Eva expo attracts anime fans

By Lu Tanrou Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-25 19:13:01

Fans of Japanese anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, popularly known as Eva, have been flocking to the Super Brand Mall in Lujiazui for a large-scale exhibition which kicked off on November 16. Running until December 1, the Eva Expo features over 1,000 artifacts related to the groundbreaking sci-fi series.

The original TV show ran for 26 episodes from 1995 to 1996 and spawned a successful franchise that includes movies, video games and books. Set in a futuristic Tokyo 15 years after a worldwide cataclysm, Eva remains popular for its apocalyptic themes, exciting mecha battles, religious imagery and detailed characterization. 

A model on show at the exhibition Photo: Lu Tanrou/GT

A model on show at the exhibition Photo: Lu Tanrou/GT

The main character is Shinji, a teenage boy recruited by the shadowy organization NERV to pilot a giant cyborg called an Evangelion to fight monstrous attackers. As Shinji and other pilots struggle to prevent another cataclysm, they are tortured by psychological problems which originated in their childhood.

Walking into the ground floor of the Super Brand Mall, passers-by are greeted by a shiny purple and green model of Shinji's Evangelion and an Eva-customized Suzuki motorcycle.

Hundreds of Eva fans came on the expo's opening day to relive their childhood memories and photograph models of favorite characters that previously only existed in two-dimensional cartoon form.

On display are a collection of original cartoon models, cosplay shows, artifacts and replica sets from the anime including the NERV base and a full-size Evangelion cockpit.

Chen Xingyu, a 21-year-old college senior, started watching the Eva TV series when he was a fourth grader in primary school.

"What attracts me most about Eva is its unique atmosphere. Unlike the ardor and clamor in Slam Dunk or Saint Seiya, Eva is quiet and sort of cold. There are many seemingly meaningless scenes in Eva, which if you ruminate on later, you will find profound and penetrating," Chen said while standing in a long queue that stretched from the sixth floor to the ninth floor.

When Eva was first introduced to China in the 1990s, it made a huge impression on Chinese youth with its impressive special effects, careful depiction of characters' inward struggles and thoughtful commentary about humanity.

In the exhibition hall, a life-size model of the main character Rei Ayanami grabbed lots of fans' attention. Some teenage girls dressed up as young Evangelion pilots walked around in eye-catching makeup and costumes.

Finishing a tour of the displays, many fans were still not satisfied. They waited to buy Eva merchandise at the end of the exhibition.

 "I was hoping to see more, such as some behind-the-scenes production stories. Now I'm kind of disappointed," Chen said. "But Eva is a deep and profound cartoon, which inspires us to study its hidden metaphors. Many animes are just temporarily entertaining and are gradually forgotten with time. But Eva is different. We never stopped talking about it. What it said about humanity will never be outdated."

Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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