Okay, you guys are going to notice pretty soon that I'm procrastinating writing a spotlight review of my favorite all-time anime, Cowboy Bebop. I'm sorry! I can't help feeling the weight of its awesomeness upon me!
I feel similarly about Neon Genesis Evangelion, but to a lesser degree, so I figured I'd go with the Evas first. It's definitely one of my favorite anime series ever! I mean, giant robots piloted by tweens in cool outfits, and a live-in penguin pet? What's not to love? It's also the one I most collect figures for - the character design is just so great! And you're not an anime fan if you haven't seen about a half-million saucy Rei Ayanami posters around, amiright? I find it slightly disturbing, but it's pretty much the most common theme I've seen around.
Seriously, though - what do I love about Evangelion? And I'm talking about the original series - not the follow-ups, which I'm dying to see but haven't yet.
Here are my reasons:
1. The character development. I feel like this is truly an ensemble cast. Although the story focuses on Shinji, the maladjusted, brooding young son of a brilliant scientist who is really the worst as a father, I feel like I got to know not only all of the different pilots, but also the scientists, military officials and other supporting characters. I especially love Major Misato Katsuragi, chief operations officer and consummate professional, but also slob, drunk, romantic disaster and surprisingly caring surrogate big sister.
2. The character design. I love the different styles of the pilots and their suits - and judging by the amount of cosplay - so does everyone else! Not only are they just generally awesome aesthetically speaking, but they really match the personalities and backstories of the pilots.
3. The EVAs. Continuing from #2, I love how the outfit designs fit in with the mecha design for each pilot. The design of the mechas is very cool - not as fluid and flexible as the ones I described from Eureka Seven (http://www.vingle.net/posts/598603), but still very cool. I also feel it's one of the mechas with the best backstory and a complex role in the narrative. It is great how they connect not only with the pilots, but also mysteriously with the "Angels" they are fighting (which aren't in any way like the angels you are thinking of).
4. The mysteries. Evangelion really does a good job with keeping mysteries going in several different storylines simultenously. It might make it seem like the most frustrating experience ever, but really they balance it out by gradually revealing sometimes astonishing secrets at a pace that still keeps you wondering.
5. The relationships. There are some pretty messed up, fraught relationships in this series, but they are all extremely well developed and emotionally complex. Fathers and sons. Childhood friends. Friends who have dated the same guy. Former lovers still in love who can't overcome their tragic past. Awkward friendships with the opposite sex. Frenemies. It's all there!
6. An adorable penguin pet. Every scene with this penguin is great. Who doesn't want a penguin coming out of their shower sporting a towel around its neck? Seriously, though, this series gets very heavy most of the time - but fortunately the humorous parts are VERY FUNNY.
Which leads me to what I don't love about Evangelion:
The end. Somewhere along the way, near the end, the funny fades away. Everything is heavy, everything is mysterious, and the more that is revealed the more complex it gets and the less sense it makes. OF COURSE it's still worth watching the series, but don't expect to come away with a feeling of satisfaction. The final episode is infamously crazy, like the writers just went off the deep end (or took a really bad batch of hallucinogenic drugs). They even attempted to release an alternate ending, called "The End of Evangelion," which I only found slightly helpful.
That said, Evangelion is so good that I've watched it through several times, including the end, and I will pretty much watch anything they continue to release (although, as I've mentioned, I'm currently behind).
Have any of you watch the newer Evangelions? What do you think? Do they carry over the characters well?