Yes, it is true, there is one anime out there that MADE the U.S. anime industry. And that anime is Neon Genesis Evangelion. Before EVA most U.S. companies shied away from buying and distributing long anime television shows. They mostly stuck to the shorter OVAs and the one-shot movies. But then the phenom known as EVA broke all the traditional storytelling no-nos and was celebrated as the second coming because of it... And everybody in the U.S. wanted it. Seriously, I hadn't see such built up, pants-gizzing over a piece of media since Lucas said he was working on Prequels... But at least EVA lived up to its hype. It had a cast of characters of whom NOT ONE was sane. It was a "giant robot" show in which the giant robots weren't even giant robots, and their enemies were possibly biblical disciples (for you lame fucks out there who think that "Shito" means "angel"... well, you're lame fucks who believe anything you're told without question... just leave this page, become a vegan and start protesting for gay shit. Leave me alone). And it had one of the most anticlimactic finalés ever originally produced for any entertainment medium ever. Ever. And it broke all sales records because of (in spite of?) it.
Now, to be honest I am pretty biased towards EVA. I fell in love with the show before most Japanese fans did. It debuted on October 4th, 1995 but didn't really start catching on in the fatherland until the 8th episode. I personally saw the first launching of the EVA-01 on October 21st of that same year, and for the first and only time in my life I actually wanted to be Japanese in order to see the rest of it as soon as was humanly possible... Yup, that's right, I was ready to sacrifice my rugged Scottish good looks, height and length for the sake of a cartoon (Thank God that God doesn't really listen to our prayers or that wish I momentarily had would have fucked me for life!). Now, don't forget that 1995 was before the whole "internet thing" really caught on, and there was no way in HELL that anybody could handle the bandwidth for digisubs of any decent size (anything over 12kb of information took 4+ hours to download). Nope, I had to rely on 100% authentic fansubs back then. The con that I first saw NGE at had only just gotten the subbed tape in their pudgy little hands about an hour and a half before its scheduled showtime too. Those were the days, people... Those were the days.
I don't know what my point was, so I'll just jump face first back into the review now before more conufsion sets in.
Evangelion was the kick to the crotch wake-up call that the anime industry needed back in '95. Things were pretty stale. Most shows were just rehashing stuff from the 70s and 80s, with hack directors just crapping new/old retreads out like shit through a goose (I'm making this part up as I go, I really don't remember the state of the Japanese anime industry a decade ago). But then, Hideaki Anno had a brain aneurism, a stroke, and a really bad acid trip all at the same time and came up with the idea for EVA, just like Doc Brown suddenly had the glorious epiphany of the flux capacitor after bashing in his head while trying to hang that clock in his bathroom. Only Anno had to have his stomach pumped after he chowed down on two dozen pot brownies in one sitting right after it happened.
So, Anno had the idea for turning the world's wussiest pusswad into the world's best last hope for salvation (well, I won't ruin the ending for those EVA virgins out there who still haven't gotten your anime-cherry popped), but then he had to convince the rest of his uber-studio, Gainax (makers of the ever impressive Nadia, Gunbuster, Daicon III and IV opening animations, and Wings of Honneymayonaise), that turning his bizarre thoughts and imagined-as-he-went-along storyline into a 26 episode animated program would be the best thing ever for them. In hindsight, it's easy to see how he would be able to convince his crew (just by showing them the Gainax bank account after EVA toys, T-shirts and blow-up dolls put them well into the black)... But think about it -- Just how in the fuck did he persuade them that a pessimistic show about the apocalypse and all the mental fucks who run the secret world-wide organization that uses angelic creatures with the souls of trapped women in them and the fucked-up, cloned-up, 15 year-old pilots that drive them, while giant monsters that look like Rubix Cubes and giant eyes from space dropped the bomb on everything would be the greatest thing since animated tentacle rape? And the fact that he actually made the plot up as he went just boggles my tiny little mind. Completely boggles. And flummoxes it too.
Just what makes EVA so great?... I honestly don't know. It was the style and the storytelling that initially got me into it though. The thought that went into everything. The way that the secrets were only gradually revealed to the audience over the course of the 26 episode run and the movies. Plus those giant Reeboks that the EVAs wear are just so chic. Yeah, Misato is a hottie, Kaji is da man, and Gendo is the biggest asshat on the planet whom I admire... but they were all so screwed up. Not one of the characters was right in the head. Shinji was the most annoying whiner since Nadia, Rei was all quiet and cloney, Misato was catatonic for 1/2 her life and then a raging alcoholic, and PenPen even had an Oedipal complex with his foster mom (along with Shinji and his real mom now that I think about it). Gendo was a pedo perv, Ritsuko tried her best to follow in her mom's fucktarded footsteps, and Asuka... Well, I could write several whole books on her mental state alone.
