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Evangelion: 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 22, 2009 by  



Absolutely emo with action and destruction galore combined with beautiful, vibrant visuals, solid tweaking of the original storyline and the first rebuild film that “Neon Genesis Evangelion” fans will truly adore.  Evangelion: 1.01 – You Are (NOT) Alone is highly recommended!

 

Image courtesy of © KHARA INC.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Evangelion 1.01 – You Are (Note) Alone

DURATION: 96 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English 5.1 Surround Sound, Japanese 5.1 Surround Sound, English and Japanese languages, English subtitles

COMPANY: KHARA INC./FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Action, Violence and Some Nudity)

Released on November 17, 2009

Originally Created by Hideaki Anno

Chief Director: Hideaki Anno

Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki

Co-Director: Kobun Shizuno

Screenplay by Hideaki Anno

Storyboard by Shinji Higuchi and Tomoki Kyoda

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Art Director: Hiroshi Kato, Tatsuya Kushida

Chief Animation Director: Shunji Suzuki

Mechanical Design: Ikuto Yamashita

Director of Photography: Toru Fukushi

Executive Producer: Toshimichi Ootsuki

Animation Production by GAINAX

 

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kotono Mitsuishi/Allison Keith as Misato Katsuragi

Megumi Hayashibara/Brina Palencia as Rei Ayanami

Megumi Ogata/Spike Spencer as Shinji Ikari

Akira Ishida/Jerry Jewell as Kaworu Nagisa

Fumihiko Tachiki/John Swasey as Gendou Ikari

Motomu Kiyokawa/Kent Williams as Kouzou Fuyutsuki

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Ritsuko Akagi

Hiro Yuuki as Makoto Hyuuga

Megumi Hayashibara/Monica Rial/Stephanie Young as Pen Pen and Yui Ikari

Mugihito/Bell Jenkins as Keel Lorentz

Takehito Koyasu/Phil Parsons as Shigero Aoba

Tetsuya Iwanaga/Greg Ayres as Kensuke Aida

Tomokazu Seki/Justin Cook as Touji Suzuhara

Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines – the Evas – and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01.

Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind’s battle for survival. Shinji will fight the Angels alongside the only person who might understand his plight – Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of Eva Unit 00.  In this film experience not to be missed, Shinji and Rei will struggle to learn a simple truth: when carrying the burden of humanity’s survival on your shoulders, you are not alone.

Absolutely emo with action and destruction galore combined with beautiful, vibrant visuals, solid tweaking of the original storyline and the first rebuild film that “Neon Genesis Evangelion” fans will truly adore.  Evangelion: 1.01 – You Are (NOT) Alone is highly recommended!

In 2006, Japnese fans and anime fans of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” received exciting news that in the Summer of 2007, the first of four Evangelion films based on the anime television series would be released in theaters.   According to news reports, Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno watched the series from beginning to end and wanted to fix up a lot of questions and debates that fans had over the television series and most importantly, incorporate today’s new CG technology for the film versions.  Even furthering the excitement is that the original crew and cast have signed on to work on the new film.

So, with mass promotion in Japan, “Evangelion 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” became the #1 film in Japan making over $14.6 million (US), surpassing “The End of Evangelion” which brought in $14.5 million (US).  A limited edition DVD was released in Japan in 2008 which came with a script, music videos and an “Explanation of Evangelion” feature and needless to say, fans paid dearly for this limited edition DVD release (only 300,000 were made).

A Blu-ray and DVD release titled “Evangelion 1.11” which included a re-transfer of the film plus three additional minutes was released in May 2009 and is currently the best selling Blu-ray release in Japan.  Followed by the theatrical release of the second film “Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance” released in theaters in July 2009.

With many Americans waiting for a DVD release, an announcement was made in 2008 by FUNimation Entertainment that would be releasing the “Evangelion 1.01” DVD release first, followed by the “Evangelion 1.11” Blu-ray release set for 2010.  Suffice to say, the film was released with a very short run at limited theaters and made over $100,000 and was screened at the anime convention Anime Expo in 2009 with great fanfare.

“Evangelion: 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” is a film that takes the first six episodes of the TV series and features new animation and CG and a few different storyline details of certain characters but for the most part, creator Hideaki Anno made sure the film was faithful to the anime series.

In the first film, Shinji Ikari’s father, the Supreme Commander of NERV, sends Lt. Colonel Misato Katsuragi to pick up Shinji, while the city is being attacked by another Angel (aliens destroying Earth).  When he is brought to Tokyo-3 at NERV HQ, immediately his father expects him to pilot the Evangelion Unit-01.

Shinji, who thought he could spend some time with his father or somehow have some father and son bond is shocked that he is brought all that way to pilot the Evangelion and immediately breaks down.  When Shinji refuses, his father asks for the injured Rei Ayanami to pilot her Evangelion unit.  But Shinji sees her, hurt and bloody from her last battle that he ends up accepting the mission and taking on the Angel.

