Evangelion Shin Gekijouban: Jo

Title:Evangelion Shin Gekijouban: Jo
EVA the New Movie 01
Evangelion The New Film: Preface
Evangelion the New Movie: Rebuild of Evangelion: 01
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone (movie)
ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:序 (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: R1 License - FUNimation
Reported to be a series of 4 movies, which will retell a simplified version of the Shin Seiki Evangelion story, with only minor deviations during this first part (that covers episodes 1-6 of the TV series).
For more project information see this article from the Newtype Magazine.
[Movie, 2007, 98 min, licensed by FUNimation.]
"序" (jo) means "preface, foreword".
FUNimation Trailer - FUNimation Video
[edit] The ↗Evangelion franchise:

Original version: Remake: Fan-made variations:
Episode Details 
Diff, Newt
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 10 8 8 7 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:1437#436]
NOTE: This review is for the Blu-ray 1.11 release.

I remember back in my early anime fan days of 2002 when I had lots of free time to explore the world of anime. While I was not into mecha titles (and though I've seen a ton of them, I'm still not really into mecha titles), I recall reading a message thread wherein folks proclaimed the series Neon Genesis Evangelion to be the king of the mecha world and even a ground-breaking title.

Well, being young and as I said, having the free time, I thought I'd give the anime a try. As the folk promised, the anime did turn out to be pretty good with some clear budget issues somewhere in the middle and a mind frell at the end, which is what gave it a "rent" rating from me at CAR. I had a ton of questions and found a lot of great stuff at Ikari Gendo's Ultimate EVA FAQ site (which amazingly, Rossman still has up as well as his humorous Shinji version of the FAQ).

I haven't watched the TV series since 2004 (I had been forced to sell a ton of my anime collection to pay some medical bills) but the announcement that Gainax would be remaking the entire TV series as a four-part theatrical movie had me pretty interested. FUNimation licensing the anime made it more interesting for me and hearing that the Blu-ray release would be known as version 1.11 made me wait until that version came out to buy it. Was it worth the wait? I think so.

Despite the numerous years since I watched the TV show, I was amazed at how much I remembered rather than how much I'd forgotten. Most of the classic scene moments from the TV series are there -- the tanks and other weapons firing on the approaching Sachiel; Shinji's picture of Misato and her rescue of him; Misato's first (fanservice) night with Shinji; and so on. The difference is that Gaiax and director ANNO Hideaki seemed to be like George Lucas as they re-entered their old sandbox, this time equipped with new toys to allow for a much more vibrant and action-filled remake of their original work. As such, the battles against the Angel's Sachiel, Shamshel, and Ramiel are visually more exciting and with Ramiel, I found the fight to be more interesting.

To compress the roughly 120-minutes of TV time into a 97-minute movie, stuff had to be dropped. As such, all of the comedy and character work are flushed. I don't know how this will play for someone who's not seen the TV series, but for me, I found that it made Touji and Kensuke's befriending Shinji not as believable. Indeed, the two are reduced to extended cameos for the purposes of (1) including the mountain shrine scene, (2) giving something for Shinji to angst over and (3) Touji had an important role to play in the TV series. Assuming that's still on, he had to be here.

The other missing element is the sense of naturally occurring comradery between Rei and Shinji. Instead, Gainax adds a bit of new material to let us know (if we already didn't know) that Ikari was using Rei and his son as part of his master plan and thus designed for them to get close. Well, it still didn't feel that real to me and caused Shinji's great concern for Rei at the end of the movie to not have as much impact to me.

I have mentioned that there were many memorable scenes from the TV series which make it into the movie, only in a more vibrant way befitting the age of Blu-ray and high definition. There was a couple of big drops that I noticed, all dealing with EVA-01. I remember quite clearly that EVA-01 had its eye move or blink when Shinji helped the injured Rei and agreed to then pilot EVA-01. Further, EVA-01 protected Shinji from falling debris from the Angel attack before he got into the thing. The fact that EVA-01 moved of its own accord was both creepy and gave more impact to its going berserk on Sachiel. Plus, later on in the TV series, we learn the reason for this and that's just as freaky and mind-blowing as the rest. Without those moments, I wonder just how much the remaining movies will change in terms of story.

