Stefan’s R&A: Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

Also known as "Evangelion, New Theatrical Edition: Break"

[Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this article has been split into two separate groups. The first half of the article is a traditionally written movie review for Evangelion 2.22 free of important spoilers that might ruin the experience for first-time viewers. The second half of the article is a in-depth comparative analysis between Evangelion 2.22 and the television show it was based upon: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a look as to how art can sometimes imitate life, and is targeted for those who have watched both the film and the original television show.]

Review:

2009, 112 minutes, Science Fiction, Japan; Directed by Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki; Produced by Toshimichi Otsuki, Hideaki Anno; Studio Khara, KlockWorx & Khara

It’s always difficult rating the middle parts of a whole. For example, I don’t think anyone truly liked the ending to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. When George Lucas released A New Hope, the first installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, its ending was a little kinder to its audience because the film was attempting to start on a good footing with the audience. But Empire‘s cliff-hanger ending leaves the audience expecting more from the story, a story that won’t continue for a few more years until the release of the sequel film. As a result audiences and fans publicly proclaimed their dislike for the film’s ending during the time of its release in 1980, grumbling of the wait before they were able to see anymore development between the characters of Luke and Leia. Yet when looking back upon the film within context of the sequel film Return of the Jedi in 1983, Empire‘s ending becomes more forgivable to it’s audiences simply because they could finally see how the ending played into the progression of the film’s sequel. At the same time Jedi also introduced concepts that made any romantic interest between Luke and Leia in Hope and Empire either seem very, very awkward, or at times, bend it in the light of big brother looking out for his sister. (Empire excluded from the latter interpretation.) Individual parts of a film series can look extremely different within context of one another after the whole of the series has finally been established.

Similarly the first film in the Evangelion tetrology, Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, concludes in a fashion kinder to its audience, whereas the sequel film Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance becomes a more difficult film to really voice an opinion over simply because its unexplained cliff-hanger ending causes the audience to become unclear as to what will happen next in the film and how it will eventually effect the opinions formed on the current film. Heck, even for the original Neon Genesis Evangelion television series, I waited until after I had viewed the series in its completion before voicing an official opinion of the work. Unfortunately, Evangelion 2.22 does not have the luxury of being a part of a whole just yet, so the film must be reviewed and analyzed in it’s current state as a fraction, rather than its future state as part of a complete whole.

Hideaki Anno pushes forward in his latest film adaptation of his Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series with his new movie Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance, the awaited second film in the Evangelion film tetrology. This second installment in the remake film tetralogy progresses basic themes introduced in the first film Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, and continues to hold a mirror up to its teenage target audience on the subject of relationships and responsibilities, and the conflicts that can sometimes develop within. The film also attempts to both entertain the newcomers introduced by the first film, and appease the fans of the original 1995 television series.

Assuming that viewers had already seen the first installment of the remakes, the movie gets right to the point by introducing English-speaking Mari Illustrious Makinami piloting a Provisional Eva Unit as she attempts to destroy an Angel trapped in an underground tunnel in the arctic. More fresh faces are introduced when Kaji Ryoji talks with the heads of the joint U.S./Russian NERV Bethany Base, overseeing the arctic attack, about the success of the attack despite the impromptu construction of the Provisional Eva Unit before his trip to Japan.

Anno allows the breathtaking aerial photography to be the vehicle in setting the pace for the film's second battle.

Back in the Japanese NERV branch (introduced in the first film), another Angel is eradicated by another Eva Unit new to the remake series. This is where the film really pulls out all the stops to display its beautiful and stunning areal photography with an exquisite sense of action pacing, all of which is over in just seconds. Thus is introduced the final fresh face of Evangelion 2.22 and pilot of Eva Unit 2.0, Asuka Langely Shikinami.

The film continues at this pace, firing off one Angel vs. Eva battle right after another. The prospect of Angel battles starts to appear as part of the daily grind of the characters’ lives, giving the familiar faces of Shinji Ikari and Rei Ayanami time to get to know Asuka and Kaji better, both within battle situations and in what little social life is left in a post-apocalyptic world. And seeing as how the first film had already explored the frightening aspects of Eva vs Angel battles, this confident and somewhat leisurely pace is a surprisingly very refreshing pace for this new film.

The rapid-fire pacing does negatively effect the film at first, giving the audience very little time to sink their teeth into any of the new characters. But after all of the characters finally get established in Japan the movie slows down a bit to explore the new interactions between the characters, as Rei attempts to mend Shinji’s broken relationship with his father, Gendo Ikari, by inviting both to a dinner party at her expense.

The film does explore some avenues of character progression than the TV series ever did. Shinji, Rei, and Asuka grow much further as characters than the original series ever gave them a chance to do, as the film series places more importance on character progression rather than the character study approach used in the original TV series. Also, most of the film’s mood throughout feels rather optimistic, with keenly developed music montages and finely tuned scenes stretching out the film’s outlook on how humanity is able to healthfully survive despite the monumental and Earth-shattering Angel attacks. Writer Hideaki Anno even introduces some slight-of-hand metaphors and quick references between the characters and their environment. And the musical score, while still throw-back musical sounds from 70’s anime harvested from the original 1995 TV series, also manages to completely flesh out the scenes and even completely impress the listener by exemplifying the actions portrayed by the monstrous Evangelion Units.

Of course all of this is just fluff and build-up to drastically and tragically pull the rug out from under the characters’ feet as they’re thrust into unknown dangers and terrifying consequences of Eva vs. Angel battles. Even the music provides a shift by exploring several uses of cognitive dissonance throughout the battles. Mari is re-introduced at some point during the climax and throws all sorts of twists into the plot, a mysterious character from the first film re-enters the scene and blind-sides all expectations, and the movie literally just stops leaving the audience in an epically confused mess, biting their nails as to what will happen next.

If one can’t stand confusing and unresolved cliff-hangers, then one would do better to wait until the release of the final films in the tetralogy. Otherwise, Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance is a very exciting, and at times, very emotionally powerful action/sci-fi film starring massive robot-like creatures with giant weaponry fighting mysterious monsters, beautiful animation with breath-taking visuals, and a little more character-depth than you’re usual Japanese animated action film would provide.

Shinji works in the garden of Kaji Ryoji, one of the new cast members of the film's on-going series.

 

Comparative Analysis:

Title logos of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series (A.K.A. "NGE"; bottom left) and Evangelion 2.22 (bottom right) will be used to distinguish between different shots, logos, and characters throughout the review, as seen here, distinguishing the NERV logo from NGE (left) and the NERV logo from Evangelion 2.22 (right).

Evangelion 2.0 Poster

Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance opens by pretending that Episode 7 of the original television series never happened; which, considering how irrelevant the episode became to the rest of the arc of the TV show’s plot anyway, wasn’t a bad move on the part of the film. That’s not to say Episode 7 didn’t add something to the show’s subtext, but didn’t add to the over arcing plot either. And when one is writing for a 90+ minute film, one need to realize his main plot points fast and hit them as well as he can.

Episode 7, otherwise known as A Human Work, decides to take a break from the giant onslaught of Angel fights that dominated Episodes 1 – 6. Instead, the episode introduces a competitor to NERV’s Angel-battling technology called “Jet Alone”. This is not only the name of the competing company, but also the name of the robot built for defense against the Angels. Just by taking one look at the robot, one wonders if GIANAX, the studio responsible for the original TV series, was crumbling to requests from toy manufacturers for a simpler model design for the toy manufacturers to follow.

Now before we laugh at the thought of Angel battles becoming a growing industry in the world of Evangelion and that every well-respecting company should compete in the “industry” to stay in the competition, we need to realize that competitions over national security technology like this have happened in real life as well. In 1993, the U.S. launched the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter project (CALF), and actually had Lockheed Marin and Boeing compete to build the best fighter jets. The contest lasted until the year 2001, when it was announced that Lockheed Martin built the better fighter jet over Boeing. Looking at the design of the planes themselves, one can also draw more parallels between the Evangelion/Jet Alone competition and the CALF project, as Boeing’s X-32 jet designs look just about as bloated and unappealing compared to Lockheed’s X-35 jet, as Jet Alone’s robot design looked compared to NERV’s Evangelion.

Though clearly not intentional, one can see how the misfires in both aesthetics and design failures of both Jet Alone (top left) and the Boeing X-32 (bottom left) mirror each other, and how the aesthetics and design successes of both Evangelion Unit 01 (top right) and the Lockheed Martin X-35 (bottom right) mirror one another.

All that to say, yes. Competitions over creating technology for national security do happen in real life; though the events in Episode 7 were probably not inspired by the U.S. CLAF project. But it is interesting to see how life and art imitate each other from time to time. The consequences were obviously not quite so dire in the U.S. as they were not needing the specific jets to be deployed quickly for battle.

Jet Alone’s built-in nuclear power source malfunctions and NERV sends out the Evangelion Unit 01 to stop it before it destroys all of Japan. One can draw parallels between the dueling concepts of technological advancement in nuclear technology and the human spirit in this episode. Unlike Jet Alone, the Evangelion Units were humanoid based beings with actual souls and were not powered by dangerous nuclear technology, therefore symbolizing the human spirit’s ability to overpower nuclear devastation. (Japan has always had a thing against nuclear weaponry. From what I can tell, it stems back to the nuclear bombings on Japan during WWII.) These symbolic gestures are only strengthened when Misato personally accompanies Shinji so she can break into Jet Alone robot and personally deactivate it from inside as Shinji uses the Eva Unit 01 simply to keep the robot in one place and prevent it from bursting at the seems with nuclear emissions.

Jet Alone seems to power down on its own, suggesting that NERV had sabotaged the Jet Alone project from the start to keep it from getting any government funding in the future.

Despite the episode deviating entirely from the plot premise of the entire TV series, the episode introduces certain motifs and subtexts that are further explored throughout the rest of the series: that clothing becomes the outward mask that defines the character, whereas the real self is hidden deep inside the facade clothing provides. The theme is presented in Episode 7 as Misato dresses up differently throughout the episode for different circumstances. Around the house she dons rather sloppy clothing, but she dresses very gorgeously to Shinji’s Parent-Teacher meeting at school, and for the conference at Jet Alone she dresses in her black uniform. Shinji’s friends, Toji and Kensuke, even explain to him that her normal wear around the house suggests that she considers Shinji part of her family, and therefore doesn’t mind that he sees her dressed in certain, sloppier ways.

Misato projects several “versions” of herself through her wardrobes in Episode 7, all of which a part of her true self, but never fully encompassing the hidden secrets of her true self.

But all of this, even the sloppy clothing, still covers the true Misato that is buried underneath the clothing, as is shown later on in Episodes 10 and 11 when it is revealed that she has a large scar running down her chest from an incident called “Second Impact”, which occurred 15 years ago during her childhood. This leads the TV series into a slew of back-stories that explore Misato’s past fears and the broken family issues she had with her father, who died during “Second Impact”.

All the visual themes accompanied with Misato of facades covering one's true self, materiality, and sexuality are exemplified in this one shot.

Because of this history behind the scar, as well as the motif introduced later on with the female breast symbolizing motherhood (introduced through the characters of Rei and Yui), Misato’s scar also symbolizes a broken family that she later attempt to amend when she “plays house” with Shinji and Asuka, inviting them both to live with her with herself as the “mother figure” of the “facade family”.

In Neon Genesis Evangelion, writer and director Hideaki Anno added many of these in a layer of symbolism, metaphors, and motifs within the script to explore the subtexts of the characters. He seemed to place these elements in the story with a college-aged audience in mind, as the themes and symbolism would often time end up going over the head of anyone watching the series who did not have some understanding of storytelling motifs, the ideas of Sigmund Freud, the visual references to Qabbalah mythology, or the Christian symbols scattered throughout the show. But by doing so, Anno also had to add yet another layer to the series trying to explain the motifs and symbolism he had placed in the script. Most of this involved cutting to an in-depth discussion between Misato and Ristuko on Shinji’s many issues, a poetic soliloquy by Rei exploring the meaning of her existence, or an internal monologue from Shinji ranting about how much his life sucks. In the end, many viewers of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series either got caught up focusing the poetry around the symbolism rather than focusing on the characters themselves, or just labeled the series as “pretentious” and tried to forget about it.

In fact, even the writers of the series ended up focusing more on fleshing out the symbolism rather than developing the characters. The TV networks in Japan placed tight time schedules on the studio creating each episode, causing the creative team to pump out scripts dealing with symbolism, which can be visually executed quickly with the use of still frames and simple animations. This detoured from advancing the characters through the plot, as plot itself dealt with the characters battling Angels with giant Eva Units, which obviously takes a lot longer to animate due to the fluid and detailed movements required to show such battles. Much of this was remedied in the later moments of the original series when a film was made to re-explore the ending of the TV series called The End of Evangelion, and the filmmakers were given the opportunity to focus on the animation-heavy aspects of the series’ ending on a large budget.

