Having not watch any new anime recently, I decided I may as well do an oldy that everybody's familiar with but may not have seen, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Said to be one of the greatest animes in the world by literally nobody I know, NGE is the kind of thing I hear is good and try to like but I can't convince myself I enjoy it, even if I force myself.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a story about a weedy, depressed, depressing, socially absent, pathetic young boy as he sits around a series of building very pointedly not piloting the giant robot everybody wants him to. I hear the main story arc besides the aforementioned giant robots is the main character (Shinji)'s battle with depression and his eventual defeat of the extremely vague enemies. As is obvious, I haven't watched it all the way through, I stopped at episode 8 because the sight of the poor sod felt like it was dragging me down with him, which si the main reason I stopped watching.
Shinji is an, unusual choice for the protagonist of a giant robot series, but the writers have taken a lot of unusual choices, which to be fair, I do admire because it was either this or be much more similar to other giant robot animes. But as I said, Shinji, to me, was painful to watch, mostly because he reminds me of myself, or to be accurate, reminds me of what I hope I'm not. So in a sense, he is a good role model because he makes you feel so tough. For the eight episodes I watched, he stepped into the cockpit of a giant robot once, maybe twice, and the rest of the time he just sat in a room whining about his life.
Thing is though, we don't actually know why Shinji acts the way he does, I'm sure from a certain point of view, Shinji is a well written, realistic character, but he's hard for me to care about him when I have no clue why he acts the way he does toward the world, something that friends of sufferers of Avoidant Personality Disorder would find very familiar, or again, if I looked in a mirror. I'm told he overcomes his characters flaws later on in the story, but the arse was bored off me up until then, and I don't believe that "It gets more interesting later." can be said about a TV series, in a film or other form of standalone story, the "Good bit" would arrive much quicker, and might even excuse the earlier parts, but works against it when it's a series, which are meant to individually entertain you. The episodes I watched just felt like an extremely long half of an extremely long film that never quite got to the point, because there was virtually no difference in between the episodes besides the opening and closing credits.
Moving on from the story, the animation was much smoother than what I'm used to of its genre, but then again, this was animated by Studio Gainax, who, as far as I know, have a great track record of good animation, however, as the story moves so sluggishly, the animation is only noticeable and lively in the giant robot sections, where I'd swear it ran at double the framerate, the speed of the scenes. The animation talent is wasted on most of the story, but thankfully, two of my favorite amines were both made by Studio Gainax, and they both make full use of their talents.
The character designs were very bland, which isn't the insult it appears to be, because as the main characters act a lot like real people (Albeit boring people.), having them actually look like real people certainly makes a lot of sense, all the characters are Japanese and accordingly have largely black hair beyond the occasional inconspicuous character. Also to the series advantage is the designs of the EVA (The giant robot(s).), because the fantastical element of the series is REALLY fantastical, if you looked at them without context you wouldn't even suspect they were from a super robot series, which was certainly uplifting. And as I mentioned earlier, the one fight scene I remember was very fluid as a result of the characters designs in addition to being well animated, so if Neon Genesis Evangelion has been collected into a film length compilation I'd happily watch it and maybe enjoy it, the series however, is just not for me.
Make no mistake, if there's one thing you take away from what I'm saying, it's not that I think Neon Genesis Evangelion is a bad anime, far from it, I know it has an audience, and I can see why. The characters I suppose are well written, just well written as boring, which is what some people can be. The designs I suppose are fitting given the above, the characters with realistic personalites are not drawn with technicolour anime hair, but the more oudlandish characters tip a toenail into that category. I believe a great deal of thought went into this, however I don't believe it's for me.
In summation, this anime is (Probably.) a great character study if you're into that sort of thing, but if, like me, you're looking for impossible, thunderous characters in frequent battles, seek elsewhere. Exactly where I myself found this I'll explain in detail at a later date no doubt.