Review: Evangelion – 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo / Cert: 12 / Directors: Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki, Mahiro Maeda / Screenplay: Hideaki Anno / Starring: Megumi Ogata, Akira Ishida, Kotono Mitsuishi, Megumi Hayashibara, Yuko Miyamura, Maaya Sakamoto / Release Date: TBC
Scotland Loves Anime is an annual festival which takes place in Edinburgh and Glasgow, showcasing the new and the classic while celebrating all the weird, wild and wonderful worlds that Japanese anime has to offer. Among its offerings was Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo.
14 years have passed since the apocalyptic climax of You Can (Not) Advance. After removal from the orbital prison in which he and Unit-01 have been interred the entire time, Shinji returns to a world he does not recognise, a decaying crimson wasteland whose denizens are devoid of hope. Treated with contempt by his former friends and informed he is no longer needed as a pilot he attempts to find answers.
Things are starting to get weird. The 14-year time jump is only the start of how disjointed Evangelion's latest instalment seems. Now that all intended parallels with Neon Genesis have been burned through, the film saga is spinning off in its own direction. However, it seems to be required that this new direction be established before embarking on it, and there is some confusion as to what it actually is.
You Can (Not) Redo seems like a placeholder film, the new developments never properly established, or true justification given for off-screen character development. The latter scene is at its greatest with Misato; gone is the friendly, fun-loving young woman and in her place is a cold and distant soldier whose only purpose is to do what must be done at whatever the cost. Revelations are thrown out with little foreshadowing and almost as little consequence, such as Asuka and Mari still appearing to be 14 although both now pushing 30, which is the “curse” of piloting an Eva (also not explained). A lengthy chunk of the film is devoted to new pilot Kaworu Nagisa (whose presence was glimpsed in the previous two films) explaining to Shinji what has become of the world in a number of scenes laden with homoerotic subtext.
A major letdown is the absence of what made the rest of the saga so engaging, namely the developing relationships between the characters amidst the constant threat from the next potential Angel attack. Both are now stagnating, with everyone treating Shinji with unjustified passive aggression and the sense of urgency the Angels provided abandoned for the sake of establishing the new status quo.
While the animation is as spectacular as ever and the battle sequences are complex and inventive, the actual plot development is somewhat obtuse. Knowledge of the world’s workings presumably unearthed during the time skip is thrown out as justification for actions, but rarely do they make much sense when placed against what was previously established. Put simply, it’s not difficult to follow what’s going on, just why it is. Most frustrating is that nobody bothers to explain to Shinji what the hell happened and why everyone now seems to hate him, the two most important details driving the story. Granted, doing so would have likely made the film about 20 minutes long, but that might not necessarily have been a bad thing.
Expected Rating: 7 out of 10