Content Warning: The TV shows discussed in this thread (i.e., Neon Genesis Evangelion and Revolutionary Girl Utena) include depictions of depression, trauma, sexual violence, and incest. Therefore, this discussion may cover these same topics.
Should the people waiting for Evangelion’s arrival on Netflix, watch Revolutionary Girl Utena first? A few of my friends have never watched Eva. They want to prepare so they can get the most out of the show. I am not sure if I should recommend Utena. I am afraid of suggesting another dense, emotionally intense series, as my friends may become overwhelmed to the point of avoiding Eva entirely. However, I noticed that watching both series in conjunction has deepened my understanding of Evangelion.
To touch upon Utena, it is not controversial to say that the show explores how characters internalize gender dynamics, that may negatively affect their interpersonal relationships and mental health. The same can be said for Evangelion. The rebuild movies intersect with these ideas, so much so that the most recent one – 3.33 – can be seen as a spiritual successor to Utena. Experiencing these works together has provided me with a sense of clarity and ease when reading into these themes. In other words: Utena made connecting with Evangelion easier. But I wonder if Utena’s avant-garde aesthetic is too much for some people. My friends expect logical plotlines set in fully realized worlds. They prefer monolithic myths over abstraction.
For those who are familiar with Eva: Would a companion piece like Utena help my friends find meaning in the Eva TV show? Or should they dive straight in?
BTW For a few years, Utena has been available free and legally on Youtube. I do not know how long it will stay there. Nozomient’s official channel hosts all of the episodes in the U.S., but I am unaware of the situation in other territories.