My feelings towards Rebuild have ranged everywhere from indifference to excitement to nerd-rage, sometimes in combination. I am left very confused by Anno's intentions with this film and where he was planning to go in the first place.
If he wanted to remake Evangelion, as a treat to old fans and a gateway for new fans, he is doing a piss poor job. If he is just trying to completely reimagine the series, I don't understand why he needs to go back to milk the Evangelion franchise all over again, unless his sole intention is to line his pockets with cash.
Anyhow,tTo carefully construct my review of this movie, I am going to split it into three different sections: characters, plot, and misc.
Oh dear, I don't even know where to start... I guess all I can do is talk about each character individually.
Asuka Shikinami (Langley Soryu)
OK. First of all. I don't understand the name change. Asuka Langley Soryu to Asuka Shikinami? Why? I guess I can let this slide...??? She's supposed to be German, but I didn't even get that impression from her in this movie. Again, this is something I can let slide. I am only mentioning it because these facts seem to be a prelude to what would be one of the character destructions of Evangelion 2.0.
What's changed about Asuka you may ask? All you need to do is look at how she interacts with various characters in this movie.
- She show's a willingness to be more honest and open up to characters, which is uncharacteristic of her if I am supposed to look at her as the same character from NGE. In particular, a scene that made me cringe was her putting on the plug suit as she was talking to Misato just before getting in Unit 0-3. This development in her character was not only rushed, but also was hard to grasp, since we both don't know what her problems are at all so far, nor do we see what truly led to this personal realization.
- The suddenness of her apparent affection for Shinji is completely spoon fed to the audience through very Tsundere stereotypes. An example is of Misato making fun of her for cooking apparently for Shinji (wtf? When would she ever do something like that?). It is also apparent when she practically blurts out that she sought the comfort of Shinji when she lies down on his bed. This takes away from what truly was a great/interesting scene in the TV series. In the original, we were left wondering what exactly Asuka was thinking that night and were allowed to actually "think."
- The elevator scene. Oh my god. Why copy the scene from the TV series, if it makes no sense anymore? I'm going to quote something here because I feel this poster in another forum described perfectly what I mean by this.
In the original series there was a lot of tension between Asuka and Rei because Rei represented much of what happens to be Asuka's personal struggle. She didn't want to be seen as a doll. She wanted people to recognize her existence. She used the Eva's to validate her own existence. Rei acted like a human doll, which goes back to Asuka's struggles with her mother. Again, without even hinting or explaining any of her troubles with her mother, this scene doesn't make any sense.
Asuka Soryu never liked dolls, she hated them, Shikinami has one and uses it to talk with herself because her mom gave it to her; gone is the "I think this doll is my daughter" trauma; worst yet, all the things that meant something for the redhead, her Plugsuit and A-10, her Mother and Eva, were taken away, and not an explanation was given.
Shikinami has been turned to a stereotypical weak, frail girl, so forgive me if I can only shake my head in disappointment at the people who are enamored of the new version, like the mice running behind the pied paper of Hamlin.
In the end, this scene seemed to be degraded into a "I'm jealous of the first child for trying to take the guy I like" scene that is oh so common in many generic harem shows. This is not Evangelion. This is disgusting.
I could seemingly rant on endlessly about Asuka being changed. If they didn't want her to be the same character, don't call her Asuka and don't draw a character that looks like Asuka. Make a new character. Better yet, if they aren't going to truly remake Evangelion for the fans of old, don't call it Evangelion and make it something else.
Another character destruction, almost as bad as Asuka's.
Firstly, emotional Rei. What? Wait. Rei did happen to start displaying some sorts of emotions towards the end of the original series. But this is going tooooooooooooooo far. A dinner party? Is this supposed to be some sort of joke? And she also seems so talkative. She wants to cook for Shinji? What? I feel confused. And why is she looking so surprised so often? And what is up with all the smiling?
Rei certainly wasn't the first character of such nature to appear in the anime world, but the silent mysterious girl without emotions was popularized by Evangelion I feel. Moreover, part of what makes her so much better though than all those half ass clones of her (Yuki Nagato from Haruhi being the only one that can seemingly stand up on her own) is how creepy she could be at times throughout the series. I felt she was way too human in this movie, and it really took away from the greatness of her character. I didn't feel like I was watching Rei, just like I didn't feel like I was watching Asuka.
Also, for some reason they are trying to add a lot more Shinji x Rei dynamic in this movie that didn't seem to truly exist in the original Evangelion. Now of course I happen to be a Shinji x Asuka shipper at heart, but I won't let that bias get me here... However, I felt it was exaggerated to a point of ridiculousness.
Anyhow, the reasons why I think her changes were negative I think are clear.
SHINJI-LAGANNNNNNNNNNN. OK, until the final scene with Zeruel I didn't think these complaints were merited about Shinji suddenly turning into Simon from TTGL. The limit of Shinji's desperateness in this fight should have been the powerful scene from the original series where he is desperately begging his Evangelion to move. But then they into this whole scene where Shinji is like inside Zeruel trying to pull out Rei and grunting for like 3 minutes as if he became some sort of shounen character. That is not the Shinji I remember?
OK. It's honestly not the biggest deal in the world. It was what came afterwards that truly killed me. The hug. He hugged Rei, embraced her. In the entire series of Evangelion, Shinji NEVER ONCE embraced another human being like that. He never ONCE had close physical contact with anyone by his own will. He is supposed to be traumatized by physical contact and emotional attachment. Honestly. What the heck? I cannot accept that Shinji would ever do something like this. This not only goes against Shinji's character, but everything of the original TV series.
This was the only standout scene that I truly had a beef with in Rebuild regarding Shinji as a character, but it was a pretty major one...
Only complaint I had was that they made him seem less evil in this than the original, but that really boils down to perception. I actually felt there was some improvements in his character in the movie. They are showing more clearly his obsession with Yui early on.
The College Trio: Misato, Kaji, Ritsuko.
All three characters seemingly suffered from lack of development due to time constraints. None suffered more than our poor Ritsuko. I felt like her presence was nonexistent in the movie.
Kaji's role in the story seems to be in particular strange. I just felt the way he hanged around many of the characters except Misato and Ritsuko, to be strange. It was as if he was close to them even though he seemingly did not interact at all with any of them beforehand.
The biggest shame may be Misato though. Needless to say, we delved very little into what her character is all about.
However, I don't know what to say about this, because it really goes into a more overall complaint about the movies in general, which I will describe later, that mostly has to do with time constraints.
Mary Sue. End of story really. I will add though that every time she was on the screen and talking, she really felt like an outsider to the Evangelion universe and did not seem to fit in. It was as if she was displaced from her own character.
Again, do to time constraints many of the other characters were nonexistent. All the staff on the bridge control had absolutely no personality whatsoever compared to their TV series counterparts. There is nothing they can do about this.
Alright because I am tired I will post the rest of my rantings later. But I'll allow you guys to chew on this for the time being.