This article is the wiki archive page of the fansite Anta Baka!? formerly hosted on the EscaflowneOnline.com and containing essays by Sheamon refuting common misconceptions thrown about at the time. For Asuka's catchphrase, please see the Asuka Langley Soryu article.
This is an archival piece, and the opinions expressed are the original author's views at the time the article was written, and not representative of the standpoint of the EvaGeeks Wiki. The original AntaBaka!? and EscaflowneOnline.com websites are the property of Sheamon.
As evinced by the dates on these articles, this list of misconceptions is nearly 20 years old as of this archiving and much of the material in these essays has been superseded by updated material. For an updated list dealing with misconceptions pertaining to Evangelion, see List of Common Misconceptions.
- 1 Header
- 2 (Misconception: The TV ending is superior to the movie) Why the movie is vastly superior to the TV ending
- 3 (Misconception: Evangelion is a religiously offensive show) Just How Offensive is Eva?
- 4 (Evangelion will never air on American TV) Its Not as Unlikely as You Think...
- 5 (Misconception: Evangelion's Biggest Impact on the Medium) Eva's Biggest Impact
- 6 (Misconception: Evangelion is Original) What's wrong with being unoriginal?
- 7 (Misconception: Evangelion is Original) I Might Have An Eva Clone On My Hands...
- 8 (Misconception: Evangelion is Original) Evangelion, from 1980?
- 9 (Misconception: Evangelion is the best anime ever) There's No Such Thing as 'The Best'
- 10 (Misconception: Anno made the movie to get even with the fans) Damn Those Fans!!
Airing on Japanese television from 1995 to 1996, Neon Genesis Evangelion can be considered one of the most thought provoking animes of the 90's. Unfortunately misconceptions about this show are everywhere. Through a series of essays, this particular Eva fan hopes to steer not only fellow Eva fans, but all anime fans in general in the proper direction regarding this show. (Sheamon, undated)
(Misconception: The TV ending is superior to the movie) Why the movie is vastly superior to the TV ending
"Like watching an NBA basketball game for 3 quarters, only to have it suddenly change into a Golf game for the last 2 minutes, so Hideaki Anno and "Evangelion" have failed horribly in the aspects of Good Animation, as these last two episodes take a complete detour and turn the series into something totally off-course." -Kenneth Lee
Certainly a point that can be used to split the fanbase is this issue. Which ending is better, the series or the movie? I'm surprised that not only therer are people that prefer the series ending, but people out there who actually enjoy the series' final 2 episodes as an ending, period. Yeah, take a guess at which side of the issue I'm on.
As someone who knew the series ending would be 'out there' purely from reputation long before I saw Evangelion, I certainly can't relate to those who saw it unspoiled, or even worse those who watched the show on its original run. As much as I hate the TV ending, I'd probably dislike it even more if I was in that situation. Thus, I can't say the TV ending surprised me. It was a rather well known fact in April, 2001 when I saw the ending for the first time that it was so bad that it spawned a well known film.
How do I begin? The TV ending is flawed at every turn. Start with it technically. Episodes 1-24 were bad enough with the stock footage but it simply goes into overdrive here. They literally drown you with the stuff. I don't know whats worse, those ridiculous still scenes in the elevator or with Unit 01 holding Kaworu, or these episodes. Its the pure epitome of cheapness and lack of innovation. Pauses and flashing stock footage at the viewer is something a grade school student would do. But someone with as much talent as Anno? Perhaps I'm giving him too much credit. While I enjoyed the music during the so called 'weird' scenes, they tend to use the lesser quality ones too much in these episodes like 'Introjection' and 'Ambivalence'. Evangelion's soundtrack was never steller to begin with, and its unfortunate that they don't use the opportunity to use tracks like 'Splitting of the Breast' or 'Mother Is the First Other' a few more times. Contrast this with the movie. Excellent animation. Occasional use of stock footage from the series, as is to be expected in an ending, but unlike the TV ending its not the entire show. As for the music... wow. From 'Thanatos' to 'Komm Susser Todd' the movie's soundtrack completely buries the dull monotone themes of the series that do little more than rehash the opening and closing themes. And never underestimate the use of a new ending track for the finale. It was great with 'Blue' in Cowboy Bebop and 'The Story of Escaflowne' in Escaflowne. In Eva, after the ending, something that I'd like to consider special considering its the finale, all we get is the same old boring 'Fly Me To the Moon' garbage. I dispised the song the entire series for the pure laziness of using it. The TV ending keeps the tradition unlike the wonderful movie where we get not one, but 2 seperate themes for the 2 ending credits.
