A Look Back: Evangelion

Before my inevitable rewatch, I’d like to try and dig up some fossil thoughts and feelings I have on Eva from my first experience watching it two years ago. Because this is a show I very much want to like more than I already do. Actually, I have mixed feelings about it, but this post isn’t so much concerned with exploring the show itself or how I feel about it (though it is a little) as much as it is about how hard it is to find something to new to say about it now. Basically this is a post about nothing.

This is a divisive and controversial series, steeped in a long history of differing opinions, interpretations, and interesting factoids. All of this combined with the vast wealth of information on the creators behind the show make it seem almost impossible and pointless to discuss now. Because what can be added to the conversation at this point when everything that’s there to be said has already been said dozens of times?

Neon Genesis Evangelion --12

You can look at it from a multitude of different viewpoints: critical, personal, historical, psychosocial, comparative, authorial, etc. Many have already tapped the well dry of what can be said about the narrative, the themes, the setting, the sound and music, the direction, style and structure, the animation and designs, the depth and chemistry of the characters, the techniques and visuals employed, as well as any meaning that can be assigned to them, and its influence on anime as a whole. But finding the best way I can talk about it is something I’m still trying to figure out, even while writing this. And I’ll admit Eva doesn’t mean as much to me as it does to others, but it’s one of those few special cases where I really, really want to like it and dig into the bones of what it has to offer me, while perhaps forming a connection along the way.

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I mean, aside from the obvious

I chalk this up to simply not having thought and discussed it all that much (when compared to the years of conversation many have had with it), which is I believe an integral part to enjoying and appreciating the franchise. I think the most interesting and enjoyable aspect of Eva is in analyzing it, comparing it to other (similar) works, and talking about it in as many (relevant) ways as possible.

Remembering the scenes and moments of character excite the mind to reflect on them and think about their appeal while also applying meaning to them, or contrasting multiple interpretations of one particularly striking and memorable scene is an incredibly satisfying way of experience the Eva franchise. Chatting in forums, writing essays, making videos, and just generally being part of this really deep, long, and dense conversation spanning years of worthwhile discussions, critiques, and analyses makes interaction between Eva, its fanbase, and the community so much more fulfilling than simply watching the show or its movies.

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Yes, I’d like a glass of all the relevant stuff everyone already knows about Eva, and a twist of the lesser known stuff to go with it

Eva is something that could easily be seen as this huge landmark in anime history, for its contributions in being so similar to past shows and yet so brazenly bold and different to separate it from its contemporaries. There’s this wide web of so many interesting points tied to it and it’s precisely for this reason that makes it so intoxicatingly alluring to me. My initial experience watching it was met with similar thinking, my mind open to all these ideas raised and relatable life experiences that the characters were facing. It felt like I was watching something special, something unique, even if I didn’t feel as strongly about it as so many fans do.

And perhaps after I rewatch it (enough times) I may come out if it again with something new. Whether it be a concept or aspect I feel hasn’t been fully explored (unlikely) yet, or even just a heightened connection to it, on some level (preferably an emotional one this time), I think that would be nice. Though, having watched End of Evangelion earlier this year, I’d say that my relationship with the series has already been moving forward in a lot of ways. That movie was so raw and loaded with so much personality, going far beyond the call of duty, that it felt powerful. The kind of powerful that makes me go awe-struck.

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(me and the fanbase to me) You WILL learn more about Eva! You will learn to LOVE Eva!

I’m not sure how I feel about Eva, but damn do I look forward to revisiting the series with an unexplainable thrill.

~ Ace

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