The original Neon Genesis Evangelion is my second all time favourite anime, the first being Serial Experiments Lain. Bet you were expecting a boys love anime? Well my third favourite is Loveless, but I don’t consider that series completely boys love. It is not until my fourth favourite anime that we reach yaoi and that goes to the original Ai no Kusabi anime, but that whole list is for another post.
When it was announced that the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series was coming to Netflix, I was excited because for many western fans in recent decades it has not been the easiest of series to access since the fall of ADV, rest in peace ADV because they did some of my favourite dubs. Then they announced that they were redubbing the series and I was like, ok this might not be a bad thing though I will admit I was a little disappointed I would not get to hear Spike Spencer as Shinji, but still I was looking forward to re-watching the series. Maybe this dub will be more accurate to the original Japanese was my thought. I mean let’s face it most nineties dubs were not well known to be accurate to the source material, so I was still ok with it.
Then I watched it.
And to be completely honest, in my opinion it was not that bad. My only real complaint really was that Shinji sounded more like a teenage girl at the beginning of the series than a teenage boy. Seriously that was my only complaint. All the other voice casting I loved, especially – and I already know this is an unpopular opinion but I liked Stephanie McKeon as Asuka Langley Soryu. Asuka is my least favourite anime character ever, I can not stand her and find her beyond annoying and obnoxious, but at least in this dub I found her voice less, let’s say grating on my ears. No offense Tiffany Grant who was her original English voice actress at all, I just very much preferred Stephanie’s take on the character.
Then came the biggest accusation that has hit the show, that episode 24 has been ‘straight washed’ and to be honest, as soon as I heard about this ‘controversy’ and started reading articles about it, to be honest I just rolled my eyes at the whole thing. I must confess when I sat down to rewatch this series, before watching any other episode I sat down and watched ep 24, because well Kowaru is my fave character in the series. Now here me out on this one because a lot of people who know me know that one of my all time favourite ships is that of Kaworu Nagisa and Shinji Ikari and I love that moment they share in the bath in this episode.
But to be fair the translation for that scene is kind of right in both versions. There are many different ways to say I love you in Japanese but I’m not very good at explaining things like language differences and such but luckily there is a very awesome video on Youtube that explains the language barrier of this scene.
Does the change in the script take away from this moment between the characters and make the scene less queer? In my opinion no, the relationship between the two characters remains the same through the end of the series and the End of Evangelion movie, the subtext of the scene is still there. Plus if the anime is not ‘queer’ enough for you there is still the countless doujinshi and fanfiction you can read. So your ship is not as validated as you thought it was, so what?
Do I think the Netflix redub is worth watching? As a huge Evangelion fan I have to say yes and I do not see a problem with it being an introduction to the franchise to the new generation of anime fans who have yet to discover this amazing anime classic. Personally I would love to see more re-releases of older anime faves rather than remakes.