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That's because this show isn't a plot centered piece. The important elements of this show are its themes, and no. The still images throughout the series are intentional, and the show did not suffer from a poor budget as much as you might think. You are incorrect to assume that these still images are a result of having no animation budget left after the action scenes. Pay attention to the dialogue scenes in this show. While there is not constant movement on the screen, the blocking is always serves to make exposition more interesting, and each character is animated with motions that are entirely unique to them. I have seen shows made recently with similar budgets animate less than Evangelion did in its dialogue moments. And even though there is not constant motion on the screen in evangelion, the shot composition and cinematography in the show serves to both build and release tension much more effectively than some shows today that move much more. Because there are a lot of shows that feature a lot of boring rotation shots or tracking shots for the sake of "looking pretty". Evangelion limits movement because it tries its best to waste no screentime, which I know seems contradictory when it features some silent still shots. So now I will talk about those.
In the show, there are exactly 3 of those long still images lacking dialogue. The longest one is 53 seconds long. While the show suffered from production issues towards the production of its final episodes (resulting in the craon colored stills in the final chapter of the story) these three stills were each intentional and calculated. They each serve a purpose of reflection. The first is to reflect on the themes of the fourth episode, and Shinji's constant battle with himself concerning choosing between running away or just doing what others want him to do. It is also a display of Misato's hesitent nature. She is still not sure that he should come back to Nerv, because they are literally traumatizing the boy. So she is hesitent to bring him back. This stillness makes the cut to the character's faces and their final lines welcoming one another more impactful before the cut to black.
The second of these stills occurs in Asuka's introspection episode. We have spent a lot of her time in the show and especially this particular episode being shown how much Asuka detests dolls and people who give up their autonomy, and we are shown that these things result from a very dark and traumatic childhood involving her mother who quite literally lost her soula and became a doll of flesh. She then walks into an elevator with Rei. Rei is literally a representative non-entity. She is literally the least autonomous character in the entire show. So Asuka is now in an elevator with a person that represents everything she hates in her life as a result of her traumatic childhood. SO DUH. OF COURSE SHE JUST STANDS THERE AND SAYS NOTHING. No one with Asuka's experiences would ever strike up a conversation in that situation. You mean to tell me that if you had to endure a minute long elevator ride with the perosn that represents everything you hate most in your life, that you would actually feel comfortable starting a conversation with them? The camera remains locked in one position to make you stew in this awkward and uncomfortable space the same way Asuka is. It isn't just an excuse to pad out run time. Because when Rei finally speaks, Asuka responds angrily (and in her anger, she goes from being still to being very expressive in her character animation). She wanted to get through the ride without having to interact with Rei, but she is falling apart so badly that the interaction provokes her to slap Rei. Rei offers no response to the slap, and that angers Asuka even more as she leaves the elevator. The movement at the end of the scene stands out a lot more and becomes more impactful because of the stillness before it. It makes Asuka's anger feel even more real.
The third silent still occurs in episode 24 before Shinji kills Kaworu. This one is simple. Kaworu is the only person in the entire show that has shown Shinji UNCONDITIONAL affection. At this point in the show, Rei has been revealed to Shinji as a clone and genetic abomination. So he is terrified of her. Misato is grieving over the loss of Khaji, and Shinji is incapable of comforting her. So any relationship between the two of them is now dissolved. Asuka has whithered to a comatose state and is practically dead, and she has been rude to Shinji for most of her time in the show. SHINJI HAS NO ONE BUT KAWORU. Too bad Shinji. He's an angel, and you have to squeeze his head off for the sake of humanity. So Shinji is now stuck having to choose between THE FATE OF HUMANITY and preserving THE ONLY PERSON THAT GIVES SHINJI A REASON TO LIVE. So yeah, he has to think about it for a while. Once again, the camera remains still for a long time, forcing us as an audience to sit and ponder on just how torturous a situation this is for Shinji. NO PSYCHOLOGICALLY DAMAGED 14 YEAROLD BOY LIKE SHINJI WOULD BE ABLE TO MAKE THIS DECISION EASILY. So we are forced to stew in this dread with him by keeping the camera still and offering no motion on the screen to break the tension. So when that stillness is finally broken by kaworu's head falling into the LCL, that splash and the impact of Shinji's decision is much more palpable.
