Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion ★★★½

A pretty good watch, even if the production issues of the final episodes shine through in a way that makes the entirety of it hard to appreciate and evaluate. I imagine the iconic visuals – from the slick setting design to the mesmerizing shots of machinery and computers operating to the amazing mechas/kaijus – don't need any more praise, but I will say that they are all excellent. It's narratively crucial for the battles to feel like they have weight and consequence to them, and they really do.

On the writing side, the first half or so is pretty competent, doing a good job at balancing between executing varied and interesting monster-of-the-week battles and setting up future character beats. Hints about the background mysteries and intriguing worldbuilding details are dropped at a nice rhythm – no episode feels wasted.

The rest, with its move towards more experimental and psychological storytelling, unfortunately provides both the highs and the lows of the series. When the show restrains itself and keeps its action, character drama, and mysteries elegantly tied up together, it's really good; when it doesn't, it's tedious. And in addition to the two final episodes mostly rehashing and explicating character stuff that was already satisfyingly dramatized by the preceeding narrative, the pacing is not ideal, with some of the final plot elements passing by way too quickly. (Can't believe Kaworu comes and goes in one episode; his stuff has sadly no weight to it whatsoever.)

The energy of a slow PowerPoint presentation, a serious downgrade from the masterfully subtle and efficient storytelling of its peak, permeates the worst minutes of the show. It's not even bad, really – it just feels like a conclusion to something far lesser in its artistic ambitions, too comfortable with throwing out the entire narrative in favor of just explaining it. I appreciate the idea of doing something a bit more creative than just summarizing the plot points that were too expensive to animate, but it just doesn't work for me.

Though an obvious result of production issues, the lackluster ending just makes the whole thing difficult to love; kind of makes you wish you were watching the uncompromised artistic vision instead. In related news, stay tuned for my reviews of the like 5 films of remake/reboot/sequel/? material the franchise apparently has!

Block or Report

purkka liked this review