tek's rating: ½

Neon Genesis Evangelion, TV Tokyo
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This originally aired in Japan in 1995-96, but I must have first seen it when it aired on adult swim in 2005. It's a very well-known and popular anime, so I had been looking forward to seeing it for years before I ever got the chance, but I'm afraid as it turns out, I don't like it as much as I'd hoped. It's not bad, and it'd probably be better if I had a chance to see it subbed instead of dubbed, I dunno.

It's set in 2015, and apparently 15 years earlier some aliens called Angels had attacked Earth, and now they're attacking again. Conventional weapons can't stop them, but there are these giant robots called Evangelions (or Evas) which have been developed by Gendo Ikari, Commander of an organization called NERV, and they're the last hope for mankind or whatever. (Actually Gendo is one of two commanders, though he tends to act more... commanding... than the other, Kouzou Fuyutsuki.)

Gendo recruited his 14-year-old son Shinji into NERV (which is headquartered in Tokyo-3), to pilot Eva Unit-01, to fight the Angels. Shinji isn't very happy, really. His mother died years ago, and he's hardly ever seen or heard from his father until now, who doesn't seem to care about him. Shinji ends up living with Misato Katsuragi, the Head of Operations for NERV. She's a very competent officer, but Shinji doesn't always get along well with her, because at home she's kind of a slob, drinks too much, and isn't very serious. There's also a sort of odd, genetically engineered penguin named Pen Pen who lives with Misato.

There are two other Eva pilots, girls Shinji's age named Rei Ayanami, who pilots Unit-00, and Asuka Langley Sohryu, who pilots Unit-02. Rei is very quiet and reserved, far moreso even than Shinji. She seems to have a better relationship with Gendo than Shinji does, and he sort of resents this. Asuka is rather a grouch. She doesn't get along well with anyone, it seems to me, though she does have a crush on a NERV special inspector named Kaji Ryoji (who, btw, has a past with Misato). Asuka is very cocky and competetive, and doesn't think much of Shinji. There's also a scientist named Ritsuko Akagi, who works for NERV, and doesn't seem to be interested in much other than her work.

Anyway, there are various secrets held by various people in NERV, especially by Gendo Ikari, who has his own agenda, and is often at odds with the SEELE committee to which he has to report. In the course of the series, we'll learn various things about the past, and a lot of weird secrets will be revealed. Of course there are also plenty of battles between the Evas and like 16 different Angels, which tend to vary greatly in type. However, it's not really about the battles. The whole series is pretty much a psychological study, primarily of Shinji. That, and a lot of plot threads I wasn't really able to follow very well. Not sure what else to say, except I wasn't entirely satisfied with the end. It didn't really seem like an end to me, but that may be largely because of the trouble I had following the plot. Of course, there are some movies I should see someday, maybe that'd help give me a sense of closure on the series....


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