So yesterday was a beautiful rainy day. Mao and I went to Hiroshima to see the first film in the new Evangelion tetralogy. I was a little wary going into this, because I wasn't sure if Anno was pulling a Lucas or something. However it turns out my fears were unfounded.Evanglion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone
was fantastic. It was essentially a retelling of episodes 1-5 of the TV series, however the story was slightly truncated and the animation was spruced up to make it seem more cinematic. And honest to god...it worked! I was concerned about some of the visual redesigns...but once you see the new Ramiel (in fact, the whole Operation Yashima battle) you will literally poop your pants.
Another thing I really liked was the fact that certain stylistic and narative changes were made to give Shinji a little more agency. Instead of the simpering little weenie, he now seems much more like your average, rebellous teenager. I think this was Anno reacting to his audience. Since we can essentially read Shinji as a surrogate for Anno, when he created the TV series he was a weak and broken man...he didn't have a lot to live for, and hence Shinji came off the same. But now that Eva is this huge success he can go back and reinvent himself as "the hero."
The biggest changes to the story come in the fact that Nerv and most of the Nerv staff know full-well that they're housing Lilith in Terminal Dogma. Lilith itself has some distinct stylistic changes from the TV series, specifically the mask on it's face. In fact, during Shinji's crisis of faith before Operation Yashima, Misato actually takes him down to Terminal Dogma and explains Lilith and it's relation to humanity.
Also, the very last scene of the film involves Keel Lorenz awakening Kaoru on the Moon next to what appears to be the body of Lilith as it appears in the TV series...which I guess you're meant to assume is actually Adam. Kaoru says "I'm looking forwand to meeting you Shinji Ikari," and the movie ends with a "To be continued..."
Also, after the credits there's a classic Eva-style "Next Episode" trailer with footage from the next movie. It appears that not only will Kaoru be introduced to the story earlier as in the manga, but Asuka will also be introduced in a different way than the original series. There's also a brief flash of what we're made to assume is going to be Kaoru's Eva which looks like a mix between one of the prototypes and one of the mass-production models.
All I can say is that I am so looking forward to these films now. There is nothing like watching Eva on the big screen. I had a smile glued across my face from the moment the film started yesterday until, well, now...I'm still smiling.
Oh, and the Utada Hikaru single that served as the theme song is bumping as well. Holler at "Beautiful World" as soon as you get a chance. I like that fact that not only is she pretty and talented and an Eva fan, but that she writes and records all her own music. My kind of pop star.
So yeah, I'm not sure when this ish is going to make it over to the States, but I highly recommend it to all Eva fans and Eva newbies alike, as you don't need to know the original story at all to enjoy it.