Posts Tagged “evangelion”

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.

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Uno dos tRei.

I've not been keeping track of the zillions of spinoffs and merchandise coming out of the Evangelion franchise, especially since it appears to be approaching Transformers levels. The original series failed to entertain me, and I include End of Evangelion in this, but my senses for the franchise have been kept sharp by stuff like the Angelic Days manga, which I did enjoy. Of course, I only bought the first four volumes and lost all interest after the announcement that the next volume was going to be about Yui and Gendou, so that may say something about me.

Zyl's post reminded me of the existence of Petite Eva (or Puchi Eva, depending on how you want to romanize it). I've never been a fan or anti-fan of Evangelion, and so someone else will have to take up the rallying cry of the masses ("MILK IT! MILK IT FOR ALL IT'S WORTH, YOU BASTARDS!"), but chibi-sized fun is always welcome. The first nine shorts are more or less single-joke gags, the sort that could fit into a four-koma or two each, but the rest are rather more surreal, and would not have taken place in any world resembling ours even if the characters were de-chibified. Post-Impact reconstruction as imagined by (Azumanga Daioh's) Osaka, perhaps.

Weird stuff happens. Eva-01 is now a delinquent (with a heart of LCL gold) of some sort, Gendou wields the power of his desk, a big fuzzy thing maintains order by turning misdemeanour offenders into turd piles… whatever.

What interests me most is the gathering of the three Ayanami sisters. We have the standard Rei, although we may be stretching the definition of "standard" a bit far here, since she acts more like an accused Rei clone, Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Not only that, but the comedy version thereof, from the Haruhi-chan minis. Rei the First here seems more like a normal, quiet girl with superhuman speed and reflexes, rather than the uncanny valley girl she is apparently supposed to be.

At a glance, this seems to support the theory that the original love for Rei from the fanbase (well, some parts of it, to be more precise) was because the fans could insert their own interpretations of Rei's personality, when the original was supposed to have none, or at least nothing remotely human. It's a bit more subtle than the screaming peanut gallery would claim, though; it's not that Rei is assigned with any personality that the stereotypical fanboy would want to foist onto her (like tsundeRei). Instead, we have, through other forms of media, developed a kind of idea about the sort of personality a Quiet Girl would have, and applied that to Rei, regardless of how well it actually fits.

Considering the convenient labelling of every other character in existence into familiar personality types, I think this is not such a specific sin. I suppose the loudness of the complaints are partly because it's easier to assign Yuki Nagato's personality to Rei Ayanami (as an example), compared to the endless debates on whether Haruhi Suzumiya is a tsundere.

Digression aside, we also have Rei the Second, the happy energetic girl from the best moment of the entire original series for me, the Wacky School Life Comedy alternate universe in episode 26. This was further explored in the Angelic Days manga, which brought the Angels back into the equation for no reason I can fathom other than Drama. So it goes.

There's also Rei the Third, little kid version. Not much else to say there, at least nothing that won't seem excessively creepy.

There's a certain peaceful feel to the Ayanami sisters' interactions. They don't appear together all that often, but when they do, as in the Someday In The Rei-n rainy day episode, it's calm, relaxing, heartwarming. Yes, I know they're supposed to be clones of each other, but taken out of context it's just the story of three sisters in a happy family life.

Zyl notes that there are issues with P-Eva's labelling of the sisters as Rei 1, 2, and 3, mostly due to chronology. Any new numbering system will inevitably fall into yet more nitpicking, so I'd personally go with descriptive nicknames. I find no issue with assigning Loli Rei the moniker of Chibinami. The "original", the one we're supposed to associate as the canonical version imported into the Puchi-verse, we may leave as simply Rei.

Rei the Second, the one with the vest, is a little harder to pin down. The temporary name of Bread Rei won't quite do, since it raises questions about the equal validity of calling her Pantyshot Rei. I've taken to calling her Hyper Rei, partly for her enthusiastic personality quite unlike the oReiginal canonical version, and partly because it gives me great pleasure to imagine her using some sort of beamspam. Perhaps I should focus on her brightness of personality and call her Shiny Rei, for she is a drop of golden sun.

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