Anime Reviews:

Neon Genesis Evangelion

(Hideki Anno, 1995, AD Vision)

This long-awaited TV series from the renowned Gainax studio rode in on a wave of hype comparable to that of the Oasis album, thanks to record sales in Japan. But opinion-wise it is perhaps more comparable to the Spice Girls: people either like it or hate it, with few in the middle. Me, I hated it. But this wasn't an instantaneous reaction; after the first few episodes, I was quite intrigued, because while the plot is the usual kid-robot-pilot-saves-Earth nonsense, it's a very low-key opening. The problem is that... well, having sat through TWENTY bleedin' episodes to date, it has yet to come out of low-key. It just plods along like a pedestrian version of The Guyver ["sounds terrifying!" - Ed] - rather than a big fight scene every episode, it's one every TWO episodes. The gap is filled up with angst-ridden nonsense as the hero struggles to relate to his father. (Screwed up families happens quite often in Gainax films...) The animation is good, as you'd expect from the people behind Wings of Honneamise, but there's just no narrative punch, especially compared to their previous series, Nadia which really NEEDED to be 39 episodes. You could probably cut Evangelion down to a movie without losing any of the impact.

Jim McLennan