Okay, let me put it out there right off the bat - I haven't seen Eva in probably close to ten years, which means I was a wee little brat at the time and hardly consider my recollections about the series accurate or remotely fresh. My memory of the series is thus, should I say, sketchy, and I can't say I recall too much other than the following details: Eva 01 acquiring the S2 engine was awesome, Shinji was a total bitch, and the ending somehow inspired the Matrix trilogy to try to best it in lameness. Even so, I remember enjoying it for the most part; after all, it was the first subbed anime I ever set my eyes on.
That said, for me Eva has always been a pretty standard anime - it's neither unequivocally awesome nor despicably atrocious. Thus, when I expected Rebuild of Evangelion to follow this same trend of decency, I made the right choice. Indeed, by merits of an action-mecha flick it is superb - the first three Angel fights are covered and each serves as an exceptional bout of eye candy. In terms of drama, however, much of story centers around the battles with very little emphasis on the characters (aside from Shinji...of course.) For example, save for a very brief spell toward the beginning of the movie, Misato's exorbitant drinking is decidedly absent. This didn't bother me too much, but I would have preferred a little more balance between the other characters and the "woe is me" monologues.
Shinji's insecurity, however, tends to be downplayed in importance this time around despite the substantial amount of airtime. Though he obviously has his issues, he's not excessively annoying to the point where it becomes a primary plot point. Given how his copious amounts of crying turned me off in the series, this twist proved surprisingly refreshing; the world is actually threatened by the Angels and not Shinji's wrist cutting.
The animation was a true catch twenty-two: it worked enormously well at times and yet poorly at others. Stylistically speaking it bore an enormously striking resemblance to its original source, but unfortunately this just didn't mix too well with modern day CGI - it made everything undesirably dark and hard to see. This made it feel tacky in many places, as while the graphic improvement was nice it melded poorly with very dated character designs and scenery by means of hard lines and edges. Overall it came across as somewhat disappointing - for being hyped as an artistic overhaul, its improvements were debatably effective.
The graphics did manage to shine in a number of places, though, but most especially in the Angel fight scenes - they were, simply put, totally badass. If you need but one reason to relive (or live for the first time) the Eva experience, the battles are it. If nothing more than a truckload of eye candy plastered on a familiar face, they really drive the movie's entertainment factor. I don't know what more to say but that; they make the whole movie worthwhile in and of themselves.
Ah, the nostalgia! While the animation might have suffered some discrepancies due to its age, the music remained timeless. Despite the huge span of time between last hearing many of the insert tracks, they immediately brought back memories and fell into place flawlessly - if anything about the movie really rehashed the feel of the series it was definitely the music. I'm not sure if the same voice actors were used for their respective roles (I'm assuming not), but overall they did a fine job.
I will note, too, that sound effects were used exceptionally well at a number of junctions. From the frenzied screams of Eva 01 during the opening sequence to the high-pitched blare of an Angel's weaponry, during the most important scenes the sounds compliment the music and graphics hand-in-hand.
Nobody ever listens to me. Nobody appreciates me. I hate everyone! I hate the world! I hate life! I HATE IT ALL!
There - I've just summed up Shinji in a nutshell, and in a mere ten seconds (not the hour the movie takes to do so.) As in the series, he spends a majority of the movie whining and moaning about typical teenager problems, but given the rapid progression of events his bickering is somewhat tolerable. After bitching for five minutes he usually "goes out and kills shit," which implies a lot of explosions, destruction, and mayhem - and rightfully so. Still, for about every minute of action two are spent listening to Shinji lament about how horrible everything/everyone around him is. Fortunately I think the hint was taken this go around to not make it overly obnoxious, as while it's annoying at times I found it generally productive in fleshing out his character.
Even so, my main gripe is that no other time is spent developing the rest of the cast. Misato comes across much more militaristic in nature than in the series, as the amount of time devoted to her generally only entails her giving orders during combat. The movie does take a little time to get going, though, so characters like Rei don't make much of an appearance until the very end; the movie isn't a complete work in and of itself. Since the film is but the first of four parts to encompass the entirely of the story, however, I'm not going to dock many points for this flaw. All in all, just like the series, the characters aren't that bad overall, and while a little bit more flexibility in character development would have gone a long way, the movie did a fairly good job in general.
