originally posted at https://canmom.tumblr.com/post/659341...
Hoi, weebs! This week is a special occasion: at long, long last, our patron saint Hideaki Anno has seen fit to bestow on us westerners the final entry in the Rebuild of Evangelion! All together now,
Mm. Now take a break, dude.
Jokes aside, hype train or not, I really am pretty damn excited. And while I thought the movie was gonna drop tomorrow, and I was going to show End of Evangelion or something like that tonight, it’s actually already here!
So what do we do?
Well, we download that shit immediately of course. Not every day you get to hop into a 4000 seed swarm.
(pictured: me steering animation night to a new course when I realised the movie was out)
However, if you’re like me, you might be a bit fuzzy on what happened in the Rebuild of Evangelion. After all, it’s been quite some time since we last watched Eva. So even though we’ve already watched the Rebuilds on Animation Night, I think we’re going to do our first (perhaps only) rerun since the year anniversary post, and watch them again.
This brings us to our second problem. Altogether, the Rebuilds of Evangelion run to 464 minutes, which is to say, slightly shy of 8 hours. If we started right now and watched without breaks, it would take us to… 4am. Which may be doable, but we’ll be exhausted by the time we get to the end. So let’s exercise a little prudence…
Instead, my plan is to split this Animation Night in two: tonight, we’ll rewatch 1.11 and 2.22, and if we can hold on just one more day, tomorrow we’ll enjoy this new spectacle.
Not much more to say than that! I wrote quite a bit about the Evangelion series - its historical significance, its strokes of aesthetic genius, its rather convoluted legacy - last time, so go read that post. Since then we have visited Anno on many other occasions, e.g. Animation Night 29 (Gunbuster and The Wings of Honneamise), Toku Tuesday 4 (Cutie Honey) and Toku Tuesday 10 (Shin Godzilla) to get ever more of a sense of his whole, thing. (Incidentally, he was also an animator on Macross. Mostly an explosions guy back then.)
Well, back then, it’s safe to say the Rebuilds made a favourable impression. They’re intriguing in the new story they’re telling with the familiar material, astonishing in terms of animation, and no less striking with their choices of imagery than the original series. Even the use of 3D CGI - which has a tough act to follow given how strong the traditional animation was at the key points of Eva, especially End of Evangelion - had a sufficient sense of design and composition that it could play to its strengths, like the intricate airship we see as the pace ramps up in 3.0.
On a narrative level, there is a clear emphasis on the emotional throughline rather than any technicalities of angels or robots, as seen vividly in the extended gay piano sequence in 3.0. A lot of thematic balls are up in the air…
…so it remains to be seen how they’ll bring this home - what this modern Anno’s trying to say, in contrast to his past self, by revisiting his most famous work. Are we, for example, right to interpret Mari (pictured above, sniffing Shinji) as Anno’s girlsona? Having moved past the hedgehog’s dilemma - a Shinji who is a little bolder, a little less prone to self-destruction - what is the question which he struggles with today? I’m sure we’ll see a lot of ink spilled on Interpreting this movie in the next few weeks! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to spill some myself!
Well, we’ll find out tomorrow. For now, let’s revisit some of the most spectacular animated films I’ve ever seen to juice up our hype glands (sorry) for tomorrow’s big answer. With the sheer weight of anticipation this film is carrying, it’s going to be hard for it to meet everyone’s projections and desires… but whatever it turns out to be, I’m sure it’s going to be interesting.
There is much to be said about the broader context of the Rebuilds - the exodus from Gainax to studios like Khara and Trigger, the key animators whose contributions give them such flair, the whole wodge of capitalist machinery that has built up behind this psychic nucleation point (almost any kind of product you can imagine has an eva merch version). I’m sure kVin’s going to have some interesting posts before long. But for now, let’s just enjoy the movies.
Animation Night 66 will be starting very shortly over at twitch.tv/canmom - showing Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone and Evangelion 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance! And tomorrow, a special bonus Animation Night will bring us Evangelion 3.33: You Can (Not) Redo and, at last, Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time.