutting corners, however, just so that I could meet the deadline in time.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012 9:40:55 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
Go ahead and concentrate on the task at hand and don't worry about my responses. I'll simply respond when you write something and I'll know that you've read it and are taking it into consideration. I just hope I can be a bit of an active viewer guide while you watch so I can point you towards noticing some of the subtleties and nuances you may miss. Speaking from my own experience, I saw the series 8 times in the course of a few months: there were still tons of things I didn't notice. It's been a massive collective effort by the fandom to really puzzle NGE out, and while I can certainly claim that I've had my fair share of original noticings and interpretations, I'm also standing on the shoulders of giants that came before me.

[[[I hated American Beauty for the longest time, but as I grew older, I became less hostile towards the show... my opinions towards it remains generally mixed in that I have no idea what to think in regards of the film.]]]

I started out loving that show and ended up hating it. A film that I had closer to the response you described was Spielberg's AI. The more I've seen it and thought about it, the more intriguing it is and more than meets the eye.

1. I'm not trying to say the song is a prime example of Japanese poetry! In all likelihood it's just cute, catchy, superficial J-pop. I don't think it needs to be more than that. Anno went out of his way not to tip his hand as to what direction the series was going to take, and so much of the first half, even down to the initial premise and theme song, are largely there to lure in mecha anime fans with a false sense of comfort. I've come to love the song if only through association, but I've never thought too deeply about the lyrics. The images are another matter, though...

2. Ah, so the titles aren't even the real titles. You can probably find a list of episode titles on either Wikipedia or the EvaGeeks wiki. There's got to be one around the interwebz somewhere. What were the titles, btw? "The Robotic Adventures of Emo Lad" is pretty hilarious! :D

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 4:13:22 PM PDT
Mike Gordan says:
Okay, here's the first official day of my blog, and here is the title of episode 1:

Angel Attack

So apparently, the big baddies of this series is angels. And considering the fact that it's a mecha show, I can only expect something rather grotesque regarding what the show's definition of an ''angel'' is. Anyways, here's the bogus title:

Where's Godzilla When You Need Him?

Much better, I find. If only the show would attempt to be this witty, or at least try and fail like the person titling the show is. At least then, I'd be able to view this show as some sort of deranged black comedy. But I digress, time to get started with episode one. Bear with me too that since this is the first day, my comments are bound to be long, so do expect mutliple comments from me today. I'll just give you a full synopsis on the bare plot itself. I'll concern myself with the symbolism later.

Gotta admit to the opening being catchy. No subtitles, by the way, and I'm sorry to say, but the version I found is the only version I could find complete with all 26 episodes and the movie, so please let me know if I missed out on something due to a bad version. It's the English dub, btw.

Some giant creature is swimming in the ocean with the ruins of a city mostly submerged. And the United Nations is, apparently, about to start a fight with this creature. A girl is driving, and her voice acting is utterly dry and lifeless, but she is looking for somebody. A boy it looks like, and he is trying to phone a call for some reason. And this kid is already starting to grate my nerves; not only is his voice acting beyond atrocious, but all I got from him is nothing but complaints. And he also holds a photo of a fairly revealing woman (gee, I wonder who that girl in the car looking for him is?). But I gotta ask who was that sky-blue haired woman is? I know I watched the show before, but I barely remember the names of either of these characters. I know the boy's name is Shinji, if not for the fact that he's the main character, it's also because I can interpret Japanese lettering. If memory serves, the boy's name on the photo translates into Ikari, Shinji.

Anyways, the monster's now invading the city, and some guy with a pair of glasses on just referred to the monster as an angel--already, I take issues with this, as these things are mere vulgarizations of what angels really are in accordance to the Biblical text, but I'll cover this in a future post. I will be willing to suspend my own disbelief for the time being. Besides, at least Shinji's got a reason to be screaming and panicking, but trust me when I say that I frequently wished that the worst did happen to Shinji. I know it's not because he's the main character and all that jazz.

And wouldn't you know it? The girl actually came and saved him right on the nick of time....didn't she imply earlier that she couldn't find him? What was she worrying about, anyways!? She told him where to meet her, she was on her way to meeting him, and he was in the meeting place. How could you ''lose'' someone if you're heading in the right direction to meet someone, and he's already there!? It's not like we've seen a blockade of some sorts forcing her to take a detour or anything like that. It's just stupid and redundant, and exists for the sole purpose of pointless expository dialogue. But if somebody were to confirm for me that the script in the Japanese version is different from what I've seen here, please let me know. Just no ''read the manga'' bs, because adaptations should never require reading the source material for the audience to understand.