I suppose what perfectly defines the pond scum that the TV ending is the resolution factor. Evangelion has a million questions presented in the first 24 episodes. What are the Angels? Where do they come from? Whats Adam? If its not the giant on the cross, than what happened to it? Whats Lillith? How is she relevent? What is SEELE's true objectives? Why are they in such conflict with Gendou? Whats the truth behind the Eva's? Whats Third Impact? And so on... And its not just unanswered questions. As episode 24 ended each and every character needed resolution except for poor Kaji, who was dispatched a few episodes earlier (the identity of his shooter is yet another mystery presented...) So, we finally get the ending in the final 2 episodes. And what do we get? All the answers? Half the answers? A quarter of the answers? A few answers? Maybe just one? Nope. Squat. Zilch. Nada. Everything in the series is dumped like a bad date. Angels? Who cared. Third Impact? We may have mentioned that a million times but we'll just leave it unresolved. Eva Series? Bah, forget that was mentioned in practically every episode of the second half. Resolution is important. Without resolution something rightfully can't be called an ending. And in the TV ending of Eva we get no resolution. We get Shinji thinking about how he should act. Nothing else. Of course supporters of the TV ending would say that none of that stuff ever mattered, only Shinji did. Bullshit! If this was a series purely about psychological studies of teenage boys, thats all we'd get. There wouldn't be mechas. There wouldn't be hot anime babes. There wouldn't be religious symbolism and discussions about Third Impacts and Eva Series. Oppose this to the movie. All the resolution you could need. Third Impact, Eva Series, SEELE, Lillith, Adam, etc... are all given good resolution. Rather than just lazily flash us with shots of dead characters since we're too lazy to do anything with them, we get proper ends to Ritsuko and Misato. And a much better final scene. Endless 'congradulations' or Asuka and Shinji alone in a wasteland. No, I'm not a guy who wants Asuka and Shinji together, but Asuka complaining to me for a minute is a hell of a lot better than a minute of 'Congradulations' repeated over and over again.
Another thing I couldn't stand about the TV ending is the final message. Shinji has worth as a person and doesn't need the mecha to find happiness. Hello!?!?!? Anno, where you watching the same series as I was during the first 24 episodes? If anything, episodes 1-24 prove without a shadow of a doubt that Shinji is a worthless individual that gets all his success and happiness from the Eva. Lets list them. Shinji gets to be with his father again because of the Eva. Shinji gets that all important congradulations from his father because of the Eva. Shinji makes friends with Touji and Kensuke because of the Eva. Shinji gets to live with a babe like Misato because of the Eva. Shinji no longer has a boring life with his teacher because of the Eva. Shinji meets the person he loves more than anything else, because of the Eva. Shinji is always portrayed as a pathetic person without the Eva. Look at episode 4. Shinji sleeping in the movie theater like a homeless person or sitting on the subway forever because he runs from the Eva. Then we reach the ending. And what does that tell us? That Shinji does have worth! That the mecha isn't important! Well if that was the case, then why the hell did you contradict it in every single one of the first 24 episodes!??!? Now the movie certainly doesn't portray Shinji in a good light, with him masturbating in front of Asuka or being pulled around like a baby by Misato. But atleast he's in character in the movie. He's not running around being congradulated for nonscensical reasons.
Two endings versus each other. One is End of Evangelion. A great movie that resolves the TV series nearly flawlessly while also providing great animation and intriguing music. Personally one of my favorite anime movies. The other is the TV ending. A pure example of why Anno can't get it done when it comes to crunch time. Folding completely under pressure. Excuses don't cut it with me. Worst anime ending in the history of the medium in my opinion. Argument over.
(Misconception: Evangelion is a religiously offensive show) Just How Offensive is Eva?
"There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool." -Tsurumaki, of Gainax
This is a perfect example of people who don't understand Evangelion well enough going to the extreme. Evangelion's well known for its religous symbolism. Tsurumaki said it well. The religous stuff was in there to make the show 'cool'. The only reason its in there was to make the show more popular. Not to add meaning to the show. Not because the producers of the show are Christian/Jewish or wanted to bash those religions. It was used for popularity purposes, little else.