For all you Eva fanboys and fangirls out there, it should come as no surprise that I specially recommend giving Rebuild of Evangelion a whirl. For the rest of you like myself who simply enjoyed the series for being a decent/above-average anime, it's still definitely worth your time. While the movie won't be making it onto your favorite-of-all-time list, I'm sure it will slither its way into the ranks somewhere toward the top. And lastly, for all those not acquainted with Eva at all, I think the movie serves as a great introduction to the franchise. Much of the philosophical lambasting seems to have been cut to expand its appeal to a broader audience; if you're looking for a solid hour and thirty minutes of action coupled with a decent story, Rebuild of Evangelion won't disappoint.
Seeing as how I am a fanboy of the original series of Neon Genesis Evangelion, you will have to take everything I say with a grain of salt. That said, it is pretty much inevitable that everyone watching this is already a fan of Evangelion anyway. So let's begin by making this clear: This is not Evangelion. It may look like Evangelion, it may claim to be Evangelion, but it isn't.
The movie covers episodes 1 through 6, beginning in much the same way as the series did, and ending with the 5th Angel's attack. We see much of the scenes faithfully recreated, up until Misato comes to pick up Shinji, and they begin talking as fast as they possibly can. The dialogue moves by ridiculously fast, in an incredibly thinly-veiled attempt to cram as much of the series as they can into the space of a single movie, with horrible results. Their sacrifice of quality for the sake of quantity thoroughly destroys the pacing, which, upon retrospect, was a big part of what made Evangelion what it was. There were a lot of long, atmospheric shots that helped to build the tone of the series, and here, they're gone.
In fact, even the overall style feels different. It seems to opt for darker, richer colours than the original, which honestly doesn't suit the style of the original series at all. It could be argued that animation has since moved on from the original series, but then, look at End of Evangelion. That was fantastically animated, and kept with the style of the series perfectly.
Another thing it seems to have lost track of is the soundtrack. Another interesting part of how the original series was directed was how rarely they used background music, often opting for silence punctuated only by the cicadas. Here? Pretty much every scene has a musical score behind it. This is how normal shows function, not how Evangelion is supposed to function. And even then, some of it actually seems like something Gainax would have used in Gurren Lagann, as opposed to Eva. Even with their choice to use more music taken into account, it still feels like they could have done a better job, although this is a comparatively minor nitpick.
Another major point is that the dub is very badly done. Aside from the fact that all the acting is forcibly quite bad (although this is less the actors fault and more the fact that they have to talk very fast to keep up), one particularly noticeable thing is that most of the original cast has been replaced, mostly by much less fitting voice actors. Whilst some changes are welcome, for example Touji sounding considerably better than he ever did in the main series, most are very distracting. And even the ones who stayed don't sound remotely similar to how they did 14 years ago. The most noticeable example is Spike Spencer's performance as Shinji. For the first half of the movie, I was thoroughly convinced that they had replaced Shinji's voice actor. With a female one, no less. Shockingly, Spike is still in the role, but sounds absolutely nothing like he should. How this could happen is an absolute mystery, considering he's been playing nothing but Shinji and Shinji knockoffs for the last 14 years, but somehow he botched his performance quite badly.
Now, I know that a fairly basic argument against this is that it isn't trying to be like the original series. This is somewhat thwarted by the facts that A: Pretty much everyone who watches this will be judging it by the standards of the series, and B: It doesn't stand up very well on its own either. The pacing and dialogue have ruined any chance this had of being a replacement Evangelion in its own right, as well as the plot and directing being skimmed over. Considering the series always had a habit of throwing you in without knowing what the fuck was going on, imagine how that works when everything is thrown at you at a mile per minute. Hint: NOT VERY WELL. I can't imagine a newbie to the franchise would have the slightest clue what the fuck was going on.
All in all, I was somewhat worried that Hideaki Anno might have lost it, what with being sane now. And to my surprise, I was right. This has completely failed. It doesn't capture anything that made Evangelion a loveable series, and while it does clear out some of the faults it had, it doesn't balance things out nearly well enough. The only redeeming features are a handful of new scenes, all of which are quite good, and strangely more in the vein of the show than anything else in the movie, most notably the final scene that raises an enormous amount of questions about Kaworu, and promises that the single greatest reason to watch this movie is the promise that the next one will do things very differently.
