Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime. You know that. It’s also a marketing juggernaut. You think Star Wars is the village bicycle of intellectual properties? You’re wrong. There is much more Evangelion merchandise. Well, I don’t have facts to back that up. I do know there are tons of Evangelion toys out there. Beyond that, there’s a lot of branded Evangelion merchandise. Some of it might even be decent – who knows? I’ll probably only ever own a fraction of what’s out there. But there’s also terrible Evangelion merch – stuff that can’t possibly be good or useful. Stuff that makes you wonder why they even put an Evangelion logo on it (before reminding yourself that the answer is money). So to celebrate the release of Evangelion 3.33 to Blu-ray, I’ll be starting a quasi-regular feature called Rubbish Evangelion Merchandise. Guess what it’s about!
The Evangelion Store provides a never-ending stream of products for our amusement, so I won’t start there. For my inaugural post, I want to look back at the classics – at the stuff that made me think of this feature in the first place.
Japanator’s Hiroko summed it up perfectly:
When watching Evas smash each other to pieces on screen, I’m sure the first thing that popped into everyone’s head was, “Man, those 2D girls sure do have nice eyelashes.”
That is exactly what I think about when watching: “man, their eyelashes are fabulous!” Since you get both sets in a pack, I guess you could be a rebel and wear one of each. The real issue is, if you do wear these, how will anyone know they’re Evangelion-branded? There’s no room on a set of eyelashes to print the Evangelion logo. This is a serious oversight. For this reason I give this product a 5/10 rating. I’m sure they’re nice fake eyelashes, but when I wear cosmetic products, I want people to know they’re Evangelion-branded.
I once thought this was the most absurd piece of Evangelion merch, but now I have to admit, I’m kind of coming around to it. Maybe this began as a prop for that live action Eva movie that never got made. Really, if you were to immerse yourself into the Eva world, you’ll need branded items that might actually exist in that world. That’s where the NERV bucket comes into play. Of course, you should probably worry about building different props first – maybe recreate Misato’s apartment interior or something. Buckets should be pretty low on your list of things to recreate from Evangelion. The best part about all of this is the Amiami product page, which includes photos demonstrating the things you might use a bucket for. Features include the ability to hold things, and the ability to be stored in sheds. I give it a 10/10.
Look, car mats are useful things. They’re easy to clean and keep dirt off the carpeting. What I don’t know is why anyone would want a translucent, hot pink car mat. That matches the interior decor of literally no car that has ever been made. At least the maker, Eideikako, put quite an elaborate design on it featuring EVA-01. The title says “Final Angel” but Kaworu’s not on it, nor was the final Angel encountered in Evangelion 1.0, nor does EVA-01 fight the last Angel in that movie with a prog knife. I think that adds new dimensions to the rubbishness of the product, so I give it a 2/10.
All things considered, I guess this isn’t that bad. Relative to other placemats you might even find this one tasteful. Maybe you could use this at an otaku dinner party, if they’re not too hipstery to appreciate the new Eva movies. But what if you had to bust these out for regular company? Or what if you actually used this during a school lunch? That’s what you don’t see from a product shot. You don’t think about the context, the ramifications of living with a particular item. A generous 3/10 because I like the colors.
Disinfecting wipes are great to have around, sure, but mine sit in a dark cabinet until the odd occasion when I do use one. You will never get to enjoy your Eva-themed purchase because it’s not something you put on display. People will see your eyelashes, your placemat, your car mat, maybe even your bucket. No one will see your alcohol wipes, ergo no one can be impressed by them. 0/10.
I used the Evangelion Store as the header image, but haven’t actually featured anything from there. I’m trying to save the good stuff, you see. But I think I can pick on the EVA-01 socks. They’re the low-cut variety, perfect for when you wear sneakers with shorts. Only nerds wear normal-length socks with shorts – you want your ankles to breathe freely. And I guess EVA-01 socks are kind of clever because they look like the Eva unit’s feet. Unfortunately, no one will see that when you have shoes on. All they’ll see is the bright green rim of the sock, and maybe a bit of the purple underneath that. Perhaps they deduce that those are EVA-01 colors and understand what you’re wearing, but I doubt that’ll happen. Most likely you’ll just look like an asshole with poor taste in socks. But wait, this is for the Japanese! They take their shoes off indoors, and then everyone will see my socks! False hope, because no one will invite you to their home if they see you wearing these inside your shoes. 1/10 for high concept.