Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance Review (FUNimation Blu-ray)

ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:破/Evangelion Shin Gekijōban: Ha
Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance Review (FUNimation Blu-ray)

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Note: This review will contain SPOILERS!!  You’ve been warned.  ^_^

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceIf Evangelion 1.x was basically the first part of the TV series with some minor tweaks and cuts for time, Evangelion 2.x almost completely departs from the TV script and this starts right from the start with Eva-05, piloted by Mari, battling an Angel someplace other than Japan.  She defeats it at the cost of the Eva-05 unit, but apparently this is right according to the plan of Gendo.  This was the moment that I knew that there would be issues because I’m thinking, “if you have a character inside Eva-05 acting of her own free will and you are battling Angels, how the heck was it in your plan to kill an angel by destroying Eva-05?  How’d you know it would even bloody come to that?”

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceFine, whatever.  Lets go back to Japan and Asuka’s introduction after a brief seen of Gendo and Shinji at a graveyard.  Unlike the TV series, where Eva-02 is being transported by sea, in this movie, Eva-02 is transported by air and just drops down to the bay where the attacking angel is destroying the warships trying to protect Japan.  Its a really nifty sequence to show Asuka’s butt-kicking ways and her sassy attitude.  However, no sooner than she’s done and we have a quick introduction of Ryoji to establish who he is and his relationship with Misato and Ritsuko, suddenly he’s taking Shinji, Rei, Askua, and others to the aquarium where aquatic life from before the Second Impact still live. While neat to see, the scene didn’t really appear to have any function in the movie (or very little function).

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceThe next angel fight where Rei, Asuka, and Shinji have to work together was visually cool but Asuka’s depressed attitude afterward came off as forced to me. I remember from the TV series that Asuka wants to be looked at as special but it just didn’t come off right to me here.  Asuka’s and Shinji’s conversation in his room after she climbs into bed with him went off OK and I believe was reminiscent of the TV series. That did feel more real, especially with Shinji wanting to know why Asuka pilots Eva-02.  Plus, it was fun hearing Asuka once again saying things like “anta baka” and “baka Shinji.”  ^_^  (I blame the Genshiken manga for making those moment have greater smile impact.)

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceMeanwhile, Gendo and Kozo (that’s the old man that’s always with Gendo) head for Moon Base Alpha a Seele base on the moon in Eagle 1 some sort of Nerv spacecraft to see what they are up to when they see Eva 06 and its pilot on the outside without the benefit of a spacesuit, though they dismiss it and as they leave, he (Kaworu) calls out to his “father.”  Again, while the scene was interesting and reminded me a bit of the old TV series Space: 1999, other than have them see Kaworu and dismiss the notion that they saw what they saw, what purpose did it serve?  Maybe it will be for a later film but the only thing I got from it was that Gendo’s plan ain’t Seele’s plan and I’d already figured that out (or would have had I not seen the TV series).

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceSo, moon trip over, its time for the U.S. to show its incompetence with Eva-04 getting destroyed in an accident. Naturally, the dumb Americans send Eva-03 to Japan so that the Japanese can deal with it. Suddenly, there’s a Vatican Treaty which prohibits any nation from having more than three functioning Eva units. What? Why the heck would that be done if Earth is under attack from Angels and the Evangelion units are the only real defense?  That made no sense to me other than to be able to mothball Eva-02 for a time, which at this point in the movie made even less sense. After all, didn’t we earlier see that one Angel required all three Eva units to stop it? So what if the next one required four to stop it?  Guess the Earth is out of luck.  *_*

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceEva-03 getting possessed by an angel was a story element taken from the TV series. However, this time Asuka gets to pilot the unit instead of Toji. I liked this change because it never made sense that Nerv didn’t have Toji in their control from the start so that he could pilot Eva-03 in the TV series. There, it came off as a forced conflict for Shinji to deal with. Here, Asuka being the pilot works MUCH better. For starters, she volunteered to pilot it instead of Rei so that Rei could attend dinner with Gendo and Shinji. Then because of the bed scene she had with Shinji, his refusal to fight the possessed Eva-03 had much more impact with me and thus his decision to quit Nerv after Gendo had Eva-01 go on auto-pilot with the Dummy plug had more weight as well.

