Region: 2 - UK
Length: 107 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 5.1 Surround
After defeating multiple hostile aliens known as Angels, Shinji Ikari, the young pilot of the Evangelion series of giant humanoid robots has finally begun to settle into his new life living with his commanding officer Misato Katsuragi in the fortress city of Toyko-3. However the threat from the Angels has yet to cease and new pilots arrive to damage the status quo and Shinji’s unstable psyche. Will the unstable alliance between child pilots and their adult comrades be enough to fend of the attackers, or will the fragile alliances forged between the different human factions crumble under the pressure of their individual agendas?
As many of you may already know, the Rebuild of Evangelion series of films were designed to encompass four films. The first three films are essentially a re-telling of the original 26 episode series with the fourth film being a new ending to the story. While this is essentially true, whereas the first film followed the series faithfully, the second film differs wildly from the norm to include a new character and several scenes that have been added to allow for greater examination of the interactions between the main protagonists.
The characters flow naturally from the first film and in fact develop a lot more in two films than they did in the whole of the original series, the children gel more as friends and colleagues which in a way makes it more disturbing on a personal level when the inevitable tragedies occur. Notably there is the introduction of a new character, the pilot of unit 05, Mari Illustrious Makinami. A slightly jaded character with a propensity for violence and a rather unusual fondness for the LCL fluid that fills the Eva's entry plug control system, Mari's entry into the series was covert and her motives are largely unknown, although she clearly knows more about the Evas than most of the others, even able to engage a back-door into the Eva control system.
Fortunately as with the first film, most of the major players from the series have returned once again not only including the director Hideaki Anno, but the mecha designer Ikuto Yamashita, character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and of course Shirō Sagisu returns to supply the music in a polished and updated way, although the inclusion of a child singing in the most disturbing scenes provides an unusual counterpoint to the harsh reality of the scenes presented.
Again the use of CGI has been used to stunning effect, mostly in the action sequences and the angels and is as fluid and well integrated into the 2D animation as could ever be hoped for, especially as even with new releases today frame rates can be so low as to produce a jerky inconsistent effect that can ruin a well planned out film or series. The sound presented in Dolby 5.1 in both English and Japanese produces not only an enchanting ambiance with the score in the slower paced character interaction sequences but also generates a teeth-rattling roar in the louder action scenes.
The extras on the DVD include an enlightening commentary from the cast and a raft of omitted scenes as well as the usual trailers and TV spots. While the commentary by the English cast is unusual and interesting as the ADR director has had many of the cast come in and talk for a short while about the film instead of the usual running commentary. The deleted scenes may disappoint fans as they have not been through post production and look a little rough although it does provide a useful insight onto the production process itself.
I don't bandy around the word masterpiece very often, but in this case I think I will. The first film added style and class to the original series and this new installation to the franchise has added not only a greater sense of grandeur to the proceedings, but has also explored the depth of the characters personalities to a much greater degree. If you've seen the first film and loved it, then there's nothing I can say to stop you buying this film. Hideaki Anno has taken the Mona Lisa of anime, painted over it thoroughly with an oil brush, and somehow made it better. We have a rule here that nothing ever gets a 10 rating, and this will only get a 9. However, if Studio Khara can keep up the quality of not only animation, but of storyline and character development, then the final film may be the first, and possibly the last to get a 10. There you go Anno-sama, consider the gauntlet thrown down.
This review is of the DVD edition Edition of Evangelion 2.22
You can also get this title on Blu-ray in the US and UK.