Rebuild of Evangelion

For those who don't know, Evangelion is one of, if not THE, most popular Anime series in Japan. My pal Justin and I started on the ground floor of its popularity in the US back when it was first being released in 1997 and 1998. It's the series that put American Anime distributor and localizer ADV Films into a shit load of cash.

It original aired on Japanese TV in 1995 for a total of 26 episodes. The final two episodes lead to a bit of an outcry by fans at to what the fuck creator Hideaki Anno was thinking. Budgetary restraints kept the final two episodes very cheap. Episodes were poorly animated, but kept a pencil drawing type scheme which looked "artsy".

Despite everyone hating these two episodes, I liked them. These two episodes got rid of all the other distractions of plot, military, espionage, and other characters, Anno picked the most important aspect of the show and completely focused on it for the ending: Shinji.

I think most people (especially Americans) hate this because Shinji constantly whines about responsibility, is spineless, and feels he has no worth. Americans don't give a shit about a coward for a main character. Especially whens there's explosions and robots everywhere else in the show. The ending shows how Shinji finally over comes all the fears of himself and becomes confident. "Good job, Shinji!"

But no. The fans were outraged! As such, Hideaki Anno created an alternate ending which replaced those two episodes which kept Shinji spineless and afraid. And allowed Seele to completely control him and absolutely reset humanity. Fans didn't know what to think of this ending. But they got some amazing action sequences, so most of them consider it the better ending.

Blah blah blah...

But this is not how it happened!

With two endings to his story, neither of which does a good job of ending the series, Anno has returned. He's making 4 "all new" movies to tell Evangelion as it was meant to be told. The Rebuild of Evangelion is a complete re-imagining of the story from start to finish with a completely different ending that satisfies all aspects of the story. (or so we've been told).

The first 2 movies will mostly be direct remakes of the original episodes. Eva 3.0 will begin diverging and take the story to its new ending. And Eva Final will put an end to everything Evangelion.

What I've been watching since March is the first movie, entitled...

Evangelion 1.0 You are (not) alone SPOILERS, btw

This movie remakes episodes 1 through 6 of the original series. During the episodes Shinji fights 3 Angels ("of death"): Sachiel, Shamshel, and Ramiel. The plot, themes and whatnot are absolutely identical in both the series and this movie. One might think that this is the stupidest thing ever. Especially when the first 18 minutes of the film is almost an exact shot-by-shot update to the original animation. The genius of the movie is the pacing.

There really is no tension when Shinji fights Sachiel and Shamshel because the scenes are nearly the same as the original and the fans already know what's going to happen. Sure, it looks prettier but the fights are the same. Plus, after Shamshel you have that long boring part where Shinji runs away and nothing really happens.

Then Ramiel appears. Ramiel is a bit shinier, but still looks the same... until..

Holy shit. That's different. Ramiel is absolutely menacing. Ramiel is pretty abstract to begin with, but now his attacks show the full force of his destructive power.

We still know what happens, but the Ramiel fight takes center stage. I immediately shot awake and continued watching with my eyes glued to the screen. Ramiel is far more dangerous than I remember him... maybe in Evangelion 1.0, Ramiel actually does win. How the hell are they going to stop this thing?

Unlike the series where this is just another episode, the movie builds up to this point and flourishes. Shinji's own confidence builds to this point as well. He's beginning to think about why he should pilot Evangelion, rather than doing what he's told. Both plot lines balance in harmony as Shinji fires upon Ramiel to prove his worth.

With the ending of Evangelion 1.0, Hideaki Anno proves that both plots with Shinji and Evangelion can co-exist and satisfies both camps who prefer either ending of the original.

Stay tuned in November for the American release!

Evangelion 2.0 You can (not) advance

Let the speculation begin. Eva 2.0 is released in Japanese theaters on Sat June 27th. Shots from the trailer feature Angels all the way up to Zeruel, the 14th Angel. As such, apparently this movie will cover episodes 7 all the way through 19, which is TWICE the amount as the first movie. That's a shit load of ground to cover. Especially when these episodes feature FAR more story than anything that went on in the first 6 episodes.

I have no idea how they plan to cram everything into 2 hours, but I guess we'll see!

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