This is why saying religion will keep Eva off TV or religion makes Eva offensive makes no sense whatsoever. I guess it all comes down to the definition of the word offensive. In this politically correct era, the mere mention of the word 'offensive' gets things into trouble. The whole point of the word in the first place has been taken to the extreme. Frankly, what harm does something do by being 'offensive' anyway? Nothing! They're just words! You've surely heard of the phrase 'Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me', haven't you? Words are meaningless. How something being offensive does harm to anything is beyond me.
Saying Eva's religious content offends you either means you haven't paid much attention to the show, or you're on the purely insane end of the equation. You know, the people who suspend students in school for shaping a gun with their hands? Something that does no harm whatsoever yet is labeled as something that demands therapy? Anyone who's paid a reasonable amount of attention to Eva knows that its window dressing. Its meaningless symbolism. Symbolism doesn't stress any opinions on the matter. And thats all religion is in Evangelion. Symbolism. There isn't any religious commentary in Evangelion. No promoting certain religions above others. No discrediting of any religions. Heck, outside of NERV's logo and a few lines of dialogue there's no mention of God whatsoever. How can this be comprehended as anything offensive? People love to say religious stuff in Eva would keep in on TV. Most people who would watch it on TV aren't like us. They're not gonna obsess over the show and look over it in minute detail. Most people who would watch Eva on TV don't even know what the Lance of Longinuss is (heck, I didn't know what it was until I saw Eva and did some investigation). If you don't know of something, it certainly can't offend you, right?
Regardless of your beliefs in God, Evangelion should create no problems. Any logical thinking person won't take offense at whats in Evangelion. Its unimportant. Its inclusion was simply to make it popular, not to offend you. Watch Eva with an open mind. Even a preacher shouldn't fear it.
May 28, 2002
(Evangelion will never air on American TV) Its Not as Unlikely as You Think...
"The entire latter half would be so edited no one would understand it. As much as I like the series, I wouldn't want to see it mutilated like that." -Eva fan from gamefaqs.com
With the advent of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, the American anime fan is closer than every to seeing an anime like Evangelion on television. The discussions have gone on for months. 'What would you like to see on Adult Swim'? Evangelion is often brought up as a holy grail, something that will never air on American TV... I don't think its as far off as you might think...
First off, Adult Swim has already aired plenty of things that would enable Evangelion to air. Cowboy Bebop has shown plenty of 'naughty' stuff if you've been paying attention. Foul language like 'bitch', 'bastard', 'ass' and 'damn'. Tons and tons of gun violence. While lots of blood was edited out, lots was still left in. Provocative shots of Faye were all over the place. Drug usage and characters getting high on mushrooms. And so on...
Is Evangelion really that much worse than Cowboy Bebop when it comes to content? No. Frankly, I'd say Cowboy Bebop is the more 'risque' one. Many episodes of Evangelion feature no violence at all. (Episode 4, 7, 10, 13, 15, etc...) Guns are used rarely, and when they are, they're used to shoot at the Angels, not human beings like in Bebop. The show certainly contains questionable scenes, but these are few and far between and are often quite short. Of course there's the nudity in Evangelion. That wouldn't stick unedited. But then again, there's only 2 scenes in the entire series where there is nudity (episode 20 and 23). Blurring nippleless women's breasts is hardly mutilating, don't you think? And of course there's the most brought up issue of all among those who think the show has no chance, the religous stuff. When you really get down to it, Evangelion's religous stuff is window dressing that neither bashes nor promotes religon. Not only did Bebop got away with saying God doesn't exist on Adult Swim, but Gundam Wing got away with doing the exact same thing on Toonami's Midnight Run. Considering the religous content in Evangelion is nothing compared to Serial Experiments Lain, or episode 23 of Bebop, I don't see it being a problem.
Don't forget, Evangelion has been showed on TV outside of Japan before. They're airing it on Cartoon Network outside of the US right now. They've aired it uncut on PBS in San Francisco. There's only 2 big obstacles when it comes to airing Eva on Cartoon Network. Both Williams Street(the guys who make Adult Swim) and Sean Akins(head of Toonami) have said they like Evangelion. If they can get around the high cost that ADV might charge to license Eva, and Gainax's 'no edit' policy, which states Evangelion can't be aired on TV without a single edit (which I can't see being policy forever) I see no reason why Evangelion can't be aired on Adult Swim sometime in the near future.
