A Review by Christopher Kinsey
By now you may be considering me as someone who has watched a lot of anime. And it's true. At last count I have enough anime footage to run my own anime station. There have been a lot of anime that I have watched because of its buzz-worthiness. I was onboard for the first episodes of "Fullmetal Alchemist". I made it a point to own all of "Cowboy Bebop" no matter how much the tapes cost. I practically leapt over the counter when "FLCL" hit the store shelves at my local Suncoast.
But there was one anime that I never bothered to pick up. And that was "Neon Genesis Evangelion". This series was given huge coverage from the day it came out in Japan. I remember reading an article in "Animerica" about someone making cookies based off the giant monsters from the series, and how it all related to Judo-Christianity ideology. Everyone did fan art about it. Immediately the anime community was abuzz about this scrappy little TV series that dared to challenge everything about giant robot anime.
And as the tapes and DVDs came out one by one, I sat by and didn't care. At the time I felt that giant robot anime was dead. I was 16 and felt I was too grown up for that stuff. They tried to tell me it was different, but I never budged.
That's right DTA fans. I never watched NGE. I never read the manga, never played the date sim games, never got into arguments over what the hell it all mean. So why in the hell do I own some variant garage kit toys from the series? Why do I know everything about it before I set forth to watch this thing?
For ten years now this has been the anime series everyone has talked about, over analyzed and debated. It was parodied, mocked, taken as philosophical debate. Celebrities adore it, otaku love it, and a diligent few of the "old guard" hate it with the very essence of their souls. It used to be everyone talked about "Akira" as their dose of anime taken over the edge, now NGE was their king. This apparently changed all the rules, and anime would never be the same.
And being that it was the only thing talked about for the longest time, I absorbed a lot of information on the series without even holding an interest. I'd want to talk about anime, and immediately you'd get the line "Did you see Evangelion?" No, no I hadn't...but then I'd be tid-bitted about the plot, the characters, and which of the ladies of the series the speaker would like to bang. I didn't care, but if you were talking anime at the time, you were talking about NEG and all the little plots therein.
When I decided to start submitting reviews to Spoony I knew this day would come. The fates aligned to get me to watch this series. My sister, who I have infected with anime fever since I would record "Sailor Moon" for her in the wee hours of the morning, had finally collected the entire TV series on the cheap. My fate was sealed, for Spoony wanted to see if I could face real horror. Real pain. Deep hurting like he has seen on a regular basis.
So for some time I have been doing a running review as I gazed at this series. I may have smiled once. The rest of the time was spent wondering how this deserves the controversy it garners and the praise it receives on a daily basis. So now I submit this to you, part one of my play in two parts. The story of one anime fan that never heard the gospel, Dean the Adequate vs. Neon Genesis Evangelion.
ACT I: THE TELEVISION SERIES
Episode 1 - This episode simply opens with WAR! Really cool U.N. military units up against one of the "Angels". Sadly this, like all the angels, looks like a public art project gone horribly wrong. Shinji arrives into town, lost and confused, but is quickly picked up by resident drunkard/hottie Misato. Meanwhile the U.N gets serious and nukes the angel, resulting in Misatos' car getting flipped. I have to tell you, they just flip that sucker back over and drive on. Talk about value in an automobile! After arriving at NERV headquarters, Shinji is told he must pilot a giant robot, and he refuses outright. I refuse to believe that there is anyone in Japan under the age of 30 who wouldn't want to pilot a giant robot. After a loooooong time debating if Shinji should pilot (Including seeing Rei busted up... It's time to play the Neon Genesis Evangelion drinking game! Wounded Rei count 1, Drink) he finally starts a monotonous power up sequence and readies to fight the angel. Then the episode ends... Nooooooo! Already I can't see anything "revolutionary" about this series. Just the same old clichés... only they take longer to play out.
Episode 2 - We pick up where we left off, and Shinji gets a prompt ass-handing. But right before the coup de grace' he awakens in a hospital. Then we cut to the first day of school. We see Rei again, still bandaged and aloof (Wounded Rei count 2, Drink). Then the story tries to cram in everything that SHOULD have happened last episode. The entirety of the mech combat, the eventual cleanup, the fact the city can basically be raised or lowered, basically all of the cool things that you should start a series with is all in the second episode. Shinji was going to be carted off to a cold lonely apartment, but Misato decides to take him in. Her place is a horror house filled with trash, beer, and snacks. Like your average gamer's bachelor pad. Somewhere along the way we're treated to almost full frontal nudity of Shinji... Dear god why? And the fact there is a Penguin living in a spare refrigerator! I thought this was supposed to be the anime that changes anime forever! There should be no cutesy animals, especially named "Pen-Pen". Gah!
Episode 4 - Shinji runs off, finally this series could get interesting! We spend forever watching him "Run away". This basically consists of watching him ride the train and listen to his headphones. His emo is complete. His travels basically get him fired, rehired, and he learns a lot about many different people in his new life. Am I supposed to feel his frustration here, or is this sinking feeling in my gut going to get the better of me? Onto the next DVD!
