Directors: Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki and Hideaki Anno
Japanese: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, and Yuko Yamaguchi
English: Spike Spencer, Brina Palencia and Tiffany Grant
Japan: June 27th 2009
North America: January 20th 2011
After two years the second part to the Rebuild of Evangelion was finally released. Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance, the part of the Rebuild series where the story finally started to take shape. Of course in this portion we still have yet to enter complete new territory story wise but, there is still allot of new things to see in this installment. Anno really stepped up his game with this second part and in the end created a great movie but somehow at the same made something that did not have the spirit of the original series at all. This is the double edge sword for the movie because I feel that he decided to make this film a little more appealing to the mainstream audiences then to the original fans of the series. Because of this film alone Evangelion is even bigger than when it was when it premiered a decade ago.
This film takes place almost a week after the events of 1.01, Shinji is slowly starting to come out of his shell now that he realizes that he is not alone in sharing the burden of the planet. However Angel attacks are becoming more frequent and more dangerous with each mission almost hailing the third impact. While still trying to form a bond with his cold father Gendo, Shinji is still trying to find some meaning in the world. Enter the pilot of Evangelion Unit 02 the fiery Asuka Langly Shikinami (Asuka is no longer German this time around) Shinji now has to learn to cope and live with his abusive and highly obnoxious new roommate. All the while Gendo and the mysterious group Seele continue to pull the strings in order to bring about their ultimate goal, the Human Instrumentality Project. Accompanied by a new mysterious Evangelion pilot from the States and the mysterious boy on the moon Shinji must prepare for the final ultimate battle for the fate of the world.
The animation this time around is completely new and there also appears to be a complete difference in the style of animation as well. This movie is simply gorgeous to look at, from the back grounds; to the gigantic Eva’s and Angels, 2.22 is probably one of the best looking anime films I have seen in the past few years. The animation is fluent and all the character designs look great, Evangelion has not looked this good in a very long time and fans will be very happy with how the film looks visually, there really are no complaints on the animation spectrum of the film.
As before the original cast have all returned to reprise their famous roles, and with the return of the voice for Asuka (both in Japanese and English) fans will really be brought back to the glory days of Neon Genesis. And that is where this movie really shines, 2.22 really showcases the complex (and abusive) love triangle between Shinji, Rei and Asuka. Their relationship is the real foundation of the film and is its heart. We get to see great character development from all three characters and we get to see some interesting new choices in their goals. Rei finally comes out of her shell in this movie and I find her to be the single best character in the entire film. Her growing affection towards Shinji slowly reveals a more human side to the girl that has been called a doll by both Asuka and fans. Asuka is still a fan favorite and her introduction into the film does not seem forced and feels very real. Her character is not as snarky (well maybe just abit) as her original counterpart and her affection towards Shinji is more on the table this time around. Misato’s hatred for the Angels is also revealed as is a complex relationship between her past lover Ryoji Kaji. The new Eva Pilot however Mari Illustrious Mikinami is poorly underdeveloped for the hype her character received in the trailer at the end of 1.01. Her only purpose for the film is to create more merchandise and to create a string of new ecchi and hentai. All we know about her character is she is weird, I wouldn’t even call her crazy just weird, perhaps more of her character will be revealed in Q but for now she is just fan service.
And this is my major problem with the entire film, for a movie that is almost flawless we are gives a slew of fan service. This is just to please the Otaku’s in the world in order to see Asuka (see picture below) in either skimpy outfits or naked. We also get a slew of Asuka panty shots; this in itself is very weird since the characters are all within in the ages of 12 and 14. Now Neon Genesis Evangelion did have its share of nudity but nudity was only used when it was needed. In 2.22 Nudity is thrown in for more appeal to the fans in order to help give the film a wider audience appeal. The scene when Asuka gets a new plug suit seems very pointless and forced, why would the government create a see through plug suit where we can all see Asuka’s bra. I understand that she even addressed this fact but that still does not give the movie enough reason to include this. The plug suit had a scientific application, it helped synch up the Eva pilots mind and soul into the Evangelion unit. The only reason I can think for this new plug suit is to sell more toys and to create more hentai and ecchi.
The action this time around the action is faster paced then 1.01 and has a very epic feel to it. If you watch 1.01 and go straight to 2.22 you can see what I mean. The action is awesome and is what I would expect form a more modern anime. However the film constantly jumps from action scene to actions scene and does not really advance the plot. Most of the movie is just grand epic Angel fights. Yes, that is the focus of the show but Evangeion was never about crazy action in robots, that was the just backdrop for a series about the mental breakdown and mental case study of Shinji Ikari, Rei, and Auska. It’s like 2.22 forgot what it was supposed to be in its execution. Anno wanted to make this so people who did not like (or get) Neon Genesis Evangelion or the End of Evangelion a chance to see the film in a more simplistic fashion to appeal to everybody.
The music is also incredibly fantastic and is a soundtrack I really want to pick up the next time I am at a convention. In 1.01 the music seemed like a tease for something it could have been, this time we still get many of the familiar themes from NGE but we also get a tone of new epic scores, and the use of some Japanese children songs is chilling and very disturbing and adds for an emotional climax to the film.
Evangelion 2.22 is a very good movie and is a step above 1.01 I just wish the Anno did add so much fan service and tried to please everyone. Audiences are more willing to accept what you throw at them in film. There is no need to make Eva accessible to everyone when the show was still widely popular in it’s original format.
I still give Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance a
It is still a great movie and a very fun ride; I cannot wait to see what the rest of the rebuild series has in store for fans. The story is going to go in very interesting directions and this was the perfect way to segue into new territory.