“A world where I’m forced to do horrible things.”
“There were some good things, but they always get destroyed in the end.”
Jun Maeda… one thing I’m really enjoying about this reboot is that we really don’t know what will happen in the end. Gainax said it would surprise us. Are they going to follow an ending similar to the previous movie? Are they going to pull an Endless Eight by doing low budget cartoon doodles and white text on black for the last sixty minutes? It’s all in play, and I couldn’t be giddier for Evangelion Q Quickening. But seeing that there’s been like seven thousand reboots of Eva already from Dantenroku to Girlfriend of Steel to Iron Maiden to Ayanami Raising Project to Shinji Ikari Raising Project, why not let Jun Maeda take a stab at it? I mean, it’s a perfect setup for him… five children… each with their own deep issues in a magical world that can only be solved with giant robots– tada– playing softball! I think it’s perfect. Replace Megumi Ogata with Kamiya for the seiyuu as Shinji, have Asuka/Rei/Mari start their own girl band, and we got a reborn franchise! We even have a gay friend for Shinji with Kaworu.
(Best part… Megumi Ogata’s current role is Naoi on Angel Beats. I would so watch a Jun Maeda version of Evangelion.)
Nakkid apron… fail. Asuka was still wearing clothes! Come on. Do it right. You’ll never win over Shinji like that.
(Another reason I’m excited for movie three? Shinji might evolve into a Simon-class character! Beat up the bad guys and score the ladies. Okay, that’s far-fetched, but certainly not as far-fetched as me entering my seventh year of blogging. But, strangely, I’m not as perplexed this time around as to why Asuka and Rei would compete for Shinji. Weird, hun?)
Misato Katsuragi… one of the favorite characters. But I miss the flirting between Misato and Kaji… like when Kaji shot back, as an insult, how Misato didn’t want to do anything but have sex when they were dating. It seems like Misato and Kaji are just old friends instead of ember flames. Worse yet, there’s no Asuka fawning over Kaji! What the heck?
(The only reason this item got an up arrow… well… you know… fanservice, fanservice.)
Gainax animation… wow, they really went all out for Rebuilt of Evangelion. Best animation in an anime movie to date, surpassing Production IG’s Eden of the East and the final Gurren Lagann movie. Though Gainax’s next project is Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt… and it looks like Powerpuff Girls. I hope this doesn’t start the K-On!-ification of Gainax. OH GAINAX NO!
The collision… come on, is this how Shinji meets every other Eva pilot? He collided with Rei (albeit in bad cartoon doodle world), he collided with Unit-02’s foot earlier, and now he’s colliding with Mari. And he was penetrated by Kaworu.
(Also wondering why the mecha are referred to as “Unit-Zero-Two” instead of “Unit-Two”. I know we’re going to at least eight… but Unit-12 isn’t “Unit-One-Two” but “Unit-Twelve.”)
Mari Illustrious Makinami… I’m all for more bouncy female pilots that fulfill more moe modes. Meganekko? Check. I can’t wait for movie three to introduce a new meido-based Evangelion pilot with movie four introducing the yandere pilot. Though Mari’s melonpan does revert Asuka to being the DFC role for this franchise now.
(Why are the European pilots part Japanese? If there were American pilots, would they be Miley Cyrus Taiho? And Gary Coleman Unryu?)
Unit-05… thought the Code Geass-inspired rollerblading Evangelion was neat-o. But… it seems like everything Mari pilots up end being totaled. There’s only wreckage left of Unit-02, and Unit-05 was a total loss. Can we be sure that Mari isn’t inspired by Yoriko-sensei? The glasses! Must be the glasses!
Asuka Langley Soryu Shikinami… no fucking clue why her name was changed, but I was like *GASP* when her plug was crushed. Yet she’s alive. And back wearing a lovely eyepatch. Um, it would have been a great and ballsy decision to kill Asuka first… she was the second most popular pilot, and she was one of the two survivors in the original, so it would have been very interesting to see her offed so soon. But I am heavily disappointed she’s not as tsundere-ish as I remember, warming up to Shinji way too quickly, and, worse yet, no rhythm synchronization battle! That was one of my favorite battles from the original series! How could they cut out Shinji and Asuka doing Dance Dance Revolution while wearing clothes from Afterschool Tea Time’s Listen!! video.
(Also disappointed Asuka didn’t expose herself during the entrance. The little things, Gainax, the little things. And showing brief Mari side-boob doesn’t make up for it.)
Spine… Shinji! Grow one!
(Have I mentioned that all defense are shot, all mainline Evangelions are down, and only ten of the seventeen angels have been defeated… with two movies to go? Okay pop quiz, what’s wrong with that previous sentence. If you said, “You’re wrong! There are eighteen angels, with humanity being the final one!” you’re absolutely wrong. If you said, “You’re wrong! There are eighteen angels, with Kanade Tachibana being the final one!” You’re absolutely right. Hand Sonic Version 6 is really Unit-13.)
