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It's Not Good, But it Has to be Seen.
Let's get this out of the way first; NGE isn't a truly good work of fiction. It's not because of the characters; yes, Shinji's a whiny sad-sack, but he's at least believable, and I don't have strong feelings towards most of the case either way, for better or worse. (I did like Kaji. And of course, he was the first notable character to die. Go figure.) NGE's largest failing is it's plot. At the beginning, things actually seem pretty interesting, and there's a whole lot of promise, but by the end, all you get is meaningless religious symbolism, a heaping helping of meaningless depression, (and I'm not saying a work of fiction can't be depressing, but there has to be meaning to that depression,) and a meaningless Mind Screw ending, with not only hardly any of the plot explained, but they don't even leave you with anything to figure out the plot with by yourself, and when you get to the end of 'End Of', you'll just be looking at your screen agape and asking 'why?' And as for the depression, it's meaningless both because of the ending, as well as the resolution of it's characters, Shinji in particular. Shinji doesn't grow as a character, or rather, he begins to, but around the middle of the series, all of that growth is lost and he later winds up even worse than he began, and I just can't see any thematic or meaningful reason for that other than the author was undergoing depression (and he was,) and just wanted to let it loose on the world.

All of that said, this is a series that needs to be seen, if only once. The first 13 or so episodes are actually enjoyable, but after that, it turns into such a shocking, depression-filled mess that you can't turn away, with moments that, while not always making sense, you cannot see coming in any way, shape, or form. It has to be seen to be believed.

If anything, the series is an example that shows that a Creator Breakdown doesn't always brew truly good fiction; that just letting your depression out without a leash may be cathartic for you, but not so much for your work or the audience. Now, all of that said, there is some good potential here; a LOT of good potential. It's just that that potential wasn't fully realized. NGE is a convoluted, uncontrolled, meaningless-depression-laden mess that nonetheless needs to be seen to be believed.
  # comments: 33
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BEST. SERIES. EVER.
It’s the best series I’ve ever come across. Including Breaking Bad. It’s life-changing.

Forget what you’ve heard about this series being ‘pretentious’. Anno knew exactly what he was doing through and through. It’s fantastically written and brilliantly directed and has flawless voice acting (Megumi Ogata screaming in horror as Shinji gave me goosebumps every time) and music ranging from very good to outstanding. Both endings are wonderful, whether they subscribe to complicated contemporary philosophical or psychological ideas or not: the former are interpreted liberally to build a universe (not like philosophy’s a respectable field anyway), and the latter are just rough guidelines for the characters’ personality, not reports on actual cases. Want psychology and philosophy? Find textbooks.

The series didn’t feel narmy at all: given that the world’s always about to be destroyed, the characters’ reactions seem subdued even, especially within the conventions of anime, and especially in that period of anime. Money was visibly short, but they used it extra-wisely through and through.

Even the two endings were brilliant. True, the OA ending didn’t really close the plot, while EoE did. The DC, as well as some bits in the OA ending (e.g. Ritsuko’s and Misato’s fate) indicate that EoE was planned ahead all along. I believe Anno was challenging his fans to ask themselves which would they prefer settled, the plot or Shinji, which isn’t obvious at all.

The only three things I can say against this series is the frequent ‘Fanservice’ promise at the end of some Next Episode bits. It felt like an insult to the viewer, but was fortunately stopped at a certain point when it became too dark for this tasteless joke, and that the fact that Anno’s protégé directed the first half of EoE made it feel somewhat out of place with its style (particularly the Facepalm-inducing close-up on Misato’s arse), although it was excellent. The third is that Asuka (not Shinji, who always rises to the occasion to fight like a beast) was so fucking annoying, but ep. 22 fixed that.

Still, it’s mindblowing and deserves multiple views to get fully; even if you don’t, it’s one hell of an experience. That said, it’s not for everyone, and might not match your taste.

99%
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I don't like it
I was pretty late to the Evangelion party. As I've gotten older I've found that I am developing more of a taste for works that defy conventions like Game of Thrones. So I thought it was time to try the mother of all convention defying anime.

I was very disappointed.

The least controversial complaint I have is the uneven animation. The battle scenes are well done by 90s standards and are creative, but so much of the budget was blown early on that we ended up with long scenes of just static screens that are some of the most boring images ever put to television. And this lead to the last 5 or so episodes being horribly rushed. The final angel could have been the series' saving grace, but he was just creepy and his entire arc lasted only one episode, killing the emotional impact.

My other complaints are the ones that seem to have split the anime community. Disappointment that the overuse of religious imagery doesn't amount to much more than 'it looks coo and sounds cryptic', disappointment that so much essential information is only in the movies or even only explained in a videogame, ect.

I could have lived with all of those flaws if not for my main complaint, the characters. In the entire cast the only characters I like at all are Misato, her spy boyfriend and one of Shinji's friends at school, though I'm judging the latter solely on potential. It only took a few episodes for me to start really disliking Shinji, and Asuka as well when she was introduced. The main characters seemed especially static to me. Asuka at least changed as she lost her confidence and slipped into despair, but it seemed like Shinji was exactly the same character in the final episodes as he was in the beginning. There were also characters who could have been interesting that were unceremoniously thrown away in the middle of the show.

The only part of Evangelion I was able to get into was the opening theme, one of the better anime openings I've heard. But the lackluster characters and poorly explained plot kept me from getting into the show itself, even when there were some truly epic battles going on.

I suppose Evangelion deserves credit for pushing boundaries and paving the way for superior imitators, but on its own merits I found it to be unenjoyable.
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Nen Gansus Evanjellyneon
I enjoy this series.

There. I fucking said it. THE END. THAT'S ALL FOLKS. FLY ME TO THE MOO-

But you bastards aren't satisfied with that, are you? Well, let's get cracking.

Now, I liked this series. I liked it a lot. I think it's flawed, certainly (the pacing is horribly slow at times, the characters occasionally lapse into outright unlikability, and the animation clearly has a lot of cheap cop-outs), but I still overall enjoyed the series.

