R E V I E W – A N I M E
The much anticipated finale of Neon Genesis Evangelion’s remake saga is finally being released today. After 8 years of production marked by numerous delays, Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is going to give a fitting conclusion to the story that started back in 2007 with the first film of the tetralogy, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone.
The Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy was conceptualised by Hideaki Anno, the writer and creator of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series, back in 2002 as a sort of reimagination of the base story. More simply put by the creator himself, it was “a faithful remake of the original series”. The Rebuild tetralogy differs from the previously released movies: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, and End of Evangelion, serving as almost an entirely new iteration of the original plot with the addition of new characters and changes to the story, whereas the previous movies simply condensed the anime series into movies and portrayed the same plot with a more cogent and cohesive ending from a different perspective.
Now, Evangelion is not the kind of series that works well with hype, nor is it something that caters to hype. Its story is complex and its structure is unconventional, with the pacing being even more so. But more salient than anything, Evangelion has its characters. Evangelion’s characters are soulful, as if they were made up entirely of all their relationships and feelings and their histories. Their characteristics seem predictably cliché at first glance, but the way the story unfolds and the ways in which the characters react are so very life-like, with author Hideaki Anno hitting a perfect balance between fictitious, cliché personalities, and real-world character points. And that is the hook, line, and sinker of Evangelion.
It is because the characters are so life-like that you care about what happens. You might not empathise with them or you might not relate to them, but they feel real and they invoke that sense of foreboding you get when you watch something that has real people whose actions have every chance of causing a disaster. And as the plot unfolds, that feeling grows stronger and stronger and you start to care for the characters more and more because nothing causes a person to feel for something more than dread. All of this compounded with a stellar soundtrack, above average emotional exposition, and sparse but quick, effective action scenes transcend Evangelion into a stunning piece of work, to understate it.
Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0, starting off where the previous film, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, left off, will most likely take a route worthy of its name. Not only will Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 finish the original plotlines started by the previous movies in the tetralogy, it will also feature a completely new ending for the story and characters, and perhaps one that might even be a bit less existential-crisis inducing (not) for the viewer and depressive for the characters.
The nuances that lurk in every nook and cranny of Evangelion result in it being a story that one might not feel a hyped rush of adrenaline for, but for the finale of which one will definitely hold their breath. And one can hope that Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time will be that finale.
The writer is a part of TDA Editorial Team.