This review contains spoilers for Shin Evangelion/Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time.
From the age of six to when I became a reclusive sixteen-year-old, on Tuesdays and Thursdays my aunt used to take me, my sister and my cousins to the swimming pool to do actual physical exercise. I loved swimming but I hated going. I felt like the other kids and teachers there were seeing me in a way I had not agreed to and, as a trans man, I now understand fully that odd fear for my body to be exposed to the judgment and sight of other people I do not trust.
Especially on Tuesdays, as I kept swimming in the chlorine-filled water, I could only focus on what was waiting for me on those nights: the MTV Italia anime slot. It used to run from 9PM to roughly 10.30PM and it usually broadcasted three different anime as their ongoing titles. There, I got accustomed to many popular adult-oriented anime that avoided the heavily censored cut of mainstream TV, such as Inuyasha (2001-7), Gensōmaden Saiyūki (2002-2003), Wolf’s Rain (2004-2006), Trigun (2000), Serial Experiments Lain (2000-2003) and Last Exile (2004) to just cite a few titles. [In brackets: the Italian release date]
There, at eleven, I had my first encounter with Neon Genesis Evangelion and its second re-run on the 10pm slot—of course, my age heavily influenced the opinion I had at the time, without having any criticism or, well, understanding of what I was indeed watching. My gut reaction was of awe.
My little body was shaken at the sight of unit 01 going berserk. Shaken, not by a scared chill but a spark of love for how crude, feral, visceral the scene felt. The show’s eternal summer, the scorching heat it conveyed, almost emanating from the VCR screen. Contrasts, immense blue, deep orange, drums, silence, cicadas, still-life, the sea. Something was unfolding in front of my eyes and I was so desperately attracted to it that these images were permanently fixed into my mind like a carving, a memento.
However, the one part I loved was the following released movie, End of Evangelion. MTV Italia had never broadcasted it at the time, so I had to look for the Italian dub myself on the internet. For some reason, our adaptations from Japanese always suffered from a certain level of intricacy that made anime (and manga, sometimes) echo as more obscure and mysterious than what they actually were. The translators at the time were probably still very naïve to the language and how it could work hand in hand with Italian, so my guess is to see it as a product of ignorance and inexperience. This point was relevant to my specific experience with anime at the time.
End of Evangelion was the correct ending to me, even though I never had a conflict with the show’s ending, to begin with: it was just a deterioration of the characters, like someone relapsing. Watching it had me shaken, again, with the same feelings of my childhood with the additional baggage of a confused, isolated, lonely adolescent trans boy in fieri. My enjoyment came from the deranged actions of its characters and that, in the end, it did not matter— nothing mattered. It was all about people trying to find one another and I was failing at that.
I also found a lot of faults in it, this time looking at animation, script and all that jazz. My final critique could be summed up with “the whole show could have been told in just twelve episodes, saving the crew a lot of stress, money and pacing issues.”
In 2020, at the age of twenty-eight, Netflix suggested
End of Evangelion to
me once again and, once again, I ate it up. I still think that is the best
piece of work GAINAX
Maybe I wanted to keep it that way for as long as I had an interest in anime, never acknowledging their existence and living in blissful ignorance. Still, I feel like I can and should chime in with a different point of view on what this product became a shadow of itself, engorged into its own image, the one of a beautiful, impractical, meaningless husk of a man’s ego.
“I want my burning sorrow to be known.”
(Translation by Paul McCarthy)
|“I thought it’d be best to try and re-make EVA myself.”|
In 1995, Anno brought the concept of Neon Genesis Evangelion to life as he was battling with depression
In the recently NHK broadcasted documentary on the production of the EVA Rebuilds, Farewell, all Evangelion ~1214 Days of Anno Hideaki~ (I watched the extended release of April 29th, 2021), we are given a recollection of a detail-oriented man, whose work comes before his own life at the cost of personal hygiene, human relationships and general wellbeing. His wife compares him to an animal that is not acquainted to humans, needing to be taken care of.
|“Egoism is the soul of animation”|
|“Interviewer: Do you have any emotional attachment (to EVA/EVA being over)?|
|I saw this in a better movie!|
|This bishōnen was probably many queer kids’ first gay character they saw on screen.|
|Can you spot Asuka? Because I did not on my first viewing.|
|From TV Tropes page: Rey Ayanami Expy|
|“I’m happy to have met you.”|
Beta readers:- Cissy
- Anime Room: general collection of old Neon Genesis Evangelion interviews 👺
- GENESIS 0:0 IN THE BEGINNING, Anno Hideaki Interview, 1995 👺
- NEWTYPE issue of January 1995: Creator talk with Anno Hideaki and Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, 1995 👺
- NEWTYPE, issue of June 1996: Special interview with Neon Genesis Evangelion creator, AnnoHideaki, 1996 👺
- NEWTYPE issue of November 1996: EVA special talk with Anno Hideaki and Ueno Toshiya, 1996 👺
- Animage: Hideaki Anno and Yuko Miyamura: Say 'Anta Baka' To Me!, 1996 👺
- Meeting & Interview with Anno Hideaki, 2000 👺
- Moe: Exploring Virtual Potential in Post-Millennial Japan by Patrick W. Galbraith, 2009
- Animekritik: Imperialism in Gunbuster, 2011
- My Navi: Tsurumaki Kazuya interview on 10 years since FLCL, 2010 👺
- Asahi Shinbun “be”: Anno Hideaki interview, 2012 👺
- Anno commentary on directing Shin Godzilla, 2015 / Huffington Post JP article 👺
- NetLab: On Anno's style, Shin Evangelion, Shin Ultraman and Shin Godzilla, 2021 👺
- Neon Genesis Evangelion favourite character ranking, 2021 👺
- Commentary of Shin Evangelion by Anno shocks fans, 2021 👺
- Oshii Mamoru's comments on Shin Evangelion, 2021 👺 / Anime News Network
- Shin Evangelion Review by Wakari_te, 2021 👺