Posted On March - 31 - 2010
  RATING:   PG 13
  RELEASE DATE:   03/09/2010
  REVIEW DATE:   03/31/2010

After a cataclysmic event known as the Second Impact, the world has had to rebuild. Tokyo-3 is what remains as part of that surviving humanity. A city constructed to help protect humans from the attacks of large and powerful entities known only as Angels, they have a secret weapon to help. To assist, a covert organization known simply as NERV uses teenage pilots to navigate their giant mecha units known as Evangelions.  Shinji, the estranged son of the head of NERV, is called to Tokyo to be one of the suffering children who can pilot the EVA. He does so only reluctantly and that is when his nightmare begins and in his trembling hands lies the fate of the world.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is an iconic title in the world of Japanimation. The original creator and director, Hideaki Anno, has returned to captain this new re-visioning of the original series. He has taken the 26 episode TV series and broken it down into four movies. This is the first and comprises the first six episodes of the TV series (approximately). During the course of the first film, Shinji is introduced to life at NERV and his caretaker, the feisty Misato. He meets the introverted and enigmatic pilot Rei Ayanami and he is introduced to the EVA units. He battles during an Angel attack and is confronted with the horrors of war, the agony of piloting, and the fear that permeates his struggles.

At first he runs away, but circumstances change his course and he joins in an attempt to work with Rei to take down a powerful Angel. The two grow closer after the conflict, but the mysteries abound. What are the Angels? What do they want? And when his own EVA unit goes berserk, what exactly are the EVA units these young teenagers are piloting? What is NERV’s real agenda in all this? What is clear is that little is as it seems and Shinji’s journey into the unknown has only begun.

The riveting sci-fi tale follows the original TV series closely but has added footage and an earlier introduction of Kaworu than in the TV show. It also has heightened animation and some new voice actors with the English language dialogue adaptation. Although Spike Spence (Shinji) and Alison Keith (Misato) have both come back to reprise their pivotal roles, talented and versatile actor Brina Palencia makes a stellar introduction to the iconic role of Rei as a new voice talent to the EVA world. However the Japanese cast and staff of the new EVA films sees the return of the entire original cast and staff, including Hideaki Anno who writes, directs and is the original creator of the Evangelion phenomenon; Character Designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion TV, Gunbuster); Mechanical Designer Ikuto Yamashita (Gunbuster, Blue Submarine no. 6), and Music Composer Shiro Sagisu (Bleach).

The animation is theatrical quality through and through. The battle scenes are astonishing, mesmerizing right from the opening sequence of the fight that takes place in Tokyo-3. The production is by Gainax (Evangelion TV, Gunbuster, Diebuster, His and Her Circumstances), and Hideaki Anno’s own animation production house – Studio Khara. The scenery is done in breathtaking detail. The transition from TV to film will be smooth for fans of the original series thanks to the work of the original staff on the current films.  One change however is found in the music. A new song is introduced for the closing theme. Called “Beautiful World”, it is a hypnotic song performed by pop idol Hikaru Utada.

The new streamlined version of Evangelion makes it perfect for new comers to the legendary classic as well as for longtime fans who want to see a faster paced, tighter story. The new film has two release versions. This second version, 1.11, is the same as the original except for added bonus features to enjoy.

The Evangelion 1.11 is a two-disc release as opposed to the 1.01 release which is only a single disc. The second disc holds extras which include Evangelion trailers and ads, FUNimation trailers of other anime titles, music videos, the Angel of Doom promotional music video, and Rebuild of Evangelion 1.01. This last feature shows various sequences from the movie, showing the transition of each chosen scene from its original sketches to its final product all to its mesmerizing musical score. Fans have a choice between the score of Shiro Sagisu’s version or the scenes to the classic music of French composer Joseph-Maurice Ravel.  

Neon Genesis Evangelion is reborn! No more convoluted sub-plots, this is the hard hitting fast-paced story fans having been dying for! It’s the perfect jumping on point for new fans and a new vision of the iconic series for longtime fans to revel in!

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