The thing that makes Evangelion one of those series you should watch but you’ll hate yourself for doing so is the fact that everything they present to you makes absolutely no fucking sense the first through probably fourth times. Even when I first watched this anime in the couple weeks following 9/11 (what terrible timing) I still find myself 9 years later trying to comprehend just what was going through Hideki Anno’s mind when he wrote this shit. But when you consider many of the greatest films and literary works were done by brain dead, tortured, drug-induced souls looking for an outlet of creativity among their own lot in life, it’s amazing what CG can accomplish in this day and age.
2.22 opens in English, as an angel attacks either the US or Europe’s NERV installation and forces the activation of Unit-04 and it’s pilot, Mari Illustrious Maki, a very eccentric girl who much like Asuka, loves to pilot an Eva and beat the living shit out of things. It’s worth noting that this scene explains one of the key elements of the series in how Ikari got ahold of one of the pieces to the puzzle in his quest to alter Seele’s design of the Human Instrumentally Project. Honestly to this date I still don’t know how all of that was supposed to work thanks to the botched ending of the original series and D&RB/EoE not really explaining much either. Hopefully 3.0 and 4.0 will satisfy that. Moving on, they cut you back to a somewhat familiar scene, Gendo and Shinji visiting Yui Ikari’s grave marker. Thankfully there is no “Jet Alone” in this rebuild, one of, in my opinion, the most misplaced episodes in the original run. Asuka makes her grand entrance to fight the next Angel, in a battle that last significantly shorter than the series, and without having Shinji cross-dress.
Asuka gets added to the cast with minimal introduction beyond “Daddy’s Boy” and “Commander’s Pet” for Shinji and Rei. We also do not get Toji’s Special Deluxe Awesome Keep-the-Change maneuver which was a total letdown. However you do get a Shinji-style reaction shot to Pen-Pen shortly after along with some additional fanservice, just to keep you in this game.
It’s worth noting at this point that if you are trying to correspond the Angels in the series to the Angels in Rebuild, oddly enough many of them do not appear by the same name and powers as the series. In the first coordinated battle with all three Evas, They manage to defeat the next Angel that does a good number on Tokyo-3 even while being defeated. Oddly enough one of the aspects of the show I found interesting is that they destroy a lot of property in each battle, and yet normal life is always shown to continue afterwards like nothing ever happened. Either their construction power is pretty significant that they can rebuild things quickly, or people are just so used to Eva battles that they just pick up and move on. Guess the Obama government would fit right in here, eh?
Speaking of the US, after an unexplained explosion destroys a NERV facility there, they decide to bring Unit 05 to Tokyo-3, however due to a political treaty, only three active Evas can be operated at once, so Asuka’s Unit 02 gets shelved in favor of Unit 05. Mari secretly parachutes into Tokyo-3, but lands on Shinji in the process. Having shoved some cleavage and sat on his junk however, he is mostly likely not going to mention anything to anyone that gives a damn, because that’s the closest he’s come to girl parts since Asuka pseudo-slept with him. Asuka is chosen to test out Unit 05 and even gets a sexy new plug suit to perform the test in.
So instead of Shinji having to face a berserk-reclassified-Angel-Unit-05 and get shitcocked by his father and the dummy plug system, we get Asuka in the berserk-reclassified-Angel-Unit-05 and Shinji gets cockblocked by his father and the dummy plug system. It’s sad that when you realize who Rei is and her relationship to Shinji, the best chance he has of getting laid is trapped in a berserk Eva and your father wants you to kill it, and when you object, he kills it for you. I’d be pretty pissed too, and thankfully Shinji has grown more of a pain in Rebuild and tries to take the fight to NERV HQ until Gendo smokes him out. Not unsurprisingly, Shinji quits after and leaves, even denying Misato some Shinji-lovin’
However Angels wait for no man, woman, or sissy boy, and immediately attack and pretty much carve through Tokyo-3 like your mom when the rent is due, and wastes no time getting into the Geofront and attacking NERV. Mari hijacks Unit 02 out of stasis at someone’s command and tries to bear back the Angel. Not satisfied with making no headway she engages the “Beast Mode” and proceeds to get on all fours and rape the Angel like a good girl. Sadly the Angel doesn’t take that kinda crap and pretty much wipes the floor with Mari, but not before Rei in Unit 0 tries to nuke it, fails, and is absorbed by the Angel. Mari runs in Shinji again and somehow he convinces himself that he needs to save Rei, and he’ll make Unit 01 his bitch to do so.
So Shinji enters the fight and Unit 01 loses an arm from the get-go, spraying Gendo with Eva-blood as he just stands there like a moron. Shinji moves the fight back above ground but as soon as the battery runs up, it looks like it will be the end for our spineless hero… except Shinji hits the berserk and proceeds to beat the shit out of the Angel and expose the core. Upon doing so he forces his will inside to save Rei from the Angel, in the most effort you’ve seen him put into a fight to date combined. I particularly love this scene because the remixed “Sin From Genesis” makes the whole fight even that much more badass. Apparently his efforts to rescue Rei trigger something within Unit 01 that pretty much sets it off into creating Third Impact…
To put it short, 2.22 was a terribly fantastic movie to watch considering the events of 1.11 really stuck close to the first six episodes. I feel that they hit most of the major points of the series in its rewrite while staying true to the “this shit makes no sense” aspect of the original series. I also enjoy how they gave a little more emotion and effort to Rei and scaled Asuka back somewhat so that everything seemed to balance out, something I found particularly annoying about the series. Asuka is an awesome character, and we know she makes every effort to stick out above the others, but they kinda put her out above the others in places that they didn’t need to, in the movie I felt they kept her focused without letting her step over other characters screen time.
All I know is I’m looking forward to 3.0 “Q” but seeing as it isn’t even out in theaters in Japan, it’s going to be awhile before it his BD and DVD and gets subbed over here.
Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rebuild: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance
Sub Group I Watched: DGz
Rating (1-10): 9