For instance: I enjoyed how Shinji was depicted. He is not the whiner that so many people try to paint him as. Rather, he's a flawed individual who tries to do the right thing, and...well...is more or less a child soldier. This is something that people seem to forget all of the time. He's a kid. And he's experiencing unimaginable pain after a lifetime of parental neglect. And yet he still tries to do the right thing. I could argue all day why I enjoyed him as a character because of his flaws and attempts to do things right (and failures) but that would bog down my own review.

Overall, the series is a character study of several people forced to fight horrors from beyond man's understanding. I enjoy it because it examines the typical mecha show and says "Guys...I think that the people involved in this would have to be pretty fucked up." It's certainly not the first series to do that, but it's one of the few that does it well.

That said, it's also aged horribly. The many techniques and ideas that originated here have been used ad nauseaum. It's why the series doesn't feel as new or original as it did at the time of release. And...unfortunately, it's some of the shittier ideas from the series that were repeated, i.e. "Let's have the camera linger on this for several fucking minutes. ENTHRALLING PSYCHOLOGICAL ACTION".

Overall, it's a damned good watch, and I do enjoy it, but I recognize that it's flawed, and occasionally it does seem to be staring up the cavernous, echoing walls of its own ass, but it dared to ask the question of "What would happen if these cliches were pulled off like this"? And that's actually admirable, in its own way.
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It's the philosophy that gets me.
The series was touted as a deconstruction. If I want one of those, I'll go watch {Anime/Bokurano}. I have to admit, I enjoy "art" movies. My favourites include Donnie Darko and Inland Empire. One of my favourite anime is Serial Experiments Lain.

I liked the final episodes of Evangelion. They were the best episodes in the entire series. Honestly, the episodes immediately preceding them were very much tedious.

I disagreed with the message.

The philosophy of the show draws on obsolete pseudoscience such as psychoanalysis and "humanistic" psychology. These have already been shown to be non-empirical, and have been supplanted by theories like radical behaviourism. These are manifested in the show's message of a need for "self-esteem".

The next paragraphs will be much more Your Mileage May Vary.

My personal philosophy derives heavily from utilitarianism (both classical and preferential) and Comtean altruism, i.e. "I" only matter because "I" have the capacity to do good to others. I also believe that all questions boil down to a matter of ethics. When I think about any particular subject, my first question is "Is it the right thing?"

From my own personal study of psychology, I have combined this with my ethics to deduce that the logical extension of utilitarianism and altruism is to kill the ego. The ego basically is the illusion that all things are extensions of one's own self. Shinji seemed to have realised that this is only an illusion, but couldn't jump that barrier. This is what made me upset with the ending. Instead of finally rejecting his ego and living a life incapable of hurting others, he restores the ability to experience pain to everybody. Some Fridge Horror there: he ended Instrumentality. His father started Instrumentality to reunite with his dead wife. Shinji is taking his mother away from his father, after reuniting them for about a day.

It probably depends on interpretation. My interpretation is that Instrumentality means ego-death. Self-hatred is only natural when one realises the reality that the ego is the source of all suffering. The logical extension of that would be to try to remove the ego. But Shinji's attempts to, ultimately, get rid of suffering for all humans and make us all one are dismissed as "running away". He just changed reality for the better. Run away from what?
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A flawed yet entertaining series
Neon Genesis Evangelion can be polarising. The tone of the opening episodes is far removed from the conclusion, but for once the tone shift feels natural and consistent when it is looked back upon after finishing the show. It does not feel forced or last-minute, but a natural extension of the world with which we are presented.

The animation is the standard sort of quality, and some sequences are very smoothly animated and exciting to watch, such as the descent of episode 24 and the entirety of End of Evangelion. However, the majority of the animation does not live up to these moments which is a shame. Especially in the infamous final episodes, where the animation becomes rather reycled and stilted whenever it actually appears.

The characters we are presented with have often been dismissed as "unlikable". I can see where these detractors are coming from, but quite honestly I grew to love the characters despite the large flaws they possess. Shinji is polarising, but some people like me will find him incredibly relatable and will not hold his whining against him, as most of his angst is justified. Misato is a lovable character, and the juxtaposition between her stern military role and her drunken home life is interesting to watch. Rei is the least relatable character, but she is interesting enough to watch and she is cute in a way.

Several plot elements are left to the viewer to figure out or only touched on briefly, making repeat watching rewarding. Although I did not like that many background details that are useful to understand the plot only exist outside of the show itself.

A criticism I would point out is the large amount of Faux Christian symbolism. Most of it is visually interesting but uneeded. I am not qualified to analyse the psychology in the show, but ocassionally it would seem unprofessional and a bit silly. Fortunately, most of the time I found it interesting.

Overall I would say to give this show a watch, it has flaws and is most definetly not for everyone, but if you are the kind of person who will tolerate a protagonist who is unconvential to the genre and can empathise with flawed characters, as well as appreciating complex plots will find something to enjoy here. But if your main priority is the animation itself, there are admittedly probably better places to look.

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The best anime that I've seen
I am able to honestly say that Evangelion is the best anime that I have seen because I don't really watch anime. Not that I have anything against it, I just don't really watch it, save the heavily westernized ones such as Pokemon. Neon Genesis Evangelion is the first anime that I have actually seen all the way through, so I have no real standard of comparison. That being said, I loved the show. It...well, it mangaed to reach me emotionally. Seeing Rei smile at Shinji for the first time, hearing Gendo pay his son a compliment, possibly the only time that he did so, and even watching the whole cast gather around Shinji at the end and congratulate him on realizing that he has worth as a human being. It really moved my heart, and I even started to get a little misty-eyed, which came as a suprise to me since I don't usually cry about anything. Not that the show's all sentimental, though. I also enjoyed the tense fights, such as the one with Ramiel (the trapezoid angel). I will admit that watching the same scene for two minutes with no changes or dialogue and knowing that it was to save budget was a little frustrating, but it only really bothered me 2 or 3 times. In short, I laughed, I cried, and I was on the edge of my seat. That said, I don't know if I can recommend Evangelion because it is a very polarizing show and many people don't like it for various reasons, but give it a try at least. It couldn't hurt. (Oh and may I add that the soundtrack of Evangelion is absolutely excellent. In fact the music is what first drew me toward the show)
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A masterpiece that one should never forgetten.
The show itself,despite it's budget was visually impressive. The characterization bought it off to a wonderful start and that is what balances the dark with interesting interactions. You can sympathize with the characters which makes some of the more emotionally charged scenes effective. I could relate to Shinji,people say that he whines a lot even though he is a normal person against the odds. Asuka whines more and yet she is endearing in her own way.

