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Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 07/01/2000

The time is 2015 A.D., and it has been more than a decade after the Second Impact. The Second Impact is a planet-wide catastrophe that's said to have been caused by a meteorite that hit the earth. Mysterious beings known as Angels are attacking, and they can't be stopped using conventional weapons. Mankind's sole chance for survival lies in a humanoid fighting machine called the Evangelion. But the Eva units can only be piloted by children born exactly nine months after the Second Impact. To top it off, every Angel that appears is much more advanced than its predecessor, and the Evas can't defeat it using the same method twice. It's a question of how long humanity can hold off the Angels... and ultimately, the end of the world.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular anime series in existence, Neon Genesis Evangelion is everything I've heard of and more.
The plot is very powerful and gripping. I couldn't stop watching as soon as I popped the first DVD in the player. In the face of a whole lot of technological impossibilities, the whole scenario exudes a very realistic feel that is almost frightening.
Three 14-year old kids are assigned as the main pilots for the Eva units -- Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, and Asuka Langley Sohryu. Each one has his/her own personal issues to contend with while being burdened with the task of saving humanity. Shinji is plagued by insecurities, torn between his resentment for his father and the desire to gain his approval. Rei does not value her own life. Asuka hides her true self behind a mask of arrogance and bravado. The three complement each other perfectly -- Asuka is the fire to Rei's ice... and Shinji is somewhere in between. Even as they are forced to mature quickly, the fact that they are still kids manage to shine through. There are funny instances that occur as a result, which provides some much needed comic relief to the dark and depressing overall tone.
Characterization is at a very high level. Despite the large cast, there are no ornamental characters. Everyone has a distinct personality and purpose -- not just the Eva pilots. The art and animation are superb, and nothing short of first rate. Every aspect of a scene is drawn and composed perfectly. The English dubbing is basically okay, but I disliked Shinji's and Asuka's voices. Shinji sounds like a total wuss, and I could not stand Asuka's pronounciation of "Eva". The Japanese voices should not be missed! The ultra-versatile Megumi Ogata (also Princess Emeraude in "Magic Knight Rayearth") is the voice of Shinji, the ultra-popular Megumi Hayashibara (also Faye Valentine in "Cowboy Bebop") is Rei, and Sailormoon herself Kotono Mitsuishi plays the pilots' mentor Major Misato Katsuragi.
If there is a flaw anywhere in the series, I'd say it would have to be the last two episodes. For starters they don't do anything except show a lot of flashbacks and text, while trying to get into the whole existential philosophy deal. You don't know what happens to everybody after all that either. Methinks you have to watch the Eva movies "Death and Rebirth" and "End of Evangelion" for any sense of closure. A five-star anime series nonetheless, Evangelion gets you thinking about a lot of what if's... and if you ponder long enough you may just feel a little shiver down your spine.


Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
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Review Title:
Neon Genesis Evangelion (TV)
Alternative Titles:
Shinseiki Evangelion
650 Minutes
General Rating:
5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Action, Drama, Mecha,
Psychological, Sci-Fi
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