Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this st... more »range and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines ? the Evas ? and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01.Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind?s battle for survival in this visually striking rebuild of one of the most important anime of all time. Shinji will fight the Angels alongside the only person who might understand his plight ? Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of Eva Unit 00. In this film experience not to be missed, Shinji and Rei will struggle to learn a simple truth: when carrying the burden of humanity?s survival on your shoulders, you are not alone.« less
The only thing that makes this even a tiny bit worth your while is the fact that Shinji has about 1/2 the facetime as he does in the anime series, so you get all the robot action with half the whining.
A Modern Masterwork on Many Levels
ONENEO | Buffalo, NY | 11/14/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Love or hate the Giant Robot genre of anime, there is no denying the resounding influence the Evangelion franchise has had on the industry since its introduction back in 1997. I'm a self-admitted mecha-head and to have an opportunity to go back and witness the beginning of it all was quite an experience. Thanks to FUNimation, the masses will now have that same opportunity with their North American release of Evangelion: 1.01, the full length motion picture.
Hard facts first: The release is comprised of a single disc, housed in a standard sized dvd case with a cardboard outer slip cover with art that directly mimics the case within. The program's runtime comes in at 98 minutes and wears an appropriate PG-13 rating due to animated action, violence and some ambiguous nudity.
Language options are standard sub & dub fair, which means the viewer is given the option of running the original Japanese dialog track or an English dub, either of which is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. The option to turn on English subtitles exists for either language choice as well.
Extras are essentially nonexistent save for an included booklet that explains precisely what this rebuilt DVD means and a note from the original screenplay writer and Chief Director of the project, Hideaki Anno.
The story, while straightforward enough in presentation, has been the source of case studies, web-site devotion, even college thesis throughout the years and hence could never be summarized accurately (with dignity) here. However, to reduce it all down to its most basic levels, a young boy by the name of Shinji is thrust into a world beyond comprehension once an attacking "Angel" comes to town. It turns out that Shinji is one of few individuals in the world who possesses the rare ability to pilot the massive synthetic beings/ weapons known as Evangelions.
Reluctantly he allows himself to submit to the whirlwind of life-changing experiences associated with becoming an Evangelion pilot and makes some new friends and discovers more about his own past in the process. Working for a top-secret, underground (literally) organization known as NERV, Shingi's life as an average 14-year-old is forever lost to the reality that his destiny is to be the one to save all of mankind from imminent doom.
So here it is precisely twelve years since this very material graced Japanese movie screens, you may rightfully be wondering what it is that FUNimation is releasing here. The answer is a bit complex, but I'll do my best to set it straight.
Way back in October of 1995, the animated television series Neon Genesis Evangelion made its television debut in Japan. Two years later the work was "rebuilt" into a theatrical release that essentially spliced together the key moments of the tale into a larger, single effort. The mission was a success but kind of like what George Lucas has done with his Star Wars franchise, the creators behind the property always felt as though the technology available at the time wasn't quite where they would have liked it to be to accurately present the tale visually. Hence in 2007, the material was revisited once more, this time not simply remastering from the original film stock, but rather breaking the material down into its raw form so as to correct and readjust even the smallest imperfections such as animation density and errant particles as a result of using film. It was not so much an exercise of splicing new CGI effects and eye-candy into the original material as it was about using modern animation methods to perfect the look and feel of the original material. As an added bonus the CG elements allow for visual flair that was, at the time, quite impossible to achieve.
Hence that brings us back to this, the 1.01 release, which is the first official North American release of this rebuilt movie series (it is scheduled to be presented in 4 parts total, with the third and fourth parts being released together). Obviously, part 1.01 being reviewed here is the introduction to the story.
If the timeline appears confusing, rest assured that sorting it all out is by no means a prerequisite to enjoying the film. It starts quickly with very little time spent establishing back-story and sweeps the viewer into a truly unique world where the precision and color pallet of modern computer generated animation melds seamlessly with the unique look of hand-drawn cells of yesteryear.
Plot wise, the tale is brisk and wonderfully entertaining with battle sequence on the absolute grandest scale broken up by moments of genuine character-development and emotional attachment. Perhaps the greatest of these being the sexual tension that exists between the lead characters or the appearances of the enigmatic father of young Shinji.
Fans, detractors, and scholars alike have gone to great lengths in drawing parallels and comparisons to Evangelion's symbolism throughout the years and yet agreement to or even knowledge of these theories is by no means necessary to come away from the film with satisfaction.