Anyways, gotta love the voice acting when the guy in the chopper said, ''Every single missile hit the target! AUUUGGGH!'' It's like not even the voice actors of this show actually give a crap at how they even say their lines because they knew this show was terrible. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if they were just doing it for the paycheck. Seizure-inducing visuals galore, and that's the first drink of the Anime Cliche Drinking Game; for the sake of your well-being, I encourage you guys to try it out with Root Beer instead of any real alchohol because this game almost always get people killed.

And I love the fact that they are already using language we cannot possibly understand at the earliest moments possible without any real context. What's an AT field? They made a Tokyo 3? At this point in time, it was at least presumed that they rebuild their city atop the old one, and that the Angels were simply durable, but what the heck are these people talking about!? Technobabble galore. Time for another drink. But at least the same can't be said about the N2 mine, but shouldn't that kill them? I mean it ain't Indy surviving a nuke in the fridge or anything like that, but still...it tossed them several feet away for crying out loud! But it's anime logic, so might as well take another drink.

Okay, now this girl is complaining. Granted, it's an inner monologue, but I really hate characters that complain like this; they're so obnoxious, especially considering that she's complaining over trivial crap. And what was up with that fast edit!? Oh, her name is Misato? Well, okay, then. And this scene is getting quite annoying. It's just filler; nothing all that unique about it. I'd be surprised if it actually means anything by the time the series comes to a close, but another drink must be taken for pointless moments that exist only to drag out the episode.

And what are those angels, anyways!? I thought they were monsters, but the word choices they use seem to imply that they're advanced machines? Are they aliens? Artificial Intelligience? Or are they just monsters? Oh, and the organization is called NERV, by the way. Don't know what it stands for, and I don't really care at the moment, but I'll oblige you guys if you wish. Oh, and Shinji's father is the guy wearing the glasses who seems to be in charge of NERV too. And oh, it's obvious that he's the bad guy of this show too because he referred to his own son as ''a spare that's being delivered.'' Oh, how subtle, how deep the writing; Mr. Ikari is looking to be an interesting character that I'm really looking forward to seeing more of (btw, I'm being sarcastic). Oh, and Shinji doesn't look all too happy that he's getting to meet his father either. NOW I'm like, totally curious, or something. Oh, abandonment issues, huh? Oh, goody! Looks like we've got an angsty protagonist on our hands here. Be very afraid.

And another new character, a Scientist of some kind named Ritsuko. And look? More filler with Misato getting lost? Well, at least it's not...completely useless, and it isn't unbearable like the inner monologue she had a little while ago. But the comedy of this show is completely witless. And oh, Shinji's called The Third Child. Well...who were Childs 1 and 2 then? Yeah, yeah; the question I SHOULD be asking is, what are they talking about with ''The Third Child?'' Well, actually, we'll find that out relatively shortly. I just want to know who Shinji's predecessors are.

And a crapload of techno babble that we have no idea what any of these characters are talking about, nor care to learn this stuff. I should know this; the information during the red elevator sequence is almost completely pointless. Just to sum it up; only certain individuals can activate these mechas that are actually called Evas, and it has something to do with the Third Child. We'll relearn this anyways, so this scene is completely pointless as all we learn are worthless techno babble.

So he's called Third Child, and yet he's piloting Evangelion 01? Again, who are Childs 1 and 2? Also, considering just how panicky he is, I don't think he's psychologically fit for proper warfare; never mind the possibility that he, and only he, can pilot this thing, because putting him inside this thing will only do more harm than good. It's like giving a mass murderer a gatling gun, or someone with suicidal tendencies some rope; you're just begging for some trouble.

And that's it, I guess. The villain--dah, I mean, shinji's father is named Gendo Ikari, and the girl with light-blue hair? Her name is Rei Ayanami, and she is the First Child (now it's just a matter of figuring out who the Second Child is), and she pilots Eva 00. Also, these angels all have names, and the one we saw this episode is named Sachiel. He's the third angel by the way (and to be fair, his connection in that role to Shinji's role as Third Child is mere coincidence covered up as symbolism), with the first 2 angels still holding a role to play later on. There's nothing else for me to comment on because the last few minutes of the episode is entirely lost.

