I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear before continuing with this review of the feature-length commercial ridiculously named Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance: I’m not trolling you. Dissenting opinion does not equal “trolling,” and the sooner the anime blogging community realizes this the sooner we might be be able to have actual discussion. Maybe.
With that said, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance isn’t just a terrible movie, it’s a terribly offensive movie and one of the worst animated films in recent memory. It is a disgusting testament to the most shamelessly commercial aspects of the Japanese animation industry, the ineptitude of Hideaki Anno and the crippling stupidity of anime fans. It is a movie made for those who have fooled themselves into thinking that just because it’s Evangelion, and Evangelion is “intellectual,” that they aren’t buying into a scheme of shallow merchandising and pathetic fan-pandering bread and circuses resolutely devoid of any artistic or creative merit.
As you might have guessed, unlike every other reviewer on the Internet, I did not like this movie.
I’m not going to bother giving you a plot summary as they aren’t hard to find. If you’re that curious you could just download the camcorder rip of the video and act like a big shot on the Internet forum of your choice. Suffice it to say, the plot of Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance is pretty similar to that of the TV show, but a little different. It isn’t as painfully uninspired as the shot-for-shot identical Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, but not nearly the radical departure of a film like Macross: Do You Remember Love?
A lot of things from the TV series are cut out, a few things are changed and a new girl character is thrown in (this one has glasses!) who doesn’t serve any purpose. Any character above the age of 15 is largely ignored in the cluttered narrative, with characters like Rei and Asuka being reduced to the anime stereotypes they inspired, rather than the actual characters they once were. The whole endeavor just reeks of Anno changing plot points around for the sake of changing them, rather than having any particular creative reasoning. Even if he did have any creative reason, I’d still scoff and tell him to move the fuck on, because to be quite honest, he’s had two chances to get this story “right,” and the TV series was pretty great (fuck the haters), so there’s no reason to go back and do it again.
I’m being intentionally naive here of course, because there is a reason, and that reason is money.
Anno knows, as we all know, that he will never create another work as successful as Evangelion. And it makes a lot of people a lot of money, so it makes perfect sense for him to go back and milk Rei and Asuka’s tits one more time. Except this time he had the amazing creative genius to change Asuka’s last name and throw in a new pair of tits to milk.
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance is less Lucas going back and adding in computer-generated Dewbacks to scenes on Tatooine, and more Lucas going back and redoing the three original Star Wars films in uncanny valley, high quality CG, but this time Han Solo has a big-breasted kid sister who tags along and Darth Vader has no back story beyond being a pawn of the Emperor.
Despite being an entirely new film, the pacing and editing makes it feel like a clip show, pathetically trying to cram in as many recognizable moments as possible without any regard to actually making a good film. Compounded with this gimped storytelling is the story boarding, which suggests the creative staff had no idea they were making an actual theatrical movie, as opposed to a TV series where they’re forced to throw in lots of animation-less slow pans over still images to save budget for the reasonably well-animated battle scenes. In the end we’re left with a lot of detailed still images, some decent animation and a film that looks like a TV show–just prettier.
Maybe the people who watched and enjoyed this film were able to turn their brains off and view it with absolutely no cynicism, but even as a guy who buys blatant merchandising enough to have a RX-78 and Zaku II salt and pepper shaker set on his dining room table, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance still managed to make me uncomfortable. It’s painfully clear that the new big-breasted, glasses wearing female Evangelion pilot was tossed in do to the reasoning that if they can sell a lot of figures of two female Evangelion pilots, they could sell even more of three Evangelion pilots. The same goes for the extra-skimpy brand new Plug Suit that Asuka wears and the new ridiculously stupid looking four-legged Evangelion. In a series so horribly overly merchandised like Evangelion, it’s impossible not to view a scene where Asuka cooks dinner wearing a sports bra and apron not as part of the narrative, but an opportunity to sell a new 6000yen PVC figure.
Maybe that wasn’t the intention of the creative staff, but after 10 years of whoring out Evangelion for every yen they could get out of fans, it’s tough to believe that Anno and the rest of the staff have any sort of real respect for the series except as source of another fat paycheck. This is particularly depressing considering Anno’s original intention was to have the Evangelion units designed such that they couldn’t be turned into toys, and to use classical music as the opening theme instead of a catchy, marketable pop song.
Watching this film was an incredibly uncomfortable experience for me, partially because I really liked the original TV series even with all its faults, and partially because I’d like to believe that there is some sort of creativity and artistic value in Japanese animation behind all the merchandising and sponsorship deals that are an unavoidable part of the industry. If we hold up Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance as a major example of the modern state of Japanese animation, then no, there is no creativity. There is no intrinsic artistic value. One of the most respected anime directors of the last 25 years has created a film that is absolutely shameful, devoid of any appreciable worth except to those whose wallets get fatter with each purchase of this month’s new Rei and Asuka figures.
Anyway, if you think the classical music wasn't part of the pretense of the series, then you've seriously underestimated Anno's ego. You see, he's really just the Quentin Tarantino of anime-not really original, but able to cover up his narrative flaws with pseudo-intellectual content he pilfered from the various media he's watched since he was young.
Anyway, these should make you feel better. http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/44243 http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/104053
But, what I realized upon the second viewing is this--it's Hollywood movie Evangelion. And I think that's fine. Usually these adaptations are doomed to fail with some exceptions (First Gundam movies, Macross Do You Remember Love) mostly because there's no real attempt to re-write for a movie runtime. Despite your quips about pacing and such, I think 2.0 was rewritten into an appropriately entertaining and exciting action film. I think it's very well done fanservice.
I would go on longer, but then it'd just turn into a blog post, so I'll stop here.
The original Evangelion was groundbreaking because it blew apart the expectations of the genre with a huge amount of panache and intelligence, creating a whole new generation of anime fans in the process. The new ones show how far that original promise has been degraded.
I don't particularly blame Anno though. He's playing to a gallery of morons and he's giving them what they deserve.
Godspeed Evangelion Series, and Good Riddance Rebuild of Evangelion.
If Evangelion TV was the Pixies, then this is Frank Black, poppier, less edgy, and tinged with hopeless nostalgia. And strangely, it won't be for all tastes as they announced.