The intro theme 'Cruel Angel's Thesis' is a song that never gets old and is fitting with what it goes with. Fly me to the Moon was a nice way to end episodes even if it did hit Soundtrack Dissonance at times. During my run of it (With the New Game Plus effect in hand), I came to the realization that people watched this show for the characters and their deconstrution later on.

And the infamous ending? I figured that Episodes 25 and 26 took place in Shinji's mind,isolated with the main cast in a test. A test that would allow him to move on from his problems and become the person he wants to be. Sure it was a result of a low budget and they had to use drawings and clips from other episodes. The alternate universe scene in Episode 26 shows how well adjusted the characters could be if it weren't for the Evangelions/Evas.
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Absolutely hilarious, wildly entertaining
A fantastic mixture of genuine inspired brilliance with so bad it's hilarious moments of gold. The concluding episodes in particular are a hoot, with their awful psychology (ala Sigmund Freud) and awful philosophy (ala Michael Jackson) rolled together with a strangely beautiful Post Modern style, the result of which is surely one of the greatest works of art in the history of man kind.

The movie, meanwhile, gives a supposedly more conclusive resolution to the story, and yet I have not since watching it stopped wondering what may actually happen, and what it actually meant. I find it's position as both a retelling of revelation and a prequel to genesis gloriously blasphemous, and any work brave enough to pull of such a feat deserves much acclaim.

I highly recommend this series to anyone with a spare 12 hours or so on their hands whom is also prepared for the fact that this programme will wipe your libido from the face of existence for a good few days afterwards, such is the level of Fan Disservice present throughout the show.

More than compensating for this is the number of things throughout this show which one may choose to describe as being 'awesome'. From Misato's choice of transport to the beautiful sunset over the moving buildings of Tokyo-3, to the majesty of the Evangelions themselves, no mere words can describe the sheer awe that this programme emanates, and the only way one can discover this is by watching it for themselves.

Admittedly some episodes are very much weak links, episode 10 in particular was largely boring and rather a bog to watch, although it did bring some interesting character development for Asuka, although perhaps that episode merely seemed dull after her marvellous introduction in the two episodes immediately preceding it. It is also notable that upon Asuka's introduction the series takes a decided change in tone, which, despite providing much comedy initially, soon runs the series into a lull from which it takes several episodes to recover. The earlier, slower episodes did seem rather more enjoyable to this troper than the episodes in the second quarter of the series, such is the way.

Overall, a tremendous piece of television.

93%
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End of Eva: Let's hope it really is the end, for once and for all.
I really enjoyed the first half (or should I say episode? Since it's two episodes compressed to feature length) of End of Eva. It was action packed and for a while, it seemed as if we were going to get the finale we deserved. It was disturbing, badass and emotional. But... Come the second half, I found myself bored, constantly checking my phone. I watched but my cousins spent the majority of it doing something else, probably to make it go faster (can't blame them), which says a lot.

If you asked me if I was an Eva fan, my response would be somewhat wishy-washy. It's a good brainless action show, problem is it tries way too hard to be something more. I enjoyed the characters and the action but the faux-philosophies ruined the enjoyment. And End of Eva pretty much sums up what I think about this show. It's a brainless action show disguised as philosophy 101.

Like I said, the first episode of End of Eva kept me interested, with its tight pace and blistering action. Sure Shinji spent the majority if it being angst as all Hell, but he still managed to kick some arse even.

Problem is, by the second half, we're in his head for most of the film, with mostly backpedaling and instrumentality scenes that are about as interesting as your grandfather's war stories. Throw in just plain boring and pretentious crap about the "primordial soup of life" and an ending that, well, makes no sense, and you've got a boring finale that is not only style over substance but also answers no questions and exists to sympathy bait the fans who hated 24 and 25.

Simply enough, you don't like the last two episodes of the show, stay away, because this is more of the same. At the end, when Asuka says, "How disgusting", I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement.

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A firm disbeliever
To a lot of fans this show pretty much is a religion or they watch it religiously. Just as religions can have zealous and outspoken fans low and behold so does this series.

The show has nothing in modesty. It varies so much that it can really throw you off. But ultimately is the pay off worth frustrations? Should something so frustrating be considered that good?

Onto characters, the main character Shinji; is an inconsiderate, self-centered, low on self esteem, pampered, weak willed, stupid, shallow jerk nearly all the time. It seems heaps of characters are nice to this dude and he takes no notice. That makes no sense. Loners exist because they willingly remove themselves from society or they are shunned. Shinji is neither. Everyone has very repetitive problems of mother and father issues aside from Gendo and Rei. But Gendo isn't much of a villain at all as he just sits there behind a desk like a pencil pusher with his hand folded and his glasses on full eyebeams whilst some professor gives him the daily report. Rei repeats her monotonous ponderings on existentialism which rather than feeling deep becomes mute as she never even tries to properly answer it.

The plot involves shipping through the Christianity, Judaism and kabala crafting some half asked plot and not giving a damn. Anno is sure respectful to a religion with over a billion followers also using Abrahamic themes, so nearly half of the globe. An old cabal of power exists who sit around ominously speaking of their distrust of Gendo every time only for him to easily hoodwink them. Exactly what was stopping them from just putting him in a smaller role or replacing him? The animation is bland and kept lengthy for all but the fight scenes which is understandable. But the incessant sound bites of insects really grate on the nerves and silence would have been preferred.

