The legendary TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion will soon turn 24. The internet has decrypted it [more or less] a long time ago. Therefore, we will not repeat ourselves or analyze it. However, we will talk about the history of the creation of "Evangelion". After all, how the series was created and in what conditions is a separate story.
Born from the Ashes
I would divide the creation of "Evangelion" conditionally into several parts: decline, rise, fall even lower, resurrection. Let's start in order. The studio Gainax and financial problems are not common. In fact, there is little funny in this, and because of such problems, a lot of the anime of this studio never came out. It is the lack of money that will subsequently become the cornerstone in the creation and completion of the series. If you have read our short history of anime, then you know that the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s were a period of economic crisis for Japan, when no one had money. Many studios were in complete decline, trying to find new ways to save money on animation.
Hideaki Anno, who was the creative core of Gainax, had things worse. After working on the series "Nadia from the Mysterious Sea" he was depressed. Later it will become known that Anno often had thoughts of suicide. The failure with Aoki Uru, the frozen sequel to Royal Troopers, also added fuel to the fire.
Thanks to the connections of a producer friend, King Records invited him to come up with a concept for a new series that they could broadcast on TV. The project was supposed to be completely new, and not based on other franchises, which could be influenced by sponsors or copyright holders. Anno gained the creative freedom that he lacked so much while working on the previous series. Plus, the studio received funding from the company. With the words “Don't run away!” That was the theme song for “Aoki Uru,” Anno took to work on “Eve”. Here a period of decline turns into an upswing.
We started for health, finished for peace
Anno decided to flip the anime fur concept and kick Gundam in the ass as the fur genre began to drive itself into its grave. In 1993, he sketched a layout for the series [it also used some of Aoki Uru's work], which he presented to sponsors. Almost everything that was shown in the developments we ended up seeing in the series. They especially appreciated the idea with religious references, which were inserted to make the anime look cool and philosophical, and the name "Evangelion" so generally sounded mystical. By the way, in the future, it was this approach that caused an ambiguous reaction from some viewers, who considered the series a pretentious dummy.
The project was given the green light and production of the series began. The storyboards were completed in 1994, and designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto began writing a manga based on the plot of the series that was supposed to promote its release. Although the manga was released earlier than the series itself, it is important to understand that it was made according to the scenario of a future anime, and not vice versa. As a result, the rights to the manga adaptation were sold to Kadokawa Shoten, which took her in a different direction. The first volume of the manga was released in 1995, shortly before the series.
Everything went like clockwork, both in terms of production quality and timing, and by the summer of 1995, Gainax had prepared six episodes, which were sold to TV Tokio for prime time. The advertising company was not long in coming, and the third-party sponsors who were presented with the project allocated money, which would be enough for the production of 24 episodes.
Anno himself was completely satisfied with the project, since he was able to reflect in these six episodes all his experiences accumulated over four years of depression. In addition, the series came out quite ambitious in terms of breaking the fur pattern.
For the sake of decency, it should be said that the production was still difficult. Do not forget that there was a crisis in the yard, and the work in the studio went on, as is customary when creating large author's projects: with stress, overwork, local scandals, problems and sucked a lot of energy from the director's unstable psyche. Therefore, it is more appropriate to say that it was difficult, but it went according to plan, which is good. The studio began to move on, but by the 16th episode, it was rather crawling while spears were thrown at it.
It's worth a little digression before we get to the drop mentioned above. The first 16 episodes followed the standard monster of the week concept. Each time, a new Angel appeared, attacking Tokyo 3, and a team of three teenagers fought back.
And in fact, the first 16 episodes, although radically different in mood from the classic anime fur, they had their drawbacks. Firstly , while watching the show today, at first you may not understand why it is remarkable at all. For the monsters of the week are such a boring format that you won’t surprise anyone, and "Eve" did not stand out in this regard. She was rather intriguing with her setting and characters, but, alas, it is the characters that are the second problem of the series .
All the heroes of "Eve" are unattractive or notorious. Many people stopped watching it because they got tired of the constant whining of Shinji, who even at the very end of the series did not change much. Everyone was pissed off by Asuka, and I heard many people think that she was the most disgusting character in anime history. And Rei, in principle, does not evoke any emotions, since her role in the plot will only be revealed at the end of the series.
Unattractive characters were the original idea, but the problem was that they seemed to freeze in place and did not develop. Remember [since we have Game of Thrones season 8, why not] Jamie Lanister. He was still an asshole who I wanted to beat, but he went through an incredible transformation, and now they are worried about him.
Heroes of "Eve" could not do that. The characters were revealed, and well, but at the same time, as vile they were, they remained.
And third problem is fan service. I hate him, like many. Therefore, the excessive sexualization of the two main characters, who are 14 years old, in my opinion, is completely superfluous.
The bottom has not been broken yet
At the magic snap of the fingers after the 16th episode, the series finally began to acquire the same one hundred percent charm for which it is remembered. In turn, things got much worse in production.
In 1997, the Evangelion Kaibunsho document was leaked, revealing how horrible it was under Anno's guidance.
First, a lot of bad facts were told about Anno himself, his psychological problems, love for hentai and other dirt. The director could not properly organize work in the studio, did not rationally spend its resources, and also turned everyone against himself in the TV company.
According to this insider, all the resources of investors were spent by the 10th episode, and the next studio pulled on its own. Anno polished these episodes, completely forgetting that there are still many episodes ahead. He gave the battles with the Angels scale, and also invited the best animators and artists to work [it cost that pretty penny]. Therefore, it is difficult to deny the fact that the middle of the series is the highest quality and most interesting from the point of view of visual and dynamics of the series.
It's funny, but at the same time, the studio came up with just ingenious ways to save on drawing. For example, block the lips of characters so as not to animate them.
In any case, you shouldn't blame everything on one Anno, because the management is obliged to dispose of resources, and not just one director. Therefore, I share this blame among the entire management of Gainax. We will never know the final truth, because no one has ever been involved in confirming insiders. One fact is certain - the lack of money.
After the 16th episode, Anno finally quarreled with the management of the TV company, a second director was assigned to him, who controlled Hideake's actions, and the entire creation of the following episodes turned into hell with austerity. Think only of the elevator scene - it is a product of total economy. And by the last two episodes the money ran out. Therefore, the studio used footage from past episodes, as well as early developments.
So he released the last episodes, which are still perceived ambiguously. Someone liked them, someone was stunned, and still others wrote angry letters in Gainax wishing Anno death. The director himself went on a long vacation to rethink his creation, immediately after submitting the last episodes for final editing on the channel.
During his absence, there has been a phenomenal turnaround. People began to rethink the ending, lower their anger and realize that, most likely, the studio did not intend to end the series like this. The controversial ending became so popular that people started watching Evangelion to find out what the fuss was about. The fanbase was all overgrown, overgrown and became huge and all these people demanded only one thing - a real ending. This is where the resurrection begins.
Anno came out of the break and suddenly realized that his project is loved and popular again, and there are also sponsors who are ready to invest in it. And in 1997, two episodes were released, which showed the real ending of "Evangelion", completing its story.
Next year, Rebuild of Evangelion, the final feature film, will be released, which reimagines the events of the original and takes it in a different direction. If it talks about the history of the creation of "Evangelion", then we can see how difficult this process was. You can still talk as much about why he became a cult, but today is not about that. Finally, I would like to note that despite all the problems of the series, I am one of those who love it and am very glad that it was still completed.
The Topic of Article: ”Like an angel you are merciless.” How Evangelion was created.