Shinji pilots the Evangelion Unit-01 and defeats the angel but in the process, a large part of the city is destroyed.

Shinji is brought to Misato’s home and will temporarily live at her place but meanwhile, Shinji who wants his father’s love and attention, can’t understand why he is being used and why he is the one being selected to fight the Angels.  Weak and feeling alone, even his classmates bully and beat him up because of the destruction he caused while fighting the Angel.

This leads to Shinji questioning his life, his father and his purpose.  But when he meets Rei Ayanami, he starts to become curious towards her.  Meanwhile, more angels show up but with Shinji in such a negative and depressed mood, can he handle the burden of being the hero that must protect humankind?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Evangelion 1.01” is featured in 16:9 and for the most part, the animation looks fantastic on DVD.  The CG animation is top notch and overall, Gainax definitely went all out in creating a fantastic anime full of detail, vibrant colors and staying faithful to the anime series but making sure everything is updated and looks amazing.  Of course, I look forward to the High Defintion Blu-ray release of this film but for those who only purchase DVD’s, you can’t go wrong with this release.  It looks absolute fantastic.

As for audio, audio is presented in English and Japanese 5.1.  Personally, I never listened to the original ADV Films English dubs, so I can’t comment on how the newer voice dubs are with the original but from what I hear from friends and have read, fans were more than grateful for the voice dubbing for “Evangelion 1.01”.  As for the Japanese voice acting, I was so happy to see everyone return and most importantly, knowing that the film can definitely take advantage of lossless audio for the Blu-ray releaese because the DVD release is no audio slouch.  Great use of sound from various channels, great use of LFE during the action sequences and booms and destruction can be heard all around you.  Overall, a solid 5.1 soundtrack and fans should be happy with the release as both PQ and AQ are fantastic.

Subtitles are in English only.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Evangelion: 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” comes with no special features.

When I first heard that the rebuild of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” would take place and that these new films would be based on the television series, I wasn’t so surprised because the series is so popular that it would definitely generate an extreme amount of money for GAINAX.  But one thing that I was not looking forward and what drove me crazy about the TV series was the character of Shinji Ikari.  Back in the mid-90’s, I can easily remember how his whining really tested my patience and looking back, he was such an anti-hero, mainly because he was “emo” most of the time.  Always negative, always in a bit of depression and funk as he always felt people didn’t care about him (and yes, I know that Hideaki Anno was clinically depressed when he was creating this film and parts of show was based on his depression) but it did get on my nerves at the time.

But here we are nearly 15 years later and watching “Evangelion 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” and after it was all done, I was excited and hoping the second film would come out stateside very soon.  Yes, Shinji still whines and is still depressed but the fact is the film is structured a bit differently from the anime TV series and somehow, the pacing is much easier to take for the viewer with the film version and felt that the screenplay for the first film, the quality of the animation and artistic backgrounds and the music all worked together fantastically.

In a way, some part of me wants to rewatch first six episodes of the television series to find out the key differences (it’s been 14 years and I can’t recall too much from the television series except certain key scenes and the final episodes) were but personally, I found myself happy and content with this film that I look forward to seeing how Anno and the GAINAX crew tweak the next three films (and I can’t wait until the final film).  But for the most part, I felt that the film, the voice acting, the animation, the art and everything else about the film was well done and fantastic.

As for the DVD release, as much as I enjoyed the film, I wish that there were some special features included but there aren’t.   So, that was the only negative that I found with this DVD release thus far.  I know that there will be a lot of fans who may feel that a 90-minute film telling the story of a six-episode series is going to omit quite a bit of backstory and I agree to a point.  Unlike “Gunbuster vs. Diebuster”, I seriously feel that fans should watch the OVA’s of both anime series before buying the films.  But since there are continuing films, I kind of feel its in the same boat as the classic “Mobile Suit Gundam” trilogy and its long TV series in which there are people who have no interest in watching a full series but watching the films are good enough. Granted they may be missing some pertinent storylines shown in the TV series that showcase more character development but in a way, I think that viewers not familiar with the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” TV series can understand what is going on and what is happening by watching the film.

As for the PG-13 rating, yes, “Evangelion 1.01” has its share of violence and nudity, so this is not a series that you want to have your little kids around watching at all.

But overall, in the end, it was great to see Evangelion again but this time with the much improved reboot.  Nearly 15-years-later, it was definitely great to see Evangelion again but this time in a film sporting newer animation, CG, artwork and a solid screenplay and soundtrack.   But most importantly,  done in the way that the director Hideaki Anno had wanted but also what the fans have wanted as well.  And after I watched the film,  I can tell you that I loved it! The action, the drama is still intact.  Things may be a little different but still, fans of the original series will definitely enjoy this film release.

“Evangelion: 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” is highly recommended!

 

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