Final Words: What a disappointment. Let's just hope 2.0 makes it worthwhile.
Voice Acting: 2/10
Evangelion: 1.0 You are (not) alone is the first of a modern movie remake of the cult classic 90s anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, equivalent to the first few episodes. The original anime is one of my favourite anime of all time, being joint second in my top 3 anime. I almost wasn’t going to review this anime movie due to my inherent bias and opinion, but I figured it would be useful to folks to see a review from someone who loved the original. Thus I must disclose that I absolutely loved the original and its movie sequel, I love the psychological genre of anime which messes with your head and I hate all things fan-service and ecchi. I will refer to the original in this review. This movie remake trilogy is very similar to another anime franchise, Berserk, which was also a very old anime TV series. Like Evangelion, it had a HD trilogy of movie remakes, but in my opinion those movie remakes weren’t as good as the original. Since I watched them long ago, there’s fat chance that I’ll ever review those, but the movie remakes removed some of the interesting and shocking themes of the original, added more unnecessary nudity (the movie remake has visible genitalia, both genders) and added a thing that was apparently in the manga, which I don’t read. So it’ll be interesting to see how the anime industry has evolved since the early 90s and what difference it makes to this anime remake. If one hasn’t watched the original 1994 anime, I recommend you go back and watch it, along with the sequel movie End of Evangelion, before watching this remake.
I got the HD collector’s edition box set, which included the 3 movies in 1080p (If I ever review the sequels, I will refer to this section here in this review) and a bunch of promotional extras including a ‘making of’ video, though not in the traditional sense. From my recent viewings of various anime movies it has become apparent that they tend to have extraordinary quality that often exceeds that of TV anime (the Berserk remakes were in 1080p from the early 2000s) and these movies are no exception. The ‘making of’ videos solidified that idea by showing how complicated the animation is and how much effort they put into it. It shows clips and concept art of the scenes in various stages of production, showing the resources and effects that went into simple, short scenes.
The animation style remains faithful to the original, lots of power lines, lots of interesting and unique camera angles aptly utilised and the character designs were the same. The character designs are fairly distinctive actually, despite Shinji fitting the bill for the typical anime protagonist, it’s surprising how his design remains proprietary to the Evangelion anime. Similarly for other characters like Rei, Misato and Gendo. Though thinking about Rei’s design it seems she was the inspiration for characters like Revi from Black Lagoon, who looks strikingly similar. The EVAs look like they always have, staying faithful to the design while also improving on them visually. We actually get to see a few new interesting shots of them or something similar to them.
Being Evangelion, there’s quite a bit of blood and gruesome imagery in this remake, particularly since this is based on the first few episodes of the anime, there’s some breaking of limbs that might make viewers cringe (in a good way). The original series had nothing really in terms of fan service or nudity, the movie sequel End of Evangelion had one ‘topless’ scene. There were a hell of a lot of references to things like sex though. I wonder what this says about how the anime industry has evolved, but this remake has nudity in it. Though nothing too pervy or weird, the scenes are close replicas of scenes from the original. For example one where Shinji trips and lands on a naked Rei, in this remake now has slight nudity. As far as I’m concerned, the atmosphere of such scenes is fairly realistic and they seem to be taken seriously instead of perving out and drawing attention to such things.
However, after the credits, during a teaser of the next movie, the narration mentions ‘more fan-service.’ It seems that the scenes were intended as fan-service and pervyness. This inappropriate intention changes everything. While watching the anime, it didn’t seem like they went out of their way to make it pervy, but the fact they purposely made these changes… you know how much I hate such things. Thus, I’m going to have to dock a point or few for this. It seems modern day animation studios have developed a preference for bullshit fan-service and ecchi, likely to appeal to adolescents. How revolting. I guess that explains why modern day anime has gone downhill in some respects. Fun fact: anime of any sort cannot be aired on certain TV channels due to fan-service/ecchi. (I just learnt of it today)
I never got the Evangelion soundtrack, despite having found it online all those years back. Being a movie, there is no intro but there is a long outro track during the credits, a longer section since this is a full movie production. And it was great, much better than the outro track in the original anime. Though this could be another aspect of how the anime industry has changed over the years, I guess the type of music in anime these days has changed, for the better and the worst (I’m not really a fan of modern J-pop). The music in the anime itself seems to consist of a lot of tracks remastered from the original series and a few new ones. The music is utilised well here as it was in the original and I must divulge that I got a bit giddy from the nostalgia, as I recognised the music. Not everyone will feel the same way about this and this didn’t exactly drive me to go back and get the soundtrack, but its great music nonetheless.
