Critic's Log - Earthdate: January 21, 2013. Review #30: Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone
Today is my birthday and I have just turned 22. With Evangelion 3.0 being released a while back and the fact that Evangelion: Final is slated to be released this year. I decided to tackle the Rebuild of Evangelion series since I already have seen the original classic. Since it's my birthday today, I will call the shots on what I want to review today, and here's the review for Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, or Evangelion: Beginning, or Evangelion 1.01/1.11, OH JUST GIVE IT ONE FRACKING NAME ALREADY! Here's Evangelion 1.0
It is the year 2015 A.D. and Shinji Ikari is summoned by his father who works at a secret organization called NERV and his father requests him to pilot a giant humanoid (or Giant robot if you like to call it that) in order to defeat a giant being known as an "Angel". Did I already mention this in my review of the original series? Yes I did, so what's the damn point in me mentioning this? Well, this comes as to no surprise that this first movie of the remake is a retelling of the first six episodes of the original series. So that's pretty much the premise of Evangelion 1.0.
To be technical, this is a Studio Khara production and this is their first release. Studio Khara was founded by Hideaki Anno himself and this is probably why this movie is his first release under the studio name Khara. Putting studio technicalities aside, The animation is eye candy from beginning to end and it's really hard not to look away either because it looks gorgeous for the most part. Allow me to clarify something, The animation is great. Even though it's mostly done on computer, the CGI integration is also great and should put Studio Gonzo to great shame. The action scenes are spectacular and are much better than the original series. I should point out that when the movie first came out, it had a big problem, it was dark and certain scenes were hard to see everything to. This is only in the "1.01" release of the movie. A second release of the movie which is simply called "Evangelion 1.11" fixes the darkness issue and adds a couple minutes than the original and is easily the preferred version of the movie. This absolutely has nothing to do with the animation, I just thought I'd point that out.
The music from the original series is mostly heard in this movie, which is totally fine considering this is a retelling of Episodes 1 - 6, which the story is pretty solid for its first act. so was the music for those episodes, so I have nothing to complain about too much about the same music being used in particular scenes. The music sounds slightly different in the remake compared to the original. The only scene I didn't like the music to is when Shinji is told by his father to pilot the Evangelion, why? Because the music playing in the original scene was pretty effective. I didn't find it effective that much in the remake. That's just a minor nitpick. The music by Shiro Sagisu is what you would expect, it sounds epic at times, and there are some tracks that compliment certain moments greatly. The "Angel of Doom" track is simply a great song, too bad it's overshadowed by the themes in the remake's sequels.
When it comes to voice acting, The Japanese cast is excellent as always and since the seiyus have aged since the original, some characters do sound a bit older than what they sounded like in the original series. Megumi Ogata is pretty good As Shinji even though she had to act nearly the same way she did in the original series. Megumi Hayashibara is terrific as always as Rei, Tomokazu Seki is great as Toji. Fumihiko Tachiki is great as always on playing the role of Gendo Ikari LIKE A BOSS! Kotono Mitsuishi sounds a bit older as Misato Katsuragi and she's great in the movie. So the Japanese cast is great here. When it comes to the Dub, I was skeptical when the dub was announced because I was not a fan of the dub in the original series which was done by ADV films, it's listenable to some extent but I think it had some moments that were not performed right, also The End of Evangelion as well as Death and Rebirth has some of the worst dubs I've ever heard and they shatter continuity between the show and the movie. The director's cut dubbed episodes also do this too for some unknown reason. After hearing the dub of the remake, I can say that the Remake's dub is more bearable to those that did not like the dub in the original, but it still has some problems though. Spike Spencer is more experienced this time and he plays Shinji just fine, but whether you like his voice or not is up to you. Brina Palencia is pretty good for the most part as Rei, Justin Cook was the perfect choice as Toji and he deserves props for being the best voice of Suzuhara-san in any of the dubs. John Swasey is great as Gendo Ikari for the most part. Kent Williams sounds a bit too young as Fuyutsuki but I'll let this pass. Allison Keith reprises her role as Misato and to my surprise, she's great in Rebuild compared to her role in the original. Colleen Clinkenbeard is a voice that gives me a bit of a mixed reaction when she was the voice of Ritsuko Akagi. Ms. Clickenbeard has done better but I just can't see her pulling off Dr. Akagi, she's not terrible in this one, I just think someone else could've voiced her and done it better. The low point in the dub for me was Greg Ayres as Kensuke Aida (The nerdy friend of Toji) His voice really doesn't fit the character at all, I know they were trying to give him a nerdy voice but it doesn't stick to me at all. The Japanese cast is obviously the superior one, but the dub is great too to some extent, and much more bearable to the ADV dub from years past. Mike McFarland's ADR Direction is much more better than the original show's dub and that's saying a lot. Also, Mr. McFarland was the ADR Director for Fullmetal Alchemist and its remake and he doesn't disappoint us with his direction of the dub, even though not every single voice is spot-on though.
