Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Bright Side to Dark Reality

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Alternative Name Shinseiki Evangelion; 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン

Created and Directed By Hideaki Anno

Original Run October 3, 1995 – March 27, 1996 (26 episodes finished)

Genre Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mecha, Psychological, Romance, Science-fiction, Supernatural

Plot

Fourteen year old Shinji Ikari is called by his father Gendou to become an Evangelion pilot (together with other pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley-Soryu) and destroy the Angels. The truth behind the creations of both Evangelions and Angels are slowly revealed, as well as NERV’s true darkest intentions.

Main Review 

There is more to this mecha anime than meets the eye. It is interesting to see how Neon Genesis Evangelion has taken a different perspective from the anime/manga ideal (which is based on achieving one’s dreams and good triumphs over evil), being a tragedy-based anime that puts a higher emphasis on the dark side of reality. Nature is replaced by Man- made creations, the environment is pretty much destroyed, material success is more valued than family relationships that are ignored, religion only exists as a name (thus, the use of religious names for aesthetic purposes like the MAGI) and human beings are letting themselves drown in their struggles leading to alcoholism, insecurities, self-pity, lust, mental break-downs, ego centrism and hatred for others. Another interesting aspect is the controversial religious themes, wherein the ironic use of religious names. The destroyed Tokyo-3 is referred as the “city of paradise,” while there’s also an irony behind Adam and the Angels (respectively designed as the first human to give birth to other humans and beacons of hope in humankind in the Bible) being referred as the human’s enemies. The title in itself, meaning the “Gospel of New Century,” is also ironic as seen in the society’s portrayal opposite to the world tied with God. The city, being the sole representation of the entire world, is shown as a vast desperate land, filled with destroyed surroundings, success through evil means, problems solved in the meanest, if not, self-destructive ways, relationships under the rocks and ignorance of God’s existence.

The characters have spent most of their time questioning themselves (in own and other’s perceptions), their reasons of existence, their relationship with others and with surroundings, and the environment they live in. Thus, the captivating theme of psychoanalysis, most particularly the coming-of-age involving self-discovery and teens and young adults angst. Other interesting themes to consider are greed, ambition, corruption of power and manipulation of mankind, shown through Human Instrumentality where salvaged human lives are used to provide mind and emotions to Evangelion cyborgs and to give birth to Rei Ayanami, later revealed as a clone. Rei’s passivity and emotionally-deprived nature proves how humans are rather used as objects than as subjects with minds of their own. Destroying and (re)creating the Angels, thus the devise of NERV headquarters.

What else to like about Evangelion? The plot and the entertainment it brings. The plot already involves an outstanding and unpredictable twist, and has strong audience impact by bringing burden to the audience’s hearts and minds as though they are facing the same struggles as the characters. The unintended meaning makes the plot deeper and challenging enough for audience to have different interpretations. Meanwhile, the rolled-up comedy, action, mecha, science fiction, drama and love-hate romance adds entertainment to the series. The characters are interesting enough to be either loved or hated, being portrayed enough with more human-like attributes. The soundtracks are catchy, though unnecessary in the battle scenes. And although it is not as improved as the remastered films (Evangelion 1.0, 2.22, and 3.0), the quality of art and animation is already excellent for a 90’s anime.

The only aspect I dislike in Neon Genesis Evangelion is the melodramatic finale. I could not stand hearing Shinji’s break down all the way through and the other characters who excessively question about life as though they have nothing else to think about. Another to dislike about the anime is how Shinji can remember his mother well. I find it very inconsistent, as it is impossible for a person to recall his or her three year old memories. Not forgetting to mention how Shinji was only three when his mother died.

I never regretted watching Neon Genesis Evangelion in my late childhood. It had those rolled-up entertainment that tuned my 10/11 year old self, although I never understood the story line perspective and its message. It is not until adulthood that I begin to understand the series’ deeper aspects. It is still worth-tuning after several years, proving that Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the greatest masterpieces ever made.

Overall Rating 4.95/5 stars (9.9/10)

Sources

Neon Genesis Evangelion, MyAnimeList

Neon Genesis Evangelion, Wikipedia

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Danganronpa The Animation. The horror anime for 12-15 year olds.

