“Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone” – Chris Luedtke

Us fanboys and fangirls will always find ourselves between odd factions when it comes to remakes of our favorite series and movies. With everything from The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Friday the 13th being assaulted with remakes and rehashes, we find the infamous anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion finally making the list. For those that don’t know, Eva is one of the most calculated and complex animes of all time, highly debated and heavily worshipped. But it’s rightfully so, for the original series (traditionally known as Eva) is arguably the Hamlet of modern Japanese animation. The questions that formed in all of our minds when Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone was announced were, “What the hell are they thinking?” and, “When can I get my copy?”

Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone takes on the classic story of 14-year-old Shinji Ikari (Megumi Ogata) as he returns to Tokyo to work for his father’s government agency, Nerv. However, nothing can prepare Shinji for the quest that his father Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki) asks him to embark on: pilot the giant mecha Evangelion in order to save humanity from the oncoming threat of seventeen angels. But what awaits Shinji isn’t just the threat of Angels, as the fate of the entire world is so subtly placed on his shoulders. Shinji’s battle lies with the angels, his father, humanity, a government agency, and his own psyche.

I can’t say that 1.0 is a bad idea, but I can’t really compliment it either. In a lot of ways, one will look at it as an extended version of the lengthy Neon Genisis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth (arguably the shit stain of the series). However, what Death and Rebirth wasn’t able to do is give the series a deeper spin. This is where 1.0 suddenly becomes a good idea. The original Eva has such a delicate balance, one will wonder how it could possibly be twisted. To be honest, I still don’t know how much they really can twist this. For the first half hour, 1.0 looked like the first and second episodes chopped. But that is also what the majority of the film is: the first five episodes of the original Eva chopped. I got quite frustrated with this for a while, because the only obvious changes were different colorations of armor or sets. Luckily, this did change.

It takes about a half-hour, but changes finally become noticeable. Scenes are altered, and oftentimes they look better than they did before. The animation is still pretty 1995, but when Eva came out back then, it looked like a CGI masterwork. It still holds up today. Luckily, the film isn’t treated too much to an update. I honestly think that would destroy the authenticity of the original. The new cut scenes aren’t really that updated animationwise either, which makes the flow much more natural. Sequences are often changed, and while a lot of the original dialogue stays, I like how they’ve gone about forming some very interesting new questions thus far. It makes 1.0 just as trivial as the series.

If you’re an Eva fan, then you most definitely need to see 1.0. It will ultimately let down some fans, but others like myself will find a cherished love within it. For newcomers, I can’t recommend this. It moves way too quick and demands familiarity with characters, especially Shinji’s classmates. But if you’re in the mood for a very thought-provoking rehash/rethinking of the series, then you needn’t look any further. Let’s hope the other three films don’t suck.

Rating: ★★★☆

-Chris Luedtke

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