I will need to put my initial plans on hold for a little while longer so as to find a better source for viewing these episodes. In addition, I will also have to check each and every part of every episode AND the movie to make sure I can watch these episodes and the movie in their entirety. So tell me what you think, and if you can, give me some recommendations (I do not plan on spending money to watch them if that's what you're going to suggest, btw). Other than the one exception, I'm all ears.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 4:52:33 PM PDT
You are such a bore.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 4:54:03 PM PDT
NGE is kinda' like BSG to me. It has a lot of ideas, and really starts off great. To say any more might be spoiler ridden, but I have to say, if you watch anything looking to nit-pick it to death, very few productions would hold up, and that includes really good films and really good series. As much as I like NGE, I don't even think its perfect, I don't know many fans of the series who do. Cowboy Bebop to me comes closer to perfection; however NGE is a benchmark series no matter what you think of it. It influenced a lot of the anime that came after it, and still does.

Also I guess you must know by now that there is a new version of the series kinda like an Eva 2.0, but since people say that the original was groundbreaking you can do your experiment with that.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 6:32:34 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
[[[ It's the English dub, btw.]]]

No! Kill it with fire!

Seriously, if you're going to do this by watching the English dub, I might as well bow out now because we'll frequently be talking about different works: different words, different lines, and different characters. I told you in the other thread to watch the sub. I even offered to upload it for you!

[[[But I gotta ask who was that sky-blue haired woman is?]]]

Quantum Rei

[[[already, I take issues with this, as these things are mere vulgarizations of what angels really are in accordance to the Biblical text]]]

I take issue with you taking issue with it. There are no sacred cows in art, dammit!

[[[ How could you ''lose'' someone if you're heading in the right direction to meet someone, and he's already there!?]]]

Misato's gross lack of a sense of a direction is what writers like to call "a personality trait." I know you don't like those things in your universal cardboards that pass as characters philosophy.

[[[ Just no ''read the manga'' bs, because adaptations should never require reading the source material for the audience to understand.]]]

The series and manga were written simultaneously. The series isn't an adaptation of the manga.

[[[ Seizure-inducing visuals galore, and that's the first drink of the Anime Cliche Drinking Game;]]]

There will be many more in the first half, quite intentionally.

[[[And I love the fact that they are already using language we cannot possibly understand at the earliest moments possible without any real context. What's an AT field? They made a Tokyo 3?]]]

It's called creating a sense of mystery while still allowing your audience to be immersed in the temporary conflict.

[[[ I really hate characters that complain like this; they're so obnoxious,]]]

You're judging characters as if they were other humans you were living with. Stop that. The mark of good characterizations is not how likable they are, but how individuated they are and how truthful they are to the types of people being portrayed. If humans can be obnoxious then you should allow for the existence of obnoxious characters.

[[[And what are those angels, anyways!? I thought they were monsters, but the word choices they use seem to imply that they're advanced machines? Are they aliens? Artificial Intelligience? Or are they just monsters?]]]

Congrats! At least you're asking the questions the series wants you to be asking at this point!

[[[ Oh, and the organization is called NERV, by the way. Don't know what it stands for, and I don't really care at the moment, but I'll oblige you guys if you wish.]]]

The organizations are taken from the German: Nerv for nerve, Gehirn for brain, Seele for soul

[[[ it's obvious that he's the bad guy of this show too because he referred to his own son as ''a spare that's being delivered.'' Oh, how subtle, how deep the writing;]]]

Or, he's being set up as the OBVIOUS villain that may not be so obvious as the series progresses.

[[[ Oh, abandonment issues, huh? Oh, goody! Looks like we've got an angsty protagonist on our hands here. Be very afraid.]]]

Yeah, just like when we meet Hamlet! We should be very afraid!

[[[ considering just how panicky he is, I don't think he's psychologically fit for proper warfare;]]]

What a piercing observation!

I seriously don't know what to say to all of this except I could do the same thing for any work of art in existence. You're basically playing MST3K and not really watching the series with the kind of open-mindedness necessary to enjoy... anything, really.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 8:07:53 PM PDT
Anne says:
"So tell me what you think, and if you can, give me some recommendations (I do not plan on spending money to watch them if that's what you're going to suggest, btw). Other than the one exception, I'm all ears."