Episode 5 - We open to an experiment using unit 00, Rei's mecha. Somewhere in the middle of a test startup procedure the mech goes nuts and starts bashing in the control center, obviously trying to crush Gendo to paste. However, when it's finally shut down Gendo rushes to get Rei out, in a more loving gesture of concern than he'd ever give his biological son. Which, by now, is all the series seems to be boiling down to, a daddy issue (Like the third Austin Powers movie). We then jump to the "Present" where we're going over a huge forensics unit over the currently dead angel. For some reason, Shinji has tagged along like a kicked puppy. It's there he learns of the aforementioned incident... I can just feel this is going to be a "Very Special" NGE... We cut to a bit of school, where Shinji is quickly called out for staring at Rei at the pool, then we cut back to "Work" where Shinji spots his father chatting with Rei. Oh how they laugh, smile and talk. He tried to do the ol' "Hal 9000", but he can't read lips. We then have a heartwarming cliché anime dinner. It's all is just a vehicle to send Shinji to Rei's place anyway. Apparently she lives in the projects, with nothing in her apartment but dead mail, bloody bandages, a mini-fridge, and shoe prints all over the place. I await an awkward moment, since Rei seems to not be at home. Oh, and there it is. She was in the shower and just waltzes out as Shinji is messing with a pair of busted up glasses he finds. She rushes forward with little concern over the fact her no-no parts are showing and grabs the glasses, knocks Shinji into her dresser, his bag gets caught on her dresser drawer, and as he falls forward over her nude form Rei's undergarments fly everywhere. Normally, this produces shrieks of "Pervert" and violence ensues. This time it just produces disdain and silence as Shinji tries to explain everything in short order. I can finally see where this series is breaking away from the chains of anime conformity... Yeah, right. They begin the test from earlier anew, and this time it succeeds. However before it can be completed, another angel attacks. This time it's arriving in a pyramid. Instead of sending out the mech they just started up, they decide to launch Shinji instead. On the bright side, he's immediately hit square in the chest with a huge laser before the "To be continued..."
Episode 6 - Seeing the first few seconds of the last episode again... I now realize that Misato gives a great rendition of "What you say?!" Shinji's really beat up and taken quickly to the hospital. Meanwhile this angel gets smart. It brought a drill to finally take out NERV. You never saw the giant monsters try and take advantage of Voltron's weaknesses. NERV retaliates by using ineffective attacks and decoys. They pretty much get the standard "We're boned" analysis afterwards. So they formulate a final strategy, use a big assed sniper laser that's in development. We then see as bureaucracy springs into action to obtain not only a laser, but also a complete shutdown of all Japanese power to use this thing. Police states can be useful and helpful sometimes, eh kids? Shinji of course whines about having to pilot the EVA, so Rei simply states she'll do it. That baby. As the EVAs launch, kids sit by and watch them, cheering them on. Lucky for the world, Shinji drags his ass back into work and will fire the frickkin' laser, while Rei will use a coated space shuttle as a shield should the angel fire back. We then get treated to a montage of the entire startup process. That's pretty much all this anime is, half-assed drama and mission control sequences spiced in with absurd anime cliché comedy. The first shots go wild, leaving a swath of destruction in their paths. Second shot.... Rei blocks the angel's laser and buys the time needed for Shinji's second shot. As Shinji helps her out of her ruined machine, they bond for a moment. Awwww....
Episode 7 - We open this time with Gendo talking creepy sinister plot stuff with a disembodied voice with a cut to a visual of another giant robot. Or angel... or thingies. Then it's morning at Misato's place. Shinji has toast, Penpen has fish... Misato has a beer. As it turns out, it's parent/teacher day. Misato will be attending, for some god-awful reason. Her milkshake then proceeds to bring all the boys to the yard, along with gaping and lewd comments to Shinji. As Gendo does a little political maneuvering on a spaceflight, Shinji is told the truth about the first and second impacts. Finally, we get into all this well thought out biblical mystery I've heard so much about. The "Second Impact" wasn't a meteor, it was an exploding angel. *Gasp*So we then cut to the next morning... only Misato's smartly dressed and in control, on her way to a meeting. It's some kind of trade show of some sort. Scientists then get to an enormous verbal catfight. Bleh. SO during the test the new nuclear powered mecha runs amok, and then the other bureaucracy bogs down any other situation. So Misato steps up to stop the rampaging and meltdown inducing mech at any cost. Shinji will use the EVA to get Misato onto the rampaging robot or else it will blow up a city. Luckily she was able to push in the control rod manually. Time for a brewski.
