I would strongly suggest not attempting to read this all at once, madness is sure to follow. It is meant as a coherent brain-dump: my take on different aspects of the film rather than fluid prose. Intrinsic knowledge of the original series, Death:Rebirth, End of Evangelion, the first Rebuild film You Are (Not) Alone and ancillary materials surrounding franchise is assumed. Because this is the last one I'll write, it has to be epic. Epic enough for sub-navigation:
I wasn't expecting the Evangelion 2.22 BluRay to land on my doorstep for another few days but CDJapan surprised me once again with a swift and superbly packaged delivery. Dropping everything I was holding at the time and making noises akin to a monkey crossed with a teenage girl, I tore open the parcel, slit the cellophane and gingerly picked apart the glorious packaging. The textured case and CDJapan extra were the first things to stand out, however only when I disassembled the fold-away casing was it that I remembered the first press film strip extra that had been included. In my ardour the strip looked under-exposed, but I had no patience for the overly complex, jauntily folding holder, there were disks to be put in drives.
Asuka still looks like a stick figure that someone has added comedy breasts to
Powering up the receiver and cranking up the volume to levels which would no doubt raise my neighbours' ire, I dropped the disk into the Playstation 3 and prayed that the "Region Free" label on the product page held true and I didn't have to furiously assemble a media centre PC with a different region player. As everything spun up I dashed around the house frantically stripping myself of my work clothes, closing curtains and doors as I went, ensconcing myself in a compartmentalised environment for the film's nearly two hour duration. Soda on standby and Studio Khara logo on screen, I begun what I had waited almost an entire year for.
Photo by xahldera and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0
Taking place in Glasgow in the week leading up to the Glasgow Film Festival, the premiere was preceded by the airing of the first movie in the Rebuild series: Evangelion 1.0. Bookended by an informative talk by Emily Fussell of the BBFC, and an introduction by the effusive Jonathan Clements. Kicking off a series of animated shenanigans dubbed "Scotland Loves Animation" and succeeding the Scottish anime convention "Auchinawa", Scotland and Glasgow in particular is becoming one of the prime places to catch anime and Japanese goings on.
Beginning shortly before half three in the afternoon, tickets had been purchased online for the double bill and sold out in short order. The line for entering the cinema stretched out of the building and it was immediately obvious by the dress of the patrons what they were queuing for. After a short wait and filing into the surprisingly spacious cinema one of the Glasgow Film Theatre, the proceedings were kicked off by Emily Fussell, a media classifier for the BBFC, with a talk focusing on the tribulations in classifying anime for release in the UK.
Evangelion occupies a very special place in my heart: I watched the series on VHS in 1997 when I was fourteen and - without hyperbole - it was a life changing experience. A series that was smart and brutally obtuse and flitted from Jungian psychology to religious dogma was revelatory for me at the time and it questioned a lot of what I had not yet fully formed questions about; so as well as being gob-smackingly awesome, it changed who I was and consequently who I am. For those reasons I am utterly fanatical about the franchise and concept. Like a delusional lover I put up with a lot of the nonsense that GAINAX throws: I own the original series on twelve VHS tapes which I upgraded to DVD when they were first released, then upgraded them to the Platinum DVDs; I did manage to stay away from the deluge of tat that has been continuously released but it's fair to say my own lot of Evangelion merchandise is not insignificant. In what is a truly savvy move, just as patience for the constant re-releases was beginning to wane news came of the Rebuild project.
If 1.0 was meant to prime the fans for what was to come, 2.0 detonates with magnum force.
Not just a fresh coat of paint but a fresh take - that was the promise at least. It was hard to get excited, especially when there was also word of a live action Hollywood adaptation bolstered by some mightily uninspiring concept art - the only promise being that WETA are on the case. Regardless, the news came out over a year before the first Rebuild release so there was plenty of time to build up my scepticism. The first movie, "Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone" released in 2007, deserves a post of its own and the number of pages I've devoted to notes and thoughts and theories bordering on absurd. The second movie, "Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance" released just this summer is easy to write about because I have not yet had a chance to analyse and unpick it as I am wont to do. For want of a better description, this is a review rather than an unravelling.