Rewatching Neon Genesis Evangelion: An Adaptation of One’s Memories

Neon Genesis Evangelion animeWhen you meet acquaintances or family members you haven’t for a long while, it’s possible you’ll pick things up right from where you left off as if nothing had changed. But what if one of the parties involved “changed”, as far as they are concerned? They might get annoyed or even angry that the other side acts as if they know them, presumes to know them, when they merely know their past self?

What does all of that have to do with Neon Genesis Evangelion? Well, I’ve first watched NGE about 15 years ago, and my last rewatch had been either 8 or 12 years back. I happened to rewatch it during January, and it was quite unlike my experiences rewatching or rereading media in general, which usually subscribe to the first mode of meeting old acquaintances again – you get what you expect, you revisit all those fond memories, and if anything, those feelings are enhanced as you prepare yourself emotionally for these moments’ impact.

(This is a Things I Like post, it’s not a review, but more a discussion of the show and of ideas that have risen in my mind as I’ve watched it. There will be show-experience transforming spoilers.)

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M3 The Dark Metal / M3 Sono Kuroki Hagane Episode 1 – Better Die than Face the Past

(Note: Episodic notes are still mostly to be found on the Episodics Notes’ page, but up to a couple every week will have their write-up appear on the main page, when I think they warrant it. For those who don’t know, I take the notes as I watch the episode, and merely re-order them afterwards.)

A bunch of kids, mecha, dark. Mari Okada at the helm. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a show about its characters, about their psychological make-up. The fights are an extra on top. Mari Okada is good at characters and relationships, even if she’s not the best at “convoluted plots”. I hope she focuses on her strengths. Her other show this season, the “Madoka Mari Okada” (Selector Infected WIXOSS) is less than impressing me currently.

Thoughts and Notes:

1) The Orderly World:

M3 The Dark Metal / M3 Sono Kuroki Hagane Episode 1 Notes anime - Kasumi Raika and the stupid teacher

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12 Days of Anime #9 – Being Trolled By Evangelion 3.33

This year I had watched the Rebuild of Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo film, which I’ve been eagerly awaiting since the 2nd film ended. Well, you know what they say about expectations and how the greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment (or the enjoyment, as the hype carries us through the work without being able to treat it critically)? I think in this case how disappointed I was couldn’t be understated – my editorial-review of the movie is titled “You Can Not Redo – How I Wish You Could” ;_;

Rebuild of Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo

Jumping the Shark!

I mean, I should have probably seen it coming, this is Hideaki Anno we’re talking about. Last time he had a nervous breakdown/depression as his excuse though, this time there’s no doubt that this was intentional. And yes, I actively think he trolled us, and that might have impacted the harsh grade I’ve given the film.

You see, I’ve talked before of how movie tie-ins to series, not just continuations, but even adaptations often are made with the assumption you’ve actually watched the series in question – the characters lack depth, the interactions aren’t convincing enough – in short, they sort of assume you’ve watched the actual scenes and that the movie’s holes are “filled” with memories we have of the extended and missing scenes. Hideaki Anno played off of that. Big spoilers after the jump.

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So You Want to Watch Anime? Part 1 – 10 Shows to Start You Off

People often ask me what they should watch if they want to get into anime or have watched only a couple of shows. Obviously, it pays to ask people what genres they like, as anime is just another sub-medium of television and TV, movie and book preferences are all valid. Some of the shows listed here are often noted to be aimed at people who are very knowledgeable about anime, but they are on the list because they stand on their own, and none of us are rookie media consumers.

This list is designed in part to present you with a variety of genres, so you could watch these shows in order to have a better place to start from when looking for additional material – based on what you like and don’t like. Future posts will cover movies, and some more shows based on genres and themes. All posts will be organized on this page.

Note, unless noted otherwise, episode length is roughly 23-24 minutes, with 3-4 minutes per episode spent on opening song (OP), ending song (ED) and next episode’s preview.

1) Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995):

Neon Genesis Evangelion - Introduction to Anime - Psychological mystery mecha classic

One of the most influential shows of the last two decades on anime, referenced in many other shows, from small cameos to scene composition, to whole motifs being taken wholecloth, aside from the fact Shinji, Asuka and Rei are the archetypes on which countless other main characters had been modeled. That of course isn’t sufficient, but it’s a well told story about a group of teenagers who must risk their lives, relationships and psyche in order to defend humanity.