As for End of Evangelion, thats a whole different story... Of course considering it won't be released in this country until 2010 anyway, no reason to bring it up now...
May 28, 2002
(Misconception: Evangelion's Biggest Impact on the Medium) Eva's Biggest Impact
Eva's often brought up as one of the most influencial animes of all time. It has never really made that much sense to me. At its core, Eva is the pure definition of cliche. Its one of the most commonly used genre in anime, the 'teenage pilots a powerful robot' type. Nearly every so called 'Eva clone' out there isn't really an Eva clone, just another member of this same group of shows.
There is one big impact Eva's had though. You see, as Eva reached the peak of the series, not only did the quality of the show vastly increase, but the content got much worse as well. In episode 16 we see Unit 01 tearing itself out of an angel. In episode 18 we see Unit 03 strangled, get its head crushed, its limbs torn off, etc... ending with the entry plug that contains Touji cut. In episode 19 we have decapitations and dismemberments, not to mention an Angel getting eaten. Episode 20 has an offscreen sex scene between Misato and Kaji. When these scenes aired in Japan, the public was shocked. After all, Gainax didn't exactly get all these scenes fully approved by the network.
Anno and co. created a huge problem with what they had done. The climate became a much tougher one, and things such as the Eva series battle, which was originally supposed to be part of the series' ending, was axed. Amazingly enough, Eva had an effect on its own ending, which resulted in the craporama we got in episode 25 and 26. If they hadn't gone so overboard in episodes 16-20, the original ending may have been aired.
Eva's impact lasted long after it went off the air. The most well known example is a show thats just as popular, if not more popular than Eva, Cowboy Bebop. Cowboy Bebop aired in Japan in 1998, roughly 2 years after Eva. But unlike Eva, Bebop didn't even get to air half the series. Due to the tough censorship climate created thanks to Evangelion, 14 of the 26 Bebop episodes were not aired. The most noticable example is the first episode, the fifth episode, which is the start of a story arc that goes throughout the whole series, and the final 8 episodes of the series. Thats right, Bebop didn't even get to air its ending on TV. You can thank Gainax for that one.
So when you talk about Eva's impact on the medium, yes, you can say it had a big one. But I wouldn't be too proud of it. Eva's impact was very detrimental to other shows, especially Cowboy Bebop. Eva's impact on the medium is not something I as an Eva fan would be willing to gloat about.
July 14, 2002
(Misconception: Evangelion is Original) What's wrong with being unoriginal?
Its one of the most common ways fans bash an anime. "That show is unoriginal!" You don't have to go far to hear this kinda stuff. Xenogears. Candidate For Goddess. Oodles of mecha shows from the 90's. Monster hunting type shows like Digimon. American TV to the extreme. What I don't get is how you can use this as a basis of an attack. It may be hard to accept, but if unoriginality is the measuring stick of quality, than Evangelion itself is just one in a line of many mediocre products.
Whats so special about being original? Well, something original is something new. Something unexpected. To be original takes a lot of thinking and innovation. Being original is great and always adds quality to a form of entertainment. But originality being good doesn't make unoriginality bad. Originality is a rare concept. Do you have any idea how hard it is to be original? Things are ingrained in people's minds since the day they are born. How a person thinks and what they think about largely comes out of experiences with other people and the products of other people. So it should be no surprise that coming up with new and rare ideas that no one's thought before would be hard. How would one come up with one in the first place if human existence is so largely shaped around ideas and interactions with other people?
Originality is even harder to come by in a form of entertainment like anime. Television and movies are copycat ventures down to the very core. There's certainly nothing wrong with that. But how a show is developed is largely influenced by the products of the same medium that came before it. Television programs being in either 30 minute or 60 minute intervals. Anime series tending to have episode counts that are multiples of 13. Each genre, from mecha animes to shoujo animes to martial arts animes comes from a distinct template. Sometimes templates are mixed. But at its core, 99% of the animes out there and nearly every single popular anime ever made comes from one. Evangelion is a perfect example. A mecha show in the vein of Mobile Suit Gundam and Gunbuster mixing various influences from all over the place. When it comes to originality, Evangelion isn't that far apart from any other show of the genre, whether its Candidate For Goddess, Gundam Wing or Gasaraki. Since everything is so close when it comes to originality, why bash something based on that? Have any idea how much of a hypocrite it makes you when you bash one of your so called 'Eva clones' for being unoriginal yet refuse to admit that Eva's just as unoriginal as that 'clone' is?
