A great series at the pinnacle of a great time in the history of anime! A prototype for all subsequent mecha anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion had a massive impact on the genre and the world of anime. Complex characters, interesting storyline, and my favorite kind of ‘90s art style, this show satisfies on both an entertainment and intellectual level. And while there’s certainly a few things to complain about, the power of this series as a whole is undeniable. It is a fixture in the world of anime, claiming a height that only a few other shows can mount to.

Some of this review will sound harsh, as there are a handful of things about the show I don’t like. But don’t mistake me, I like more things about this show than I dislike, and I definitely acknowledge its place in the history of anime. So while the criticisms may be many, the quibbles are few.

I’m only reviewing the original TV series here. There’s a long trail of movies (one even as late as 2021) that add lots of details, but the TV series is the legend in animedom. For that reason, I will focus entirely on that for this review, neglecting the other items in this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 8

Two things stand out about the characters. First, you know how I am about the number of characters in a show. This show has a fairly low number of characters, which always satisfies me. Second, all of the characters have a great deal of emotional, psychological, dare I say, human depth. While I dispute that all people harbor deep pain or fear or trouble in their hearts, such a view is commonly used to good effect in literature. These troubles are part of what make such characters relatable, as many people have such experiences, be those experiences temporary or permanent. The pained and flawed character is not new in modern literature, and is often overused. But this set uses such characteristics pretty well.

But the pained and flawed character type is just a bit overused in this show. Almost every character is an antihero. The most drastic forms of antiheroism have never appealed to me. The idea that heroes are “just ordinary people” is frustrating to me not because it’s true, but because a hero is a hero for a reason, not because he or she is “ordinary.” Heroism may be fleeting, and few may ever find it, but it is good to see such actions, on any number of levels. Nor do I have a problem with antiheroic characters in general, nor their inclusion in a story. But when an author makes an intentional effort to place an antihero in a place where we expect to find a hero, I expect a very good reason behind that decision.

In NGE, I believe that reason is very mundane. I think the reason all these characters are antiheroic is because they reflect the author’s personal experiences. I don’t have anything to reference to support that hypothesis, but it feels like that’s the case. There’s positives and negatives to this approach. On one hand, the author does a great job building these characters through such personal perspectives. The viewer can feel the pain the author transmits through the unhappy musings of these characters. But on the other hand, relying too heavily on one’s personal experiences to create characters effectively dooms those characters to antiheroism. People’s personal experiences don’t contain a lot of heroism. For one thing, we don’t get such chances but maybe once in a lifetime, if ever. Second, even if we did get a number of chances to do heroic things, we wouldn’t tend to imagine ourselves as heroes. We see such themes time and again in great literature, where a hero doesn’t view him- or herself as heroic but most other people do. Then again, heroes are mostly “created” by other people’s view of them anyway. Either way, personal experiences do not well equip a writer to create heroic characters.

The result is a large dose of antiheroism in these NGE characters. And this, if nothing else, gets old after a while. I can only listen to Shinji and Asuka muse depressingly over their misgivings so many times. It’s evocative the first few times. It’s character-defining and commonplace when it happens the tenth time. And it becomes many times worse when the show ends with nothing but such dialogue. Those who have seen it know about the ending and the various controversies surrounding it, most of which—spoiler, if you haven’t seen it—revolve around how unnecessarily anticlimactic the series finishes. More on that later.

All that being said, I neither fully like nor fully dislike the characters as a whole. On the contrary, I like or dislike each on an individual basis. And to continue with the negative tenor for now, we will start with the man himself. Or I should say, the boy himself.

The back of Shinji’s head, as he mourns his plight for the hundredth time.

For Shinji Ikari is definitely a child. In some ways, I like how he behaves like a child. Too often the male protagonist behaves like a seasoned adult even though he just started high school this year. Part of that has to do with the slippery concept of “heroism” aforementioned, but that’s another subject for another time. So on the plus side, Shinji behaves mostly like you’d expect from a child: immature and naive. He lets events bowl into him like he’s the only person to ever experience them, overreacting to them and allowing them to torture his psyche. But this is also the very thing that irritates me about this character. Who wants to watch a child behave in an ordinary, childish way when faced with such fantastical events as these? His incessant running from the situation before him makes me ill. Whether he outright physically runs, or freezes up when it’s most critical, or avoids a person or situation by acting normal when you’d expect him to display emotion, it disgusts me. No matter what emotional detail you impart to a character, no matter how evocative such details might be, watching such a character consistently cower behind his emotional wreckage is distasteful to me. No amount of talk about “antiheroism” will lead me to believe Shinji has to be as selfish and cowardly as he is. He’s about as “bad” as a “good” guy he could be. Characters that appear bad and turn out to be good are better as people than this consistently self-centered display Shinji puts on for 26 episodes.

