Twelve Moments in Anime 2010 No. 1 – ROW ROW FIGHT THE ANGELS
I haven’t really been writing these posts with any idea of a set order or real thought about what I consider to be the “most important” anime moment of the year for me; it just so happens that Evangelion 2.0 ended up in the final spot. But I can’t think of many better moments to end on, considering Evangelion was one of the more important series in getting me hooked on anime for life.
Even now I’m still not totally sure what I think about the second movie in the Evangelion Rebuild quadrilogy . . . and, at least for now, I see that as a good thing. Evangelion should be spontaneous; it should keep us on our toes and leave us not knowing what the hell is going to come next. Anyone with eyes could tell that You Can (Not) Advance would be different than the original series simply due to the presence of a new character (Mari Makinami Illustrious), but I don’t believe anyone could have predicted the radical shift in tone and character that the second movie brought. You could cherry pick just about anything from the flick as an example (Rei standing up for herself against Asuka?! Asuka actually being honest with her feelings?! An almost family dinner with the Ikaris?!), but none to me stands out more than the very end.
I mean . . . look at it! Shinji is burning with fire and passion as he struggles to save Rei! Shinji runs away initially because he is fucking scared as hell, but he’s not guilted back into the Eva, or at least not in the way he would have been in the original series. My god, he even stands up to his father with some power! If Shinji did that in the original, there was always the sense that it was the most frightening ordeal of his life; here, he’s like, “Fuck you, I’m the pilot of Eva 01!” Even Gendo is taken aback, for fuck’s sake!
And then of course there’s the actual fight with the angel, the rescue of Rei and the craziness after the credits . . . safe to say Evangelion is something else after that.
I cannot in good conscience say right now whether this is better or worse than the original. With two movies left, that would be a silly proclamation, I think. But they are something different, or at least the second movie is. Maybe what is most surprising of all is how easily I can accept this — of course Evangelion would change with time. As I have rewatched the original series, I’ve found that movies do not really change my perception of it; I view the movies and TV series as separate beings . . . or, perhaps, it’s more accurately said that right now I see one as the younger version of the other.
And that seems unbelievably appropriate. I first watched Evangelion as a stubborn, angry teenager who didn’t quite get everything yet (not that I do now, of course, but as the saying goes, I got better). Now I’m watching the Rebuild flicks as An Adult, with a job, responsibilities, the full monty. (And bigger worries than whether such and such girl likes me, or whether I can get my homework done on time.) Has Evangelion — and Shinji — grown up with me? I don’t know, but I’ll surely enjoy finding out.