Some of us tend to go about life thinking that on our shoulders lies the weight of the world. Confusion, doubt, anxiety; these are key factors to the mental downfall of every single human being, and those of us that believe the path of existence can be altered as a cause of our menial daily decisions tend to succumb to their influences in a drastically accelerated way.
Now it’s obvious that I’m speaking metaphorically, but the power of the mind is immense and practically uncontrollable, so it isn’t too odd to imagine that some folks truly do feel as though they bare the weight of the world.
There is an Anime character synonymous with that of which I’ve just detailed, but this character is also infamous for being quite the “brat“. The exaggerated difference between him and those of us that feel the effects of depression, anti-socialism, and everything that comes along with soul-crushing anxiety is that, well…the foundation of existence itself is shaped by the ill-informed decisions of this mentally-inept fourteen year old, and not us.
His name is Shinji Hikari, and a lot of Anime fans enjoy giving him a hard time for his inability to “get into the robot“. Thinking about his young life, some may come to realise that his fear of piloting an Evangelion Unit is not unfounded. After all…one bad decision could mean the literal end of existence as we know it. Would you not also be as reluctant?
Madman Entertainment have finally given a home video release to perhaps one of the most anticipated contemporary Anime movies, and it is thanks to them that us at SnapThirty have been given the chance to review the third installment of the Rebuild Of Evangelion films, oddly titled Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo.
Theatrically released quite some time ago as a part of their Reel Anime lineup, this is the first time Madman Entertainment has released the film with a full English dub, and as a fan of said dub, I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to, once again, experience the strange, heart-wrenching story of Evangelion 3.33.
Shinji Ikari just woke up in his Eva unit fourteen years after starting the Third Impact. He hasn’t aged, but everything else has changed. The earth is in ruins. Rei is missing. The people he once protected treat him like a prisoner and threaten to kill him if he pilots another Eva.
When he escapes to the remains of NERV headquarters, Shinji meets pianist Kaworu, who is destined to be Shinji’s copilot in a new dual-cockpit Eva. As the boys bond, NERV’s true mission begins to come into focus. Lost in a labyrinth of deception, Shinji careens toward a mental breakdown that could bring about the end of humanity. – Madman Entertainment
Neon Genesis Evangelion is quite the confronting Anime series. It deals with heavy themes, and tells a tale in strange, bloody ways that, supposedly, were done so to make audiences think about not only what they were watching, but about their lives and the world in which they live in as a whole. The truth of the matter is that the creator of the series, Hideaki Anno, was a deeply troubled man who used the medium to express himself in a way unlike any other, putting fragments of his own twisted mind amidst the events of Evangelion to drive home certain points that, without such depravity, would have gone over the heads of many audience members.
Regardless of the reason, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a dark tale that brands the minds of those who experience it, be it through the original Anime series, or these new films. Granted, it takes a reasonable amount of research, but Neon Genesis Evangelion isn’t too hard of a series to understand. At it’s very core, it’s a story about love, loss, and the willingness to do anything for the sake of happiness…even if that means altering reality as a whole.
Now up until the release of Evangelion 3.33, the Rebuild Of Evangelion movies have stuck to the source material as closely as they possibly could have, with only certain key points being changed for, in my humble opinion, the better. It is with the release of 3.33 that the story gets turned on it’s head. It is now twelve years after the events of the last movie, wherein which Shinji initiated the Third Impact for the sake of Rei’s life, and the known world has become what can only be described as blood-soaked wasteland…literally.
Above all else, Neon Genesis Evangelion has always relied on mystery to fuel it’s audience’s passion to continue watching, but I felt as though 3.33 takes that storytelling tool and uses it as the foundation of the film’s entire events. 3.33 brings up countless questions that go unanswered, with the general hope being that this dark cloud lingering over the series gets lifted in the fourth and final film, allowing all of us that have bared with it’s elongated development time in on what the mysterious side of Evangelion has to offer.
Despite all that, 3.33 is much like the previous films in the way that it tells a story only Neon Genesis Evangelion can. Through this movie the audience is, once again, made privy to the fragile mind of Shinji Ikari, only this time around we see just how truly troubled he is. While in the other films it was the daunting task of piloting a gargantuan robot and the possibility of killing many innocent people that stopped him from obeying his Father’s wishes. In this film, it is much different: Shinji, thanks to his connection with Evangelion Unit-01, caused a global catastrophe that took the lives of almost every living being on the planet Earth.
