I’m so sorry for this post being late! I’ve been really sick with a chest cold or something all day and have been sleeping ever since I got back from class. Luckily however, I am now on break, so I should be able to devote much more time to getting better, resting, and making sure we finish up our Twelve Days of Christmas! So without further ado…
EIGHT MECHA FIGHTING: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Unlike AnoHana, which I posted about the other day, Neon Genesis Evangelion is both a show that was basically perfect and has a load of memorable moments attached to it. For me the two part finale was especially poignant, and despite it’s avante-garde flare managed to really crystalize the entire series’ core themes. I’m not sure how much of my feelings about the finale are about the textual occurrences and how much are about my own relationship with the text, but all the same I don’t think that the composition of my thoughts or the source of them invalidates my feelings.
For me, the finale was about Shinji’s eternal feeling of being lost and faceless, without an identity that he could call his own, and how Shinji was able to resolve that feeling through examining his relationship with others and his relationship with himself. This really struck me due to it’s stress on the idea that Shinji’s depression — while most definitely having a legitimate foundation in the events of his life — was all the same a mental illness, a warpage of reality.
As you can guess, that hit me so hard because at the time (February) I had been deep into the end of my six year stretch of depression that ended about June. For me, the finale of Evangelion hit home how depression is an emotional problem that one doesn’t necessarily need medication to treat, only a paradigm shift in thinking. I really don’t want to get too much into me and my depression for obvious reasons, but want to stress how Evangelion really changed my life in a way and informed my recovery period from June to August of this year.
Obviously there is no magic cure to mental illness, depression included, and so I will probably continue to have issues with depression for the rest of my life. Yet what Evangelion managed to give me was a paradigm shift in thinking that’s so greatly helped me to move forward. I mean, that’s not the only thing that helped me get better (as much as I hate to say it, I really do think that I feel completely better now), but it was a part of me achieving this emotional second wind that I’m now on.
I’m not trying to say that if you watch Neon Genesis Evangelion that your life will be changed and your depression cured, but rather that Hideaki Anno offers so much insight into depression in Evangelion that the finale really consolidates. For me, that’s what makes Evangelion so fantastic: it’s profound insight.