For a while now I’ve wanted to have a good chat about the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Ever since I discovered the DVD series in 2001 I was fascinated by its unusual appeal. To a large extent it looked like your regular anime, but nevertheless, something different was going on here as well. The protagonist was more often than not crippled by severe emotional problems and a perpetual sense of insecurity and fatalism. A lot of emphasis was laid on his relationship with other characters, and the resulting interaction is one of the series most important achievements.
The consensual opinion seems to be that you either love or hate Evangelion. While I myself am a firm supporter of the franchise, I certainly do acknowledge its flaws. Many people whom I all respect as anime and/or sci-fi conoisseurs have expressed a genuine love as well as utter distaste for the series. The series' plot falls apart near the end, although it could be argued that that's not wholly the fault of its creators. The religious and philosophical window-dressing is a tad irritating and makes Evangelion seem even more pretentious than it (arguably) already is. Moreover, the "End of Evangelion" movie is frankly ridiculous (at least towards the end), whatever creative arguments people come up with to try and elevate it to a status up there with 2001: a Space Oddysey for example.
In its defense, the series gives a refreshing spin on the "pubescent boy piloting huge robot into adulthood" genre. Like I said, the character of Shinji is interesting in that respect and without getting into it, the psychological themes are pretty recognisable, to me at least. But I guess that's very personal. Aside from that, one of the best scores ever, incredibly intense battles and the sense that something is really at stake still make this one of my favourite series ever.
Obviously there’s a lot more to say about this series, and I have VERY vague plans of writing an article on it in the future, but for now my creative juice has to be redirected elsewhere. What I’d really like to know is what other peoples’ take on this is. Do you consider it one of the most important anime ever made, or is this a classic case of the emperor’s new clothes?