One can understand Asuka Langley’s contempt for him at this rate. Or I could, if she wasn’t a dismal wreck herself. Her hypocritical lack of empathy for Shinji makes me want to scream. She’s so wrapped up in her own problems that she can’t empathize with anyone. She should empathize with Shinji at least, since they’re both Eva pilots and she realizes he has difficulties with his parents. She doesn’t need to know what the details of his troubles are—and he never tells her, maintaining his self-centered universe apart from her—for her to have some shred of understanding of his situation. Instead, this tsundere beast endlessly berates Shinji from day one. I hesitate to even call her “tsundere,” for while she exhibits those traits, I’m pretty sure the term implies some feelings of love for the object of the tsundere-ing, and I seriously doubt she has any feeling for Shinji but selfish and superficial contempt.

Again, her behavior is partly understandable, as she is a child, and children don’t learn to empathize until they are more mature. But she also exhibits a trait that most children do not: she armors herself off from other people with her external behaviors. Yes children do learn to push people away in certain circumstances, but it’s adults who can convince themselves to wear such a drastic persona to shield themselves from internal pain. Where Shinji runs away (as expected of an inexperienced child) Asuka simply deflects through overbearing outbursts. Where Shinji hates what’s happened to him and the emptiness left behind as a result, Asuka holds onto the wreckage in her heart, defending any attempt, by anyone, to loosen her grip on the raging pain in her psyche. She avoids it by leaving it in stasis, neither facing it nor letting it go, and angrily rebuffs any outside attempt to assail her pathological defense of her pain.

While her displays can be annoying, I recognize three very positive things about Asuka’s character, two of which are related. First, her tsundereness is well done. There’s so many cookie-cutter tsunderes out there it’s quite literally a joke. Yet Asuka’s tsundereness feels unique. She’s almost a prototype of the modern tsundere, that’s how positively I view her tsundere tendencies. Second, this armoring of her heart and its wounds is fairly complex and effective. I presume some of this comes from the author’s personal experiences as well, but nevertheless, I think it’s well done, a decently complex part of a complex character design. Lastly, I chose the word “armoring” intentionally, and I hope perhaps the author thought the same thing. This is a show about wrapping a frail human body in the most advanced armor the world has ever seen! Seeing a character defend a weak heart in this manner in a mecha show feels like a very clever design feature.

The sweet transfer student. Lasts about two seconds.

Rei is the one character that I kind of like but still have a ton of problems with. I really dislike Shinji, and I mostly dislike Asuka even if she has decent design, but Rei leaves me unsure of my own feelings. One one hand, I like the general character type that Rei embodies. Certainly she’s the prototype for this character type in anime that followed NGE. Souless, unfeeling, cold, but not evil, and most certainly human, we know multiple characters of this type that emerged after Rei. I have to mention Zero Two of course, though she is a bit more emotive than Rei (and she represents one of the cosmic number of similarities between NGE and Darling in the Franxx), as she also appears in a prominent mecha anime. But the other popular character like Rei most of us know is Lain from Serial Experiments Lain. Certainly it’s no secret in the anime world that these two characters occurred in close proximity chronologically, and Lain’s design was probably heavily influenced by Rei. So Rei is very much a prototypical character, and one cannot argue with the influence this character has had on the world of anime.

But on the other hand, I think Rei has more negatives about her design than positives. Yes, she’s the prototypical cold and empty human shell character type, and that part of her character is a big positive. But everything else is contrived or too convenient. We sit through this show wondering what the big mystery is behind her, only to find at the end that she’s simply a clone-like creature created by Gendo Ikari from the DNA of his poor dead wife, a creature that has multiple copies waiting in stasis to take over the role of Rei as the First Child when and if the current First Child dies.

