In which Avdi alienates his few remaining readers
So I watched the first four epsiodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion this past week. It came much recommended. It was good, I guess. I can see that it’s high quality, as Anime goes. It didn’t do much for me though.
I suspect I’ll never trully “get” Anime. Part of it is probably due to the culture gap. Watching most anime I find myself in a constant state of low-level “WTF?” at the character’s actions and motivations. Then there’s the way even the most serious Anime is punctuated by moments of purely sophomoric humor, which jar my western sensibilities. The gender stereotypes don’t help either, so much more pronounced than I’m used to.
Most of all, though, is the way the drama seems to be laid on with a trowel in an art form so often lauded for it’s nuance and subtlety. There are many moments when I just want to say “OK! I get it already! Can we move on now?”
There are moments of beauty. There’s a lovely sequence in Evangelion where the main character sits, despondent and motionless, on a train while passengers come and go and finally disappear altogether. Meanwhile cities are replaced by suburbs and finally the rural countryside in the train’s windows. It’s quite evocative; the trouble is, I’ve seen it before. As a cartoon imitation of a fairly common film idiom, it feels a little tired.
Then there’s the music (I’m gonna catch hell for this, I just know it). I’m sorry, but the J-Rock and J-Pop I’ve heard isn’t moving, or cute, or campy-in-a-good-way, or good in any of the other ways music can be good. It’s just schlocky warmed-over leftovers from the 80s, reminescent of pushing the “Demo” button on a casio keyboard. It’s hard to stay in an art-appreciation frame of mind when the theme song is saying “bad Disney saturday-morning cartoon” to me. Japan has a fine musical tradition, as far as I know; so why do they score even their serious Anime with the cheesiest-of-the-cheese?
I wonder how many friends I have left after that screed…