Big O and Evangelion (series comparison)

Spoderman 01-25-2006 06:07 AM
Before I get into anything, I'd first like to say that in general, I dislike anime and I only consider four to be really any good.

Big O- Why would I be here if I didn't? The story is entrancing, and the robot designs are amazing.

Neon Genesis Evangelion- I caught a single episode of Evangelion on Adult Swim. It was titled "With One Accord in a Flash". Simply, it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, and I've been hooked ever since. Last weekend, I borrowed the complete series, plus End of Evangelion from a friend, and watched it straight through, three times. This series is absolutely fantastic.

Fullmetal Alchemist- Apart from Ed being a whiny wuss, this show is quite good.

Champloo- Beatbox samurai ftw.

(This article contains Evangelion Spoilers)

With that said, I have recently purchased Seasons 1 and 2 of Big O, and spent the last few days watching it all. Since I just came down off my aforementioned Evangelion binge, I'm noticing a great deal of similarities between the two shows, and not just because they have giant robots.


Evangelion is the story of humanity's last days. It centers around a young boy named Shinji Ikari, who is forced into piloting the Evangelion Unit 01, a mech which is the only weapon with enough power to destroy the entities known as Angels, who are hell-bent on the destruction of mankind. Shinji is insecure and unsure of himself. He craves attention from others and only wants to be loved, but ultimately ends up finding himself alone. His father is estranged from him; his guardian doesn't connect with him on a personal level; his friends don't quite understand his problems; and his fellow Evangelion pilots, Rei and Asuka, each ignore him in their own ways. This leaves Shinji to be extremely disturbed emotionally, and oftentimes he is a reluctant hero, fighting his urge to flee with his constant mantra of "I mustn't run away..."

If I recall correctly, in Act 14, Roger the Wanderer, when Angel drives Roger underground, she coyly says, “You aren’t going to run away again, are you?” to which Roger retorts, “I ran away?”

Its uncanny just how many similarities there are between the two shows. Just the very premise of each is similar. Both depict end-of-the-world scenarios, just in different ways. The world of Evangelion is constantly coming under attack by Angels; while in Big O we have Paradigm as a perpetual target of masterless megadei, searching for the memories that can complete them.

Four of the main characters in Big O have direct parallels to the four main characters of Evangelion, except adult versions of them.

Shinji and Roger may seem like a bit of a stretch, but their likeness cannot be denied. Roger oozes coolness from every pore, and is always prepared for any situation. Shinji, is a bundle of nerves, who often has to be forced into his heroics. However, they both rise to the occasion regardless of the circumstances, and there is a recurring theme in both shows, where the pilots of their respective mechs question their motives for piloting in the first place. Their conclusion: They pilot because they are destined to.

Rei and Dorothy are direct comparisons in every way. Rei is cold, emotionless, and does not understand how or why other people act the way they do. This is because (spoiler) she is not a real human. Instead, she is the end result of an experiment attempting to clone Shinji's mother, Yui Ikari, by combining her DNA with Angel DNA. Rei is neither fully human, nor fully Angel, just as Dorothy is an android with human memories and emotions. Furthermore, just as there are multiple Rei clones (to activate the Dummy-Plug system), we do see another Dorothy model in R-D.

Misato and Angel- Misato and Angel are both strong-willed and self-conscious women on a quest for personal gain. Although Angel is a bit more vocal about her motives, Misato often exhibits selfish traits and both are somewhat conceited. Interesting to note is the fact that Misato is the director of operations at Nerv... while Angel is revealed to be the director of Paradigm. Both characters are love interests of the main character in each respective show.

Asuka and Alex Rosewater- The fact that there is a gender difference here means nothing. Like Asuka, Alex Rosewater is brash and arrogant, readily asserting his dominance over others. He even says that his Big Fau is the greatest Megadeus, just as Asuka boasts of Unit 02's superiority. However, while Asuka is eventually redeemed after realizing exactly how shallow she is, Rosewater's arrogance ends up being his downfall.


All of the characters are unsure of their own identities, and have a deep, unrelenting fear of the unknown that they all face at some point in time. Roger fears the underground; Dorothy fears the archetypal megadei; Angel fears losing control of herself.



Another similarity we can draw is between the respective mechs.

Both the Evas and the Bigs display numerous feats of intelligence and self-awareness. There are instances of every Megadeus disobeying orders or acting independently, just as Unit 01 and Unit 00 do in Evangelion. Unit 01 moves on its own (Without power!) on three separate occasions throughout the course of Evangelion (with each instance rising in awesomeness on the badass-scale), while Unit 00 goes berserk during synchronization tests seemingly of its own volition.

