Thursday, December 13, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Evangelion 2.0: You Can(Not)Advance

Continuing the Rebuild Of Evangelion movie franchise, Evangelion 2.0(or Evangelion 2.22 as shown on the video release)is the second of a 4-part series that remakes the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime, but adds alot of new twists and elements to make this a totally seperate entity from the TV show.

The sequal starts out with us being introduced to the brand new character of Mari Makinami, who is the pilot of Eva Unit-05, plus the resident meganekko. She tangles with the zombified remains of the 3rd Angel(the first Angel in movie #1)comes back to life, which results in the total destruction of Unit-05 and one of the numerous NERV bases. Cut to Japan where the 7th Angel is attacking Tokyo-3, but is defeated by the timely arrival of Capt. Asuka and Unit-02. Asuka ends up moving in with Shinji in Misato's apartment, where we're treated to a very fanservish-retake of Shinji's discovery of Pen Pen. Shinji is introduced to Misato's ex-boyfriend Kaji, who in secret delivers a mysterious package to Gendo. The 8th Angel then attacks from orbit, and all three Eva units work together to stop it from bellyflopping on NERV headquarters. Asuka actually takes a turn for the different at this point in the story as she starts to opening up to Shinji, and even Rei, more proven with the poignant elevator scene where they both realize they have alot more in common than before. Rei tries to arrange a dinner meeting between Shinji and his father, and invites most of the NERV regulars. Asuka politely declines to be the test pilot for Unit-03, although it gets possessed by the 9th Angel. With Asuka trapped inside, Unit-03 stomps its way to NERV. Unlike in the TV series where Shinji wouldn't attack the evil Eva because he can't bring himself to kill another person(even though at the time he didn't know it was his friend Toji), he realizes that Asuka is in it, and refuses to stop Unit-03. Gendo pulls a supreme act of dickery by switching Unit-01 to automatic mode with a dummy system, and it tears the crap out of Unit-03, even more than it really needed to. I mean, did it really need to chomp the entry plug with Asuka in it? The Angel was already dead by then! Anyway, Shinji quits just as the 10th Angel appears, and Mari counterattacks inside Unit-02 as Asuka is still in recovery. Even going into "beast mode", Mari can't stop it. Rei appears in the still-damaged Unit-00 and tries to shove a nuke down the Angel's throat, but the Angel devours Rei in Unit-00, and then mutates into being part giant naked Rei(shades of End Of Evangelion?). Mari happens to find Shinji, and carries him in Unit-02 to Unit-01. After being bruised, Unit-01 ascends into a higher lifeform, and plows through the metaphysical mush of the Angel to bring Rei out. Now, at this point, the movie looks like its going to end with Unit-01 bringing about a premature 3rd Impact, but if you stay to the end of the closing credits, Kaworu comes down from the moon in Unit-06 and spears Unit-01 with what is supposed to be several Lance of Longinus, which puts the brakes on 3rd Impact, as least for now.

There's alot more progress made in this film in the story and characters than in the original TV series. Asuka seems to have a less traumatic past, and opens up alot more. In other words, Asuka is less of a b-i-t-c-h! Shinji has gained more confidence than in the first movie, but withouth getting all cocky as he seemed to in the series. Rei is less introverted, and shows more than just her "motherly" concerns toward Shinji. The addition of Mari was mostly unnecessary, as the character didn't add too much more to the movie that couldn't have been filled in by any of the rest of the cast, but it is possible that it was done to set her up for a more important role in the next two movies. The animation in this is of course far better than the original anime, especially in the Eva fights. Asuka's "Rider Kick" entrance is pure gold! The dub is still pretty good too, with Tiffany Grant returning as Asuka, and the same from the first movie's English cast. Unlike the initial release of Evangelion 1.0, Funimation went ahead in did the Evangelion 2.22 release with the bonus features included, instead of just the regular 2.0. If you can stand to wait the extra 3-4 years it'll take to catch the rest of the new Eva movies, then you'll want to grab Part Two.

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