A surprising element that was included in the movie is Shinji's Super Digital Audio Tape (S-DAT) player. In 1995 Japan, this was an excellent technology for perfectly recording CD's (thank you Al Gore and Henry Waxman for protecting us from this EVIL technology) and great for making compilation music. In 2010, we have MP3 players and frankly, even without going with a name brand, it seems that Gainax would have updated this to show Shinji playing one of these. However, Gainax kept the S-DAT player instead, which now is antiquated technology in a movie with futuristic technology. I guess they liked the S-DAT moments with Shinji too much to let them go.

I also noticed a bit of cheapness around the corners on Gainax's part. While these were better "hidden" than in a TV series, I couldn't help but notice lots of non-moving characters at times. With a movie budget, one would think that there would be no cheap moments like this. What do I know though? ^_^;

Finally, when it comes to the Japanese side of things, "Where the smeg is "Zankoku na Tenshi no Te-ze" ("Cruel Angel's Thesis")?" For those who don't know, this is the original OP theme song of the TV series and is such a classic tune that in Hayate no Gotoku!! episode 12, Hina sings the song. I had hoped the song would serve as the ED theme for the movie, but alas, that was not to be and I for one am very disappointed.

All this aside, I found the movie to be very enjoyable and in HD, very visually pretty at times.

As to FUNimation's release, they score mostly wins and one fail. On the "win" side, pressing the menu button on my remote caused the Blu-ray disc to immediately go to the menu (some minor load times aside). There wasn't a lot of wasted time trying to show me how clever they were at making a menu, something that is too often the bane of Hollywood BD's.

Second, and more importantly, FUNimation does NOT disable the Blu-ray player's resume function. That means that when you press "Stop," the next time you press "Play," the movie picks up where you left off. Hollywood has gotten quite evil with most new BD releases having the resume feature disabled. Why those smeg heads want me to go through a couple of minutes of loading and plowing through their crap for whenever the stop button is pressed, I've no idea.

The authoring of the BD looked fine to me. I'm not a videophile so if there were issues (which I can now see at times on DVD's), I didn't notice them. The audio was good to me as well, but then I don't have a 6-speaker system so I wouldn't know if there were real problems or not.

The place of the fail is in the subtitles. I do miss the days when FUNimation was a fan-centric company that rose to the top by being that way. While they still have anime fans in their employ, they no longer have the "otaku" in charge of the translators and as such, we get subtitles with a western perspective, meaning Japanese honorifics are destroyed faster than an Angel. That didn't use to be the case as all FUNimation titles were guaranteed to have ANB-approved subtitles when it came to honorific usage (and depending on the title, some other fun Japanese terms). Then again, some people are apparently stuck in the 90's when it comes to that. Oh well.

Bottom line: Some minor shifts in the overall story combined with some very nice visual presentation overcomes any weaknesses I have cited. Thus I give the version 1.11 release a "Buy."

Note: This review was initially written for my blog.

Last updated Thursday, March 18 2010. Created Thursday, March 18 2010.
Buy 10 10 9 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:1437#1552]
(Buy-/ Rent+)

Ironically, I chose to watch this movie right on the day that the second Rebuild of Eva movie is supposed to be premiering in Japanese theaters. I can't put my finger on it, but something about this movie makes me prefer it over the original TV series even though this is only the first one. Still, it merits enough issues that keep me from giving it a Buy.

Being a remake of the first six episodes of the TV series, You Are Not Alone follows most of the major events that took place from these episodes such as the Angel battles, Shinji's recruitment into NERV, and the interactions of Rei and Gendo. However, some additional scenes made in the movie allude to some new plot developments being an addition for this movie such as the early appearances of Lilith and SEELE and some conversations with Gendo and Fuyutsuki. The movie's main focus is Shinji determining if he is truly alone in his internal struggles to adapt to his new life as an Eva pilot which shows some simplification in the plotting and characters for this movie. The complex character depth of the TV series is toned down and secondary characters like Touji are downplayed for this movie which are sure to tick off die hard Eva fans. But the plot changes and early appearances of later characters in the series could leave fans curious over the new direction that the movie's plot will carry Eva.