Torrents. Takes me about ten minutes or so to download DVD quality episodes with both audio tracks.

Google: KAT

"It's like not even the voice actors of this show actually give a crap at how they even say their lines because they knew this show was terrible."

Meanwhile, I am watching episodes with quality voice acting that conveys the feelings and emotions of the characters very effectively.

"She told him where to meet her, she was on her way to meeting him, and he was in the meeting place. How could you ''lose'' someone if you're heading in the right direction to meet someone, and he's already there!? It's not like we've seen a blockade of some sorts forcing her to take a detour or anything like that. It's just stupid and redundant, and exists for the sole purpose of pointless expository dialogue."

Meh. I've gathered that she isn't very organized or competent in some areas of her life, so it doesn't seem far-fetched that she's having issues with getting lost. She says that she's "not used to the area" yet, so I assume she is in a new, unfamiliar setting.

"And I love the fact that they are already using language we cannot possibly understand at the earliest moments possible without any real context. What's an AT field? They made a Tokyo 3?"

Those familiar with the genre shouldn't have too much trouble extrapolating. The dialogue is very intuitive so far, and I am able to puzzle out most references on my own. Maybe this just isn't your genre.

"Granted, it's an inner monologue, but I really hate characters that complain like this; they're so obnoxious, especially considering that she's complaining over trivial crap."

I don't see how her personality speaks badly of the series - not all characters are going to be likable. That you have a strong reaction to her shows that the director has no trouble engendering emotion in his viewers, even difficult ones. Points for him.

. . . wasn't the entire first half of the first Death Note episode more or less just Light silently complaining to himself? That cat was super obnoxious, but it didn't take anything away from the rest of the series.

" It's just filler; nothing all that unique about it. I'd be surprised if it actually means anything by the time the series comes to a close"

I believe people tend to call it 'fleshing out the characters', giving the viewer time to learn their personality, possibly identify with them, et cetera.

"Again, who are Childs 1 and 2?"

You keep asking this question, along with several others, as if we should be given all information immediately within the first 13 minutes and 37 seconds of a 26-episode long series. ???

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 10:49:48 PM PDT
Mike Gordan says:
Okay, the good news and the bad news. The good news is, I've found a website that not only allows me to watch Evangelion for free (and without too much hassle either, so I don't have to download the episodes), but it is english subbed, and the subtitles are so much better than the ones I've found on YouTube. Personally, I have no clue whether or not what I'm watching is the Director's cut, so please make due with what I've got here. Either way, the Evangelion project will go on a planned, with the first 3 episodes being watched subsequently. The slightly annoying news though is that I will not be giving you anymore silly titles because this is from a different location. But the bad news? I was unable to find End of Evangelion on that sight at all (or maybe that's good news since I can spare myself the trouble of having to watch it, but it'd be bad for you guys). There is still plenty of time, however, for me to find it given that I am watching the show 3 episodes at a time, though now I will have to alter my schedule in order to make the deadline. Once I near the end of my episodic run, I will then start looking for a complete version of Evangelion.

Also, a heads up. Technically speaking, when I start my daily blogging, I will be typing up my thoughts as I go. Because of this, some of the things I say may not be in the exact chronological order, some things I say later on may ultimately contradict what I said earlier, or some of my questions my come off as bizarre. For example, back when I called out on a little contradiction in Misato was getting frustrated that she couldn't find Shinji at the meeting place, that was shortly before I came to understand that she had a bad sense of direction (that, or maybe the English dub implied something different?). I have no problem with personality quirks so long as they don't bog down the story too much; fortunately, she didn't (at least not yet, but I can't be sure until I rewatch the show).

Now what do I think of the subtitled version? Well, I've only watched the intro to test it out, and the new sub is infinitely better and more coherent already. So, already, my expectations for this series is growing, albiet not by much. It's too soon for me to judge, but I am dreading the series a little less now. Anyways, I will get back to the blog tomorrow evening.

With that said, I give you the epic bow. See ya.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 10:52:36 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
I'm glad you found an online version in the Japanese with English subs. But if you don't see End of Eva, you haven't see the series.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 11:06:18 PM PDT
***Warning, in case it is not yet obvious, this entire thread is already full of SPOILERS, and there really isn't any way to talk about the series otherwise.***

Charge 1 - Evangelion is incomprehensible.