There's nothing about casting aside the established fanbase with these films, as the only people who could possibly enjoy them is the established fanbase. There's no way anyone who hadn't seen the TV show could begin to figure out what's going on in this movies, because as stand alone films they simply don't work.
There's a big difference between a reboot and a rehash, and the Evangelion rebuild films are the latter, not the former.
The original Eva was NOT "deep". It was confusing, amusingly depressing, but definitely not "deep". If Eva did anything, it made the whiny protagonist stereotype more popular than it should.
Besides, Rahxephon did what Eva was supposed to do, but it was better put together. Yes. I went there.
So yeah. Rebuild can do whatever the hell it wants, because the original source material isn't exactly Schindler's List either.
(Re-Take brilliantly executed this as it is a credible follow-up, and quite well done for a doujinshi.)
And while this may seem to be little else than a cash-in, there is justification for the existence of an alternate case-scenario. The clues are all over the first film from the getgo.(The red ocean is the first dead giveaway) This is where for me, it is fascinating, because The End Of Evangelion suggested an infinite loop to come. It was a seed planted long ago so that this would be a possibility. And remember, that OAV-cum film came right after the marketing blitz following Sega's jump onto the franchise, so if there's any wrongdoing anywhere, it started with that project. It is not a rehash simply because the templates are being tweaked with, and the characters have been given new canvases to work with.(Hence the children's songs used within two key sequences) It isn't an easily accessible film for newbies, but I find that to be intentionally Gainax-esque in how they have always trolled their audience while complimenting them. (Then again, I can see why many wouldn't appreciate this, but GAINAX has always been famous for giving the fans what they want while quietly back-handing them at the same time.)
Then again, Eva was never about Rei, Asuka, or the money-milking tits or whatever. Originally, it was supposed to be a deconstruction of the super robot genre (in the worst possible manner, of course, since we all know Anno is a bigot and all he wants is the second rise of a militaristic Japan). No one really cared about how fucked up super robot/mecha shows have to be though, since the answer was found in all of the mecha shows in the 1990s (G Gundam, Macross 7 come to mind), plus, REI. No one really cared about the actual thrust of the show (which is actually funny) since the people who watched it were all what you described.
Though Anno destroying the industry? Well, if Eva is doing the Endless Eight bull Kadokawa and KyoAni are doing with Haruhi, then I sure hope he falls into despair.But he's too much of a savvy businessman to do this.
All I heard in this review was BAWW KHARA ARE MILKING THE FRANCHISE MARI TAKES UP TOO MUCH SPACE THIS MOVIE MADE ME FEEL UNCOMFORABLE AND ANYONE WHO LIKES IT IS A MORON ITS RUINING THE PRECIOUS NEON GENESIS WAAHHHHH
GTFO, seriously. You're complaints with this movie suck balls. I have some issues with this movie myself but they are relatively small yet they are at least grounded unlike yours.
And honestly, had you been respectful of the opinions of the people who actually LIKE this movie, you wouldn't have come off as such a douche bag. So in other words, I feel it as fair to say this:
Fuck you, you're opinion is wrong, get the fuck out of my internet.
The other thing is that much like TF2, the new 3 SW movies, and most of the comic book themed movies that come out today, Rebuild was made to pull newer fans into the fold, fans who like skimpy plugsuits and big breasts. Sure it's there to attract the older fans of it, but if you go and read reviews of TF2 you're gonna see neckbeards who grew up with the toys and cartoons telling you Michael Bay is a shit producer and all he wanted was fapfest special effects. Same shit with Eva, except anime fans are seemingly easier to please as long as Maki is on screen.
tl;dr different strokes for different folks. good review, but a bit too much bawww there
There is too much merchandising and "fanservice" though, I agree on that. But you shouldn't be blaming the creators for it, but the people who buy all that junk. I'm not really bothered by all the products they are making out of Rebuild, because who's forcing you to buy them?
I have no general opinion yet about the story or plot, because there are 2 movies yet to be released. But whether or not you like the changes up until now is everyone's personal opinion. So if you are making a review, please don't let it cross over like it's a fact. To be honest considering the assignment that a whole series is being remaked into a quadrilogy, I'd say up till now they've done a pretty damn good job. i'm looking forward to the next two movies so i can make my final conclusion about the "Rebuild" series.
Might want to choose a less inflammatory adjective than 'ridiculous' next time you don't want to come across as a troll, especially about something as subjective as a name.
This is well-informed diatribe -- and I think you know that's all you've written. I can appreciate that. I saw this movie at the theatre over there while visiting a friend, so no downloaded-camcorder rip for me, and thus no 'acting like a big shot' -- I'll leave that up to people who simultaneously attack something with clear bias and then say 'hey, I'm not trolling!'. This is just what I think, and in the immortal words of Dennis Miller, 'I could be wrong'.
I enjoyed the movie, but not as much as the series. Your implicit claim that the series had less fan-service is, hang on, let me find the word...oh, yeah. Ridiculous. If anything, a great deal of the character-based humour is gone, necessarily excised for the 'core' of the plot. The fanservice in the rebuilds is, to me, more concentrated, aimed at fans OF Evangelion, rather than 'fanservice' in the general sense of sight gags, sexual innuendo and pointless action. Fanservice in the rebuild is reducing Asuka's role in the original love triangle to allow Rei to 'move in'; it's improving the crap out of the Angel designs. The fanservice in the rebuild is also the removal of certain backstory because it's assumed you'd know it, and if you don't, no harm done to your enjoyment of the film on other levels.
It is, put simply, appropriate fanservice in light of what the fans wanted.
Look past all that and what remains of the original? The cast is left relatively intact, the themes are present and accounted for, the music's improved, the animation's prettier, the pacing altered with hindsight and focus.
We're also left with the hollowed-out (arbitrary, by Anno's own statement) usage of Judeo-Christian symbols, Heideggerian terms and eschatological fluff, oh and a shitpile of Freudian goodness. Not that many Japanese viewers care so much about that, but we do, right? We deeeeeper viewers recognise the Tree of Sephiroth, the significance of Lilith and the meanings of 'Seele'. Right? We totally *care* that there's more than one Spear of Longinus in this mythology, heck...we know who Longinus really was...right?...Nope, probably not (or we looked it up after seeing Eva...). For even most Western viewers, Eva is just cool vaguely Biblical shit facillitating giant robot mayhem and awesome-looking bad guys and those SWEET AS FUCK crosses of blood. Story-wise, it's not exactly ground-breaking: 'Metropolis' as a soap opera infused with the creator's unresolved issues with God and Oedipus. Yay. (and I'm not totally sarcastic with that 'yay', I think this is juicy shit, but let's not make more of it than it is: pop.)