Visually, You are Not Alone had a slick presentation with effective use of CG artwork to render the skyscrapers and insides of Tokyo-3, Central Dogma, and NERV. The Evas and Angels were just as slick with some impressive rendering for two of the three Angels. The battles were intense and very fluid. I have to admit that this movie was quite a sight for me to behold

Eva: You are Not Alone will be a treat for old and new Evangelion fans to check out. While still the same old Eva-Angel conflict that fans seen from Gainax over a decade ago, some of the changes made to this new adaptation will be noticeable enough where older fans could love or hate what they are seeing.

UPDATE: Well, I finally figured out what made me prefer the movie in my mind over the TV series after rewatching You Are Not Alone. This take on Eva makes clear that there is stuff going on behind the scenes with SEELE and NERV earlier on instead of just hinting to it later in the series. This makes the movie take on Eva less confusing and creates a more concise story. This convinces me enough to just barely raise my rating of Eva 1.0 to a Buy as the noticeable simplifications in characterization and downplaying of certain character roles from the TV series are still something for me to nitpick over.

Last updated Sunday, June 28 2009. Created Sunday, June 28 2009.
Buy 10 10 10 10 10 10 dirtyd12 [series:1437#1785]
I was amazed. And I wrote a negative review of the original series. I loved the changes that were made. For one, they modified things so the story and characters didn't change drastically, but Shinji is a lot more tolerable. Of course he has issues, and he's afraid, but he's not a TOTAL weak pansy If they actually give the tetralogy a good ending it's two thumbs up! I mean, come on, we've ALL been waiting for a good ending. By the way, the art, animation, and graphics are awesome.

Last updated Sunday, April 27 2008. Created Sunday, April 27 2008.
Unevaluated Big Fire [series:1437#2441]
I am going to need translations as well as my copy had really bad sound to it. Seems like it is Evangelion all over again only in a movie-esque twist.

