Day 11 – Get in the Robot
It’s no surprise that I chose Neon Genesis Evangelion as my favorite mecha anime. NGE was my first mecha anime when I was in sixth or seventh grade. One night, I was flipping through Adult Swim and recognized it as the series I had been shown the ‘Engel’ AMV for.
The first episode I got to see was “A Human Work” (episode 7). Somehow, despite the slow pace in the beginning of this episode, I was intrigued. There was a sense of urgency when Misato Katsuragi had to help save everyone by shutting down the Jet Alone. Naturally, I also recognized Asuka in the preview as the girl from the AMV I had seen.
Over time, as I watched more, I became engrossed in Evangelion. Each episode was new and exciting. Each episode posed questions that, even as young as I was, I enjoyed and thought about in depth. Evangelion is probably the reason for my love of psychological anime. I am not a huge mecha fan but Evangelion is, to me, special.
That being said, Evangelion does have flaws. One such case is the lack of budget that the series had. The Evangelion versus angel fights were well animated for the 90s but then there were plenty of still frame points in the show. Near the end of the series, there were even points when everything was in colored pencil! Honestly, I believe that this ‘laziness’ is part of the charm of Evangelion. In a sense, the simplistic style adds to the psychological turn that the series takes.
I enjoy almost all of the important characters in Evangelion. I believe there is something in at least one character that someone can relate to. Shinji Ikari is a depressive youth who doesn’t realize his self-worth; in the beginning, he runs from his problems but slowly grows to try and become stronger. Asuka is one of the first tsundere in anime. Outwardly, Asuka is fierce, sassy, and brave; however, over time we learn that this is a front for her insecurities. Rei is a young woman who believes that she has no real place in the world, she doesn’t understand who she is or why she exists. And of course, there is also Misato Katsuragi who drinks her problems away and feels the need to justify her existence by being in a relationship.
The characters in Evangelion are vastly different and yet very similar – they are all trying to find their purpose in the world. I enjoyed Evangelion because of how realistic the characters’ emotions felt, despite how old the series is. The mech fights were well done and left me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely adore Evangelion and the various manga and anime spin-offs. In a way, Evangelion is important to my youth because I was an adolescent when I watched it. As such, I was struggling to find myself just as the characters in the series were.
I feel that Gad Guard deserves a mention. Gad Guard is my second favorite mecha anime. It was originally shown to me about five or six years ago by my stepdad, not long after he moved in. Gad Guard has never been well known; in fact, the only people I know who have seen Gad Guard are the members of my immediate family and Trystan – who I showed the series to.
Set in the future, where the human population growth has slowed, Gad Guard takes place in a world that has been divided into “Units.” Hajiki Sanada, resident of Unit 74, comes in contact with a mysterious item called a GAD. Upon contact, the GAD becomes a giant robot and Hajiki soon learns about other GAD pilots and comes closer to learning about his father.
I enjoyed Gad Guard because it is action-packed and full of an interesting pack of characters. Gad Guard can be regarded as one of my favorites because it holds a special place in my heart as one of the first series I watched with my stepdad.