The Neon Genesis Evangelion
Before I begin, I should state the purpose of this: to classify and
somewhat analyze EVA fanfiction out there. Individual fics will only be
used as examples of types of genres and to illustrate certain points
that I make; I won't be analyzing them for the sake of having them
analyzed (except for specific sections)--such is more the purpose of my
spot in the Evangelion Fanfic Review Syndicate.
So, herein lies both objective observation and description of EVA
fanfiction, and also my personal thoughts, commentary, and possible
rants. My credentials? EVA fanfic writer and reviewer; nonlurking member
of the EVA Mailing List. For more specific details, go
see my page of fics. And do remember, above all, much of this is
just my opinion, and should be treated as no more or less than the
opinion of others.
Finally! The guide.
First, simple objective description of what they're about. The analysis
comes later, farther down.
- Original continuity: These are bits
which could be inserted into the given anime/manga continuity without
affecting anything at all. They can be either serious or humorous,
usually depending on where it fits in.
- Divergent continuity: At some point in
the continuity, the author changes events and the plot, splitting off
from the original storyline. These are not to be considered alternate
universes--the difference will be indicated below.
- Alternate universe: There is some sort
of change in the background of the story before it begins, leading to a
different continuity entirely. The scope of the change is highly
variable, depending on the focus of the author. A special type is one
which tells the story of that alternate universe glimpsed in episode 26
of the series.
- Continuation: Telling of what happens
after the end. There are subtypes to these, depending on what ending the
author uses as a start from. a) TV Ending: life goes on much as usual
for the rest of the world, but the main characters usually have been
deeply affected by the HCP. Some of these deal with new Angels (which
goes directly against the canon of the series, as Anno has said that
there are only 18 Angels, with humanity being the 18th). Others do not
have new Angels and cook up new problems to deal with. b) Movie Ending:
Humanity has been wiped from the Earth, except for Shinji and Asuka. The
story follows the two of them in their barren world-- or some sort of
changed world that the writer builds from the wasted planet. c) Years
Later: Taking off from a good portion of time after either one of the
above named endings--some have dealt with a new generation of pilots,
others have the original folks still around, still having problems. Most
of these seem to go from the TV Ending.
- Crossover: Some sort of interaction
with another story, whether anime or not. Again, there are subtypes: a)
Straight Cross: EVA folks interact with people from another series. b)
Fusion: the characters of one series are thrust into the plotline of
- Lemon: Sex. Some of these have plots,
- Of course, some mix these together, aside from the mutually
exclusive ones (1, 2, and 3).
Note that I did not include types or subtypes like "dark" or
"spoofish" or anything like that. This is because the genre of
EVA itself is not strictly humorous or strictly serious. There really is
no such thing as a "darkfic" when taken in the light of the
original, which could get pretty dark itself. These types strictly
relate to plot typing, not mood. Anyway, to the analysis--
- Original Continuity: There are rather
few of these--after all, people like to write about things actually
happening. That's right, these are essentially all short character
pieces, owing to the tightly defined continuity that they have to be fit
into. Examples: "Risen" by me, "Vacation" by
- Divergent Continuity: These seem to be
rather popular, actually. It's not surprising--one should consider how a
somewhat humorous and cheerful section of the series (around episodes
7-15) turns very dark and depressing (just about everything after that).
A very popular point of divergence is with the testing of Unit 03; many
have stepped in there and prevented Touji from getting hurt. These are
often written to give the EVA universe a continuingly lighter, more
hopeful feel. But some change sooner, others later...all up to the
author. Examples: Everything so far by me except "Risen",
"It's Just Been One of Those Lives" by Mark Eymer
- Alternate Universe: Not as many of
these as I thought might exist. It's difficult to write a good one of
these; you have to choose something interesting to change in the past
and go from there. Neon Exodus Evangelion is the only notable example I
can think of that has been published to raac as of this writing, and I
think it falls short of the goal--it has none of the original intent in
mind, that of making the reader think. But that's just me, I guess; many
don't seem to miss the introspective cereberality. (I'm going to rant a
bit about NXE later.) One other example is Chris Angel's Age of
Evangelion, which switches the sexes of the young pilots. It looks far
more promising in way of character study. Oh, and one thing that I'm
still waiting for is one on what I call the 26 Universe--about the
non-Second Impact world imagined by Shinji during episode 26, in the
midst of the HCP. There have been a few starts at that, but nothing
substantial has been released that I've seen.
- Continuation: No doubt about it, these
can be very varied in intent and feel. Sometimes, people blatantly
ignore how the series ended, in either TV or Movie fashion, which I find
to be a bit of a mistake (particularly those which have new Angels).
Unless they consciously alter continuity themselves, and explain the
change, they're guilty of lazy writing. They should account for what is
supposed to have happened and why it didn't end up that way. Another
mistake is in assuming too much of the TV version HCP. I've seen pieces
where Rei is suddenly a completely normal person, to be explained by way
of the "mind-expanding" effects of the HCP, which is a cop-out.
Anyway--in the cases where they do show the change, this can be highly
successful. They're rare and difficult to do, though. Examples:
Evangelion R, by a whole bunch of people....
- Crossovers: Crossovers are a little
rare, since it is difficult to fit the EVA universe in alongside with
other anime continuities. Given what has happened to the entire world,
one can't imagine the characters from other series, as they are in their
native worlds, existing there. And EVA world depends strongly on the
time period it is in. Time travel has been used by "A Better
Future", sending Asuka back in time with a wish from Skuld, to the
Ranmaverse. The other option would be to take characters from a series,
have them survive the Second Impact, and interact as their older selves.
Fusions are also somewhat difficult, since the EVA character types are
very difficult to fit to other characters. It's been done, however.
Adrian Wong's "Heart's Battleground" does an interesting job
of putting Ranma characters into the roles of the EVA universe.
- Lemons: Blah. I only pay attention to
lemons that have good plots, and there really haven't been any for EVA.