Anime Reviews - Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance

Before we proceed any further, you can read my review of Evangelion 1.11 here.

"In the earliest battles against the monstrous Angels, young Eva pilots Shinji and Rei were forced to carry humanity's hopes on their shoulders. Now, with the deadly onslaught of the Angels escalating and the apocalyptic Third Impact looming, Shinji and Rei find their burden shared by two new Eva pilots, the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari. Manoeuvring their enormous Eva machines into combat, the four young souls fight desperately to save mankind from the heavens - but will they be able to save themselves?"

Since getting 2.22 on Blu Ray I've watched it no less than 5 times. Firstly because I absolutely love it but secondly because I'm trying to find some faults so that this review doesn't come across as being too biased. Unfortunately, I struggled with the latter.

Reinterpreting episodes 8-19 of the original series, 2.22 feels as though it dispenses with a lot of the confusion that was prevalent in the series. Not only does the re-imagining flow a lot better but the characters are entirely more likable. Asuka especially is a more rich and rounded character. Instead of just coming across like an angry bitch she now appears as a deep and emotionally disturbed teen, making her not only more likable but it also allows the watcher to feel concern for the young pilot. She is obviously in a very dark place. Rei is also somewhat different. She seems to be a little bit less fractured than she was before. This is especially noticeable in the scene in which Asuka slaps Rei in the face while they are both in an elevator. In 2.22, Rei grabs Asuka's hand just before impact. This shows that Rei is not just a puppet but has more inner strength than her original incarnation.

Although this film is a re-imagining of episodes 8-19, there are a huge amount of original scenes, the introduction of an all new Eva pilot in Mari Illustrious Makinami and two all new Eva, Provisional Unit 05 and Mark.06. These changes aren't exactly subtle and are different enough from the series that long time fans will realise that these changes are deliberate and make for a much easier viewing experience. There is still the heavy handed injection of Catholic/Christian rhetoric and the dark and brooding "coming of age" angst but the entire film plays out much more like an action movie than the series. It is easy to watch and incredibly easy on the eyes.

The animation in Evangelion 2.22 is the sharpest, crispest, most visually appealing animation that I have ever seen. I hesitated to write the previous statement but at the end of the day, it is exactly how I feel. It is a truly stunning piece of work that has so much to admire in every single scene. The use of CG animation is reasonably unnoticeable yet assists in allowing the Eva units to move with the fluidity that made the franchise so groundbreaking in the mecha field. Watching this Blu Ray in its glorious high definition 1080p reinvigorated my love for anime. I was never feeling "over" anime but this film made me realise that Evangelion 1.11 and 2.22 could be to new viewers what Ghost in the Shell and Akira were to me. This is an incredibly rich and engrossing film that displays that highest level of production value that I have ever seen. The only downside is that they haven't even announced a release date for the third film.

Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance is available on Blu Ray and DVD from Madman NOW!

Also, stay tuned for your chance to win a couple of great signed copies of 1.11 and 2.22 thanks to the awesome people at Madman and the Japan Foundation!

© khara. All Rights Reserved.


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