Episode 8 - Shinji and his pals get a trip onto a fleet of ships. Now, Shinji I understand, being as he's the one who can pilot the EVA... But his school chums allowed into a top-secret paramilitary unit just to fool around? No wonder we won WWII, damn kids. We finally meet Asuka. You may remember her from the umpteen billion toys, posters, and perverted PC games you people may play. I have to respect the fact Asuka may have the proper reaction to a guy seeing her private places (Slapping the crap out of a dude and exclaiming "That's the price you pay!") but the fact Shinji's friend responds with "Wasn't quite worth it..." Proceeds to drop trousers... "...Here's your change!" Priceless. We then go onto meet Kaji, who used to be Misato's lover in college. So far he's the Glenn Quagmire of NGE... Giggidy. Asuka then proceeds to show off her goods... No, not her naughty parts again, her EVA. Then another Angel attack. Huzzah. The Navy is pretty useless. Asuka starts up her EVA anyway and jumps from ship to ship because collateral damage is cool. And the angel looks like a pudding of some sort. Like the world's largest fishing tackle, the EVA plunges underwater. They then shove a couple of battleships into it, and explode it from the inside. We end with more Gendo conspiracy with Kaji, and Asuka joining the class.
Episode 9 - OK, so there is a bit of a montage of Asuka starting school in this opening. And all I can notice is the fact she never takes off her EVA headband thingies. I don't know... they seem to be more military hardware than a fashion accessory to me. Then we cut to Kaji putting the smooth moves on Akagi. Now we get adult romantic tension as well as teenaged... Oh, and another angel attack. So they drop in Shinji and Asuka to tear this robeast... er... angel a new one. But this time they are given an ass handing so vicious that it can't be shown onscreen. After a debriefing and spread of blame, we cut to yet another anime cliché... the new character must live with the existing protagonist. Again, changing the shape of all anime ever. Asuka really plays up the "Ugly foreigner" aspect of her existence. Whining about how her room's too small, moaning about this and that... while Misato just chimes in "The Japanese way is about being considerate of others". I always thought the Japanese way was "Don't shame your ancestors by getting caught looking as tentacle sex during your seven minute lunch break". So now we learn what it will take to finish off the angels. Both Shinji and Asuka will need to hit the angel at the exact moment. How will NERV prepare them? Make them memorize a dance beat then use the beat to help them synch up. You know, the NERV boys are slipping. That kind of funding I would have invested in some mind control. Instead, they use some cassette tapes and DDR. Before the final battle everyone has a double helping of sexual tension. And then the big day! And it finally happened... the synchronized mecha fight was actually kind of fun. I've found my own rose amidst this steaming pile I've watched so far. But I have to admit, while the humor's getting acceptable, I expected it to be a bit more dark and sinister. Ah well, onward.
Episode 10 - She's planning on going on a school trip, but that bubble's burst rather quickly as she's well reminded that she kind of has to be on call all the time to fight angels. Again, we get the "Ugly American" treatment from Asuka. And she's not even American! She's German /Japanese (A match made in Axis heaven) damnit! We get treated to NERV on standby... nothing but a lot of magazine reading and coffee drinking. Like the staff at a Kinkos when it's busy. But we're soon enough treated to the devil-may-care power abuses of NERV when it's found another Angel has landed in a pit of liquid hot magma. And it's a baby one in an egg. Awww... it wants to destroy humanity. Asuka is quickly set up for the mission... in a fat heat retardant suit and protective shell for her EVA.
More ugly Americanism... and bitching about how Kaji will see her... Arrgh! I want to strangle this kid more than the editors at 4Kids entertainment. Meanwhile her beloved Kaji is doing cryptic meaningful super spy dialogue in a mountain gondola. The operation is a success, pack it up and go home... Or is it? The egg begins to hatch; of course, ant the UN military is on standby to nuke the whole site should things go awry. Woo hoo! Asuka may finally get what's coming to her! And Shinji can get his comeuppance for being a little bitch! But of course, the day winds up saved after three attempts at failure. And we wrap the episode with a trip to a hot spring, an erection joke and some fan service.
Episode 11 - It seems that NERV personnel have to get their own dry cleaning like the rest of us. As they go about their ho-hum morning routine we all learn how society is really controlled by the 'magi', three supercomputers that hand down all decisions. They then gush about how great it is to live in the future. Shinji tries to tell his dad he's not going to college but to vocational school, but gets completely dissed. Poor lil' fella. All he wants is to be accepted by his creepy distant world-controlling father. And then, the power goes out. Of course yet another angel decides to arrive. And with no power we get to see several scenes unfold. Akagi tries her best to restore power. Shinji, Rei and Asuka work their way into NERV headquarters with no way to contact anyone. Misato and Kaji get some 'alone time' stuck in an elevator shaft. And second string character Makoto Hyuga shines as he tries to get in contact with NERV to warn of the impending angel attack. As it all falls out, Shinji and the gang bring up rather uncomfortable subjects, while Gendo gets his hands dirty and helps manually prime the EVA for launch. They then cope with the added difficulties that result from not having your super-mecha launch tubes powered up while being attacked by an angel with super battery acid as it's primary weapon. Of course the day is once again saved, while our Misato is of course put in a very compromising position no matter how innocent the time passed with no power. At least now someone is finally asking the question on everyone's mind "What's up with these angels anyway?"
