Creator/Studio: Hideaki Anno/Gainax
No of Episodes: 26 (note: The Platinum version contains some “director’s cut” episodes)
Suggested Age: 17+
My Rating: 9/10
Summary: Shinji Ikari believes he is an ordinary boy. One day, his whole life changes. His father, Gendo Ikari, the head of NERV, has drafted him in a war against gigantic angels using exo-suits called EVA units. He fights alongside two female pilots: the enigmatic and seemingly emotionless Rei and the temperamental Asuka.
Review: There’s an anime and video game reviewer I follow named Bennet the Sage (I recommend checking him out. His website is located here. (Warning: Must have absurdly strong stomach. He’s reviewed quite a few gorefests.) When he covered the Evangelion movies, he began by saying “Inevitability, thy name is Evangelion.” By this, he meant that if you’re going to review anime, you will eventually have to cover Evangelion. It is that influential.
The animation in Evangelion is like nothing I’ve seen before. The mech suits are sleek and have more human-like movement, very fluid. They aren’t bulky like Gundam or slow like Big O.
Shinji Ikari is a hero I sympathize with. He does not wish to fight. He has been literally dragged kicking and screaming into a hopeless war by a man he barely knows. What’s worse, Gendo seems not to care at all whether he lives or dies, nor does he show one sign of encouragement that a father would be expected to show.
The other pilots are just as unsympathetic as Gendo. Rei seems to have no emotions at all and has a flat voice. Asuka has two modes–one moment she may seem to at least tolerate Shinji, the next she can’t stand him. To be honest, I understand their methods of coping. In a way, I feel sorry for Asuka. She seems to keep everyone at a distance for fear of betrayal.
Misato, who becomes the guardian of all three pilots (as they are underage), is a complex woman. Most of the time she seems sympathetic and consoling. Other times, however, she’s practically slapping Shinji around and treating him like a drill sergeant berating subordinates. It also doesn’t help that she’s an alcoholic. As with the other characters I’ve spotlighted, she exhibits Evangelion‘s greatest strength: not one character is 100% good or evil, rather, they are various shades of gray.
I think the real theme of Evangelion is the arrogance of man. Man often mocks and defies the supernatural. Gendo is the ultimate in arrogance for thinking he actually has a chance against his enemy and he knows this.
To sum things up, Neon Genesis Evangelion is not for the squeamish or the easily-offended. If you’re going to watch it, you must have an open mind and put aside all your expectations and arguments for your beliefs. It is a landmark anime that is still discussed to this day, especially with the reboots having been released by FUNimation (why they haven’t picked up the original series is anyone’s guess. With the folding of ADV, I assume it’s up for grabs).
Sub/Dub: Both versions are pretty good.
Music/Score: The score is just epic. I think the opening is one of the best themes ever.
Violence: (8/10) This has to be one of the most graphic anime I have ever watched. There is blood and the fights are intense.
Language: (4/10) Misato and Asuka are heavy in their curses.
Nudity: (6/10) I saw a few shower scenes and two sex scenes. (one very surreal)
Sexuality: (6/10) There’s two sex scenes, the second being very surreal with “do you wish to become one with me?” repeated throughout by naked images of Asuka, Rei, and Misato.
Religion: (9/10) This is borderline blasphemous in its treatment of Christianity. However, I must emphasize: It is not meant to be an attack. As I stated above, it is actually a commentary on arrogance.
Related Media: There is a manga that I’ve heard is somewhat different from the events in the anime. There is also a series of reboots that rewrite the events. I have yet to view these, so I cannot comment at this time.