Travel and Arrival
You Can (Not) Advance – which was what basically happened to me on the way to the first screening. It ends up I went to the WRONG cinema the movie was suppose to show at. No matter, I left one hour early which ended up being just enough time to get to the right place.
For those in Singapore, I had accidentally made the mistake of going to the Cathay Cineplex at Dhoby Ghaut instead of Cineleisure in Orchard Road. After ‘advancing’ my way to the correct cinema, patiently waiting in the long ticket queues to purchase a ticket as well as heading to the right cinema booth where the correct movie was showing, I found myself entering the cinema as the lights were beginning to dim and the movie finally starting. Talk about timing. I didn’t have time to purchase any drinks or popcorn though.
Some observations made were approximately 3 full rows of seats were only occupied so the amount of people I expected to show up was drastically incorrect as I had first anticipated. However ALL of the people occupying the seats were easily confirmed to be between the ages of 15-25 years old which would have been easily expected. Regardless of the screw ups I had made, it still feels good to be one of the first people in Singapore to see the movie, anyway enough chit-chat about the minor details.
[WARNING SPOILERS – CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!]
Opening Scene / The Third Angel
As the opening scene began rolling I was impressed at how fast the action sequence had kicked in with glimpses of a new, never-before seen EVA – Unit 05. Some noticeable aspects of this new EVA are its legs with wheels, claws and equipped lance, further down the track it is revealed that it even has an in-built self-destruct system as well as automatic ejection system for the entry plug which leaves a nasty surprise for the Third Angel it confronted which left its pilot unharmed.
It’s the beginning of the movie, and we are quickly introduced to the newest character of the Evangelion franchise – Mari Illustrious Makinami. There has been quite a lot of hype and discussion of what role and type of person she is in the movie and most of our questions will not go unfulfilled in this movie. A few minutes in and we are given an insight of what her personality is like. Through careful observation we can see she is no amateur at piloting an EVA, in fact we can see she is highly skilled as she goes toe to toe with the Third Angel. She is slightly arrogant and possibly near-suicidal as she isn’t afraid to die as long as she wins, even if it costs her own life.
The Key of Nebuchadnezzar
One of the mysteries that still clog my brain is the The ‘Key of Nebuchadnezzar’ which was briefly shown for a few seconds and lacked an in-depth explanation. I’m certain this key will play a significant role in the movies to come.
Asuka Langley Shikinami / The Seventh Angel
Further in, we are introduced to Asuka Langley Shikinami, which is significant name change. She is given a dynamic entry as we see her EVA Unit 02 being deployed from an aircraft. She comes bursting in, blazing red in a vertical assault as the Seventh Angel attacks. With a precise shot from her weapon as well as displaying an amazing feat of strength she finally pierces the Angel’s AT Field and destroys its core. This scene itself is one of my favourite scenes in the entire movie as it shows Asuka potential as she single-handedly confronts and destroys an Angel by herself.
After the battle, a meeting between Shinji and Asuka takes place, certain aspects of her personality will never change as she still reins dominance over Shinji with her constant verbal and physical abuse. There are a number of traits and personality changes that Asuka has undergone compared to the original series. This will be covered later on.
EVA – The Mark 06
We are shown new scenes of the construction of NERV’s newest EVA – The Mark 06. We are told that The Mark 06’s construction is completely different to the previous EVAs seen. Glimpses of Kaworu Nagisa are shown sitting on top of the constructed Mark 06 in space WITHOUT any form of breathing apparatus, his role still in the movie still remains a mysery.
The Second Impact
Early in the film, we are given glimpses of what happened during the Second Impact through Misato’s eyes as well as a further explanation of Misato’s relationship between her and her father. We are shown the extent the damage due to the explosion of the Second Impact and the coverage of the explosion of the Earth’s surface. New content shown to us through effective usage of a series of cross-sketchy cuts showing us the chaotic nature of the scene. A younger Misato comes to view and we see her staring at the eyes of numerous creatures (which is assumed to be Angels) as the blast goes off.
As the story continues, Shinji’s class is taken on a field trip to an aquarium that holds the world’s remaining marine life in live captivity (due to the after effects of the Second Impact). Bits and pieces of new information regarding the after effects of the Second Impact are explained to us, such the reason why the sea is red (and it’s smell which is noticed by Shinji) is due to all the rotting marine life killed when the Second Impact went off, resulting in inhospitable conditions for any life to exist in the oceans.