I *do* agree with you that Eva 2.0 is riddled with thinly-veiled ploys of money-making (gotta love that Lawson insert), but so what? No money, no funding, no more Eva. I find the pachinko angle horrifying; it's like funding from casinos being the only thing keeping a beloved book or tv series afloat (in the West, if you will). But I accept that it's a legitimate means of extending a franchise's shelf-life in Japan. No money, no more Eva. I realise this might be to your liking, but opposing remakes based solely on one's love for the original is a flawed stance to begin with. It's just residual bias and myopia and deserves no more voice than the argument, 'it worked THIS way the first time, any other way the next time is doomed to fail'. Newsflash: audiences change, and if you don't to some degree change with them, audiences go away. Audience goes away, so does the money. And then you're left with two options: never remake and leave the original to those who enjoyed it before (and yet can't understand why newcomers can't see past the budget animation and dodgy narrative twists), or...far worse, second-rate straight-to-dvd remakes.
So if the cost of updating Evangelion's heart and soul (and the rebuilds DO that) is blatant toy-selling attempts and the like, so be it.
Now to address the thrust of your argument: the title.
Is Hideaki trying to KILL anime? No more than the plethora of creators of Moe crap and the endless stream of post-DBZ shonen junk a la Naruto/One Piece/etc.. And, as much as I hate to admit it, they're not killing anime either: they're just taking it places certain stalwarts (myself included) don't want to go.
But that's why we have dvds, or vhs tapes (still have unsubbed Eva on vhs somewhere...). Because while we can bitch and moan all we like about the state of things, about that silly boob-dumpling joke in Macross F, about the (d)evolution of our beloved artform, the fact is the 'better times' are never entirely gone. I think a review on this very site, regarding the old Fist of the North Star movie, proves that perfectly -- it's clearly written not as a guide for those considering watching it, but for we who were there when it came out, and can appreciate the references. Sure, it's preaching to the choir, but in this age of heathens (if you'll bear with the metaphor a bit longer), we can surely do with more of that. It helps keep the faith and prevents us from writing...well, pretty much the sort of thing you've written.
'Killing anime'. Please. Work on that definition of 'anime' a bit more -- it's not some lofty ideal, okay? A-ni-me. It CAN be deep, it CAN be shallow. It can be Pokémon, it can be Paranoia Agent.
What it can't be is *killed* by an arguably sketchy but shiny remake of a series that was arguably overrated in the first place. And it certainly can't be killed by an animation that fills theatres for weeks on end. You might as well say that Dan Brown is killing books or that Twilight is killing movies. They're attacking the integrity of the medium, probably, but they're like spitting on a wall in hopes of bringing it down in terms of killing it.
'Hideaki Anno is trying to kill anime' -- sensational! OMG! Instant rebuttals and contrary reactions abound! This is SO GOING TO GET PEOPLE ARGUING!!!11!
But you're not trolling, right?
- You seem to be implying that, unlike us, you've seen the movie in theatres, and that somehow this gives you a moral high-ground when it comes to the merits of the film. First off, it doesn't. Second, Sean was living in Japan at the time of the film's premiere, and did see it in theatres, so your attempt to colour his review in the fog of copyright infringement morality falters before it could begin.
- Your definition of "fan service" as something purely sexual or "excessive animation" is pretty myopic. We're definitely talking about stupid shout-outs to Eva fandom when we mean fan service — we're just saying that putting Asuka in a skanky new plug-suit and making her act like the tsundere archetype she inspired instead of a messed-up, lonely kid is a "service" to the "fans." No matter how much you might like to dress it up as part of a grand scheme to tighten up the story and present it to a new audience, the fact is it's pandering. It's pandering to the people who buy the toys and it's pandering to fans of recent garbage Japanimation.
- I don't think your feelings differ as much from our feelings about Eva and this film as you think they do. Most of us lament the loss of anything approaching actual characterization — hell, my favourite Shinji/Kaji moment, where the two are bullshitting around in the break room, is reduced to a simple "oh my God, a guy almost kissed me!" joke. Actually, that's not true, is it? You're arguing that excising that material was an improvement to the overall story, and, to be frank, you're dead wrong.
- You're right, most of the CD staff don't want "more Eva;" we think what's out there is fine as-is. I disagree with your assertion that the problem of "newcomers [who] can't see past the budget animation and dodgy narrative twists" will be in any way alleviated by the new films. Your assertion is only sensible if we first accept that it is necessary to produce remakes in order to draw in new viewers, and that it is necessary to draw in new viewers in the first place. Eva is not going to suddenly stop being a cash-cow anytime soon, and even if it did, I don't see how that's a problem. I'd much rather see the obviously-talented animators working on the project produce something new and exciting for once.
- Your attack on Eva's visual symbolism, i.e. the vaguely Judeo-Christian appearance of the material, is pretty much 100% irrelevant to our argument and what we appreciate in Eva. For once, we're with Anno here: it just looks cool.
- Your reaction to the title — the hyperbole of Anno "killing anime" — is what we expected. What we're hoping, however, is that you will be inspired to consider why that statement makes you so angry. What is it that makes you unable to accept a hyperbolic remark meant to represent dissatisfaction and, indeed, anger at the direction of recent productions in a favourite series, and in a favourite hobby?
Peace out, homes!
Point 2: I'm not going to comment on Asuka's change in wardrobe because it just didn't bother me. Sooo they changed her to comment on the changes wrought by fans. Sounds rather post-modern, which is something no one notices unless they're meant to. It wasn't a stand-out in my experience of the Rebuild. I was all over the animation level, the music and the voice acting. That a *costume* bothered you guys so much tells me all I need to know to NOT go there. :)
To clarify that fanservice is 'pandering' to me when I pretty much indicated that it IS pandering, merely *appropriate* pandering, is redundant. Of course, this raises the question of what might *inappropriate* pandering: see my point regarding Mac F. Your final statement here about 'recent garbage Japanimation' is noted but not relevant -- it's your opinion, and I'm not going to argue or even discuss it, let alone dream of changing it. :) As a sidepoint, is giving what fans want necessarily 'pandering'? This comes back to what a fan is, and I've no intention of tippy-toeing that minefield. The point remains, though: if pandering were purely negative, I don't think the rebuilds would have been the hits they are. Not all viewers are mindless consumers of vegetarian zeitgeist...so when is pandering not pandering? Oh, yeah. When the person who normally says it's pandering gets what they want...