The Evas themselves are not true mechs, but bio-engineered Half-Angel, Half-Human cyborgs. The metal they wear is not only armor, but a cage, meant to restrain the full power of the Eva. In comparison, the Bigs are clearly robots, but they each contain memories...

And since Norman puts it so well... "Memories are something that exists in the human form..."

We can only infer that the origins of these memories were human, regardless of thow they ended up in the Bigs. The Bigs simply need a Dominus in order to complement their existing memory.

Unit 01, like Big O, is really, the only "complete" mech in Evangelion. Rei's Unit 00 is mentally unstable, often going crazy during simple tests, and Asuka's Unit 02 is merely a more easily controlled, dumbed-down Eva. In this sense, Big Duo and Big Fau are incomplete because they lack the correct memories, and Dominus complement in order to function properly. Big Duo is two-faced, and on two separate occasions, moved on its own, disobeying its pilot; and in the second instance, killed said pilot.. Big Fau, being a frankenstein of sorts, is without the correct memories it needs to function properly, and like Unit 02, needs to be "dumbed down" in order to be controlled. Furthermore, but not pivotal, is the fact that Unit 01 and Big O both survive until the end of the series (I'm talking about End of Evangelion, not eps 25,26), Unit 02 and Big Fau are partially destroyed, and Unit 00 and Big Duo are completely destroyed. And if you really want me to get symbolic on your ass, consider that at one point, both the Bigs and the Evas were in mass production: Eva units 6-12 make an appearance in EoE.

Interestingly enough, the relationships between each character in Big O mirror their Evangelion Counterparts. Shinji has strong feelings for Rei, Asuka, and Misato, but feels especially drawn to Rei, for reasons he cannot explain. Likewise, Roger must choose between Angel and Dorothy, and chooses Dorothy, who is very much like Rei. In End of Evangelion, Rei rejects Shinji's father, to whom she seemed to be bound to obey (thus becoming independent and self-aware), and instead rushes to Shinji, stating "Ikari needs me..." A certain Android does the same thing for Roger in Act 26.

However, the most significant similarity between the two shows can be summed up with my favorite quote from the entire series: “…the power of God, created by man… divine thunderbolts raining down from the heavens…”

This is exactly what the Evangelion is: an Angel made by man, for the purpose of advancing man through the instrumentality project.


I see Big O as a great “tip-of-the-hat” towards Evangelion. The references and similarities are too striking to overlook and understanding them offers a great deal of insight as to the true message of Big O.

Evangelion is probably the only anime I would prefer to Big O. For all intents and purposes, these two are tops. There’s nothing quite like them that has ever been produced, and it is unlikely that there ever will be in the future. The information in this article barely scratched the surface of what I consider to be a huge underlying message and clue within Big O. I’m going to re-watch the series and post updates as necessary.
Nine Kuze 01-25-2006 09:57 AM
Damn, man. That's pretty good and there are a lot of similarites between the two, Big O and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

It seems like to took a lot of time writing this and did a lot of your homework. I really like that somehow you made Roger Smith and Shinji Ikari actually really compariable and your analysis on the four main characters was great as well.

But this has kind of been done before, just not so long and it was a poll to see who would win between a Big or an Eva.

Check it out here.
Peace.
Mugiwara Luffy 01-25-2006 01:09 PM
Boo, Eva's boring. And depressing.

I'm starting to think that both Big O and Evangelion were made to be overly complex so that people would think there is some deeper meaning when they really don't have any meaning at all.
Spoderman 01-26-2006 06:33 AM
Eva is far from boring... but its also far from uplifting.
Ace378 01-26-2006 09:17 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Spoderman
Eva is far from boring....


I agree. Both animes were really well done. Actually almost immediately after viewing NGE (including the end of eva) i started thinking that there were lots of similarities. I can't say i agree with all of the conclusions of the original post but i can see where they could come from.
Mugiwara Luffy 01-26-2006 09:30 PM
Ok, you are right. It isn't boring.

But it is very depressing. And just as confusing as Big O, with a similar cop-out ending.
corrupt 01-26-2006 09:44 PM
I ain't seen the endin, or the films, or hardly any of the episodes for that matter. I like it though.
Ace378 01-26-2006 09:56 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Lt. Sanji
Ok, you are right. It isn't boring.

But it is very depressing. And just as confusing as Big O, with a similar cop-out ending.


Reflecting upon the eva series i can agree it is kind of depressing (though its not so much if you cut off the ending ^^). In comparison to Big O i would also agree that it is as confusing with almost the same kind of ending. i mean if you look at it both endings:

spoiler (highlight to read):
Roger and shinji both go through almost a mental breakdown if you will. Only difference i would say (except for the obvious difference that roger is contemplating what are his memories and shinji is contemplating his existence and value) is that roger is able to snap out of his breakdown and do what needs to be done. Although you could kind of say the same thing for shinji, i suppose the discussion of the end of eva is for another thread.....
corrupt 01-26-2006 09:57 PM
Damn my curiosty, now I know the ending DAMMIT
Nine Kuze 01-27-2006 09:14 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Ace378
quote:
Originally posted by Lt. Sanji
Ok, you are right. It isn't boring.

