Eva 2.22 you CANNOT advance – eh.

All right, all right. I know many of you loved it. And I’ll admit. If I get to see it on the BD version, I’d probably be blown away. But here’s the thing: without the BD enhancement, it did not deliver. It just didn’t meet my standard (standard, hah). So, let me continue the blasphemy from here.

First of all, Mari. Yes, there is a story behind her and all that and I’m supposed to make that connection. But being an anime veteran, I got lazy. I honestly thought that what the first 30 minutes did was to give us Sakamoto Maaya-chan and show us: “yeah, we have a different character that wasn’t in the original. How do you like that?” Well, not much, I’m afraid. I honestly didn’t see the big connection between her and the story itself. Oh I’m sure I’ll be criticized for it. That’s OK, hit me with it (trolls will be blacklisted). But aside from her kicking the Angel’s ass, I didn’t find her all that interesting. So much for Maaya’s Mari.

My second gripe. They placed Asuka in the berserk Eva but not Shinji’s friend, Toji? She just got there a few days ago! I honestly can’t imagine Shinji feeling that much about her – wait, I take that back – he would feel bad for anyone who was anywhere close to him being in that Eva no matter what. So the substitution really didn’t make that much difference. To me, Asuka’s character got a reduction. I mean shit, it isn’t like Anno is going to kill off with Asuka like now and don’t have her back. Or is he? That would be a huge change from the original plot. That would totally rewrite the story. Is that good or bad? I vote for bad. The impact of the original Eva came from the experience three very broken teenage kids. If Asuka is done from here, then shit, it’s not Eva any more. Feel free to disagree vehemently.

Of course, I watch it once yesterday and I was drinking, so I probably did miss some important stuff. But anyway.

The sense of being underwhelmed was so strong that I wanted to turn it off half way. Maybe I got tired of Eva in general (it’s been more than 10 years since the original came out). It didn’t grip me much. I think that’s the problem with a movie – everything becomes condensed and a lot of things are left out. I like it that Karou’s there since the beginning. There is an undercurrent. I like Kotono’s Misato no matter what. But everything else just doesn’t add up. Nope. Again, feel free to disagree vehemently.

The original show was famous for it’s depictions of the characters’ struggle and it alienated quite a few people because it focused too much on Shinji’s (whiny) struggle. The movie is a different beast all together. He doesn’t whine or even struggle much; he’s like another average reluctant hero. Based on the constraints of the time for a movie, I can understand the need to hurry him up so he can get over it. However, with that progression, the movie becomes a different story. Shinji no longer struggles much. He moves on quickly. While we cheer for that, the essence of the original show, which demonstrated how the truly-weak reacts to impossibly-difficult events, is forever lost. The movie shows an ultimate universe where everyone doesn’t quite act the same way as they would in the TV series. The movie, with its time constraints, moves people along on its hurried-path.

Whether that’s good or bad, I leave it up to your judgement. My feeling is that Eva 2.22: You (Cannot) Advance is a different take on the Eva universe. It sure is less frustrating, but does it retain the essence of Evangelion?

I think not.

11 thoughts on “Eva 2.22 you CANNOT advance – eh.”

  1. For an interesting take on the movie and on the character of Mari I would point you at Langdon’s recent interesting post: http://mechaguignol.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/you-can-not-self-insert/

    I wondered myself about the impact of having Asuka in Unit 03 instead of Toji. To go a long with your thoughts I wondered if the a first time viewer of the series watching the movie 2.0 would feel more sympathy if they’d kept it like the original. Asuka was a character that had been on screen for less than an hour. While sure she had shown some characterization in her inferiority complex and romantic impulses towards Shinji; were the creators counting on the nostalgia and affection of previous viewers to make the scene more impactful? I wondered, viewed without the rosy-lensed affection I already felt for the character, the scenes impact would have been lessened. The main thing to me that sets Toji apart in the TV series is that he is basically an innocent and a close friend of Shinji. Those 2 qualities combined to make Shinji’s freakout during the dummy plug sequence quite real. I agree it’s not the same EVA as the TV series but I kind of like it that it isn’t as depressing as possible. To me it lets the story branch out and begin to separate itself from the underlying message or reasons behind the series conception. There are still definite themes but it’s a lot more subtle with those themes.