Mari Illustrious Makinami
The following day, we see Shinji is informally introduced to Mari as she is secretly deployed in the city of Toyko 3 by parachute (which turns out to be not-so-secret after all). As he daydreaming on the school roof, he is interrupted by Mari as she arrives from the sky and happens to inconvienantly land right on top of him leaving him in a state of confusion. She seems to enjoy smelling others as she comments on Shinji’s smell occasionally.
The Tenth Angel
As the Eighth Angel begins its attack, a plan is formulated and Unit 00, 01 and 02 are tasked with playing a game of catch as the Eighth Angel (Tenth Angel in the anime series) comes plummeting down from space through Earth’s atmosphere. Since a trajectory of where the Angel is going to land cannot be calculated (as the Angel is forcefully changing its course and speed), the EVAs are spread over a wide area in an attempt for one of them to forcefully stop the Angel and restrict its movement so the remaining EVAs can locate, penetrate and finally destroy it’s core.
An amazing display of Shinji’s strength is shown as we see he is now experienced and cooperative as a team. He manages to stop the Angel dead in its tracks, and lock it in its place, however at the cost of his EVA’s arms taking heavy amounts structural damage. It eventually results in his EVA’s armour around the arms to break off, and finally its muscle torn and bone being exposed.
Spectacular works of Unit 00 and Unit 02 come in as Rei manages to grab a hold of the rapidly moving Angel’s core. Once again the amazing speed, skill and strength is displayed by Asuka through acrobatic leaps and strikes eventually lead to the Angel demise as she delivers the final blow.
Through Shinji’s complete willpower he was able to do something useful and finally resulting him in being praised for the first time by his Father as well as giving him a reason to continue fighting.
EVA – Unit 03 / The Ninth Angel
Once the action has died down, the delivery of Unit 03 with its newly created experimental engine (where the EVA no longer requires a a cable supplying it with constant power), eventually arrives. Asuka (Touji in the anime and manga) is the chosen pilot as she volunteers as she was not keen on attending Rei’s party which happens to be the same date. The reason for this party was for to strengthen Shinji and his Father’s relationship. The party is interrupted by a malfunction in the new EVA, which turns out to be the Ninth Angel in form of an infectious virus. Shinji is deployed, however refuses to go on the offensive as he is afraid of killing Asuka since her entry plug had failed to eject. Gendo orders that the newly acquired dummy system in Unit 01 to be activated which results in Shinji losing complete control of his EVA and is unable to intervene as the dummy system ruthlessly tears apart the Ninth Angel and Asuka along with it. Finally, it crushes Asuka’s entry plug-in its jaws however, Asuka miraculously survives as she is seen after the credits with an eye patch (after the credits). Shinji is outraged with his Father’s actions and throw’s a hissy fit and decides to quit NERV.
The Tenth Angel / Finale
As Shinji leaves Tokyo 3, the Tenth Angel attacks and our newest star takes this chances to prove herself to NERV by hijacking Unit 02 which has been stored away due the to the Vatican Protocol. We see Mari’s extensive knowledge with EVAs as she is able to activate Unit 02’s ‘The Beast’ mode within the cockpit via voice command. Unit 02’s restraints which limits its full strength as well as its ‘human’ form are removed. She is granted an absurd amount of strength and speed however her body takes a considerable amount damage as each second goes by due to its side effects . The maximum potential of Unit 02’s capabilities is seen in this final scene alone. She literally pierces and tears through several layers of AT Fields with ease, however, despite all her efforts the Angel is still rendered unharmed as it rapidly recreates multiple layers of AT Fields at an instant. Unit 02 is eventually heavily damaged with the lose of an arm, a chunk of it’s head as well as massive amounts of blood oozing out from its many wounds. In the midst of battle, Rei manages to join the battle in her half repaired EVA (that was badly damage due to the last Angel encounter) and manages to catch the Tenth Angel off guard. She is an arms width away almost being able to pummel it wielding an N2 mine in her hands. Despite the damage Unit 02 received, Mari is able to assist Rei in delivering a point-blank hit with the mine, however the Angel is still unharmed due to its superior defenses.
