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REVIEW: Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

May 4, 2011 2 comments
The girls of Eva 2.22

The word you're looking for is HNNNNNNNNNG

You know what? It’s been an unexpectedly rough day since I sat down to watch this movie, and I’m ready to kick back with my fanboy hat on. What say you, blog-readers? Can I put on my fanboy hat and geek out about this movie or not? Doesn’t matter, I’m gonna do it anyway, cos today, I saw perhaps the freshest and most vital installment in the ongoing Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise that there has been since it originally aired in 1995. This movie does not “recapture the feel” of watching the series for the first time, it does not replicate the experience of being surprised. It surprises you. It grabs you and it jolts you out of your seat and your consciousness with such vicious force and determination that you are not asked to pay attention–you are told that you will listen and that you will obey. Consider my fanboy hat firmly on head when I say that Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance is the best entry into the franchise apart from End of Evangelion. It’s bright, it’s beautiful, it’s funny, it’s sexy, it’s tragic, it’s badass, it’s astounding, astonishing and absolutely magical from start to finish. My objectivity cap is over in the corner, yelling at me about accessibility and if anyone but fans will appreciate this movie. And I’m happily telling that hat to stuff itself.

Rebuild 2.22 picks up nowhere near where the first movie left off, starting with no reasonable explanation on the North Pole with an Eva pilot we’ve never seen before trying to sync to an Evangelion Unit we’ve never heard of–“Provisional Unit-05”, by the way–and complaining on comms about the size of her plugsuit’s chest. It’s far too small for her ample European bosom, you see. The new pilot is Mari Illustrious Makinami (Trina Nishimura), and yes, they expect us to believe that’s really her middle name. Mari is a booster shot in the arm of this aging franchise, and it’s nice to know that even when making what’s ostensibly a direct translation of the series for a new audience, they’re adding and tweaking and modding and changing for the fans (as well as their own personal satisfaction). Mari is a new character, and is thus comparatively unexamined, but more on that later. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Movies, Reviews

REVIEW: Rebuild of Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Remakes, reboots–whatever you call them, they’re our subject in this series of reviews. The Rebuild of Evangelion series is a tetralogy of four theatrical releases that tell the story of Shinji Ikari all over again. In the last volume of (I’m) Not a Fanboy, I reviewed the entire Neon Genesis Evangelion series, and am thus likely not ideal to review these movies. I know all this stuff inside and out; when I see these movies, it’s with the eye of a fan, not a critic. I could tell you which episodes are being adapted for the screen, what scenes they’ve left out, what scenes have been shuffled around in the series chronology. And as a fan, I have the unique opportunity to answer the question: is Rebuild really necessary?

The story starts, as all canon Evangelion works do, with Shinji (Spike Spencer) alone in Tokyo-3, waiting for Misato (Alison Keith-Shipp) to pick him up and take him to NERV. Shinji is a lonely, wounded boy–not possessed of great courage, spark or will. Part of the essence of Shinji as a character is his melancholy. He wonders not what he can do for the world but why the world has thanked him for saving them. He doesn’t care for other people, he just wants to be left alone. Yet, fate–or more specifically, his bastard of a father, Gendo (John Swasey)–has chosen him to be the saviour of humanity and pilot of Evangelion Unit-01. Surrounded by interesting people in NERV and his daily life, You Are (Not) Alone chronicles Shinji’s introduction to Tokyo-3 life, from settling in with a new guardian to trying to make friends at school to saving the world from imminent apocalypse. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Movies, Reviews

Conclusion: Neon Genesis Evangelion

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, a month and 16 681 words later, it has come to this. It’s now time to give my opinion on Neon Genesis Evangelion that counts for all of the series. Are you nervous? I’m nervous. Okay. Here goes, as spoiler-free as my review of End of Evangelion yet serving the entire series. I guess I should come out with it now–Neon Genesis Evangelion is damned brilliant, and if you don’t think so, you’re wrong. People have said that 2001: A Space Odyssey and Watchmen are worthless dreck before. If you can’t recognize the utter brilliance that is Evangelion, you don’t know what genius looks like.

It’s a complex character study of depression, loneliness and the physical and emotional manifestations thereof. Not only does it do this with utmost respect for the conditions and personality flaws of its characters, it does this while also functioning as a top quality Super Robot deconstruction. It juggles more narrative hats than can be believed, given its 26-episode runtime. It works on the narrative level, the subtextual level and the metatextual level to deliver a multi-layered and complex story worthy of being ranked among the best ever televised. All that, and it gave us the wonder that is The Jet Alone. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Reviews

REVIEW: The End of Evangelion

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

End of Evangelion might be one of my favourite movies of all time. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t put it on when it’s a rainy day and I wouldn’t say it’s the best stand-alone movie of all time, either. End of Evangelion is what it is and functions as it is because it’s the conclusion to a story that had already been mostly told. It’s a statement that’s immediately suspect, like someone saying that Revenge of the Sith is their favourite Star Wars movie. Is that out of the new trilogy, is that as a movie, is that in comparison to all six and really–would it hold up well as an individual film? With End of Eva, that’s a really good question, innit.

The End of Evangelion, for the dozens and dozens of readers I have (okay, for the two to six readers I have) is exactly what it says on the tin. It is the last two episodes of the television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s also the sequel to a clipshow movie called Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, which has had far too many incarnations to sort through in a movie review. It concludes the story of Shinji Ikari, a shy young boy tasked with piloting a giant purple robot to save the world. And boy, is it conclusive. Very, very conclusive. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Movies, Reviews

REVIEW: The End of Evangelion (Evangelion)

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve decided that The End of Evangelion is something so heinous, so difficult and so absolutely brilliant, it will take two articles to cover. Well, not take two articles to cover, but I’m gonna do two articles on it anyway. One of them–this one–is going to be a review of it as two separate episodes of the television series Neon Genesis Evangelion in the format of the episode reviews I’ve done thus far. Hence the spoiler-filler. The other is going to be a spoiler-free review of End of Eva as a movie. Hoo boy, this is not gonna be happy. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Reviews

REVIEW: Do you love me?/Take care of yourself. (Evangelion)

September 27, 2010 1 comment

Do you love me?:

“What’s wrong with running away from reality if it sucks?” “Who is the self that forms myself?” “Who do you want me to be?” “What am I supposed to be?” “Why do I do what I do?” “Who am I?” “Who is my father?” “Who is my mother?” “Who am I?” “Who am I?” WHO AM I

Is what we do really important? Who forms your opinion of yourself? Who is the person that lets you know who you are? Is it you, or is it the others’ view of you? What is the true you that exists when no one and nothing is around? We are all comprised of the opinions of others and we are all made up of how we view others viewing ourself. Nothing we are or say is our true self, but merely the self that is reflected onto others and becomes ourself through refraction. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Reviews

REVIEW: Rei III/The Final Messenger (Evangelion)

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

What we found there, underground, you don’t want to know. I don’t want to know. I never want to remember again. I’m almost entirely wrapped in despair. It gets worse, and worse, and worse. But thankfully, this arc ends this week. Yes, it’s a short one, but at least it’s a good one. God, this is hard to deal with. I’ll, uh… I’ll see you soon. Real soon. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Hideaki Anno, Reviews