Point 3: I said tightening, not improving. Sort of what happens when you take a full series and strip it to a potential 7-8 hours. I am arguing that was what excised was not absolutely essential to Eva, or...well, it'd have stayed. I'll take the series over the movies anyday -- I think something like Eva needs that amount of room to move, else it turns into a pretty but choppy summary, which is sort what the Rebuilds are. You're right -- my views aren't as different as yours. I just have this funny aversion to hyperbole, especially when it's followed up immediately with a contradictory disclaimer. 'Hey, you're a dickhead, no offence.' Yep, mkay. You want constructive responses, make constructive observations. More on that in a bit.
Point 4: I never actually said I wanted more either. I've played Devil's Advocate here and thought that was fairly clear, if you could pick up the subtext. I don't want more Eva, I have it on dvd (and vhs, somewhere...). I had no trouble with the original series and thought D/R and EoE were curious takes but hardly necessary. And you're right, those two points about necessity of new viewers is something you should accept. Or just pretend they never made remakes. Either way, I'm notorious for my ivory tower views (or did my attacks on moe and Naruto not indicate that?) and even I'm railing against your collective elitism here. Eva is a cash-cow, absolutely. It will be milked. And for most Eva fans, it will be a delicious feast, a sweet improvement on most of what they loved first time around. Because say what you will, the rebuilds are -very- high quality. Sakamoto Maaya as their new pilot? Certainly no drop from the A-List of seiyuu associated with Eva there. So I imagine your acerbic reaction would be somewhat stronger were the Rebuild to be (god forbid) crap on more levels than merely 'oh no it's all fanservice now it's not MY Eva' etc. So there's the fact: we have Rebuild with superb production values befitting the original (come on, guys, the animation was TERRIBLE; sure, excellent characterisation, but a good deal of that remains in Rebuild), and you're on about...a costume! Okay, I said I wouldn't go there, but it's got me giggling now that YOU have brought it into relief.
No, there'd be no problem is Eva stopped being that cow. They'd find another. And you'd possibly be even more acromonious towards that. 'Something new and exciting for once' -- I agree. But until that can produce as much as money as a cash-cow, it's just not going to happen very often. Summer Wars? Can't wait to see that. But we all know it's the exception to the rule. Then again, maybe it always has been: the so-called golden era of anime had more than its share of detritus too. So 'something new and exciting for once' -- I don't really know the staff that intimately to say what else they've done, but I doubt Anno's going to top Eva in a hurry. Music-wise, Sagisu Shirou doesn't do much else, which is fine because the soundtrack to the rebuilds is awesome.
I accepted the bell curve long ago, regardless of the genre or medium. I think you need to consider doing the same.
Point 5: it wasn't an attack on the symbolism (or did my 'I think it's juicy shit' confuse you?), but on the people who accept it at face value, thus perpetuating the vacuous usage thereof. 'it just looks cool' -- you've just put yourself in my firing line, but it's okay, I don't have to pull the trigger.
yeah, it was 100% irrelevant, but I figured if the article could hook with hyperbole, I could throw in a little tangent to keep myself interested. And now it's not so irrelevant, since you responded directly to something in it...
Point 6: Speaking of irrelevant, your reasoning why it may (or may not) make me so angry is superfluous to the argument that you made a title designed to make people angry. That's trolling. You can't window-dress that. As I said before: if you wanted constructive responses, you wouldn't have opened with an attempted headshot. I don't mind that it's trolling, but claiming it's not IS going to earn a response from someone who sees right through it. And that response might not deign to tell you why that statement may or may not make me so angry...but we're friends here, right, so I'll say why: it's bullshit.
BONUS POINT: I hate the current state of anime. Although you may feel the need to be on the defensive to my points (or offensive, if you can tell the difference, and judging from the original article, I'm not sure you can), I'm pretty much on your side. That I had to tell you that outright makes me a little sad, because it was all there in my first response.
'Peace out' -- no. I'll respond if you do. I won't pretend otherwise, or aim for the 'last word'.
BTW...did you really expect my reaction to that title? Amazing...not even I did. I'd think with foresight like that you'd have followed up with an article less-easily criticised.
And Mari is still cool to me. Hell, even Rei, the world's most overrated blowup doll, finally got a personality!
We're "on about a costume" because the costume is a convenient example that we feel epitomizes the entire film. It's flashy and skimpy (Asuka "cleverly" points this out in the dialog, so you cannot possibly miss it), and doesn't really serve any purpose other than to look new and exciting and sell some PVC. Eva 2.0 also features some flashy and pointless fight scenes which exist, again, pretty much just to sell toys. Look at the very first sequence in the film — the Brand New Eva Unit For The Film is completely trashed during its first and only sortie. To answer your question, yes, "giving the fans what they want" as this film does is pandering.
Oh yeah: Dude, did you really get upset because I said "peace out?" I was just being friendly.
--> Jeff: 'terrible' is the word I'll choose simply because something else came out at the same time which to this day stands up just fine animation-wise: Escaflowne. Eva's also got 'terrible' animation in regards to the other aspects: I've already mentioned how good the music was (is, too), and the seiyuu of Eva arguably sold it in the first place -- at least in Japan. I still can't bring myself to try an English dub, but that's neither here nor there. When I heard of the Rebuilds, I was hardly enthusiastic, but upon seeing 1.0 thought they did a good job of retaining what I liked in Eva, accentuating things that deserved it (the detail to Tokyo-3, for example) and toning down some of what I didn't (Toji...). In short, I thought it was a decent update, but in no way did it replace the original series. And that I consider the animation of the original 'terrible' (feel free to replace with another adjective, but that's mine -- it's still not an absolute on the level of 'KILLING') but still gladly rewatch it can only attest to the many things TOS (oh wow I feel dirty calling it that...so very Trekkie) got right. But yeah, compared to Escaflowne, Eva's animation/visuals were, at best, sub-par. Or maybe Esca was that far above. I'm not sure. Eva has better noses, though.
