Neon Genesis Evangelion

A lot of Evangelion references have been cropping up in my Twitter feed lately, and I (initially) wasn’t sure why. Well, it’s because Netflix just added it, and that’s kind of a big deal, because it hasn’t been (legally) available in the US since 2009 or thereabouts. I have the series on DVD, and finished watching it in 2003. (It originally came out, in Japan, in 1995.) I’ve occasionally thought about doing a re-watch, but have never gotten around to it. Nor have I gotten around to buying and/or watching any of the follow-up movies.

Maybe I should re-watch it on Netflix now. I just read a few of the recent articles about it, and I’m kind of curious what I’d think about it, at this point in my life. Would it make more sense? Less sense? Would it seem smarter? Dumber? Prescient? Outdated? I don’t know.

Here are some links to a few of the more interesting or useful articles I found:

  • Polygon has an article on the right way to watch the series. (In a nutshell: watch the original series. Don’t try to start with the movies.)
  • Quartz has an article that’s mostly about how the series resonates today: “Neon Genesis Evangelion is a classic 1995 Japanese animated series that takes place in a future that is already our past, the year 2015. Yet it has never been more relevant.”
  • The New Yorker has a short article that talks a bit about the theme of the man/machine relationship in Evangelion. (If you told me in 2003 that someday I’d be reading a serious article about Evangelion in the New Yorker, I would not have believed you.)
  • The Verge has an article calling Evangelion the “perfect story for this moment in history.” It talks a bit about the theme of “the Hedgehog’s Dilemma” and ties it to our current social/political climate. It’s a pretty smart take on the show, I think.
  • Finally, Polygon has a really great long article by Aaron Stewart-Ahn that goes into the history of the show, specifically in relation to Hideaki Anno’s “lifelong struggles with depression and alienation.” This one is definitely worth reading.

I have so much other stuff on my “want to watch” list that it probably doesn’t make sense for me to re-watch Evangelion right now, but I’m really tempted. I’ve been in the kind of mood lately where watching something like Eva might be either a very good or very bad idea. I’m not sure.

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