What's so good about Evangelion? (minor spoilers)

Alot of people seem to like Neon Genesis Evangelion, it always seems to rate high in the anime world. So, I thought I’d give it a try.

I bought the first DVD, which contains episodes 1 - 4, and I have to say I’m a bit underwhelmed. So before I go blow another $30 on the next DVD, I thought I’d ask around -

Does it get any better?

Specific problems are:

I don’t like Shinji - he reminds me of Luke Skywalker with extra whine. The series (so far) also seems to suffer from a common problem in anime - the characters spend a lot of time gritting their teeth and "oh-oh-oh"ing during tense moments. The english voice acting is pretty bad (I’m too lazy to read subtitles…), particulary for secondary characters. And I’m pretty sure that penguin had a towel around his neck - I’m extremely wary of any show with anthropomorphized animals.

Lastly, I really don’t like shows where some random child is the key to saving all mankind. Maybe it’s the emotional scars left over from Wesley Crusher, but any show that focuses on a 14-year-old kid as mankinds last hope has me turned off.

So what do you think? I’m willing to suffer through it for a good story, but is the story good enough to get past all of that? Info is welcom, but please don’t spoil too much, in case the answer is “Yes”. Thanks!

Sorry to bust in on your thread but I’m a few episodes further on and have similar questions. So far the only character I really like is Misato.

But probably the fact that I bought the thing on used (subbed) VHS is handicapping my enjoyment of the Eva phenomenon.

Bubba, I agree with you. I have no idea why so many people liked this, as from what I saw (No, I am not going to force myself to watch it all) this is a dull, pretentious slog through equally-boring giant robot robot battles. Misato is funny enough to be fresh, but that’s… about… it.


Same here. I bought the first DVD in 2000 and I just didn’t think it was a very good show. I figure if a show can’t hook me by 4 episodes then I’m just not going to like it.


Count me as another one who refuses to buy the hype of how great Evangelion is. I saw it complete and must say it gets worse at the ending, which is hurried and spoils the few good storypoints the tale has so far build up.

(some might regard the following as spoiler so I preemptively but them in a box)

The whole ripoff of christian mythology didnt come too well over for me and the often sung deep philosophical statement the series is supposed to have falls completely flat on the face. Then again I am easily pissed off when a medium tries to cram something down my throat with force, as another example the last few eps of Trigun spoiled an otherwise good anime for me.

All in all I wouldnt burn money on the DVDs, if you can borrow them from a more fanatic otaku or like me see them the traditional way as badly fansubbed bootlegs then you could give them a chance, the animation is pretty and some of the episodes are good fun to watch.

No, it doesn’t get any better. It starts out as a somewhat generic and vaguely amusing giant robot anime and gets really pretentious around episode 16.

The final few episodes abandon all semblance of plot and focus on character studies. It’s awful. Trust me. And, no, the movies aren’t any better.

If you hate Shinji now, just wait until you’ve watched him whine for 26 episodes and 2 movies…he just keeps getting more and more annoying.

And, yes, I did “get” all the symbolism in it. I thought it was very poorly done. “Look! They’re forming into the Tree of Life! sound of Slortar banging head on coffee table

Luckily, it was my friend’s tapes, not mine.

If you want good giant robot anime, you’re probably better off with Blue Gender or even Gasaraki. I’ve also seen the first 10 episodes of Rah Xephon and that seems pretty good as well, and a trifle more upbeat in places.

For the record, Evangelion is probably Gainax’s worst series. I love just about everything else they’ve done to death. Hell, I even liked what I saw of that Princess Maker anime they did a year or two ago. :wink:

I liked the series though I don’t think it’s “great” (especially because of the ending). Here is my thread on it with comments from several people who also liked it.

However I wouldn’t have spent the money to buy the DVD’s. Why don’t you join Netflix and rent the DVD’s instead?

And ditch the dubs. The original voice-acting is excellent and I don’t think the English voice-actors come even close.

Meh. Peoples are entitled to their own opinion.

As far as the whininess of Shinji goes… you’re going to tell me you were much more mature at 14? Meh. Maybe so, then again, everyone I knew at 14 was pretty damn whiney. Seems like a fairly accurate portrayal of an introvert to me.

I really enjoy the series (dispersions ahoy, Cap’n!). I’m a sucker for characters I understand (and a self-loathing, whiney 14 year-old kinda suits me in a cathartic way). I enjoyed 3x3 Eyes (aye! be sirens and harpies! ARRR!) for a little of the same reason. Character adrift in a world that’s grown beyond their understanding, going through one false view of reality after another.

The gravy of the series, to me, is the interaction between the characters. Each character is standardly cliche in their own right… but as generically different as they are, they’re essentially the same (kind of like real people, huh?). They are people shaped by their experiences and the things they think they have to do to survive. Despite all whinings to the contrary, we really are in charge of our own lives, we just make excuses to absolve ourselves of that responsibility.

It’s also about how being alive means experiencing pain and how you have to live with that realization. Misato listening to Kaji’s last message on her answering machine kind of sums it up.

I gained a lot from watching Evangelion. Other people think watching Buffy isn’t a waste of life. Damn, everyone’s got their own opinion. I mean, does there need to be a thread about how Boogiepop Phantom is a hoax perpetrated by the electric companies to get you to waste power? Ye-- no.

Find an otaku buddy you can borrow it from and finish it, capping it off with End of Evangelion (it’s not so bad, somewhere around episode 18 the episodes tend to pick up momentum). By watching it all the way through, you can counter all the yucks who say you don’t know what you’re talking about. At least by then, instead of flighty opinions, you’ll have many (many, many) well grounded (very, very well grounded) reasons for disliking it.

I do.