Opening statement for the defense: Before I begin, your honor, I would like to talk about

Things we don't talk about, Part I: Politics:

Let's say I make the statement "I like the new Battlestar Galactica series." This is a fairly simple, subjective statement. What if I instead said "I am a liberal, and I like Battlestar Galactica"? Now, if you are a conservative, if I proceed to explain why I like Battlestar Galactica, you might either a) completely ignore me, or b) pay very close attention to what I am saying, just so you can disagree with me. You will try to poke holes in my arguments, you nitpick me to death, you might even make completely off-the-wall non-sequitor or ad hominem statements, because since I'm a self-professed "liberal" there's no way I could be right about anything ever.

Now, what if I instead said, "Hey, I'm a conservative, and even I like Battlestar Galactica." Now, since you think I'm like you, you might actually take what I have to say seriously. You might think calmly and rationally about what I'm saying, and not automatically assume I'm wrong. (By the way, I'm conservative. Or a rotten liar.)

One of the motifs in Battlestar Galactica is "no one is pure good or pure evil, we all have good points and we all have flaws." One might justifably consider this to be a "liberal" viewpoint. If this motif irritates you, then you will be that much more predisposed to hating Battlestar Galactica. Do the writers get carried away? Do they fill their characters with so many flaws that it's difficult to like them? Possibly; that's a judgement call. I'll be bringing this up again in respect to the "The characters are contemptible" charge.

How does this relate to Evangelion specifically? Hang on, I'll think of something...

Things we don't talk about, Part II: Religion

You can play a similar game to the one above- "I Like 'Jesus Christ Superstar'." "I'm an atheist and I like 'Jesus Christ Superstar'." "Hey, I'm a Christian, and even I like 'Jesus Christ Superstar'."

There are actually people who hate Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz, and The Lord of the Rings because the Bible says "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," and they just can't tolerate a work of fiction that cotains a good witch or wizard. Other religious folks don't want to be confused with these fanatics, but there's plenty in Evangelion to make even the most broad-minded Christian uneasy. But we don't talk about religion, so they'd rather attack it on any front other than religion.

Things we don't talk about, Part III: Made you cry, didn't it?

I have a theory that certain men don't like movies that make them cry, and they'll be damned if they'll admit that any movie has made them cry. The anonymity of the Internet gives me the ability to admit that I am male and the following has made me cry, or at least get teary-eyed: AI, Dances with Wolves, the finale to Lost, the finale to Battlestar Galactica, Titanic, the finale to Babylon 5, and Pan's Labyrinth (God, I'm such a crybaby.) And I like ALL of those, and over and over again, I see so many people saying how much they hate them. To these folks, the word "tearjerker" is an insult (or perhaps they'll call it "mawkish sentimentality" instead.)

Evangelion doesn't particularly make me cry, but there are a couple of scenes that come close.

Posted on Apr 12, 2012 11:07:10 PM PDT
Things we don't talk about, Part IV: Required Hate

If there's a word for this phenomenon, I don't know what it is, so I'll explain what I mean by it through examples. It comes in a variety of forms.

A) Required hate of a person. Jim Carrey. Robin Williams. Leonardo deCaprio. Tom Cruise. Adam Sandler. Terry Gilliam. Madonna. Britney Spears. Paris Hilton. Michael Jackson. Now, take the sentence "Nothing ____ has done can ever possibly be any good at all, ever, ever, ever." Fill in the blank with your "favorite" name, and you, my friend, have what I am calling "required hate." It is simply not possible for you to think rationally about the topic under discussion. (In the case of Paris Hilton, yes, it's completly justified.)

B) Required hate of a genre. There are some people who really just don't like science fiction at all. There are people who don't like mysteries, horror movies, comic-book movies, CGI fests, or big-screen big budget special effects movies. Or anime. So there just isn't much point in discussing these movies with these people. This may be less intense than A above; it may just be a disinclination: "I don't normally like westerns, but Unforgiven was really good."

C) Required hate of a movie. Titanic. Phantom Menace. Avatar. These are often caused by A above. "Leonardo de Caprio was in Titanic (or Inception, or The Departed, or Romeo and Juliet), therefore I have to hate it." "James Cameron directed Avatar, therefore I have to hate it."

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 11:17:28 PM PDT
"You're basically playing MST3K..."

