Rebuild of Evangelion

In the mid 90’s, the hit TV show Neon Genesis Evangelion took the world by surprise with its surprisingly real characters, stunning animation, and superb storytelling that has earned it a large following throughout the entire world, including this young mind. Many people have dedicated hours upon hours to just trying to figure out this show, the esteemed members of the Evageeks Forums for example, and thousands of people were able to relate to the characters and come to realizations about themselves because of it.

Now, over ten years later, the great mind behind the original series, Hideaki Anno, is reviving the franchise with the new Rebuild of Evangelion movies, which appear to be an alternate telling of the entire series starting from episode one, and promises to give us an entirely new ending. Whether or not this is a good or bad thing, or if the new movies will live up to the original is entirely debatable, a debate that has already split the fandom in two (something that I’ve had to experience firsthand in the last few years).

So, what is Rebuild, exactly?

Well, essentially, Rebuild is the modern day Evangelion. You take the original series, emphasize the action, cut out some of the unnecessary scenes, add a few new things, modernize the animation, condense it into a movie and you get what is now called the Rebuild of Evangelion. The animation is the first most stunning thing that catches the eye when first looking at Rebuild; even if they are the exact same frames as in the original series, seeing it with the new animation is a sight to behold and certainly adds a new effect to the Eva Universe. However, this new shiny animation, in a way, takes away from the rough, real look the Evangelions and some of the structures had in the original, replacing it with something almost surreal and intangible. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, in fact this may only be my perspective on it. The new look can be seen as a good thing that many people may enjoy. Even though I have nostalgia for the original rough look, I still love this new look in a totally different way for its own reasons.

Transferring the beloved series into a set of movies raises a concern though: where does the character development go, out the window? The beauty of a TV series that goes on for twenty or more episodes is that the viewer gets several hours to get to know and feel for the characters and story, but when you take that and condense it into a few movies you obviously cannot fit everything, so some of the characters are going to have to be made into less of characters in order for the movie to work. For those who love the older series, this may be a serious problem, because the magnificence of Evangelion was not the action, it was the characters. For those new to the franchise, they may never know any better until they view the original series, so they’ll be fine with it.

On a plus side, the Rebuild series will not be entirely the same as original series. Already in the first two installments we have seen some changes in minor details, as well as major plot turns. From just the first few scenes we see quite a few visual differences that may or may not be explained by the later films, as well as what may be significant plot changes such as new characters, Kaworu’s early introduction, and the mysterious new “Adams”. All of these variations are already bringing the fandom into a frenzy of speculation and even beliefs in a potential “Sequel Theory” have started coming up. In any case, I, too, am very excited for what’s to come with the new movies and cannot wait to see what’s in store for us. However, not everybody is so excited; some people have even expressed serious anger over such changes as the Shikinami surname and Asuka’s new Plug Suit. But everybody is entitled to their opinion.

I believe the only way for an old fan to really enjoy the Rebuild series is to completely sever all connections with the original series and simply watch Rebuild at face value for what it is, just a new movie. So lets look at it as a new movie, and not compare it to the original series, because one thing is for sure: Rebuild of Evangelion is NOT Neon Genesis Evangelion, and it never will be. Some people would even like to think of it as Anno’s Evangelion FanFic because he got jealous of everybody else writing their own FanFics. Rebuild is simply Rebuild, and it won’t ever change the essence of the original series. So why is there so much fuss over it?

In any case, Rebuild of Evangelion is certainly doing it’s work at bringing the franchise back to life; I know I’m excited to see the last few movies. The new movies promise to bring an entirely new aspect to the expansive universe of Evangelion with its stunning animation, revamping of old characters, the bringing to life of new characters, and supposed unexpected new ending. Until the final release, we can only ponder at what exciting twists the story will have for us. A lot of people are even hoping for a happy ending; I, on the other hand, get a kick out of tragedies and bad ends, so I hope the last movie will be just as bitter sweet as The End of Evangelion movie, ten years ago. Although, I’m sure I’ll enjoy anything the movies decide to throw at us. For everybody else, there’s always Neon Genesis Evangelion.