Like the original, this is available in both English and Japanese audio, but I also remember seeing that it also has versions in other languages like German and maybe French and Spanish. Goes to show how popular the Evangelion franchise is around the world. The original had a bit of German due to the plot involving one of the characters being German. Having experienced both the English and the Japanese and considering most of the voice actors reprise their roles, including Shinji, I prefer the English version, especially considering the amount of German spoken in the original. Tiffany Grant seemed to be fluent in German and speak in a good accent, while Yuko Miyamura’s German sounded much like her English, it was obvious she wasn’t adept at languages other than Japanese. In addition, Shinji sounds better in the English version as he’s voiced by a woman in the Japanese version, making him sound too feminine. Things like that and the nostalgia of hearing the old voices made me prefer the English here, even though I did get the movie in dual audio so I could give the Japanese another chance.
Spike Spencer returns as the voice of Shinji, not a prominent voice as the only other role I found interesting is a certain character in the second season of Code Geass. Rei Ayanami is now voice by Brina Palencia, not a bad choice as the experienced voice actor has had many good roles including Ennis in Baccano, the Kinoshita Twins in Baka to Test, Priscilla in Claymore, Rin in Darker than Black, Nina Tucker in FMA, Yuno in Mirai Nikki (Future Diary), Kazumi Yoshida in Shakugan no Shana, Juliet in Romeo X Juliet and Holo in Spice and Wolf. Allison Keith returns as Misato Katsuragi, similar to Spike Spencer not having many other roles in anime. John Swasey retains the part of Gendo Ikari, having also been Huang in Darker than Black, Prof Kakuzawa in Elfen Lied, Motoi Yazaki in Ghost Hound (watched recently) and Death/Grim Reaper in Soul Eater. Ristuko Akagi is now voiced by Colleen Clinkenbeard, voice of Nice Holystone in Baccano, Hilda and Galatea in Claymore, Riza Hawkeye and Rose Thomas in FMA, Mitsuki Hayase in Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien (AKA Rumbling Hearts), Cordelia in Romeo X Juliet and Yuuko in both Tsubasa Chronicle and XXXHOLiC. Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida both had had their voice actors changed to Justin Gook and Greg Ayres respectively.
The main character in the Evangelion series is Shinji Ikari, son of Gendo Ikari. While his mother isn’t mentioned much, there is a small voice-only role depicting her and she generally doesn’t exist. Not to worry, the mother thing is actually a part of the plot, which might be explored in the later movies (it was in the original series). He is made to be the pilot of Eva unit 01. He often whiles and cries about things which surprisingly I’m not annoyed by. Shinji is psychologically abnormal and I was surprised that this movie literally states this at one point. His reaction to the Evangelion program is fairly realistic for a child and he reacts as any teenager would when confronted with ‘certain situations’. He reacts to the events as a person actually would. He desperately seeks the approval of his father and other folks and that is also mentioned in this movie. He doesn’t actually get along well with his father who had neglected him all of his life. Since he’d be living on his own, Misato takes him in to her place. He goes to middle school, in the same class as Rei Ayanami, Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida.
Rei Ayanami is a mysterious girl, with an unnatural hair colour, who is the pilot of Eva unit 00 and has been part of the Evangelion program for longer than the likes of Shinji. She has no parents (important to the plot) and early on in the movie, during an flashback discussion between Shinji’s parents, Rei’s origins are alluded to when Shinji’s mother mentions their child should be named Shinji if it’s a boy and Rei if it’s a girl. There’s even more, during one of the ‘psychological’ scenes Rei’s name is repeated as Rei Ayanami and Rei Ikari, eventually settling on Rei Ayanami. Surprisingly, while Gendo doesn’t get along with his own son, he seems to care greatly for this girl Rei. Rei has a cold and almost inhuman personality, she cares for nobody. But the exception is Gendo, who she looks up to and she keeps a memento of him by his glasses. Rei thinks very logically, but isn’t good at interacting with others, she doesn’t talk to people very much and she is unfazed by things like Shinji being in her room when she gets out of the bath.
