Friday, January 21, 2011

Angels and Evas

"Random street fighter pose!"

The command came from several rows behind me. I turned to raise an eyebrow at my companion, a friend who lived in the upstairs apartment of the house I rented. It was entirely at her suggestion that we had come to see this film. Not that I had needed much in the way of encouragement; it was a showing of a movie from the anime series Evangelion and I was steadily falling in love with that entire Japanese genre.

We were however, possibly the only two girls in the theatre who were here voluntarily. The other two, possibly three, in the room seem to be there under duress.

Filling up the aisles were mullet cut males in stretched XXL tee-shirts with words such as "zombie" written across the back. The guy in front of us even sported a 'Nerv' cap; the principal organisation in the movie we were about to watch.

I briefly contemplated stealing it.

"I totally didn't forsee this," my friend admitted.

"Yeah." I looked around the room again. "I thought anime was mainly a girls thing."

"You did?" An eyebrow was raised in turn at me, followed by a pause to enable me to think that statement through more carefully.

I was basing my assertion primarily on the fact that all the people I role-played with in my anime-based game were girls. They were the ones who introduced me to other series and often mentioned anime clubs they had been in at college. Then I remembered the store in Osaka I had walked into accidentally because it was beside the manga-related retail store, Animate. It was also full of manga (hence the confusion) but a closer inspection revealed the characters to be primarily female, naked and with huge ... personalities. My thoughts then drifted to how I had first perceived typical anime drawings of people, with their ridiculously short skirts, long hair, huge eyes and and heaving shirts.

"Oh. Right," I said feebly. "I like it for the imaginative plots lines and character development." Apparently to the extent that I had forgotten the most obvious appeal.

"Well, so do I." My friend sat back in her seat. "And the fact there are literally hundreds of episodes, followed by live-action movies and musicals."

Really, the West just don't know how to feed an obsession well.

We listened to the raucous chatter around us. Apparently, the guy four rows back and to my left had stolen the gun of another individual on the same row. Somehow, I didn't think this was a firearm that required a licence. Or killed anything besides orcs and the undead.

The movie did not disappoint. Like seemingly most manga-based films, it was not designed to stand alone from the series, but rather act as fuel to an unhealthily dedicated fan base. It was therefore largely incomprehensible, even though I had seen the first half-dozen episodes of the anime. People died, then apparently didn't die. New characters appeared randomly in side plots that never succeeded in joining to the main thread. All personal relationships would be described as destructive by a psychologist.  Everyone was a victim of the secret agendas of shadowy organisations who may or may not know about the secret agendas within their agendas controlled by even more insubstantial bodies. At the end, everyone died. Or maybe not. Who could tell?

I loved it.

Though in case you think I'm exaggerating, Wikipedia tells me that one of the directors' comment regarding the series in general was: "It's strange that 'Evangelion' has become such a hit - all the characters are so sick!"

At the end the credits rolled and people started to move. I proceeded to attempt to extract a modicum of sense from the proceedings from my friend who was more familiar with the whole series. It wasn't particularly successful. As the last few names scrolled by on the screen a great 'Ssshhhh'-ing sound went through the room. There was a final few minutes to the movie designed to mock anyone who had made sense of the events up until that point. It even introduced a new character.

Frankly, I felt the people who all knew that was coming up had seen this movie too many times.

No comments:

Post a Comment