Episode 12 - So now we take a look into the future. "The future Dean?" Yes, all the way to the year, 2000! In the year two-thous-and. In the year two-thousaaaand! In the year 2000, the second impact will happen, rendering huge amounts of life on planet earth lost including the entire scientific team sent to investigate the angels. Ahahahaha! But seriously folks, we learn that Misato had a firsthand view of the proceedings. Her papa seemed to be in charge of the expedition. A lot of this episode so far has to do with Misato's advancement from Captain to Major. And frankly, it's boring. Luckily, when things get dull an angel can show up! This one's decided not to land on earth, but an orbital bombardment is the key. For some reason I really like it when monsters use tactics. Misato figures it'll be best to evacuate the city, and then work out how to take this sucker down. But Akagi doesn't like taking a huge risk, quoting the odds of beating this new angel is 00.00001%. "Never tell me the odds," grumbles Misato as she storms out of the ladies restroom. Or not. It's really all running together as cliché' coup. So the plan is all of the EVAs are going to catch the impacting mass. Get the giant EVA catchers mitt (Why not? We've had the huge sniper rifle and box cutters already...)After a bit of exposition, the three units field catch the angel and stab it in the eye. This results in Shinji getting an 'Attaboy' from Gendo. And it's all he really wants is his father's approval. Awww...
Episode 13 - NERV is busy overclocking the super computers that run all of Tokyo 3. They should really be able to see some great detail in WoW now, or be able to run Windows Vista. Afterwards there is a test scheduled for upgrading the EVAs... which requires a nude co-ed walk down the hall involving Rei, Shinji and Asuka. NERV then has to face it's toughest crisis yet... Water damage in the basement! OK, corrosion in several rooms, but either way everyone takes it as the worst news ever, and how Gendo will "Chew their asses off". The corrosion continues to wreck havoc, being as it's an angel. Now everyone's comic longboxes are going to be worthless once the damp sets in. They try everything to get rid of this stuff, but it assimilates each attack like micro-borg. Then it's decided to get a piece of the government pie by cracking the Supercomputer Magi. So they buy a little time, and then totally overhaul the Magi's systems again. Aw man, this case mod's gonna be bitchin'! Finally they beat back the invading water damage, and prevent the self-destruct. Meh, "War Games" was better. Meanwhile, our EVA pilots are stuck in their respective escape pods, complaining about their gratuitous nudity. The end. BEST SERIES EVER!!!!
Episode 14 - It's the flashback recap episode! Boo! I hate flashback recap episodes! When I am King they will be totally obliterated. Let me scan this episode for new material... Ah hah! A secret SEELE meeting about the non-existent attack of the 11th angel from the last episode, which could be something. And then another cryptic foreboding about the message of the Dead Sea scrolls. Commercial, then poetry. A little more new footage comes on, involving tests that would let the EVA pilots hop around and pilot any of the EVAs they might need to. Except Asuka, who's a lil' beeyotch who cant share. Unit 00 then proceeds to go nuts. I'm sensing a pattern, everything goes nuts. We cut around to Shinji in the hospital, Asuka being confused, Gendo plotting, and then Rei retrieving this huge thing called the "Spear of Longinus". Wow, they must of used miracle grow on the sucker since it pig stuck Jesus.
Episode 15 - This episode opens not to action packed NERV missions, EVA training, school hijinks or lowbrow humor. This is all about the conspiracy thus far. Gendo conferring with his second in command, Kaji doing super secret spy work with his contact "Crazy Cat Lady". But then we cut to our school hijinks. Asuka tries to raise Kaji on his phone, using the tactful "Help me, I'm being molested" voice mail method. This is Japan, he won't help you over something like that, he'll just pleasure himself to your screams and wonder if you like it. The show then becomes a Lifetime show where Misato will never be a bride and she's gonna be a spinster, boo-hoo. Then Shinji proceeds to creep me out by small talking with Rei about how she reminded him of a mother, the way she wrung out a washcloth. Excuse me? You garnered all that from how a washcloth is wrung? Dr. Phil ain't got nothing on Shinji. And then: Daddy issues. Shinji's got a meeting with Gendo, and he just cant' stop going over old footage... I mean... remember his father. I'm starting to see the downward spiral of the animation budget now. Flashbacks are easy! Then we cut around the wedding Misato's invited to. And gain nothing in the experience. Instead we find Shinji at a bizarre badlands where simple gravestones are erected. Being this is an anime, he's at the grave of his dead mother. He chats for a bit with Gendo, and then is left behind in the wastes while his dad jets off in NERV VTOL. The next 40 hours of this episode is about reliving old times at a wedding after party at some bar, and Shinji having the most forced and awkward kiss with Asuka of all time. Finally we end with some NERV secret shenanigans involving Rei in a tube as Gendo slightly smiles upon what he has done. Are we that satisfied putting young ladies in tubes? Finally we see that NERV has the first angel, Lilith, locked in the basement.
