Consider every joke made.

I've never liked Neon Genesis Evangelion. This isn't to say that I hated it or anything, but more that it failed to fully elicit any sort of severe response in any direction. I didn't hate it, and I didn't like it; I was just not interested in it.

Which, I suppose, is sort of the problem, and worse than active dislike of the series: Evangelion failed to interest me, and so the only emotion I drew from the series itself (distinct from the emotions I have towards the fandom, which ranges from polite attention to eye-twitching irritation) was boredom. The series failed to engage me at any level. I've been classified as a hater of the series because of this, which I think kind of misses the issue: I don't have the passion to hate Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's just there. You may as well ask me what I think about the cultivation of yams.

From conversations with people who are fans of the series, it appears that a common thread (but by no means universal) is the ability to identify with the main characters, most often Shinji. (Occasionally Asuka is held to be the identifiable character; sometimes Misato.) They see themselves in Shinji, and they can empathize heavily with what he is going through.

Or maybe not, and I am completely misunderstanding the situation. I can kind of see it academically, but I cannot quite grok it to the fullness of understanding. This is because the three main characters, Shinji, Asuka, and Rei, are thoroughly unidentifiable for me. About the closest character I can empathize with is Rei, since she's quiet and unassuming, but I hear that she's not supposed to be empathizable, so I apparently have been suckered in or something.

I'm pretty sure I was never like Shinji or Asuka. This is not a boast, since it's entirely likely that I was in some way worse. But I didn't have parental issues, and I grew up in a happy home environment. There is just nothing connecting me with people who went through what Shinji and co. did. It's kind of like a cultural gap, except not exactly cultural, but more circumstantial. I recognize that it is a valid personality type; it's just not mine.

I think the character who would have the same sort of reactions I would might be Maya Ibuki. Her actions seem kind of natural, at least.

And since I can't empathize with the main characters, my other option was to watch them from the outside, seeing how they act from the viewpoint of an invisible observer. Considering my usual tastes in comedy and lighthearted fun, however, Evangelion held no joy for me.

I can understand that it is significant to the culture of anime, as well as its enormous influence. But I just don't like it. This has no bearing on its quality or its importance; just my personal tastes.

I should probably be spending more time on this topic, but not only do I not have the time or inclination to do so, I also don't think there is anything more that has not already been said by many others far more eloquent than I am.

7 Responses to “Apathy For The Angels”
  1. Travis says:

    I like filtering everything through Haruhi as well, but what the heck is going on in the bottom left corner picture? If Itsuki is harassing someone, shouldn't it be Kyon, not Haruhi? (It doesn't really look like either.)

  2. HikariNiwa says:

    While I was also brought up in a happy environment, with no parental issues besides the minor beatings for low grades when I was a child, I happened to find the show very engaging. suppose it's a matter of predefined tastes.

    The ones on the bottom right are Itsuko and Kyonko.

  3. latetotheparty says:

    Um, I've been reading reading your blog long enough to remember that you've made it pretty clear several times what you feel about Evangelion. You don't like overly dark and overly serious shows, you feel the plot is forced to torture the characters, Angelic Days is more your taste, etc. Hell, the creators were surprised anyone would like show filled with it's kind of characters. If you won't be pressured into liking a show by its popularity, you shouldn't feel compelled to "justify" that every few months either.

  4. OP not cool says:

    OP just wants attention. Hey look at me, i'm cool, cause i don't like something that everyone else likes. I don't like the show, it didn't engage me and what not, so here I am tapping away on my keyboard my thoughts about how it didn't engage me and I want everyone else to know how cool I really am.

    When the cartoon first aired in Japan, believe it or not it really wasn't popular at all.
    It was not received well, but that's not entirely surprising since it was also aired during an early time slot for younger audiences. This sort of cartoon is obviously aimed for older audiences.

    Not everyone likes evangelion. Alot of people do and alot of people don't.
    You don't require a character to identify with to engage in any show. In many situations, you view the text vicariously rather than through the perspective of a single character. For someone who prefers the light hearted comedy over stronger plot lined series, you sure talk alot about sharing an intimate connection with the main characters.
    And yes, identifying with a character is something intimate.

  5. DKellis says:

    Actually I posted this because I didn't have anything else to post about. This blog is, and has always been, unplanned and unprepared.

    I don't mind dissent for my posts, but I dislike people trying to attribute motives to me that were never there.

  6. Sabrina says:

    I enjoyed reading this, i am a big fan of evangelion and i still enjoyed reading this. I see your points and how the main character could be hard for some people to connect to. For me and given my past i was able to connect with asuka, but i can see what your saying as i fail to understand how anyone could connect with shinji.

    The big thing for me that made me like it though was the relationship it shares with the occult side of Christianity, there is a lot of symbolism and that was why i started to watch the show. The 'angels' all share names with 'real' angels and those angels relate to what the ones in the show do. There is also an interesting tie in to the creation of man. For me all these things are of great interest and made me watch.

    I am not trying to make you change your mind by any means, i just wanted to share why i like the show.