Neon Genesis Evangelion & The End of Evangelion: The Reason We’re All Here

Some art defies reductionism. If I say that Neon Genesis Evangelion is a science fiction mecha anime series consisting of its initial 26 episodes and concluding film, End of Evangelion, which features a group of mentally traumatized teenagers piloting giant, humanoid-robots called Evangelion for an organization known as NERV in an attempt to save the world from invading, shape-shifting beings known as Angels while examining their broken psyches, it does very little to capture the poignancy, the power, the magnificence, and the life-changing effect that the work has had on myself and many others. In a short essay I wrote in November of 2007 titled “Evangelion, My Neon Genesis: A Journey Through Darkness to Find Light” I said that “NGE wasn’t just entertainment to me. It wasn’t even art. It was a rebirth.” Over the years that I’ve spent on Evageeks.org I’ve discovered that I’m far from alone in feeling that.

Yet, for all of Evangelion’s tremendous impact on the world of anime, and the profound effect it’s had on the lives of so many, it remains a niche product in the West—a work that few have heard of and even fewer have seen. Part of its obscurity lies in the biased perception and preconceptions of anime in the west, where the medium (and it is a medium, not a genre) is either viewed as inundated with children’s entertainment—Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh—or full of gratuitous blood and sex that appeals to juvenile teenagers. In Japan, however, animation is seen as a medium equal to that of film, and while it is, indeed, beleaguered by immature fanatics and artistically destitute, commercial products, there are also remarkable artists like Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, Satoshi Kon (R.I.P.), Ueda/Abe, and Hideaki Anno.

Writer/Director Hideaki Anno said himself in a pre-production interview while attempting to explain his vision of the series: “They say, ‘To live is to change.’ I started this production with the wish that once the production complete, the world, and the heroes would change. That was my ‘true’ desire. I tried to include everything of myself in Neon Genesis Evangelion—myself, a broken man who could do nothing for four years, a man who ran away for four years, one who was simply not dead. Then one thought, ‘You can’t run away’, came to me, and I restarted this production. It is a production where my only thought was to burn my feelings into film.” That last conceit, “to burn my feelings into film” brings to mind artists like Ingmar Bergman who equally used film as a medium to exercise his demons. But, unlike Bergman, Anno found himself in the age-old problem many great artists face: How does one create art that’s deep, complex, challenging, personal, and profound, all the while making it a viable commercial product?

Anno’s solution was to situate Evangelion in a well-worn genre, the sci-fi mecha anime, and use the first half of the series to establish the tropes of the genre to “sell” Evangelion as a disposable piece of “monster-of-the-week” drama. But even at this early stage Evangelion established itself as being a cut above the rest; the lavish animation and revolutionary designs—designs that modeled the mechas after Japanese Oni, or demons, and presented a dizzyingly diverse array of the “Angel” enemies—combined with an intriguing cast of characters to generate interest before any of the series’ deconstructionist, avant-garde intentions began to show. The entire first half, which covers ep. 1-13, are perfect in their balance of character, drama, levity—especially in the form of slapstick comedy—and focus, which uses the strength of the episodic format to structure the series across multiple episodes.

On excellent example of the series using the episodic format is the way in which Anno utilizes a flashback episode in ep. 2 (which picks up where ep. 1 leaves off), which allows us to experience the battle as the traumatic memories invade an amnesiac Shinji. But the episodes also allow for a deftly controlled focus which is always working simultaneously on multiple levels to introduce characters, develop relationships, and establish the series’ motifs and themes (subtly and under the surface), all the while keeping a sharp focus on the entertainment of the action and plot and the slowly revealing mysteries which build in interest as the series progresses. One can even observe how the first two episodes serve as an introduction, with ep. 3 and 4 devoted to Shinji (and several key themes), ep. 5 and 6 devoted to Rei, ep. 7 devoted to the adults and politics, ep. 8 serving as Asuka’s introduction, ep. 9 and 10 developing Shinji and Asuka’s relationship, ep. 11 developing the dynamic between all the pilots, ep. 12 focusing on Misato and ep. 13 on Ritsuko.