The show begins slowly, but as you go, the emotional hits and the mysteries keep ramping up, until you find yourself with nary a time to take a breather in between. This show had been considered a reconstruction of the mecha genre when it aired, but the story stands well on its own, and with how influential it is I think holding off on watching this show can only be detrimental.

The “twist to mystery” which also often includes references to the supernatural and real-world mythologies at times had truly been ever-present in longer shows after NGE. Its effect on the anime world can’t be overstated.

Genres and Notes: Action, mecha, psychological, teenagers, mystery. Give it at least until episode 8, where it truly shows you what it has to offer. Watch the main series and then watch End of Evangelion, an alternate ending to the last two episodes. Skip Death and Rebirth as it is entirely superfluous. “Rebuild of Evangelion”  (Evangelion 1.11, 2.22, etc.) are an alternate retelling via movies, and aren’t as highly recommended. I don’t suggest this show under the age of 15 – blood, violence, psychological wounds, etc. Often referred to as “NGE” or “Evangelion”.
Episode Count: 26 episodes. End of Evangelion is 90 minutes long.
Buy on Amazon: The complete series. End of Evangelion had unfortunately been out of print for about a decade now.

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Blog Overview Since Revival and The Months Ahead

Today marks exactly three months since I’ve awakened my blog from its multi-year slumber. I’ve managed to hold to the schedule and release one post every week. Summer is upon us, and I have some more free time, and I also want to get posts out while still fresh. This post will detail the posts I’ve made thus far since the blog’s revival, and the posting schedule for the upcoming months. Hope you’ll stay with me! :)

Synopsis: I will list every single blog-post since the blog’s revival on April 1st, giving a short description of each. The next blog-post will go live next week on Monday, the 8th. I will either post two blog posts a week (Monday-Tuesday and Friday-Saturday) or 3 blog posts per 2 weeks (a blog every 5 days) for the next two months.

I will spend the next week to write more blog-posts, I find it harder to write a post properly 4-6 months after watching the show. I will also try to comment on some blogs I’ve been meaning to comment on for the past couple of months but hadn’t really found the time. Hope you guys enjoy the posts and keep reading my updates :)

Also, feel free to comment on this post with thoughts in general, well-wishes, idle banter, or what have you.

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Evangelion 3.33 – You Can (Not) Redo – Oh, How I Wish You Could!

This post will contain massive spoilers about this movie. Long story short? Extremely disappointing.

I’ve watched the Neon Genesis Evangelion series many times, I own it as a set of individual DVDs before they released a smaller box for all of them together. As such, I was very excited with the ending of the 2nd Rebuild of Evangelion movie, it was throwing us both off-course in what was happening, and  when it was happening. I expected we’ll get new content, unlike what we’ve seen in the anime – so after we went through 1.9 movies’ worth of old content we’d finally get new content!

Well, there’s an idiom where I live that says that as big your expectations, the disappointment are just as big, and it couldn’t be more true than what I think of this movie. Again, massive spoilers ahead. This won’t be a review, more my thoughts on the movie and thoughts arising after watching the movie. If you look for an actual review, you should look elsewhere – the goal here is to lead to an interesting conversation.

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Mecha Anime or Anime With Mecha? China Mieville to the Rescue!

ZGMF-X10A Freedom Gundam

This blog post will discuss, or at least raise the question, of what exactly is a Mecha Anime, and raise the argument that most anime where mecha appear are in fact not Mecha Anime.

China Miéville, for those who don’t know him is a British sci-fi/fantasy author whom I am quite fond of, and who is to put it succinctly, an “Urban Author”.  China Mieville wrote King Rat, which also deals with London, and the city’s feel, and environs. China Mieville writes in a word called Bas-Lag, the first book deals with the city of New Crobuzon, and the politics of the city, its ethnic (of races) make-up, etc.
His book from 2009 (which I am dearly waiting to acquire) is titled The City & The City, and I assume you can see how cities stand at its core.

The point I am trying to make is, that while in most stories we have cities, in most of them these cities are a backdrop to the action, and don’t figure heavily into the narrative. They are not major characters in the story, and far too often are not even truly supporting characters.
Not so in Mieville’s books, where the city is often as important a character as any of the protagonists and antagonists who make up the story, and while it often doesn’t show itself in any concentrated manner, it appears in small ways interweaved with anything that occurs.

So, this is the point from which I wish to discuss mecha in anime. Just like in many books and series, the city is just a backdrop, or even glossed over completely, in many anime series, including ones that bill themselves as “mecha anime”, the mecha are not a core part of the story, and even if they supposedly are, it’s not often in the “right” way.

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