First Impression of the first three Eva Rebuilds.
I am feeling really mixed on these on a first watch. The rebuilds serve as a perfect opportunity to fix many of the plot holes and leaps in logic that the coveted original show and movie had. Many things could have been improved, and I really don't think these rebuilds succeeded as a series.
They can stand alone separate, the characterization is also quickened in 2.0. I really loved how (because Anno said that Eva is a story that repeats) there is an air that the characters have lived this before. I liked seeing Rei with more emotion and guts, as well as Asuka doing things like cooking for Shinji. I think introducing Kaworu and showing Lilith in 1.0 clears things up a lot to the unitiated viewer and helps build their importance better than the show. I also appreciate how focused and well paced 1.0 is. The character interaction in 2.0 is done well and also feels natural. (Also I adore the Kaworu x Shinji scenes) Although 1.0 may be shot for shot most of the time, there still is mystery and deviation from the show's story.
3.0 and the finale of 2.0 are a complete mess and misstep. The third impact comes so suddenly and without a feel for scale. The introspection is gone and Shinji is all we see essentially, making Asuka and Misato (and all the other characters) far less developed and worse, less empathetic. They are no longer tragic characters that mistreat people that struggle with love, they are one - note, and total assholes. It is a movie, there is less time to develop these people, but some background (ESPECIALLY FOR ASUKA) is essential. Another thing: I am not against the 14 year time jump, it is a bold creative risk they took, and I enjoyed seeing how the world changed. What I have an issue with is how the first half of 3.0 is Shinji and the audience finding out what the hel has been going on, only for Shinji to team up with Kaworu to start a weak 4th Impact. The potential was so there but they missed it with poor pacing, storytelling, and a lack of feel for stakes.
The Ugly (Plot Holes/Questions/Dishonorable Mentions)
- Overuse of "Beast Mode" by all Eva pilots.
- Inclusion of the child nudity from the original.
- How has "Gille" been fighting angels for 14 years??? How many are there??? What???
- It is never shown how Asuka survives being attacked by Unit 1, or how this affected her mentally.
- Kaworus death has SO little weight in comparison to the original, it isn't heartwrenching because it wasn't by Shinji's hand, no painful drawn out decision.
- It is never shown how Mari survives being eaten by an angel.
- Mari is given nothing to do and is never given background story. She is a hired gun from America that is enthusiastic. Okay???
- Each impact has little depth. The 2nd doesn't convey Misatos fathers decision, the 3rd doesn't jave the heartbreak or mental breakdown of Shinji, and the 4th is built up to be instrumentality, but actually just serves as a slightly deadlier 3rd impact?????
- Likely more I haven't thought of at the moment.
To summarize, I very much enjoyed 1.0, it's changes were subtle, still keeping much of the neon genesis story, but with small improvements and better technology. I liked some of 2.0s changes, and focus on character interaction, but more background for crucial characters like Asuka, Misato, and Mari are lacking. And you already know how I feel about 3.0 by "The Bad" section.
These rebuilds were entertaining, were not cashcow remakes, and retold the series in an unexpected way. But they diluted it, overcomplicated it, and ultimately made a more shallow experience. The kind of escapism that Anno criticised in Eoe. I am, well, disappointed.