I didn't like Sakamoto Maaya's character *at all*. It was very clear to me she was inserted to downplay Asuka's brash attitude, thus allowing Asuka to fast-track to her deeper issues. And this is hard to admit, because I'm obviously quite a Sakamoto fan. If 2.0 had fanservice/pandering to me, it was her. The pointless battles, well, it's anime. They're giant robots of some nature, and there are these Angel thingies. I think 'pointless' is a bit extreme -- narratively, there's nothing wrong with a new Eva unit being trashed in the first fight. I'm sure toy-selling is on the agenda, but the only way you could say that fight was pointless would be if it had no further bearing on or significance in the rest of the movie.
Issue re: costume noted. I still think it's a fairly petty attack, in the grand scale of possible criticisms, and only serves to accentuate the many things that didn't suck about 2.0 (and by the tone of Sean's article, you'd think ALL of it sucked -- wait, he used the word 'terrible'...maybe that's where I got it from)...but as you've indicated, every other review on the net goes there with rosy-glasses, etc etc. I don't feel that a negative review focussing on a minor point that fails to acknowledge at least some of the positives is an appropriate response, even if 99.99% of the other reviews are disgustingly saccharine. But if presenting imbalanced, easily-attacked anti-fan backlash is your business, fair enough. Every extremity needs it polar opposite, I suppose -- whether or not those opposites enjoy admitting the mutual dependency is another matter altogether...although I think an enemy you don't respect as an enemy (and not necessarily on any other level) has already won...or isn't an enemy at all. I think the word I'm looking for here is 'petty'.
Naw, not upset -- I've just seen 'peace out' (especially with a smiley after it) used in a less-than-friendly way in threads that wax a little...contentious. Should your intent have been purely congenial, then I accept and reciprocate. :)
It's been fun and enlightening. I'm glad the friend with whom I saw Eva 2.0 told me about this site.
Rock on, Colony Droppers.
This is a silly argument because by this point in time, if there's any anime franchise that DOESN'T need any more otaku dollars thrown at it, it's Eva. This is not so much to say that modern Eva is unworthy of more funding (Sean already said that, and I'll say it again later) as it is to say that modern Eva has no need for it. With the cottage industry of random junk and creepy statues (which, while fan-made, will keep Eva firmly in their buyers' minds any time a compelling official trinket catches their eye) that has sprung up since the era of Death & Rebirth, Anno will be putting his grandkids through college and then some.
But even if the franchise's future was even moderately murky (which it certainly is not; there'll be milk from that cash cow for at least 25 years out, guaranteed), I still wouldn't feel compelled to spend any money on Eva in general. I'm not a very concise writer and the detailed breakdown of why I hate Rebuild could be a whole other post in itself, so I won't get into that here (but maybe later). The way I see it, Eva SHOULD have begun and ended with the first TV series plus the extra/redone footage from Death and Rebirth.* The show strikes that perfect, imperceptible balance between subversive and pandering that's almost impossible to recapture. Even if it hadn't become the merchandising monstrosity it is today, there was no need to remake Eva; it was perfect(give or take a few questionably animated sequences) as it was. Rebuild is proof enough of this fact.
The original Eva oozed contempt for otaku glorification, and it was all the better for it. Now that Eva IS the otaku mainstream, it is forced to bow and scrape before the same pathetic waifu-obsessed wretches it once disdained. Eva was one of those rare and great shows that recognized that being an otaku isn't that bad, but puffing your pasty self up as some kind of unfairly oppressed genius with a superior outlook on life (that being an obsession with cartoon women and silly robot shows) is just stupid.
*(I might also be generous to include EoE in there; while I think the excessive spectacle of its ending undermines much of the disturbing atmosphere established by the final few TV episodes, I still respect its production values and its transparent attempt to troll the admittedly loathsome Japanese fanbase, who were by and large incapable of appreciating the actual CLEVER devices Eva employed because they were too busy beating off to what was largely ironic Asuka fanservice.)
**(As opposed to Rebuild: “see guys? It's IRONIC that we put Asuka in an apron over her bra cooking for Shinji because now we're seeking to mobilize the precious yen of the single-minded PVC perverts we once honestly sought to criticize and troll! God, this is sad...”)
I don't think we've got any obligation to discuss the "positives" or "negatives" of anything we talk about. First, it assumes that there were positives — and sometimes, there simply aren't; and second, it assumes that all commentary on an artistic work, even one as flagrantly commercialized as a giant robot cartoon, needs to be in the form of purely qualitative measurements: "this was good, and this was bad." And I still don't see what's so "petty" about criticizing what we see as an element emblematic of the entire film and its motivations in production. It is also, conveniently enough, one that doesn't require ruining large parts of the film's plot for the sensitive readers out there.
I don't understand the interpretation of negative opinions on Eva as a "backlash," anyway. It says to me: "surely, everyone enjoys this as much as I do, and for the reasons I do — anyone who disagrees is doing so just to be contrary." It seems like an argument that's trotted out with regularity when other avenues of defense have failed to gain any ground.
Obligation? No, but as I pointed out, if you're just going to harp on the negatives (and if you're going to tell me Eva 2.0 had absolutely NO positives, this discourse is over), then you can expect to be taken as little more than petulant pessimists -- and is that really where you want to stand? And if it's all going to be negative, especially in light of how positive 'every other review on the net' is (to paraphrase the original article), then the natural inference is that we're looking at backlash. Or would you gladly review 2.0 with such condemnation were your review the only one around? I say 'your', I mean Sean, and from what I've heard, he was far less quick to damn the movie immediately after watching it.
You should probably drop the negative connotations of 'giant robot cartoon', since Macross and Gundam (both viewed quite positively on this site) are both just that, and do you believe they're 'flagrantly commercialised'? Remove your first 'as' and you may have a point.
Hang on a second. You're telling me that you're being sensitive to your readers in terms of spoilers AFTER that hilariously overblown title and the implication that anyone who watches Eva 2.0 is an idiot? HAHAHAH what?! Myyeah k. Don't hide behind retroactive compassion/thoughtfulness when we've already clarified this *was* an article designed to troll. 'Oh, we left the plot out deliberately' just doesn't seem as plausible 'We have a massive chip on our shoulders and this is our site and we'll rant about it if we want to!' -- which is cool by me, but again, admit what you are and revel in it. Considerate, balanced reviewers you are not -- although Mark's Fist Of The North Star review was pure fucking gold.
oh, I've already covered why this came across as backlash. I've also covered that I had issues of my own with this movie -- heck, I almost fell asleep at one point. So for me to interpret your article (but not necessarily any of the surprisingly more useful feedback) as backlash is certainly not 'anyone who disagrees is doing so just to be contrary'. I feel like I'm repeating myself here, and that's never a good sign.
But were that my argument, i.e. 'surely...just to be contrary', absolutely, that's weak and dismissible. I hope I've not given you any indication that is my argument. My argument was simple: don't claim you're not trolling when you are. It was addressed to Sean and his response (or lack thereof...hm) has pretty much confirmed that my argument was valid.
Everything else is just me being polite and responding.
Okay, I better be nice and address that other person, who seems to have found a hair in my word-soup...
'This is a silly argument because by this point in time, if there's any anime franchise that DOESN'T need any more otaku dollars thrown at it, it's Eva. '
I'm unfortunately going to have to draw upon the experience of someone else at this point, and no matter how many times he says this, I never, ever find myself comfortable with it: Evangelion's second coming was made possible by the pachinko angle. Sure, it's a massive franchise aside, but what is it that has us seeing giant pictures of Shinji and Rei all over Tokyo? Pachinko parlours. Also, you're missing the point in terms of 'need'. I never said Eva needed more money -- just that if there WAS no more money, there'd be no more Eva. I'm surprised anyone here would argue that, since I've seen elsewhere on this site (Colony Drop saves anime, or some such amusement) the acknowledgement that throwing money at something will increase its chances of thriving. It has nothing to do with whether or not we NEED more of it.
As for the 'putting through college' call, no offence but that's a terribly American thing to say. Also, are you dead certain Anno is making THAT much off this? It's easy to believe, but we don't really have absolute proof the likes of Toriyama or, in the day, Takahashi were rolling in it either. I think your viewpoint (and by 'your' I mean several of you here) on Eva's financial success is terribly (oh hey, there's that word again!) simplistic. The Eva Machine generates oodletons of cash, yes, but can anyone here tell me how that's distributed? Have you *done* that sort of research before claiming Eva Success=ANNO$$$$? If so, I'd love to see it.
Your second paragraph rings true for the most part. I'm not going to argue the shelf-life of Eva, because neither of us can see the future and I'd say at this point neither of us really care. This is about the present state of things. 'There was no need to remake Eva...it was perfect'. Glad you feel that way, equally glad others didn't. How much are you personally out of pocket (since you've raised your lack of desire to spend any more cash on Eva, good for you, spend it on something else with giant robots) by the release of Eva Rebuild? Either you're attacking Eva 2.0 as a concerned anime fan with genuine fears it is diluting or destroying the anime industry (I've already addressed why that isn't happening here) or you're happily selfish and want to gripe about why the remakes bother YOU. We both know it's the latter, so really, why don't we reword that statement of yours? 'there was no need to remake eva' -- this is not fact. 'I don't believe there was a need to remake eva' -- this is, apparently, fact, and I can't argue with it. And...you do want to present points I can't argue against, right? You're not just arguing for the sake of arguing? I hope not.
'The original Eva oozed contempt for otaku glorification, and it was all the better for it. ' Really? Be a sport and clarify 'otaku glorification' for me. I think you're wearing the same rosy glasses towards which you've shown contempt regarding recent reactions to Eva 2.0. Your further statement 'Now that Eva IS the otaku mainstream...' is flat-out laughable. Friend and I (same one I saw Eva 2.0 with, actually) were in Hong Kong in 1996, and there was a tumult of Eva crap everywhere. Figures, posters, wallscrolls, cards. Far more than any other series (yes, including Dragonball Z). So if you want to believe that the original Eva was some sort of arthouse, anti-mainstream work of art, 'perfect', go for it -- but I was there too, and for the most part we thought it looked like a fairly standard 90s tv series. First time we watched it was without subs, one sitting, with just high school Japanese under our belt, and sure, it blew our brains out. But we didn't it was perfect, and still didn't quite see (pay attention, this bit's important) what all the HYPE was about.
Having dismissed the start of that paragraph, I feel the rest does not warrant comment, although 'puffing your pasty self up as some kind of unfairly oppressed genius with a superior outlook on life', addressing 'otaku' is amusing. You seem to forget that by the very virtue of your calling Eva TOS 'perfect', you're firmly in otaku territory...
But it's okay, I hate that word anyway. Otaku. Ugh. I generally hate fans too -- they ruin everything with their 'fanfic' and their obsessions. Totally incapable of objectivity, of seeing both sides of the argument, of having productive discourse -- and you're above that sort of shallow knee-jerk bluster, right? :)
Footnote 1: this doesn't concern me. It says 'I <3 original Eva because it was IRONIC', which you've already made clear.
Footnote 2: God, you guys are still on about Asuka. There's someone else reading this who can address that point better than I, but that's his call. Personally, I always find Rei-based fanservice that much more disturbing, but that's just opinion.
Added with edit: a quote from aforementioned friend:
'YES, Asuka commented on it herself. But it was MEANT to be satirical. People LAUGHED. It was also related to the Eva RADIO comedy/dramas from the 90s, where Gendo ordered new special plugsuits to boost the shows ratings.'
Make of that what you will.
And is it really any less ironic just because (and as if this is any change) it's going to make them money? Or is it just too obvious for you now? Too in-your-face with the yen-churning? Sorry if you've only just woken up to the fact that that is how Gainax has always operated...but it is.
The real irony here is that my reactions to the original Eva are quite like your reactions to the rebuild. I thought it was shallow fanservice big robots cute girls overly elaborate mythology all cloaking toy sales and drama cds. I've yet to find proof I was wrong, too. :)
I didn't especially like either the original TV ending (lazy, pompous and incoherent is no way to go through life, son) or the movies which replaced them (vicious, pugnacious and ugly isn't much of an improvement, either). I'm kind of disappointed to hear that the rebuilds won't be a decent third try at the story. The TV series had so much potential, and Anno pissed it away so thoroughly, twice. Sounds like he's going for a third time. I don't need another urine stain on my scalp, so thanks for the warning.
