Evangelion 1.01 You are (Not) Alone

I didn’t really care for the original Evangelion series. It was just too pretentous, and the characters rubbed me the wrong way. Shinji in particular was a whiny wrist cutter who made me want him to just go “up the street.” So, when I heard Evangelion was releasing an OVA series I was hesitant to watch it.

I was actually surprised.  In fact, I must say, You are (Not) Alone is pretty good. Shinji still grates on my nerves, but with the faster pacing I can actually tolerate it and even see his character develop better than in the series. The story just works better in this shorter format.

You are (Not) Alone opens with Shinji being called to NERV headquarters by his father just as an Angel attacks. Angels are aliens bent on the destruction of humanity. Shinji is forced to pilot the last hope of humanity: the Eva. Mind you, Shinji had no experience piloting anything let alone a giant war machine. Evangelion never did get into exactly why teenagers had to be pilots. The OVA continues with Shinji’s meeting with Rei Ayanami. Asuka Soryu doesn’t fit into the timeline covered.

I still dislike how Shinji and Rei (along with the other characters to some extent) seek external validation for their lives to mean something.  Hmmm..the original series never did resolve this from what I remember.

I had forgotten the sexual awkwardness Evangelion had between the characters. There was  also a surprising amount of fairly detailed underaged nudity…Rei fans will be excited I guess. The jumpsuits were disturbingly tight.

The animation was polished, but kept the original’s feel. The computer animated Eva’s and Angels was noticeable against the animated backgrounds. Like in the original most of the action was in montages of computer screens, connection animations, and people spending 5 minutes announcing this or that system is ready. You know. The traditional mecha version of announcing an attack. At least the Evas fought crisply. Generally the animation is good but still looks dated compared to more modern feasts like my favorite mecha Eureka Seven.

I still think Evangelion is overrated, but it’s not terrible by any means. It takes itself far too seriously. How seriously can we take giant robots fighting each other?  The OVAs still are too pretentous.

Surprisingly, I was looking forward to the next installment. The characters were  far more interesting…and tolerable…in this shorter movie format. I’m just hoping the ending for the OVAs will be better than the mess the original ended with.