Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance

Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance was recently released in Japan on Blu-Ray and DVD, making it available to more than just the Japanese public; I have (not) downloaded it illegally online in order to watch it early. Since I have been getting requests, and since Eva 2.0 happens to individualize itself (much unlike Eva 1.0), I have decided to risk  giving the latest addition to the New Movie Edition franchise an official Geeks With Taste review! Ah, where do I begin?

As promised, Eva 2.0 brings us new elements never before seen in the Evangelion series, thus adding that much more to the excitement among the fandom as to what will happen next in the series. Aside from the new character, the new Evas, the new Angels, and the added fanservice, we get unexpected things like the Key of Nebuchadnezzar, talk of a perfect Evangelion, and hints to Mari Illustrious Makinami’s mysterious agenda. On top of that, existing aspects of Evangelion also get makeovers, revampings, and new qualities adding to the freshness of the new movies. However, are all these changes and additions a good thing? Many people have already expressed their disappointment with how unfamiliar it started becoming. I, on the other hand, absolutely loved all the new aspects; they bring an exciting new thrill back to the Evangelion world, and they keep the movie from being the same ol’ thing over again. While everything new may not be perfect, it certainly beats having a carbon copy of the original series.

Speaking of imperfections, one of the most blatant problems with this movie is the pacing. Trying to fit in about ten episodes of material into a two hour movie and add even more into it can be quite the chore. Obviously a lot is going to be cut out, including character development, which seems to be the fandom’s biggest complaint;  the strong character development is what made Neon Genesis Evangelion so popular over the years, and to see a lot of it go is a bit concerning. However, considering time restraints and goals of the film, I found that the development was passable for the new film; we miss out on getting really in depth with certain favorites, but enough was done to make sure we got to at least know the character, which is important. Given the conditions, I would say the pacing was handled fairly well, but not perfectly.

This movie brings about the grand introduction of a mysterious new pilot, Mari Illustrious Makinami. It would seem that the director has finally wised up and given us a glasses-girl character, although not much more than that is known about her. Of all the Eva pilots so far, she seems like the one with the least amount of issues, other than the fact that she appears to be psycho. Which is kind of ironic, given that the fandom has been practically begging for the character that enjoyed piloting and didn’t cry about it; instead we get someone who seems to enjoy killing Angels a bit too much. I think I’m in love. Anyways, there seems to be a lot of secrets circling about her, as her motives are unclear and very suspicious. The third movie ought to clear that up for us a bit.

Asuka Langely Shikinami is finally introduced in this movie, and probably one of the biggest causes of hate from the fandom, her new name and plug suit being the least of their concerns. Like with all the returning characters, Asuka too receives a large amount of change. While we still get her signature “Anta Baka?!” line with her general attitude, she seems less hostile, and considerably more open about her true feelings. Her lack of serious development has fanboys and girls absolutely raging at her new role in Eva 2.0. However, I find her new characterization acceptable, especially in the context of the film. Certain aspects have me even more interested in her than ever, such as her switch in attitude toward dolls (except for Rei; she still hates Rei). I am very interested in seeing what they do with this new Asuka in the later movies, and maybe then the fanboys will calm down.

Animation certainly has come a long way in the last fifteen years, and the Rebuild series stands testament to that advancement. None can argue that the new animation takes away from the Evangelion experience (unless you count that little nitpick about Eva being elevated to the super robot genre, but seriously?). Computer graphics allow for more fantastic Angel battles, important care to details, and overall ecstasy for the eyes. If Eva 2.0 has anything going for it at all, it is certainly the visuals. The area with the most impact given thanks to the animation has to be the Angel fights. If you remember back to the original series, the Angel Sahaquiel (the orange bomb Angel that fell from the sky) was a simple monster-of-the-week status Angel.  Eva 2.22 took that climax, and brought it to epic proportions, making it one of the most exciting scenes of the entire movie, and easily more exciting than anything in the original series (except for maybe Asuka’s final fight in End of Evangelion). I’m not going to say anything more on this subject, other than that this scene isn’t even the best of the movie! But you’ll just have to wait and see to find out which is.

Most of you are probably wandering this: “is the plot as much of a carbon-copy as Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone?” Your concerns are reasonable. Despite having several minor detail changes in Eva 1.0, and one or two major changes, the basic plot of the first movie is practically like watching the first six episodes of the series, but with amazing animation. I must worry you with this in response: in Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance, the same basic plot points as in the original series are hit up until episode 19, where it ends. However, I assure you that there are several significant changes in plot, including entirely new scenes. I also hope to assure you that by the end of the movie, you’ll know that there is absolutely no way that the next two movies will even be even slightly like the original series; the end brings the movies into such an entirely new direction that it becomes almost unrecognizable from the original, and it has me really excited for the upcoming two films.

Overall, I was very satisfied with this movie. While I know not everybody would agree with me, I think was a really great movie in all aspects, despite not being perfect, and it is now one of my favorite movies of all time. Sure there was problems with pacing and character development, but I think it was handled quite well under the conditions and still allowed us for new storyline. The action and animation are the two best parts of the movie, not even mentioning the excitement of seeing a new Evangelion series after so long. To score, I would have to give this an 8/10, only because action and visuals aren’t everything, and character development is important; usually, anything Evangelion would get a 10/10 from me; lets hope the upcoming movies don’t disappoint. Until then, this has been another movie review by Sachi!

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