The second half starts with ep. 14 and a staple of many anime series: the recap episode. But during the second half of the recap, the tone and focus shifts, and we’re introduced to Rei’s infamous poetic soliloquy, which juxtaposes her words with abstract images to form a kind of audio/visual art piece. The more mature shift signaled by this episode continues to the adult relationship of Misato and Kaji in ep. 15. Ep. 16 truly introduces the series’ philosophical/psychological edge when Shinji is swallowed by the “Shadow” Angel and introduced to himself. Ep. 18 and 19 ramp up the drama to an extreme boiling point, while ep. 17 and 20 act as subdued calms before (and after) the storm, with the latter serving as a kind of spiritual journey. Ep. 21 elaborates on the complex back-stories, while 22, 23, and 24 all rip through the established narrative with a violent and explosive ferocity, utterly destroying all vestiges of its characters’ sanity, the coherency of the narrative, and shattering the notion that NGE is, in any way, an anime in the traditional mode.

Both the series’ ending and the film, End of Evangelion (which are complimentary, and roughly concurrent), mark Anno’s—and, indeed, anime’s—artistic high point. The series’ ending presents the internal, enclosed world of the characters’ psyches through the fictional device of Instrumentality. It’s a world where the “persona” of the characters have been torn away, the same way in which the “persona” of the series’ narrative has been torn away. All that’s left is the exposed soul of the characters, allowing Anno to explore the themes directly that drove him to create the series. The film ending re-established the narrative, but instead of offering a mere resolution it transmogrifies the series’ ending’s Godard-like directness into a barrage of densely layered visual symbols in which even the scant exposition seems hopelessly inadequate to explain. Both reveal NGE’s status as a work of post-modern, deconstructionist metafiction. Kim Newsman said of Godard’s Breathless that it was: “at once a homage to the American gangster film, and an attack on the very ideas of Americans, gangsters and films” which can equally be paraphrased for NGE as: “at once an homage to the Japanese mecha anime, and an attack on the very ideas of Japan, mecha, and anime.

Both endings represent fiction at its most audacious, inventive, and challenging, and both have served to provoke an amazing variety of reactions, from those who have labeled it artistic genius, to those that have denounced it as confusing and pretentious hogwash. Whether the series leaves you with a sense of awe and wonder, whether it leaves you as broken, destroyed, and traumatized as its characters, or whether it leaves you frustrated and angered at its lack of traditional resolution, it invariably leaves the audience confused as to what the hell they just witnessed. The entire series, in fact, has become notorious for the amount of discussion, debate, analysis, and criticism that it’s generated across the spectrum. One might call it anime’s version of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and, indeed, the comparison is apt on multiple levels, not the least of which is their polarizing nature that has inspired as much worship as it as hate. But both have undoubtedly had a deep impact on many who have seen it, as well as the medium after their arrival.

Of all the series’ aspects that have generated controversy, none has so consistently as its characters. It’s true that Evangelion is full of characters who are extremely un-hero like. Anno said himself in that same interview that “Both (Misato and Shinji) are extremely afraid of being hurt. Both are unsuitable-lacking the positive attitude-for what people call heroes of an adventure. But in any case, they are the heroes of this story.” That equally applies to the other characters as well. Shinji, especially, has gotten flack for being a coward—a whiny, passive, obnoxious, angsty, good-for-nothing—who, himself, runs away, or just does what he’s told in an attempt to avoid being hurt. Asuka is, in a respect, Shinji in the reverse. Instead of being passive, she over-compensates for her insecurities through pushy aggression in an attempt to prove her worth. Rei is, perhaps, the most complex and inscrutable of the trio, especially because she functions as much as a symbol than as a legitimate character herself. Yet her “blank-slate” persona has allowed and provoked fans to lavish more thought and interpretation into her than any other character.

The polar reactions to the characters are either that they capture an individual’s personality to such a degree that they feel as if someone has put their life up on screen, or they repel those who see none of themselves in such flawed characters. For those who argue for them it’s become a mantra that, like so many other aspects of the series, Anno actively sought to violently subvert the hero archetype by placing extremely flawed characters in savior/hero roles and then forcing them into situations where they can only fail and reveal their darkest and, perhaps, most human side to us. But these are not one-dimensional characters; throughout the series they constantly change by subtle degrees, revealing many contradicting sides to them and their personality. Much has been said about how Anno didn’t create any heroes or villains in the series, but merely humans, all with their strengths and weaknesses, but who are put in a position in which their weaknesses get painfully analyzed.

