Monday, October 09, 2006

Eva Redux

So according to Variety, they're making four more movies based on Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Which is kinda weird, 'cause the series was about, y'know, the end of the world. Revelations. Armageddon and all that good stuff.

There was actually a movie made about a year after the series ended in 1995. The story goes that the ending of the series was so confusing that there was a massive fan outcry (because God forbid that the fanboys should have to think, no, the ending has to be wrapped up perfectly in a neat little bow with a happy ending and no loose ends... fucking otaku) to the point that the creator, Hideaki Anno, was actually receiving death threats from people who wanted it to end differently. So then Anno, a man whose work I otherwise admire, basically said "Yeah, fuck that," and made The End of Evangelion, an alternate ending in which all of the characters die brutal on-screen deaths in the most horrendous ways possible. Just to spite the fans.

It was not very pretty business.

So, since then, Anno got some therapy and antidepressants (and I shouldn't make fun of his depression because he has had a sucky life), made another really great animated series (His and Her Circumstances) and left halfway through production due to creative differences, and finally got out of the animation business to focus on live-action indie films. And Eva's production company, Gainax, kept the franchise alive with over a decade of merchandizing that slowly and methodically stripped the property of all its artistic meaning by marketing action figure after plastic doll after crappy spin-off comic to obsessed fans.

(One of my favorite anecdotes was how, at a convention years later, this fan bragged to Anno about how he had blown all of his college money on Evangelion merchandise, to which Anno responded, "You're an idiot. Study harder." I woulda loved to see the look on the guy's face.)

So now they're making four new movies.

I shouldn't be surprised. Gainax may have started out as the "by the fans, for the fans" anime studio, but after the success of Evangelion they've been all about the Benjamins and nothing more. Er, well, about the Yukichis, anyway. It's only natural that they'd want to milk Anno's masterpiece (and it is a masterpiece, albeit a very, very, very flawed masterpiece) for as many yen as possible.

I haven't read anything indicating the subject of the films, but I'm guessing right off the bat that it'll be yet another alternate ending, probably a more positive one. I've heard (but cannot cite) that Anno will be supervising the project, but I don't know if he'll be writing, and I know he won't be directing. In any case, I'd bet it was the studio heads' idea, not his.

I'm sure that with Anno involved in any capacity it'll be something worth watching. And yet, I can't escape a feeling of disappointment. I was happy with the way the series ended. The man's had to rewrite the ending of his brainchild once already. And now he has to do it again.