I watched the Evangelion TV series about four years ago. And I was quite underwhelmed. I didn’t like or care about any of the characters. The monster of the week format didn’t help much. And the ending was highly questionable. Plus, I kept trying to make sense of the randomly inserted mythological names and symbols and couldn’t make heads or tails of them. Every time I watched the OP all I could think about was “why is there a tree of life?”. I don’t think the issue was the plot– I loved Rahxephon, which had the same general idea. It was the execution which was terribly lacking.
Which brings us to the movie. When I watched the movie, it seemed like I was watching an entirely different story! I still didn’t like any of the characters – but now I hated them! There was so much more of an emotional impact the way they were portrayed in the movie. When I watched the original series, I remember thinking that Shinji was the character I couldn’t stand the most since he was so indecisive. But the movie’s portrayal of Shinji was so much more sympathetic – he’s really just a kid, abandoned by his father, hated by his classmates and with no positive adult role models whatsoever. How could I begrudge him not wanting to go and get himself killed for the bastards who put him in this situation?
And the character I hated the most in this movie was by far Misato. Shinji was absolutely right that she’s a hypocrite. At least Shinji’s dad has the decency to not even pretend to care about Shinji. But Misato’s alternating pretending to care and sending Shinji to die is the worst. Acting friendly and inviting him to live in her house, then sending him out in a mission to die. And when he does almost die (more or less every time) the way she acts like she didn’t think it would happen and really wants to rescue him is just disgusting. It really seems like she only worries about him and takes care of him because she wants to pretend to herself that she is a good person, but really, she isn’t fooling anyone. The way she talks to Shinji pissed me off as well. First she verbally abuses him for not deciding for himself about piloting. Then she hits him for disobeying her orders. And then when he finally does make up his own mind and decides he doesn’t want to pilot, she gets even angrier. And gives him some story about how everyone at Nerv is willing to die if he fails and the Angel arrives underground. Of course everyone is — wait, then why did no one tell Shinji about this? And why is there a school built above this base? This show just kept making me angrier and angrier about how these “adults” treat children.
I hated all of this show’s characters so I must have hated the movie, right? No, I loved it! A good characterization is one that makes you care about what happens to the characters, whether it’s love or hate, it’s all good with me. The thing which I absolutely can’t stand is characters which the viewer is completely indifferent to – this means that the show is boring. And the movie did show much better in this regard than the series – I don’t remember having much of an opinion about Misato at all in the TV series.
As for the rest of my complaints about the TV show – the monster of the week thing wasn’t an issue anymore since this was a movie. We haven’t seen the ending yet, but I assume it will be better. And they toned down the random mythobabble a lot. They did mention something about the angels eating from the tree of life and the Nerv eating the fruit of wisdom – well, it was knowledge, but a better attempt than before. And Nerv certainly doesn’t have wisdom, and if they do have the knowledge of good and evil — well, they certainly aren’t making good use of it. I might be a bit biased since I already know Nerv’s plan, but the angel’s seem to have a much better grasp on good and evil – they don’t even kill innocent bystanders, unlike certain groups that build schools on battlegrounds. They only gave the second an angel a name this time through – Lillith – which is a good fit since she is a mother figure. Overall a much better attempt at the mythology this time around.
I’m holding off on watching the second movie for a bit longer, but hopefully it will live up to the promise of the first movie.
- Plot / Script – 9 / 10 – Great dialogue.
- Characters – 9 / 10 – Excellent characters which evoke strong responses.
- Production – 9 / 10 – Nice explosions.
- Overall – A-
Voice Actor of the Show Award – Mitsuishi Kotono, for her portrayal Misato Kitsuragi that was believable enough that I could hate the character with a passion.
Recommendations – Rahxephon, Zeta Gundam