Despite all the controversy, and despite one’s ultimate qualitative judgment on the series, it’s impossible to deny that from a sheer technical standpoint the series is a wonder. For those who have spent years analyzing it, like myself, the creative, artistic genius in the series seems limitless, and it’s difficult to know what aspect to address in such a general article. Anno draws tremendously from classic literature, especially in his use of elaborately developed motifs and allusions—hands, water, colors, the moon, Genesis, trains, etc.—which allows him to tell much of the story-within-a-story visually and not drown the series in exposition. These motifs are almost always subtle in their use, but even more nuanced in their effect. The hand motif, especially, is the greatest signifier of Anno’s genius, especially in how he brings it to a climax in End of Evangelion to reduce the entire series down to a pregnant exchange of gestures.

From a directorial standpoint, Evangelion is equally impressive. Anno seems to have gleaned influences diffusely, rather than directly, from many of cinema’s greats. His use of montage, for example, is extraordinarily varied. It frequently borrows from Eisenstein’s theories, while introducing elements—like those “flash” montages—which seems to be a unique invention. Elsewhere, Anno’s juxtaposition of dialogue and static images and other non-sequitor sequences seems directly taken from Godard’s cinematic experiments, yet Anno reportedly had never seen a Godard film before making NGE. Anno’s use of symbolically heavy framing seems taken from directors like Antonioni, while his sense for dramatic cross-cutting hearkens back to Griffith. His surrealistic examinations of his characters’ psyches seem more in line with Bergman or Lynch, while his use of visually provocative imagery, iconography, and penchant for odd angles and wide-lenses seem thoroughly Kubrickean.

Thematically, Evangelion is as rich as it is visually. Many have been tempted to label it “pseudo-intellectual” for its borrowing from a wealth of common existentialism and pop-psychology, but I’ve often said that art should be judged on how they portray themes, rather than what themes are portrayed. But Evangelion, like Shakespeare, is remarkable in its ability to support a bevy of different interpretations. Some see Sartre or Nietzsche, while other see Jung or Freud. Some see nihilism and pessimism, others see hope and optimism. NGE can be read under structuralism or relativism, as transhumanist or just humanist, period. No matter how many interpretation of NGE I read (or put forward myself) I’m continually astonished by how it’s able to support so many, and, frequently, so many conflicting different views. Perhaps it’s been best summed up by a fellow Evageek Rachel Clark when she said “despite the fact that we’ve all seen Evangelion, what keeps us coming back to discuss it is that we all disagree over exactly what we saw.”

Some tend to interpret this ambiguity as being evidence that the creators themselves didn’t even know what it meant. They see ambiguity and think that since something can support so many interpretations, no interpretation is right, and that said something is meaningless. This is, at best, wrongheaded thinking. Life itself is complex enough to engender and support such a diversity of opinions, interpretations, and philosophy, that it only makes sense that the best art would imitate life in its ability to nurture so many. The truth isn’t that such art is meaningless, but merely that it walks the line between representational and abstract. This essentially means that there are concrete elements with definite meanings (the representational) balanced by those which are ambiguous (abstract) but which can support a variety of meanings given the context that they exist in. Jung called this the forms of the collective unconscious, while Joseph Campbell called it “the hero with 1000 faces”, but it all supports the idea that life and art is a balance between universal forms, and the unique substance that we fill those forms with.

The simple fact is that Evangelion is a work of art that contains as much to admire as it does to love. Despite my extensive forays into the arts—classic literature, music, film, etc.—I’ve yet to encounter a work that can best NGE in its intellectual complexity and depth while also maintaining a profound poignancy that is capable of changing—or even saving—a person’s life. That’s not to say I haven’t encountered its close equals; if given a choice I would sacrifice any Shakespeare play for NGE, but I would sacrifice NGE for the whole of Shakespeare’s canon. And I’ve encountered works that I love as much (like The Seventh Seal), and works that I admire as much (like Goethe’s Faust), but only a handful that I love as much as I admire, though many to come close include Hamlet, King Lear, War & Peace, Paradise Lost, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. But, ultimately, I come back to the work that saved my life when I was in my darkest hour. Nothing in life or in art has ever woke me up and forced me to examine the world, life, and myself to the extent that Evangelion is. And, love it or hate it, it’s an extraordinarily rare quality to be able to say that about any work of art—much less a science fiction mecha anime series.