Misato Katsuragi is a young military woman who works for Nerv and is in command of Evangelion operations under the supervision of Gendo Ikari. She gets along well with Ritsuko Akagi, who seems to be a close friend and is generally a kind and friendly individual. She can be rather immature and boisterous at times, but she gets serious when work is involved. She takes in Shinji when she finds out he’d be living on his own and effectively becomes his guardian. She becomes close to the boy, giving him advice and support, acting almost like a mother. She owns a warm water penguin named Pen-Pen, who seems to behave alarmingly like a human, taking a bath and reading a newspaper. She does know how to have fun and is a raging alcoholic, drinking a lot of beer. One memorable scene, faithfully and accurately recreated in this movie is the first scene of her drinking at home, where she takes a long chug of beer and enjoys it. There’s more to this character, but we’ll have to wait for the sequels to see that.
Gendo Ikari is the mysterious man who seems to be at the head of Nerv. He reports to a group more mysterious than himself known as Seele (pronounced ‘say-lay’) regarding the angels and Evas. He seems to know a lot and has the knowledge that there are a certain number of angels who will attack. Among the many secret and mysteries is one thing called the Human Instrumentality project, some sort of goal for Ikari and Seele. He doesn’t get along with his son at all and little is mentioned in this first movie concerning his wife. He seems to be very close to Rei Ayanami, being protective of her as if she were his own child. Ironic seeing as his view towards his son Shinji is only as a mere tool, to be gotten rid of when he is of no use.
This movie is equivalent to the first 6 episodes of the original anime and follows the original plot very faithfully. The year is 2015 (not just a coincidence, that’s the actual date for the events of the first episode in the original anime) and the city of Tokyo-3 is being attacked by a strange giant alien creature called an Angel. Shinji Ikari, is picked up by Misato Katsuragi by the orders of his estranged father, Gendo Ikari, to be taken to Nerv headquarters in order to pilot a giant mech, the Eva.
The Evas are the only things capable of stopping the Angels and breaking through their defences known as A.T. fields (A.T. = absolute terror) as well as projecting their own. Evas are equipped with an A.T. field penetrating knife known as a progressive knife and require an umbilical cable to supply them with power, diagnostics and external control. The removal of this umbilical cable, the Evas run on a limited battery power which allows 60 seconds at full power or 5 minutes otherwise. The mobility of the Eva depends on the synchronization rate with the pilot, usually fairly low making the Evas cumbersome as a result.
Evangelion has always had a complex story, full of odd psychological scenes that make the viewer feel like they’re high and crazy story developments and plot twists that put a new light on the events. I’ve always thought that Evangelion has been the anime equivalent to the Metal Gear video games, in that it’s pseudo-realistic with the fictional aspects. The things that obviously aren’t real are depicted in a realistic way. I used to think that if mechs were real, this would be one possibility of how things are done. And the anime backs me up on that. One big question people may have is why does it have to be children piloting these mechs, especially when there are issues getting them to follow orders and such? The original Evangelion series answered this and it’s the same here. Similarly, the explanation for the Geo-front, the abilities of the Evas, how the Evas are powered, and repaired all seem to involve pseudo-realistic explanations.
No backstory is yet given in this movie, but among the few scenes added to this, reveals that Rei would have been Shinji’s name were he to be born a girl instead of a boy and that the names were chosen by his mother. It also provides a bit of foreshadowing to Rei’s origins with the first of many psychedelic scenes to come. One issue with this movie is that it relies on sequels for the full story, one season or movie should be able to convey a complete plot by itself. The plot from this movie alone seems a bit simple, the bat-shit crazy doesn’t quite come across here, which could be a good thing for some. It still manages to do this to an extent, but it leaves many questions and mysteries unanswered. This issue has become prominent as the 3<sup>rd</sup> movie was unable to complete the story, thus requiring an as yet unreleased fourth movie. The gap between the second and third movie was 3 years and there have been mentions that the 4<sup>th</sup> movie is meant to be released by the end of this year.