After deciding to return to NERV, Shinji confronts his father about wanting to pilot his EVA again, he immediately joins the battle but only to see Unit 00 being consumed and assimilated by the Tenth Angel asit was devoured whole. He eventually runs out of time and loses power to his EVA. Through shill willpower, Shinji is able to send his EVA into an ‘awakened’ state (not mistaken for berserk mode) where he has full control and gains abilities (such as a godlike eye beam) and power of an Angel-like nature never seen before. After the destruction of the Tenth Angel Shinji, attempts to spiritually contact Rei in an attempt to pull her back as she is now within the Angel. He is successful in his rescue attempt, but results in Unit 01’s core and the Tenth Angel’s core to combine. We are left with the final minutes of the movie as we hear Ritsuko saying that the Third Impact is about to occur.
After the Credits
When the credits end we see the Lance of Longinus pierce through the sky and landing a direct hit on Unit 01 which consequently halted the occurrence of the Third Impact. Shown floating above is the EVA Mark 06 piloted by Kaworu.
Shortly after, we are greeted with a short preview of the upcoming movie. Through brief scenes of flashes we are shown Rei and Shinji trapped within Unit 01, Tokyo 03 has been evacuated, NERV personnel have been imprisoned, quick views of Unit 06 and another unknown EVA, and Asuka is in fact alive with an eye patch.
English dialogue was extensively used throughout the movie, especially in the opening scene as well as the preparation for some battle scenes. The English dialogue spoken by Mari was pretty terrible however still understandable. I feel they could have done a better job as it affected the atmosphere of several critical moments in the movie.
The subtitles (assuming they are done by the studio that made the movie) were pretty terrible. I have seen speed subs that have done a better quality job for other various anime series. I was willing to put up with it since already expected this since this is not the first time I’ve seen a Japanese movie in a cinema before an online fansub. If I had downloaded this, I would have immediately wiped it off my hard drive and awaited a better quality fansub to be released.
Observations / Conclusions
Shinji / Asuka
Certain parts of the movie have stayed on path of the original series, such as Asuka moving in with Misato and once again displays her typical tsundere-like aggression and dominance towards Shinji in a dispute over territory in Misato’s home. We see the ongoing joke (seen in the series and the first movie) of the newest tenant of the Misato residence being shocked and surprised to find Misato’s pet (and also roommate) Pen Pen. They eventually run out of the bathroom exposing themselves as they are completely naked (however private parts are conveniently covered up) as they realize the embarrassing situation they are actually in. As the typical scene goes, Shinji happens to be in the same room, and see Asuka in her state of ‘vulnerability’ and is immediately beaten to a pulp.
Many scenes revealed many parts of the cityscape, various structures and buildings of Tokyo 3. Unlike the series, there wasn’t much exposure to this. In the first movie (Evangelion 1.0) we are shown in detail how the buildings rise and descend into the ground when an attack is imminent. It’s good to see that they included more of this as it allows us to grasp a bigger picture of the environment where majority of the movie takes place.
As you may have noticed throughout the many movies and original series of the Evangelion franchise, you’ll would have seen may crossed-shaped explosions. In Evangelion 2.0, they pretty much overkilled on the cross explosions, still it was expected nonetheless and did not alter my viewing experience. Just a harmless observation.
I personally feel that the latest and updated Angel designs were much aesthetically improved on as there is a slight feeling of them being a new encounter that the characters are facing. It also gives you a sense of not knowing what the new Angels might have installed for their opponents as they might have had a complete redesign in offensive and defensive capabilities. It’s been quite a while since I re-watched the original series (there also might be exclusive Angels in the manga which I have not read before) so I can’t remember all the Angels, their forms, and capabilities off the top of my head.
Throughout the film, there was a noticeable amount of fan service mainly provided for fans of Asuka (which I’m sure they were happy with) as we see her almost naked, partially see-through sleep wear, pantsu as she turns around in her sleep as well as cleavage with a nice view from the top as she bends over. Personally I think they over did it, but still enjoyable nonetheless.
There were numerous changes to several of the main character’s personalities, some minor, some major. The changes I noticed are as follows:
Shinji: He seems to be less emo and whiny compared to the previous movie and original series. There are a few moments where he still complains but I’ll let him get away with it this time. He is noticeably more open to the other characters and accepts their companionship rather than constantly pushing them.
Asuka: She shows absolutely no feelings of love towards Kaji (which had not much effect on the plot), but instead shows more affection towards Shinji and even hints of love.
Instead of collecting dolls, she has a hand puppet which she can be seen talking to. She seems to be jealous of Rei due to her closeness to Shinji, or maybe it’s perhaps she had an extra dose of Tsundere Tropical Juice.