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About Jonathan Henderson
I'm a dedicated aesthete that's been fascinated with the arts since I was in my early teens. At 13 I saw my first foreign film, which ignited my passion for world cinema. I also discovered the enormous world of music out there and fell in love with everything from death metal to classical. My love for literature has especially grown in recent years, and I've taken up writing (and working really hard at) poetry. But over the past 12 years I've probably taken to film criticism more than anything, and seeing Neon Genesis Evangelion reignited my love for the arts (especially film) and took it to an even higher level. Now I write film reviews for two sites, including this one and Cinelogue. I play poker professionally, and while the world of arts and poker don't seem to converge much, I have taken the deductive and inductive logic that poker requires and attempted to apply it to all the arts as well as my criticism in an attempt to get past the jellybean syndrome ("I like blue jellybeans, you don't, and that's all we can say.").

12 Responses to Neon Genesis Evangelion & The End of Evangelion: The Reason We’re All Here

  1. Sailor Star Dust says:

    Excellent review!

    Your thoughts on why Eva is so life-changing (with its talk about Depression, and suicide.) is spot-on.

    It really is interesting that Anno hasn’t seen a Godard work when making Eva…

    As an aside, I hope visually, Q and Final will be as good as NGE and EoE, but plot-wise is hard to say. (Thoughts on 2.22 are pretty divided after all. And of course, there’s no way of knowing if Anno’s subverting things or playing them straight until Q’s out.)

    Great blog, keep up the good work!

  2. Pingback: Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance « Forced Perspective

  3. Sachi says:

    Ah, this brings back that (not-so) famous quote: “Evangelion unites us all, like the olympics.” Great job so far, everybody!

  4. C.A.P. says:

    To Evangelion! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. :)

  5. Devrei17 says:

    Nice summary Jimbo.

    Eva does indeed bring us closer.

  6. Georgi says:

    Really good review… However, it does seem that the impact it had on you at a time that you must’ve felt really depressed and apathetic contributes to the superlative praise you seem to give it. For one, Anno Hideaki (or Hideaki Anno, not sure) himself has said that the second half of the anime wasn’t originally planned to digress so much from the narrative but it was actually brought about by cuts in the budget and reduction of the number of frames per episode. Your interpretation of it being a deconstruction of the mecha genre heavily relies on that premise. I’d actually be happy to agree with you were it not for Hideaki’s statement.

    What if it turns out it REALLY is accidental… I mean, the last two episodes and the movie are obviously masterful work and I personally am in awe of the way he managed to compress so much psychology and philosophy (culminating in the movie with a great deal of symbolism) in just 2 hours of fiction but it’s no wonder people see NGE as self-indulgent, forced and chaotic (last minute insertion of different psychological schools of thought).

    I’m currently watching it for the second time to explore all the ideas it has to offer (and to understand the symbolism in the movie because I really couldn’t the first time… it was too much lol) and am paying special attention to detail. I hope I reach more or less the same conclusions ;)

  7. Jonathan Henderson says:

    Thank you, Georgi.

    Firstly, yes, it’s quite true that I was going through a period of severe depression when I encountered Evangelion. In fact, I wrote another essay that you can read on EvaGeeks.org entitled “Evangelion: My Neon Gensis” (you can find it under the thread title “My Kinda-Sorta Eva Mangum Opus” if you search on Google) where I tried to put into words my personal experience of the series and film and why it meant so much to me. I’ve said before that I think for any work of art to have that strong of an impact you have to be at a specific point in your life, and others who aren’t there simply won’t feel the same impact. But, again, I still think it’s rare for art to possess that quality that can potentially change someone’s life if they are in that emotional place.

    Secondly, the subject of NGE’s second half and how much was intended, how much was improvised, what is there due to various production problems, etc. is a complicated subject that there’s no consensus on. Two EvaGeeks members attended a Gainax panel last year in which Hiroyuki Yamaga (co-founder and president) stated that EoTV was the originally planned ending and that there were no budget problems, and that if they had read that on the internet it was just fans “making stuff up.” This seems strange, though, since the reports have been more widespread than just the internet, and the idea that EoE was planned before the original ending was quite widespread as well. Although Anno did say that after reading some textbooks on psychology/philosophy (I forget which) that where he wanted to take the second half clarified in his mind.