In fact, it has actually surprised me in revisiting this film (which is actually made up of the first six episodes of the original television series) at how much of an influence Evangelion has had over subsequent Giant Robot anime franchises like RahXephon and Aquarion. The show is rife with familiar archetypes such as the young boy being thrust into the role of humanity's savior, the biomechanical weaponry/ interfaces, the enigmatic villains that refuse to reveal their intentions, the impassive corporation behind it all, and the dysfunctional family structure that makes the antagonist question his very purpose of existence. Evnagelion is essentially the framework from which all others have followed.
The direction is simply wonderful with the structure of the film being more an endless succession of perfectly framed scenes than a random display of visuals. The voice acting is also quite notable whether you choose to enjoy the original Japanese dialog track (which is spectacular by the way) or the freshly dubbed English track featuring the talents of some of FUNimation's finest performers. Either option represents the perfect accompaniment to the impeccable visual work.
In all this release marks the beginning of a franchise that has been deserving of revalidation for quite some time. The approach taken with rebuilding the film from the basic elements must surely have been quite an undertaking for all involved but I can attest that the finished product simply oozes with hints of the level of perfectionism sought out in the process. Amazing things are truly possible when such a revered and definitive property receives the loving caress of modern technology's capabilities. This is highly recommended anime."
Rebuilding a legend
Antonio Peace | 11/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start by saying that while I love the Evangelion franchise and legacy im by no means an expert on the subject, 95% of the symbolism and double meaning still goes over my head even today, but my love for this franchise should not be questioned. If I say something indicating a lack of knowledge and has been explaned somewhere before please forgive me.
If you are a fan of the original build of Neon Genesis Evangelion and are worry of this just being a rehash or if your just not sure it does the series justice, than lay your fears to rest. While alot of the action remains unchanged from the original few beginning episodes, this film sets a tone for the changes to come in the Rebuild as well as provide a whole new feel to what you may be used to.
For starters Shinji for the most part is the same depressed, lonely, self loathing individual he was in the original build, except now he projects his feelings more verbally to those around him, mainly towards Misato, and at times seems like a real a hole. Misato's personality during her earlier interactions with Shinji remains the same but as the movie progresses, she acts more like an irritated stepmother toward a disobedient child towards Shinji, I must admit I was taken aback by it at first but Shinji's new demeanor almost requires her new personality. Rei is almost excactly as she was in the series, you never even really notice she has a new voice actor, except her peronality seems more peaceful now dispite her still being somewhat cold. Gendo believe it or not seems to care even less for Shinji than he did in the original series. Ritsuko hasn't changed from the original build except her voice actor which is much more apparent than with Rei but still not horrible. That's just a brief description of characters that make an appearance in the movie that had a significant impact on the series. If I left anyone out I apologize, though some I left out because where some characters became more important chronologically in the series, that point in the Evangelion timeline may not have been reached or included in this movie.
I need to talk about the scene where Shinji walks in on Rei. It's still in the movie as someone stated in another review, but where as some people feel that there was no need for the scene, I have to disagree with them. This scene was in actuality Rei and Shinji's first real introduction to each other, it gave them both a chance to kind of gauge each others personalities. It was also the first time you could actually connect a scene with the Oedipus Complex used alot in peoples Shinji character discriptions. In my opinion, it's one of the most important moments in the Evangelion series.
Evangelion: 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone, is a fresh take on a legendary anime, that I feel will please die hard fans and newcomers alike. My only real complaint is that Shinji just doesn't seem to have that same blood curdling scream that sent shivers down your spine like he did in the series. I recommend this movie to fans of Evangelion, newcomers looking to be apart of this amazing franchise without spending an arm and a leg for the original series and movies,and to anime fans in general. I hope I made this review helpful enough to help with anyones decision on buying this movie."
Slicker but not better
Alfred Tam | Staten Island, New York USA | 12/27/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You Are (Not) Alone certainly is a shinier version of the first handful of episodes of the now decade old Neon Genesis Evangelion, but something isn't right about it. The new animation and CG enhancements add a lot of visual flare but like any movie-ized version of an episodic story you lose some of what made the series interesting and special. You lose the cliff henger endings, you lose the nuances in the quiet moments, you lose the interplay between the comedy and series elements and you lose the slowly unraveling mythology. And what is left is on paper the same story but feels more like a long recap episode."
Neon Genesis Evangelion REDUX? Fans Will Love This Film...
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 11/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of the fantastic anime series NEON GENESIS EVANGELION will no doubt embrace "EVANGELION 1.0: You Are Not Alone". The film is the first series of four films titled the "Rebuild of Evangelion" which will be a compressed retelling of the anime series and the two big screen films with better animation, a much more tighter and compressed storyline, and the promise of a newer, better ending (fans thought that the climax in the series was unsatisfactory). Creator HideakI Anno and company know that their bread and butter lies in the majesty of Evangelion; it is an excellent blend of huge robots, shonen action, existentialism, pure human angst and apprehensive self-determination. This first film, Evangelion 1.0 is a retelling of the first six episodes.
