Weekly Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Plot / Story

It’s been nearly fifteen years after the catastrophe that is known as second impact. Humanity is still recovering from that dreadful day in history. However, with a new threat on the horizon, humanity is forced to prepare for a force that has been predicted by sacred documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They have new technology, they have defenses, but will it be enough? I military organization known as NERV does not think so, they have created a new technology that they hope can fight off the inevitable. Evangelions. Eva for short, these robots are more than just that, they are living beings.

We start off our show with the military attacking an unknown monster, one that has never been seen before. They quickly come to the conclusion that this is, in fact, one of the monsters that the Dead Sea Scrolls predicted would attack. These monsters are known as angels, and the first one we meet is Sachiel. All modern firepower proves ineffective against the angel, in fact, they can’t even touch it. Angels have a power known as an AT field, the eva series also have this ability, it allows the caster to be able to protect itself in a seemingly invincible way.

Shinji Ikari is a young boy, he is in the city during this attack. He gets a first hand look at the destructive power of the angel. He is here because he has been summoned by his father, the same one that abandoned him, to come to NERV HQ. Once he gets there, with the help of his caretaker, Misato, he learns why his father suddenly finds him valuable. Shinji, aka the third child, is meant to pilot one of the eva series, specifically Evangelion Unit 01. However, Shinji is against fighting and killing, so at first he refuses. It is only after he sees that the first child, Rei, is willing to pilot the eva besides being critically injured, that he agrees. It is also at this moment that we learn a little bit about the eva, after a hard hit to the HQ, debris nearly crushes Shinji, but he is saved by the eva. The eva moved its arm to shield Shinji from the debris, despite having no pilot inside of it.

The fight goes about how you would expect with a pilot with no experience and no desire to fight back. Evangelion Unit 01 gets critically injured in the fight, causing Shinji to pass out. A unique aspect of piloting one of these machines is you feel what it feels. This is due to the pilot having to synchronize his or her thoughts with the eva in order to get it to move. After Shinji passes out, something weird and disturbing happens. Unit 01 goes “beserk.” This is the term that NERV HQ has given this behavior since they have no idea how or why it happens. Unit 01, using a rather beastly fighting style, starts fighting back against the angel with no help from the pilot. The eva is completely fighting on its own, which brings a smile to Gendo’s (Shinji’s father) face.

After the angel is defeated, or self destructs rather, we get to see a blurry image of unit 01 walking back toward the base. We can’t make out any details, but all personnel inside NERV HQ are horrified by what they see. The scene is capped off by Misato stating that this must be the eva’s “true form.”

The series escalates from here, angels will continue to attack one after the other, thus the basis for our story. Shinji is joined by two supporting characters: Asuka and Rei. Rei is the pilot of Eva Unit 00, the prototype. Asuka is the pilot of Eva Unit 02 which, as she puts it, is the “final” model and is thus “perfect.” The story involves a lot of dramatic moments, action sequences that are pretty awesome, and quite a bit of emotional parts as well. The smothered romantic relationship between Asuka and Shinji will offer you little comfort as the series gets more and more intense. In the end, be prepared from some messed up scenes and sequences of events.

Sequels

This is kind of a tough one to explain about sequels. The only official sequel to the series are a couple of movies that take place immediately after the end of the series. These movies are, quite frankly, an hour or so of emotions and crying. The dramatic end of the series is one that will test your mentality, not to mention make you feel terrible for our characters. There is also a rebuild that is currently being worked on, the first two movies are available in English and Japanese, the third just being released in Japan. There is some debate over where these are sequels, alternate timeline perhaps, or rebuilds. The series loosely follows the original story, with the mind blowing exception of the third movie, which still has fans everywhere going bonkers. The rebuild does, however, offer a fresh new perspective on the series as well as updated and beautiful animation.

Overall

As a whole, this has been one of my favorite anime series for quite some time now. I’m glad I got to revisit this old favorite. The series is more dramatic and action than it is comedy and romance, so be warned. Not to mention you will just be utterly shocked with the amount of crap that the characters have to go through. It’s a great series with a great following, especially when it comes to fanfiction. Check it out, it’s definitely worth a watch.