In the newer film remakes, Anno seems to target the teenage audiences with the movie’s subtexts, as he had done before in TV shows like Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and Gunbuster. In doing so, the layer of in-depth discussions, soliloquies, and internal monologues that are scattered throughout the original TV series are also cut drastically from the new film versions. Some of the motifs and symbolism remain intact in the new film remakes, but the omission of the layer explaining the motifs present in the films keeps them from becoming the centerpiece of the film, as it did in the original TV series. This allows the viewer to focus more on the characters’ actions themselves while letting the symbolism and motifs work on a sub-conscious level with the viewers, rather potentially distracting the with the symbolic images and visual motifs pointing at the characters.

So rather than the Jet Alone episode, the movie introduces Mari Illustrious Makinami, an English-speaking adolescent girl who was also handed the responsibility of fighting the Angels. Whereas this particular moment doesn’t have any of the motifs in play that Episode 7 had, the trade-off is it does keep in line with the main plot of Evangelion by focusing more on the efforts of NREV to eradicate the Angels, which is really helpful to the storytelling when condensing about 273 minutes of television story into a 112 minute feature film. And many of the motifs that were introduced in the omitted episode will be translated and introduced with other characters in different scenarios thought the new film.

The angels' halos carried little significance in Evangelion 1.11, and were at times even mistakenly missing from some of the theatrical release footage of Evangelion 1.01.

The score has no issue showing off when it comes to the battle scenes. Rather than having to resort to completely synthetic sounds in place of a choir as was done many times in the original scoring of Neon Genesis Evangelion due to budgetary reasons, music composer Shiro Sagisu places several full choirs into the musical score for Evangelion 2.22, mixing a bombastic orchestra, eerie choral sounds, and at times even electric guitars all into one original musical arrangement. When listened to as a stand alone piece, the musical aesthetics resemble that of a godlike weaponized sports car, if such a thing were to ever exist. This attitude within the orchestration only slightly contrasts with the visual reminders that the Eva Units are genetically cloned human beings, and not mechanically based vehicles. In fact, much of the choir seem to be present to emphasis the moods traditionally given to religious Christian musical sounds, as choirs are sometimes associated with the idea of the heavenly angels described in the Bible. Hearing these angelic sounds resonate in sync with the visuals of the “Angels” attacking Tokyo 3 simply adds in another element to the Christian motifs throughout the film. The English lyrics given to the choir pieces only strengthen that element, as Christianity is often associated with the English-speaking Western Culture. Even some of the lyrics given to the choir reinforce this idea, particularly in the musical score provided for this segment, 2EM01_B01 “At The Very Beginning”:

“At the very beginning we were created. In greed and selfishness we could never prosper, created enemies against God’s will.”

“At the very beginning we were created to live together but soon, we hated. In greed and selfishness we could never prosper, created enemies against God’s will.”

In Evangelion 2.22, the ever present angel halos can, at times, become used as weapons or tools.

The lyrics seem to be a summary of the Genesis account of man’s fall from God’s perfection, an account often vaguely referenced to throughout both the original TV series and the New Movies’ telarology. The entire mythology of the new tetarology has yet to be revealed, so little is known as to how these musical elements contribute to that mythology. Though it is clear that the religious symbolism is only strengthened in the musical aspects of Evangelion 2.22 as opposed to the original musical score of Episodes 8-19 of the 1995 television series.

The Angel within this new sequence does actually visually carry some of the religious metaphors for angels to a greater strategic importance than any battle scene in Evangelion 1.11, as the angel uses its halo as a weapon or tool to break through boundaries. Before in the first film the halo played a less significant part to the Angel’s operations, and were sometimes even mistakenly left out of some of earlier releases of the film.

The movie deviates even further from the TV series as Asuka is introduced attacking an Angel at the NERV base in Japan, rather than being quickly sortied into an underwater battle with the swimming Angel, Gaghiel, as was depicted in Episode 8 the original TV series. Much of the themes and character beats in the missing Episode 7 have also been transplanted and otherwise adapted in later scenes of the movie. But while the subtexts have been temporarily removed, the on-screen action is just as over-the-top as Episode 9’s fight, all of which could be summed up the episode’s title: Both of You Dance Like You Want To Win.

The fight scenes in both the original TV series and the new film are just about as over the top as one another.

The Angel attacking NERV in Evangelion 2.22 floats on top of the bloody, red waters that plague the Earth’s oceans, suggesting the dominance the Angels can have in the same world humanity is struggling to inhabit anymore, as well as give the Angel a God-like appearance, referring to Biblical accounts of Jesus walking on the water in the Book of Mark chapter 6. Asuka is introduced into the film as “Asuka Langley Shakinami”, rather than her original name in the television series “Asuka Langley Soryu”.

The Angel is depicted in this scene destroying 10 battle ships using a series of cross-shaped explosions. It's interesting to note that the number 10 is the Number of The Law according to the Old Testement.

This name change does two things:

  1. It sets up that the character will be constructed differently than the character in the original series. This name change theoretically makes it easier for fans of the Soryu and the original TV series to get over themselves and realize that this a completely different character from Soryu, and a completely different continuity from the original series. This character, instead Soryu in Neon Genesis, is Shikinami from the Rebuild Tetralogy; so she probably won’t act as Soryu did, and the film won’t be too much like it’s original.
  2. In a more intricate level, the family names given to all of the female Evangelion pilots, and even other characters in both the TV series and the film, come from the names of Japanese war ships, and the story of each war ship given in name to the character parallels the experience that each character will have in the story arcs. So whereas Soryu, being named after the war ship, had experiences that mirrored that ship, Shikinami may have different experiences in the new movies simply because they will parallel the war ship she was named after, rather than experiences of the war ship Soryu. This, again strengthens the idea of Evangelion 2.22 as being a different continuity from the original.

One can see that, unlike Soryu (left), Shikinami would rather not be on the social front (right).

Both the original TV series and the new film places some emphasis on Angel fights becoming part of the characters’ daily grind in the following Angel battles, though the movie does a better job at exemplifying it than the original series did. The original series spent most of their episode times building anticipation and preparing for each individual Angel battle, which worked to the benefit of the episodes by giving each a build-up to a climax. But as a result, each episode is structured almost exactly like one-another, which almost defeats the purpose of the build-up as viewers start to predict, even if only on a sub-conscious level, both the build-up and the climactic outcome of every episode. This arguably helps the viewers focus on the progressing character development throughout the series. The heightened portrayal of Angels as part of the character’s daily grind helps the movie use them more as rather impressive stepping stones into further character development, rather than climaxes in it of themselves.

The Sepherothic Tree can be seen making a cameo appearance in Evangelion 2.22 as an ocean water purifier. It's also to be noted that this design also appears on the ceiling of Gendo's NERV office.

This is also where the motifs and symbolism finally come back into play within the film remakes. Again, the layer of explanation pointing out these motifs that was present in the TV series have been removed in the film, but within context of the story and characters, these motifs can become surprisingly sub-consciously influential.

The movie re-enacts Shinji’s shower incident from both Evangelion 1.11 and the original TV series, but this time casts Asuka as the lead in the scene. Whereas this scene’s focus is mainly leaning toward comedic fan-service, it’s also interesting to note that, whereas as Shinji realized his openness toward Misato and quickly retreads back to the bathroom, Asuka had no shyness toward Misato. But when Shinji walks into the room, Asuka epically snaps at him and then quickly retreats back into the bathroom.

Asuka Langley Shikinami appears in Evangelion 2.22 as more of an arrogant ambervert, one who is defined somewhere in the middle of introversion and extroversion. Her amberversion seems to lean a little more toward the introverted side, and she eventually breaks out of her shell similar to how Shinji broke free of his total introversion in Evangelion 1.11, yet with the added arrogance that surrounds Asuka as a character. This is much different from the over-achieving, somewhat obnoxious extrovert trying to mask her true feelings, as portrayed by Soryu in the in the original TV series. As a result, Asuka doesn’t seem that fond of human companionship in any form, whether it be in her work as an Eva pilot or in her personal life at home, but doesn’t mind some form of extroversion if needed, as shown in a scene where she visits an aquarium with Shinji and some other kids her age. She is very determined in her work and attempts to be the best, but still falls in somewhat the same rut as Shinji in that she does this to maintain her introversion during her missions by avoiding team efforts. She is in no way excited as she finds out her living arrangements with both Misato and Shinji have already been made for her upon arriving at Japan. Rather than being out on the social front and making friends at school, like Soryu was in the TV series, Shikinami spends more of her time alone in her room, and prefers Shinji call her “Shikinami” rather than “Asuka”.

Religious symbolism also starts to take hold within the series, as Kaji Ryoji brings the Key of Nebuchadnezzar to Gendo Ikari. This seems to reference a Babylonian King recorded in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testement, who often times rebelled against the Law of God as recorded by the Israelites he took captive in battle. Nebuchadnezzar never had a key in the Old Testament, but a Signatory Ring that he used to pass laws and decrees. It’s unclear as to why this object is called “The Key of Nebuchadnezzar” in Evangelion 2.22, though it will most likely only be used within context of it’s own mythology with little or no substance taken from the Old Testament.

Adam was delivered to Gendo in the original TV series (right). Evangelion 2.22 deviates to introduce the Key of Nebuchadnezzar.

It’s also interesting to note that this differs greatly from Adam, which is what Kaji had handed Gendo in the original TV series. According to Jewish Mythology Adam and Lilith were the first humans on Earth, with Lilith even preceding Eve as the first woman. Within context of original TV series Adam and Lilith were the first angels which had bred two separate races, with Adam breeding the Angels and Lilith breeding the humans. Again, little is revealed in the new movies as to why Adam wasn’t serving this purpose in Evangelion 2.22.

The Japanese NERV Base seems to be taking a patriotic stance in the films, as it's almost impossible to dismiss how the apple of the animated NERV logo on the monitor behind Misato's head resembles the Japanese flag.

To take a break from the rituals of Angel vs. Eva battles, Kaji, who had recently moved to Japan after overseeing Mari’s battle at the U.S./Russia joint NERV branch, takes Shinji, Rei, Asuka, Toji, Kensuke, and even the penguin Pen-Pen to an aquarium. This is where the last surviving section of clean, clear water teaming with aquatic life has been preserved since the entire world’s oceans filled with blood during Second Impact. This really brings to the forefront how much humanity is loosing in their battle for ownership of planet Earth in their dealings with the Angels.

As Rei looks into the tanks of fish with Shinji, she comments that, like the fish, she can’t survive in the natural world either, which only strikes Shinji as extremely odd. Later on it is shown that Rei needs to be placed often inside a tank filled with the same LCL used with the Evas. The reasons for this have yet to be explained within either the new movie’s continuity or the TV series continuity for quite some time to come.

Shinji brings a meal he cooked with him for everyone to partake in while at the aquarium. Upon hearing that Rei doesn’t like meant, he gives her a dish of miso soup. Later on, Shinji does the same for Rei at school, and Rei responds by saying “Thank you.” Later it is revealed that Rei had never used words of graduate toward anyone. These are the themes and motifs transplanted into the film from Episode 17 of the TV series, as the events of both Episodes 16 and 17 will removed from the new film’s current continuity. The movie introduces these motifs a little early (around the time Episode 10 should be taking place), as they serve greater purpose to the new movie’s current storytelling needs. This moment also seems to show food as a supporting motif to other motifs throughout the movie, as we’ll see in later scenes.

At this point Evangelion 2.22‘s musical score pushes the 70’s TV musical riffs further than I’ve heard in a modern feature film. I say this making a clear distinction from Quentin Tarantino’s 70’s musical throwbacks, as his are in a different league than the one’s in Evangelion 2.22. Tarantino pays royalties in order to use various music from 70’s rock and ballad in much of his films, whereas Evangelion 2.22 uses original musical riffs that, to my American ear, sound reminiscent to 70’s American television such as The Brady Bunch. Particularly this shift in musicality seems to occur to emphasis the family aspects Misato tries to re-create between herself, Shinji, and Asuka*, and does much to try to boost the optimistic tone of the film before going into more dire situations.

(*Any further comparison of Misato’s household in Evangelion to the “lovely lady’s” family in The Brady Bunch would be wildly off-topic and rather pointless, though might prove to be quite amusing in the end.)

Despite this, much of the film’s musical score was to sound reminiscent to the film and television history of Japan and not American, as the much of the music is still inspired from 70’s action animes. Even a montage in the beginning of the film uses a musical segment listed as 2EM09_YAMASHITA, recycled from a live-action Japanese film titled The Man Who Stole the Sun.

The movie again splits from the original TV series by ignoring the angels Israfel in Episode 9 and Sandalphon in Episode 10 of the TV series, and makes the battle with an angel resembling Sahaquiel from the original continuity to create Asuka’s realization of the necessity of team-work in battle. In the mission, the Angel falls at a great speed from outer space in an attempt to blast down toward Lilith and cause Third Impact. Both Rei, Shinji, and Asuka are deployed in their separate Evanglion units to literally catch the Angel in mid-air and destroy it. The scene continues very much as it did in in the original TV series, as all three Eva Units race toward the area where the Angel just emerged from the clouds.

The look of two Angels in the TV series (top and bottom left) are combined into the beginning and end stages Eighth Angel's transformation in the new movie (top and bottom right).