Episode 16 - Wacky morning hijinks lead right into more tests and things at NERV. And finally another angel attack. I was missing them last episode. You never know how much you miss rampaging giant monsters until they're not there for a few episodes. This angel looks like the best superball ever. Or a Godiva chocolate truffle. They slowly coordinate an attack, pausing slightly to emphasize the EVAs need to be plugged in, until Shinji's pulled into a hole by the angel. All they can really do is abandon him until they get a chance to figure out what's going on. Shinji wigs out after his tube starts smelling like blood, then a plan is hatched above! They're going to blow it all to hell. In short, the Mythbusters are consulting on this episode. Meanwhile, Shinji cracks up a little more, and the animation budget is slashed again. To represent a self-dialogue, horizontal and vertical lines are used spliced in with shots of Shinji riding a train. And flashbacks. And discussions of nihilism. It's like a student film gone horribly wrong! As the operation to save Shinji resumes, unit 01 rips apart the superball in a torrent of bloodspray too hot for "Ninja Scroll". We end with the EVA being hosed down, and Shinji in the hospital. This is truly where it all really starts to fall apart.
Episode 17 - This time we open with sinister debriefings of Misato that involve no animation whatsoever. Then we cut to Shinji's pal, Toji, on his visit to his totally crippled sister. Meanwhile, NERV finds out their base in Nevada gets nuked big time. We're ten treated to more Rei-in-tube service. Apparently they're working in a sort of autopilot for the EVAs using the pilot's personalities. Meh. Shinji and Toji take a trip to the projects to drop off Rei's schoolwork. They then have a man to man, followed by Rei getting embarrassed by Shinji's tidy nature. Gendo does a bit more plotting on the train, and then Kaji drops a little taste of the truth on Misato's doorstep. I'd be glad for the subterfuge change of pace... if it was presented better. We also learn Kaji grows melons. Who knew? Who cares? Either way, the rest of the episode focuses on Toji getting news that he's the fourth child. This entire episode has played the pausing game every other scene. And of course, no action either. Le sigh.
Episode 18 - We watch as an EVA is being airlifted to Japan. Plenty more school days BS rolling through. All I really gleaned from it this time is 1) Koji is the new EVA pilot and is hesitant to tell Shinji. 2) Misato will be gone for a while getting the new EVA set up and 3) All these damn kids learn about at school is about the second impact. Every time there's an actual class taking place, it's about the second impact. No gym? Classical literature? Maths??? Japanese school without maths, it is to laugh. We end up with the folks at NERV screwing the pooch and causing yet another explosion of extraordinary magnitude. Then it's going to be hot EVA on EVA action as the newly minted Unit 03 runs amok with it's pilot inside. Oh, and in case it wasn't hammered home for the viewer by now (With ham fists aplenty) Toji is the pilot. Asuka is the first one to receive a but-whoopin of non-animated magnitude. Rei gets hers next, but she gets a little animation of her pwning. Finally it's up to Shinji, but he's got his doubts. There's a human in there! Oh god my dilemma! Well, since he's not taking his initiative, unit 03 begins to choke a bitch. Well, if Shinji won't do it, then Gendo has the new autopilot kicked in. And man, this autopilot horrifically tears the new EVA asunder. Bloodspray and gore flung all over the city until the pilot's pod is crushed. We cut back to the original test site. None of the main characters there died, so it was a bad day to be a red shirt. But hey, at least Shinji gets more mental trauma when he sees his buddy Toji pulled out of the wreckage half dead.
Episode 19 - Shinji's pissed. He's taken his EVA off the umbilicus and has about three minutes worth of city stomping he's about to lay on NERV headquarters. Some terrorist, he hasn't even made any demands clear yet. So Gendo just has them use the remote force choke to make Shinji black out. At the hospital, Toji's is making a recovery while having a lucid dream or two. He deserves it, missing a leg and all. Meanwhile Shinji's in the pokey, and quickly given his walking orders to not let the doorknob hit him on the ass on the way out. That's a little slap on the wrist for almost destroying humanity's last defense against the angels. I don't care if he is a minor, string em' up! Of course just as he's about to head out, and an angel attacks. Asuka and Rei scramble, with Rei taking Shinji's place. Unfortunately EVA 01 rejects her like a bad kidney. She says she'll tough it out, cryptically posing "If I die, I can be replaced". Asuka is the only one up to bat, and is ripped to ribbons. At least she was given the courtesy of being animated for this one. Her EVA's head crashes directly into the shelter that Shinji's in. He gets to witness all those civilians get crushed firsthand. This kind of mental anguish would be akin to strapping down Charlie Brown and flaying Snoopy alive in front of him. EVA 01 isn't having any other master today though, so Gendo sets out to find Shinji. Meanwhile, Shinji is dreamily watching the carnage unfold, and stumbles across Kaji, who's watering his melons. Kaji stresses upon a good point, he'd rather be out doing what he loves when he dies, because if Shinji doesn't do squat the Angels will find Adam, and the third impact will doom all mankind. But Rei pops out with the suicide squeeze play. She rams a nuke right next to the angel and gives it what for. But this ultimately fails. Shinji hulks out and starts laying down some smack, mano-y-mano. He loses one of his EVA's arms to the process, but at least it ends up with Gendo covered in blood. While Shinji holds his own for a bit, really feeling his bezerker rage, he runs out of power. Should have use the copper top man... The angel quickly moves to disable the threat. But whatever the EVA's really made out of wakes up, and starts ripping the angels a new one. It even regenerates itself using the new angel's parts. It then proceeds to chow down on the angel's still moving carcass. Now that's good eatin'!
