I’ve mentioned in previous articles that I’m a big fan of Evangelion. For various reasons, it has slowly grown to become one of my favorite anime of all time. So, of course, it has a weak spot in my heart whenever the name and characters are evoked. When I heard that they were doing a limited release of the third movie in theaters over the weekend, I had to take time off from work to go and see it.
I’ve watched the entire original series, and I started watching the rebuild expecting to be led on a slightly different journey than the original series. However, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo went in a completely different direction from the original series to the point where, in some cases, I feel like I’m watching something completely and utterly different.
For those of you who have not seen it yet, it takes place 14 years after the ending of the second movie, and everything is different. Shinji Ikari, the main character of the Evangelion series, appears completely ostracized for unknown reasons by the people that he considered friends – Asuka seems even more hostile towards him than she was before, and even Misato is very wary of him. He’s told that he is never allowed to ride in an Evangelion – and that is before he ends up being stolen away by Evangelion Mark.09.
I shall say no more, because to talk more about the movie would spoil a lot of the huge moments that are very different from the original series, and moves that I wasn’t expecting in the slightest. However, there is one constant in almost all incarnations of Evangelion – Kaworu Nagisa. And in Evangelion 3.0, also known as Evangelion: The New Movie: Q, where Q is short for “quickening”, there is finally a formal introduction of Kaworu’s character.
Those who watched the original series or even read any of the spin-off titles of the Evangelion universes will probably recognize Kaworu’s name. Kaworu often shows up in various of the Evangelion series as a “fanservice character”, or a character to attract the fangirls, at the top layer of his character. However, he is so much more than that; at his core, he is supposed to be someone for Shinji to grow attached to, and it’s essential for his character development. As a result of his attachment towards Kaworu, it ends off as coming off as more of a homosexual relationship between the two – something that many fans dislike. In fact, in some of the iterations of Evangelion, it has fully formed into a relationship; one of the most controversial pages being a page in the manga in which Kaworu tries to calm Shinji down from a panic attack and ends up kissing him.
But more than that, Kaworu is someone that Shinji clings to, especially in the new movie, because he feels like there is no one else who can understand him, and he grows to trust him. There was one line in the movie that took me off guard, however, because it was different from the original Japanese; in one scene, Shinji is talking to Kaworu, and, in the original Japanese, he says something along the lines of “You are perfect for me.” In the English dub, however, he says, “You truly are my best friend.” Something completely different, probably because the former sounded “too gay” to put into the movie. The whole relationship between Kaworu and Shinji is something that’s close to my heart – one of the reasons being that it appears to be one of the first times that there is a canon, homosexual pairing between two of the main characters, in a large-scale, massively followed anime – and yet, there are constantly people trying to argue that it is not the case. I could write an entire article simply on their relationship, that’s how close it is to my heart.
The movie as a whole was very complex in nature; various times, uncomfortable laughter broke out in the auditorium where I watched the movie in scenes that weren’t exactly humorous; the movie dealt with a lot of serious tones, and evoked a lot of the same feelings that the end of the original series had. It was that tone that helped me to feel that it was, in fact, an Evangelion series entry – and something that I grew very fond of.
However, it is a movie that I feel like I have not completely understood; there were so many things going on at once that it was impossibly for me to take in everything that it had to offer. On the plus side, watching it in the movie theaters is an experience that I would not have traded for anything in the world.
Here’s to hoping the final entry in the Evangelion rebuild series will be released in theaters in America!
I rate this a four out of five white-haired pretty boys.