Okay, I’ll unpack some of this. Yes, this is heartfelt and evocative. Poor Gendo Ikari loses his wife and therefore neglects his real child for a child that’s created from the body of his wife. It’s extremely sad in that sense. Yes, this brings the element of monstrosity into this show (if it wasn’t already an element in mecha in the first place). You have this Frankenstein-esque thing walking among the remnants of mankind, the living dead as a savior to the living. But then I think to myself: what role does all this play? It creates an interesting framework for this character, but that’s the end of it. It leaves us with more questions than answers. What does Rei’s monstrosity have to do with the Evangelion’s function? How is that different than normal children’s role as pilots? Are Rei and the Evas similar? Is Rei a type of Angel? Questions like these flooded into my mind as I watched the evolution of Rei’s character in the show, and I feel like none of these questions were answered (movies aside, aforementioned). I can understand Shinji’s insecurities and Asuka’s troubles. But Rei’s character traits and personal issues are different from those two, because they play a direct role in the development of the Evangelion, both physically and as a plot element in the show. 

In short, I think Rei is almost over-designed. By that I mean she was so complexly designed that the author left himself with the impossible task of explaining Rei’s role in the evolution of the Evangelion. And when that development met Rei’s character design, the two crashed into each other and left a fairly large mess in the overall plot. Her prominence in the story as a character make these shortcomings fairly obvious, as she suddenly begins to sink into the background of the show, suddenly reemerging with these crazy revelations at the end, thereupon disappearing again as a mere participant in the internal musings of the characters in the last two episodes. Yes, I know the movies deal more with her character, but I’m excluding the movies from this review.

Always ready.

We all know who everyone’s favorite character is; don’t you try to hide it! The beautiful, powerful, mysterious, and vivacious Misato Katsuragi takes over this show! It’s obvious she’s not the main character, but her role is so impactful she is far more memorable than the other characters. She has her own psychological baggage like the others, carried a bit longer as she’s now an adult, but also handled in a more adult way. By that I mean with some major mistakes, but also with more maturity. But this part of her character is far less prominent than simply her personality. Asuka, for all her forceful behavior, is a distant second in sheer amount of personality when compared to Misato. Her power comes from her ability to handle any situation, something that advances her quickly in rank within the NERV organization. She’s able to manage Shinji and Asuka’s competing personalities at her apartment. That’s kind of funny actually. She doesn’t have to do much, but she certainly keeps that situation under control!

Misato may not have the complexity as a character that the children characters do, but she’s very easy to like. Perhaps she’s meant to be an example of how people can overcome their early life struggles, and even if their hearts or lives come out a little misshapen, they’re still alive and kicking. She’s a ton of fun to watch and listen to.

I’m not sure what to think of Ritsuko Akagi, Misato’s friend and compatriot. She’s portrayed as devoted to her work, work continued from her mother, but then this weird thing between her mother and Gendo Ikari is introduced, and then Ritsuko sort of continues that weird sexual attraction, which of course the afflicted Gendo Ikari mostly ignores or simply tolerates, leaving both Ritsuko, as her mother was previously, very unhappy. This part of Ritsuko’s character feels a little forced, like the author was simply trying to include a character that was experiencing sexual frustration. She gets a little lost in the story.

Poor Gendo Ikari is a mess. He’s heavily developed, but not very prominently so. He’s always lurking in the shadows, the force behind everything, but his presence is not forefront. Ultimately most people probably really feel bad for this character. His wife’s death (or transition, call it what you will) weighs so heavily on him it affects everything he’s done since. And yet his relationship with his wife seems so bizarre. He pursued her inexplicably during his college days, almost as if he was after her work more than her. Gendo marries her and they have a child, Shinji, but then she’s lost to the Eva project. We don’t know if she’s “dead” or simply part of the Eva somehow, though the latter seems more likely given Gendo’s behavior, even if that’s all rather unexplained. Either way, he’s a strangely dark character. An antivillain perhaps?

