The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

Title: Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone
Company: Khara
Format: Movie; 98 minutes.
Dates: 1 Sep 2007

Synopsis: In the year 2000, mankind suffers a cataclysmic event that wipes out half of the human population. Fifteen years later, another devastation awaits humanity if it is unable to ward off a group of mysterious giant creatures known as the Angels. Due to the incredible strength of these monsters, only the humanoid fighting units known as the Evangelion can destroy them. Called forward by a father who abandoned him, fourteen year old Ikari Shinji is given the choice of piloting an Evangelion. He must now choose between risking his life in battle or running away from his fear, from his father and from himself.

The Highlights
Animation: Completely redrawn frame by frame with a movie quality budget.
Fight scenes: Two of three are pretty much the same, but the final one was undeniably creative.
Story: Focuses slightly more on Shinji and his attempts to find meaning.

It seems that director Anno Hideaki hasn’t yet realized that he has already concluded his vision of Evangelion with something called the End of Evangelion. Considering the continual popularity of the franchise merchandise from LCL orange sodas to custom cell phone bling, it seems that fans haven’t realized this either. Being a moderate fan of the series, I could only act with silent joy at the announcement of the remake of the original television series. For the most part, Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone delivers the goods complete with a hot fudge sundae; if you enjoyed the original television series, I can practically guarantee you that you will enjoy this anime.

However, for those of you who didn’t enjoy the original, this movie probably won’t change many opinions. You Are (Not) Alone is a near verbatim retelling of the original with less comedy, a few inserted transition scenes and even better action. Sadly, when I say “near verbatim” I mean “ripped from the cold, dead fingers of the original.” The only reason this wholesale copy, redraw and paste can be so wholly overlooked is the fact that the original creator Anno Hideaki headed both projects. It seems that he likes his old vision of the first six episodes, so he faithfully recreates it with only a few tweaks. While I would like to make references to CliffsNotes, I really can’t since the movie is pretty complete in and of itself; this way it is still accessible for those who haven’t seen the original.

As expected from a remake, the standards set by the seiyuu and the music carry over to this movie. In other words, the voice acting is great and the music is solid. As far as the story goes, it’s a more tightly written version of the television series’. Once again, this is Ikari Shinji’s story. His angst, his loneliness and his desperate longing for acknowledgement from others are the real focal points of the movie. Also, it may just be me, but this time around, Shinji feels a bit more assertive, which does make the experience more pleasant.

Now, I’ll be blunt. To me, the very existence of the movie begs the question “what’s the point”? The first six episodes of Evangelion television series was a complete product. There is really no need to fix what isn’t broken. Considering that this franchise has been raking in money for the past ten years, I might as well assume that money was the primary reasoning behind the entire project and proceed to call this a 98 minute circle jerk. Beautiful, yes, but a part of me really has a difficulty of seeing the point of meticulously redrawing over an hour content when the original still looks pretty darn good. Rather than a near exact rehash, why not go for a completely new retelling? I’d rather a movie pervert the original in attempts to reach genuine creativity than to tread an already beaten path just to make sure it’s flat enough.

Regardless, this is still a very entertaining movie. The fights were excellent, the visuals were pleasing and the perpetual déjà vus fell more along the line of nostalgia than disgust. It’s just this lingering feeling that I’ve been sold a prettier version of the exact same thing that bugs me. Oh well, at the end of the day, I really enjoyed Evangelion 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone. Despite what my inner critic has to say, solid entertainment is all I truly ask for and this movie provides just that.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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