To actually discuss 'Rebuild part two' would nearly take a whole blog post, or an essay, or perhaps a dissatation and I wouldn't wish to drop it all in a blog comment post on an article that is already a few months old.
Oh and the fan-service in the movie is not 'ironic', it's extremely serious and thoroughly researched fan-service which is pretty much everything that Mari does. It is as indefensible as it creepy. Whoops, I'm already off on a tangent.
I went to see giant robots trash shit, and I got that. There was a lot of stuff that made me uncomfortable about having paid money to see it, too.
Anybody with a geeky hobby runs into this, and we all have to come up with some form of special pleading in order to continue enjoying it. But pretending that everything is totally okay is insulting. It's emblematic of a defensive and infantile fan culture that drives out casual interest. And the only way it changes is if someone calls fandom on its shit.
On reflection, there is a lot of emotion in the above review that only makes sense me to now, many months after the movie has already been discussed to death. With the continuing trends in the industry as a whole this review is becoming increasingly more relevant. There were so many possibilities afforded to the people making this movie and yet they choose to play it so pathetically safe. This is one of those few bug releases that could actually attract mainstream coverage and yet rather then appealing to a wider market they simply pander, doing nothing to stop anime from slipping yet further into the ghetto. The most damming implication of the incompetence behind this movie has got to be the simplification of the characters which is especially egregious considering they were possibly the most consistent parts of the original series. Sure, everyone being depressed conflicts with my suggestion of increasing the market but yet they didn't have to go to the lengths they went too in going completely the other way. I'm more annoyed now then I was before because of other companies pandering to the crowd.
We can criticize Anno for selling himself to comercialism but at the end no one cares, even Evangelion fans. Most of Eva fandom only liked the generic part of the series, mechas and fanservice, and they found the most creative parts as "boring", "disturbing" or "emo". Anno made a generic mecha anime with the word "Evangelion" in the title and people like it.
What's the moral of this story? Don't even try, your audience just want boobs and explosions.
Only rabid fanboys think in anime as something deep and artsy. Anime is an entertainment aimed to kids and nerds and I'm ok with that. I'm talking about some creativity instead of the lowest common denominator. You can say whatever you want about NGE but at least Anno and his staff really tried to make something different. Rebuild is the lowest common denominator.
"Anno trying to get more money from stupid Evafags"
And that is exactly what it is.
Anno sees that his fans are pretentious fucktards that like circle jerking to their own understanding of basic principles. So he makes a new movie every once in a while. Also, did you notice that he releases a new fucking Eva package every fucking year? OH THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT, ITS THE PLATINUM VERSION!!!! YOU CAN HAVE IT FOR 80 DOLLARS! He knows that fans will eat this shit up... Anno is a smart man.
He just wants to milk the cash cow a bit more. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I can only laugh at the morons actually being offended by this. The fanbase deserves it. Maybe now they can see how idiotic they all really are.
Anno hates and has always hated his own fanbase.
'Anime' is just a name for cartoons, that happen to come from Japan. In that sense, it is the medium of 2D animation.
It is not inherently deep and artsy, neither is it all aimed for nerds and kids. It's inherently nothing: people can produce anything with a medium. It has no borders.
For commercial purposes it is often for kids and nerds, but it can also be deep and artsy (sometimes).
In other words, it can by anything.
evans created for not been toys since the begining? c'mon!!! you really believe that?
I really like to read heaters like you, I think if you don't like the movie, why dont stop in 1.0??? but I bet you've already seen 1.1 1.11 2.0 2.22 dont'ya? :)
now talking seriously, I respect your opinion, yeah it's a commercial movie, but IT'S EVANGELION! IT IS a commercial franchise SINCE THE BEGINNING!, don't belive other thing.
now take a seat and relax under the shade of your AT Field umbella, third impact weather is nice ;)
Honestly, this is a lot less whimsically vicious than Colony Drops brazen bastardly braggadocio; Sean seems to be one of the people who honestly and truly believe Evangelion to be intrinsically deep and powerful instead of a lucky accident that was too smart by half. And to see GAINAX pimp it out like the high-class escort it became the moment it shocked otaku culture to its core wounds him to the quick. That's understandable, but it doesn't make for entertainment, unless you like drama.
The way I see it, Anno really, *really* wants to be like Yoshiyuki Tomino, with all of the fan cachet, hookers, and blow that entails. It's what led to the rumors around Eva's entrant into Super Robot Wars ("I want my Eva to be with Gundam, Mazinger, and Getter"), and these movies (and Death/Rebirth/End/Eva II: Electric Boogaloo) are his attempt to recanonize the whole shebang, like the UC movies did. When you look it that way, and when you remember that above all else, anime as a medium is a business and an art; the Eva movies make more sense.
Never attribute to malice what can easily be attributed to ignorance (of curmudgeonly bastards holding the broken banner of a long-faded Japtoon bastion).
I really hate the sequel theory. If Anno want to make easy money, there's nothing wrong with that. Yeah, it's still freaking awful but at least Rebuild is supposed to be an alternative retelling with no direct relation with NGE. But a sequel would ruin not only Anno's reputation but also NGE. It would be hard to rewatch EoE knowing that everything is basically a joke because Shinji can reset the universe.
Could you be anymore of a stereotypical gaia user who has no understanding of internet lingo and watches NGE because it makes him feel like a big boy?
While the sequel theory might be painful it would make perfect sense in terms of the ending of the TV series, the "Congratulations" scene and also the comments in the movies that people could return from their LCL state if they wished to. Doesn't the new movie remind you of the classroom scene where Asuka is Shinji's friend and Rei is a clumsy girl with toast? We might really be seeing the full version of that reality here, now. It wouldn't surprise me, let's put it that way.
As far as Hideaki Anno himself goes, I think he is a good director, and here's why. Even after multiply viewings, the climax of the first new movie still grips me despite knowing how it will end. He achieves this through the basics of developing dramatic tension in film. You have a giant, shape-shifting, screaming monster to create distress and danger. A plan that requires the use of an entire countries power supply to present the scale. Then of course, there's the well executed tempo and tone resonated by several sequences building to one moment: you have the intricate laying of the power grid, the distraction tactics by the military offensive, cut between moments of Shinji in the pilot's seat, Misato on command and Gendo in HQ mixed together with the superb use of music and various audio tracks of people in the background monitoring the situation, adding density, which the original episodes never did. All of this would be a jumbled mess if not for the fact that it was building up to something, and Anno achieved just that. So no, I cannot agree that Anno is no longer a good filmmaker. If anything, he has become a better one.
I also mention the first film because I see a pattern emerging in complaints about these movies. With the first new film, it was too much like the TV show, and the second moved too fast without developing the characters enough. It was like the first film was meant to be an homage to the original series and the second a mass appeal version of the TV show. The thing to keep in mind is that these are not stand alone films. If your point was that "Evangelion 2.0" failed on its own then I think your complaints would have merit, and if you reviewed it in those contexts I would agree with you. (I have no reason to complain to professional critics from newspapers like the LA Times who clearly never saw the original series or even the first new movie. Their claims are justifiable.) However, you review the second film in terms of the original series, which seems unfair because it is part of a whole, and no one has seen the whole thing yet.
Now, this is just speculation on my part, but the trend I see from the first new film being an homage and the second a mass appeal suggests to me that the third and fourth films will be a radical departure not just from the original series but the first two new movies as well. I think it fits in line with Anno's goal for these new movies to connect the anime industry of today to the future. The key word is 'connect.' The first film acts as a throwback to the TV show, the second plays out as the contemporary mass market revision, and the third and fourth, well the question mark in fourth film's planned title is all the answer we are getting right now. Honestly, that just puts a lot of expectation on the forthcoming entries. Again, I want to emphasize that this is just my speculation.
However, saying Anno did this only for money is itself speculative. (I read he broke away from Gianax because they made pachinko games out of his first directorial effort "Gunbusters.") In any case, "Evangelion 2.0" is not comparable to the Star Wars prequels. You can argue that both were driven by profit gains, but the prequels were total failures as movies alone whereas "Evangelion 2.0" was made to appeal to a wider audience. (The box office between the first and second new movies attests to that.) I suggest watching the Red Letter Media ( www.redlettermedia.com ) reviews of the Star Wars prequels and the new "Star Trek" movie. I found your issues with "Evangelion 2.0" comparable to complaints leveled at the J.J. Abrams movie, which tells me that it is more of a guilty pleasure movie like the new "Star Trek" than a stale cash cow like the Star Wars prequels.
Finally, the characters in "Evangelion 2.0" may not have been as developed as the versions in the original series, but I liked them a lot more. Rei shows some emotion, Asuka thinks about others and most important of all, Shinji grows a spine. I really did not start to sympathize with characters like Asuka in the TV show until after the events where the second new movie leaves off. That is where we get the back story for most of the characters and where the series heads deep down the rabbit hole, so again, the new movies are part of a larger whole, and we have not seen everything yet. On top of that, I actually liked Asuka by the end of "Evangelion 2.0" whereas by the same point in the series, I was still waiting to find out why I should care about this naval gazing teen. I think it is fair to say, she and other primary characters will get more development in the third movie. Based on the events at the end of the second and what the preview says will happen the next one, it seems like a perfect time for flashbacks and exposition scenes, but again, that is just speculation.
One more thing, I enjoyed listening to you guys on ANNCast and thank you for sharing your thoughts on this movie. I really appreciate it.
Their were a lot of moments in the film where I was like..this would make a sweet figure or poster or trash bin or crack pipe...(because their is Eva EVERYTHING now) so the commercialism just was too hard to ignore. I didn't like that, I didn't want to feel I was just getting sold another piece of Eva merch. I wanted it to be like the actual series where it was void of them holding name brand things like Doritoes and UCC coffee and Anno was actually trying to get across an emotion...not just random flashiness.
I did enjoy Eva 2.22 for its visuals, they flowed very well together and kept me watching the whole time...but at this point in animation history that shouldn't be too hard anyways. We Know Gainax can do flashy. What I want from them is to really kick in deeper character and story development within the next two movies because that is the only way I can redeem them as worthy of the EVA title.
But this review was totally refreshing and I'm really glad someone, who is also a fan of the series, spoke out against it for once and did it well. You hit nearly every point I was thinking of and it just makes me happy to know that their are people actually writing reviews based on pure content not just by how moe and ugyuuu every girl is.
And "one of the worst animated films in recent memory"? How long is your memory, and how many animated films have you watched in that time?
Here's some food for thought: How would you rate the original NGE if you had only watched the first half of it? What I think people tend to forget is that Eva wasn't always the intellectual-art-fest that we remember it being. It started out as six episodes of Shinji moping and Rei being Rei followed by another bunch of fun episodes in monster-of-the-week format which weren't particularly serious or deep (see Magma Diver). By comparison, Rebuild so far is one movie featuring Shinji moping and Rei being Rei followed by another movie which is balls-to-the-wall action and isn't particularly serious or deep. What NGE really was was a massive exercise in bait-and-switch. It set up people's expectations for one thing and then KICKED THEM IN THE FACE.
What I'm getting at is that I have a feeling Rebuild is going to surprise you by the end. Anno has a real talent for telling the fans "FUCK YOU!" and sending his work off in a blaze of glory.
As for 2.0 itself, all I have to say is that when my friend and I walked out of the theater, we couldn't have been happier. We were expecting an awesomely-animated and exciting analogue to the action arc of NGE, and that's exactly what we got. And would a director who's just catering to the fans change a scene that's iconic in its brutality by replacing the typical score with a hauntingly ironic song delivered by a children's choir? And you can't tell me that the new depiction of Second Impact didn't leave you breathless.
Of course, this doesn't change how much I love you, Colony Drop. I'm willing to accept your occasional revulsion toward things I love if it means you keep on calling out crap where you see it in an intelligent and entertaining manner.
(Oh, please no; Don't concern yourself with the necessary follow-up rationalization...allow me: "You [I] simply can't allow a contrasting opinion to go unchecked! Don't blame me if your [my] roseate appreciation of the source material impedes your [my] ability to offer an objective analysis of its failings.")
Remember: When you speak of motivations you know little about, you're likely to fill in the blanks with the things you hate most about yourself.
I think I know exactly how you smell, Sean.
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