Last updated Wednesday, January 23 2008. Created Wednesday, January 23 2008.
Rent 9 9 7 8 8 7 Devil Doll [series:1437#752]
[Score: 78% = "Rent"]
  • Drama: Med/High (much simpler story this time with fewer side arcs)
  • Comedy: None/Low (most of the funny scenes from the series are missing)
  • Action: High (even more focus on the mecha battles than in the series)
  • SciFi: Med (many elements remain obscure at this stage, so technical understanding isn't that important)
  • Ecchi: None/Low (basically the Misato/PenPen scene that was adopted from the TV series)
Presenting a gloomier mood than the original, this movie manages to keep its promises - to be more accessible and simpler than the series and to give the NGE fans enough new and interesting material while at the same time possibly attracting a new audience with the additional 3DCG footage.
  • The first third is a mere rearrangement of episode 1+2 material, and as such disappointing;
  • the second third is a condensed and slightly modified version of episode 3-5 with lots of new 3D graphic, and as such interesting;
  • the last third is a rewritten version of Operation Yashima from episode 6 plus two important elements from later in the series moved to surprising new positions in the time line, and as such a great experience and sufficient for watching this movie.
Structure comparison:
  • The movie (97 min) ends after the events of episode 6 of the original (Rei II), thus covering 120 min of series material (not counting the songs and previews). Certain scenes with foreshadowings of events that happen later in the series (such as Misato's cross, a chibi Rei, Shinji's monologues in the fictional train, and some dialog between Gendou and Yui) are inserted here already.
  • Due to not being a series, the events of episodes 1 and 2 are now shown in chronological order, during the first 31 min of the movie (making the events easier to follow but less surprising). This part has the most scenes reused from the series and felt more like another Director's Cut than a "rebuild"; I easily remembered too many of the original scenes simply being reused to get any feeling of a "new work".
  • The middle part covering episodes 3+4 (condensed to 18 min) contains a lot of new footage but basically the same dialogs while drastically reducing the scenes at school - all that remains of episode 3 is Touji beating up Shinji and then the battle against the 4th Angel (with the exact same action sequence but completely new animation, and no quarrel between Misato and Ritsuko). Episode 4 (Hedgehog's Dilemma) has been rewritten/simplified in a surprising way (leaving out the scene at the railway station, focusing more on the dialogs). Certain scenes, like the conversation between Misato and Ritsuko after the first battle or their "Hedgehog's Dilemma" conversation, are now using different video footage (mostly stills); some 3D material has been added (appearance of Neo Tokyo-3, Shinji's first shooting training, animation of the 4th Angel). From the moment these modifications became more dominant the movie began to give me the impression of indeed being a new work.
  • On with episode 5 now. Misato's failed attempt at cooking (and teasing Shinji for having fallen for Rei) is replaced by a conversation between Ritsuko and Misato in a bar; the scene of Shinji visiting Rei's home up to Rei's test is basically unchanged despite a lot of new Art&Animation. This episode is condensed to 14 minutes - but then, the first battle against the 5th Angel... wow! (Ramiel is the star of this show, folks. Period.)
  • And then 31 minutes to go, with the big surprise - some important material from later in the series used in a significantly different way (it's interesting to ponder how that will impact the story of later parts as some clock can't be turned back now). Finally, Operation Yashima as the great showdown... and when you think it's already over, a nice surprise in the final minute of the movie.
  • Plus five minutes of end titles, and a 30 seconds of preview for the second movie, similar to the TV series (including Misato's "Service, service!").
Technical aspects:
  • The scenes are cut in a way to make the whole story more serious - most of the funny dialogs featuring Misato have been shortened or even eliminated, Shinji doesn't gasp for air when he's drowning in LCL, fewer Kensuke scenes, fewer Pen-Pen scenes etc. so there's hardly any comedy remaining (while the episode 2 fanservice is left intact).
  • There are musical tracks I didn't recognize (mostly during the early battles) but all of my favourite themes from the series are being used here as well (the "Rei I" piano theme that I like so much, the silent suspense theme while waiting for Operation Yashima, and the "Decisive Battle" theme during Operation Yashima) while all the funny tunes from hillbilly to jazz are gone. No OP song though; the ED song is nice and melodic but not really impressive.
  • Certain cool key scenes are missing (e. g. EVA-01's eye isn't blinking when Shinji picks up the wounded Rei from the ground, and EVA-01 didn't protect Shinji against the falling metal parts, thus somehow reducing EVA-01 to a mindless beast) while others are there (e. g. Rei appearing on the street during Shinji's telephone scene).
  • The SEELE scene layout has been replaced by material from later in the series, making SEELE more mysterious and completely faceless. Horaki Hikari's first appearance (where she already cares for Touji) has been removed, Kensuke's field camp scene as well; in general, all side characters get less air time (and character development) than in the series.
  • EVA-01's first battle operation now takes place at night... but don't expect too many scene changes here, they basically replaced the colors, making the scenes more gloomy and flashy (bilious green, yuck!). In general, a lot more scenes are playing at night, probably for having more effect in a dark cinema hall; I dislike this change, NGE shouldn't try to be a flashy horror show IMHO. Somehow you get the impression everything of importance happens at nighttime in this movie.
All in all this version of NGE feels more like movie mainstream, reducing the slice of life and character development elements, reducing the psychological elements and the importance of side characters, simplifying the narration form and focusing on the battles (that have the most footage changes), and on whether Shinji is "alone". Most of the changes remove elements that made NGE what it was, and thus are not of my liking; consequently this version failed to get a "Buy" rating.
The dialog deviations between Original and Rebuild are few but some of them are significant for the further story development; I have posted my thoughts about this here.

My rating for this movie in comparison to the original:
  • Art: 9 (down from 10, too many scenes take place at night now and the whole show looks too gloomy and lacks visual details)
  • Animation: 9 (up from 8, the animation for Sachiel is cool and the one for Ramiel is a visual feast)
  • Characters: 7 (down from 10, character interaction is obviously lacking here as the omitted scenes are mostly from this department, and that's horrible for a show about character interaction)
  • Music: 8 (unchanged from 8, the significant tunes have been taken from the series, the good OP from there is missing but the horrible ED has been replaced for the better)
  • Series Story: 8 (down from 10, it delivers what it was meant to deliver - a more simpler version of the hyper-complex original, suitable for a movie but with lots of explanations missing and as such difficult to understand in its own way)
  • Episode Story: 8 (down from 9, the whole thing feels rushed and too focused on action to someone who loved the complex original plot and the character interaction there)

Last updated Wednesday, August 10 2011. Created Saturday, January 19 2008.

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