So, as someone who enjoyed the original series, what do I think of this remake and would I recommend it? One thing for sure, it’s one of the better remakes out there, being very faithful to the original series and having very little in the way of flaws. But unfortunately it does slip as it adds some unnecessary material (fan-service) and is a bit too reliant on sequels to provide the full picture. I also don’t remember the scene where Shinji leaves. Thus I can’t fully conclude on exactly what this is since I’ve yet to watch the other movies. Would I recommend it? If you’re a fan of Evangelion, definitely watch this. If you miss the crazy interesting plots of the 90s, watch this. If you like mech anime, watch this. If you like interesting, unique anime with complex plots that makes you think or love the mindf**k genre, then this will set up what’s hopefully a good remake of a very balls-to-the-wall euphoric series.
Family-friendliness Rating: 5/5 Mature themes (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 9/10 (higher is better)
"Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone" or "How can we rehash the first 6 episodes of an anime people have already seen into an hour and a half and still somehow make money out of it?"
First of all, let's travel back to a magical time where magic and wonder filled the earth. A time where children sat in front of the television all saturday morning not knowing the crappy life that awaited them in the future. A time known as 1995. A time where, back in Japan, a man named Hideaki Anno was depressed as all hell. But during his depression, Anno came up with a story about a whiny 14 year old, his pet giant robot, and his complete jerk of a father. And thus, Neon Genesis Evangelion was born! Sure it was weird(complete understatement)and had way too much fanservice but it became a phenomenon in Japan. Meanwhile, back in America, I was a young child and fully enjoyed the good ol' days of Toonami, a block on Cartoon Network showing nothing but anime and was utterly awesome. During the time, Toonami came up with Giant Robot Week. This was where Toonami showed nothing but giant mecha anime for a full week. One of those days, I caught the first 2 episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion and completley fell in love with so much, I just had to buy the VHS collection of the series. Big Mistake. But when i got older , I rewatched it and started discovering all the art and story behind it. A boy just wanting to be accepted. A task with a heavy burden. A giant robot you seriously don't want to piss off. I truly started liking it.
Fast forward to 2007. Hideaki Anno is out of his depression, is really happy now, and is richer than Bill Gates and Scrooge McDuck combined. So what does Anno decide to do? Do the same thing over again but with a complete twist. Remake the series into 4 movies and have a new character, new robots, and a new ending. PURE. UTTER. GENIUS. And thus, Rebuild of Evangelion was born! So, sit back and let's watch the first film into the series, You are (not) alone!
As we can see, we can see the first, and probably most major, flaw of the whole movie: we've already seen it. Seriously, it's just the entire 6 episodes crammed down to an hour and a half. So really, there's nothing much to say about it. Basically it's the same schtick as the original series. Shinji Ikari recieves a message from his dad and goes to Tokyo-3 only to find that his dad only wants him to pilot a giant cybernetic organism known as Evangelion. Whining ensues. But there are some new touches to it. Like how Shinji starts to develop feelings for Rei throughout the climax and... um... ...Nerv and Seele's new logos are...nice? Yeah, that's pretty much it. Same story of the first 6 episodes. 6/10. Moving on...
Considering the time gap between 1995 and 2007, the animation has become more fluid and they actually didn't have to resort back to using their storyboards and static shots for scenes. AMAZING! But yes all in all, there's still another flaw in the original 1.0 version of the movie. Lighting. Dear Gainax, when you hire a guy to do the lighting for your movie, don't pick the guy that did the lighting for this one. I could barely see what the hell was going on. Especially during scenes in night. Yes, there were some neon signs to help aid but that still doesn't help the fact that i just couldn't see at all during the beginning where Shinji fights the third angel. But, luckily, this is fixed in the 1.11 DVD and Blu-Ray version of the film so, yeah. 8/10
Where's what excited me about the movie. Funimation actually got most of the original english cast back from the original series for the english dub of Evangelion 1. Spike Spencer, Allison Keith-Shipp, and even Tiffany Grant in the next film. But that's getting too far ahead. Yes, the acting is as decent as it was in the original series and as much as I like Spike Spencer's work, I have to give the Best Acting in Evangelion 1 to... The guy that did Unit 1's screaming. Seriously, when that robot's angry, that robot's angry. It truly is mortally terrifying as i remember it when i first saw the original series as a child. But I seriously have to give it to the film's music composer, Shiro Sagisu. The music was great in the original series, it's fantastic in the new film. So, 8/10.