So please, stop taking the phrase 'Evangelion is unoriginal' as an insult. There's nothing wrong with saying that.
May 28, 2002
(Misconception: Evangelion is Original) I Might Have An Eva Clone On My Hands...
Last summer I found this interesting anime. After watching most of the series I was astounded by all the similarities it has to Evangelion...
I think I'll start with the main character. Lets call him 'Bob', although thats not what his actual name is. Bob is a Japanese teenager, just like Shinji. It is stressed early in the series that he has been seperated from his parents often, especially in recent times. In the first episode of the series Bob is in a city under attack by an enemy threat. Intense damage is dealt to the surroundings and there are many casualties. Bob ends up getting into the cockpit of a powerful robot and uses it to save everyone, just like Shinji. Unfortunately for Bob, he essentially finds himself forced into a powerful military organization, just like Shinji was essentially forced into NERV. Being just a teenager, Bob certainly isn't suited to the life of a mecha pilot. He is put under a lot of stress and often times doesn't want to pilot the mech. Sometimes he can't take it anymore and blatantly says he will never pilot the mech again. When he finds the situation that this decision puts his friends in though, he reluctantly returns to his duty. Bob is often in conflict with his superiors, especially a certain male authority figure. Sound familiar? Thats not all.
At one point in the series Bob is put over the edge. He commits treason against the organization much like Shinji did when he threatened to destroy NERV HQ. After this situation is settled, Bob is thrown in a cell, just like Shinji was. Despite that act, he is eventually brought back to good terms with everyone else. Like Shinji, Bob is unconfident in his abilities in the beginning, but slowly gets used to it and realizes he is better than he originally thought. There is a period when this puts him and trouble, and Bob becomes overconfident in his abilities. Luckily, this particular thought soon goes away. Bob has an odd relationship with his father, who happens to be the one that built the mech he pilots, just like Gendou built Unit 01, which Shinji pilots. Their relationship is so bad that his father cares more about the mecha than his own son. There is also a part in the series where Bob is removed as the pilot of the mecha and is replaced with a female pilot (just like when Shinji was replaced with Rei as the pilot of Unit 01). This doesn't work out, and things go back to normal. I'd say that pretty much makes Bob a Shinji ripoff, don't you think?
While the similarities between Bob and Shinji is the biggest thing that made me think this show was an Eva ripoff, there are other things out there as well. For example, in this show the 'good guys' base their survival on 3 mechas, just like in Evangelion. By the end of the series, all 3 of these mechas are rendered useless, just like in Evangelion where Units 00 and 02 were destroyed and Unit 01 drifted off into space. There are multitudes of scenes that just scream out "Eva ripoff!". One of the adversaries wears a mask that looks like its taken right from Keel Lorenz. Late in the series, our hero has a battle with a skull faced enemy that shoots beams out of its mouth. Reminds you of Zeruel, doesn't it? In one scene near the end of the show our hero's mecha is dismembered and decapitated, just like what happened to Unit 02. There's another scene that seems like its taken straight out of the movie. Enemy troopers burst into the headquarters of our heroes and kill many, but their mission ultimately ends up being a failure and they are unable to take the main part of the base. Another part that I can recall being reminded of from the movie is when a suicidial blond attempts to blow up our heroes HQ by sacrificing herself. She fails however, and is killed, just like what happened to Ritsuko in the end.
Alright, I think thats enough. I've cited enough examples to prove just how similar these two animes are. I think its time I reveal just what this anime I've been talking about is.
Mobile Suit Gundam
Yes, that Mobile Suit Gundam. The most famous mecha anime of all time. The Mobile Suit Gundam that just happened to have come out 16 years before Evangelion. I hope this little exercise has shown just how meaningless this 'Evangelion ripoff' discussion is. For a show can hardly be ripped off it isn't original, correct?
May 28, 2002
(Misconception: Evangelion is Original) Evangelion, from 1980?
Tomino's version of Eva, made 15 years earlier
For all the talk about how Eva is so original, its surprising when you look back over mecha animes in the 20 years before it only to find many concepts from Evangelion already used! The similarities to Mobile Suit Gundam have already been discussed on this site. But if you go just a year later you will find an anime even more similar to Evangelion, from Yoshiyuki Tomino as well.
Beginning soon after Gundam was cancelled, Space Runaway Ideon premiered in Japanese television in 1980. Like Gundam before it, Tomino took mecha anime to new heights by continuing the mature philosophies he had in Mobile Suit Gundam. Starting on the colony planet Solo and featuring action over the entire universe, Space Runaway Ideon features the powerful mecha Ideon, piloted by young Earth colonists who are under pursuit from the mysterious Buff Clan, aliens who look identical to humans but are much more advanced than we are. Traveling across the universe on the Solo Ship, the Ideon along with refugees from Solo, where the Ideon was created flee from the Buff Clan while trying to find out as much as they can about the mysterious mecha they use and the ship they are on, left behind by a long dead civilization.
Ideon lacks the male angst featured so heavily in Gundam and Evangelion for all but a short period of time in one of the stand alone episodes, but character templates to Eva remain. Kasha Imhof, one of the pilots of the Ideon is a bloodthirsty, aggressive girl. As into the fighting as her male colleagues its often Kasha who displays the most anger and resentment in battle, similar to a red headed pilot we all know so well. Sheryl Formosa, a linguistic scholar aboard the Solo Ship who investigates the Ideon and the powerful 'Id' energy that powers it is arrogant and obsessed, similar to how Ritsuko eventually becomes as Evangelion draws to a close.
Religious symbolism is used very sparingly in Ideon, in fact there is only a few notable ones, like the use of the term 'Messiah' in the second Ideon movie, 'Be Invoked'. The Ideon itself is called a God by allies and enemies alike, and is revered as much as Eva Unit 01. It is the key to the plans of both the Buff Clan and the 'Id' energy that has a mind of its own. The Ideon, like Unit 01 goes berserk multiple times in the series displaying even more power than it appeared to have before.
The main similarity between the two shows however is the concept of Instrumentality from Evangelion, which is exactly like what occurs in Ideon. In Ideon, the powerful 'Id' energy is pursued by the Buff Clan and powers both the Ideon and the Solo Ship. The Id is no simple energy source though, it has a mind of its own and is responsible for bringing the two enemies together. It is later made clear than Id is actually the consciousness of all the people of the civilization that created the Ideon, merged into a single entity. The Id has a mind of its own and is sick with the war like nature of both planets. Humanity and the Buff Clan have multiple chances to reconcile themselves, but their war-like mentality is too entrenched and the Id, like SEELE in Evangelion decide that humanity is far too corrupt to continue living in this state. Everyone will die and be merged into a single entity, the Id itself and thus corruption, war, and the like will vanish from the universe entirely. This is the exact scenario from Evangelion with Instrumentality/Third Impact. The one difference? Ideon's instrumenality succeeds while Eva's is stopped by Shinji in End of Evangelion.
The fact that Evangelion was influenced by Ideon is something that can't be argued, Anno himself has admitted it as a major influence and even the most hellbent Eva fanatics who have seen Ideon in its entirety will admit the two are immensely similar. One final reference is made at the very end of the final episode of the TV series when the message 'And to the children, Congradulations!' appears on the screen. This is referring to the very end of the Ideon: Be Invoked movie where the souls of the children who died are all singing 'Happy Birthday Dear Children'. The use of the word 'Children', so prevelent in Eva when referring to the Eva pilots is used in Ideon to refer to the souls of the dead characters after Ideon's version of Instrumentality has succeeded.
December 14, 2003
(Misconception: Evangelion is the best anime ever) There's No Such Thing as 'The Best'
"Evangelion's da best anime ever!!!!!!!"
Yet another misconception. That Evangelion, or any anime for that matter can be conceived as 'the best'. Lets end this now. There's no such thing as the best when it comes to anime. Quality is an objective matter. Its determined solely on the opinion of each individual person. An anime like Eva being 'the best' isn't a fact, its an opinion, nothing more. To call something the best you need stats to back it up. Lets take professional sports for example. We know that a sports team is the best when it wins the championship. We can know whether a particular player is the best at something (like Barry Bonds and home runs for example) by looking at stats. But statistics has nothing to do with quality of an anime. Thus, its impossible for an anime like Eva to be the best, regardless of how good you or your friends might think it is.