Test plug suit… swiftly approved.
The Genko Ikari pose… swiftly approved.
Oyashiro-sama… swiftly approved.
Kyoto Animation… anything that reminds me of the hot springs episode of Fumoffu just makes me sad. I also don’t understand how Pen Pen can live in Japan when almost all of the world’s wildlife is extinct. Pen Pen is more perplexing than Brian the Dog from Family Guy.
(I like the more subdued commercial product placements. It’s good to know that Panasonic will still be around after The Second Impact… at least there’s no Doritos or Pizza Hut.)
Technology… I’m glad to see cell phones make it into Evangelion! They advanced the state of technology from 1995! Mari even had the same phone Morpheus and friends were using in the first Matrix. Though I like how Shinji had a cop-out reason for having the tape player as it was his dad’s… it would have been wrong to see Shinji emo-ing over a Zune. I just hope he isn’t listening to a continuous tape of his mom’s final voice mail a la Shinn Asuka.
(Music… interesting. I think Gainax’s musical bgm choice was basically, “Let’s find the least appropriate music for a scene, and then run that.” Which is basically the opposite of their approach for Gurren Lagann. And, yes, Gurren Lagann was Gainx’s high water mark for bgm… they’re not surpassing it, much like how Final Fantasy will never surpass the music from Final Fantasy VI. Though I did like all the piano music… Jun Maeda would definitely be fine fit for this franchise.)
“The newlyweds are fighting again.”… one of my favorite lines made the cut.
More wasteful government spending… can someone explain to me how all of this is built 15 years after The Second Impact, when most of life on earth was wiped out and the oceans unable to sustain life? No, not because of Angels… but because the Deepwater Horizon leak never got plugged… but, anyway, where did all this money come from to build such a fantastically awesome transforming mega-fortress city? Higher taxes? Borrowing from future generations? Like how would they sell treasuring bonds for Tokyo-3? It’s a city that is ground zero for human extinction? Only a handful of mentally unstable kids stand between us and total destruction? I just want to know… in a world where survival is so difficult, what country can devote so much resources into building such a city.
OH GEASS NO!!! His soulmate is Kaworu, not Kaji! GAINAX!!!
Slightly better… forgot to mention that in addition to glasses, Mari has twin ponytails. Sure, Asuka has them too, but compared to Mari? It’s like comparing Shana to Yoshida.
(Having Megami Hayashibara voicing Rei and Maaya Sakamoto voicing Mari with Yuko Miyamura as Asuka is like seeing Derrick Fisher run the floor with Kobe and Gasol.)
Rei Ayanami… I’m pretty sure many Ph.D. theses could be written concerning Rei’s popularity, but I would still consider the original Rei/Asuka dynamic to be the anime fan’s Mary Ann/Ginger debate. But it’s 2010 now. I think it was the right thing to do in introducing Mari… after all, the modern dynamic involves three women: the quiet, capable type pioneered by Yuki Nagato (Rei fits this profile), the spunky confident lonely type pioneered by Haruhi Suzumiya (Asuka fits this profile), and the potential fanservice machine pioneered by Mikuru Asahina (stretch role for Mari). As a character, Rei’s growth isn’t as fast or dramatic as Yuki’s, but the two share a lot of qualities. It’s just interesting to see Evangelion, a unequivocal anime pioneer, try to fit in today’s norms– norms it pioneered. And Rei’s part of that. Evangelion made those archetypes, Evangelion made mecha more than just burning desire and special attacks, Evangelion made it okay to be an anime that crossed boundaries.
Today? Anime has continued to evolve. “If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Evangelion was one of those giants… but, today, as I watched the horribly named 2.22, I can’t help but wonder that Evangelion is no longer a pioneer. It’s not fresh. The characters have been used extensively over the past fifteen years. Mindfucks abound in anime. And why? It’s trapped by the Evangelion name. It’s no longer the hot shot that came out from nowhere. It has its base. It’s following, and it has to pander to them. There is an expectation with the Evangelion name the same way there’s an expectation for “iPhone” or “Dragon Warrior” or “Tiger Woods.” It’s become big, flash, and pretty, like a Hollywood movie. It has to live up to the name. Rei can’t be anything but the Yuki type. Unit-01 can’t be anything but Yui’s soul. They can’t be anything else. Evangelion— it cannot advance. Part of me wants the crappy ending of the TV series… sure, it was sub-optimal, but it was unique and uniquely Evangelion. It was hard to forget the TV series. This movie? I’ll probably be happily blogging about K-On!! and Highschool of the Dead in a few weeks, completely having forgotten this movie.
But, still, we’re half way through this tetralogy, and there’s a lot more angels to be defeated. Come on movies three and four. I’m ready for you. Just make it memorable.