But, unlike the TV series, the Angel’s core drops from the Angel itself while the Angel splits the arms of Shinji’s Eva Unit, causing him great pain. As Rei holds the core, Shinji calls out to Asuka, calling her by name rather than by “Shikinami”. Asuka stabs the core and the Angel is defeated. In this way are the themes of team-work from Episodes 8 and 9 of the TV series are reiterated back into the movie without having to re-tell the entire events of those episodes.

It’s also interesting to point out the decision by the creative team to maintain the golden color of Rei’s Eva Unit 00.

The prototype Eva Unit 00 (left) introduced in Episode 5 compared to the finished Eva Unit 00 (right) introduced in Episode 11.

In the original television series, Rei’s Eva Unit was changed as some point from its original golden color to a solid blue color. This kept with the theme of matching the color schemes of the Evas to the color schemes or even the  dilemmas of the characters piloting the Evas. Rei’s blue Eva Unit matches her blue hair, Asuka’s red Eva Unit matches her red hair, and Shinji’s Eva Unit is a shade of purple, the color between blue and red on the color wheel.

Following the color wheel clock-wise, the symmetry between the Evangelion colors and the pilot's character models, and the gradient color change from blue to red is seen here, with Shinji caught in the middle of the color gradient. This and his character's neutral color scheme symbolizes his internal muses between the two female characters, Rei (right) and Asuka (left).

Again following the wheel clock-wise, this new color scheme places Asuka between Rei (right) and Shinji (left), suggesting that her character stands between them.

A diagram of the characters' color placement on the color wheel. One can see how the color representing Shinji stands between the colors representing Rei and Asuka in NGE, where as in Evangelion2.22, one can see how the color representing Asuka's Unit 02 is actually placed between Shinji unit 01 and Rei's Unit 00. Notice this further separates Unit 01 from the other two Units in Evangelion 2.22. Also notice that both of Unit 00's 2.22 color stands at the opposite end from its NGE color on the color wheel.

This visually represents Shinji being torn between the two characters, wondering how to relate to them, and who they really are to him in the grand scheme of things. This visual arc presents itself in different ways until the series’ conclusion.

In Evangelion 2.22, Rei’s Eva Unit is never changed from the golden colors it is introduced displaying. Whereas this seems to remove any visual contrast between Rei and Asuka’s Eva Units, it may to allude to something else about Rei’s Unit 00.

That night, Asuka resolves not to be alone anymore and sleeps with Shinji in his closet, their backs toward each other. Even though she refuses to let Shinji physically turn to her, she doesn’t mind being with him while dressed in only undergarments and a tank top, even allowing him to call her “Asuka” rather than “Shikinami”. This provides further contrast between Asuka and Rei in the films, as Asuka makes a clear attempt to be in a first-name bases with Shinji whereas Rei continues to call Shinji by is family name “Ikari”.

Asuka's outfit suggests that she feels more comfortable around Shinji.

While Asuka still won’t intentionally go nude around him, the general thoughts behind shower incident are still intact. Asuka’s wardrobe in the bed scene visually connects the idea of clothing becoming the mask hiding the true character, and that Asuka is feeling more comfortable to be more of her true self around Shinji than she used to be. Almost as to visually cue that she trusts Shinji enough to appear vulnerable around him. This is very similar to the way the same clothing motif was introduced in Episode 7 of the original TV show; which is very helpful in building the visual motifs in the movie, seeing as how the events in Episode 7 were cut. Again, the layer explaining all of these motifs were completely removed from the movies, but the motifs themselves have still been carefully placed in Evangelion 2.22. This allows the motifs to work more on a sub-conscious level rather than becoming the forefront.

This differs greatly from the television series, where the arc actually went with a more forward approach with the motifs, even into creating an entire episode revolving around the exploration of certain motifs touching upon character study.

In Episode 16, Splitting of the Breast, Shinji and his Eva Unit 01 are swallowed whole into the quantum physics of an invading angel. While in isolation within the angel, he goes into a mental breakdown where he reviews the events of his childhood and how he felt about them. The series uses various simple yet intriguing visual techniques to convey Shinji’s internal conversation and conflict with himself.

For as creative as this episode is, this arc is more or less repeated later on in Episode 20, Weaving a Story 2: oral stage, with even more character insight and depth than what was explored in Episode 16. From a big picture perspective, one can see why this introspective look into Shinji was presumably saved for a later film in the Rebuild series. Especially when most of the arc at this point in Evangelion 2.22 is supposed to give a somewhat “cake-walk” vibe to the both the characters and their battles at this point.

Whereas there are many difference between Episode 16 (top and bottom right) and Episode 20 (top and bottom left), the similarities between these two incidents are very clear. One can the possible reasoning as to why the events of Episode 16 were taken out of the grand scheme of things in 2.22.

Yet at the same time, the loss of this episode seemed to be the one thing that pushed the first half of Evangelion 2.22 into a full blown action arc, whereas in the television series Episode 16 was part of a gradual transition from what has been called the “action arc” to a more dramatic arc. Many of the episodes, starting with Episode 12, begin to provide  and exploration into the main characters, particularly with Misato (Episodes 12 and 15), Rei (Episode 14), and Ritsuko (Episode 13), with Episode 16 providing the final gateway into pure character study aimed specifically at Shinji.

Bits of character elements were transplanted from these episodes and placed within the context of Evangelion 2.22 without needed to recapture the events within those episodes entierly. Pieces of Rei’s overall emotions were hauled from Episode 14 into the Aquarium scene of Evangelion 2.22, though much the social life depicted between Misato and Ritsuko in Episode 15 was swept away entirely in favor of portraying little time for pleasures after the post-apocalyptic Second Impact.

Mari re-enters the picture in a way that probably best describes her role in the entire movie. As Shinji’s minding his own business atop a building, Mari suddenly crashes into him boobs-in-his-face style as she sails down from the sky on a parachute. After fumbling around on the ground for her glasses, and coming quite close to letting her school uniform reveal her delicacies as she bends over, she receives a call on her cell phone and seamlessly drops into the English language for the conversation as she gathers her parachute. She mentions something about needing to make a covert and desecrate entrance, hangs up the phone, reverts back to speaking Japanese to apologize to Shinji, and runs off to find something else to do.

Despite the two scenes feeling nothing alike in tone, setting, or pacing, this scene does seem quite familiar to Rei’s nude scene with Shinji in both Evangelion 1.11 and the original TV series. Both are quite awkward, reference the female breast to Shinji in ways most obtrusive, and only creates more questions than answers in both Shinji and the viewer about the female character. The latter point is specifically what’s at work with Mari. Whether this is Femme Fatal at play or not in the movie is still quite unsure, and the reasons for Mari’s school uniform go unexplained as she’s never seen in school throughout the entire film. But if one thing seems to be certain with Mari it is that nothing seems to be certain with Mari. This will become a deliberate pattern with her scenes in Evangelion 2.22, as she’ll often take every character she comes in contact with off-guard throughout the film and leave both them and the audience asking many, many questions-

Rei goes through considerably more character beats in Evangelion 2.22 than she ever did in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Realizing Shinji’s conflicting emotions toward his father, Gendo Ikari, Rei decides to invite both Shinji and Gendo to a dinner she would host. She then spends the next several days trying to cook a dinner similar to the ones she’s had with Gendo on a daily basis. The food motif introduced in the aquarium scene is re-iterated into the movie, as Rei spends most of her day practicing cutting up vegetables and spices trying to make the meal as perfect as possible for the special event, giving the meal just as much thought given to the special dish Shinji gave her during the visit to the aquariums. This results in her cutting her fingers often.

This is where the food motif also draws attention to the hand motif that was also within the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series. In the movie original film The End of Evangelion, Rei asks Shinji “Then, what are your hands for?” The film then cuts to a series of flash-backs of all the times there was a close-up shot of Shinji using his hands for various daily operations. And though this hand motif was introduced in Evangelion 1.11 by Gendo burning his hands trying to rescue Rei after the incident with Unit 00 and Shinji and Rei joining hands after the battle with Ramiel, it only finally takes more apparent visual rooting in Evangelion 2.22 only to work more on sub-conscious level; whereas the motif as a whole throughout Neon Genesis Evangelion was never firmly established and wasn’t fully realized until that blurb of dialogue in the series’ closing film.

With the help from the food motif, the context of the hand motif becomes more optimistic in the film as opposed to the TV series, and even carries the characters further along developmentally than the TV show did; all of this without even having to verbally mention it once in the movie, as was the case in The End of Evangelion.

The hand motif is carried even further when Asuka notices Rei’s behavior around Shinji and fears they might be building a relationship. She also secretly attempts to cook dinner for Shinji so he wouldn’t have to cook so much, accidentally cutting her fingers several times as well. Asuka then finds out that Rei invited her to the dinner, and she spends the rest of the day with conflicting emotions over the situation.

Rei also attempts to make a connection to the other pilots around her, making specific gestures of thanking them for anything that they’ve done to assist her. This greatly contrasts Rei’s attitude in both Evangelion 1.11 and Episodes 1 – 6 of the TV series when she admits to only doing that which she’s ordered, with no other reasons given for carrying that order out other than the fact that she was ordered to do it. Whereas in Evangelion 2.22, Rei’s effort to thank her friends for what they’re doing is unprecedented due to the fact that she was never ordered to do so.

The motif of hand usage is more visually present in Evangelion 2.22.

The film continues to deviate from the television series, as Toji’s sister recovers from her injuries from Eva Unit 01’s first battle and the audience actually gets to see the cute little button. This up-beat change contrasts greatly from the TV series, as Toji’s sister was never shown and remained in the hospital for the duration of the entire series.

Whereas in the NERV in the new movies seem to be using the Evangelion pilots to their fullest potential, the original TV series had portrayed NERV to be more interested in expanding its pilot inventory, hence why Toji’s sister never recovered from the accident during Eva Unit 01’s fight with Sachiel. Toji uses his referral to NERV as a way to get his sister into a better hospital for her injuries. In order to create NERV’s need for Toji to become pilot, the TV series goes through several episodes of Soryu falling lower and lower in Sync Ratio with her Eva Unit 02. This is accomplished by hinting at Soryu’s conflicting emotions toward both Shinji and Kaji, and some mysterious issues in the character’s back-story supposedly revolving around her mother, which the TV series continues to hold out on until a later date in order to fully explain.

In Evangelion 2.22, this spiral of emotional downs seem to be swept from Shikinami’s history, as her Sync Ratio never becomes an issue in her involvement with testing Eva Unit 03. She even gets thanks from Rei for testing the Eva Unit 03 in her place (continuing Rei’s motif of thanking those who’ve helped her), and chats with Misato over the phone as she suits up for the test about how she’s been having a brighter outlook on life and those around her. Her plug-suit seems to continue the motif of slight nudity making the character appear more vulnerable to the elements around her, as it only covers from the legs and lower hips, the chest, and arms areas of her body.

In both cases the plug suit adjustments contrast the character's personalities. Soryu's suit adjustments in Episode 10 (left) makes the sexually conscious extrovert feel less then appealing, whereas Shikinami's suit adjustment (right) makes the somewhat introverted character feel less comfortable being exposed to this degree in an unfamiliar environment, even when she's by herself.

Evangelion 2.22 drastically pull the rug from the viewers’ feet without warning as Eva Unit 03 literally blows up on site due to Angel infestation. Those connected to Asuka are told of the situation.

Now, even with film’s brilliant areal photography and precision action pacing shown previously, this next moment remains to be my favorite throughout the whole movie withing terms of framing, context, and editing of both picture and sound:

This moment does several things:

  1. Each character gets two reaction shots. The film cuts from Shinji’s extreme close up to tires screeching loudly and then slowly blurs into an echoing sound, as the footage of Gendo’s limo driver burning out a one-eighty is viewed in slo-motion. The second shot is a close-up shot focusing on Gendo’s stone-cold face as he holds his cell phone up to his ear, the footage viewed at the same speed as the previous shot.
  2. Rei’s reaction starts off editorially backwards from Gendo’s reaction. Instead a close-up shot of Rei’s face painted with an expression of genuine concern fill the screen, the silence from the last cut still lingering. The second shot is a wide shot from behind Rei, revealing the bubbling pot on her stove. The sound of the simmering pot quietly ripples out of the scene.

The moment starts as loudly as the initial explosion involving Eva Unit 03,  with the sound of Shinji’s line and Gendo’s limo. Then it zeros in on the characters’ faces as the sound slowly fades. Silence exemplifies both the pure coldness in Gendo’s face, and the earnest concern Rei has toward the comrade she invited over for the dinner with Shinji and Gendo.

The film uses these cinematic techniques to make the malfunction with Unit 03 feel much, much more devastating than the cinematic techniques around Toji in the TV series, though the situational moments revolving around the separate continuities are still very similar. Both Asuka in Evangelion 2.22, and Toji in Neon Genesis Evangelion, had similar goals.

In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Toji was in a budding relationship with a fellow school-mate named Hikari. Hikari tried to make contact several times to Toji by offering him a home-cooked meal for his school lunches so Toji wouldn’t have to buy from the school cafeteria every day. But alas, she couldn’t reach him until the Angel infestation of Eva Unit 03 rendered him a crippled amputee in the hospital.

Both Hikari and Asuka cooking in both continuities before both realizing that it wouldn't matter either way.

In Evangelion 2.22, Asuka was starting to show some interest in Shinji. She reads Rei’s behavior around  Shinji as somewhat romantic and tries her hand at cooking so Shinji wouldn’t have to do it all the time around the house. (The film explains that Misato is no cook.)

Both Evangelion 2.22 and Neon Genesis Evangelion take the same paces in the fight between Eva Unit 01 and Eva Unit 03, with minor alterations including Rei’s complete absence from the battle (possibly an intentional ploy by Gendo), the obvious omission of Eva Unit 02’s involvement (Asuka’s original Eva Unit 02), and Unit 03’s sudden burst of two extra arms. Gendo over-rides Shinji’s unwillingness to harm Asuka by running the Golgotha Built Dummy Plug System to take over Eva Unit 01 in Shinji’s stead. This introduces another interesting change in the movie in the use of Eva Unit 01’s mouth in crushing Asuka’s Entry Plug, rather than using it’s hand as was done in the TV series. This detours from the hand motif, opting for the use of the mouth for destructive purposes instead. This also become a theme in later scenes.

Unlike this scene in NGE (left), Evangelion 2.22 takes any negative context of the hand motif away from the main characters' use, instead placing the negative force of destruction in the jaws. Very fitting considering "Golgotha", who built the Dummy Plug system, translates into "The Place of the Skull.")

The director applies a form of musical story-telling he’s used in the past called cognitive dissonance. It’s the artistic use of simultaneously presenting two opposing emotions for the viewer. The reasoning behind this technique changes in almost every example of its use. With the introduction of Mari in the film’s opening, the technique is very lightly applied as Mari sings a playful little tune to herself as the musical score beginning in the key of A minor. Minor keys are often used to write music that is more serious and sometimes even tragic in tone. In the case of the opening, the character’s playful tone seemed somewhat out of place in the situation, while the more serious music playing better fits the mood of the scene.

Within the battle between the infested Eva Unit 03 and Unit 01 the technique is applied more drastically, with neither the music nor the lyrics of the song forming any symmetry to the scene. The song itself, translated from the Japanese as “Today is the Time for Goodbye”, is written in D major, as major keys are often used in music for convey a sense of optimism or joy. As Shinji’s Unit is forced to strangle Asuka, the lyrics sings of a friendship blossoming: “Forever and ever, never to end, let us be friends.” The lyrics continue to convey the two friends cheerfully saying good-bye for the day as the intestines of Eva Unit 03 are strewn across the landscape. The music provides every bit of contrast to point out the complete horror and unpleasantness of the events on screen.

Asuka survives the attack, but suffers from a coma and is placed in quarantine for possible mental contamination. Contextually, Asuka Langley Shikinami impacts more of the pilots’ lives in Evangelion 2.22 than Toji did in the entire TV series, heightening the plot-motivated devastation that dominoed from one character to another. In the TV series, Shinji, Hikari, and Kensuke were really the only characters directly emotionally impacted by Toji’s accident. And since either Hikari or Kensuke was never used to motivate the plot of the series, their reactions did little to the progressing of the series’ plot. In the movie, however, Shinji and Rei become emotionally involved because the devistation occurred to Asuka. The situation causes Shinji rejects his father and run away from NERV, demolishing everything Rei tried to do for the two, and Rei herself focus her efforts in supporting Shinji in his decision.

Symbolism comes into play in exploring both characters’ decisions, as the film makes a connection between Gendo’s glasses that Rei keeps with her, and Shinji’s SDAT Player, which Shinji confesses that his father left them with him before abandoning him as a child years ago. Like the original TV series, the film keeps at least part of the layer explaining the symbolism in Shinji’s dialogue with Rei, though the film’s commentary on the symbolism doesn’t take up half the amount of time it would have in the TV series. We’ll explore more about this in the climax of the film.

The 10th Angel, who, like Ramiel in Evangelion 1.11, has changed much in the new movie compared to the original TV series as an Angel named “Zeruel”. Some very slight changes in the chronology of events from the TV series has the train become redirected after Shinji had already boarded the train rather than before he boarded the train, as was shown in the TV series. This slight change in the movie paints Shinji to appear alone and trapped by his own decision, both in the train and later on in the empty shelter, rather than how the TV show still gives Shinji the opportunity to turn back to NERV after the emergency has been declared. This, unlike the new movie, surprisingly paints Shinji as more determined to abandon his responsibilities at NERV and his father in the viewers’ sub-conscious.

The Angel attack takes everyone else by surprise as well. Mari somehow gets into the Eva Hanger and is, for some reason, talking about how her new pink plug-suit fits around her chest to Asuka’s Eva Unit 02. As Misato takes the car down to the Geo Front, Eva Unit 02 screams past her traveling up at break-neck speed, apparently without any clearance from Misato or NERV.

Rather than Asuka piloting Eva Unit 02, as was present in NGE (left), Mari takes the controls of Eva Unit 02 in Evangelion 2.22 (right).

Piloted by Mari, the Eva Unit 02 stands in the Geo Front as the 10th Angel enters, equipping herself with multiple firing arms. The Angel slices the arms of Evan Unit 02, and Mari doesn’t react as painfully in the new movies as Asuka did in the original TV series. Rather, the movie deviates entirely from anything written in the TV series as Mari’s glowing eyes puts the Eva Unit into “Beast Mode”, which apparently, as Mari’s comments, the Evangelion Units were not built for. The Unit’s mouth breaks opens and teeth protrude from it’s steel-covered jaws. Other protrusions burst from the Eva’s back and shoulders, and Mari, who looks just about as crazy as the Eva Unit itself, leaps Eva Unit 02 into the air to feast upon the AT-Fields generated by the Angel.

The design for Unit 02 in 2.22 becomes increasingly more devilish looking in the new films, which sharply contrasts from the more “noble” look of Unit 02's shape in the original series.

Unit 00 (top) looks rather celestial in her color palette compared to Unit 02's somewhat devilish appearance (bottom).

Again, this all seems to harken back to the motif with jaws brought in by Unit 01, creating a rather destructive motif around the mouth as opposed to the optimistic motif around the hands. This motif only becomes clearer when one realizes that both Eva Unit 02 and the 10 Ange are without all of their arms throughout most of the battle, intentionally straying form the hand motif established earlier in the movie.

As Eva Unit 02 goes into “Beast Mode”, it’s interesting to see how this finally seems to differ from Rei’s white and gold color scheme for her Eva Unit. The design from the original television series was updated for the new movie, giving Eva Unit 02 little devil horns in the top of its head. When Unit 02 goes into “Beast Mode”, her devilish appearance is only accentuated more dramatically into something that truly looks hell-spawned.

Rei’s Eva Unit by comparison appear much more angelic in contrast to Unit 02’s devilish-looking “Beast Mode”, especially when one considers the biblical description of Heaven in the book of Revelation as having gates of pearls and streets of gold, similar to Unit 00’s white and gold coloring.

So whereas the colors in the Eva Units in the original TV series pointed to character differences between the pilots of those Eva Units Asuka and Rei, the new movie seems to be using the color contrasts to point to a contrast much more epic within the grand scheme of battles between humanity and the Angels. This all may come into play even more when more is explored throughout the new movies.

The event of Eva Unit 02 transforming into “Beast Mode” seems to be referring to The Beasts mentioned in Revelation 13, though this reference seem to be in name and context only, and not within the Beasts’ visual form. We’ll touch back on this idea later

Rei directs her Eva Unit 00 onto the battlefield, tucking an entire missile under the Unit’s arm. Rei utters “I will make sure Ikari will not have to pilot the Eva anymore,” giving Rei clearer motivation than what was ever portrayed in the TV series.

From top to bottom, the personal belongings of Rei, Shinji, and Asuka.

This is where Shinji’s SDAT Player makes another appearance, as it sits besides Rei in her chair. Throughout the films the characters Shinji, Rei, and Asuka each have their own possession that they turn to for various forms of comfort. Shinji often times turns of his SDAT Player to tune out the rest of the world and live without others for a while. Rei has the glasses that Gendo broke as he tried to rescue Rei after a failed Evangelion sync test as a form of comfort and a reminder of Gendo. Asuka uses a small hand puppet when she’s alone as if to personify it with herself and constructively admonish it at times when she feels she needs it.

Shikinami’s fascination and use of the doll is actually a direct contrast to the way Soryu handled dolls in the original TV series, as she would abandon dolls all together in an attempt to put on a more independent and adult front to those around her.

Because it’s explained in Evangelion 2.22 that Gendo had given Shinji the SDAT Player , Shinji uses his in almost the same way Rei used Gendo’s glasses, in that they are both reminders of the same man. This is a rather ironic occurrence in the films since Gendo’s glasses often times becomes a visual barrier between him and the other characters he’s around.

When Rei picks up Shinji’s SDAT Player, she replaces Gendo as a comfort or a motivator. In fact, instead of bringing Gedno’s glasses to the battle against the 10 Angel, Rei brings Shinji’s glasses, saying they she’ll battle to be sure Shinji never has to battle again.

Rei replaces Gendo's glasses (top, Evangelion 1.11) with Shinji's SDAT Player as a reminder of him in her final battle in Evangelion 2.22 (bottom).

The missile explodes in Unit 00’s hand, and leaves Rei unconscious. The blast also flings Mari in the air, who then lands at the shelter where lonely Shinji currently resides. Mari recognizes Shinji as the Eva Pilot she bumped into earlier and, in a vocal tone much more cheerier than the circumstances would dictate, offers to show Shinji the devastation caused by the Angel. Rei’s Unit 00 catches Shinji’s eye right before the movie detours yet again from the TV show, and Shinji witnesses the 10th Angel devouring Rei’s Eva Unit in one bite. The shape of the Angel’s jaws is very plant-like, and adds a startling twist that continues to the motif of the jaws introduced when the Eva Unit 01 bit Asuka’s Entry Plug in half.

Suddenly the Angel’s appearance changes, adopting a giant white body that looks similar to Rei’s body, and it begins to blast it’s way down to Central Dogma, where NERV has been hiding Lilith. This is a very strong change from Neon Genesis Evangelion, where none of this happened at all. Shinji leaps from the hand of Unit 02 and runs back to NERV to pilot his Unit 01.

Back in the Eva Hanger, Eva Unit 01 rejects the Dummy Plug. Gendo mysteriously refers to the Eva Unit as “Yui”, asking the Unit why it’s rejecting him. Shinji enters the hanger and the scene plays out much as it did in the original TV series, resulting in Gendo allowing to Shinji pilot Eva Unit 01 and take the Angel out of NERV headquarters.

Both the basic arrangement and movement of Ramiel and Unit 01'a A.T. Field look very similar.

Shinji’s rinvolvement in this battle starts picking up some plot threads established in Evangelion 1.11 within terms of battle strategy. The halo appears above its head and its reformed arm (it torn off at some point during the battle) and begins to have an A.T. Field similar in appearance and movement as Rameil’s A.T. Field in Evangelion 1.11.

It’s also interesting to note that as Eva Unit 01 accomplishes all of this, the character Ritsuko describes this as the Eva Unit 01  transcending humanity. This is in direct contrast to how she referenced Eva 02’s “Beast Mode” as abandoning humanity. This further contrasts the celestial and devilish visual motifs within the film.

Now we finally come to the pinnacle of the climax, the point at which the end battle boils over the top. Shinji uses his Evangeliuon Unit as a gateway into the Angel’s Core where Rei is trapped after being devoured by the Angel. Shinji pulls Rei out of the Core, Rei still holding fast to the SDAT Player. And the rest of the world begins to go to Hell.

Anno again uses a technique at the end of Evangelion 2.22 that he had also used in his original series film The End of Evanegelion referred to as cognitive dissonance, the technique where the artist will simultaneously present to opposing emotions to the viewer. Yet the structure in which Anno builds his cognitive dissonance in Evangelion 2.22 is much different in the way he structure the cognitive dissonance within The End of Evangelion.

Within The End of Evangelion, Anno co-wrote a song titled “Komm Süsser Tod (Come Sweet Death)”.  The song in it of itself is full of cognitive dissonance, as the happy tune, written in B flat major, emotionally opposes the lyrics of the song. Even at the end of the song the choir can be heard giving each other high-fives and pats on the back.

I wish that I could turn back time, cos now the guilt is all mine. Can’t live without the trust from the ones you love.
I know we can’t forget the past. You cant forget love and pride, because of that its killing me inside.

One can obviously see how the song in it of itself contains two opposing emotions, but Anno goes a step further and presents his cut of the song (omitting the joyous choir high-fives and such), placing the start of the song during a scene where Shinji sees himself strangling Asuka during Third Impact. The 7+ minute song continues to play as the film transitions to pictures of dead animals and sad faces drawn in crayon by depressed children, the entire world’s population bursting or melting into a strange liquid (LCL, according to the film), and a long series of abstract images, each 1 frame in length, as the dialogue bits of disapproving women echo in the background.