I don’t want to go into all the other characters. Kaji isn’t especially intriguing despite his role and the slight possibility that he’s the only “heroic” person in this entire tale. Shinji’s classmates and the intrigue behind all the Eva pilot candidates being gathered into one school is too inexplicable, and has little interest to me. Ritsuko’s mother and her role in the creation of the MAGI computer system has potential in the plot. And she introduces us, rather violently, to the fact that there’s more than just a single Rei out there! But she’s so briefly a part of the series I can’t devote much attention to her. The leader of SEELE, Lorenz, is worth mentioning only for the simple reason that his character role in mecha anime is often repeated and modeled after this character. I don’t understand why the last Angel had to be the human Kaworu Nagisa. His rapid introduction and rapid departure have their role, but it all happens so fast it feels very forced, and I cannot see through the author’s intent in having this person be the final Angel. And what’s up with the nearly yaoi thing he has with Shinji?

I made it seem like I dislike all of the characters. I warned you some of this review would seem that way. But as Asuka demonstrates, copious amounts of bitching does not mean total hatred. I like how these characters interact and help build this epic series. I like what they do for this tale, even if I can find lots of things to complain about in each individual. I certainly won’t ever forget any of them. Even though they’re not the most evocative characters I’ve ever encountered, I can understand how they could be to many viewers. But above all, I recognize their place in the mecha genre and in the history of anime. Their impact is significant, even if it’s become more “history” itself at this point, less in the forefront of everyone’s awareness as the world ages further past the 20th century. 

Artwork

Rating: 9

It can be argued that mecha anime can be divided into two distinct periods: mecha anime before NGE and mecha anime after NGE. Primarily, the line is drawn between robot and biomechanical (or perhaps “biological machine” is more correct). But the other big difference is in how the mechs are drawn. Think of the sprawling Gundam series and all others like it, where the mechs are big and bulky, like Transformers in their heyday. They’re anthropomorphic, but not nearly as anthropomorphic as what you see in NGE and thereafter. There’s certainly arguments out there that NGE revolutionized the mecha genre with these designs. And whether that’s true or not, I know I like it!

Oversized chests, narrow waists, long limbs, and somewhere between humanoid and animalistic heads are the hallmark of this style. Gurren Lagann, Code Geass, Darling in the Franxx, most of the major mecha series that appear after 2000 all have this style. I’m pretty sure the author of this story had some major purpose behind this decision to make the mechs look a bit more human, but I have not yet discovered what that reason is, if it’s something more than just the undercurrent of the Evas truly being alive and all that. But it doesn’t matter too much. It definitely is different and I definitely enjoy it.

The fight sequences are really good in the show. For my part, I got to a point where I was excited for these battles, almost with the kind of excitement I’d expect to feel if I was going into battle myself! Part of that had to do with the music—my heart would race ahead of the beat of the timpani as a new Angel approached the Earth! But a lot of it had to do with the animation itself. I anticipated the magnificent cinematography around the mechs and the angel, the powerful strikes of their weapons, and their big f—really big guns! A lot of the times in mecha, fight sequences are nearly incomprehensible, as is often the case with any fight sequences in anime. Unless a lot of care is taken in this animation, it can be a blur of highly uninspiring frames. I wouldn’t say NGE has the best action sequences I’ve ever seen in anime, but it has the best mecha action sequences I’ve seen to this point. Don’t get all excited—I know, mechs don’t battle mechs but maybe once or twice in this show, so perhaps the contrast between the mechs and their usually oversized and somewhat amorphous Angel enemies could be affecting my impression. Size differences in one-on-one battles gives the eye something to focus on, perhaps making the action seem better for that simple reason (where the aforementioned blur doesn’t allow the eye to focus on anything, by contrast). But either way, I find these battle sequences quite stimulating and very entertaining. I could almost say it’s my favorite part of this show.

There were two remarkable artwork moments in this show near the end. In two different scenes, an inordinate amount of time was spent on a single frame. Once when Asuka and Rei were riding an elevator, and once when Eva Unit-01 holds the final Angel, Kaworu Nagisa, in its grip, just before crushing him to death. I didn’t actually look at how much time passed during these two frames, but I know it was more than 30 seconds. It was so long it would make you wonder if the playback was interrupted. But it wasn’t; it was done for effect. On the elevator, Asuka and Rei are ignoring each other despite Asuka wanting to tongue-lash her in her customary way, and the tension is hugely increased as we’re exposed to this awkward moment for such an extended period of time. The scene with Unit-01 and Nagisa is more curious. I presume the authors wanted to highlight the point that Shinji was about to kill a human with this monstrous mech, and the weight of that decision bearing down on him. If that’s all there is to it, then it definitely serves its purpose. But regardless of the reason, these are two interesting moments in anime history, and even if they feel a bit weird in the show, they have their effect.

