Starshine: Welcome to another session of Objection! I’m Starshine!
Kaushik: And I’m Kaushik!
Starshine: And today we’re going to be talk about one of the most infamous anime series of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Kaushik, you wanna start us off with how you feel about this show?
Kaushik:Well, I wasn’t the biggest fan when I first watched it and still am not today. Just to note I’ve only seen the original TV series and the rebuild moves, not the End of Evangelion movies (though I kinda know what happens in that)
Starshine: I’ve seen the original series, End of Eva, and two of the rebuild movies, as well as read the manga Angelic Days. I’m kind of an Evangelion junkie
Kaushik: Oh, I guess I’ve read the doujinshi Re-Take, which is probably the best thing I’ve seen come out of the universe. I know that doesn’t reeeally count as one of the manga, but it’s popular with a lot of people.
Starshine: It is indeed! So let’s see…any particular reason why you’re not a big fan of the series itself?
Kaushik: I wasn’t a big fan of the plot. I thought it felt a little heavy-handed with its metaphors and overall wasn’t that grasping. I also wasn’t really a big fan of the characters other than Shinji and Asuka … And Mari, but I don’t think she counts.
Starshine: Yeah, I think for the sake of the argument, we’ll leave Mari out. But you liked Shinji? Really?
Kaushik: It’s not that I liked him as much as… He felt kind of sympathetic? I mean, throwing away all those tired anime cliches, he kinda felt like… The type of person I’d be in that situation. A little bit, anyways. Particularly all of his hesitation and insecurity.
Starshine: I can understand the realism to Shinji but dear God did I want to strangle him every so often. Like, we do we have to rest of the fate of the world on this twerp? I mean I’ve been depressed like that, where everything is a down-spiral void to nothing but it doesn’t make you a coward so much as completely numb so I was watching this series, utterly confused what they were going for in his character.
Kaushik: I think it’s a little hard to relate, considering the kind of fantastical situation he finds himself in, but I understand your frustration. Not everyone is perfect though. I wanted to strangle Asuka a couple of times too…though I guess I got my wish there..
Starshine: Haha! Good one. But yeah, Asuka is also annoying but her trauma is different from Shinji’s. Her mother killed herself and the little doll was supposed to be “Asuka” Yeah, if your mother “killed” you too you might be a little disturbed and I cut her some slack after the whole “soul rape” thing that happened in the later half. That was just beyond uncomfortable
Kaushik:Yeah she didn’t have a pleasant experience for sure. That’s why she has the personality she does. Putting up a front like that is one way to deal with her issues
Starshine: Mhmmm and the fact that the creator was able to write such realistic, disturbed character is admirable but I’d like to go back and ask what is was about the plot that you didn’t like, if there is any specific thing
Kaushik: Well, to start… I think the pacing of the TV series was a little off. While it kind of took off near the end, the beginning and middle were kind of slowfast, slowfast I think that’s a big part of why it was a little difficult for me to stay interested to the end. Other than that, I wasn’t a big fan of some of the things done with Rei’s character at the end; some of it felt like it came out of nowhere
Starshine: I think a lot of that comes from the fact that the creator got disgusted with otaku culture and went and changed a whole bunch of shit but you know what? I think it was better after the change than before, it made the show special.
Kaushik: I don’t think it was worse or better, but I think it wasn’t consistent and that was part of my problem with it.
Starshine: I do understand that and I wonder how people watching it when it first aired felt cause it got really really dark. And honestly I wish there had been no Rei, she serves very little purpose.
Kaushik: Haha yeah she was my least favorite character. She isn’t that important, and even worse she’s not interesting
Starshine: She was like some weird, sometimes had emotions, clone-doll for fanservice and they wrote her a purpose after.
Starshine: I would have liked to see her dealing with the fact that she was a clone. How do you stand on Ka(w)oru?
Kaushik: I guess I didn’t have any notable problems with him. To be honest I kind of forgot about him
Starshine: He was my favorite, to be honest, and the cruelest of all the angels. His addition to the cast is my favorite. He’s all “Shinji I love and care for you…and now you have to kill the only person who really gave two shits about your existence with your own bare hands.” If I were Shinji, I’d be like “Fuck it, touch Lilith, we’re good”
Kaushik: I think if you were Shinji the series would’ve been a good deal shorter, for better or for worse.
Starshine: ….this is true. I would have just left and I think the hardest thing to understand is WHY Gendo wants to reach human instrumentality – what is his motive?
Kaushik: Yeah some of the motivations were a little unclear to me when I watched it. I’m trying to chalk that up to me being young and not quite understanding the series fully back then instead of something negative for the series
Starshine: …yeah I’m not sure if that is it though, cause the whole thing of human instrumentality is the next evolution in man. But instead of being a form in which it’s easier to survive, everyone turns into one giant ocean of consciousness. How is that better?
Kaushik: I guess that’s open to interpretation? Maybe he saw the next step of man as a form transcending petty survival instincts and instead just totally one with each other.
Starshine: …true but it’s still a little weird that a man would want people to merge together like that when we’re very individualized
Kaushik: It is a little weird, but I suppose his ideals must have been more important to him than thatand he wanted to push them onto the rest of humanity.
Starshine: True and thinking about it, the series left more questions than answers.
Kaushik: Well, I think it was meant to be kind of deep like that. And I mean, that’s part of why people still talk about it today, like us.
Starshine: Ah-ha Evangelion. I see what you did there. So, even with all the good you point out in it, you’re still not a fan?
Kaushik: Yeah I feel like we switched sides a bit, but no, I didn’t really enjoy the TV series that much. There are certain things I’ll admit it did well and the EVA units are always part of my roster when I play a game with them in it, but at the end of the day it definitely was not my favorite anime. Not in general or in genre.
Starshine: I think I really enjoy this anime because even though some elements are less than stellar and a lot of things go unanswered the aestehtics of the show, the dialogue, the actions and characters all work in sync to really push it beyond expectations.Its a dark show about trauma and depression and fate and having to fight against things bigger than you and the day to day conflicts we all face dealing with out people. I can relate to Shinji feeling like a ghost, like no one cares about him cause I have days like that. I can relate to Asuka’s wall cause we all have one. And even if the individual characters are obnoxious and the plot has holes, it tells a compelling story with what it does have.
Kaushik: While I think Shinji and Asuka are interesting insofar as their characters are concerned, I don’t think the story as a whole was all that compelling. I think there were some neat philosophical ideas thrown in there, but… Well, I’ve never been big on philosophy, I guess.
Starshine: It’s hard to be when it’s so confusing.
Kaushik: Yeah, haha.
Starshine: But at least we agree that Rei is a waste of ink and voice acting
Kaushik: Haha. Well, she’s not a total waste. At least in some of the videogames I play. But insofar as the anime is concerned, yeah I could deal without her.
Starshine: Mhmmm! That’s it for this week’s Objection! Come back next week to see two more members of our staff duke it out!