It was Memorial Day in the United States of America -- a holiday established, they tell me, to honor Americans who died in military service. And we do.
We were the first generation of Americans in modern history raised to see war as nothing but a waste -- I know as well as anyone that we fought the Cold War by essentially shoveling money into a giant pit. The gulf wars, the police actions in Afghanistan -- they cost a lot of money, and more lives than we were promised. Whatever redeeming qualities war may have are obscured by its immense cost.
It's like that Eisenhower quote:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
Evangelion Q is, in its own right, a depiction of the deadweight loss that war means to us. The world's been destroyed and the different factions are fighting for reasons that are never explained. It's not over the ruins. There's nothing worth having. There's no indication of a civilian economy. No comprehensible means of production, no agriculture, no services, no research. No life on the earth's surface, and still they fight to the exclusion of all else.
There's a line from Mishima, talking about his magum opus, in which he says that he named it "The Sea of Fertility" after the sterile plain on the moon that belies its name.
The TV series was remarkable in the amount of attention it devoted to the world outside the robot combat. One of the first major plot points is a civilian injury. All Japan contributes its electric power. NERV has competitors in the giant robot market. And of course there's End of Eva, when SEELE tries to take Gendou's toys away from him. Evangelion Q has nothing like this, and as a consequence nothing that happens seems to have any point.
The truly annoying thing is that this is something that the last two movies did perfectly. (And I wrote about that.) They captured the world better, gave us a glimpse into what Shinji might fight to protect.
Shinji was a hero, once. That should have counted for something.
It's not enough to say that some things don't have a meaning, that "the bad end unhappily, the good unluckily." This is narrative. It only has meaning if the audience feels inclined to go along with it. More than that, it's anime -- a medium in which shot and every line has to be carefully planned. I'm forced to conclude that this was in fact what Anno wanted.