Thanks to ‘Madman,’ we had the chance of watch the second installment of what is arguably the most successful anime series ever made, and for sure one of the most anticipated anime releases of the year: ‘EVANGELION’ 2.22 YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE.
Following the success of ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ and its first remake (adapted to a feature film): EVANGELION 1.11 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE released back in June 2010 which covered the first six episodes of the series. The second installment EVANGELION 2.22 YOU CAN (NOT) ADVANCE follows the picks up the story where the last movie left off – with many surprises for all the fans of the saga.
If you are not familiar with ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ we’ll give a short intro. The series is a set of 26 episodes and a complementary ending. The story takes place in a futuristic world, that has since moved on from a disaster known as “the second impact.” The main story happens in Japan’s main city: “Tokyo-3.” Here “The EVA’s,” which are giant robots commanded by special kids; are sent to fight demonic entities called “The Angels” that basically want to destroy the Earth.
These epic battles are monitored by a Corporation called “NERV” and its lead commander – one of the most intriguing characters of the saga - Gendou Ikari, first officer: Misato Katsuragi and many others.
In the first movie we saw an introduction to the main character Shinji Ikari (the son on of Gendou) and how he got into this world. He fights alongside “EVA-01” in order to gain the acceptance of his father. However, another mysterious pilot, a girl called Rei Ayanami, who pilots the EVA-00 is Gendou’s favourite for reasons that will be developed through the story.
In this second installment (were it seems to cover episodes seven through to nineteen and a glimpse of the End of Evangelion) we see the introduction of a new character, Mari Illustrious Makinami; a new pilot who joins the team. She makes her entrance towards the beginning of the film during a great battle sequence -coming back at the ending of the story. The few minutes she is on screen, made us enjoy the character. It looks like Mari is very good in battle and she clearly enjoys it. We think that she can bring some good changes to the saga.
On the other hand, the beloved and iconic character: Asuka Langley Shikinami (the pilot of the EVA-02) is finally back for this sequel; arriving in Japan and getting introduced to Shinji and Rei as an expert young European pilot; and obviously, as you might know, she is not at all shy about it. Asuka moves in with Misato and Shinji after defeating the seventh angel by herself – in a great epic sequence full of action.
Ryoji Kaji (the Chief inspector) arrives almost at the same time as Asuka disturbing Misato and her work. Both of them have a huge baggage that will be developed further in the story.
The relationship between the characters seems to grow in this chapter; Shinji tries hard to improve his relationship with his father Gendou and even Rei holds a dinner party to strength her relationships. Everyone shows more feelings and you can even see Rei smiling!
We can even see a scene in which Asuka, Rei and Shinji visit a marine reserve – along with Ryoji. The relationship between Rei and Shinji grows, as does the jealousy of Asuka. These parts of the movie are really well done, and they give the spectator an insight into the more human aspects of the characters, reminding you that they are only kids.
Eventually the eight angel arrive and the kids must go into battle together, lacking any team strategy, things end with EVA 00 and 01 taking much damage. Unfortunately, only EVA 01 gets repaired – as per Gendou’s orders.
Gendou Ikari has a deep plan in mind and you get a glimpse of the secret organization SEELE, their trip to the Moon and even a scene with Kaworu Nagisa (a character that might sound familiar if you are a fan of the originals series) – this is something that we hope gets explained further in the next film.
Following the story, UNIT 03 is sent from NERV US to Tokyo-3; but because of a universal law- which states that a country can’t have more than 3 EVAS – Asuka’s EVA gets sealed up. Rei is chosen to test it, but Asuka takes her place instead. The test goes totally wrong and the EVA get possessed by the ninth angel. Shinji is sent to battle, but he refuses to attack Asuka. Gendou decides to use the “Dummy system,” which involves an autonomous system piloting the EVA’s without the pilot’s consent. This eventually destroys the Angel; leaving Asuka grievously injured in a fantastic and bloody battle, you can’t believe your eyes watching this!, After that, Shinji quits from NERV and whilst he makes his departure: the tenth angel attacks!
Here Mari appears controlling EVA 02 and joins Rei in battle; whose taken control of the damaged EVA 00. The tenth Angel is a real challenge. It consumes EVA 00 and then infiltrates the underground NERV installation. Shinji is watching from a distance, and after seeing the chaos, he comes back; begging to his dad’s approval to use EVA 01. After the authorization an amazing battle takes place in which the Angel is taken out of NERV. However, after getting to the surface, Unit 01 runs out of energy, but Shinji keeps pushing it. Eventually, something happen and he revives unit 01 and defeats the angel; rescuing Rei from inside the core – This is a scene packed full of ‘Evangelion’ nostalgia that for sure gets you hooked and wanting to see the next film.
‘Evangelion’ 2.22: You Can (Not) Advance; brings much more to this astonishing story. Fans of the saga will be out of their seats while watching this movie. The animation is superb – it being one of the best looking animations we have ever seen – the angels and the battles have improved featuring stunning colors and new scenes.
The show incorporates tons of action into its plot and also manages to develop a complex story that will continue next chapter. The characters are charming and likable, we even get to see Asuka’s new suit (and a quite different personality).
Shinji is not anymore the pain in the ass that he was in the old series; where all he did was cry like a baby every five seconds. Mari is a good new character who brings fresh air to the saga; a character that we are looking forward to seeing become more developed in the next movies. In addition to all these elements, we can also see a glimpse of Rei’s relationship with Gendou. Their background as well as their mysterious history together.
Another highlight of this new version are the voices, with such amazing work from the original Japanese voice actors; on the set you have the option of listening to it dubbed or in its original form. Both are excellent, like Yuko Miyamura’s interpretation of Asuka as well as the English personification of the same character by Tiffany Grant – just to name an example of the talented actors which give life to the saga. No matter the language of preference you have, you will enjoy this film.
Madman brings this spectacular film to Australia in DVD and Blu-ray. They both come with a “Collector’s Must Have” 20 page booklet that contains facts and character introductions. The extras include a documentary called: ‘Rebuilding Evangelion 2.02,’ some Japanese TV spots, omitted and remixed scenes – that are worth a watch! – as well as a US cast commentary with ADR director Mike McFarland and voice actors: Brina Palencia (Rei), Tiffany Grant (Asuka) and Trina Nishimura (Mari) to name a few.
‘Evangelion’ 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance is a complete work of art. Taking Japanese animation to another level. The film is a must have/see for newbie’s as well as older followers of the saga. You might get a bit confused sometimes – because the film has so much information – but this is just part of the Evangelion magic as well as a key to the success of the original series. It makes fans want to investigate!
So don’t miss out…because this is a must have film!
We really can’t wait for the release of the next film. We might have to wait a while as no official release date has been confirmed for it, but ‘Madman’ will for sure update us as soon as this comes trough.
For more information about this and other anime, just visit Madman’s website here.