Evangelion and Madoka Magica in Retrospect

I updated the About page a few days ago, because my Japanese knowledge has snuck itself into my posts twice now and there’s no point hiding where it comes from.

As for today’s topic…well, I finally got around to finishing Puella Magi Madoka Magica last week, and I finished Neon Genesis Evangelion in the week before that.

Trying to watch the two together was a bad idea, considering how heavy they are on the feels and the crying (both on the part of the viewer and in the story).

However, after watching these two shows in close proximity to each other…

Now I understand the memes and the injokes.

The Gendo Poses, the Mami mogu mogus…context gives me a deeper appreciation of even insignificant internet jokes.

The main reason I bring this up is because my introduction to Gainax wasn’t Mahoromatic. It was a little-known show called This Ugly Yet Beautiful World – or KonoMini as I refer to it these days. If there’s one thing you should know about KonoMini, it’s that it was Gainax’s 20th anniversary series, and so it makes reference to Gainax’s past shows by blending ideas and concepts from them into one work. I didn’t really realise Jennifer of KonoMini was inspired by Evangelion until I saw Ritsuko and Misato in action in the latter.

(…wait, was that even intentional?)

Now I understand how the tsundere and kuudere types of girls (and thus, it could be argued, boys as well) came to be.

Evangelion is one of those shows that codified a movement, and even though I was facepalming at how Rei and Asuka kept stripping insensitively in front of Shinji, I understood this was the formative example of the archetype while I was watching and put a constant reminder in the back of my head that these types of characters were new and novel at the time.

(Sidebar: Just to add some fuel to the waifu fire, I like Rei more than Asuka. I’ve always had a thing for kuuderes more than tsunderes, regardless of the gender.)

Now I understand the mind-bending potential of both shows.

The shows are full of visuals and other story aspects which are packed with symbolism. Reading into the show is half the fun of the game (especially if you open up a page from EvaGeeks or the Madoka wiki) and that’s why they’re such critics’ darlings and beloved overall. Unfortunately, I was less protected from Madoka spoilers than Evangelion ones, so I’m probably more grumpy about the former…but I guess that doesn’t matter when you’ve finished the shows…

As for the ending of Evangelion, there’s some message in the back of my head that says it was made on a lower budget than expected. This EvaGeeks page even supports that sentiment, even though this idea of Evangelion being low budget was planted into my head by someone who watched the last few episodes with me (and that person also correctly guessed that Toji Suzuhara was the Fourth Child in episode 17, since they watched that with me too). Then again, with the precedent of One Punch Man, who knows what the real intention was?

Now I can see why people ship them.

Originally, that statement was for Shinji and Kaworu. After all, Kaworu was the first person who ever said he loved Shinji, and even though my normal predilection is for man/woman couples, it’s clear as day. (Just to add some context: it was much the same way once I saw episode 7 of Yuri!!! on Ice and got my head around the Yuri/Viktor ship.)

However, if I squint hard enough, I can also see why people ship everyone in Madoka Magica, too. Madoka and Homura’s relationship reminds me of Ange and Princess Charlotte from Princess Principal, in retrospect. People shipped them too, and they were covered in layer upon layer of overwritten facts.

Basically, these shows are eye-openers regardless of the era you watch them in.

4 thoughts on “Evangelion and Madoka Magica in Retrospect

Add yours

  1. is the “run out of budget” thing an actual fact now for evangelion? I was never convinced. I always believed that was the direction of the anime, and it was meant to just mess with your mind. either way, it’s an amazing show.
    Madoka as well. I still remember laughing when memes of Kyuube and the IE magical girl came out, lol.


    1. It’s just a belief people have that they try to back up, and I clearly remember not quite knowing what to think on that front until the person I mention in the post gave the idea to me. I guess I’m just extremely impressionable…

      I don’t think I’ve heard of those memes. Well, that’s what search engines are for, right?

      Liked by 1 person

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