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Evangelion, has come back on screen for the second time as a tetralogy epic.

Rebuild of Evangelion
© xapa / GAINAX

Rebuild of Evangelion was just released as a film version for the second time after 10 years, and it consists of four films; Jo (Preface), Ha (Breaking Up), Kyu (Rush) and the final (the title yet to be confirmed).

The first film series of Neon Genesis Evangelion was originally made as a TV anime series in 1995 with 26 episodes, and is said to be one of the 3 most influential works in the history of Japanese anime along with Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam. Since its release, the series became very popular because of its cutting-edge style.

Rebuild of Evangelion
© xapa / GAINAX

The story begins with the “Second Impact”, a global cataclysm destroying Antarctica and led to the deaths of half the human population of Earth. The main character, a 14-year-old boy Shinji, then joins to operate Evangelion (Evas), a biomechanical mecha, which had been developed by his own father, in order to fight against the “Angels” invading into the NERV, an organization tasked with defending Earth.

The series has a reference to Jewish and Christian mysticism with a cult-like flavour. In the later episodes, the story gradually focuses on the psychoanalysis around Shinji showing emotional and mental problems. This character, who has an internal sensitivity and fears communication with others, represents the future state of humanity with the illness that modern society seems to entrap us with.

Rebuild of Evangelion
© xapa / GAINAX

The first film of the tetralogy is based on the original TV series and features from the very first episode of “The Arrival of the Angels” through to the 6th, with the last episode of “Yashima” in “The Battle in Tokyo-3”. As the story is condensed in a shorter length of narrative, both the action scene and the main drama of the film show a very dramatic ending contrast to the TV series, which makes it accessible even for the first-time audience.

The integrated 3D CG technology is suitable for the cinema screen as it successfully transforms the visual of the existing series to blend naturally into the new part of the films. Especially watching the scene of the battles, the sharp movement of the Evangelions with their weapons of the protection systems, and the somewhat creepy presence of the enemy, Angels, offer an enjoyable experience. In contrast, the scenes where the characters are focused provide calmness even in action, which gives tenseness in a positive way to the whole film.

Rebuild of Evangelion
© xapa / GAINAX

The calmness runs through the non-action as well as the action scenes. It is well edited with occasional pauses in the dialogue in order to show the inner emotions of the characters. This makes audience focus on the story, and gives some space to imagine the unwritten story behind the scenes. Even though the main character, Shinji, gets thrown into the defensive organisation at a young age, there are scenes with his friends at school or building up a friendship with a girl, a fellow operator of the Evangelion. The best part of the film would be seeing Shinji, still a naive boy, growing up with other kids of his generations. Towards the end of the film, there is also one scene where the girl and Shinji come to understand each other, which is probably one of the most satisfying scenes in this first film.

The rest of three films are planned to be released one every year. There will be some new stories and a new conclusion to the whole story. Hence, this new series is not going to be either a completely new film or merely a re-make of the existing TV series. The tetralogy has its own quality and will certainly attract not just the audience who are already fans of the Evangelion, but also for people who had never seen the series or even Japanese anime before.

The first film of the tetralogy, Rebuild of Evangelion: Jo (Preface) is currently showing in cinemas throughout Japan. The international release is yet to be confirmed.

Rebuild of Evangelion: Jo (Preface)
Dates: From 1st September 2007 in cinemas across Japan
Directed and written by Hideaki Anno (chief)
Directed by Masayuki and Kazuya Tsurumaki
Character Design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Theme Song: “>Beautiful World” by Hikaru Utada (EMI Music Japan Inc.)
Produced by Khara
Created by Studio Khara
Distributed by KlockWorx and Khara, in cooperation with Nikkatsu
Publicity by Nikkatsu

Text: Shinichi Ishikawa
Translation: Kyoko Tachibana

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