After the events of the second impact that nearly annihilated mankind, Tokyo-3's hopes for survival lie with a 14-year old Shinji Ikari (voiced by Megumi Ogata) and his ability to pilot the EVANGALION Unit 01; a massive sentient robot designed by his father, Gendo Ikari (Fumihiko Tachiki) to fight against an alien invasion mounted upon humanity called the Angels. Shinji's hopes for a simple reunion with his father are dashed as Gendo proves to be one cold-hearted parent. Taken under the wing of commander Misato Katsuragi (Kotono Mitsuishi), the young man reluctantly fights against the invaders' awesome firepower. But for reasons only he can decipher, Shinji finds himself drawn to another EVA-unit 00 pilot, Rei Ayanami (Megumi Hayashibara)...
There is much that is left unexplained in the film since this is the first of four films planned by writer HideakI Anno and directors Masayuki and Kazuya Tsuumaki. The motivations behind the attack is hinted on and as to why and how youngsters Shinji and Rei were chosen to pilot the giant robots aren't fully explained; all the details will come later in this new series. "Evangelion" fans will no doubt be more able to fill in the gaps and may offer little in the way of surprises. Much of the film's main draw would come from the improved animation that blends traditional cell animation and CGI. It also introduces little changes to the characters' introduction but this may also prove to be the film's best assets as it strengthens the feeling of familiarity in its set designs and atmosphere that just gives a lot of depressing plot elements. For those unfamiliar with "Evangelion", this film is great way to start since the storyline is much tighter, easier to connect with and arguably more taut than the anime series.
However, there's also less to get into in a mere less than 2-hour film. The more compact storyline does work in some ways but the more verbal approach in the film's exposition makes the underlying themes and notions become a little more obvious. The methodical approach in the anime series gets a little lost which may prove to be either the film's weakness or strength depending on the viewer's perception. In this approach, Shinji's self-loathing and depression gets a little redundant quickly because he isn't given enough space to breathe and for viewers to form an attachment to him. The beauty of the "Evangelion" series if the unnerving fact that two people who are barely in their teens are fighting a war to defend mankind. I guess in this more compact approach, Shinji becomes a mere child full of self-pity rather than a sympathetic figure who has become the anime poster child for depression. Shinji appears to be depressed most of the time, and newcomers to "Evangelion" will more likely feel a little disconnected and maybe even annoyed. Japanese non-fans will still form a connection since existentialism and angst are deeply embedded in most Japanese sci-fi movies, I have some uncertainties whether it would `click' with newer American audiences.
The robot battles are awesome to behold. I really enjoyed the manner with which the Angels varied in its approaches in its attacks, each one becoming deadlier than the next. The way that the NERV team approaches its battles aren't more on brute force but more on strategy that rests on Shinji's resolve to pilot the EVA. Things don't usually work out as planned, but Shinji and Commander Katsuragi do get by. I loved the way the direction remembers to instill emotion in the pilot's cockpit; Shinji is a young, inexperienced pilot after all, it is only his resolve to stay that keeps him alive. Ayanami has more determination to see things through.
For a film supposedly marked to attract new fans, I think "Evangelion 1.0" feels more aimed to its solid fan base. The copious expositions and the familiar back story would be easily understood by fans of the series. The film is a little opaque with its storytelling at times, the complexities of the 6 episodes in the series cannot be captured in a two hour movie. This is an anime film NOT for children as it contains some nudity and suggestive themes (Katsuragi is often in suggestive positions). It is a bit early to judge whether this new "Rebuild the Evangelion" would prove as compelling as the anime series, as this is only the first of a new 4-parter. It looks almost the same and I can't say as of now if this new series would do anything different; only time will tell. However, I am enough of an EVA fan to stick around to find out.
Highly Recommended to `EVA' fans and a recommended rating to those unfamiliar with the anime series [4- Stars]
Note: Watching the film in its original Japanese language is highly advisable.
Skip 1.01 and get 1.11
David Mortensen | Glendora, CA | 03/25/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This cut of the Eva series is awesome, but the DVD for 1.01 has production issues that make the overall image much darker than intended. Night scenes lack detail in particular. This was known in the Japanese release, and remains uncorrected in this North American release. I recommend getting 1.11. Not only is that one color corrected, but it has 2 minutes more footage explaining the complex narrative, and is offered in Blu-Ray. Skip the 1.01 release and just get 1.11. Otherwise, it's a great edit/retelling of the original series, with new characters and different events playing out. This is volume 1 of 4 pending releases, and represent a more mature director's master work. Old fans wont be disappointed, and new fans can ingest more of the main series in much less time."