I read this article on Slashdot yesterday about ten years of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Vince and I both figured it must be the ten year anniversary of the series ending on TV or something. (It wasn't, but whatever.) What luck, I had just got my Platinum Collection and had watched the first three discs of it. To celebrate, I decided to watch the last two discs in one shot -- the last eleven episodes, all at once. It made my head hurt. Why do I pilot the Eva?
I'm not much of an anime fan. When I was a kid I enjoyed the animation and the action, but not as much as some. I watched Eva in second year; at the beginning I think I was a little drunk and so I dismissively predicted everything that would happen in the show right off the get go. I really had to go to the bathroom, but I decided to stick around for the first few episodes anyway. I ended up holding it in for two hours because I just couldn't tear myself away. Every single one of my predictions was wrong.
After watching Eva, I tried in vain to find something else that would strike my fancy in the same way. Being told by all of my anime-fan friends that Eva was overrated, I watched a few other movies and series that they recommended as being very deep and meaningful, but found nothing that I really liked. I guess I'm just an Eva fan, not an anime fan. But I am a huge Eva fan. It's big, messy, and flawed, sure, but the fact that the story and characters end up in an unfinished soup of confusion and psychological anguish adds a stark honesty to it all: after all, in real life things don't tie up neatly and people don't change. Maybe it only ended up the way it did because the director was trying to do too much and ran out of money, but in the end the series is still something that I don't see enough of in the media: one man's comment on the human condition.
Over the last week then I've been watching it a few episodes at a time. As I had long suspected, much of what I had missed the first times I watched it was made up for by my new monitor, which is actually clear enough for me to see everything, and by improved translations in the subtitles. Maybe because I've watched it so many times, or maybe because I've read the popular interpretations of what was happening, things were finally making sense.
Except the last two episodes.
Why do I pilot the Eva?