The Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise is the powerhouse of it’s genre, and even after 20 years it’s presence has only increased as it steadily continues to gain more recognition and fans worldwide with the new Rebuild of Evangelion series. The newest release Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo is the third out of four, and to follow what’s going on you need to see the first two movies Evangelion: 1.11 You are (Not) Alone and Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance, or at least re-watch them so you can follow on as 3.33 get’s a little crazy. Each movie roughly follows it’s name in theme, and You Can (Not) Redo focuses mainly on Shinji and his emotional instability after learning about what he caused 15 years ago, and what the new world has become.
WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD.
Now, for those who have followed the original series anime and manga, there have been little easter egg hints scattered throughout the first two movies that are indicating a shift in the storyline. The introduction of Mari Makinami, the angels numbering has been altered and the appearance of Lilith is also a bit different. Of course there are more (like the elephant in the room being the beginning of the third impact at the last few minutes of 2.22), but 3.33 is where it takes a dramatic turn and although it messes with your head a bit, it can be forgiven as Rebuild was always more of a re-boot than a re-telling of the original story. Some fans are outraged, and although I myself love the original, I am not that involved so I find this change welcoming. Starting out with Asuka and Mari recovering a large container from space, they have a frantic but short scuffle with what seems to be an Agnel before returning back to Earth with the container in tack and all of Asuka’s sassy attitude.
The Container was actually holding Eva Unit 01 and Shinji, and once back to earth he is successfully revived and wakes into a world that has evolved into a very different place. He is being held in WUNDER, a massive battle airship specially designed by WILLE in order to destroy Nerv and their remaining Evangelion units. The organisation WILLE is made up of ex-Nerv personnel, and is headed by none other that Misato Katsuragi who is desperately trying to save humanity from a Fourth Impact. WUNDER is almost a little too grand, and with Unit 01 now as it’s power core it’s almost like a giant Eva hybrid whale, which is my mind is a bit ridiculous. It’s been 15 years since Shinji triggered the Third Impact, and it seems nobody is in the mood to let him pilot an Evangelion ever again, and has an exploding collar strapped around his neck for insurance. The surprises and action that follow are captivating as the story keeps familiar elements, yet delves into unknown territory. Not much is revealed about what happens between 2.22 and 3.33, but if you wait until after all of the credits on 2.22 there is a short preview which features Kaoru in his Eva, Kaji, as well as big Rei with little Rei kiddies. None of this footage appears in Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo, which raises the questions of why it was not part of this movie. It is possible it will feature in the fourth installment, but without any release information it’s still just a guess.
Well, with that said and done some fans of the original series might be upset with the changes made, but you can’t be angry with the amazingly detailed animation. This is some of the most innovative use of new CG technology and it flows just so smoothly and beautifully. In the first 10 minutes you can tell this is going to be something special to see, even more so than the previous two movies (I am so sad I did not get to see this on the big screen). It’s hard to explain just how good it is as there have been so many recent movies incorporating CG in with traditional animation that have got it all so wrong. The team at Studio Khara have really given their all, and here’s hoping the fourth installment is just as spectacular when it’s finally released. Like the previous two movies, it all stays true to the original animation style, with all the giant chins and incredibly detailed backgrounds it’s still nostalgic and familiar even with all the new scenes and animation.
The BluRay DVD version includes some nice goodies like a guide book (which is much higher quality than the previous releases) that contains character, Evangelion and weapon art Bios and some interesting information on the animation, and a nice glossy case to keep it all together. There are also quite a few DVD extras, mostly TV spots and trailers of the movie, as well as the animation process for some scenes which is lengthy and quite interesting to watch. The first time over I had this in Japanese which is always so well done, and the English isn’t too bad but there is so much clunky acting I turned it back to Japanese before long.
Overall, any Eva fan will fall in love with the animation, and the new story still has roots from the original with plausible changes and action. There are a few unanswered questions which will hopefully be cleared up in the final installation, but for now Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo has really set the benchmark for animated movies.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.