Anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell, and many others are so iconic that they still continue to enjoy widespread popularity and enjoy cult status within the otaku and weaboo community.
It was a huge hit even with the critics for its deconstruction of many tropes, widely common in mecha anime of that time and its usage of many religious and cultural symbols. It has also won a lot of coveted awards and prizes and has performed remarkably well in many popularity polls.
Neon Genesis Evangelion won the Animation Kobe Award for two consecutive years in 1996 and 1997. The popular video game and popular entertainment website IGN ranked the anime as the 10th best anime in its coveted list of “Top 100 Animated TV Series”.
1. Quick Review
The anime Neon Genesis Evangelion has had a long-lasting impact on the popular culture not just in Japan but across the world. It does a brilliant job of reining you into its world with its dazzling visuals, good cinematography, and unique and engaging plot.
The giant robots, also called Mecha or Evangelion are a treat for the eye. They are huge, striking, and have an imposing presence. Also, a lot of emotions and character development are charted through these Mecha, and this helps expand the scope of the genre.
2. Is it worth watching?
The anime does a commendable job at highlighting the complex moral and philosophical dilemmas that all of us, as humans, go through. The fight scenes are unusually pleasant to watch and are another element to look forward to.
Every little detail about this anime, ranging from the character design to the dystopian landscape is meticulously planned and extensive. This aspect lends another level of realism to the anime, uplifting its artistic worth and credibility in the process.
The story is set a decade and a half after a worldwide disaster takes place. Most events take place in the fortified city of Tokyo-3. The setting is largely dystopian and apocalyptic, and the sense of urgency and frustration is palpable, which is one example of how good this show is.
The anime revolves around the young boy Shinji Ikari, who reluctantly sets off to win the war for the survival of humanity. He is almost forced to do so due to the orders of his dad, who is the head of the special paramilitary force Nerv.
Humanity has been under attack by alien beings called ‘Angels’, who are extremely powerful creatures and have impenetrable armor. With this ability, even the most powerful and destructive bombs from the UN have a negligible effect on them.
Against these “Angels,” the only weapon of humanity is the gigantic Evangelion robots. These have been constructed in such a way that the robots are synchronized with the nervous systems of their own pilots.
The most powerful aspect of the storytelling is in the way in which we, as the viewers, are constantly and continually forced to ponder over the profound philosophical dilemmas that the characters face.
It manages to successfully reconsider our nebulous relationship to technology through the apt metaphor of the Evangelions being a much stronger version of the humans. Many of the themes that operate in the anime are still significant in our lives, even after two decades of its release.
Even in the post-apocalyptic world where humanity is under threat of extinction, many of the characters struggle from problems in their interpersonal relationships and traumatic events in their childhood or past.
They have to deal with taking care of these things as well as finding the courage within them to fight the battle against the formidable “Aliens.” Each character is intricately designed and infused with their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses.
In fact, Hideaki Ano gave meticulous attention to each of his characters, ensuring that they represent parts of his personality. One praiseworthy aspect of the anime is that even the protagonists either end up getting disillusioned with their side or end up questioning the ethical aspects of their actions.
The main protagonist Shinji Ikari is a loving and conflicted personality. His relationship to his father is portrayed as something akin to Freud’s widely popular Oedipus Complex which informs a lot of his actions in the anime.
His reluctance and unwillingness to continue the war are highlighted sympathetically. The enormous burden of responsibility heaped on such a young teenage boy is quite disheartening to watch, as we see him struggling to actualize that.
3. Final Thoughts
The anime Neon Genesis Evangelion has been enshrined in the anime canon for all the right reasons. Its influence and legacy on many popular and aspiring manga artists are undisputed and wide-reaching.
I’d definitely recommend it. However, if you are the type of person who does NOT like watching dystopian or post-apocalyptic anime during this pandemic (which already feels dystopian enough), you may want to keep it for a another time.
5. Info Card
Neon Genesis EvangelionAir Date: October 4, 1995- March 27, 1996Status: CompletedStudio: Gainax and Tatsunoko ProductionNo. of Seasons: 1No. of Episodes: 26
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