Is Evangelion flawed? Certainly. There's no doubt about it. While Eva is better than 95% of the stuff out there, its certainly far from perfect and has its points that drive me absolutely nutz at times. The show starts off great, falls into a rut for a little while, hits its climax, then crashes towards the end. End of Eva by far made up for many of the big flaws at the end though and is still probably my #1 anime movie of all time.
Spoilers, of course.
My problems with Eva:
1) The show turns into too much of a Monster of the Week type show in the middle. Now I'm not saying episodes 6-13 were poor quality, at least compared to other mecha shows out there, but the fact is that Anno & Co wasted a tremendous amount of time earlier in the series that they really needed later on. Those eps are fun to watch, but when you get towards the end and the show is running out of steam because there isn't enough time left to handle everything, then the fact that they had far too many Angels and wasted too much time on comedic stuff in early episodes becomes apparant.
2) Episode 21. For a show whose trademark is being mysterious and through provoking, this episode was the exact opposite; a spastic presentation of an absurd amount of backstory told very directly. Again, not necessarily a bad episode, but really contradicts the style of the rest of the series.
3) Rei's Death. The first half of episode 23 was extremely good. Built up to Rei's death in a great manner. Went off almost perfectly. Then she comes back two minutes later. Completely blows the emotional impact the first half of the episode had, rendering it almost worthless. Here it becomes extremely important that they should have saved more time earlier in the series so they could have at least a whole episode before she came back.
4) Kaworu. Like Rei's death, there just wasn't enough time for him considering the impact he had on the storyline. Shinji acted like they were friends since birth when Kaworu only had about 15 minutes of screentime. Again, like with Rei, the impact of what Shinji had to do to him was rather spoiled considering they didn't have enough time to better develop the relationship between the two of them.
5) Taji and Kensuke? Their houses were destroyed so they moved away. Yeah, thats good character resolution. Nuff said.
6) The pauses. Considering that they were already in such a time crunch by that point, using them was extremely idiotic.
7) And obviously, episodes 25 & 26. Worst ending in anime history? Yeah, its probably still up there in my mind. Although I have seen some quite bad ones since seeing Eva (Pilot Candidate comes to mind... *pukes*) I'll post a passage from my now seemingly deceased Eva site discussing my reasons
The TV ending is flawed at every turn. Start with it technically. Episodes 1-24 were bad enough with the stock footage but it simply goes into overdrive here. They literally drown you with the stuff. I don't know whats worse, those ridiculous still scenes in the elevator or with Unit 01 holding Kaworu, or these episodes. Its the pure epitome of cheapness and lack of innovation. Pauses and flashing stock footage at the viewer is something a grade school student would do. But someone with as much talent as Anno? Perhaps I'm giving him too much credit. While I enjoyed the music during the so called 'weird' scenes, they tend to use the lesser quality ones too much in these episodes like 'Introjection' and 'Ambivalence'. Evangelion's soundtrack was never steller to begin with, and its unfortunate that they don't use the opportunity to use tracks like 'Splitting of the Breast' or 'Mother Is the First Other' a few more times. Contrast this with the movie. Excellent animation. Occasional use of stock footage from the series, as is to be expected in an ending, but unlike the TV ending its not the entire show. As for the music... wow. From 'Thanatos' to 'Komm Susser Todd' the movie's soundtrack completely buries the dull monotone themes of the series that do little more than rehash the opening and closing themes. And never underestimate the use of a new ending track for the finale. It was great with 'Blue' in Cowboy Bebop and 'The Story of Escaflowne' in Escaflowne. In Eva, after the ending, something that I'd like to consider special considering its the finale, all we get is the same old boring 'Fly Me To the Moon' garbage. I dispised the song the entire series for the pure laziness of using it. The TV ending keeps the tradition unlike the wonderful movie where we get not one, but 2 seperate themes for the 2 ending credits.
I suppose what perfectly defines the pond scum that the TV ending is the resolution factor. Evangelion has a million questions presented in the first 24 episodes. What are the Angels? Where do they come from? Whats Adam? If its not the giant on the cross, than what happened to it? Whats Lillith? How is she relevent? What is SEELE's true objectives? Why are they in such conflict with Gendou? Whats the truth behind the Eva's? Whats Third Impact? And so on... And its not just unanswered questions. As episode 24 ended each and every character needed resolution except for poor Kaji, who was dispatched a few episodes earlier (the identity of his shooter is yet another mystery presented...) So, we finally get the ending in the final 2 episodes. And what do we get? All the answers? Half the answers? A quarter of the answers? A few answers? Maybe just one? Nope. Squat. Zilch. Nada. Everything in the series is dumped like a bad date. Angels? Who cared. Third Impact? We may have mentioned that a million times but we'll just leave it unresolved. Eva Series? Bah, forget that was mentioned in practically every episode of the second half. Resolution is important. Without resolution something rightfully can't be called an ending. And in the TV ending of Eva we get no resolution. We get Shinji thinking about how he should act. Nothing else. Of course supporters of the TV ending would say that none of that stuff ever mattered, only Shinji did. Bullshit! If this was a series purely about psychological studies of teenage boys, thats all we'd get. There wouldn't be mechas. There wouldn't be hot anime babes. There wouldn't be religious symbolism and discussions about Third Impacts and Eva Series. Oppose this to the movie. All the resolution you could need. Third Impact, Eva Series, SEELE, Lillith, Adam, etc... are all given good resolution. Rather than just lazily flash us with shots of dead characters since we're too lazy to do anything with them, we get proper ends to Ritsuko and Misato. And a much better final scene. Endless 'congradulations' or Asuka and Shinji alone in a wasteland. No, I'm not a guy who wants Asuka and Shinji together, but Asuka complaining to me for a minute is a hell of a lot better than a minute of 'Congradulations' repeated over and over again.
Another thing I couldn't stand about the TV ending is the final message. Shinji has worth as a person and doesn't need the mecha to find happiness. Hello!?!?!? Anno, where you watching the same series as I was during the first 24 episodes? If anything, episodes 1-24 prove without a shadow of a doubt that Shinji is a worthless individual that gets all his success and happiness from the Eva. Lets list them. Shinji gets to be with his father again because of the Eva. Shinji gets that all important congradulations from his father because of the Eva. Shinji makes friends with Touji and Kensuke because of the Eva. Shinji gets to live with a babe like Misato because of the Eva. Shinji no longer has a boring life with his teacher because of the Eva. Shinji meets the person he loves more than anything else, because of the Eva. Shinji is always portrayed as a pathetic person without the Eva. Look at episode 4. Shinji sleeping in the movie theater like a homeless person or sitting on the subway forever because he runs from the Eva. Then we reach the ending. And what does that tell us? That Shinji does have worth! That the mecha isn't important! Well if that was the case, then why the hell did you contradict it in every single one of the first 24 episodes!??!? Now the movie certainly doesn't portray Shinji in a good light, with him masturbating in front of Asuka or being pulled around like a baby by Misato. But atleast he's in character in the movie. He's not running around being congradulated for nonscensical reasons.
Two endings versus each other. One is End of Evangelion. A great movie that resolves the TV series nearly flawlessly while also providing great animation and intriguing music. Personally one of my favorite anime movies. The other is the TV ending. A pure example of why Anno can't get it done when it comes to crunch time. Folding completely under pressure. Excuses don't cut it with me. Worst anime ending in the history of the medium in my opinion. Argument over.
Eva peaked IMHO with episodes 18-20. It unfortunately started to fall apart after that. Still a top 5 anime ever with me? Certainly. But its far from perfect.Originally posted on: 27-Feb-2006, 23:16 GMT