Episode 20 -They get to the clean up work, monumental task it may be. One of the bridge bunnies complains of the crappy chairs in the secondary control room. Excuse me? You watched a skyscraper-sized monster eat another skyscraper-sized monster a few hours ago and what's really cramping your day is how comfy your chair will be? Anyway, they can't get Shinji out of the EVA; he's been totally absorbed by it somehow. The next day, Rei awakens (Wounded Rei count 4, drink). Meanwhile Asuka laments being a loser by breaking random crap around the apartment. The next day (They're giving me placards when the days change, how nice) we learn that Shinji has become Shinji soup and the only way to get him out of it is to do something totally radical and paradigm shifting... or something. In any case it'll cost a lot of money and give some physicists boners. The fourth day arrives and Shinji must have taken the brown acid. We're treated to a slideshow of his life up to this point going by at 100mph. Then we skip ahead to the thirtieth day. We learn this kind of rescue has been tried before, but they failed. Day 31 treats us to poetry and more flashbacks. More and more the entire series becomes one big clip show... and as stated before clip shows=suck fest. Whoa, fan service ahoy! Each of our female leads get a lean in shot over and over again asking Shinji to become one with them. Lucky for him he's in a steam of lucid dreams.... and liquefied, or else he'd have to change his sheets. Well NERV tries their best to make Shinji solid again, but ultimately fail, and just as all hope is lost... Shinji wakes up in the hospital again. They really got their moneys worth out of that shot. Oh, wait, they still failed. Misato clutches at Shinji's empty suit, but it seems to be having an effect in the art-film collage we're calling Shinji now. We have a crude drawing of baby Shinji suckling at his mama's teat for about an hour as he's reminded of better times. The EVA then proceeds to spit Shinji up, obviously horrified at how much this show is really piling on the DEEP HURTING. Day thirty-three. Misato and Akagi discuss the last few days, but Misato feels the need for some sweet love down by the fire and boots Akari to the curb. So Misato heads over to Kaji's for some dirty sex and information. We don't happen to get wither, but Misato gets a pill. In the immortal words of Bozo the Clown... "What the Fuck Kids?!!!"
Episode 21 - The vice-commander has gone missing. Kaji is involved somehow with his kidnapping, while Misato is detained as another suspect. The vice-commander is in a very dark room where we get our first taste of the "Sound Only" SEELE monolith holograms. Normally when hobnobbing with Gendo they're holograms in their original human form... but I guess secrecy can be maintained better now that the animation budget slowly trickles away (Wait till the voice acting one dries up, I hear it's a doozie of an ending). So I guess we're treated to the origins episode. NERV had to start somewhere, and we'll actually get some new animations. It all starts in 1999, where the vice-captain was a mere college professor and gets mixed up with Gendo and Yui (Gendo's soon to be wife). Now here is a strange point of order... Gendo takes his wife's name as his surname. Ikari was her maiden name and doing such an act is usually held in a place of shame for the Japanese. I think we all know who wore the ol' pantaloons in that family. We jump around in pre-history some more finding the expeditions to the 2nd impact site and the origins of creating the first EVA. But we keep jumping to the present for no good reason other than identifying the characters we're about to talk about in the flashbacks. We watch as Akagi and her mother tackle the building of the Magi, while Gendo picks up Akari's mom on the rebound when his wife dies. It ends badly, really badly. Akagi's mom strangles a young Rei, and I can only assume some freaky scanners type crap goes on off camera because all we see in the aftermath is an adult chalk outline and a splattering of blood. And in the present Kaji finally gets his comeuppance for meddling in the affairs of SEELE and NERV for too long.