In Evangelion 2.22, the circumstances are obviously quite different, as Shinji is determined to save Rei while in combat with an angel, and Third Impact is supposedly far from happening at this point in the story. But even Anno’s structuring of the cognitive dissonance is different, supposedly to adjust the specific mood of the cognitive dissonance for the scene it was intended for. Rather than writing depressing song lyrics, Anno goes for a more innocent approach to the scene by incorporating a Japanese children’s folk song named “Please Give Me Wings”, arranged in the key of C major and sung by Megumi Hayashibara (also the voice of Rei). Listening to the song itself, the lyrics don’t contrast at all emotionally from the melodies present in the tune. The melody is obviously the element that was supposed to contrast from the visuals present in the film, and not necessarily contrast the lyrics of the song. But Anno’s selection of this folk song presents a strange set of circumstance in his cognitive dissonance, in that the lyrics of the song match the on-screen events in the film, as Eva Unit 01 and the Angel start to become suspended in mid air and the energy being emitted by the Eva has the slight appearance of wings.

“In this huge sky. I wanna Spread my wings and fly Towards the free sky without any sadness. I wanna flap my wings.”

This form of cognitive dissonance isn’t quite as harsh and the one present in The End of Evangelion, as every element within “Komm Süsser Tod (Come Sweet Death)”, from the lyrics, the music, and how they were both implemented inside the film, seemed to be emotionally at odds with one another. Whereas in Evangelion 2.22, the symmetry provided by the lyrics and the on-screen action seem to provide an cognitive gradient from the film’s shocking events to the calm melody present in the song, yet still have the melody provide an great emotional contrast from the actions within the film.

Anno decides to let the end credits become a small break between that cliff-hanger ending and the extended cliff-hanger ending after the credits, where Kaworu hovers down in a Unit that looks remarkably close to Shinji’s Eva Unit 01, labeled the  “Mark 6”, and tells Shinji that this time he will show him happiness. There are several theories many have tried to form around this particular event, but this essay only goes into the elements present in the film itself, not speculation into how it applies to the future installments to the franchise.

From the elements present in this scene, it seems as though the film is forming a symbolic connection between the Christian version of the Apocalypse as described in The Book of Revelation, with “The Beast” Unit 02 taking on The Beast recorded in Revelation 13, and Kaworu’s “Mark 6” referring to “The Mark of the Beast” which Revelation 13 also describes as the number “666”.

Revelation 13:

11Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.12He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

13He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.

14And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.

15And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

16And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,

17and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.

18Here is wisdom Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.

"Mark 06" (top) and "The Beast" (bottom) may have apocolyptic meanings behind them.

In Qabbalistic Judaism the number 666 has a different meaning, as it represents the creation and perfection of the world, rather than the Mark of the Beast. According to Qabbalah, the world was created in 6 days, and there are 6 cardinal directions (North, South, East, West, Up, Down), and 6 is the numerical value of one of the letters of God’s name, hence the number 666. Where as this metaphor puts the ending in a different symbolic light, this application of the symbolic metaphor doesn’t allow for the “Beast Mode”  to be metaphorically explored.

And yet that’s really the only exploration the film allows in the possible apocalyptic meanings of the Eva names. The film literally ends right there, as also does this analysis of Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance.

with oi refer  in 

(Also known asjyhetd Evangelion, New Theatrical Edition: Break)

2009, 108 minutes, Science Fiction, Japan

[Directed by Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, Kazuya Tsurumaki; Produced by Toshimichi Otsuki, Hideaki Anno; Studio Khara, KlockWorx & Khara]

4/5

[Due to the pre-existing nature of the film’s source material, this article has been split into two separate groups. The first half of the article is a traditionally written movie review for Evangelion 2.22 free of important spoilers that might ruin the experience for first-time viewers. The second half of the article is a in-depth comparative analysis between Evangelion 2.22 and the television show it was based upon: Neon Genesis Evangelion, and even a look as to how art can sometimes imitate life, and is targeted for those who have watched both the film and the original television show.]

Review:

It’s always difficult rating the middle parts of a whole. For example, I don’t think anyone really truly liked the ending to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. When George Lucas released A New Hope, the first installment of the original Star Wars trilogy, its ending was a little kinder to its audience because the film attempts to start on good footing with the audience. But Empire‘s cliff-hanger ending leaves the audience expecting more from the story, a story that won’t continue for a few more years until the release of the sequel film. As a result audiences and fans publicly proclaimed their dislike for the film’s ending during the time of its release in 1980, grumbling of the wait before they even saw anymore development between the characters of Luke and Leah. Yet when looking back upon the film within context of the sequel film Return of the Jedi in 1983, Empire‘s ending becomes more forgivable to it’s audiences simply because they could finally see how the ending played into the progression of the film’s sequel. At the same time Jedi also introduced concepts that made any romantic interest between Luke and Leah in Hope and Empire either seem very, very awkward, or at times, bend it in the light of big brother looking out for his sister. (Empire excluded from the latter interpretation.) Individual parts of a film series can look extremely different within context of one another after the whole of the series has finally been established.

Similarly the first film in the Evangelion tetrology, Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, concludes in a fashion kinder to its audience, whereas the sequel film Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance becomes a more difficult film to really voice an opinion over simply because its unexplained cliff-hanger ending causes the audience to become unclear as to what will happen next in the film and how it will eventually effect the opinions formed on the current film. Heck, even for the original Neon Genesis Evangelion television series, I waited until after I had viewed the series in its completion before voicing an official opinion of the work. Unfortunately, Evangelion 2.22 does not have the luxury of being a part of a whole just yet, so the film must be reviewed and analyzed in it’s current state as a fraction, rather than its future state as a whole.

Hideaki Anno pushes forward in his latest film adaptation of his Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series with his new movie Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance, the awaited second film in the Evangelion film tetrology. This second installment in the remake film tetralogy progresses basic themes introduced in the first film Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone, and continues to hold a mirror up to the target audience (teenagers) on the subject of relationships and responsibilities, and the conflicts that can sometimes develop within. The film also attempts to both entertain the newcomers introduced by the first film, and appease the fans of the original 1995 television series.

Assuming that viewers had already seen the first installment of the remakes, the movie gets right to the point by introducing English-speaking Mari Illustrious Makinami piloting a Provisional Eva Unit as she attempts to destroy an Angel trapped in an underground tunnel in the arctic. More fresh faces are introduced when Kaji Ryoji talks with the heads of the joint U.S./Russian NERV Bethany Base, overseeing the arctic attack, about the success of the attack despite the impromptu construction of the Provisional Eva Unit.

Back in the Japanese NERV branch (introduced in the first film), another Angel is eradicated by another Eva Unit new to the remake series. This is where the film really pulls out all the stops to display its beautiful and stunning areal photography with an exquisite sense of action pacing, all of which is over in just seconds. Thus is introduced the final fresh face of Evangelion 2.22 and pilot of Eva Unit 2.0, Asuka Langely Shikinami.

The film continues at this pace, firing off one Angel vs. Eva battle right after another. The prospect of Angel battles starts to appear as part of the daily grind of the characters’ lives, giving the familiar faces of Shinji Ikari and Rei Ayanami time to get to know Asuka and Kaji better, both within battle situations and in what little social life is left in a post-apocalyptic world. And seeing as how the first film had already explored the idea of using Evas to fight Angels in a more frightening light, this confident ans somewhat leisurely pace is surprisingly a very refreshing pace for this new film.

The rapid-fire pacing does negatively effect the film at first, giving the audience very little time to sink their teeth into any of the new characters. But after all of the characters finally get established in Japan the movie slows down a bit to explore the new interactions between the characters, as Rei attempts to mends Shinji’s broken relationship with his father, Gendo Ikari, by inviting both to a dinner party at her expense.

The film does explore some avenues of character progression than the TV series never did. Shinji, Rei, and Asuka grow much further as characters than the original series ever gave them a chance to do, as the film series places more importance on character progression rather than the character study approach used in the original TV series. Also, most of the film’s mood throughout feels rather optimistic, with keenly developed music montages and finely tuned scenes stretching out the film’s outlook on how humanity is able to healthfully survive despite the monumental and Earth-shattering Angel attacks. Writer Hideaki Anno even introduces some slight-of-hand metaphors and quick references between the characters and their environment. And the musical score, while still throw-back musical sounds from 70’s anime harvested from the original 1995 TV series, also manages to completely flesh out the scenes and even completely impress the listener by exemplifying the actions portrayed by the monstrous Evangelion Units.

Of course all of this is just fluff and build-up to drastically and tragically pull the rug out from under the characters’ feet as they’re thrust into unknown dangers and terrifying consequences of Eva vs. Angel battles. Even the music provides a shift by exploring several uses of cognitive dissonance. Mari is re-introduced at some point during the climax and throws all sorts of twists into the plot, a mysterious character from the first film re-enters the scene and blind-sides all expectations, and the movie literally just stops leaving the audience in an epically confused mess, biting their nails as to what will happen next.

If one can’t stand confusing and unresolved cliff-hangers, then one would do better to wait until the release of the final films in the tetrology. Otherwise, Evangelion 2.22 is a very exciting action-adventure starring massive robot-like creatures with giant weaponry fighting mysterious monsters, beautiful animation with breath-taking visuals, and a little more character-depth than you’re usual action Japanese animated action film would provide.

Comparative Analysis:

[Writer’s note. Much of this article, including the in-depth studies of the motifs on clothing, food, hands, environment, jaws, character name origins, and how it interacted with character development and plot advancement, as well as scenes reminiscent from the first movie and how it all differs from the original TV show, was written after the writer’s first viewing of the theatrical release of Evangelion 2.0: You Are (Not) Alone in January. Images were not included to back up these observations until after the writer’s second viewing of the film after the DVD release of Evangelion 2.22 in April, as well as the study of color motifs and some insights on the extended scenes contained in the DVD edition.]

Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance opens by pretending that Episode 7 of the original television series never happened; which, considering how irrelevant the episode became to the rest of the arc of the TV show’s plot anyway, wasn’t a bad move on the part of the film. That’s not to say episode 7 didn’t add something to the show’s subtext, but didn’t add to the over arcing plot either. And when you’re writing for a 90+ minute film, you need to realize your main plot points fast and hit them as well as you can.

Episode 7, otherwise known as A Human Work, decides to take a break from the giant onslaught of Angel fights that dominated Episodes 1 – 6. Instead, the episode introduces a competitor to NERV’s Angel-battling technology called “Jet Alone”. This is not only the name of the competing company, but also the name of the robot built for defense against the Angels. Just by taking one look at the robot, one wonders if GIANAX, the studio responsible for the original TV series, was crumbling to requests from toy manufacturers for a simpler model designs for the toy robots based on the show.

Now before we laugh at the thought of Angel battles becoming a growing industry in the world of Evangelion and that every well-respecting company wants to compete in the “industry”, we need to realize that competitions over national security technology like this have happened in real life as well. In 1993, the U.S. launched the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter project (CALF), and actually had Lockheed Marin and Boeing compete to build the best fighter jet planes. The contest lasted until the year 2001, when it was announced that Lockheed Martin built the better fighter jets over Boeing. Looking at the design of the planes themselves, one can also draw more parallels between the Evangelion/Jet Alone competition and the CALF project, as Boeing’s X-32 jet designs look just about as bloated and unappealing compared to Lockheed’s X-35 jet, as Jet Alone’s robot design looked compared to NERV’s Evangelion.

IMAGES COMPARING BOEING’S X-32 TO JET ALONE AND LOCKHEED’S X-35 TO EVANGELION UNIT 01. I can’t tell who’s imitating who here, but I can almost guarantee it was (not) intentional.

All that to say, yes. Competitions over creating technology for national security do happen in real life; though the events in episode 7 were probably not inspired by the U.S. CLAF project. But it is interesting to see how life and art imitate each other from time to time. The consequences were not quite so dire in the U.S. as they were in Evnagelion either, as Jet Alone’s built-in nuclear power source malfunctions and NERV sends out the Evangelion Unit 01 to stop it before it destroys all of Japan. One can draw parallels between the dueling concepts of technological advancement in nuclear technology and the human spirit in this episode. Unlike Jet Alone, the Evangelion Units were humanoid based beings with actual souls that were not powered by dangerous nuclear technology, therefore symbolizing the human spirit’s ability to overpower nuclear devastation. (Japan has always had a thing against nuclear weaponry. From what I can tell, it stems back to the nuclear bombings on Japan during WWII.) These symbolic gestures are only strengthened when Misato personally accompanies Shinji so she can break into Jet Alone robot and personally deactivate it from inside as Shinji uses the Eva Unit 01 simply to keep the robot in one place and prevent it from bursting at the seems with nuclear emissions.

Jet Alone seems to power down on its own, suggesting that NERV had sabotaged the Jet Alone project from the start to keep it from getting any government funding in the future.

Despite the episode deviating entirely from the plot premise of the entire TV series, the episode introduces certain motifs and subtexts that are further explored throughout the rest of the series: that clothing becomes the outward mask that defines the character, whereas the real self is hidden deep inside the facade clothing provides. The theme is presented in episode 7 as Misato dresses up differently throughout the episode for different circumstances. Around the house she doesn’t get out normal wear that often, but she dresses very gorgeously to Shinji’s Parent-Teacher meeting at school, and for the conference at Jet Alone she dresses in her black uniform. Shinji’s friends, Toji and Kensuke, even explain to him that her normal wear around the house suggests that she considers Shinji part of her family, and therefore doesn’t mind that he sees her dressed in certain, sloppier ways.

IMAGES OF MISATO’S VARIOUS WARDROBES IN EPISODE 7. Misato projects several “versions” of herself through her wardrobes in Episode 7, all of which a part of her true self, but never fully encompassing the hidden secrets of her true self.

But all of this, even the normal wear, still covers the true Misato that is buried underneath the clothing, as is shown later on in episodes 10 and 11 when it is revealed that she has a large scar running down her chest from an indecent called “Second Impact”, which occurred 15 years ago during her childhood. This leads the TV series into a slew of back-stories that explore Misato’s past fears and the relationship issues she had with her father, who died during “Second Impact”.

IMAGE OF MISATO’ SCAR. All the visual themes accompanied with Misato of facades, materiality, and sexuality are exemplified in this one shot.

Because of the scar, the family that Misato is reminded through the scar, , and even a motif introduced later on with the female breast symbolizing motherhood, Misato’s scar also symbolizes a broken family that she later attempt to amend when she “plays house” with Shinji and Asuka, inviting them both to live with her with herself as the “mother figure” of the “facade family”.

In Neon Genesis Evangelion, writer and director Hideaki Anno added many of these in a layer of symbolism, metaphors, and motifs within the script to explore the subtexts of the characters. He admitted to placing these elements in the story with a college-aged audience in mind, as the themes and symbolism would often time end up going over the head of anyone watching the series who did not have some understanding of storytelling motifs, the ideas of Sigmund Freud, the visual references to Kabbalah mythology, or the Christian symbols scattered throughout the show. But in doing so, Anno also had to add yet another layer to the series trying to explain the motifs and symbolism he had placed in the script. Most of this involved cutting to an in-depth discussion between Misato and Ristuko on Shinji’s many issues, a poetic soliloquy by Rei exploring the meaning of her existence, or an internal monologue from Shinji ranting about how much his life sucks. In the end, many viewers of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series got caught up focusing the poetry around the symbolism rather than focusing on the characters themselves.

In fact, even the writers of the series ended up focusing more on fleshing out the symbolism rather than developing the character. The TV networks in Japan placed tight time budgets on the studio creating each episode, causing the creative team to pump out scripts dealing with symbolism, which can be visually executed quickly with the use of still frames and simple animations. This detoured from advancing the characters through the plot, as plot itself dealt with the characters battling Angels with giant Eva Units, which obviously takes a lot longer to animate due to the fluid and detailed movements required to show such battles. Much of this was remedied in the later moments of the original series when a film was made to re-explore the ending of the TV series called The End of Evangelion, and the filmmakers were given the opportunity to focus on the animation-heavy aspects of the series’ ending on a large budget.

IMAGES OF ANIMATED SYBMOLS IN EoTV COMPARED TO GIANT REI IN EoE. The original film finally and the end of the original TV series cover both the same basic core concepts, but in wildly different ways.

In the newer film remakes, Anno decides to target the teenage group with the movie’s subtexts as he did before in TV shows like Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. In doing so, the layer of in-depth discussions, soliloquies, and internal monologues that are scattered throughout the original TV series are also cut drastically from the new film versions. While considerably trimmed down, some of the motifs and symbolism remain intact in the new film remakes. But the omission of the layer explaining the motifs present in the films keep them from becoming the centerpiece of the film, as it did in the original TV series. This allows the viewer to focus more on the characters’ actions themselves while letting the symbolism and motifs work on a sub-conscious level with the viewers, rather potentially distracting the with the symbolic images and visual motifs pointing at the characters.

So rather than the Jet Alone episode, the movie introduces Mari Illustrious Makinami, an English-speaking adolescent girl who was also handed the responsibility of fighting the Angels. Whereas this particular moment doesn’t have any of the motifs in play that episode 7 had, the trade-off is it does keep in line with the main plot of Evangelion by focusing more on the efforts of NREV to eradicate the Angels, which is really helpful to the storytelling when condensing about 273 minutes of television story into a 108 minute feature film. And many of the motifs that were introduced in the omitted episode will be translated and introduced with other characters in different scenarios thought the new film.

The movie deviates even further from the TV series as Asuka is introduced attacking an Angel at the NERV base in Japan, rather than being quickly sortied into an underwater battle with the swimming Angel, Gaghiel in episode 8 the original TV series. Much of the missing themes and character beats in the missing episode have also been transplanted and otherwise adapted in later scenes of the movie. But while the subtexts have been temporarily removed, the on-screen action is just as over-the-top as episode 9’s fight, all of which could be summed up the episode’s title: Both of You Dance Like You Want To Win.

IMAGE COMPARING CLOCKY TO “DANCE”. The fight scenes in both the original TV series and the new film are drastically over the top.

The Angel attacking NERV in Evangelion 2.22 looks like vaguely like the Angel Matariel from the original TV series with a much needed face-lift. The way it floats on top of the bloody, red waters that plague the Earth’s oceans both suggests the dominance the Angels can have in the same world humanity is struggling to inhabit anymore, as well as give the Angel a God-like appearance, reminiscent of Jesus walking on the water. Asuka is introduced into the film as “Asuka Langley Shakinami”, rather than her original name in the television series “Asuka Langley Soryu”.

This name change does two things:

1) It sets up that the character will be constructed differently than the character in the original series. This name change theoretically makes it easier for fans of the Soryu and the original TV series to get over themselves and realize that this a completely different character from Soryu, and a completely different continuity from the original series. This character, instead Soryu in Neon Genesis, is Shikinami from the Rebuild Tetrology; so she probably won’t act as Soryu did, and the film won’t be too much like it’s original.

2) In a more intricate level, the family names given to all of the female Evangelion pilots, and even other characters in both the TV series and the film, come from the names of Japanese war ships, and the story of each war ship given in name to the character parallels the experience that each character will have in the story arcs. So whereas Soryu, being named after the war ship named, had experiences that mirrored that ship, Shikinami will have different experiences in the new movies simply because they will parallel the war ship she was named after, rather than experiences of the war ship Soryu. This, again strengthens the idea of Evangelion 2.22 as being a different continuity from the original. We’ll explore those names and their influence to the both continuities later.

IMAGE COMPARING SORYU’s TO SHIKINAMI’s BODY SHAPES. Also notice the considerable efforts made to make Shikinami look adolescent compared to the original Soryu.

Both the original TV series and the new film places some emphasis on Angel fights becoming part of the characters’ daily grind in the following Angel battles, though the movie does a better job at exemplifying it than the original series did. The original series spent most of their episode time anticipating and preparing for each individual Angel battle, which worked to the benefit of the episodes by giving each a build-up to a climax. But as a result, each episode is structured almost exactly like one-another, which almost defeats the purpose of the build-up as viewers start to predict, even if only on a sub-conscious level, both the build-up and the climactic outcome of every episode. Whereas the heightened portrayal of Angels as part of the character’s daily grind helps the movie use them more as rather impressive stepping stones into further character development, rather than climaxes in it of themselves.

IMAGES COMPARING UNIT 02’s INTRODUCTION IN EITHER CONTINUITIES. These two introductions are just as awesome as one another. Argue amongst yourselves as to which one is “better”.

This is also where the motifs and symbolism finally come back into play within the film remakes. Again, the layer of explanation pointing out these motifs that was present in the TV series have been completely removed in the film, but within context of the story and characters, these motifs can become surprisingly sub-consciously influential.

The movie re-enacts Shinji’s shower incident from both Evangelion 1.11 and the original TV series, but this time casts Asuka as the lead in the scene. Whereas this scene’s focus is mainly leaning toward comedic fan-service, it’s also interesting to note that, whereas as Shinji realized his openness toward Misato and quickly retreads back to the bathroom, Asuka had no shyness toward Misato. But when Shinji walks into the room, Asuka epically snaps at him and then quickly retreats back into the bathroom.

Asuka Langley Shikinami appears in Evangelion 2.22 as more of an arrogant introvert who eventually breaks out of her shell, similar to Shinji in Evangelion 1.11 yet with the added arrogance. This is much different from the over-achieving, somewhat obnoxious extrovert trying to mask her true feelings, as portrayed by Soryu in the in the original TV series. As a result, Asuka doesn’t seem that fond of human companionship in any form, whether it be in her work as an Eva pilot or in her personal life at home. Unlike Shinji, she is very determined in her work and attempts to be the best, but still falls in somewhat the same rut as Shinji in that she does this to maintain her introversion during her missions by avoiding team efforts. She is in no way excited as she finds out her living arrangements with both Misato and Shinji have already been made for her upon arriving at Japan. Rather than being out on the social front and making friends at school, like Soryu was in the TV series, Shikinami spends more of her time alone in her room, a room which she had kicked Shinji out of and had him sleep in what looked like a large closet space and forcing him to call her “Shikinami” rather than “Asuka”.

IMAGE COMPARING SORYU DURING MISATO’S PARTY FROM NGE AND SHIKINAMI HIDING IN HER ROOM FROM 2.22. One can see that, unlike Soryu (left), Shikinami (right) would rather not be on the social front.

To take a break from the rituals of Angel vs. Eva battles, Kaji, who had recently moved to Japan after overseeing Mari’s battle at the U.S./Russia joint NERV branch, takes Shinji, Rei, Asuka, Toji, Kensuke, and even the penguin Pen-Pen to an aquarium. This is where the last surviving section of natural clear water teaming with aquatic life has been preserved since Second Impact filled the entire world’s oceans with blood from the Angel Lilith. This really brings to the forefront how much humanity is loosing in their battle for ownership of planet Earth in their dealings with the Angels.

COMPARE AQUARIUM MOMENT WITH MANGA. More and more of Sadamoto’s influence on the manga can be seen replicated in some form in the new film.

As Rei looks into the tanks of fish with Shinji, she comments that, like the fish, she can’t survive without a tank either, which only strikes Shinji as extremely odd. Later on it is shown that Rei needs to be placed often inside a tank filled with the same LCL used with the Evas. The reasons for this have yet to be explained within either the new movie’s continuity or the TV series continuity for quite some time to come.

IMAGES FROM AQUARIUM AND THE REI TANK.

Shinji brings a meal he cooked with him for everyone to partake in while at the aquarium. Remembering that Rei doesn’t like meat, he gives her a dish he made specifically for her. Surprised, Rei responds by saying “Thank you.” Later it is revealed that Rei had never used words of graduate toward anyone other than Shinji’s father, Gendo Ikari. These are the themes and motifs transplanted into the film from Episode 17 of the TV series, as the events of Episode 17 will removed from the new film’s current continuity. The movie introduces these motifs a little early (around the time Episode 10 should be taking place, not Episode 17), as they serve greater purpose to the new movie’s current storytelling needs. This moment also seems to show food as a supporting motif to other motifs throughout the movie, as we’ll see in later scenes.

TVs IN BACKGROUND SHOW THE JAPANESE FLAG TURNING INTO THE NERV LOGO. If you noticed this upon your first viewing as I did, you’re awesome!

The movie again splits from the original TV series by ignoring the angels Israfel in Episode 9 and Sandalphon in Episode 10 of the TV series, and makes the battle with an angel resembling Sahaquiel from the original continuity to create Asuka’s realization of the necessity of team-work in battle. In the mission, the Angel falls at a great speed from outer space in an attempt to blast down toward Lilith and cause Third Impact. Both Rei, Shinji, and Asuka are deployed in their separate Evanglion units to literally catch the Angel in mid-air and destroy it. The scene continues very much as it did in in the original TV series, as all three Eva Units race toward the area where the Angel just emerged from the clouds.

IMAGE COMPARING SAHAQUIEL FROM NGE AND 2.22.

But, unlike the TV series, the Angel’s core drops from the Angel itself while the Angel splits the arms of Shinji’s Eva Unit, causing him great pain. As Rei holds the core, Shinji calls out to Asuka, calling her by name rather than by “Shikinami”. Asuka stabs the core and the Angel is defeated. In this way are the themes of team-work from episodes 8 and 9 reiterated back into the movie without having to re-tell the entire events of those episodes.

It’s also interesting to point out the decision by the creative team to maintain the golden color of Rei’s Eva Unit 00.

IMAGE CO MPARING PROTOTYPE 00 TO FINAL 00.

In the original television series, Rei’s Eva Unit was changed as some point from its original golden color to a solid blue color, matching the color schemes given to the characters. Rei’s blue Eva Unit matches her blue hair. Asuka’s red Eva Unit matches her red hair. Shinji’s Eva Unit is a shade of purple, the color between blue and red on the color wheel.

IMAGES COMPARING THE NGE EVA COLORS IN NGE. BLUE, PURPLE, RED.

IMAGE OF COLOR WHEEL.

This visually suggests Shinji being torn between the two characters, how to relate to them, and who they really are to him in the grand scheme of things. This visual arc presents itself in different ways until the series conclusion.

In Evangelion 2.22, Rei’s Eva Unit is never changed from the golden colors it is introduced displaying. Whereas this seems to remove any visual contrast between Rei and Asuka’s Eva Units, it may to allude to something else about Rei in future films.