Nah, MST3K was occassionally funny.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 11:24:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012 11:27:14 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
I immensely enjoyed both of your posts, Cilantron! I look forward to more of them in this vein.

As to this: [[[Evangelion doesn't particularly make me cry, but there are a couple of scenes that come close. ]]]

There are lots of films that have made me cry... NGE is my favorite, and it, ironically, isn't one of them. The impact of NGE on me emotionally was far beyond tears. I hate to go into this too deeply, because it just gives people like gordan more "ammunition" to charge me with being an irrational fanatic, but, hell, if we're not going to own up to saying that we love some art because it moves us in powerful ways when it does, then we aren't being honest with ourselves, with others, or even to why we love art in the first place.

I once wrote in an essay that detailed my very personal journey with NGE. I ended it with: "It wasn't just entertainment for me. It wasn't even art. It was a rebirth." Of course, that reveals a very personal reason behind my love for NGE. I admit that in the essay that it would be unfair for me to expect everyone else to have that same reaction. Not everybody inhabits the same mental space when viewing art. That's why we can all look at the same work, see the same thing, but come away thinking we saw something completely different than everyone else. But NGE is one of the very, very, very few works of art that actually possesses a transformative, life-changing power for people of a certain mentality that watch it at just the right time. There isn't much art that can claim that.

But, anyway, that's all the personal side of things. When I argue for NGE's greatness I don't rely on it, because I know it can be defended on its own terms without appeals to its emotional and personal impact. I find it much harder to defend a film like, say, The Seventh Seal from charges that it's heavy-handed, obvious, ultimately superficial. I had a similar experience with that film in that I saw it while I was going through my own crisis of faith, so it connected with me. But as good of a director as Bergman is, and as fine as that film is on a technical level, it certainly doesn't possess the complexity of craft and themes that NGE does. So when people accuse TSS of being heavy-handed and shallow, I have fewer recourses to arguing why I feel it's a masterpiece.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2012 11:25:32 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
[[[Nah, MST3K was occassionally funny. ]]]