Awakened after twelve years after these events, Shinji is told in great detail about his past sins and what he has caused, subsequently becoming a prisoner of the “good guys” due to his literal crimes against humanity. It is in Evangelion 3.33 that we truly get to see his mental desolation. No longer understanding the separation between good and evil, he is forced to make decisions based on other people’s ideals. 3.33 shows the audience what it means to have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and it shows us this through the eyes of a broken fourteen year old boy. It is an incredibly sad story that has yet to have been told this well by any other series of it’s kind.
Animated by Anno’s own Studio Khara, Evangelion 3.33 is a visual delight like no other. If you’ve seen this film’s two predecessors, you will already know the high calibre of visual quality I am referring to, but for those of you that havn’t had the pleasure; every single scene is a work of utter beauty. From the slowest to the most cinematic moments of the film, Evangelion 3.33 blew me away with every single visual transition. Neon Genesis Evangelion’s story has always been deep-rooted in the teachings of both Western and Eastern religions, be they modern or ancient. This allows for some incredibly shocking visuals that simply beg to be seen.
Rather than looking away in terror from the obvious allusion to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, you are glued to the screen as scenes of this kind evolve to become something both beautiful and disgusting at the same time. This visual style is something mastered by the team behind Neon Genesis Evangelion and, much like a lot of other features from the series, are unmatched in how they impact audiences. The team at Studio Khara uses a mix between traditional and computer animation in subtle ways to make this film incredibly pleasing to the eye, and their use of powerful colour throughout the entire film allows for audiences to instantly connect with the emotion portrayed through any and all pivotal scenes.
Evangelion 3.33, despite being a film that fits perfectly into the Science-Fiction genre, does not feature a soundtrack that plays into the cliche. Being heavily based on many religious teachings, it only makes sense for the soundtrack to be populated by overwhelming orchestral pieces that would be as well-suited to a Gregorian Mass to that of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The soundtrack does diverge at times, but it is only ever briefly, and as the film goes on we see a severe lack of any tracks that are not auditorily pious. Backing up the incredible soundtrack is that of the English dub cast, who each do an incredible job at portraying their specific characters.
The funny thing about that is; there actually isn’t a great deal of dialogue in this film. When characters speak, they often speak briefly and with a clear goal to their interaction considering time is not a luxury for them, so what you get when mixing realistic features like this are lines that are authentic, concise, and sparing of unnecessary conversation. I found this to be a fantastic representation of these characters specifically in the post-apocalyptic future wherein which every word counts, and time is not something that can be wasted having meaningless conversation. Despite that, we still get a lot of information from these characters while also seeing some serious growth.
It’s been a long time between films, and we’ve waited a long time to see this movie come to the West, considering it was released in Japan in 2009. So was the wait worth it? In my humble opinion, I believe Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo is well worth the wait. Before jumping straight into the new film though, I do suggest that you catch up on the first two because, without being informed, 3.33 will send you on a wild ride littered with more questions than absolutely necessary. To a high degree, the film does this regardless, so lessen the trouble on yourself and become refreshed with the films already released.
I mentioned earlier that this film became quite frustrating due to the very vague details given about the series’ deeper backstory that only brought up more questions without answering those remaining from the first two films. This is still apparent despite educating yourself, but I believe it is all a part of the series’ charm. It is only once you’ve leaned heavily into the fact that you will be left in the dark that you can relax your mind and enjoy the film for what it is: A psychological horror about a divine apocalypse brought about by a selfish man and his puppet of a son.
Still, it does get a little frustrating, so I cannot give this film a perfect score. In regards to all it’s other features; Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo is a fantastic film that reminds people of how great 90s Anime was, and how much the medium has grown since then. You won’t find a better overall Anime movie experience than right here with Evangelion 3.33, and that is something I truly believe. It is a film that makes you angry, makes you sad, confuses you, and makes you want to live alone in quite, existential contemplation…and that’s all on purpose. Hideaki Anno is a troubled but brilliant writer, and he’s an even better director. Hopefully the fourth movie will wrap this story up nicely, but until then we have one huge, enjoyable mystery on our hands and, to be honest, I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
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