IMAGE COMPARING THE 2.22 COLORS. PURPLE, RED, GOLD.

That night, Asuka resolves not to be alone anymore and sleeps with Shinji in his closet, their backs toward each other. Even though she refuses to let Shinji physically turn to her, she doesn’t mind being with him while dressed in only undergarments and a tank top, even allowing him to call her “Asuka” rather than “Shikinami”. This provides further contrast between Asuka and Rei in the films, as Asuka makes a clear attempt to be in a first-name bases with Shinji whereas Rei continues to call Shinji by is family name “Ikari”.

IMAGE OF ASUKA AND SHINJI IN BED. Asuka appears to be more comfortable with Shinji than she was earlier in the film.

While Asuka still won’t go nude around him, the visual motifs established in her shower incident are still intact. Asuka’s wardrobe in the bed scene visually connects the idea of clothing becoming the mask hiding the true character, and that Asuka is feeling more comfortable to be more of her true self around Shinji than she used to be. Almost as to visually cue that she trusts Shinji enough to appear vulnerable around him. This is very similar to the way the same clothing motif was introduced in episode 7 of the original TV show; which is very helpful in building the visual motifs in the movie, seeing as how the events in episode 7 were cut. Again, the layer explaining all of these motifs were completely removed from the movies, but the motifs themselves have still been carefully placed in Evangelion 2.22. This allows the motifs to work more on a sub-conscious level rather than becoming the forefront, as it was explored in the original TV series.

This differs greatly from the television series, where the arc actually went with a more forward approach with the motifs, even into creating an entire episode revolving around the exploration of certain motifs touching upon character study.

In episode 16, Splitting of the Breast, Shinji and his Eva Unit 01 is swallowed whole into the quantum physics of an invading angel. While in isolation within the angel, he goes into a mental breakdown where he reviews the events of his childhood and how he felt about them. The series uses various simple yet intriguing visual techniques to convey Shinji’s internal conversation and conflict with himself.

IMAGES OF THE VARIOUS MOTIFS USED IN EPISODE 16.

For as creative as this episode is, this arc is more or less repeated later on in Episode 20, Weaving a Story 2: oral stage, with even more character insight and depth than explored in Episode 16. From a big picture perspective, one can see why this introspective look into Shinji was presumably saved for a later film in the Rebuild series. Especially when most of the arc at this point in Evangelion 2.22 is supposed to give a somewhat “cake-walk” appearance to the both the characters and their battles at this point.

IMAGE COMPARISON FOR 16 AND 20. Whereas there are many difference between these two incidents, the similarities between these two incidents are astounding.

Rei goes through considerably more character beats in Evangelion 2.22 than she ever did in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Realizing Shinji’s conflicting emotions toward his father, Gendo Ikari, Rei decides to invite both Shinji and Gendo to a dinner she would host. She then spends the next several days trying to cook a dinner similar to the ones she’s had with Gendo on a daily basis. The food motif introduced in the aquarium scene is re-iterated into the movie, as Rei spends most of her day practicing cutting up vegetables and spices trying to make the meal as perfect as possible for the special event, giving the meal just as much thought given to the special dish Shinji gave her during the visit to the aquariums. This results in her cutting her fingers often. And when Shinji notices the band-aids on Rei’s fingers, she admits that she’s been practicing dinner for him, but does not tell Shinji that she also invited his father to the dinner.

This is where the food motif also draws attention to the hand motif that was also within the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series. In the movie original film The End of Evangelion, Rei asks Shinji “Then, what are your hands for?” The film then cuts to a series of flash backs of all the times there was a close-up shot of Shinji using his hands for various daily operations. And though this hand motif was introduced in Evangelion 1.11, as well as Episode 5 and 6 of Neon Genesis Evangelion, by Gendo burning his hands trying to rescue Rei after the incident with Unit 00 and Shinji and Rei joining hands after the battle with Ramiel, it only finally takes more apparent visual rooting in Evangelion 2.22 only to work more on sub-conscious level; whereas the motif as a whole throughout Neon Genesis Evangelion was never firmly established and wasn’t fully realized until that blurb of dialogue in the series’ closing film.

IMAGES OF GENDO OPENING REI’S ENTERY PLUG IN 1.11, REI’S ENTRY PLUG IN 01’S HAND IN 1.11, REI AND SHINJI JOINING HANDS IN 1.11. “What are your hands for?”

With the help from the food motif, the context of the hand motif becomes more optimistic in the film as opposed to the TV series, and even carries the characters further along developmentally than the TV show did; all of this without even having to verbally mention it once in the movie, as was the case in The End of Evangelion.

The hand motif is carried even further when Asuka overhears Rei confessing her dinner plans to Shinji and also secretly attempts to cook dinner for him, accidentally cutting her fingers several times as well. Asuka then finds out that Rei invited her to the dinner, and she spends the rest of the day with conflicting emotions over the situation.

Rei also attempts to make a connection to the other pilots around her, making specific gestures to thanking them for anything that they’ve done. This greatly contrasts Rei’s attitude in both Evangelion 1.11 and Episodes 1 – 6 of the TV series when she admits to only doing that which she’s ordered, with no other reasons given for carrying that order out other than the fact that she was ordered to do it. Whereas in Evangelion 2.22, Rei’s effort to thank her friends for what they’re doing is unprecedented due to the fact that she was never ordered to do so.

IMAGES OF REI’S AND ASUKA’S FINGERS IN BAND-AIDS. “What are your hands for?”

The film continues to deviate from the television series, as Toji’s sister recovers from her injuries from Eva Unit 01’s first battle and the audience actually gets to see the cute little button. This up-beat change contrasts greatly from the TV series, as Toji’s sister was never shown and remained in the hospital for the duration of the entire series. Asuka, on the other hand, is selected by NERV to test the new Eva Unit 03 flown in from the United States.

IMAGE OF TOJI’S SISTER AS LAST MENTIONED IN THE FILM COMPARED TO THE HOSPITAL SCENE IN HER LAST MENTION IN THE TV SERIES. The moods created with Toji’s appearance in the film are wildly different from those in the TV series.

Whereas in the new movie NERV seems to be using the Evangelion pilots to their fullest potential, the original TV series had written NERV to be more interesting in expanding its pilot inventory, hence why Toji’s sister never recovered from the accident during Eva Unit 01’s fight with Sachiel. Toji uses his referral to NERV as a way to get his sister into a better hospital for her injuries. In order to create NERV’s need for Toji to become pilot, the TV series goes through several episodes of Soryu falling lower and lower in Sync Ratio with her Eva Unit 02. This is accomplished by hinting at conflicting feelings toward both Shinji and Kaji, and some mysterious issues in the character’s back-story supposedly revolving around her mother, which the TV series continues to hold out on until a later date in order to fully explain.

In Evangelion 2.22, this spiral of emotional downs seem to be swept from Shikinami’s history, as her Sync Ratio never becomes an issue in her involvement with testing Eva Unit 03. She even gets thanks from Rei for helping out with the Sahaquiel attack (continuing Rei’s motif of thanking those who’ve helped her), and chats with Misato over the phone as she suits up for the test about how she’s been having a brighter outlook on life and those around her. Her plug-suit seems to continue the motif of nudity making the character appear more vulnerable to the elements around her, as it only covers from the hips down, the chest, and arms.

IMAGE OF ASUKA’S NEW PLUGSUIT. Though there seems to be much more leering than vulnerability to be portrayed in this shot.

Rather than eluding to horrific danger of possible Angel infestation of Unit 03 by showing lighting strike the Eva on it’s journey from the U.S. to Japan, as a scene in the original TV series had depicted, the scene is removed entirely and movie attempts to drastically pull the rug from the viewers’ feet without warning as Eva Unit 03 literally blows up on site due to Angel infestation. Those connected to Asuka are told of the situation.

Now, even with film’s brilliant areal photography and action pacing shown previously in the film, This next scene remains to be my favorite throughout the whole movie withing terms of framing, context, and editing of both picture and sound.

GENDO’S REACTION. REI’S REACTION. SHINJI’S REACTION.

This moment does several things:

1) Each character gets two reaction shots, a wide shot and a close-up shot. Gendo’s reaction is first covered in a wide-shot. Tires screech loudly and then slowly blurs into an echoing sound, as the footage of Gendo’s limo driver burning out a one-eighty is viewed in slo-motion. The second shot is a close-up shot focusing on Gendo’s stone-cold face as he holds his cell phone up to his ear, the footage viewed at the same speed as the previous shot, the sounds fading off into silence.

2) Rei’s reaction starts off editorially mirroring Gendo’s reaction. Instead a close-up shot of Rei’s face painted with an expression of genuine concern fill the screen, the silence from the last cut still lingering. The second shot is a wide shot from behind Rei, revealing the bubbling pot on her stove. Rei’s silhouette in the background can be seen holding a soup ladle. The sound of the simmering pot quietly ripples into the scene.

3) Shinji’s reaction.

The moment starts as loudly as the initial explosion involving Eva Unit 03, and starts wide with Gendo’s limo. Then it zeros in on the characters’ faces as the sound slowly fades. Silence exemplifies both the pure coldness in Gendo’s face, and the earnest concern Rei has toward the comrade she invited over for the dinner with Shinji and Gendo. MORE ON THIS.

The film uses these cinematic techniques to make the malfunction with Unit 03 feel much, much more devastating than the cinematic techniques around Toji in the TV series, though the situational moments revolving around the separate continuities are still very similar. Both Asuka in Evangelion 2.22, and Toji in Neon Genesis Evangelion, had similar goals.

In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Toji was in a budding relationship with a fellow school-mate named Hikari. Hikari tried to make contact several times to Toji by offering him a home-cooked meal for his school lunches, so as Toji wouldn’t have to buy from the school cafeteria every day. But alas, she could reach him until the Angel infestation of Eva Unit 03 rendered him a crippled amputee in the hospital.

IMAGE OF HIKARI IN THE KITCHEN IN NGE. Hikari cooking before realizing it wouldn’t matter either way.

In Evangelion 2.22, Asuka was starting to show some interest in Shinji. She misreads Rei’s dinner invitation to Shinji as a date and tries her hand at cooking so Shinji wouldn’t have to do it all the time around the house. (The film explains that Misato is no cook.)

IMAGE OF ASUKA IN THE KITCHEN IN 2.22. Asuka cooking before realizing that it wouldn’t matter either way.

Both Evangelion 2.22 and Neon Genesis Evangelion take the same paces in the fight between Eva Unit 01 and Eva Unit 03, with minor alterations including Rei’s complete absence from the battle (as she was clearly blind-sighted and not on duty at the time), the obvious omission of Eva Unit 02’s involvement (Asuka’s original Eva Unit), and Unit 03’s sudden burst of two extra arms, making it slightly Buddhist in appearance. Gendo over-rides Shinji’s unwillingness to harm Asuka by running the Dummy Plug System to take over Eva Unit 01 in Shinji’s stead. This introduces another interesting change in the movie in the use of Eva Unit 01’s mouth in crushing Asuka’s Entry Plug, rather than using it’s hand as was done in the TV series. This detours from the hand motif, opting for the use of the mouth for destructive purposes instead. This also become a theme in later scenes.

IMAGES OF BARDIEL’S EXTRA ARMS, AND EVA 01’S JAWS.

Asuka survives the attack, but suffers from a coma and is placed in quarantine for possible Angel exposure. One can assume that the character will make a return at some point in the tetrology, as her last name, “Shikinami”, was taken from the old Japanese destroyer Shikinami (meaning “Spreading Waves” ) that was dismantled and taken out of commission after WWII, only to return again years later to see the light of day again. This is a starch contrast from Asuka Langley Soryu from the original series, who was named after a Japanese air craft carrier named Sōryū (meaning “Blue or Green Dragon”). The air craft carrier was destroyed in the heat of WWII battle, which was also reflected in Asuka’s future in the original TV series.

IMAGE OF BOTH BOATS AND CHARACTERS OF BOTH SORYU AND SHIKINAMI.

Contextually, Asuka Langley Shikinami impacts more of the pilots’ lives in Evangelion 2.22 than Toji did in the entire TV series, heightening the plot-motivated second-hand devastation felt as the audience picks up in the reactions of every main character. In the TV series, Shinji and Hikari were really the only characters directly emotionally impacted by Toji’s accident. And since Hikari was never used to motivate the plot of the series, her reaction does little to the progressing of the series’ plot. In the movie, however, Shinji and Rei become emotionally involved because the devistation occurred to Asuka, and not to Toji. The situation causes Shinji rejects his father and run away from NERV, demolishing everything Rei tried to do for the two, and Rei herself focus her efforts in supporting Shinji in his decision.

Symbolism comes into play in exploring both characters’ decisions, as the film makes a connection between Gendo’s glasses that Rei keeps with her, and Shinji’s tape player, which Shinji confesses that his father left them with him before abandoning him as a child years ago. Like the original TV series, the film keeps at least part of the layer explaining the symbolism in Shinji’s dialogue with Rei, though the film’s commentary on the symbolism doesn’t take up half the amount of time it would have in the TV series. MORE ON THIS.