You know I love these facial styles! Sharp chins and jawlines, neat angles at the corners of eyes, strands of hair going everywhere…I love it! The ‘90s was an interesting time for anime artwork, emerging from the earliest anime styles of the ’60s-’80s into a new and beautiful era. While NGE isn’t the only anime with this ‘90s style of course, it’s fitting that it was made in this transitional point in anime, as the show is transitional in many ways. It’s appropriate that the artwork is drawn in this wonderful style that transitions between the old and new world of animedom.

So yes, I’m a big fan of this artwork. It gets really close to that point where I can’t describe it well with words. It’s not the kind of artwork that makes you think “beautiful,” but a style that leaves you without a good word to describe it. “Beautiful” doesn’t seem to fit. Like it’s beautiful in a way that can’t be described as beautiful, if that makes sense. I love it.

Story

Rating: 8

On the surface, you have a very traditional mecha storyline: large mechs, powered by young humans, fight large monsters on their path to saving the world. Mecha versus kaiju! It’s about as old as mecha itself. But a lot is attached to this simple framework.

Most prominently, the enemy aren’t kaiju, but extraterrestrials dubbed “Angels.” With “Angels” comes a mother lode of legends, mythology, and interpretations of Christian history. Anime has always done a fairly poor job of using Christian or Biblical themes, and understandably so. It would be like me basing a story on Shinto mythology or the tales of Izanagi and Izanami. I can read those stories and understand them, but not like someone who’s lived among the culture that passes down those stories. So these Western Christian themes are treated as important mythology, but only have the most superficial attachment to their sources. As an example, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the somewhat mysterious archaeologically and historically significant textual artifacts found near said Dead Sea many years ago, are treated with mystical and prophetic import. The interpretation of them, provided by Gendo Ikari and his odd buddies at SEELE, predict the number of Angels that will appear and describe the set of events surrounding these appearances. Of course the title contains the word “Genesis,” and “Adam” is the First Angel (I think), and the Eva’s themselves are of course drawn from the name “Eve.” So all these things are kind of there, but don’t really play a role in the story. They just lend serious legendary import to the creatures and events of the tale. I know this kind of shined a light on Christian history when this show came out, giving the Japanese people a glimpse of some of these histories and legends which they might have otherwise overlooked before, but the role of these items in this story seems very limited. Besides giving additional framework for the story, none of it plays a very significant role.

The psychological elements are strong. Too strong. Psychology, like any other intriguing science, can be used to great effect in anime. It’s used so much in literature that a genre is created just for it, something most sciences can’t claim (every heard of a zoological drama? err, now that I think about it, nevermind). In NGE, I wouldn’t have any problem with how prominent it is except for the inescapable fact that it ruins the ending of this series. The final two episodes are the height of anticlimactic, as Shinji basically talks to himself while reflections of those he knows and poignant moments in his (limited) past play back before him. It’s the kind of thing that gets labeled “psychological mumbo jumbo” or “psychobabble” and so gives the said psychological genre a bad name. A wonderful and intriguing mecha series is almost ruined by this ridiculous ending. Almost, but not quite, thankfully. What it does is it makes all of the psychological parts look silly in hindsight, because it colors the entire show as more psychologically motivated than anything else, and that’s not the only thing this show should be known for.

This frame was visible for a very long time.

But enough about themes. Within all this framework, the battle to save the world rages on. Save the world? Now that we think back, are the Angels trying to destroy the world? Supposedly some of this is  prophesied in the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc., but I don’t know if we’re every told what the Angels’ goal is. They always seem set on attacking the NERV command center, and I think the First Angel caused a great deal of destruction, but this whole “destroy the world” thing is only implied, if that. I find that a little confusing in this story. But hey, it’s mecha, and an enemy existing simply to give mechs something to fight is what it’s all about!

I want to say that NGE is a story-driven anime, but thinking back, I can’t say that it is. There’s a lot of interesting bits and pieces within it, and lots of storylines and subplots in general, but basically the story relies on the typical mecha framework, certain Western Christian traditional legends, and psychoanalytical elements within individual characters. These elements all shape the various plotlines and subplots, but don’t create much of a contiguous whole. But this isn’t such a bad thing. Putting together lots of big puzzle pieces is just as good as creating the picture itself. Or, for you cooks out there, imagine putting together a dish by combining several other dishes, instead of creating it from all its individual ingredients. It works here, but gives the feeling that the story isn’t contiguous.

