Evangelion 1.11 You re(Not) Alone is the first of the four-movie project made by GAINAX Studios, the same team who worked on the famed TV series and movies of the same name. The project was originally dubbed Rebuild of Evangelion as it’s meant to be a redone of the whole series condensed 4 full-length films w/ plenty of tweaks and new faces, but after watching 1.11 at the rate the movie is going, this might be more of a sequel than a remake. There are plenty of evidences lying around the movie that might stand up to my argument as to whether or not this is a continuation of the one of most popular anime franchises around. Does this movie live up to fan’s expectations and doesn’t alienate its new found fans, or is this just another great anime poorly done for the anime studio’s show pony?
To those who are new to Evangelion might be confused at where this takes place, but as a fan, the movie takes place between Ep. 1 – 6. The movie starts off in a abandoned city of Tokyo-3 for an alien life form known as The Angels (no not the angels of Christian mythology or the Los-Angeles Angels), named the 4th Angel (sorry I can’t remember the name exactly), is approaching the city and even w/ the might of UN’s forces and a N2 mine (Atom Bomb x2) they couldn’t stop it. Meanwhile a young teenage boy name Shinji Ikari is waiting for his pickup in the form of Misato Katsuragi. When the two left un-scathed, Misato takes Shinji to the facility underneath Tokyo-3 known as NERV Headquarters where not only he is met by father (head honcho of NERV) whom he despises, but is ordered to be the pilot of a building-sized mecha call Evangelion Unit-01, aka humanity’s last line of defense against The Angels, even though he never had any kind of training nor never see the mech till now. Scared out of his wits, Shinji doesn’t comply to pilot Unit-01, but after The Angel is directly above the HQ and sees another Eva pilot who can barely stand on her own two feet, he swallows his pride and takes the helm as Unit-01’s pilot. From there on, we are introduced to the ¾ of the main cast who are staying on this crazy train of sadness, pain, and questions of why must Shinji and the other pilot, Rei Ayanami, have to pilot the Evas and stop The Angels at all cost, not to mention character development between Shinji and Misato that was lightly touched upon in the show. Hardcore fans would recognize that there have been changes like the filter that were around in Ep. 1-6 are completely removed to make sure the story is more filled out. They would also see noticeable changes that questions them right up to the end of the movie where the every last scene may give away at where the story is heading. I won’t give it away, but let’s say if you have a hardcore fan as a friend who sees the scene for the first time, they’re gonna gasp in awe of what transpires and will be anxiously waiting for the release of Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance.
The animation is hard to re-create the imagery that the TV series developed because for its time, it was really great animation that captures the imagery of the Evangelion universe. But that doesn’t mean it sucks in 1.11. In fact I say it’s impressive, if not better, than the TV series. The scene where we see the computer projected synchronization between Shinji and Eva Unit 01 is really good. It’s very well shown than the TV adaptation’s take which it looked like a diagram techno-babble. The highlight goes to the battle between Shinji and the 5th Angel since Gainax had no limitations, the animation of the Angel’s attack is spectacular and made it more menacing than its original form. Music-wise, series composer Shiro Sagisu brings the scenes to life w/ incredible beats a new mixes like Angel Attack. He did a pretty good job on TV and End of Eva, but here, he takes his scorings to a whole new level. It’s just to see these battles and emotional scenes portrayed more incredible thanks to his composing. Since I own 1.11, I only get to listen to the dub, and it’s pretty good there as well. Most of the original cast is all accounted for (Spike Spenser as Shinji, Alison Keith as Misato, Colleen Clikenbeard as Ritsuko, etc.), but w/ one or two replacements. Kensuke is now voiced by Greg Ayres, aka the-man-I-sometimes-mistaken-as-spike, and replacing Wendee Lee as Rei is Briana Palencia. Both actors do spectacular on portraying their roles, but whenever I hear Greg, I’ll always remember him as Kaoru from Ouran Highschool Host Club, and of course Negi from Negima. As for Briana, I have to say she puts a little bit emotion into Rei than Wendee did, which is a plus on my book. We might know what Rei’s fate is, but at least she’ll convince newbies out there that she is more than human.
The reason why some people hate the TV series and End of Eva is because the production on them quick, so Series Director Hideaki Anno had to make the story as quick as he could back then. Now, he has all the time in the world to flesh out the characters, setting, and plot to be looked over by old and new fans. It was easy to pick on where each scene is taking place since they follow to the TV series to a T w/ new and altered scenes, except for Episode 4 which is good they left it out. In short, cramping 5 episodes into an hour-and-a-half film might not be difficult here, but it’ll be a challenge for 2.22. Some say that the relationship between Shinji and Misato is heavier than the TV series, but I think it’s not escalated into somewhere we see them kiss like how they did in End of Eva. Shinji’s emotion of not wanting to pilot Eva Unit-01 is what drove Misato to show him why he has to stop the Angels to a certain length, and that’s it. Hopefully my theory is correct as the movies progresses.
Evangelion 1.11: You are (Not) Alone is something both Evangelion fans to watch, and for new comers to see why this series is so popular. The visuals are amazing, the acting is great, the music is fantastic, and the pace is well-thought-out. As a critic, it is well put-together, and it’s something worth watching, but as a fan, you’ll might get confuse on some things like why is the sea red, and why is *spoiler removed*…but hopefully things will be explained in 2.22, 3.0, and 4.0 if they’re gonna call it that. I give it 5 crying-Shinjis out of 5. See you all later in the review of Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance.