So this thread was pretty much born from last night, when Jared invited me over to watch 2.22. I too was left cold by the show, and our mutual friend (this forum's Inferior Rodan) eagerly wanted us to watch the Rebuild to see how our opinions morphed.
Jared's did. Mine didn't. :\
Alex, Jared said you (and another of our mutual friends) were heartbroken that I didn't like 2.22, and you're puzzled why I didn't like the series. So, without further ado:
Let's see if I can get this off my chest before I finish breakfast.
I was interested in the show long ago, back when I saw the trailer on the ADV DAM VHS (lotta acronyms there). Never got around to seeing it until last year abouts, where a friend of mine lent me the whole series. It was 'aite. As a whole, I will say Evangelionâ€”and this includes the Rebuildâ€”is a collection of good characters, giant battles, and philosophy that could possibly be stitched together in a riveting story. One day. :\
The early part of the show felt like a pretty straightforward sci-fi story and I somewhat enjoyed it. I think my favorite episode was number ten, where Asuka was introduced. It felt free-wheeling and fun, and Unit 02 jumping from freighter to freighter was awesome. I felt truly exhilarated. Most of the other episodes felt "average" and I never felt like I was experiencing a great, exciting tale, merely a serviceable giant robot show.
Then the weird stuff happened, but that's not what bothered me. The final two episodes I actually liked. I never really hated Shinji. I was more fascinated by him. I have a weird curiosity for the socially awkward, and while yes, I think Shinji desperately needed to grow a pair, I was kind of glued to him with a cruel fascination (c'mon you sissy!) and with a desire to see him get off his arse. The last two episodes stripped everything away and addressed the question "Shinji, why are you such a pansy?" and then answered that, and I actually felt kind of fulfilled. Plus, it was artsy and weird, and I liked it.
And I actually liked Shinji's descent, probably because of said fascination. Those long stretches of inner monologue (with really creepy music backing it up) are where I started to snuggle up in my chair and get interested.
The rest of the weirdness...
The "psychobabble?" It was just that. Babble. The whole overarching plot, the Angels, the Human Instrumentality project, the Second Impact, yada yada.. was so damn vague and cryptic for so long that it ceased to be interesting. And Jared, last night during a 2 am conversation in the middle of the road in front of his house, discussed with me Eva's backstory and how it plays into the show, which is a slice-of-life, "people going about their lives" kind of story set amidst an Ultraman-esque setting. It made sense, and sounded kinda cool in how it wanted to go about things, but....
....but the concept is so... alien
... foreign, and weird... and cryptic, that it doesn't make for an interesting backstory. And that's without being muddled to death like it is in the show. And the whole idea of Human Instrumentality pretty much boils down to the idea of somehow ridding mankind of the unpleasantness of life; jealousy, angst, yada yada, but to me that seems... kind of silly and naive. Negative emotions are part of life and all beings must go through with the bad as well as the good. That's how it is and that can never change. Eureka7, on the other hand, which owes a lot to Evangelion, dealt with a much more concrete and real world problem: why the cultures of the world always want to be at war with each other.
....okay, looks like I can't finish this before I got done eating.
I definitely have more to say, but I'll leave this here for now. So pretty much, I was "meh" with the series last year, and as of right now, the Rebuild, for me, has taken the series, snipped it apart, streamlined it, changed direction, and put it all back together with the same results.