4 years ago I saw Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time. Haven’t seen it since. Also, I tell my friends to avoid it like the plague. My hate for this series will be reserved until such time as Hideako Anno shows his true colours as the movies progress, for now I’ll talk about the first film.
Since this movie is a remake of the first six episodes of the original series, I’ll keep things relatively short. In the (not so) distant future, half of Humanity has been destroyed by something called ‘The Second Impact’. Shinji Ikari, a high school kid, has been called upon by his long estranged father to Tokyo-3 to pilot giant fighting robots humans, or rather big life forms made of flesh and blood. These giant life forms, called Evangelions, are used to fight other giant life forms hell-bent on destroying Mankind, called Angels. I don’t know Christianity so well, so I’m not going to get into that whole sticky topic of Evangelions vs Angels and why big ass explosions take the form of a Cross instead of regular mushroom clouds, etc.
So yeah, the movie focuses purely on introducing the main cast and how Shinji suddenly finds himself involved in events bigger than (his) life itself. You know, from being alone all the time and having no friends to suddenly being called upon by your father after 3 years to pilot giant robots Evangelions and save Humanity, not to mention moving in with a rather sexy lady, it’s quite an emotional drain. And let’s not forget Rei. She is the complete emotional opposite of Shinji, never expressing her fears or mental instability or placing reliance on others to give her life any meaning.
I sound cynical, but honestly, this movie has helped me focus more on Shinji. Rather than hating him, I appreciate what decisions he’s trying to make. Of course I haven’t had the fate of Humanity rest on my shoulders, but life teaches many lessons; and sometimes it feels good to see others going through similar situations I did. I don’t feel alone when I see others suffering. Wow, what a sadistic thought. Guess this is what Evangelion brings out in me.
In any case, the movie is extremely beautiful, to say the least. I thought when they first announced Rebuild of Evangelion, that they would update the character designs to bring them in line with modern animation, thankfully not. A more kawaii Rei would’ve made me puke. The musical score is also epic. From mellow piano notes of encounters between Shinji and Rei to the orchestral score in the final battle sequence of Operation Yashima, everything was done with precise care and diligence.
Apart from concentrating on Shinji, this movie also made me wonder of Tokyo-3 itself. How much fucking money and planning went into making that entire city go underground? The logistics behind it all! Also all the insane artillery that comes up as first line of defense.
So all in all, Evangelion 1.11 made me appreciate the characters even more so, especially Shinji, and other nuances in the anime that I didn’t notice hitherto. Everything felt very pleasant in the movie, and the closing by Utada Hikaru was just as mystifying as when I first heard it 2 years back. So, the stage is set for the rest of the cast to arrive with Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. And if spoilers on various sites are to be believed, I’m already happy at someone’s death.
And with that…