Gendo’s referencing adulthood. Kaji’s prior to this. MORE ON THIS.

Mari re-enters the picture in a way that probably best describes her role in the entire movie. As Shinji’s minding his own business atop a building, Mari suddenly crashes into him boobs-in-his-face style as she sails down from the sky on a parachute. After fumbling around on the ground for her glasses, and coming quite close to letting her school uniform reveal her delicacies as she bends over, she receives a call on her cell phone and seamlessly drops into the English language for the conversation as she gathers her parachute. She mentions something about needing to make a covert and desecrate entrance, hangs up the phone, reverts back to speaking Japanese to apologize to Shinji, and runs off to find something else to do.

Despite the two scenes feeling nothing alike in tone, setting, or pacing, this scene does seem quite familiar to Rei’s nude scene with Shinji in both Evangelion 1.11 and the original TV series. Both are quite awkward, reference the female breast to Shinji in ways most obtrusive, and only creates more questions than answers in both Shinji and the viewer about the female character. The latter point is specifically what’s at work with Mari. Whether this is Femme Fatal at play or not in the movie is still quite unsure, and the reasons for Mari’s school uniform go unexplained as she’s never seen in school throughout the entire film. But if one thing seems to be certain with Mari it is that nothing seems to be certain with Mari. This will become a deliberate pattern with her scenes in Evangelion 2.22, as she’ll often take every character she comes in contact with off-guard throughout the film and leave both them and the audience asking many, many questions.

Enter the Angel Zeruel, who, like Ramiel in Evangelion 1.11, has changed much in the new movie compared to the original TV series. Some very slight changes in the chronology of events from the TV series has the train become redirected after Shinji had already boarded the train rather than before he boarded the train, as was shown in the TV series. This slight change in the movie paints Shinji to appear alone and trapped by his own decision, both in the train and later on in the empty shelter, rather the TV show still gives Shinji the opportunity to turn back to NERV after the emergency has been declared by pushing that moment before the train’s arrival to take him to the shelter. This, unlike the new movie, surprisingly paints a Shinji that is more determined to abandon his responsibilities at NERV and his father in the viewers’ sub-conscious.

The Angel attack takes everyone else by surprise as well, and Misato rushes from her bath, in the nude and obviously unprepared, to NERV Headquarters, dressed and ready for action, to oversee the battle. Meanwhile, Mari somehow got into the Eva Hanger and is, for some reason, talking about how her new pink plug-suit fits around her chest to Asuka’s Eva Unit 02. As Misato takes the car down to the Geo Front, Eva Unit 02 screams past her traveling up at break-neck speed, apparently without any clearance from Misato.

Piloted by Mari, the Eva Unit 02 stands at the surface and, equipping herself with multiple firing arms, looks up at the Angel Zeruel. Much of the scene takes place in the same manner, with the obvious exception of differing Eva pilots due to Asuka’s absence.

Rei directs her Eva Unit 00 onto the battlefield, tucking an entire missile under the Unit’s arm. Rei utters “I will make sure Ikari will not have to pilot the Eva anymore,” giving Rei clearer motivation than ever portrayed in the TV series. MORE ON REI’S POSSIBLE THOUGHTS ON ASUKA?

The missile explodes in Unit 00’s hand, and leaves Rei unconscious. The blast also flings Mari in the air, who then lands at the shelter where lonely Shinji currently resides. Mari recognizes Shinji as the Eva pilot and, in a vocal tone much cheerier than the circumstances would dictate, offers to show Shinji the devastation caused by the Angel. Rei’s Unit 00 catches Shinji’s eye right before the movie detours yet again from the show, and Shinji witnesses Zeruel devour the Eva Unit in almost one bite. The shape of the Angel’s jaws is very plant-like, and add a startling twist that continues to the motif of the jaws introduced when the Eva Unit 01 bit Asuka’s Entry Plug in half.

Suddenly Zeruel’s appearance changes, adopting a giant white body that looks similar to Rei’s body. This is a very strong change from Neon Genesis Evangelion, where none of this happened at all. Shinji leaps from the hands of Unit 02 and runs back to NERV to pilot his Unit 01. Zeruel slices the arms of Evan Unit 02, and Mari doesn’t react as painfully in the new movies as Asuka did in the original TV series. Rather, the movie deviates entirely from anything written in the TV series as Mari’s glowing eyes puts the Eva Unit into “Beast Mode”, which apparently, as Mari’s comments, the Evangelion Units were not built for. The Unit’s mouth breaks opens and teeth protrude from it’s steel-covered jaws. Other protrusions burst from the Eva’s back and shoulders, and Mari, who looks just about as crazy as the Eva Unit itself, leaps Eva Unit 02 into the air to feast upon the AT-Field generated by Zeruel. ZERUEL GOES DOWN INTO THE GEO-FRONT AT SOME POINT HERE.

Again, this all seems to harken back to the motif with jaws brought in by Unit 01, creating a rather destructive motif around the mouth. This motif only become clearer when one realizes that both Eva Unit 02 and the Angel Zeruel are without arms, intentionally straying form the hand motif established earlier in the movie.

As Eva Unit 02 goes into “Beast Mode”, it’s interesting to see how this finally seems to coordinate with Rei’s white and gold color scheme for her Eva Unit. The design from the original television series was updated for the new movie, giving Eva Unit 02 little devil horns in the top of its head. When Unit 02 goes into “Beast Mode”, her devilish appearance is only accentuated more dramatically into something that truly look like a hell-spawned being.

IMAGE COMPARING NGE UNIT 02, 2.22 UNIT 02, AND “BEAST M ODE” UNIT 02. The design for Unit 02 in 2.22 becomes increasingly more devilish looking in the new films, which sharply contrasts from the more “noble” look of Unit 02’s body shape in the original series.

Rei’s Eva Unit by comparison appear much more angelic in contrast to Unit 02’s devilish-looking “Beast Mode”, especially when one considers the biblical description of Heaven in the book of Revelation as having gates of pearls and streets of gold.

IMAGE COMPARING EVA UNIT 02’S “BEAST MODE” TO EVA UNIT 00. Unit 00’s color scheme looks remarkably celestial compared to Unit 02’s devilish appearance.

So whereas the colors in the Eva Units in the original TV series pointed to character differences between the pilots of those Eva Units Asuka and Rei, the new movie seems to be using the color contrasts to point to a contrast much more epic within the grand scheme of battles between humanity and the Angels. This all may come into play even more when more is explored throughout the new movies.

Back in the Eva Hanger, Eva Unit 01 rejects the Dummy Plug. Gendo mysteriously refers to the Eva Unit as “Yui”, asking the Unit why it’s rejecting him. Shinji enters the hanger and the scene plays out much as it did in the original TV series, resulting in Gendo allowing to Shinji pilot Eva Unit 01 and take Zeruel out of the Geo-Front.

Despite Mari’s earlier scene in the film’s opening, her appearance throughout most of the end scenes also seems to be tacked onto the end of the film in a way similar to the scene involving that creepy, silver-haired guy living on the moon toward the end of Evangelion 1.11 (yet to be named in the new movies, but known in the original TV series as “Kaworu”), in that Mari doesn’t even present herself as an issue in the film until the very last minute. Though, whereas many people felt that Kaworu’s appearance in Evangelion 1.11 and Evangelion 2.22 were all used as build-up to the following films, Mari is almost expected to have more characterization surrounding her simply because she was the first Eva pilot to be introduced in the beginning of Evangelion 2.22.

As a result of these many changes, many Angels have been re-arranged, re-designed, replaced, or completely removed from the series. In fact, the final Angel vs Eva battle count at the end of Evangelion 2.22 only reaches 8, whereas at the point in the original TV series the movie seems to stop at, Shinji had completed the 12th Angel vs Eva battle. Much of this is because the movie attempts to retain only the most climactic Angel battles, and discards anything from the original continuity that wouldn’t assist the new continuity in this matter. This leaves much of the last two movies in the Evangelion tetrology to create new Angels and raise the stakes even higher, seeing as the number of Angels NERV was to destroy in the new movies is the same as the number of Angels NERV had to destroy in the original TV series. MORE ON THIS.

Officially, none of the Angels attack NERV have been named yet in the rebuild series. The only named Angel so far is the Angel Lilith, who has been dormant and trapped inside Central Dogma since “Second Impact”. MORE ON THIS.

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About Stefan D. Byerley
Stefan D. Byerley is an independent filmmaker and freelance visual artist currently residing in North Carolina. He likes detailed storytelling, intriguing imagery, massive bloody violence, crying at the movies, and long walks in the park during the Autumn season.

12 Responses to Stefan’s R&A: Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance

  1. Good review, though I noticed a few typos and such (bound to happen with such a review, but proof-reading is always good.), but you wrote that Gendo’s glasses are Shinj’s. >_>

    Another very noticeable mistake was this:

    >This is where the last surviving section of clean, clear water teaming with aquatic life has been preserved since Second Impact filled the entire world’s oceans with blood from the Angel Lilith

    The blood that fills the oceans is from Second Impact, but the Adams were the cause of it. Lilith has nothing to do with it, as far as we know.

    You SHOULD get your hands on the Platinum booklets (they’re on Monkey’s site if you don’t have the single volumes which contain the booklets) and those 1.11 and 2.22 booklets from the DVD/BDs…It has a lot of good information that could give some much-needed facts to this review (for instance, background information on Jet Alone and how that name came to be). Citing your sources from the various interviews and information is always helpful, too. (For instance, that comment about Anno having a college-aged audience in mind…I understand it that Eva was geared towards teenagers (although it became a hit on it’s second run late at night) considering the figures and other merchandise advise the customers to be “15 and older” when buying products of the show considering it’s nature.)

    It does somewhat feel as if this review was all-over-the-place instead of having a proper focus, perhaps smaller sections or subsections could have been beneficial. Also, this review does make some assumptions on series mythology being similar to mythology in the new movies, which, so far is an unknown of what’s staying versus what’s kept the same (besides the minimum information we know so far, at least).

    Although, does this mean you think Shinji and Rei’s situation/relationship is similar to Luke and Leia’s? >=3 Since 1.0 and 2.0 really have been hitting us over the head with the Yui connection and all…

    Overall this review is good and I did enjoy reading your thoughts, but it does need more work to be properly polished. I guess part of the problem is reviewing a work where it’s only halfway through and we don’t know the “full story” yet… Good job, regardless. ^_^

  2. Another mistake I just spotted: at the aquarium, Shinji doesn’t know Rei is a vegetarian until she says something. He gives her some miso soup to drink, but it’s at school when Shinji packs her a boxed lunch that Rei says “thank you”. The biggie of this is Rei comments in her room that she never said thank you to anybody before–which INCLUDES Gendo. “Thank you. Words of gratitude. Words I’ve said for the first time. I’ve never even said them to him.” (Him=Gendo which is when he see a shot of his broken glasses.)

    Please fact-check before going “live” with such reviews, though I totally understand that mistakes or missing things are bound to happen every so often. ^^:

  3. Stefan D. Byerley says:

    Yeah, most of that was written from memory when I first saw it in January, and went unchecked into the final version. I’ve fixed a lot of them now. Also, I’m not sure what you mean by “Mythology”, as I’m only using religious symbolism in that regard. Clothing motifs and things like that seem self evident in 2.22 as meaning the same thing as they did in NGE, at least to me they do.

    But anyway, most of these should be fixed by tomorrow, if not sooner. I should have really waited a day and revisited the analysis with a clearer mind. :P

    • I guess “mythology” is the wrong phrase…But I believe your article had something about assuming Rei=Lilith and Kaworu=Adam or how the Eva units have the mother’s souls, which is still an unknown with the new films.

      I’m sure once you fix it, things will be good. (Another error I recall in your article: Misato got up naked from the bath and rushed to Nerv at the news of Eva-04 disappearing. With the 10th Angel battle, she got there in a rush but was shocked to see Eva-02 being sent out.)

      • Stefan D. Byerley says:

        Within terms of Rei=Lilith/Kawuro=Adam and all that jazz, well, I never touched that. There’s some Adam/Lilith back-story when discussing the Adam embryo in NGE, but then I compare that to the change in The Key of Nebuchadnezzar. And I only mention that Gendo called Eva Unit 01″Yui” in the film, though I never explore as to why. That’s all 3.0’s job. I’ll go back and make sure that was all clear in the article, though.

        Also, I might end up editing these comments when I’m done with the fixes just to reduce the amount of clutter. ut thanks for helping me out and stuff. ^_^

  4. Greg says:

    Fantastic review. Great job.

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  6. Tyler M. says:

    So I really like how you touched on the differences between the movies and the TV series, After reading some other reviews, I noticed that yours has to be one of the most detailed and unbiased reviews out there. AND you noted that Anno is STILL the director, which I awesome some people didn’t know. Recently read some review that thought that the entire movie series was just a remake of the TV series in a small time-frame. -____-; Too bad I couldn’t comment on his idiocy.

    Anyway, thank you, you’ve really put together some points, and -as my professor would say- ‘read the text’ that is Evangelion 2.22

  7. Felipe Fritsch says:

    I am slightly overwhelmed by the depht of this review. Very nice job.

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