But it is very depressing. And just as confusing as Big O, with a similar cop-out ending.


Reflecting upon the eva series i can agree it is kind of depressing (though its not so much if you cut off the ending ^^). In comparison to Big O i would also agree that it is as confusing with almost the same kind of ending. i mean if you look at it both endings:

spoiler (highlight to read):
Roger and shinji both go through almost a mental breakdown if you will. Only difference i would say (except for the obvious difference that roger is contemplating what are his memories and shinji is contemplating his existence and value) is that roger is able to snap out of his breakdown and do what needs to be done. Although you could kind of say the same thing for shinji, i suppose the discussion of the end of eva is for another thread.....


You know I saw the ending of Evangelion recently as well and not only was it very depressing, but the ending was so strange and messed up that it made the Big O in Act 26 actually make sense. To me it does nonetheless but if you don't let yourself get distracted by the imagery of Evangelion's end, than it's not all that confusing to follow.

Unlike Big O's ending, which is still so damn confusing even if you don't get distracted by imagery... so now I'm confused again Confused
Peace.
Spoderman 03-05-2006 01:40 AM
In both Death and Rebirth, as well as End of Evangelion, there are scenes where a single droplet falls into a pool of water, making a sound and causing a ripple effect.

It happens in End of Evangelion exactly three times, and once in Death and Rebirth.


This is directly referenced in Underground Terror, where the same thing happens exactly three times. Once at the end of Schwarzwald's first monologue, again at the end of his second, and a final time at the end of the episode.
SEELE 08 03-05-2006 05:25 AM
The endings of Eva and Big O are similar:
spoiler (highlight to read):
The world being destroyed through the power of Eva-01 (used as a medium to draw souls) and the MP Evas Anti-AT feilds along with Lilith, and Big O ends with the Mega Deuses fighting it out and Big Venus Erasing the world. Both the Evas and the Bigs erase mankind's existance. But mankind is able to return in both cases for another go around.
Spoderman 03-05-2006 06:14 AM
I just watched through Death and Rebirth and EoE again... once just straight through, the second time with commentary on while I was playing guildwars...

instead of sleeping...

My brain is fried right now.
SEELE 08 03-05-2006 09:13 AM
The first time I watched EoE my brain was fried, I watched EoE and Death and Rebirth in one sitting and I just sat there and said "What the hell?" repeatedly. What do you play in GW? I've got a totally sweet elemenatlist/ranger.
Spoderman 03-05-2006 04:47 PM
I've got three characters. Ele/Mesmer, Ranger/Monk, Necro/Monk

My ele is Talus Graylin so look me up sometime. Are you in a guild?
ScionofDestiny 04-06-2006 02:20 PM
MY GOD! I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE THE DAY!!! HELLO BROTHER IN ARMS!!!!!!!

While I think that your list of anime is somewhat narrow, I also agree that those four anime are break-the-mold, over the top, completely trip you up

The symbology in Big O and Evangelion is fundamentally similar. Since both Shinji and Roger are based off Messaical figures in Mediterranean religions (namely Christiananity and its "adjacents") - and also both Big O and Evangelion use major neuropsychological themes.

SPOILER:

Example: Roger the Producer is the "superego" - Roger the Negotiator is the "ego" - and Roger the Wanderer is the "Id".

Note: Producer is a broad-based term that applies to Roger because Angel the Director at the end - producers often tell their Directors to add things they want into the story - which seems to be what Roger did. Conversely, the Producer can represent "the Father" as well as the "superego".

The so-called "ending" of Big O was taken straight out of the book of Revelation (10) with a unique outlook - and the ending of Neon Genesis was based off the old-school Old Testament and the newer New Testament ideas.
Diverse Considerations 04-26-2006 03:09 AM
The only difference between the endings of Big O and NGE is that Big O makes your brain hurt less and for less time afterwards. NGE makes you wish pan galactic gargle blasters actually existed.

And in Big O, the hot chick doesn't die. Happy
ScionofDestiny 04-26-2006 06:41 PM
Who are referring too? And which ineration of the EVA reality are you speaking of? The mainline? Do you mean Rei or Misato? I'm not sure if Rei died exactly - Misato? Might come back and ... your right, it is painful.

More significantly (in this case) do you mean Angel or Dorothy is hot?

You know, they are actually making the Girlfriend of Steel concept into a manga - I preordered the first volume.