    1. I just read his post. Obviously, he put more thought into it and pay more attention to the movie. I watched the movie on a whim. I honestly don’t remember what exactly happened at the end of the movie and I can’t recall Mari being there trying to save the day. But if Anno and Co. was trying to tap into fanboy/fanfiction fantasies and confront them by showing the reality of the world, then he’s done a great job. That said, I’m still hesistant to call it a success because it simply makes everything quite different from the original TV series and the Air/True Heart movie. The impact on the mind and heart just isn’t there.

  2. I didn’t get the impression that ‘She just got there a few days ago’. From the battle between the eight and the ninth angel it felt like a month or more had gone by. In Evangelion the second impact has tilted the Earth axis so it’s always summer in Japan. Unlike other animes you can’t get a feeling of how much time has gone by by watching the surroundings.

    I understand the decision to swap Asuka for Tojo. In the series Shinji’s classmates were all potential Eva pilots, this was one of the weaker parts of the plot that I’m glad has been cut out, so it wouldn’t have made sence for Toji suddenly to be in the pilots seat.
    This of course leaves them short a pilot for the battle against the tenth, which I believe is why Mary was invented. I’m glad there was a reason for her, when I first heard about a new female pilot I figured it was just a plot to sell more merchandice.

    1. Wow. I totally didn’t know about that. I read from somewhere that Tokyo’s summer became longer but I didn’t even make the connection that the Second Impact skewered the axis of earth! Thanks for pointing that out.

      The original TV series had many flawed plots and perhaps what you pointed out counts as one of the most forced plots.

      However, as an audience, I didn’t have the patience to take everything into account. Asuka was there on the screen for a short period of time. I feel that what they needed to do was to have more interaction between her and Shinji. If I missed something let me know, but it all flew by so quickly. I guess also, I expected things to be closer to the TV series. But I may compare the movie to the TV series, the movie is a grown-up’s view about the world around the characters, rather than a laser-focus on the characters and their inner world. I guess seeing it in that light, it’s quite a success. But I wish there’s more.

  3. Ah, yeah I see what you mean. I don’t even get why they added a new character into it all…
    I did find Shinji annoying when he was being whiny, but now he just doesn’t seem like Shinji…
    BTW, Did anyone notice all the rainbows in Eva You are (not) alone? because I did!

    1. That’s exactly the problem – the characters are all different and the show is different. The movie Eva is a different breed with the TV or even the old Eva movies. It’s like a fan fiction alternate universe.

      Where did you find all these rainbows?

  4. The changes I noticed in Asuka was primarily that in the series the realization that she wasn’t really a better Eva pilot than Shinji and Rei (until EoE that is), led her down a path of self destruction, also her crush on Ryoji put a wall between her and Misato.
    In the movies the opposite happens, she improves as a person, she doesn’t even seem to know who Ryoji is, allowing her to idolise Misato.

    But again the problem with a movie as opposed to a 26 episode series, is there really isn’t enough time to flesh out the characters. A series could have spend an entire episode on Shinji’s and Asukas antics in the kitchen as they were trying to get a decent meal rather than eat Misato’s junkfood, then an angel battle, and then another episode on Rei trying to learn how to cook as well.
    Rei’s dinner with Gendo was to me the saddest part of the movie. She has basically lived her whole life eating drugs and small pieces of vegetables.

    1. The length is a killer – the lack of character development can only be remedied by the fans of the series. On that point, people who never watched the TV shows probably did not realize that Rei never had real food in her entire life. But you’re right, that’s actually an impactful realization,

  5. …how can you possibly expect us to take your review seriously, when you *openly admit you watched it when you were drinking?!*

    1 – Mari is a parody character; she’s a *parody* of Mary Sues. You’re not supposed to like her. She’s like Poochie from the Simpsons.

    2 – debate over if Asuka was reduced too much, but in terms of “she was only there a few days why does she get Eva-03″…..no, weeks if not months pass between the beginning and end of the movie; that’s what all of the montage scenes were showing, that “time is passing”

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