Revisiting Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 May 22, 2010Posted by ayasawada in Anime, Film.
Tags: Anime, BFI, Eva, evangelion, GAINAX
I’ve waited almost a year to see this again — with English subtitles — having made a special trip to see it in Tokyo last year. It blew me away then and it blew me away again the second time around. This is without a doubt one of the best anime films I’ve ever seen and one that certainly rewards repeat viewing.
All my first impressions were reinforced: the gorgeousness of the animation, the truly wonderful Shirou Sagisu soundtrack, the breathtaking pace of the story and the awesome mecha fight scenes. Obviously my enjoyment was raised by the fact that I actually understood the plot this time — it was nice to understand Europe and the US’s role in the Evangelion project and a little more about what SEELE was planning. But to be honest most of that is still theological/mythological/sci-fi gobbledygook, even with subtitles :P
The subs did clarify for me the role of Mari Illustrious Makinami as an elaborate, otaku friendly deux ex machina (I don’t care if she’s voiced by Maaya Sakamoto, she still has the stupidest middle name in the Eva universe :P). But the biggest illumination was on the Rei/Shinji/Asuka love triangle, with particular emphasis on Rei and Shinji’s relationship.
The subs clarified what I’d suspected after watching it in Japanese: Rei did have feelings for Shinji and this is the reason for the elaborate final scene, which is touching yet still very weird. Yet this follows naturally from the first film and provides a romantic subtext that, to my mind, strengthens the film by qualifying Shinji’s abrupt change of heart and newfound motivation. The love triangle is something the TV series always teased but never fully explained and for whatever reason deemed of lesser importance to the plot (spawning numerous spin-offs and doujinshi). Its prioritisation here, added to the film’s general compacting of events and plot, really helps emphasise the strongest elements of Eva’s characters, always one of its major selling points.
Thankfully, this triangle obviously has further to run (Rei and Asuka aren’t dead, at least, in the traditional sense, despite my initial fears). This will no doubt have significance for the future plot. Kaworu’s appearance in a post-credit extra scene (and with his declaration of “This time I will make you happy”, which really got the otaku crowd whooping) sets things up for an interesting intervention.
The spontaneous applause and looks of absolute delight on the audience afterwards were a sight to behold, with the word ‘epic’ on the lips of every single person in the auditorium. It was a truly wonderful presentation in the NFT1 with glorious surround, a great print and subtitle package and a rapt audience. The Eva movies are justified cinematic pieces and well worth catching in theatres even if you plan to get the DVDs/Blu-Rays. It was an absolutely breathtaking experience first and second time around and I immediately wanted to go back for a third viewing, not to mention my uncontrollable anticipation for movies 3 and 4. I just hope we don’t have to wait too long for either.