DVD Review: Evangelion 1.01 - You Are (Not) Alone
Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
During the Fall of 2009 I was cleaning my room and found those DVDs and watched them again. Then I went on YouTube and finished watching the rest of the series. I concluded by renting The End of Evangelion from Netflix. Based on the viewer comments I decided to leave Evangelion: Death & Rebirth alone. I was satisfied with what I saw.
While on YouTube I saw an ad for Evangelion 1.01 - You Are (Not) Alone. I assumed it was a special Blu Ray release of the original series. I figured you can’t have too many director’s cuts out there. Then I clicked on the link and discovered that this was not just a special cut of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime. This was a whole new animal. Well, more like the same animal with a new fur coat.
This animated feature runs much the same way as the original anime serial. Shinji Ikari arrives in Tokyo-3 at the behest of his estranged father, Gendo Ikari. While being picked up by Lt. Colonel Misato Katsuragi a malevolent beast giant known as an “Angel” attacks the city. As Misato escorts Shinji to NERV Headquarters she explains that NERV defends the Earth from Angel attacks. Their most effective weapons are giant humanoid mechanisms called “Evangelions” or “Evas”, for short.
As if that wasn’t jarring enough Shinji discovers that Daddy Gendo didn’t just call him over for quality family time. Gendo wants Shinji to pilot Eva Unit 01. Though he’s never piloted an Eva or even had basic combat training NERV is pinning their hopes on the new arrival to defeat the Angel and save the world from annihilation. Oh, what will Shinji do?
If you saw the original anime program then you already know what Shinji decides and how that decision impacts the rest of the story and the supporting characters. Evangelion 1:01 is the first four episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion smushed together into a feature length format. So, expect to see the introductions of the core characters like Rei Ayanami (the mysterious pilot of Eva Unit 00), Toji Suzuhara (Shinji’s classmate) and Kensuke Aida (another classmate). Some of the scenes will be extended, kept intact or abridged so, again, if you feel like something is missing don’t call your therapist. This is a reimagining after all.
Yes, if some of the footage looks crazy familiar don’t adjust your television set.
Along with the cosmetic changes Evangelion 1.01 also boasts some new wrinkles in the plot. One of the most notable switches is Shinji’s introduction to Lillith, the second angel. Misato takes him down to the bowels of NERV headquarters to help convince Shinji to pilot Eva Unit 01. The crucified marshmallow giant was known as Adam in the original series and that fateful basement meeting happened much later and much differently in the series, too. I’m not sure if these subtle changes have improved the story or wrecked it. I guess we’ll have to see how it develops.
Oh yes, this will develop. If you watch Evangelion 1.01 after the end credits you will see the preview for the next installment of Evangelion. I’m not sure what will be altered but the good news is that Asuka Langley Soryu will make her debut in “Film #2”.
The DVD of Evangelion 1.01 was scarce in the special features department. If I recall correctly it only had a trailer gallery and that was it. No deleted scenes. No commentary. You do have the option of English or Japanese audio, though. Something as monumental as the reboot of a beloved anime series should warrant at least one featurette about the revival process. Perhaps they’ll save that for the “gold plated NERV 2 disc special edition” but that’s just a guess.
I rented this from Netflix so I don’t have any plans to buy Evangelion 1.01 at this time. I like the series and the characters but not enough to start buying Evangelion DVDs again. I'll leave that to the die hard fans to purchase. I look forward to renting the next episode of the revised Evangelion series. Honestly, I hope this slightly new story will be more grounded in the epic battle between the humans and the angels and will dwell less on the mental instabilities of the Eva pilots. If this ends with everyone standing around applauding Shinji for discovering self esteem again I will hire Sailor Moon and her scouts to shut down NERV for good.
Note: The US site for the "Evangelion 1.01" dvd wasn’t functional at the time of this writing so I have included the Japanese site and the Funimation store link as backup. When in doubt try your preferred search engine or Wikipedia for updates.
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