Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (Masayuki, 2007): Japan

Reviewed by Travis Rennacker. Viewed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

The film was made in 2007 and was released to Japanese audiences a full year before it premiered in the US.  Like most anime, Evangelion fits into a broad story arch.  Before it was a film it was a TV series, and before it was a TV series it was a comic book.  Over the years the story and characters developed.  Evangelion 1.0 enters the timeline mid stride. Director Masayuki releases the film from the recap shackles. Unencumbered Evangelion 1.0 spreads its wings (great allusion right?).

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (Masayuki, 2007) has a very interesting tempo.  From the beginning the film is fast passed. It literally hits the ground running.  The opening scene starts off in the middle of a battle scene. Through Shinji (main character) we are instantly whisked away and into Tokyo-3 a bastion of humanity and hope for humanity.

In a world were things called “angels” descend upon Tokyo-3 with the sole goal of demolishing the city.  Our main character, Shinji, is a young boy who’s father runs the operation of “Nerv,” a special department that is in charge of the safe keeping of Tokyo-3.  Shinji is manipulated by his father to fight the “angels.”  The only way to fight the very powerful “angels” is to use a mecha (reminiscent of a transformer that is stuck in their more human forms, without the ability to turn into a car or other craft). Using this giant machine Shinji wins the battle against the “angel”  but is not thanked for his bravery and valor but is instead blamed for the destruction that the fight caused.   Through further trials and tribulations Shinji is looking for a reason to go on.  He is bored with life and looks for a meaning.

Again the film relies on outside knowledge of the series to make sense of the combat and its motives and all of the SYMBOLISM (there was a ton).   Without prior knowledge of the Evangelion universe it is easy to get lost (which happened to me).  The story is important but not the only thing worth while in this film.   The style of imagery and feel of Japanese animation makes for an engaging couple of hours.  Though the story lost me a few times one thing I did not find myself doing was yawning.

About this entry