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Back in the Nineties, a little know anime studio called Gainax made one of the most beloved and acclaimed giant robot animes of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fast forward a decade or so and they decide to remake/reboot the series with four films, known as The Rebuild of Evangelion. So far two of the four films have been released, Evangelion 1.0 You Are(Not) Alone and Evangelion 2.0 You Can(Not) Advance, with the third, Evangelion 3.0 You Can(Not) Redo coming out this fall. How do these new films stand up to the beloved and revered series? Pretty damn well, that’s how!
I’m not going to go too much into the original series, other than to state that it was basically a deconstruction of the giant robot genre, with some psychological stuff and pointless religious symbolism thrown in. I do recommend checking it out and if you don’t understand the ending, that’s okay. No one does. That’s all I’m saying. This series has enough people obsessing over trying to explain it as is without me adding to the mix.
The first film is essentially a remake of the first six episodes of the series. Shinji Ikari, a fourteen year old boy is dragooned into piloting a giant robot called an Evangelion to fight giant monsters called Angels in order to save the world from something. That’s the basic plot. The film follows Shinji as he fights various Angels and as he tries to cope with being forced essentially to fight them and pilot the Eva. It’s pretty faithful to the original series, only with a much bigger budget and more epic soundtrack. Seriously, this movie is beautiful. It’s great looking and great sounding. It’s basically what the creators wished they could have done back in the Nineties.
The second film is leagues above the first. Not to say that the first isn’t good, but itís nothing that we havenít seen before. This is where the series stops being a remake and more of a reboot/sequel. New characters are introduced and some of the returning ones have been changed dramatically. About half way through the film, it takes a hard left in terms of plot. It stops being a faithful remake and new story in and of itself. This all culminates in a climactic ending that no one was expecting. This is a must see movie for any anime fan. Shinji’s story continues with new friends and allies being added into the mix. Basically this film has Shinji step up to the plate and become more confident of himself and his purpose.
Overall the series is fantastic. The films are visually stunning and make the old series look amateurish by comparison. Both the Japanese and American dubs are great. The action is intense, the characters engaging and the plot intriguing. These movies are just plain out awesome. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
particularly, there are scenes in The End of Evangelion which are clear homages to the last movie for the Ideon series.
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