Virtually everyone is worse than they started and none more so than Asuka. This show gives no answers to any of the over exaggerated problems it proposes. It is a frugal waste of time which cannot even be edited or skipped in order to fully understand it. Where Zen philosophy encourages self thought this show can't even provide foundations for an answer. It lazily expect you work it all because it can't be asked. It seeks $$$ not to educate; failing even to entertain.

  # comments: 54
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Over-hyped and underwhelming

I wanted to like EVA. I really did. Unfortunately, the EVA the Internet portrayed and the EVA that I actually watched were two completely different entities.

The first problem is the characters. Now, I tended to see Shinji’s actions as relatively justified (The end of episode 21 and certain other events notwithstanding), but I still had very little sympathy for him, or for any other character for that matter. They didn’t feel human, because there was little to their personality outside of their various issues and neuroses, and little to no character development at all outside of “they get worse”. Because of this, there was nothing that made me consider them remotely relatable. I just didn’t care.

Secondly, the supposed “nightmare fuel” the series is famous for was suspiciously absent, though I blame this mostly on Internet osmosis. (I have not seen Eo E, however.) The Angels quickly lost any horrifying eldritch qualities they might have had when they became monsters-of-the-week, and even the infamous mind rape scene came across less as “this is horrible” and more “Oh, the Angel’s trying to communicate. Hello, Angel!”

Third is that fact that the series is simply boring. Outside the fights against the Third and Fourteenth Angels, there’s little dramatic tension, and there are long periods where characters will talk and talk and still accomplish nothing. Right when there seems to be a plot building up (Around episode 20 or so), the show peters off into more talking, post-modern psychological review, and shallow symbolism, none of which makes sense, and not in the way that FLCL made no sense. This cuts the viewer off from caring in the slightest about what’s left of the plot.

Fourth and final are the massive logic problems present in the series, which there is no room to explain here. Unlike a certain other Gainax show, these are not justified by Rule of Cool, and manage to derail anything the series was aiming for when looked at objectively.

For its flaws, Neon Genesis Evangelion is not actually a bad series. It is a passable, if somewhat mediocre and sorely over-hyped deconstruction of a mecha anime, and worth a watch for people who have time to kill and a high tolerance for boredom. For those who prefer the Gurren Lagann style of things, go watch that again instead. You’ll be glad you did.

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It was not very good
Reading that this show faithfully depicted Biblical content in contrast to shows that get mythology and religion confusingly wrong attracted me to it. I found I was attracted by lies and quit watching pretty quickly but returned to finish twenty six episodes and the End Of movie to confirm something I read more recently on this website; that this was a revolutionary deconstruction regarded as one of the best animated series ever.

Having seen as much as I have now, I still cannot say that it is very good. The protagonist's behavior, situation and perspective are fairly unique among the stories I know, the angel designs seem very creative to me and the fight scenes are genuinely interesting but setting and plot I cannot say much for. The timeline is questionable, the chosen locations are kind of dumb, too many scenes are unnecessarily stretched out, the internal monologs are repetitive and otherwise sympathetic characters are too irrational in their interactions. It is not just expected character flaws, most times even if the audience could believe a character was correct their arguments are so irrational it is unbelievable anyone in the show would agree. The angels carry out their attacks in highly inept manners too.

Almost every focus character gets to do something cool and the start of the opening theme is catchy at least but much could have been done better. The fan service is obnoxious and related to the issue of unnecessarily stretched scenes. For the claims of deconstruction it seems to treat giant robots in an oddly positive way compared to other vehicles, even the robots of the 'enemy'. It brings up problems of untrained, poorly supervised child soldiers but does not seem to condemn the cast much for its treatment of them or offer a better alternative they could have taken. Even if the angels were not malicious and the whole fight was a waste it still would do little to deconstruct other shows.

Nothing seems particularly hard too reconstruct if it would even need to be in order to take big robots or anything seriously after watching this. Neon Genesis Evangelion has merits and its influence on many other works is obvious but I have little admiration for it. I cannot deny its historical significance in the entertainment industry but I can say it was not very good.
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The TV Series: Abandon pre-conceptions and appreciate it for what it is
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a series that defies conventions associated with the mecha genre. If you go in expecting it to follow those conventions, you will be disappointed, but if you are willing to broaden your mind and accept a different approach without being defined by the hype or criticism of the show, you will likely find a worthwhile show.

The series may be set in a post-apocalyptic future whose only hope lies in people who are burdened with personal issues and not always fighting for the right reasons. While it is often dark and deconstructs many tropes related with action anime, it is not completely so; there are lighthearted, comedic and hopeful moments that lighten the atmosphere at times, and the latter helps stave off Darkness Induced Audience Apathy.

The battles against the Angels are exciting, especially given how varied the Angels are, from hulking monsters that destroy anything in their path to enigmatic creatures that wage mental warfare on the pilots.

Shinji is a character whom you will likely love or hate. He certainly does not have the same qualities as expected of a typical action hero, and may alienate viewers because he's meant to come off as a more human person. While he has his flaws, especially seeming weak and cowardly at times, half of his problem is that he is surrounded by people who have their own share of psychological baggage, leaving them unable to help each other. But the ultimate message behind him is uplifting; he is weak and so are we, but all of us can become stronger if we choose to love and take care of ourselves.

The ending is another point of contention, but if you can get past the recycled footage and long internal dialogues, it nicely summarizes the main characters' personal conflicts and comes to a surprisingly heartwarming conclusion.

Neon Genesis Evangelion does not appeal to everyone, nor is it meant to. But if you are willing to approach it with an open mind, a willingness to think about the meanings behind what happens on screen and interest in works that defy conventions, you will likely enjoy it greatly, as I have.
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A Memetic N2 Mine
As a Genre Deconstruction, the way Evangelion plays with tropes is borderline malicious towards the Super Robot Genre, and especially malicious towards the Real Robot Genre. This is mostly done by pointing out a necessary yet illogical convention of the genre, then proceeding to use it anyway because of its unique style. This unique style is using tropes that the audience has built-up Willing Suspension Of Disbelief from other shows and pushes them to their darkest extremes while employing the Rule Of Scary and religious symbolism to keep Fridge Logic at bay. But after a trope goes through the Evangelion process, it's effectively broken and can never really be used the same way again.