    But you have to understand that it was Anno’s own 4-year battle with depression and disillusionment with the Otaku culture that provoked him to create NGE in the first place. The series was ALWAYS intended to be a deconstructionist piece and the hints towards that can be seen all throughout the first half, starting with the establishing and development of Shinji being a very un-heroic (in the classic sense) character. They spend an entire episode (ep. 4) just showing him running away. That’s very unorthodox for a messianic sci-fi narrative (I can’t really think of any analogs off the bat).

    Now, it is probable that Anno didn’t have all of the second half worked out in detail, but this is where things gets slippery because there is a continuum between “everything was planned in minute detail” and “everything was made up off the top of their heads.” My feeling has always been that NGE was more in the middle of that spectrum, meaning that Anno and co. had a good idea, an outline, of where they were going, but the fine details were filled in along the way. This “In the middle” approach to planning/improvising explains why there are so many intricately integrated motifs in the visuals and dialogue, but also explains why there are so many inconsistencies, plotholes, loose threads, etc. NGE is tough to pin-down because on some levels it shows a high degree of careful planning and execution (compare, eg, all of the parallels between ep. 1 and EoE; The ghostly Reis, the close-up of Shinji’s hand, “Kimochi Warui”, the telephone lines, etc.), but there are also inexplicable inconsistencies that are often signs of messy improvisation.

    But, even if we were to assume that it was all an accident, I think it would still work as a piece of deconstructionist fiction. It too thoroughly does just that across a variety of levels. If one says that this was merely an accident brought on by the chaos of the production, then I would simply say “who cares?” Production problems have plagued many animes and films in history, and many of the greatest films are called “happy accidents” (Casablanca, Singing in the Rain among them). Sometimes everything goes wrong in the production and artistic brilliance results from those involved trying to cope with it. Sometimes everything goes right in the production and the results are entirely forgettable. NGE could’ve perhaps been just another mecha anime had everything gone right.

  8. Georgi says:

    Thanks for the swift reply. I’m not sure the emotional effect art has on us is a marker of how good it is. Maybe it’s just me because I’m very moody and emotional and make myself watch/read something twice or thrice if I find it good in order to be more objective – for instance, a few years back I had my own bouts of depression and anxiety which provided great breeding ground for angst and was easily manipulated by Elfen Lied (right now I’m not sure I’d like it at all… It serves to manipulate the emotions of the viewer IMO and I’m not planning to watch it again). That is why the emotional response each of us has (as refined as it might get) shouldn’t be used as a viable indicator for the quality of the work in question. Hmmm… will have to ponder it more…

    Thank you for the additional information regarding Anno and NGE. True, accidental or not the last 2 episodes and the movie (and some handpicked moments from the latter half of the anime) are masterpieces for me – and it’s not only because they were chockfull of ideas but it was the manner in which they chose to render them that makes them so accessible and more tangible than simply extracting them from a psychology book. And, of course in no way do they deviate from the already established personality profiles of the characters.

    I don’t watch much anime so maybe that’s why I didn’t find Shinji’s natural inclination to whine that shocking and anti-heroic as I was led to believe. It now occurred to me that most people would probably expect super heroes from the mecha genre and Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato serve to subvert these traditional models. You’re probably right about it being intended as a deconstructionist piece but what I really admite about NGE is the abandonment of the traditional narrative at the end in order to lay emphasis on the inner world/psyche of the characters, presenting it as the ONLY logical ending (self-realization, ultimate epiphanies) to everything that had been concocting up to that point. I just wish I knew that wasn’t accidental :\

    Now that I’m watching it for the second time I’m paying more attention (I gotta admit that I was quite bored at the beginning the first time and may have missed on important themes, patterns…) and am satisfied so far (currently at ep 9). I’ve read your essay (ran into it on IMDB) and it really made an impression on me – I just love it when people have such huge life-altering experiences from a work of art. ;)

    Georgi

    PS. I was so enthused a week ago when I read it that I sent you a PM on imdb. I hope I haven’t come out as a stalker or anything… I apologize if that’s the case

    • Jonathan Henderson says:

      Georgi,

      Sorry for not replying to your last comment, but I guess WordPress didn’t send me an email about it; I guess the same is true of your IMDb PM (which I rarely check anyway). If you manage to get this, feel free to email me at no1willfan2004@yahoo.com. I check that email daily so I’ll be sure to get your email.

  9. Jose Cruz says:

    Well, I watched the entire TV series and the movie. I liked it very much but certainly not as much as you do.

