Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.
Anime fans are cool people to be around with. On the outside, they are just the usual geek you might find in any fandom. Yet deep within, they are as diverse as the series they rabidly embrace. They differ according to the anime they follow. It is safe to say that the anime they watch tells a lot about them.
This certainly applies to the fans of Neon Genesis Evangelion. We have to admit that this anime is pretty messed up. We have an emo for a hero and an equally twisted supporting cast of characters. The religious symbolism, themes, and the gibberish ending have added to the confusing charm of the series.
So does that mean that the fandom is pretty messed up too?
I might as well insult myself. Complex is the most fitting word for the Evangelion fandom. You might find folks that are as normal as anyone else, but expect some to leave you scathing your head. The complicated and confusing story is responsible for these eclectic fans. Below is the list of folks you might come across in this fandom.
1. The True Fan
These people know their stuff. They know virtually everything about the Evangelion series from its history down to what the characters eat. They also understand the gibberish plot better than most people. They are open to discussions and are willing to exchange insights with others. These people are the geniuses and geeks of the EVA fandom. If you have questions, they got answers. And chances are that they are the only ones who know what the image below means.
2. The Critic
They are passionate about the anime. However, they are not afraid to point out its flaws. Okay, no series is perfect and these fans accept that fact with open hearts. They love how this anime became a classic, but they are also aware of the plot holes and character weaknesses.
These guys are impartial when giving feedback, often with brutal honesty. You will hear varying comments like, “It’s a well-made show, but we need to fix the ending.” Like the true fans, they understand the show better and are open to discussions. It is no surprise that other rabid fans will hate them.
3. The Casual Fan
Meet the silent majority. Unlike the passionate true fans or the critical fans, they are the type of people who watch the Evangelion series for the fun of it. They don’t care if it’s the best anime or a deep show. It is good enough for them if they enjoyed watching it. They probably didn’t understand the show like the others, but they don’t give a darn! It’s all about having fun and nothing more.
These guys also avoid lengthy discussions and generally enjoy the action-packed battles over the deep plot.
4. The Theorist
The Evangelion series has a lot of loose ends, strange symbolism, gibberish scenes, incomplete endings, and bizarre sketches. People may hate these aspects, but some have become so fixated with the cryptic symbolism that it has developed into an obsession. So much so that they believe that this deep anime is even deeper and that the symbolism means something else.
Is Hideaki Anno trying to convey hidden messages to his fans? Are those symbols more than aesthetics? Is there something philosophical about the show, like a clash of faith and science? Or is the Evangelion series an anti-religion tool? Officially, the symbols are mere decorations and the sketches and endings are the result of poor budgeting. But expect these fans to come up with stories of their own.
5. Closet Fans
These guys will follow every Evangelion series, from the 90s original to the Rebuild film series. They know the show by heart like the true fans and they passionately love the series. The only difference is that they don’t want to admit it. Yup, they are afraid of going public. The reason behind this is still unclear. I have met one fan like this and he said that he is afraid of being called a nerd, geek, or something like that.
These fans love the Evangelion series for one reason only. Collectible merchandise! These fans basically see the series as an animated toy/novelty shop. When the show starts, they are like, “Dude, nice machines. When will they hit the stores?” And when you happen to visit their caves, you are in a different world.
They got scale models, CDs, shirts, manga, magazines, you name it. I know some who even makes a living by becoming a dealer. They are the first in line when there is a toy convention.
The reason why they watch this show is so they can get the looks of the characters. Screw the storylines and the fight scenes, the costumes are all they need. After watching a series or two, they will spend hours sketching, designing, and sewing their own plugsuit, school uniform, or even an EVA unit suit. They will then do their makeup, wigs, or hair colors to match the features of their chosen characters. I find these guys and gals cool and they are quite a sight to look at.