In the series, its made clear that Humongous Mecha are incredibly impractical (notice how the military drops bomb at the Angel at first, and how Jet Alone is depicted as a clunky, useless piece of machinery that's better off shut down). So why are the Evangelions used? Well, because they're based off the same Imported Alien Phlebotinum, they're able to go through the Angels' special barrier (the AT Field). But this explanation would not work for any other series except for Evangelion, as the Real Robot Genre is robbed of its plausibility and just raises the question of "Why Don't You Just Nuke Em, with far more practical means of delivery like jets"

Other examples: why are our protagonists Child Soldiers Falling Into The Cockpit? (Because the only one who synchronize with an Eva is the child of the person inside that Eva's Soul Jar! This explanation hardly holds up for Evangelion, much less another series.) Why are the Angels attacking one-by-one at the same place? (Because they're not intelligent, and even then, they all want their own version of Third Impact, which is initiated by bonding with one of the Eldritch Abominations Nerv has stored in Toyko-3. This would not hold up for a more typical Alien Invasion, which one would expect to be a decentralized, all out assault waged by a collective of intelligent beings, making the format of giant robots battling aliens every week more ridiculous.)

At the very least it made Follow The Leader difficult, and at the very most, redefined the genre by breaking its tropes.
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Wow. Just wow.
Last month I did a review for Ghost In The Shell that was largely responsible for putting Japanese animation on the map. Evangelion is the other anime that brought forth mature storylines and mind bending philosophy that would be used in Japan to this day.

The plot is fifteen years ago half the human race was wiped out when aliens were discovered in Antarctica. Cut to 2015 and they have returned. 14 year old boy named Shinji Ikari is called by his father to fight them using Humongous Mecha. A dream come true for many youths, but for Shinji it's a nightmare.

This isn't your normal giant robot series, it's not Godzilla or any number of monster movies. It is very much a Deconstruction of everything from mecha to the anime fanbase, tearing apart the normal tropes and portraying signature traits in a very different light.

Throughout the series we see the many facets of the different characters. Shinji is torn between being a coward and trying to do the right thing. His father is a cold asshole who clearly has a soft spot for one of the other Eva pilots. Said pilot is reclusive, distant, and sad. The woman Shinji lives with is a sexist slob cracking under the pressure. And their new roommate is arrogant, bitchy and uses her attitude to hide just how broken she is. And that's what the series is really about, these poor characters who have had such trauma placed upon them trying not to kill each other.

The overreaching arc is not only trying to fight off the alien invaders, but the puppet masters trying to manipulate events in one way or another. Some want to use the aliens to evolve mankind, others want to use them for their own reasons. I'll leave it up to you to watch the series for the details.

Part of the appeal and infamy is the twisted, scary plots the series delves into. What it means to be human, why we fight, and if we are justified in killing little girls when we're angry.

The series had been made and remade many times for good reason. The animation and sound do not keep up with the harrowing, horrifying story that had been crafted, and regular updates are made to improve it. If you can look past this then forget about other series at the time, if you thought Buffy got rough then by the time you've watched this series your measure of how frightening a show can be will be in for a rude awakening.
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Really really liked it.
I suppose I'm more tolerant of things? But I really really liked Neon Genesis Evangelion.

First up, I can sympathise with the characters. Some people write them off as one-dimensional and completely unlikeable characters, or as a bunch of lunatics. But to me, I can feel something human in them. How their experiences have shaped them and how their fears prevent them from really reaching out to other people.

The fighting was cool and the plot was pretty simple to understand. Of course, I didn't take any of the pseudo-religious imagery and symbolism seriously at all. But it was enough to get its tone across as some sort of divine-beyond-human-comprehension things happening, and I was okay with it. The plot was also good enough to send its message across - about the complexities human relationships and love, and how some of other people react to it. Even though it was a very selfish, extremist way, I can sort of understand Gendo for doing what he did, for he was just trying to get the wife he loved so much back to him. This show also has my favourite meaningful explorations of psyche.

I am also able to relate to Shinji Ikari. In fact, this series came in good time - when I myself was blocking out other people, feeling lonely, and questioning the nature of humans as social beings. Shinji sort of epitomised all of those things, and I just could not stop myself from cheering the poor guy on. I find how he manages to get back up and keep fighting, fighting against Zeruel (in the original anime series) after he seemed to really run away, coming back after his body reverted to LCL, rejecting instrumentality as really heroic. People hate on him for being wimpy, but I think to make those decisions take real strength.

I wouldn't say that this series was completely life-changing. But it did make an impact on me. I think, because I have watched this show, that I was influenced to become a more social, tolerant, and open-minded person. Thank you NGE.
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I literally don't know what the hell to say
I thought it was okay. I liked some of the characters, I liked the action, the plot was interesting for a bit, but it felt like it all collapsed towards the end and ran out of budget to do an actual good job wrapping everything up. End of Evangelion was just... weird, and didn't make a whole lot of sense, but it had some good action moments.

Originally, I was going to make this whole review incredibly mixed, because I had mixed feelings on the show... then I read the other ones. And apparently, this show is like some kinda goddamn religion to some people. And honestly? That's fine.

I don't know what the hell was going on in Anno's head when he made this, or what kind of insane cat drugs he was on, but apparently, a lot of people can identify it and something about it resonates inside them. It connects to them in ways that other people cannot possibly comprehend.

If you have the time: watch this show. Maybe you're in the crowed who "gets it." Maybe it'll do something for you that the rest of us can't possibly comprehend, and I think it's great that something can do that. Anime, as a creative medium, gets a lot of crap from non-fans for being for geeks and weeaboos, and the fact that something within it can connect with people in such an intimate way really serves to legitimize the industry to those not in the know, especially considering how widespread its popularity is.

And if you aren't in the group that "gets it?" If you're an average joe likes me who just wants a decent show to watch, not really anything insane and requiring tons of symbolic interpretation?