Episode 22 - OK, this episode opens on a B&W picture of Asuka at a young age holding someone's hand in a graveyard during a rainstorm. While we slowly pan out we hear the worst examples of German accents ever. I swear it's like they're trying to do German and Russian accents at the same time. Back to our current timeline, Asuka seems to be slipping. Her piloting scores are waaaay down, so NERV decides to cut dead weight and put all their efforts in repairing unit 00 instead. Also it seems that they're ramping up production of EVAs. Oh yeah, there's some good news. Giant barely controlled robots set about to defend our green earth... I know we all know how this series ends up, but it's like watching lemmings run off a cliff (After being herded by Disney staffers of course). Over the next few scenes we learn Asuka's on the rag... hard. Spliced into the general bitchyness and self-loathing she feels because Shinji bests her all the time is another degree of DEEP HURTING. I swear there is an elevator ride with Rei and Asuka that takes about a half an hour, no talking, no movement, just the hum of the elevator scooting along. When someone finally speaks it generally becomes another bitch-fest from Asuka ending with Rei getting slapped this time. But the time for loathing is over, because it's time for another angel attack. (For those of you playing at home, if we take out the angels from before the series and the ones that couldn't attack an EVA we have 12 giant robot battles in the series so far. We are totally under par for this series by having eight episodes without a giant robot battle thus far.) Rei is chosen to take this one out, but Asuka bumps up the schedule and launches anyway. As she lines up to fire the angel puts on an angelic chorus and light show that begins totally screwing with her mind. NERV does the runabout panic it's known for while Asuka is assaulted by blips of the kanji for words such as "Shame", "Menstruation" and "Double Suicide". NERV then decides to use the Spear of Longinus to skewer this angel. Rei tosses the spear and rips apart the angel, and then the spear gets stuck in the moon's orbit. This pretty much wraps up Asuka's career, being as she really hasn't been useful in a while.
Episode 23 - Everyone's got the blues... Misato's locked in her room listening to Kaji's last message over and over again (I don't see it as getting killed at this point, I see it as avoiding the rush) while Asuka shacks up at the female classmate's house (Meh, never bothered to learn her name, being as she's not that important). And Penpen just looks on... My god, why even bother with the bleeding penguin at this point? All he's been since the first episode is set dressing, and bad set dressing at that. The reason the animation budget was screwed was because you just had to put a crowned penguin into a majority of episodes, wasn't it? Well, at least another angel attacks to break up this mope-fest. Rei launches to fight the... er... giant ring in the sky? It's like they aren't even trying with the angels anymore. "OK, here's this week's angel... its a... Parallelogram that shoot fire! Ooooo!" In any case, it quickly becomes a squiggly line of some sort and starts drilling into unit 00. They launch Asuka, but she's worthless now. Her power level is a mere 10% according to the scouter. So Rei becomes more creepy alien wank fodder what with the writhing and pulsating.
Rei blacks out and is treated to a surreal scene with herself... speaking as the angel of course. Apparently the angel wants to become a part of Rei, being as she's so lonely. Foreshadowing... NOT FOR WIMPS! Shinji is launched, but it's too late. Rei's EVA explodes in a most sufficient fashion. After the commercial they hose whatever's left of Rei out of her escape pod, and SEELE deliberates on the last angel, Gendo's agenda, and other important matters. We're treated to a bit of sadness over the loss of Rei, but nope, she's alive. And wounded (Wounded Rei count 5, drink). Of course she seems to have a bit of amnesia on how she feels about a few things *Cough*clone*Cough*. SEELE then decides to get a look at their newest candidate to keep Gendo in line Akagi. She's stripped down and bearing it all for the monoliths. The plot thickens as Misato decides to use all the information Kaji gathered to finally take matters into her own hands. She demands Akagi take her to see everything NERV is up to, but Shinji is in attendance as well. We get to see where the Rei clones get their training to be human, the EVA failure lot, and the big fish tank of Rei clones. Akagi spills it all; the Reis are for the dummy plug autopilots they were working on while EVAs themselves are vessels for human souls. She then proceeds to dissolve the Rei clones and break down over losing Gendo.
Episode 24 - Oh-Kay... We open this episode with Asuka going a bit nuts. She's reminiscing about when she fist became an EVA candidate and found her mother dead from hanging herself. She's reminiscing about all this from a wrecked house where she proceeded to take off her clothes, fold them, and then get in the mostly untouched tub. We then find out that Akagi's been gettin' it on with Gendo. And to think, she probably told herself she wouldn't be like her mother when she grew up. Shinji walks about the desolated upper area of Tokyo-3, lamenting that he's quite alone with no playmates, when someone starts humming "Ode to Joy" from a rocky outcropping. Kaoru Nagita is the newest pilot for the EVAs and he's mysterious, having no records and being born the day Second Impact happened. He's immediately able to boot up Asuka's EVA and creeps out Rei immediately. Now we get to the infamous homosexual accusations of the series. Kaoru is quite adamant about knowing when Shinji's off to the showers... Inviting Shinji to take a shower with him. In the shower Kaoru really pours it on, philosophically and showing off how smart and mature he is while putting the moves on Shinji with a brisk handhold. Leading up to the "I love you" that made every fan girl get her 'Hello Kitty' panties wet while they yelled "Squee!" God, anime fan girls are the worst... and possibly another reason this series is such a bestseller.