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceNow Shinji’s out but the Angel attacks continue.  Oops, Eva-01 refuses the Dummy plug and can’t be sent to fight. Actually, I liked that moment because Gendo knows it is his wife refusing to fight (I’m sure that might confuse the crap out of folks who’ve never watched the TV series).  Ah, but then Mari (who’d previously parachuted into Shinji around the 45-minute mark to show her arrival in Japan) shows how poor Nerv’s security is by easily stealing Eva-02 and taking it into combat, even revealing that the unit has a controlled berserker mode. I liked how Rei in Eva-00 comes in and ends up getting consumed, which brings Shinji back into the fight. Mari, other than showing Eva-02’s additional abilities, is still worthless.

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceNow, this is where things really became interesting to me. Shinji becomes enraged and activates Eva-01’s berserker mode but Shinji himself also is different.  Further, I found it interesting that Ritsuko was the one warning Shinji to stop lest he no longer be a human while Misato is the one cheering him on for making his own choices for once.  Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but this seems to be a reversal of how things would have played in the TV series.  To have Shinji save Rei and start Third Impact surprised me and was a good way to end this movie.  Clearly the Earth won’t end there (as seen by the previews after the trailer, which I couldn’t help but watch) but it was still a good ending point.

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceAs I look back at what I’ve written, I know I come off as kinda harsh on the movie.  Believe it or not, I did like the movie both visually and in terms of the overall story and eagerly await Evangelion: 3.x..  I liked many of the changes and as I cited, I liked how Asuka pilots Eva-03 this time (and I really liked that she doesn’t fawn over Ryojij this time out). Some of the changes, such as the inclusion of the character Mari who seems more of a distraction at this point, haven’t really gripped me.  Some of the things that happen don’t make a great deal of sense story-wise.  Add to this the fact that the movie is very dense in terms of the amount of information being packed in there.  As such, things don’t flow as smoothly as they would have were this done in a TV series format.

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceOh, there was something else I wanted to mention.  I should go back and check out the English dub to see if this survives (it should) but on the Japanese side, actual English speakers were used to voice some of the background and informational speaking that happened at the beginning of the movie, including some of the Nerv staff.  While the one guy in charge sounded rather forced, the other natural English was nice to hear.  Ryoji’s seiyuu, YAMADERA Kouichi, gets to speak some English lines too, but in that very thick Japanese accent that one needed subtitles to understand him. ^_^;  I give credit for the effort though.

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceAs to the Blu-ray release, visually the movie looks stunning, just like Evangelion: 1.11.  I couldn’t help but get sucked into things visually as the colors are so bright and vibrant.  The fights between the Evangelion units and the Angels are just amazing to behold.  During the one scene where the death of an Angel caused a tsunami of blood to happen, I literally caught my breath for a moment. The scene would have been impressive enough on its own but considering that I watched the tsunami hit Sendai, Japan live, I think it had an even greater impact on me.  Hopefully, the Japanese won’t feel compelled to remove the scene from their releases (I haven’t heard of any calls to do this, but one never knows).

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceI have to address FUNimation’s subtitles.  Remember the good old days when FUNimation was an otaku-friendly company?  Ah, those were the days, weren’t they?  Buying a FUNimation release was like buying a fansub copy, only with better translations and the knowledge that one was supporting the industry.  These days, FUNimation isn’t that company, and I despise the fact that their subtitles for this movie series do not retain the Japanese honorifics.  Its almost like going back to 1990 because “Ri-chan” MUST become “Ritsy” or else third impact will immediately happen if “Ri-chan” show up on screen!  We can’t have that now can we?

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceIt just irks me to no end because there’s no reason not to have a subtitle track that includes the Japanese honorifics!  I’m not watching this in Japanese to see Japanese honorifics scrapped or given some crappy American conversion.  I hate seeing when the translator/adapter/whomever (assuming the decision came from above the translator/adapter level) decides, “well, this instance of ‘-san’ is important so we’ll make that ‘Miss Misato’ but the next instance of it is not important so we’ll IGNORE it because that’s what we do around here, y’all!  We decide when an honorific is important, y’all, and that’s what y’all will see in the text when we translate it!”

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) AdvanceNow to be fair, other than the honorific jab in my eye, the subtitles appeared fairly tight although the subtitles themselves were at times UNREADABLE thanks to poor text color.  *_*  I’m not sure how that happens on a Blu-ray but there you go.

Despite this, I will continue to support FUNimation’s Blu-ray releases of future Evangelion movies, assuming they get the licenses (there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get them). I’ll probably rant again if the subtitles aren’t up to my standards just to warn you ahead of time. ^_^;  However, the movies are pretty good, my reservations aside and worth owning.