Eh, watch it anyway. It's still got a lot of fun bits for the normal consumer. It's not gonna bite your head off.
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"Life-changing" is rarely a phrase awarded to an anime, but Eva is deserving
Evangelion is one of the rare pieces of media I consider to be truly "life-changing". And not just the first time I watched it, but EVERY time. I have seen the show in its entirety 11 times, and each time my understanding of the themes and messages of the show is enriched and elevated.

What you need to know is this: This show demands a LOT from its viewers. A lot of thought, patience, artistic indulgence, and a good dose of suspension of disbelief. If you don't think that exerting all that for the sake of entertainment (especially when that entertainment is potentially heart/brain-breaking and therefore might not be all that fun for you) then this is NOT the show for you. And that is OK. But if you feel that you can meet that kind of intellectual and emotional demand, you will be rewarded with more then you ever hoped for. There is a good reason that this show is practically a way of life for some people, do yourself a favor and find out why.

Even the supposed faults of this show are important and integral to the work as a whole. Yes, Evangelion is now painfully dated in a visual sense. But that only serves to underscore just how unique and revolutionary this show was in it's time(and continues to be today). Yes, some artistic decisions were made mostly because of budget drain. But that only highlights Hideki Anno's creative genius in story-telling, cinematography, and being a BAMF. Yes, the religious symbolism was originally chosen for its "look". But even a cursory examination will reveal it to be exceptionally well researched and integrated into the plot in such a way that it adds a whole other level of meaning.

You have heard about the characterization, the symbolism, the themes, the plot etc...and if you haven't you can easily look them up. I won't go into them here other then to say that I now hold all other media up to the Evangelion paradigm and very few movies/shows/books measure up.

Some great things not often talked about: The action direction is phenomenal. There is a characterization to the movement that you won't see in other mech shows. The Japanese voice acting is superb. Megumi Ogata as Shinji is a standout. And the soundtrack is unpredictably awesome.

Overall: This show is art. And like art, its not always easy to understand. But it is a exquisite expression of what it means to be alive.
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Changes every time I watch it.
Currently, I'm on my third time watching the series. The first time I watched it, I absolutely loved it. The second time, I was one of the most vehement haters of the series except for Episode 24. This third time, I'm seeing both good and bad, watching it with a critical eye.

This series now seems kind of special to me. The first time I saw it, I was stable and could enjoy it. The second viewing was a point in life where Shinji painfully reminded me of myself. Now, I am seeing this through the eyes of an adult instead of an angsty teen. This series changes depending on a person's mindset, so make sure you're on your medicine/therapy if you need it.

More generally, the animation holds up even with Gainax's tricks to preserve the budget (I don't even pretend those still shots are artistic). The music still grabs me each time, and the characters are very fleshed out. I still roll my eyes at the excessive meaningless symbolism, but I get the Freudian stuff. I also like how effective the horror in the series is. I STILL get nightmares from Ep. 22. For me, a good work is one that scares you, makes you laugh, think or cry even years after watching it. It ticks off the first three. I realize it's not to everyone's taste, but I still think this is a must-see, even just to get a friend to stop nagging you about it.

I used to recommend skipping those last two episodes, but I think they offer a context to compare "End" with, and enrich the film.
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Food For Thought
I have literally, as I type this, just finished watching the series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" for the first time. Introduced to it properly by this very wiki's "What Do You Mean Its For Kids" page, I became fascinated with it and decided to give it a watch.

I was already aware of the show from a video by the infamous You Tube Poop artist Walrus Guy called "Arthur's Massive, Throbbing Hit" which features clips from Episode 18 (and references Episode 19), but I had never felt a want to watch it until I took the time to read about it, and now I have, I think it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever watched.

Evangelion is not just your average Humongous Mecha anime; it's a work of art. From the designs of the Evangelions themselves to the Angels, this series shows aesthetic beauty as well as less "physical" beauty.

Each character is well-defined and tragic in their own right, each with their own burden and fear. Emotionless Girl Rei struck me the most, as she is perhaps one of the saddest characters on the show. Byronic Hero Asuka also struck me quite a lot, as she comes off at first as your average bully, tsundere, and general bitch, until you learn about her dark past, which really does make you feel sorry for her, and ascends her away from Scrappy status.

The bloody violence was not as bad as I expected, thankfully. Asuka's Mind Rape was one of the darkest things I have ever watched. Her horrible shriek of "NO!" as the Angel Arael shuffles through her memories and tortures her is not something that will be leaving me any time soon.

The controversial ending, due to the terrible budget problems GAINAX had at the time, and which resulted in the creation of The End Of Evangelion, did not particularly strike me as confusing; it just seems to be a bit "deep". One can only suppose fans of the show wanted more fighting and less thinking, which, in retrospect, totally went against the show's purpose. One can only assume the fans of the show totally misinterpreted what the show meant.

Overall, this show has changed my perspective of the world and ideas, and has inspired me. I feel that everyone must see this, if only one episode, regardless of whether they love it or hate it. This is a must-see for anyone looking for thrills and brain food at the same time.
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Shortest Review Ever
If you have psychological problems, you will understand Neon Genesis Evangelion. You may not like it, as it is not pleasant to watch (like, Grave of the Fireflies not fun to watch), and it has a few notable problems of direction, but you will understand everything about it, including it's flaws, as coming from a mind that is, in many ways, just like yours. Thank you, Hideaki Anno. Thank you so much.

The show comes wholly recommended anyway, as a part of anime history if nothing else. Watch it.
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What you see is what you get
Evangelion is a series of expectations. Like a lot of other people, I'd heard the hype before I watched it. I was definitely disinterested at first, but the show got better for me as I kept watching. Whether it will for you is based entirely on what you want to see, and at what point you're at.