But that screwed-up, almost psycho cast is also what makes EVA stand apart from all the rest of the riff-raff (of the past, and even most of the crap that gets released today). It tried to show that the world isn't all roses and puppy farts. There's angst, pain, fear, tears and albino cloning going on all around us. It just put all that realistic bad stuff into a sci-fi setting. And in the end, it was good. True, it did bring about the age of the brooding hero and the bizarre plot twist in anime and video games as we know it, but honestly I'd prefer a story with several big twists in it with an "angry at the world" protagonist than a boring, straight forward yarn with a peppy and personable lead. And boooy did we get them ("angry at the world" heroes). Not that these shows were necessarily clones of EVA per se, but they did borrow heavily from the most successful traits of Anno's head-injury-induced animated opus. I won't name names... You're already aware of what's stolen what (or you would be if you just thought about it for a minute, plus I'm tired and don't feal like naming names myself. Nap time.)... But now I'm even further from an actual review than I was 3 paragraphs ago. Damn it!
Okay, let me just quickly (really) review Evangelion for you before I get distracted again. EVA is about a pussy named Shinji who's father is in charge of the secret world-wide organization known as NERV which was set up to save the planet from giant shito (aka "disciples", or the Englishfied "Angels") that march around blowing shit up in their search for.... something. Shinji gets inducted into NERV in order to pilot the purple and bright green EVA Unit 01. He meets Rei, Misato, Asuka, Kaji and some kids from his new school, learns that life can be fun, gets stabbed in the back by his father on several occasions, gets a new best friend, squashes his new best friend like a bug (a bug I tell you!) and then freaks out, wanks his meat over an unconscious co-pilot, and then gets a front row seat to the playing out of the Book of Revelations complete with a huge, glowing Tree of Life in the skies above Tokyo-3. All good times.
The character histories and how they relate to each character's interactions throughout the story are played out with the perfect amount of panache. Anno really knows how to lay things out like that. I'm guessing it's all the crack smoking that does it for him. Yes, upon the first through twenty-third viewings EVA may seem like it doesn't make sense... But it does, and you don't even really truly 100% need to be stoned to get it. Just watch it and wonder what narcotics actually drove a man to create such a vision.... Hash? Heroine?... Seriously, Robot Pedro wants some.
All hail the BEAST! The beast is alive inside the Evan-jelly-ons! Worship the beast. The beast is your friend.
See, I like to believe that this Eva show is not about a wussy little turd who flies a giant robot with an extension cord... No, it's about the death of every living goddamn thing on the planet at the hands of some waif-like devil bitch out in space. That is the defining moment of everything Film has been working up to since the dawn of time. And only that whack-job, Anno, had the balls to make it.
After the Rossman showed me this TV series about a little bitch-boy and his monster robot I began to dream, and boy did I dream big. This Neon Streetlight Evanescence show made me realize why I was put here on this little mudball called Terra. I was born to make a giant, alien, carnivore man-thing of my very own. One that would tower over skyscrapers, step on automobiles as if they were very small automobiles, and rip apart and devour invaders (i.e. the FBI in my case) like they were tasty morsels made by Mr. Fried Chicken.
Alas, my own brain capacity was my own downfall. I was indeed able to breathe life into such a creature... but the thing was only three foot four since the only "Angel" I was able to clone in order to make the little bugger was that little midget at the circus who had those wings growing out of his back like a divine demon from the bowels of hell. I dressed my little "E.V.A." (short for "Economized Vision of Antipope-ocity") up in a tiny suit of armor and they hung him above the door to my lair in order to get the drop upon any G-men who were stupid enough to come a knocking with one of their fancy "warrants" or "arrest papers". All the little E.V.A. ended up doing though was eating his own arms (that was my fault, I left him up there for a week and tried to make him meaner and more violent by starving him sober) before dying by choking on a piece of his suit of armor, and then harmlessly falling on the Rossman when he came by to have his ear sewn back on from yet another incident with some agitated coworker.
After my E.V.A. experiment failed horribly, I began working on my attempts to clone hot albino chicks in which to put in tight, white clothes and... well, that's pretty much it. Unfortunately I couldn't find any albinos (not even a male, let alone an attractive, busty female with a nice butt), so I just put an ad in the paper and got some college girl to apply to by my albino donor. She was originally a brunette, but after scalding her in a cauldron of boiling water and then bleaching her lovely dark locks and green irises a nice white color, I began the cloning procedure. Well, it worked in a sense... By the end of the day there were hundreds of blind albino women running around, but unfortunately none of them agreed to get into the white T-shirt that I offered as a uniform in which I would have sprayed them with a hose filled with my own version of LCL... KY Jelly. It's oh-so slippery.