The landmark anime Evangelion evolves, reaching new heights of intensity in the feature film: Evangelion 2.22. In this explosive new story, brutal action and primal emotion clash as a group of young pilots maneuver their towering cyborg Eva Units into combat against a deadly and disturbing enemy.
In the battle to prevent the apocalyptic Third Impact, Shinji and Rei were forced to carry humanity’s hopes on their shoulders. Now, as the onslaught of the bizarre, monstrous Angels escalates, they find their burden shared by two new Eva pilots, the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari. In this thrilling experience for fans of giant robot destruction, the young pilots fight desperately to save mankind – and struggle to save themselves.
In You Can (Not) Advance, the second installment in his four-feature retelling of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hideaki Anno diverges further from the original storyline–and pushes the visual boundaries of his epic. Shinji and Rei share a more amicable relationship, but Shinji’s fragile calm is shattered by the arrival of pilot Asuka Langley Shikinami. She single-handedly destroys the Seventh Angel, a fantastic creature that suggests a tarantula designed by Gustave Eiffel. This version of Asuka is even more abrasive than the original, and complains more bitterly about being ordered to share quarters with Shinji. When the experimental Eva Asuka is testing mutates, Commander Ikari forces Shinji to attack it, even though it may cause her death. Horrified at his brutality, Shinji quits–until a new, more powerful Angel strikes at NERV headquarters. Seeing Rei absorbed by the Angel, Shinji charges back to rescue her. The power supply to his Eva fails, but Shinji forces it to continue fighting through sheer will power. It mutates into what Ritsuko calls “a divine being” that may cause the Third Impact. While the storyline of the films is tighter than the TV program, it’s no less convoluted: Kaji brings Commander Ikari “the Key of Nebuchadnezzar;” the SEELE cabal continues their plotting to bring about the Human Instrumentality Project, which is somehow linked to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anno adds some new characters, notably pilot Mari Makinami Illustrious. The larger budget of the feature films is clearly evident: the backgrounds are more carefully rendered, the cinematography more imaginative, the animation more polished and special effects more special. The scenes of the three Evas running in a coordinated attack have unprecedented weight and power. The prismatic colors, thunderous explosions and eerie lighting in the final battle show that like the original TV series, Anno’s new vision will be influencing artists on both sides of the Pacific for years to come. The Neon Genesis Evangelion Movies are must-haves for any otaku or student of animation, and fans can only wait impatiently until the third film appears. (Rated PG-13: violence, nudity, alcohol and tobacco use)–Charles Solomon
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