5 November 2008

Right the overarching story in Eva. What is it exactly? It's trying to be at least two things at once, or rather, in sequence, although the two ideas aren't totally discrete. The first part is the guys killing robots stuff. And like, fair enough, they've tried to do stuff with that, but it's not very impressive. I quite liked at first where you had some big badass robot destroying whatever it felt like, but then inside you get this little 10 year old nerd screaming in incredible terror and pain the entire time, but they get over that really quickly and after that all the fights are very mundane. All the religious symbolism and everything, that just falls totally flat for me. It's not really an original idea and it doesn't really bring up any interesting ethical dilemmas or exciting plot elements.

The second focus of the show is all the characters' problems. I just found this really, really boring. It is a totally perfunctory and pedestrian review of existential angst. Nothing was at all thought-provoking, the pacing during these elements slows down to a crawl, and for what is supposed to be an 'animation,' the visuals become incredibly lazy and meaningless, and it's hard to keep interested in a show that consists entirely or immobile, pointlessly repeating or just totally unrelated art, whilst listening to this really basic monologue of some guys incredibly prosaic self-doubt that is either in a language you don't understand, therefore requiring you to just sit there reading subtitles without, essentially, audio or visuals to keep you interested, or listening to a pretty wooden dub. The last two episodes of evangelion are genuinely some of the worst pieces of television I have ever watched.

And then you have the characters. Jesus christ. Every single woman in this show is a pathetic little failure of a creature that exists only to gain the recognition of men and cannot function without it. Along with being sexist as hell, it is dumb, ignorant, boring and even offensive. It's not even worth going into the female characters in detail; they really are that shocking.

The rest of the principle cast consists of the three men that the disempowered sluts of the female cast are thrall too. You have Ikari Shinji, who is in some ways the fairly featureless, generic, default likable main character you get in a lot of shows like this, but he is also this bizarre snivelling little crybaby, to the extent that it just seemed unrealistic and totally unrelatable to me. He is an emotional incontinent, completely slave to the same ridiculously irrational emotions as the famale characters. Gender theory wise, he is a feminine character, and as such is almost as poor as the female cast. Then you have his dad, who is just the opposite. A hypermasculine emotional cripple. There is nothing really more to be said about him. Once again, his character provides little justification for his actions. Then you finally have Ryoji Kaji [who's named I had to look up - well done being memorable, arguably only interesting character!]. Who, unlike Ikari Gendo - who has too much screen time, but not enough ideas behind the character - always feel rushed. Whenever he is on screen, it seems like the creators wanted him to be doing more than they gave him time for. His screen time compared to the other two is minimal - although he does get basically all of the worthwhile character development in the show happening when he is around - but the effect he has on other characters is massively out of proportion. Given the focus attended to his scenes that doesn't exist for any of the other characters, it seems bizarre that his story is so rushed, over before it really gets started, especially considering the amount of impact it had on the other characters, and the unbelievable amount of dead time in the show's narrative/animation (like the entire of the last two episodes, almost all of the other pointless monologue sections, and to some extent, large chunks of the robot fights).

So all in all, I do feel I have to give the show some credit for trying to do something with the 'a really big robot does stuff' genre that was at least a little notable or out of step with the rest of the oeuvre. But, just about everything added seems abortive or cursory or rushed. And it's not like the framework of the original genre really leaves them with anything to build on.