The biggest part of this story, and dare I say, the redeeming part of this story, is the focus on the mechs. If anything ties the entire story together, it’s the mystery surrounding the Evangelion. It’s a nice twist on the mecha genre, where mechs are generally robots that rely entirely on human pilots, just as an airplane does. Because the Evas are not simple machines. Ultimately we find they’re bio-machines, having some level of human consciousness. While none of that is very carefully explained (let alone the fact that it’s on the edge of whacky in the science fiction realm in the first place) it works very well in this story. The mechs are semi-autonomous, with the human pilot playing a restraining role as much as anything. This mystery is mysterious right up to the end. It adds an importance to the mechs beyond what we’re accustomed to seeing in mecha anime. And it helped set this trend in the mecha genre thereafter. I mentioned Darling in the Franxx draws a ton of its material from NGE, and this semi-autonomy in the mechs is probably the biggest similarity. Another example of how NGE marked a big shift in the world of anime.

Overall: 9

Music! Perhaps one of the most well known openings in all of anime, this song gets your attention right away. From there it plays energetically behind beautiful showcasings of the main character cast, and finishes up in a blaze of speed and intensity. I will never forget this song. It’s right up there with Black Lagoon’s opening as far as memorability goes. And of course the timpani I mentioned, heralding the arrival of the Angels. The music itself is all over the place, lurching between classical/orchestral and jazz. But the placement of the pieces is very appropriate and certainly contributes positively to each episode. It’s a small but magnificent touch on this amazing show.

This is an epic series to be sure, but do I actually like it? I found myself asking myself that specific and simple question (more introspection). And the answer to that is yes, I do. But it doesn’t evoke the response in me that it is perhaps intended to generally. Without a doubt, there’re some things in this show that are gut-wrenchingly sad. But I don’t feel it. I don’t feel it like I do when Violet Evergarden breaks down finally and learns an important part of what it means to be human and so experience love. I don’t feel it like I do when Leone, Sheele, and Mine die in Akame ga Kill! I don’t feel it like when suddenly Kaori is gone in Your Lie in April, or when Sasha is shot dead in Attack on Titan. Those moments leave wounds in everybody’s hearts. For a show that’s so heavily focused on mental anguish, NGE doesn’t inspire such feelings in me as much as it could. I could blame the psychobabble as a distraction, but I don’t think that’s the reason. I think there’s just a lot going on in this show and it takes some time to absorb it all, and by the time you do, you’re not in the middle of watching it anymore, so the impact is lessened. So I find it highly entertaining, a little confusing, very rewarding, but just a little bit lacking here and there overall. 

The impact of this series is well known. If mecha wasn’t already a legendary genre in anime, this series made it exceptional. On top of that, it’s said that this series rejuvenated the world of anime, a claim which I can’t confirm myself, but have on good authority. At this rate, one can argue that not only is NGE the prototype for all modern mecha, but itself is truly the genesis of modern anime. 

That’s quite a claim. Among the great shows out there, there are only a few that can claim this kind of earth-shaking status. Dragon Ball Z for longevity and popular recognition, Jojo for uniqueness of artwork, Sailor Moon for similarly typifying a genre, Monster and Tokyo Ghoul for their unique additions to the world of monster literature, and Monogatari for all-around artistic quality—all these shows have made lasting impacts on the world of anime. But perhaps none of them can quite claim the kind of impact NGE had and continues to have to this day. So no matter what I can say about it, nothing can detract from the influential power of this show. At the end of the show, Shinji’s internal thoughts finally wiggle their way out of their prison and he comes to terms with his troubles and the world he’s found himself in. The last thing we see is all the main cast meeting Shinji happily at the end of his quest, as if in the afterlife, congratulating him with the well known phrase “omedetou.” As much personal perspective as Hideaki Anno, the story’s author, imprints on this show, one has to ask: Does the man simply want to be congratulated? Has he felt tragic loss, separation, fear of the unknown, despair, ostracization, the weight of the world, and all he wants is for someone to acknowledge him? I don’t mean that even in a pathetic way, but legitimately, does he simply want congratulations?

He’s got it.

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