Rebuild of EVA: You must (not) run away from these movies.
Evangelion is being remade. What do we think about that? Remakes and reboots have gotten a lot of love lately, regardless of medium. God of War Collection, Metal Gear HD Collection, Batman Begins, Spiderman … they’re all in there. So what other high-profile re-releases and remakes have we seen in the anime world? Fullmetal Alchemist for one … Dragonball Z Kai, Kanon (2006). It’s difficult to pull in the same group of fans and expect them to give the series their full attention if it’s another episodic timesink. Evangelion rectifies this situation by slowly churning out its remakes in the form of 2.5 hour movies over a several years. This is brilliant. If you’re an anime fan, you’ve probably seen or at least heard of Evangelion. But even if you haven’t, Evangelion 1.0 and Evangelion 2.22 are two movies that take their respective counterparts in the anime series and truncate the events into a much more palatable format.
After a catastrophic event melted the polar ice caps, global sea levels have risen and weather patterns have shifted dramatically, leaving many areas of the world underwater and crippling human civilization. But humanity was not extinguished. After years of technological advances, the world has returned to a sense of normalcy, albeit under the rule of more zealous caretakers. Unknown to many, the catastrophe was not the result of a meteor impact or natural disaster, but because of a secret event dubbed “Second Impact.” A “Third Impact” is possible, and the mysterious alien beings known as “Angels” are directly involved. In order to combat the Angels, the mysterious organization NERV dispatches special mecha known as Evangelion, which can seemingly only be piloted by young teenagers. Ikari Shinji is one of these children, and his cowardly nature is constantly at odds with his wish to both protect the people around him and to impress his indifferent father who heads the shady organization.
If you’ve seen the original series, Evangelion 1.0 follows the episodes very closely. You’ll basically be watching an HD adaption of the first third of the series. More robust CG animation is included, which looks magnificent. It was a real treat see several of the more surreal angels come to life in a format that does them better justice than animation of the past. From the scenes that already appear in the original series, it seems that the original voiceovers were used (I played scenes from the original and this remake in tandem and unless the seiyuu have an uncanny knack for mimicing exact voice patterns, the voices were the same), while new scenes obviously offer new lines of dialogue. In Evangelion 2.22, the series diverges greatly from the original material. A new pilot, Mari is introduced, and a much more relaxed Asuka makes her debut. The end, to say the least, is a complete 180 from the first series, and leaves at a spectacular cliffhanger that the next movie will pick up on.
My only real gripe between the two films was the use of the english language. Naturally, you have foreigners who are “fluent” in the language, but most of it was just painful to listen to. Strangely enough, the computerized english voices were just fine. Maybe they should’ve made some characters robots just so they could use a voice modulator to pitch out lines. It’d probably save the production house a bit of their (I assume) massive budget.
The third movie as well as a fourth are supposed to be released next year (2012) simultaneously to continue and end the new storyline introduced in the first two films. I’m extremely excited to see how everything plays out, and if you love Evangelion or just anime in general, you should be as well.