Thursday, July 26, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *End Of Evangelion

A number of anime TV shows get a second wind with a theatrical continuation, but the hurricane of controversy known as Evangelion wasn’t satisfied with its overtly cryptic series finale. They basically set up the last two episodes of their show to act as little more than a lead on to what would eventually be the “real ending” to their epic saga. End Of Evangelion was shown as the fully-intended release, although this was after the complete waste of time, titled Evangelion: Death And Rebirth. Eva: D&R was intended to be the original release, but because of budget cutbacks and time restraints, the entire production was cut back to only showing the first half-hour of End Of Eva in Eva: Rebirth, while Eva: Death was just a glorified clip show with some new footage made specifically for the film(including the chilling “elevator scene”!). Despite its completion, End Of Eva was still done as a seperate release in both theatres and on home video, plus the film is split into two episodes, each complete with its own closing credits. Why they didn’t just have both of them in a single feature is unknown, but then again this is from the same crew that included the intermission from Eva: D&R on the actual DVD!

The movie takes place after episode #24 of the TV series where Kowaru was revealed to be the last Angel, and regretablly killed by Shinji in Unit-01, although he was still able to get over his depression by “shooting one out” over a comatose Asuka. SEELE decides its time for them to take control of things by implenting 3rd Impact on their own, and to do that they need Unit-01. They send in special forces to NERV headquarters and start killing everyone. Misato rescues Shinji, and gets him to Unit-01, only to end up getting shot to death. Asuka lies at the bottom of the lake near NERV in Unit-02, and finally gets over her mom not being alive. She goes all Chuck Norris on the army attacking her, although they reveal the rest of the series of Evas which are all automatic. Asuka manages to stop all nine of them before her energy runs out, but the Evas have the ability to heal themselves, and pick apart Unit-02. Shinji grieves over Misato, but finally even Unit-01 has had enough of him acting like a complete pussy, and activates on its own. Shinji arrives to see Unit-02 completely destroyed, and totally freaks out. Meanwhile, Ritsuko has tried to stop Gendo from merging Rei with the giant form of the angel Lillith. Gendo kills her for her trouble, and then uses the Adam embryo inside him to begin 3rd Impact. Rei however betrays him, and chooses Shinji’s wishes over his by merging with Lillith, which mutates her into a colossal giant. Rei grows to unbelievable heights and starts absorbing all the souls on Earth, everyone else has melted into goo(or LCL). Shinji is then absorbed into the giant Rei where she turns over the fate of the mankind to him. After alot of scanning over his own psyche and some pointless live-action footage, Shinji decides that he’d rather live with humanity and all its flaws. The ginormous Rei collapses, and the souls are sent back to be reincarnated, while Shinji and a resuscitated Asuka are possibly the last two people left alive on the planet.

Okay, so on its own, the movie provides a much more satisfying conclusion than the actual TV ending. The animation is a serious step-up from the series, which shows in the gory action scenes, specifically Asuka’s Eva fight and the entire 3rd Impact sequence. All the characters are given decent airtime, and each one gets a good exploration into their psyches, which are even more screwed up than the series ever let on. It’s still very ambigious though, and really hard to piece together unless you’ve bothered watching it in unison with the series at least three times prior. The English dub by Manga Entertainment is pretty good and features most of the actors from the TV series, although for some stupid reason there were some unnecessary sound effects added to it like “splats” when someone’s head would get shot off by Misato. Where the movie doesn’t deliver is in the “making plain sense” department. The narrative is positively baffling, the use of live-action in the middle is totally out of place, and we didn’t need to actually see Shinji polishing his nob to know he’s f**ked up! Plus, the whole deal with who had what agenda was a huge headscratcher, as to whether SEELE is using Gendo or the other way around just gets tiring after the initial assault on NERV. The main draw of the film is to see the saga coming to a close, at least the original version. If the first one was more coherent though then they probably wouldn’t have needed to do the new Evangelion film series.

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