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Full Name Danganronpa, Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei – The Animation

Alternative Title Danganronpa, Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair; ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生 THE ANIMATION

Original Run July 5, 2013 – September 27, 2013 (13 episodes finished)

Genre Action, horror, mystery, psychological

Plot

A group of 15 students have been called to a first-class high school wherein the sole survivor of the serial killings graduates. The rule of the game is to find the killer, who will be executed when found or to let the rest be executed when the unfound killer graduates.

Main Review

I find this anime juvenile in terms of story line. The violence and profanity makes it more suitable for matured audiences than the younger ones, but Danganronpa resembles nothing more than the Goosebumps version of Battle Royale, having a serial killing plot with little or no purpose behind. It is only about the group of students who have been called to survive the killings and by being the sole survivor, he or she is then eligible to graduate. Does it indicate how the government or the school system wants to teach rebellious children some lessons and exert full authority on them like Battle Royale does? Apparently not. Danganronpa is more based on how minds are played, which is already shown in other anime like Mirai Nikki. Despite the minor purpose, it is meant for pure entertainment than anything else.

I won’t fail to cite the downsides of this anime. One is the predictability of the storyline. The audience already knows what will happen in the entire series after one episode and no matter how it tries to be unpredictable with the escape plot scene, it still failed to do so due to serial killings followed by the investigations. Another aspect not to like is the repetitive boring scenes. Each episode follow the murder-investigation-trial-execution structure with little or no attempt to break the cycle. Third is the unrealistic plot where finding the culprit is faster than the normal, and the culprit will suddenly break into tears, admitting that the murder is committed by him or her. This will never happen in a well-developed anime and other works of fiction, wherein the investigation takes time, involves many challenges, and the guilty will not easily admit his or her crime and will even plot for an escape. And finally, the overall plot is very shallow, with lack of character portrayal. The soundtracks are not very catchy to listen to and I personally find Monobear annoying.

Meanwhile, there’s one thing I appreciate in this anime that outweighs all the disliked aspects. It’s how it keeps me going, provoking my curiosity in knowing who’s to be killed next and who will survive in the end (though I know that it’s going to be Makoto Naegi, the protagonist of the series). I also like how it has gotten better as it reached its second half. My favorite characters in the series are Celestia Ludenberg (the gothic lolita and my absolute favorite), Kyouko Kirigiri, Sayaka Maizono (the pop sensation, and my absolute fave as well), Chihiro Fujisaki (the crossdresser), Byakuya Togama, Aoi Asahina and Leon Kuwata. It’s such a pity that their life stories are not revealed and their names are always forgotten. If the characters were portrayed enough, none of these would have happened.

Speaking of recommendations, I am uncertain on which age group Danganronpa is supposed to target. Most otaku will tell me to recommend it to the matured audience due to violence, while myself, who cares about the story above anything, would rather recommend it for younger teens passionate of gore. They’re old enough to handle the level of violence shown in Danganronpa and would definitely enjoy the story line about succeeding murder mysteries no matter how shallow they can be. I can neither recommend this to children younger than 12, who cannot handle such violence, nor to older audience (16 and above) who are yearning for a deeper and more challenging plot. And besides, this anime is not that violent as compared to other anime of similar types (take a look at Battle Royale, it’s even more brutal). I admit enjoying this anime as an adult, but it will be more enjoyable to the eyes of 12-15 year olds.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars (7/10)

Sources

Danganronpa, MyAnimeList

Danganronpa Wikia

Killswitch Engage Live in Manila: July 31, 2013

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Killswitch Engage Live in Manila

July 31, 2013, 8PM, at SM Skydome North EDSA

Man that was such a blast! Definitely worth a distance even when the venue was far from your place. I really enjoyed rocking to the max with them live and found it hilarious seeing them roaming around the stage. Also loving those co-fans keeping up with the energy, their unpredictable songs going from slow to headbang (and vice versa) and of course, the unforgettable experience it has provided! Though I didn’t have a guitar pick or anything from the band (just the merch).

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Filipino rock band Slapshock as the concert front act.
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Killswitch Engage finally rocking the stage!! \m/

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