Let it be known in advance that I did not decide to review these Evangelion thingies just to make fun of them. I promise. In college, my friend Jeff—who introduced me to a lot of very wonderful nerd-culture media—told me I could not watch Evangelion with him because I "wouldn't like it." What?! Booooo! Screw you, Jeff! I am a mildly-interested-in-robots woman with a fair and open mind. I like to give things a chance sometimes! I like postapocalyptic Japan sometimes! Plus, says the internet, one of the intentions of the Evangelion rebuild (I have done my research kind of) is to make it "more accessible to non-fans than the original TV series and films were." Perfect, I thought. I shall access, investigate, and conquer. I will crack this mechanized coconut for all the other mildly curious non-fans out there, and we all can sip Evangelion's sweet red robot blood-milk without the manga faithful going berserker on us because we don't know what "Third Impact" means. Right? Yes.

Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone

(Grand Illusion, Jan 14–20)

A futuristic, retractable Tokyo (sometimes it defensively plunges into the earth all SSSSSSHHUNK!!!) is under attack by very large organic-magic-robot-things called Angels. Why? I HAVE NO IDEA. The only thing keeping the Angels at bay is a team of very large "synthetic humans" called Evangelions, or Evas, which are constantly broken but win anyway. The Evas "have to" be piloted by teenagers, for reasons unabsorbed by me. Our hero/antihero Shinji Ikari does not want to be an Eva pilot—"Why me?" is his constant refrain—but he does want the approval of his asshole scientist dad and maybe to make out with fellow pilot Rei Ayanami, so he sticks around. One time, he touches her on the boob. Then the giant robots fight each other.

Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance

(Grand Illusion, Jan 21–27)

Evangelion 2.0 is lighter than the first, and heavier, and more bananas. In between all the your-girlfriend-is-trapped-in-the-soul-of-a-monster stuff and the oops-Japan-exploded stuff, there are lighter-than-air subplots about the logistical difficulties of party planning (who has time to go grocery shopping during the end of the world?) and a kraaaaaazy penguin who thinks it's people. Then Shinji touches Rei on the boob. Then the giant robots fight each other. Then OH NO, GIANT WEAPON FROM SPACE! I am so confused. Jeff, you were right. Nerds, I tried. recommended