The SEELE monoliths continue to plot Gendo's downfall, Gendo talks to unit 01 as he would his wife about his eeeevil plan and Rei simply ponders why she's still alive. Misato has a heart to heart with PenPen, who's going to be sent away to a safer place. Blah blah blah. They're running out of time for story, so I guess they're busy jumping around to set up for the end. It all ends up with Kaoru being the last angel, and he starts up EVA unit 02. "Ode to Joy" is played at full blast as the end gets underway. Kaoru starts down towards Lilith, and Shinji is scrambled to intercept. But this doesn't bode well; he just won't accept Kaoru is an angel. During the falling fight, both units and Kaoru fall to the bottom layer where Lilith is sealed. Kaoru quickly opens the last door with his mind and waltzes in. However, he stops short of his goal as Shinji tosses unit 02 away like so much garbage. Kaoru decides it's Shinji who should live, since he made Kaoru's life wonderful. For the next half an hour we're treated to stillness as Shinji grasps Kaoru in a not-so fitting tribute to the cover of Queen's "News of the World".
He finally pops Kaoru like a nasty zit then heads back to hose off his EVA. Before I go on... I have seen Dues Ex Machina before, but this Kaoru crap takes the cake. SEELE's plan is to put an angel right in NERV's base. And that angel can proceed to convince everyone he's A-OK immediately? Sure, there are doubts, but no one acts on them and it leads right to this. It's so stupid! There was no time to even valid up a sense of trust in Shinji, but yet he decides Kaoru must be his bestest buddy no problem. He isn't even creeped out by the whole "Touching" crap in the bath? I know he's a weak willed snot, but this is just too much. I hate you Hideaki Anno.... With the very essence of my soul.
Episode 25 - We recap the last episode, and then get treated to Shinji in a folding chair, burying his face in his hands and questioning everything he has done. This is all spliced with old animation clips and whorled art as Shinji continues to question all he is and has achieved. And then we study the other characters as well.... And do you know how this is being achieved? They're splicing in old soundtracks and clips in such a way to make new footage. This is the bottoming out of the series. All the budgets are GONE, and we're left with this attempt at an ending. In short, it's becoming another clip episode, and again... see above where they can shove clip episodes. Anyway... All this serves to do is help unravel what has happened over the entire series from each character's point of view. After the commercial break we're treated to nude Shinji hugging his knees to his chest... And we talk of the beginning of Instrumentality (BTW, Akari's shot and floating in a pool of the soul-fluid that Shinji turned into once and is constantly bleeding out of Lilith. Misato's also dead, but this too couldn't be animated because of the fact there's no money. Let's carry on).
But this isn't the end of Misato and Akagi, oh no... They have to discuss Misato's life now and how much of a whore she desires to be. This is really... really beginning to suck hard. We study Asuka's mental problems and traumas a bit, then present Shinji again who's told how the world has changed, and how it was his wish to let it be destroyed. This presentation is awful. It's rumored that the writer/director, Hideaki Anno, got death threats over this ending. I can see why.
Episode 26 - The cover-up of the lost animation budget continues! The first thing we see is a disclaimer stating, as follows... "In the year 2016, this is the completion of what man's mind had lost, Instrumentality continues. However, there is not enough time to show the entire process. Therefore, for now, we will examine one mind, that of the boy, Shinji Ikari." Why do I even bother to keep reviewing? This can't end well at all, especially production wise. All I'm getting is shop suey of a discussion on what mankind was, is and shall become. I continue to get this chopped up bits of old episodes and still re-dubbed to keep this ongoing discussion on how mankind should exist. It's not really worth commenting on at all. So far it's all about self-loathing and a constant stream of the question "Are you happy?" Oh, and in addition to the old footage and stills they're splicing in B&W photographs of weird static objects around Japan like stairs and fences. I'm being smothered in art and depth here. OK, so through all the discussion on what we can do with our perceptions of reality we come to the end, and we get new footage. Shinji awakens in a nice room with all of his things and Asuka is shaking him. She insists that he wake up so they can get to school in the traditional crappy school-comedy-drama fashion. This farce plays out for a bit then we cut back to the self-loathing and discussion of "Reality" as before. Shinji then comes to the realization that he can love life and himself, and breaks free of the Instrumentality. And I'm going to spoil the ending for you, right here, right now. Behold, what all this leads up to...
All the characters stand around Shinji and applaud, while saying "Congratulations" in turn. Even the damned penguin.
I've finally watched all of the Evangelion television series. I now hate it. And that is my reality. That is the myself that I am.
For those of you who like this series, that call it "Art" and that I don't get it I assure you, I do. It's just how the concepts are presented that I hate. Not to mention how the good bits are constantly railroaded by the demand for cute animals, fan service, and crappy anime clichés. Now I have been told that you can only really respect this series if you watch the entire series and both of the movies. And that's just what I'm going to do. Until then, courage.