Thursday, July 21, 2011


Neon Genesis Evangelion, the groundbreaking and popular anime series, is currently being remade as a series of four theatrical films, collectively entitled Rebuild of Evangelion. I watched the first of these films, annoyingly titled Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, when the DVD came out, but don't remember much about it, other than that it deviated little from the plot of the original. And yesterday I watched the second installment, Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance. I didn't have high expectations going in, but even so, I was disappointed.

Evangelion 2.22 feels like, more than anything, like one of the many ripoffs of the original Evangelion. The main characters have lost their specificity and become cliches: Shinji is now a typical tortured teen protagonist, Asuka is a typical tsundere character, and Rei is, well, a typical Rei Ayanami-type character. The other characters are barely developed at all (including the new pilot featured on the cover, who plays very little role in this installment). What made the original Evangelion so fascinating and infuriating was that it was in large part an expression of Hideaki Anno's tortured psyche. Evangelion 2.22 seems to have been made solely to make money

Evangelion 2.22 does deviate from the plot of the original Evangelion in important ways. For those who remember the original, this produces one genuinely shocking moment. But it's not worth watching the whole thing just for that moment.

If you do watch Evangelion 2.22, don't turn it off or skip to the preview when the credits start rolling. The filmmakers have placed after the credits, not the sort of extra you sometimes get as a reward for sitting through the credits, but a brief but crucial scene. And this scene comes before the chapter break separating the credits from the preview.

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