Let's face it. Shinji is one of those characters that just can't be taken seriously. It's just whining and crying with him. But, in his defense, he has a pretty good reason. Wouldn't you hate your dad if he completely hated your guts, left you, and never talk to you again only until he wants you to pilot his giant robot for him so he could do some dastardly scheme? Misato is still an achoholic, Rei's still silent and keeps to herself, Gendo's still the greatest jerk in the world, and pen-pen's...just pen-pen. Seriously Gainax. Where's my Pen-Pen spinoff? Still, it seems the characters always have their own story to tell even though it's depressing as all hell. Except Pen-Pen. Pen-Pen's just awesome. 7/10
5. In Conclusion
And so, in the end, Evangelion 1 is nothing more than to just help you brush up on your Evangelion facts as you get ready for the next 3 films. It's a great movie if you want to see everyone get back together only to do the same thing you've already seen them do in the first 6 episodes of the original series. But trust me when I say that Evangelion 2 is truly this film's greatest redemption. And Pen-Pen. 7.5/10
<<This is a review from somebody that has never yet watched the actual NGE series, so I'm mostly writing this to warn people like me that dive into the movie thinking it's ultimately the same thing just with newer animation.>>
Avoid this movie at all costs ( and potentially the next ones if you didn't already like or get intrigued by this one). At best, just go watch the actual NGE and if you like it then only THEN come back and watch this movie. Don't under any means watch it without knowing anything of NGE.
Why? Was it that horrible despite the very high ratings on MAL/AP?
Yes. And here are my justifications.
Story & characters
I honestly still have no idea how to put my finger on what I had to deal with in 1 hour and 40 minutes of this movie. During the first 30 or 40 minutes I was still scratching my head wondering what the hell I was even watching and why nobody even wanted or cared to explain, only for me to suddenly be bombed with information middle way through, which...still didn't explain much. Don't get me wrong, I honestly appreciate when a show tries to tell a story by using images rather than words, yet in this case it just didn't cut it. (EDIT: After watching the first two episodes of NGE I can say how it is done way better even though they still don't tell you what's going on, but the message was sent perfectly). In other words, pacing just threw itself out the window and committed suicide.
The characters weren't the saving grace of this movie either with Shinji constantly being a drama queen. I have no issue with characters trying to act pitiful, I can understand how a 14 years old kid with a father complex can find the situation too much for himself, however, it developed too fast for me to remotely care. No, actually there was a lack of development to it altogether, however much I tried to justify it. I can see what it was that the directors tried to show, yet it just came out as "detached".
Rei, i saw too little of her to care or even question, though I give her that she could potentially be an interesting character, while Kaworu was the only character that I was remotely interested in basing myself on the last 20 seconds of the movie and out of my own superficial reasons (Akira Ishida *coughs*), which is actually quite sad.
I also heard that this first movie covers the first 6 episodes of NGE...so...6x23min = 138 min = 2 hours and 18 minutes of content translated into 1 hour and 40 minutes. With just 38 minutes of difference (one episode and a half) between the two, they managed to do a lot worst than the actual series (taking for granted that the series is better)? Congrats ! Achievement "Focusing on the wrong things" unlocked !
Animation & Sound
It was nice, though looking at the footage of the old series I don't think that it looks any better. Maybe smoother, but not really better. Actually, I don't even think a remake or retelling (or whatever this is) was needed, unless it was meant to serve as eyecandy for those that already watched the original Evangelion. Though, yes, the combat actually does look better.
The sound was quite forgettable and actually quite unfitting at some points, so I have no idea what happened there or what atmosphere they wanted to establish.
Enjoyment & Overall
Unfortunately, because of all mentioned above it was very hard to even give a shit of what was going on anymore so that summarizes my enjoyment on point. I was really baffled that what I was watching, Neon Genesis Evangelion, THAT Evangelion, revolutionized the anime market because from this movie I just couldn't see it even if I tried to somehow justify it for being a "new concept". I just couldn't.
But since my bafflement was so high, I decided to give a chance to the original NGE. Just to save you the pain though, I can assure you that you, Eva-newbie, miss nothing from not watching this movie.