Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo ★★★½

Finally able to watch with proper subs, Rebuild 3.33 continues to delight with new, non-conflicting content to the Evangelion saga. Though it doesn't quite contain the full package of new and old that 2.22 blew out of the park (or Geofront, if you prefer), there's enough to reminisce over while being treated to a drastically different branch of the TV series' base storyline.

One of my few complaints with the original series is Kaworu's importance when contrasted with his screen time and development. Having rewatched the series a few months ago in anticipation of 3.33, I still think the brevity of his appearance was a mistake greater than the infamous abstraction of 25/26. The Rebuild series has done a much better job of establishing him as a more vital and natural aspect of Shinji's breaking point as opposed to a literal Deus ex Machina (which, of course, he technically still is). While I'm not of the Sadamoto school and never bought a romantic element to Shinji/Kaworu, there is a better easing into (though still too brief for such an important plot point) Shinji at his lowest point and allowing himself to open up one more time and trust someone. There is no betrayal here (at least as bald-faced as it was in 24), and the idea that Shinji is something other than Lilin - something that the children of Adam want to cooperate with instead of use - is intriguing. There were hints of the Children being ambassadors (against their will) to the angels in the first series, and I hope that thread is used in :|| to dispel a mystery or two about what the angels are and/or want.

Of greater joy to me in finally getting authorized subs is the meta-fictional aspect to this whole endeavor clicking into place with Shinji's conversation with Fuyutsuki. Anno fashions himself as Gendo, casting himself in the role a portion of the original fans have already given him; the villain. He has transferred himself from Shinji's point of view to his father's. He admits that "rebuilding" the world is a painful process, but he does it for love. Of who? I'm not sure - possibly his muse or the female embodiment of art and entertainment Anno calls Yui. Possibly for Shinji/the audience, to provide a 'better' (in Gendo's opinion) world than the one it was left. It doesn't matter much, as the pieces have been in place since the beginning, and there's no stopping it now.

Though 3.33 had no chance of beating 2.22's finale (and actually comes off as a little too repetitive), it continues the Rebuild trend of showing us familiar events in completely new settings. There will always be the TV series for purists, but as an addendum (or sequel, or alternate reality, or another iteration of Shinji's reality within Instrumentality and thus occurring concurrently with the original series), Rebuild is too good to ignore. As its own piece of fiction, without context, the films stand up as exciting mecha action; but with the 20-odd year history and lore to build on, they each are instant classics.

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