  • If you're looking for EPIC MECHA ACTION, there is some present, but there are definitely better series for that.
  • If you're looking for deep psychological character study, there's definitely a lot of that too, and again, there are other shows for that, but very few in the context of the Super Robot Genre, so it's interesting to see how those mecha conventions were played with.
  • If you're looking for Mind Screw and Nightmare Fuel, then you may be disappointed, because Eva is by far not the worst example of such things, although if you're just getting into that stuff, then Eva may be a decent gateway drug. It's definitely a bit confusing if you don't know the info in the supplements.
  • If you're looking for a bit of shonen comedy, it's there too, surprisingly enough.
  • And if you're looking for anything else, it's not there, don't bother.

Be aware that this series is one of the biggest Base Breakers ever. Every character and scene is interpreted in ungodly numerous amounts of ways. For example, the point for me where the series got good is when Asuka was introduced. A lot of people don't like her for being kinda bitchy. Then again, a lot of people don't like Shinji, so some feel she's justified. Or maybe you're like me, and just appreciated her for injecting a lot of energy and passion into a previously dull show. That's not to say Eva didn't have its moments before her (The fight against Ramiel, anyone?), but for me, it picked up afterward. Be aware, however, that lots of things change radically, so don't get attached to anything or anyone or you will be saddened when you inevitably lose it/them.

On the other aspects, the art and animation is pretty good for its time, and the music is pretty awesome when it's there. One of the best is Shinji's theme, which is kinda haunting for a supposed "shonen" protagonist.

I'd say watch it, if nothing else, to see how it transformed the genre. Rebuild and the manga are arguably better, though.
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I watched it.
And I got nothing.

I honestly found absolutely nothing to take from the series and I watched it around 1999 I think, when you could only found the series in VHS tapes. I watched it before I knew fandoms existed so I was not poisoned by the Hyper praise or loathe from the world.

I just found it a little boring, confusing, curious series. Hell, I was confused when I found a Fandom page (2003-05??) screaming that it was a forerruner of the Anime world for the first time. Though the guy was taking his liking a little to overboard, to be honest.

I don't like or hate the characters. I don't like or hate the plot (sure, it has massive plot holes but I never asked a masterpiece in the firs place) and the ending was confusing in the "Hmm, how odd" instead of the "WTF Dude, seriously, WTF YASS". After seeing the ending I watched Digimon ending (which was EPIC) in TV and forgot about the Anime for weeks.

Hell, even the Fandom make's me shrug. The part that is not pretentious (why it's like that, baffles me) is just your run of the mill Fandom.

Don't see the Deconstruction, to be honest. They are just flawed people with the disgrace of having a so-so director trying to cram symbology in their lives while having an existential breakdown. It doens't play the tropes straight or give honest, well though answer of the kind of situation would look in real life. Is only a Darker work with a somewhat original premise and one character who managed to create an iconic archetype that other works do it better (It's Rei, by the way).

Even the new Evangelion is nothing to write about it, except it has good soundtrack.

It's not the Dark Knight of the Mecha Genre. More like the Passion of Christ of the Biblical Genre or It the mini-series of, well, the mini-series. A nostalgic work, trying to do better and a little controversial but at the end of the day, just a simple work.

It's an Anime of the Mecha Genre with Depression and little understanding of religions on a confusing plot.

Nothing more, nothing else.

Watch it. Or not. At this point in time, it would really make no difference whatsoever to your life in the Anime/Manga World or enrich your mind in anyway.

7/10
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young boy become a legend: a review of neon genesis evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is not the best anime ever made. Most of the prominent Christian imagery is purely decorative. The show's tone takes a serious turn for the weird roughly halfway through, and the show almost falls apart after around episode 23. The budget tanks around episode 19. The show ends with an ending that is experimental and hardly satisfying, followed by a movie finale that is arguably one of the most disturbing works of popular anime ever created. The worst part, though, is that practically everything great that Evangelion did, Revolutionary Girl Utena and FLCL did better. The show is regarded as a classic, but honestly? You may very well hate it.

Now that you know what Evangelion isn't, I might as well tell you what it is: a by parts sympathetic and uncompromising portrait of a kid with depression fighting against impossible odds; a vicious critique of self-absorption as well as of the very audience who are likely watching the show; a study in miscommunication and how much it can sometimes hurt to connect with people; a giant robot show made by people who love and understand giant robot shows; a giant robot show made by people who believe that they can make giant robot shows better, even if it costs them their sanity.

Here's the thing. There are many shows that are better than Evangelion. But when Evangelion is at its best—the choreographed dance routine, the battle with Zeruel, the famous scene that coined the term "mind rape" on this wiki—it not only equal to just about any great anime you could name but even exceeds them. There are images and ideas and scenes in Evangelion that have seared themselves into my skull, and even if the show is strange and imperfect and victim to decades of analyzing non-existent hidden messages at the expense of what is actually there, that doesn't change the fact that when Asuka took on the entire JSDF and the MP-EV As in End of Evangelion, with only five minutes of battery, I was right there with her.

So, in short: watch Evangelion. There is no guarantee that you will like it. But take it on its own terms as the intensely personal, crazy-ambitious, occasionally incomprehensible odyssey of a young boy about to become a legend, whether he likes it or not—and you just might love it.

Or not. But I don't think the folks over at GAINAX in 1995 would have it any other way.
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I loathe to watch, yet I cannot turn away...
Since I was a teen, I’d heard bad things: That the series was a trip of the worst kind. All the Christian "symbolism"? Decorative. (This one I can cite as fact, and not opinion. Check out page 76 of the April 2011 issue of Otaku USA Magazine, they quote both assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki and the director, Hideaki Anno.) The Freudian symbolism, however? Oh, does that go deep. Earlier this year, I marathoned eps 1-24 and End of Evangelion. At the beginning, Shinji was a loner, whiny, and had issues with his parents and his sexuality… but he had the capacity to reach out and connect with people despite difficulties. That quickly changed. Shinji’s waffling is reflective of Anno’s desire to run away from Gainax, Asuka is a metaphor for his plummeting self esteem, Rei is a female Anthropomorphic Personification of Anno’s dysthymia – which, apparently, in Japanese otaku culture, is a turn on. (As much as I dislike the characters, I must admit that aspects of Shinji’s and Asuka’s storylines hit painfully close to home for me.) I preferred the interaction between Ritsuko and Misato, the only relationship that seemed organic in the series. So, Misato tells Shinji that he needs to care less about what other people think, so he can become a happier person. I saw 25 and 26 before this, and hated them... Instead of taking Misato’s good advice (I can’t believe I wrote those words), Shinji declares that he is defined through how others perceive him, and since they perceive him as a coward, he is content to remain one. Where's the character arc? End of Evangelion was even worse. Shinji is dragged into the dual role of Christ and Adam kicking and screaming all the way. By the movie’s end, you can tell that he hasn’t changed for the better… because he's just tried to kill the only other living human being on the planet. It’s a credit to fanfic authors and the undeniable, JesuOtaku approved appeal of those first few episodes that have me coming back for more, much in the same way that my dog eats what he pukes up: I want to see the movies, in the hopes that Anno has finally stopped reading Freud and picked up The Man With A Thousand Faces. An engaging story and relatable characters shouldn’t be too much to ask of him… should it?