Rei: On a positive note, the producers have decided to give Rei a touch ‘humanity’ as well as being more lively, rather than a lifeless and emotionless doll like in the original series. She is even given slightly more dialogue (unique dialogue if you must call it that) as she speaks her mind and even asks questions. She also has the desire to do other things like cook, or strengthen the bonds between Father and Son. Rather doing as ordered by Gendo, she’s seems to do things through her own judgment and will rather than doing as ordered.
I think I also caught a glimpse of her smiling. You heard me right, SMILING. I have a feeling there might be a possible romantic relationship that is slowly developing between her and Shinji as she eventually embraces him after the final battle.
I’m sure there are other changes I’ve missed, feel free to notify me about them as I’m also curious to find out what they are.
Berserk vs Beast vs Awakened Mode
Berserk Mode: There are certain conditions that are required to be met before this mode is fully activated. We see this mode activated early in the first episode of the original series and first movie, and aware that this mode allows its pilot to receive large amounts of strength as well as a significant speed boost. Beast mode allowed it to tear through multiple AT Fields, Berserk Mode was only able to corrode and destroy a single layer of an AT Field. Activation of this mode seems to require a great deal of trauma, pain and physiological harm to its pilot before it activates. When this happens, the EVA commences a blind cannibalistic rage towards its opponent. For all we know it might not even have the ability to distinguish friend from foe as its pilot loses complete control over it. This mode seems to be unique to Shinji and his EVA as we do not see it activate in the other EVAs. It has the remarkable ability mend any broken or damage limbs but it is unknown to whether it can fully regrow missing parts. It is only known that Shinji has been able to activate this mode and is most likely unique to Unit 01 due to certain circumstances in the plot from the original series.
The Beast Mode: Activating this mode seems to work as a double edge sword where its pilot receives a ridiculous increase in strength and agility. Restraints on its back are seen being deactivated and unlike the other various modes the pilot can activate it via a command as well. The pilot is seen in control and conscious of its own doings unlike Unit 01’s Berserk mode. Its speed and strength seems to be vastly superior compared to the rest of the modes, however this mode lacks the regenerative abilities seen in the other modes as it did not attempt or could not heal the damage it sustained . It is only seen for the first time in the Evangelion 2.0 movie as it is activated by Mari.
Awakened Mode: Unlike Berserk mode, it requires incredible amounts of willpower from its pilot to activate. It acquires new abilities such as a powerful eye beam allowing it split objects apart. It’s strength and speed is once again increased but seems to be on par with the similar Berserk mode. It’s appearance dramatically changes as certain parts of its armour begin to glow a distinctive red. At certain times it has angel-like appearance where a halo is formed above its head. Nearing the end of the fight with the Tenth Angel, it has the ability to float above the ground and rise through the air slowly as if it was ascending to heaven. It’s regenerative abilities seems to be superior to the Berserk mode as it is able to fully regrow an arm that was dismembered, however the arm glows an eerily white and has ghostly hands reaching out from under its skin. Similar to the Beast mode, the pilot seems to be in full control and may even have indirect control through the pilot’s subconscious as I don’t think ascending and combining with the Tenth Angel was intended by Shinji as well as triggering the occurrence of the Third Impact. We see that this mode is only activated by Shinji as he is the first to be able to unleash the full power of an EVA without having any damaging effects (however he did also unintentionally almost lose his ‘humanity’ in his attempt to save Rei) on his body as well as being in total control of his newly acquired powers.
As similar as these modes may seem, they all have different traits and aspects. We see that each mode displays different levels of strength, speed, regeneration, as well as the mental state and physical state of the pilot and its requirements for activation. It is safe to say that these modes are a precious gift that will assist their pilot’s in defeat of further Angel attacks.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Movie maintain a handful of humorous scenes which provide great comic relief in times of peace. It’s action scenes were superb as well as the music piece’s that accompanied it (which can be found here) . Uttermost fantastic fights scenes between the various angels and EVAs as well as the new plot elements included just to create unpredictability as we can pretty much expect anything in this alternate universe. Evangelion 2.0 was successful in delivering an absolute masterpiece as it received a lot hype and anticipation since the release of Evangelion 1.0. We can only expect that the following movies will continue to outshine its predecessors down the road. I can easily say I enjoyed watching Evangelion 2.0 and I am currently trying to overcome my excitement for its sequel.
New Plot Elements*: 9
*Only applies to shows that are remakes, remastered, alternate reality scenarios etc.
** Does not necessarily have to be an average calculation of Visuals, Audio, New Plot Elements, and Characters.