A show does not have to move constantly to be visually interesting. In fact, visuals oversaturated with movement start to lose meaning. When everything is moving constantly, that movement loses its impact and it handicaps a film's abitlity to use movement to manipulate the tension of the narrative, making the visuals dull and boring. Shows that animate too little simply fail at being a visual story telling medium fundamentally. If you take the time to look up from the subtitles on the screen and pay attention to the visuals of anime dialogue, you will find that there are many shows TODAY that opt out of any kind of expressive animation in their dialogue scenes. EVEN SOME OF THE MOST PRAISED SHOWS OF TODAY suffer from either this lazy dialogue animation or movement oversaturation. Evangelion doesn't suffer from either of these. No, there is not constant movement on the screen, but all of the movement and stillness is calculated and deliberate (with some exceptions in the last two episodes, but there were topical circumstances surrounding the production of the later episodes of the show created challenges in the production that extend far beyond the show's budget). The show is not of a lower quality because it doesn't do exactly what you want it to do or because it doesn't provide a continuous torrent of motion on the screen. This show works around the limitations it had in innovative and visually interesting ways that few other anime have ever matched. Is it the best anime ever visually? No. But it is a show that, in every aspect that it was able to, pushes the baoundaries of what the animation medium was capable of by cleverly EXPLOITING its limitations to actually enhance the pacing of the story. The show does admittedly cut some animation corners, but even when it does, it does so to the betterment of pacing and tension building of a scene. The show doesn't move in any places where it doesn't need to, and in doing so, the show places a prominent significence on all the movements that it DOES make. This makes the show one of the most visually dynamic anime out there. The movement is impactful, and the stillness is thought provoking. Sorry if you don't like the show because you just want to turn your brain off and get bombarded with colors and movement.
If that breakdown on the show's use of motion wasn't enough, here is a much more simple metophore of why it is effective. When you are sitting in a car with the windows rolled up, your body isn't actually able to distinguish between when the vehicle is still or when it's moving at a constant speed 40 miles an hour in a straight line. The only exception to this is what you can see with the world passing by you. So, if you close your eyes, sitting in a car that is still and sitting in a car moving at a constant velocity become sensationally synonomous. The only thing you really feel is when the car CHANGES velocity. You don't feel the motion itself. You feel the change in the motion. It is in those instances that your body experiences G forces. The contrast between stillness and motion is only discernible because of our experience of the changes between them. That is the principle behind what makes Evangelion's visuals so effective. Motion and stillness define one another in human perception. In human perception, they cannot exist without each other. Because without stillness, we wouldn't be able to define motion. Conclusion, constant motion is as meaningless as constant stillness, and the amount of animation in a show is not directly proportionate to the show's animation quality. The quality is derived from how the motion is used.
On the subject of the OVA "Comedy": I'm not sure you really understood the concept behind the title and the historical subtext? In the dark ages it was not only books on science that were burned but also an books that brought pleasure of any kind. Laughter was considered a sin by the puritans but the mass slaughter of people with different religious beliefs in the name of god wasn't. True demons lay within mankind's hearts. It's ironic that a vampire ate them in trade for a smile and a laugh. The title was very clever. =)
crap! i was responding to your evangelion review. not sure how my comment ended up on your actual page!
i agree w you! i agree w your review. ppl get really worked up about other ppls opinions as if theyre saying their opinion is gospel. i dont believe you were bias in any way. i really liked your review! i appreciate you taking the time to write it and to actually be honest about this series. a lot of ppl will just say itd a masterpiece bc of its mark in the industry. it is a great piece. enjoyable. and flawed. the action is incredible. the rest. lacking. agreed!
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