Anime: Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo - DVD
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Retail Price: $29.98
The anime film series Evangelion has been seen, or is at least well-known, amongst anime fans of all ages for a spaced out story about a futuristic mecha world. A quick catch-up for those who are rusty on their Evangelion knowledge, the premise focuses in on Shinji Ikari, a young teenage boy who is approached to pilot a mecha weapon (Evangelion Unit-01) in order to help battle antagonistic creatures labeled as Angels. In the first two films, Shinji became a prevalent figure in the ongoing war and was in limbo after the events of Evagelion 2.0. Two Evas (Asuka and Mari) are sent into Earth’s orbit to rediscover Evangelion Unit-01 from a tomb like structure from years before. The two on the rescue mission are soon ambushed by the Nemesis Series, and things are off to an intense battle from the very start.
After diving straight into the return of Evangelion, the unit Shinji resides in is sent back to Earth and is soon after restored in full-physical form by a organized group named WILLE. Unfortunately for Shinji, things are different than he had hoped for. It has been 14 years since the events of Evangelion 2.0, and the protagonist discovers the world has become nearly unhinged after he initiated the Third Impact that left Earth in shambles. Shinji’s former allies/comrades have since become cold toward his presence, and swear him off of piloting another Eva ever again. Feeling like a prisoner of his own kind, Shinji needs to scavenge his way through the world and his personal relationships to evaluate his actions, and the fate of humanity.
Shinji is shunned by just about everyone he comes into contact with, but finds a true companionship and genuineness from Kaworu. Kaworu has been awaiting his introduction to Shinji (even during his return to Earth) and is destined to be his “partner” in a new co-pilot based Eva. Kaworu is similar to Shinji, yet very different as well -- and the strong connection can be felt by viewers instantaneously. In one strong example of the necessary bond, Kaworu (a pianist) can be seen playing side-by-side with Shinji, always finding the time to create music and enjoy the quiet blissful serenity that they find from each other’s company. With strained personal dynamics, it gives the film a great chance to explore a dynamic in mainstream anime that doesn’t usually get to play out -- even if motives were occasionally questionable.
What makes Evangelion 3.33 so unique from not only other anime but the other two Evangelion films is that they expand on their protagonist by expressing romantic inclusions with a same-sex pairing. Shinji and Kaworu are two characters in an action/mecha anime with fleets of fans who also happen to love each other. It’s an unexpected path to travel and is done with grace and sensitivity, given the potential backlash. It doesn’t detract from the ongoing plot but adds a great love story to an extremely detailed world that would be effective regardless of gender -- so, by taking that approach, it became a starting point for anime films and mainstream series of its kind. The scenes that brought them together were the most captivating moments in Evangelion 3.33, and surpassed my expectations for a fully mapped out film with various elements for a complete project. Things also take a very dark turn before the film’s end, dealing with some of the most horrific trauma they can dish out. A loss (that has been reblogged or discussed everywhere online) is one of the most gut-wrenching scenes in anime that will surely reside in your mind no matter how much you want to forget it. The relationship between Shinji and Kaworu is hands down the most compelling part of the film, and has the ability to reinvigorate interest in the series.
The animation in Evangelion 3.33 is impressive to say the least -- with the very first moments showcasing the visual barrage they created. A battle ensues that could be rewatched (much like the film) just to see anything you may have missed. It shows viewers that the details are well thought out in advance, and they didn’t want to slack on the highly regarded film. Mecha series aren't always my favorite (understatement) but the fast-paced fights were strong improvements over the other films, making it feel like an anime cinematic masterpiece. The character designs for each character was aesthetically appealing, providing individual physical traits that set them above average in terms of art quality. Animation was most impressive during the piano sequence that required extra effort to add to the excellence of the scene, with an equally enjoyable score. The closing song is one of those rare instances that adds raw emotional connections to the music, and left me wanting more -- but feeling the finality that set in.
Evangelion 3.33 is a rare anime film that captures passion, action, adventure, drama, and true love without missing a beat. The concept initially may not have been something I would be drawn to, but that’s evidence that the film has successfully told a story that transcends a genre, and excels in storytelling. The moving love story between Shinji and Kaworu became one of the most well-balanced romantic depictions in anime, and my only gripe is that it couldn’t go on longer. If you haven’t seen Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo, (which I’m sure most have) make sure you pick up a copy on DVD or Blu-ray now!
Overall Grade: 8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-Shinji coming to terms with his own morality and desire to do good (while causing accidental issues) was a great method of storytelling, and a way to become invested in the protagonist.
-Kaworu and Shinji. I can’t stress enough how much they brought to the anime film.
-The thrilling action in combination with the enjoyable music was crucial to the success of the film.
-I wasn’t happy with the outcome of one character, but the way it was handled after the devastating event gave enough premise to another film with further ramifications.