Hardboiled Wonderland in Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (2007) October 22, 2008Posted by Richard Bolisay in Animé, Asian Films, Cinemanila, Literature.
Directed by Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki, and Hideaki Anno
Written by Hideaki Anno
Based on Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s manga series
Television brought me up. Before and after school hours I would easily turn into a pebble lying on the sofa chewing whatever food it was offering me. There was a time when I would dare not to listen to my parents and stay in my room late at night just to catch shows on cable, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, MTV, Turner Classic Movies, WOWOW, Living Asia, Home TV Shopping, CCTV, even Japanese and Korean dramas with English subtitles – – all those crap that remain part of myself until today, fragments of who I am now. In short, TV was my parent, my surrogate mother and father, and it was through him that I discovered the world, and god, I believe I was spoiled. Afternoon timeslots were often occupied by animé, great dubbing courtesy of ABS-CBN, from Akazukin Cha-cha to Zenki, Voltes V to Daimos, Ghost Fighter to Fushigi Yuugi, Dragon Ball to Time Quest – – from innocently clad moral tales to futuristic settings heavy in philosophy and adult themes. It was in second year high school when Neon Genesis Evangelion started to air just right after our P.E. class and our group would troop to our nearby friend’s house to watch it before heading home. Coherence was not really something I noticed. First time I saw it I was overwhelmed by the massive bombardment of visuals, the execution of action, the attention to details, as if I was being forced to look without a blink. Sad for our rotten brains, the show was called off, after all the numerous cuts we had obliged to compromise. High school was such a boring rollercoaster for me, studies, projects, news editorship of the school paper, barkada blues, prom, camps, admission tests to universities. Just before the term ended our cable was cut and I lost interest in television – – an act of perfidy I committed to my surrogate parent.
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone is enough to burst that melancholia swelling in my nerves. Stunning to say the least, Hideaki Anno’s colossal apocalyptic vision of the future delivers a fantastic feast of the senses, from ocular to tangible explosions, powerful storytelling that even viewers who are alien to the series will get hooked, and razorsharp details and startling philosophical allusions, from the Bible to Sartre’s No Exit, that the Star Wars franchise can eat itself in its tapered popularity. No matter how dreary, Evangelion makes you feel that every frame of it is irreplaceable, even worthy of postcards from absolute memory.
We wake up in different ceilings every day, we forget who we are, we leave a grain of ourselves from yesterday, we carry on with tomorrow’s promise of rebirth – – for that one last chance, is it worth everything? On why is there is no real happiness in Shinji’s world must strike the egos and ids and superegos out of us and yet we move on, because there is no other way. The limitations we have define us. The freedom we have weakens our attachment to ourselves. Running away marks Evangelion‘s commencement of hostility to human weakness. What is there to run away? Where do we go? Is the choice really on us? Everything comes and goes from inside. There has never been a more accurate analogy in human behavior than the hedgehog dilemma – – come to think of it, really, the hell are other people, a nod for Sartre’s caustic honesty. Evangelion knocks the existential out of you, drains the logic of your purpose. If the only reason for living is to consume your calculated life on earth – – hence to live – – then what is there to worry about? A nuclear armageddon may have started somewhere in the Pacific, with all the final Evas and Angels left to determine our fate – – and here we are, lost like tears in the rain.