The Evangelion, aka Neo Genesis Evangelion, aka Eva, aired as a TV series in the late nineties and already then received critical acclaim. Now for the past many years the original creators have been redoing the series in a movie series.
The Rebuild series is peerless. Every action movie I’ve seen since has left me thinking about Evangelion. It does not matter if the action film is Western of Japanese, they cannot compare.
Take destruction and power, abstract terms that get *defined* by Evangelion. You never see a dieing person in Eva. The scale is uninterested in singular people. Fleets of ships, walls of tanks, that is Eva’s scale of destruction.
I wish other films paid the same focus. Last summer we had the blockbuster Avengers. At said film’s climax the superheros resorted to saving a bus of people. One bus, regular people. The world is being invaded by aliens and the most dramatic scene the film will provide is one bus load of people being escorted into a building.
My wish is for the action to match the scenario’s scale. Eva fulfils this condition. Saving a bus is individual scale. You do not get to invade the earth on an individual scale. When invading the earth you must work on planet scale.
Planet scale means you have no time to watch a random person die. You have no time because the destruction of a battle fleet is not your climax and so said destruction needs to get off the screen fast.
Evangelion will evacuate the city in seconds. What inspires me is how powerful the evacuation feels. As like an entire nation’s will and effort was put forth. Highways of buses and railines packed. Yet not a person to be seen. In any other film we would see the panic, the disorder. Any other film would spend tens of minutes building suspense over the evacuation’s success. Yet Evangelion has no time to waste on such small issues.
Three of the planned four Rebuild movies are out. The third has made complete departure from the tv series and each film has outdone the last in power.
Power is the key flaw in the whole concept of giant robot suits. Internalize the power, the momentum, a tank has when moving. No engine we can create has the power to size ratio needed to make building sized robots move. So some anime invent new power sources to justify their robot’s movement. Eva does not. Or at least Eva does not waste time explaining their existence.
Instead Evangelion shows you the result. Eva never compromises scale. In the case of robots this means weight and momentum. So when Eva shows a robot changing direction, accelerating, or falling we see the result of the mythical power source. We see the ground cracking. We see the jet blast. We see the weight and Newtonian force.
Still frames or animated gifs cannot do Evangelion justice. I wish they could. Once I pause the film the magic disappears. Evangelion is an animated experience and it is meant to be seen moving. Keep that in mind when you see beautiful still frames. Those frames have been pulled from a scene that magnifies them many times over.
If you can understand japanese and you have not seen Rebuild then I implore you to watch the films. I am less enthusiastic over the prospect of relying on distracting subtitles. As a fundamental issue English is not Japanese and impact can only be lost in translation. If you do not yet understand japanese then you are still fortunate. The Rebuild series is taking a very long time to reach completion. Seeing the fourth film in the next two years would surprise me. So this should make a fine opportunity to learn the language.
Or just watch Neo Genesis Evangelion anyway, it is that incredible.