I’ll admit that I’m amongst the legions of otaku that think Evangelion to be the single greatest anime, period. Although, if you’ve only seen a few episodes, then you haven’t really gotten started. Evangelion is a piece of cinema, and MUST be experienced as such. If you want to get anything out of it, you’ve got to watch all 26 eps. + the two movies (Death/Rebirth and The End of Evangelion). Of course, if you aren’t into philosophical musings and religious symbolism (think Kubrik’s 2001), then this probably isn’t the anime for you.

IMHO Evangelion is not the greatest of anime, nor is it the worst.

That being said:

(BTW: Do NOT go by the dub. I heard the dub, and it was painful. The subtleties of the original voice acting were completely lost in many a scene. I’m not one of those people who hate all dubs-- I can appreciate a good one when I see it. But this one wasn’t that good)

Eva starts off like a cliched giant robot show and then changes rather radically.

The director, Hideki Anno was going through some psychological problems at the time, and he chose to work them out through the anime (hence all of Shinji’s issues)-- he pulled a bait-and-switch on the audience, because they were expecting just giant robots duking it out and instead they ended up with a (somewhat torturous) examination of the human psyche.

I liked Evangelion for the following reasons:

1- The premise of the Eva Control system was novel in that it was the most “realistic” to date. (I’m talking about in mechanical terms)… 5 minutes of power, tethers, a support infrastructures… they weren’t like Gundams that could seemingly go forever on tanks of jet fuel.

2 - The Heroes were not “heroes”. They have real, painfully crippling flaws, be it self-doubt, lust, or jealousy. They aren’t super action types who always come out on top. In fact I think some viewers dislike them because they are too real in this regard.

3- The metaphysical, occult, biological and technical detail slipped in. (For instance, everything in NERV is named after a term in biology-- it’s not all meaningless Engrish or technobabble-- I was surprised to find a lot of the terms defined in medical texts.)

Now… I will not say it is wthout flaws. Anno basically jipped the fans with the last two episodes of the TV series, and the half-movie Death and Rebirth that aired before End of Evangelion came out. And he doesn’t explain things all that clearly…

But THIS is why Eva will be discussed and appreciated forever. I call it “Xadium’s Law of Immortality through Obscurity”-- basically, the more tantalizing hints and half-finished threads you can leave dangling, along with rich symbolism that begs to be interpreted, the longer people will argue about your show trying to figure it all out.

But this is all IMHO… you have to judge the series as a totality first, because the first few episodes that you have seen are cliched, and not representative of the total Evangelion experience (due to the plot shifting as it does).

This is what I reccomend: Borrow the DVDs or fansubs from someone, and watch the episodes in this order:


(21-24 are also available in a director’s cut which adds some more footage, but it’s not out in DVD yet, try to see the fansubs of those-- if you can’t, then watch Death and Rebirth which has the footage in it, otherwise skip D&R, it’s largely redundant filler)

Watch End of Evangelion

NOW Watch 25-26. They made little sense on their own, but they chronicle what’s going on in in Shinji’s head during the middle of End of Evangelion, (without spoiling anything, let’s just say he has to make a choice, and those episodes explain how he came to making his choice)-- they can be understood in the context of the movie.

I have found this to be the easiest way to gain a full understanding of Evangelion.

Evangelion was pretty much the first anime series i ever saw, which was when i was about 15. I got really into it and thought it was awesome, but after watching it again recently I kind of cooled on it. There were some moments that were pretty good, and some moments of pretty animation, but I don’t think it was really deserving of the praise I heaped upon it when I was 15.

Course, I was watching the dub, so that might’ve tainted my view of it. Still, I think my fanaticism was more the result of seeing Anime for the first time rather than anything else.

Among other comments:

  1. I am 22. I have no desire to see an extremely whiny and annoying 14 year old brat and his pathetic father.

  2. If I have to watch 26 episodes plus a movie to get anything out of anyseries, no matter how much I am supposed to “get”, it was done poorly.

  3. I have no problem with religious symbolism. But Eva, like the ill-fated Xenogears, uses it badly and with very little regard for any logic or point. It has a really bad case of anime “I can’t actually tell you anything because this thing is really just a bunch of pretentious claptrap” syndrome.


Good point well made but that does not mean that I have to enjoy his whining, or that it deducts from my fun watching the series any less, he can just go clean the cellar with the young mr skywalker from episode 2 and share to each other what a bummer adults are.:wink:

Personally I find it a bit of a jump to compare Evangelion with Kubrik’s 2001, as I said above the philosophical statement of eva didnt do anything for me, if anything it was rather poorly done and hurried. Same for the religious symbolism that to me often looked as if someone had read a short paper on christian/judaism mythology and now used the terms he remembered to make up a story. Maybe the series could have been better when Gainax had taken a bit more time with the climax, iirc it wasnt before episode 18 to 20 that the first real bits of backplot were announced.

That said everyone is entitled to a different opinion, the OP asked if it is worth to buy more of the series on DVD to which I answer a clear no, rent the rest of the series first or borrow them from someone and after watching the whole series decide if its worth spending the money to own an own copy.

Evangelion is good in some ways–if nothing else, you can entertain yourself looking for the clever ways they cut animation corners. But I think it does lose a lot of its value as the viewer matures. I never thought Shinji was all that whiny, but the other characters tended to annoy me. And I didn’t like the movie. I think the series suffers a lot from the fan worship it gets, too.

If you didn’t enjoy it up to this point, you probably won’t enjoy it more later.

I will agree that the first few episodes are cliched. It gets more interesting later on. That, and the dub is an atrocity.

In the end, there’s no accounting for taste, I guess. I like the series, for many of the same reasons that Dr_Xadium cites.