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6 Responses to “Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance Review (FUNimation Blu-ray)”

  1. jeff-morris says:

    I’d heard the new EVA was interesting, but I can’t really bring myself to hunt the stuff down. Too much like a rehash of what I’ve already seen.

    On the other hand, I’ve been rewatching Tenchi OAV 3 and GXP, go figure. 🙂

  2. Ransom says:

    “Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but this seems to be a reversal of how things would have played in the TV series.”

    That is exactly the case! Shinji deciding to save Rei on his own changes the whole nature of his character, and alters the course of things. Rei has also become something more than a doll at the disposal of Gendo and shows real feelings for Shinji.

    I really enjoyed this second installment, Shinji has become a more enjoyable character than before and it could be considered that Rei has evolved to become the heroine of the serie this time instead of a plot device.

  3. ANB

    I want to check that you did see the scene after the credits and before the “next episode preview” as that is the actual ending of the movie (assuming that the R1 version is identical to my imported R3 DVD and it hasnt been moved up).

    On the topic of Mari I thought it was stongly indicated (given how her and Ryoji’s comments match post Eva-05 destruction) that she was working with Ryoji which would explain how she was able to get access to EVA 02 so easily.

    Finally I thought the scene on the moon was also to show that EVA-06 which shows up post credits was actually the “original lilith” shown on the moon at the end of Evangelion 1.1

  4. D-Omen says:

    You shouldn’t be nitpicking on forced plot-related stuff like the Vatican Treaty, at least it makes sense that there should be no more than three functioning EVA units at the same time in a single nation, so as not to upset the balance of power. The original series had much stuff that made far less sense, and they kept explaining it with “IT WAS WRITTEN IN THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, HURR DURR”.

    I absolutely love how each character is developing in a different direction than the original series, especially Shinji and Rei. The ending was incredibly heartwarming.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It might not just be a reversal of what happen in the TV series.

    If you watch after the credits, Kaworu descends in Eva 06, having stopped the 3rd impact by throwing the lance into Eva 01. One of the translations of what Kaworu said to Shinji definitely blew the minds of fans around the world – “This time I’ll definitely make you happy”.

    So these new movies might not be just an alternate retelling of the original, it might actually take place _after_ the original.

  6. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I’d heard the new EVA was interesting, but I can’t really bring myself to hunt the stuff down. Too much like a rehash of what I’ve already seen.

    Even if it were a total rehash, the look on Blu-ray combined with the pretty good animation makes it worth viewing. ^_^

    Of course, with the 2nd movie, it really isn’t as much of a rehash.

    “Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but this seems to be a reversal of how things would have played in the TV series.”

    That is exactly the case! Shinji deciding to save Rei on his own changes the whole nature of his character, and alters the course of things. Rei has also become something more than a doll at the disposal of Gendo and shows real feelings for Shinji.

    I noticed that with Rei setting up the dinner. I don’t remember anything like that happening before.

    I really enjoyed this second installment, Shinji has become a more enjoyable character than before and it could be considered that Rei has evolved to become the heroine of the serie this time instead of a plot device.

    Yep on both accounts. And Rei did race in twice to help save the day, which was certainly different.

    I want to check that you did see the scene after the credits and before the “next episode preview” as that is the actual ending of the movie (assuming that the R1 version is identical to my imported R3 DVD and it hasnt been moved up).

    I did see the previews. They should be the same since I believe there were previews in the theater as well.

    On the topic of Mari I thought it was stongly indicated (given how her and Ryoji’s comments match post Eva-05 destruction) that she was working with Ryoji which would explain how she was able to get access to EVA 02 so easily.

    Well, that’s something I hadn’t considered.

    Finally I thought the scene on the moon was also to show that EVA-06 which shows up post credits was actually the “original lilith” shown on the moon at the end of Evangelion 1.1

    You may well be right. The movies may end up working best when watched back-to-back as a single story instead of being broken up like this.

    You shouldn’t be nitpicking on forced plot-related stuff like the Vatican Treaty…

    Well, it just stuck out to me so badly that I had so say something about it. ^_^;

    I absolutely love how each character is developing in a different direction than the original series, especially Shinji and Rei. The ending was incredibly heartwarming.

    Yeah, I agree there.

    One of the translations of what Kaworu said to Shinji definitely blew the minds of fans around the world – “This time I’ll definitely make you happy”.

    So these new movies might not be just an alternate retelling of the original, it might actually take place _after_ the original.

    Which would support the theory that these movies are indeed a sequel to the TV series. I think that will be the case.

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