True, true. I guess he's playing an unfunny version of MST3K. Actually, it was long ago proposed on EvaGeeks that we should get together and record a MST3K track for Eva... that could've been a blast.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 12:21:11 AM PDT
C. J. Vasta says:
You mean nBSG. I suppose the original flavor is BSG is much cheesier by some tastes. Presumably BSG would resemble some undesconstructed mecha series like Getter Robo, or one of the less Grim Gundams.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 12:34:33 AM PDT
AyuLover says:
Hmmm...Evangelion is not incomprehensible. But you have to undertsand the workings of the human mind, how we develop from children to adults and the many things that can hinder us along the way. Also it helps to have an acute understanding of Christianity and Transcendentalism. The story is, quite simply put, about a young boy, Shinji, who looses his mother and becomes unhinged by it. He lives in a world where Alien beings have come down to destroy earth. They have already succeeded in destroying most of the civilized world in what was dubbed as The Impacts. Because of this humanity has built many different "cities" or "Shelters" underground. That is why you often times see Shinji proceeding downward into what apears to be a city. Shinji's father, who I consider to be a sociopath, is the head of the defense and weapons building company Nerve, and is responsible for building the Eva's. People are originally told that the Eva's are just giant robots to be controlled by their pilots. However it is apparent that actually they are much more as only certain children can pilot them. The truth of the Eva's is that they are partially human and that they carry the souls of people inside them. Each child can pilot his/her respective Eva because it is the soul of his/her mother inside. And even more disturbing is that this only works because entering the Eva gives it's child pilot a similer emotional sensation as being in the womb....We, the viewer learn that all the child pilots are mentally and emotionally unstable due to trauma suffered from seperation of their mothers. There is so much more to it than that but I don't know how to explain it without writting a whole book on Child Psychology. The only child who is exempt from this is Ayanami Rei. We, the viewer learn that Ayanami Rei is actually the clone of Shinji's younger sister, who was strangled by the doctor Ritsuko. Gendo Ikari, Shinji's father, then cloned her from his daughter's DNA. Originally he thought that the clone Rei could pilot the Eva correctly however because Rei was a clone and because the Eva 00 was a prototype with no human soul in it, she could not connect and she went berserk nearly killing herself and Gendo in the process. Rei eventually is able to find a connection to the Eva through her budding friendship with Shinji, which succeeds in making her more human-ish. Over the whole series Rei is recloned like once or twice because the first clone dies in combat. The last clone joins her body with the body of the first Angel Adam and becomes a Goddess like creature who tries to heal the earth. However, she sacrifices herself for Shinji in the end. And yes, actually there is so much more to the End Of Evangelion but without giving you a sermon and a class on Transcendentalism I couldn't possibly explain it to you. There are other things to be explained to. For isntance the weird tablet like machines Ritsuko talks to. They are machines that contain the memory of earth's original leaders that passed in the First Contact. These memories and personalities were preserved so that they could continue to give their guidance to the lost surviving people of earth. Also the reason why Misato has a kind of soft spot for Shinji is because she was just like him when she was younger. There is even more. If you pay very close attention to the interactions between characters you can see that they change depending on whose persepective you are viewing them from. Misato swears up and down that she has no interest in little boys like Shinji on the phone to Ritsuko, but then when Shinji views her she appears sexual to him. This is probably because he is mistaking her kindess to him for attraction and because he is attracted to her. In the End Of Evangelion Misato let's us, the viewer know that she is aware of Shinji's crush on her when she kisses him in order to give him the courage to complete the task ahead. She does this because she knows she is going to die and leave him alone so it is like a gift from her to him out of sadness and pity. Likewise when Shinji views Asuka she is a bitch and out of control. This is probably because she is German and doesn't have any understanding (or even respect) for the passive ways of Japanese women, therefore Shinji finds her rude and vulger. However we see a sweeter side of Asuka when Shinji is not there and it is just her and kaji, and again, a vulnerable side of Asuka when it is just her and Misato. When Shinji views Rei she is mysterious(He doesn't know she is his sister, he was too young to remember her), when Gendo views her she is doll like, but when Rei views herself she declares that she is a being who is defined by her actions and opinions leading the viewer to believe that she is not doll like at all but rather strong willed. That is something that is recomfirmed when she disobeys Gendo and joins with Adam. Yes, there is even more to be explained. I guess because I am so familier with the series and know all the popular questions and their answers by now. Rei appears to Shinji in the first episode and dissapears. But when he meets her later on in Nerve she doesn't recognize him. Also in the last episode you see that many different Rei's will appear before people die, including Ritsuko. This is because when Rei merged with Adam she became a Goddess-like being and time did not flow regularily for her. Not only that but she controlled the flow of souls after they left their bodies at death, just the way we imagine God to do. So the Rei that appeared before Shinji in the first episode was the Goddess Rei because he was about to die. However, Misato saved him and Rei disappeared. In that last TV episode of Evangelion we see Shinji being told that he simply must perceive things differently in order to live a different and more happy world. We the viewer are offered a glimps of a world where Angels and Eva's don't exist and the main characters live normal lives. This is where the Transcendentalism comes into place and no I cannot explain that to you either without writting a book on it. Basically, Evangelion was an anime of epic proportions made for super smart people. It was made for adults not children or teenagers. If You want to know more about it then I sugest you study up on things like Pychology, the development of the human brain from child to adult, how the abuse of children, or the seperation of children from their parents at a very young age can cause severe emotional effects, Christianity in depth and Transcendentalism in depth. Keep in mind that this would all be college and university material you would be studying though. Going to your local library would help. The internet has alot of false information, myths, and misleading information on these tough topics. I hope I have made some small sense of the series for you though.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 9:14:06 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 13, 2012 12:49:10 PM PDT]

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 9:39:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 13, 2012 10:02:46 AM PDT
You do realize the guy has never seen Evangelion, and that half the fun of the show is seeing how all this stuff fits together? Dude, there were so many spoilers in what you just said. I'd say to be fair we should only comment as far as the episodes that he has watched.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 9:43:07 AM PDT
G. Stein says:
Yeah, that was really very stupid and selfish. Don't be an asshat.

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 10:51:38 AM PDT
Mike Gordan says:
A note for everybody. I have seen Evangelion. Twice in fact; once in English, and once in Japanese (however, I been could only find the English dub of EoE, so I never saw the Japanese version). Inspite of this, I discourage people from spoiling anything and everything past the episodes that I have already covered. In the current case, it's episode 1. I will want to develop a fresh opinion on my revisit of the series, after all, so that I don't come in with prior knowledge.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2012 11:00:00 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 13, 2012 11:00:56 AM PDT]
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