8. The Weeaboo
You cannot avoid having a rabid fanatic in every fandom. Outside the Evangelion fandom, the weeaboos (Japanese wannabes) are usually white teens who have shallowly embraced Japanese culture thanks to their anime fixation. Within the Evangelion fandom, they are annoying fundamentalists who will fight to the death over their beloved anime. Better watch your tongue when one is around. Say something awful or even call the series terrible and you will trigger their oversensitive nerves. They frequent social media, usually in the comment section where they troll non-believers.
9. The Shipper (Straight)
If the cosplayers are all about costumes, then these fans are all about love. The Evangelion series is a non-romantic anime, but that doesn’t deter these fans from scream when their beloved characters hold hands. They love straight ships (relationships) and have a habit of matching or deciding on OTPs (one true pairings) outside the show’s canon. They then apply their art skills (manually or with Photoshop) to create sketches of their characters making love. Though cute at times, they could be as obnoxious as the weeaboos and arguments over their ships will wreck a fandom.
10. The Shipper (Yaoi)
We have straight relationships with the shippers, but fans could also match characters of the same gender. These fans don't want the guys shipped with the girls. I don’t want to sound homophobic, but as artistic as some of the edited sketches of Shinji being with Kaworu are, they cause a lot of goosebumps.
11. The Pervs
They don’t care about the show, the story, the mecha, or anything in this series. All they want is to see Misato, Asuka, Rei, or any female character undressed. Yes, expect them to be there just because the character designs look sexy enough. All they'll remember in the show are the suggestive scenes or the naked Rei.
12. The Wannabe
They thought that watching this series will make them look cool and smart, so they jumped into the bandwagon immediately. And as expected, they had no idea what they just watched. They will go and say that their IQ is through the roof while they are unable to tell you if this is a Chinese or Japanese animation.
Naomi Starlight from Illinois on July 10, 2019:
Shinji isn't stupid. He's possibly the only sane one. I mean in his position running away is the smart thing to do, the world is going to end anyway. And he's a teenage kid, not a trained soldier, even though everyone expects him to just jump up and act like a soldier. As for the ending not making sense, it's easy to piece together what happens if you watch 'End of Evangelion' after finishing the end of the series, although multiple viewings are going to be helpful.
FUQ on May 02, 2018:
Before I get started let me just say that for the real scoop on some of what Evangelion is about you should check out Wikipedia's page on themes and philosophy of Neon Genesis Evangelion it's a great read which I can't really link to at the moment but it's amazing.
The guy that wrote this manages to get the talking points correct regarding the different types of fans for the most part but I really don't trust his opinions given the attitude he seems to have regarding both Evangelion and the fandom. It's not really anything I can point to specifically but something about the way he says things makes him seem hostile and salty. I suppose it's no surprise really because the way he talks about Shinji clearly tells me that even if he does understand the fans he is not someone who really understands the series and as somebody who is apparently quite smart he probably takes exception to that lack of comprehension on his part or maybe thought he knew what he was talking about at some point only to be shown that he did not but whatever it is take what this guy has to say with a grain of salt as the old saying goes. This is not a shitpost or an attempt to troll I just am surprised no one has said anything about his attitude given how many months have passed since this got posted and it's not like I'm going to be coming back to check on this article at any point in the future so whatever. Keep in mind I am saying this as fan type number one the true fan and yeah I do understand that the choking scene is referencing philosophical and psychological material on the nature of conflict regarding the self identity and shinji's needs to confirm that he is back in the world of the living through a physical and emotional conflict with Asuka who turns the tables on him by letting him know that she is aware now of that time he masturbated over her naked comatose body after having become connected to his Consciousness through instrumentality and doing so in a way that proves Shinji still is burdened by a massive self-loathing complex. So yes the layers of philosophy and psychology and subtext are very deep in this franchise far deeper than its creators are willing to admit to for reasons only known to them. Gee it's almost like Anno wasn't quite himself at the time he was making Evangelion and later came to regret some of the decisions he made, fancy that coming from someone suffering from depression and various other issues.