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Neon Genesis Evangelion is certainly a series which has earned its place in the Pantheon of greats…
Whether it is the obfuscated, and symbolically rich narrative of mankind, seemingly struggling against its very creator, or the nature of common family, love and abuse which is being explored, or the way in which Anno Hideaki seems happy (especially in light of the money which keeps rolling in) to tinker, twist, warp and even break his own story as time goes on, few can deny the authority with which the series speaks.
It is one of the true icons of anime largely because it is willing and – which is greater – able to address so many genres within the ‘beloved medium’ so readily. Indeed, not only to comment, but to propound on the very nature of them.
Evangelion is an appropriate name for a series which seeks to teach, even redefine what these ‘sacred cows’ of anime (harem, sport, school, family-drama, hentai, martial art, history, religious and – of course – mecha) could, should and must be as a minimum standard.
Certainly, the ‘Post Eva’ world is not all hyper-real, thought provoking material to be sure, as the current teeny-bopper musical act drama bubble has yet to burst. However, looking at many series in the core genre (Macross Frontier, Gundam, Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill, and so forth) it is clear how much of Gainax’s (sometime insane) genius has been taken in by the professional community.
Anno Hideaki is responsible for much of this, with his almost iconoclastic approach to the industry, conventions, and the sort of unwillingness to accept limits that has seen him regularly called insane over the years. The state of his mind aside, there is something remarkable about a young man who can take a university animation club turning out things like this:
…and seemingly on the strength of will alone negotiate the rise of a company capable of this:
People often forget that this 1987 feature was the first commercial production for Gainax and not the product of the infinitely ‘settled’ concern which it seems to be.
Oh, and we really need more Honnemaise models. Like 1/48 or 1/35 scale fighters for a start…. And those APCs and tanks…. and that ruddy rocket…. And I’ll shut up now.
Long story short, Gainax seems to have ‘The Touch’, and that cannot be denied. However, we must remember that, though Anno is something of a Wunderkind, he does not do this all alone. Without Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, Yamaga Hiroyuki, Akai Takami, Okada Toshio, Takeda Yasuhiro and Higuchi Shinji things might have been very different — especially if Yamashita Ikuto had not joined the company and brought his mechanical design talents with him….
Ikuto has always seemed to have both an eye for the unusual, and an ability to ground even his wilder thoughts in the ‘real’.
The Eva units themselves are works of art, but I’ve always had an eye for his other work, and have lusted after this little VTOL thing since the first time I saw it.
Kotobukiya has established an excellent reputation for the elegant simplicity of its designs of late, yet I was still surprised at how few components made up this build, and yet how detailed each component actually was.
Let’s see how this builds up, then…
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