In the end it all has to do with personal opinion. Something is only 'the best' in your mind. I prefer to not even use the term. 'Favorite' is a much appropriate term. Saying something is the best can fool people into thinking something its not. If you say Evangelion is your favorite then people know right away that its your personal opinion about the anime. It also has to due with how you experience something. Each person goes through different circumstances when it comes to their 'favorite' or what they think is 'best'. When you see something, what you heard about it beforehand, etc... all have a large effect on how you rate something among favorites. Take me for example. My favorite anime is Escaflowne. Escaflowne was only the second anime TV series I ever saw. Its was the first anime I ever saw subtitled. I went into Esca completely unspoiled except for one thing. Now the fact that Escaflowne is widely considered one of the highest quality animes of the 90's is certainly a factor. I found its quality pretty apparant. But I'll never refuse to admit that the circumstances surrounding how I saw Escaflowne had an effect on how I rank it among my favorites. Unfortunately many Eva fans refuse to admit this. Eva was one of their first animes. They spend all the time obsessing over it and talking about it on messageboards and newsgroups. Certainly they'd rank it higher than the 50th anime series they saw, something that doesn't have too many forums to discuss about it. Of course there's nothing wrong with that. Circumstances are a big part of why you rank something as a favorite. There's nothing wrong with admitting the way you saw Eva and how you discuss it effects how you view the show.
May 28, 2002
(Misconception: Anno made the movie to get even with the fans) Damn Those Fans!!
"Anno only made the movies to get even with the ungrateful fans"
Admit it, you've heard this before, many times. You know the situation. After Anno finished Evangelion the final 2 episodes were met with a lot of frustration from the fans. In order to get even with the fans for not respecting his vision, Anno made an Eva movie where he killed off practically every character in the series, portrayed others in horrific situations, and even went as far to kill off the entire human race. Since the fans had the audacity to disrespect Anno's terrific ending, he created a new one that would cause all the fans who disliked the TV ending to recoil with disgust. Thus, they would see the TV ending in a new light, and finally respect what how he finished the series.
The problem with this argument is that it makes no sense when you look at things in perspective. Gainax is a business. Like any other business on the face of the planet, its objective above all else is to make a profit. Now Anno might have been the creator of the studio's most successful production ever, but you don't give so much power to a single individual. Disgusting the fans or teaching them a lesson is not good business. If you show so much disrespect towards the fans, they'll abandon you. No fans means no one buys your releases nor watches your shows. In that case the studio makes no revenue and goes out of business. Think about this for a minute. You honestly think a company would risk its livelihood for the gratification of a single individual?
In case you haven't found out yet, Evangelion's original ending was changed. Thats right, episodes 25 and 26 are not the exact scenario that was originally planned for the ending. The original script for episode 25 was surprisingly a lot like the first half of the End of Evangelion movie. The problem was due to budget problems and censorship issues (more on this in another essay of mine), the original episode 25 had to be axed. As for episode 26? Well, although there is nothing saying this episode was completely plotted out and later changed, you obviously can't expect it was kept 100% the same when the episode before it was scrapped. Episodes 25/26 of the series is not the original ending. Much of what was in the movie was. If you'll look back to 1996, you'd remember that news of a remade ending came out almost immediately after the television ending aired. It wasn't even 2 weeks after episode 26 aired that an official press release from Gainax announcing redone episodes 25 & 26 based off the original script were announced. Its kinda hard for fan angst to build up that fast, don't you think? Now tell me, how is doing what was originally planned 'getting even with the fans'?
What makes all the sense, and what is true is that the Evangelion movies were made to make money above all else. Evangelion was the biggest hit Gainax ever had. If you were in a situation where not only you had the most popular anime at the time on your hands, but you also had the chance to milk it for all its worth, wouldn't you do the same? Thats what Gainax did. It has nothing to do with 'getting even with the fans'. Gainax was in the perfect situation where not only could they show the originally planned ending on a much higher budget and no time limit, but they could also make a lot of money off their biggest hit without being accused of diluting it.
-Sheamon May 28, 2002