So after hearing about it for years, I finally decided to start watching NGE yesterday after finding out that it was only 26 episodes. I just finished it a few minutes ago, and I rather enjoyed the experience. As nearly everyone I talked to recommended, I tried to pay more attention to the characters and nuances than I normally would for any other series. To my surprise, I found that this was a very rewarding experience. It was interesting to try to understand the personalities and thoughts of the characters from their interactions with each other and the various stressful situations which they all faced. It seems like something that would merit a second watching, if I had the patience for that sort of thing.
However, something that has been bothering me about this whole thing is in regards to its status as a 'classic'. I only enjoyed it as much as I did because I put a lot of thought and effort into focusing on it. I wonder, would I have the same kind of experience from watching any other show in the same way? Was it really the show itself that was special, or did I just enjoy it because I forced myself to experience it in a certain way? I only really gave it a chance because of its apparent status as a 'classic'. Does the show itself really deserve the acclaim that it has built up around itself, or is it just a positive-feedback loop of people like me who watch it intently due to the recommendations of others, enjoy that, and tell others to do the same. Does the show actually have all the deep subtle nuances that everyone talks about, or are we just reading too deeply into some things, like we're high-school English teachers over-analyzing every word of a book. What I'm asking is, is NGE itself as deep as people give it credit for, or could it easily be replaced by another decent anime if it had the same reputation and we were all willing to watch it and look for more than face value?