The characters are pretty much the same like the first six episodes. Shinji is interesting if you've only seen this movie, he's a bit of a mixed bag since the end of the original series. Shinji is not too bad of a character in this movie because even though he whines and gets angry in a couple of scenes, there's a reason for it. The way Shinji reacts and develops is actually not bad and gets overlooked. If you didn't like Shinji Ikari in the original series, he is more tolerable in this movie. Rei is still a bit mysterious and there's not much to say about her in this movie. Misato is actually interesting in the first movie for a specific scene which I'll get to in a minute, Gendo Ikari is LIKE A BOSS and STILL DOES HIS POSE! 'Nuff said. The characters are good for the most part.
When it comes to story, It is very faithful to the original source material from the first episode to the 6th, I will say the same towards the animation. The only problem I think some otakus will have is that this looks nearly just the same as the first 6 episodes its based on. Honestly, I have no problem with this because the animation is ten times better than the original series, The earlier episodes didn't look so great at first but the episodes are ok for the most part. If this problem I'm referring to annoys you, then allow me to convince you on one thing. That last third of the movie makes up for that. That third would be when Ramiel shows up. Ramiel had a drastic change compared to the original series. Ramiel went from fighting like a Death Star to a shape-shifting Angel that can really tear shit up. Don't believe me? Watch this
If you got a home theater room with good speakers, turn the speakers as much as you want because Ramiel really makes some noise. This last third is undeniably the highlight of the movie. There are some differences between the first six episodes and this movie. The first Rebuild movie interestingly shows Lilith instead of revealing her in the middle of the series. For Angels, Sachiel is completely unchanged, Shamshiel is improved but appearance hasn't changed much. Ramiel on the other hand I already mentioned, Ramiel is the only one in this movie compared to the original counterpart that had a drastic change. Misato knows about Lilith for some reason which actually is a bit interesting, Some fights look the same, but have a bigger emphasis on action. Then there's the final scene that shows Kaworu, Kaworu appears in only one episode in the original series, now Kaworu is getting more than just one appearance which is fine. With all that mentioned, even if this movie seems like a repeat of stuff from the original series, The intent for this series of movies is for both fans of the original series and to those that are new to the series. I guarantee this movie won't disappoint.
Evangelion 1.0 is available from Funimation.
With all that said, Evangelion 1.0 is a wonderful experience with gorgeous modern animation and visuals. This first act of a promising remake of a revolutionary classic is proving itself that the first 6 episodes are solid in terms of visuals and so forth. This was made to make it look better and show people that this is something they could've done if they had the budget for it. The Rebuild movies do have a higher budget to make this possible. It doesn't disappoint but it has some bumps which is why I don't deem it to be perfect. For the most part, Evangelion 1.0 is a solid first act.
I give Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone a 9.3 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
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