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An interesting perspective on humongous mecha
I am going to admit right off that Eva is probably overhyped. It is not an extraordinary anime... but considering the angle it takes (namely, a very unique one), I would say it is worth watching. Everyone reading this review probably knows the basic idea. Eva takes the character set for a standard humongous mecha anime. And then it asks, what would happen if we deconstructed this over and over, until there was nothing left to deconstruct?

The main thing about eva is that it goes to the extreme in its deconstruction. For some people, this means that it's too extreme to believe. The characters might come off as being outrageously miserable and unlucky, in which case eva will seem a bit overdone, just *too* miserable, and it won't work for you.

However, if you can get over the severity of it, it makes a lot of sense. All the "bad" stuff that's happened to our unfortunate cast (both in their history and throughout the series) is justifiable and explained by the backstory. And if you get over the terrifyingly (outrageously) depressing backstories, the series works. The first half isn't too harsh; there are even scenes for domestic comedy. But the second half really shows character development, as the protagonists experience an utterly terrible world of suck that is really quite well executed. Ignore the religious imagery; it's not what counts here. It's the battles, which are more than just mechs and flashy swords.

And then the series comes to its end, and what you think of the ending will vary. The standard ending was a bit of a letdown for me; it seemed a bit too happy for such a painful series. YMMV of course; it might make perfect sense to you. End of Eva on the other hand... is what you'd expect this series to end like, taken to the extreme (of extremes). Some people will find it way too much (character derailment), others will find that it fits perfectly. I liked it. However the majority of the nightmare fuel is in this section.

All in all, Eva lets the humongous mecha set a stage for an examination of the human condition. It realistically considers how a 14-year old kid would react if he had to save the world, something few mecha series actually take into account (as heavily as they should). For some it'll be too extreme; otherwise I'd recommend.
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If you like Dali this might be just for you.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is in many ways like a painting by Dali. As some of his most famous paintings the series relay on a series of artful, often shocking images, and a disjointed story that prompts the viewer to come out with his own interpretation. To those who dislike the show, the apparent free asociation between religious imagery and post apocaliptic mecha might be to pretentious, and redundant (or distasteful). Yet still, there are many whom, like myself, happen to enjoy this endless array of technological and religious conspiracies to end the world.

Its is important to highlight that while some might disagree wiht it, the series does make a huge leap forwad striving away from the stereotipical archetype most anime seem to be following this days. While to some people it might be frustrating and underwhealming to have a set of character who display, aprently with out reason, deep emotional and phsycological problems, do to the context in which the series is set, this happens to be compleatly understandable, and at least one can say the series is made by means of the creative process and not for the exclusive pourpose of generating audiences (which it did nontheless).

Indeed, a high octane nightmare fuel, the series animated sequences (two last episodes not included since they really are bad not matter how you look at them)are masterful and surrealistic, in a playfuly and creative way. While, its not unreasonable to say is one of the best animes ever made, it depends on your taste weather you like it or not.

In summary... if you like futurustic technology, conspiracies, mythicism, action, mecha, physcology, maquiavelic and sinister characters, or an end of the world story, this is what you might be looking for. Otherwise if your looking for heros, a likable cast, a straightforward story, or some sort of "a coming of age", then "Oh boy!" arent you goin to be mindfucked. It depends on how you look at it like everything else in life.

On an afternote, I specially like the portrayal of the NERV headquarters, and the cicadas. Got to love the sound cicadas make.
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Worth it even if you know it through osmosis already.
Anyone who's a long-time troper has already heard a lot about this series; I went into this knowing all the characters, that it's a deconstruction and a psychological study, that it's an end-of-the-world drama using and abusing a lot of Christian eschatology, and that it gets worse, ultimately ending in heavily mindfuck territory.

Is it worth watching even if you know how it will end up, roughly? Even if, like me, you haven't seen any of the works that this is a deconstruction of? (I haven't watched much anime, and no mecha shows.)

Unequivocally yes, in my experience. Evangelion is a series that does not require you to know your anime backward and forward to get the point, and the aspects of mecha anime it's deconstructing aren't very alien ideas, in the end; heroism, teenage soldiers, even the typical character types of such shows have their common Western equivalents. The parts of it that aren't really a giant robot show at all are even more approachable; Freudian psychology and its applicability to parent/child relationships and dynamics, sexuality in its disturbingly powerful ways, beliefs about the end of the world, about the relationship between the divine and the human, about the nature of madness and obsession.

The last two episodes of the original series are so low-budget as to hurt the endeavor, especially episode 25; in most ways, End of Evangelion is those episodes remade with a budget and real animation.

The early episodes will lull you into a false sense of security. Most of the mind-screw is later, and some of it is indeed nightmare fuel, even for the jaded. The first dozen episodes are good, but the real meat of the series is after that. The best parts are between about episode 12 and 24.

Some parts of it have dated in fifteen years, especially the millenarian fixation and some of the technology, but this is not hard sci-fi; it's about human nature with science-fantasy trappings.

Strongly recommended, even if you're not an anime nut, though a passing familiarity with its tropes certainly helps. If you can't stand Freudian psychology, it may not be for you.
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