    I would say that they combined (TV series plus the film) would constitute one of the best TV series ever made and perhaps the best animated TV series ever made (though I am beginning to watch Miyazaki’s Future Boy Conan, which I heard some people said is the best one and I am finding the first few episodes very good), but, I wouldn’t rate Evangelion as the all time artistic high point of anime for me.

    I would think that Miyazaki’s masterpieces: Nausicaa, Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke and Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies would be the my top 4 personal favorite anime works. They are more refined and (obviously) less flawed (given that Ghibli’s films are well known for their incredible lack of flaws) and, for some reason, managed to produce a greater emotional impact on me than any other TV show or film I ever watched.

    Though I understand that Evangelion tries to be more “artsy” than anything Miyazaki & co had ever done. But I personally don’t find Bergman to be a greater film director than Kurosawa. Which would be a sort of live action analog comparison to to Anno and Miyazaki. I prefer “rational” films over the most avant garde ones. Stuff like 8 1/2 and Spirited Away would be my maximum.

    I would also add that the impact of these art forms on my life (EVA and Ghibli’s films) wasn’t exactly positive since they made the rest of my life seem dull and boring. : )

  10. Jonathan Henderson says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jose.

    I certainly wouldn’t absolutely object to anyone ranking any of Miyazaki’s masterpieces or Grave of the Fireflies ahead of NGE. In fact, Grave of the Fireflies is in my Personal Top 20 films, and Mononoke is in my Top 40. I gave both of them 10/10, which I’ve only given to about 70 films to date. It’s apropos, too, that you mention both Bergman and Kurosawa whom, along with Alfred Hitchcock, are pretty much my “holy trinity” of directors. My “favorite” would probably depend on my mood that day and what film of theirs I was watching! I don’t necessarily hold artsy, avant-garde works above traditional ones either.

    I’ve said this before, but when it comes to art there are works and artists I admire, those I love, and those that I admire and love. One might equate admiration with an intellectual appreciation, like from a formal or historical perspective, and emotion with the initial, visceral reaction. The works that end up on the top of my “favorites” lists are usually those that do both in equal measure and to the utmost degree. NGE is simply that, for me, and while I know the emotional aspect can’t really be argued, I do feel the intellectual aspect can. In that respect, I do not find it lacking when compared to Miyazaki, Takahata, or any other film or master you may want to throw out there, so I really just feel it comes down to what subjectively appeals to us the most.

    My claim for NGE/EoE being the artistic high point of anime, though, is really about its ability to be all-inclusive; to enfold both traditional and avant-garde techniques, artistry and entertainment, formal and thematic complexity/sophistication, etc. It’s not so much that I’d say NGE is “better” than something like Grave of the Fireflies, eg, but more that I’d simply argue that there’s so much more to it. It’s a bit like comparing an Emily Dickinson poem to Paradise Lost; sure, maybe word-for-word the Dickinson poem is more perfect, better crafted, etc., but there’s simply a greater volume of content that makes up Paradise Lost, even if it does contain more flaws and less economy of expression. Put it another way, NGE is one of those works a person could spend many years being involved with because there’s so much to study, analyze, discuss, and write about… but how much can be said of Grave of the Fireflies? It’s an amazing film, essentially perfect for what it is, but it just lacks the volume of content that can sustain interest for years and decades past the initial viewing.

  11. Kevin Palmer says:

    I read your Magnum Opus regarding the show. I thought it was a good read. In that respect, you’re a great writer(whatever age you were at) able to put to words what I think many of us experienced watching the show. I too am in a period of darkness and lack of direction in my life. In your Essay, you said people can see the show too early, too late, or just at the right time. I’d have a good bet that most people actually end up watching it at the right time. For it is of the fact that I am at this point in my life that I watched the show. In many ways I feel exactly the same as you do about the show. Of course, I know that’s not entirely true since nobody sees the same thing.

    To me the show woke me up to what in a way I already knew as far as the view of one’s self….but it has that push at the end. The Congratulations. Beyond that, everything else were things so unexpected from a show and so mesmerizing to experience. At the time that you wrote your essay, it seemed that you thought you were one of very few who had truly been changed by the show. But I’m sure you now know that it has reached so many more.

    Anyway thanks for the readings. It brings back the emotions from watching the show…made me watch some scenes again just to realize that you really have to be so in the moment to really experience it again. <—-What I mean is "I need to start from Ep 1 again".

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