First disc is in the can; small disclaimer, this is not meant to be a review of the individual disc. This is merely a stream of consciousness note taking about what I think so far.
- Misato, despite being stuck in frat boy mode, seems to be the conscience of the Nerv group and the only one concerned about all of the children.
- Ritsuko seems concerned about the children’s welfare but not enough to voice many concerns.
- Why does Gendo care about Rei so much? Is it because she seems so ready and willing to do what he asks? She is the sort of child he wants Shinji to be?
- What is the cause of Shinji and Gendo’s rift? Is it due to the death of Shinji’s mother? Are Shinji’s feelings of cowardice a cause or a result of this rift?
- Was Rei always willing to be an Eva pilot? She is clearly smitten with Gendo, but is this the reason she has followed him from the beginning? Or is the crush more recent, i.e., since the failed reactivation?
- What the hell is Shinji’s problem, and where has he been for the past three years?
- Who was the second child, and what happened to him? And is there a plan for more Eva units, or is the fourth child being sought out as just another alternate?
- Where and how exactly did Misato end up with a penguin?
The first thing to strike me about Evangelion is how sharp the artwork is for a mid-90s series. It does not have the fancy CGI or spit and polish recent series do, but it still grabs the eye. The major reason I see for this is due to the cinematography; the various angles and shots used during these five episodes give them the feel of an actual movie rather than a piece of animation. A lot is being said through how the shot is framed or how the characters look rather than through extraneous dialogue.
So far, the story is a mixed bag; welcome to New Tokyo-3 (don’t ask about NT-2; it burned down and then sank into the swamp). Here’s a giant robot and a confused fourteen year old with major daddy issues. It’s a pattern/plot device I have seen before, but the supporting cast and their part in the story appear to be helping separate Eva from other titles in the genre.
The story also appears to be throwing in some religious/mythological symbology. Angels… imagery of crosses at every turn… the Marduk group/report named after an ancient Babylonian god… Genesis as part of the series title… a flood that has wiped out most of the Earth’s population… Thought they might be going with an Adam and Eve motif for the "children" where they did not mention Rei being the first right away. First child was a male – Adam; Rei would be Eve. Shinji starts the cycle again. Not to be as Rei was first and Shinji third; unless they are using some mythology I am unfamiliar with where a woman being (god, human, or otherwise) came first… Hmm…
But how is it going to tie together? And can they make it an interesting and integral part of the plot? Or will it just be thrown in for the sake of making the story appear "deep and philosophical"?
Shinji is a tough character to view; neither hero or anti-hero, he is just a simple mess, completely screwed in the head. Are we supposed to hate him? Pity him? Root for him to become someone stronger emotionally? Points given for making the lead character unique and not often seen in most mediums, but I can also see his character becoming highly annoying depending on how it is developed.
The synthetic human, Human Implementation project, and the studying of the Angels all seem to be connected somehow. Another "humans came from the stars" story? Man can become gods themselves story? We are spirits in the material world?
The 5.1 soundtrack blew me away as well; I didn’t read the specs for the box closely and figured it would be a stereo Japanese track. When the music hit during the opening, I was very surprised and delighted. Definitely one of the better 5.1 Japanese tracks I have heard in awhile.
So, a good beginning but not something that has really blown me away yet. Eva wins points out of the gate for creating a complex cast of characters and relationships. Hopefully, it will take them someplace interesting and dazzle me with dialect rather than baffling me with bullshit.
Thinking ahead… how to handle the director’s cut episodes? Watch them back to back with the original version (e.g., 21 normal, then 21 director’s, 22 normal, 22 director’s…)? Or watch the original run straight through and then go back and run through the director’s cut? Leaning towards the latter to see how much is gained in the director’s cut and how it impacts the end…