The end is (almost) here
This sequel has had quite an interesting journey getting here. Originally released in late 2012, the third sequel in the Rebuild of Evangelion project had been planned to arrive here in the U.S. in 2014 after an all too brief theatrical run in January. Afterwards, the film simply disappeared, and after constant delays there was no telling when if ever the film would see a U.S home release. Most of you reading this would say, "Dude, you could just watch it online for free and not have to wait. Why bother?" Maybe so, but here's the thing: for one, I preferably like to watch anime dubbed in English because personally it takes a huge effort on my part to watch the subs while trying to keep up with what's going. The other thing is that watching it online in a pixelated low quality video, or "crap-definition" as I call it, can't compare to watching it on bluray with a big HDTV (yes, I'm spoiled), and this being Evangelion, it has to be seen in the highest quality possible. On that front, 3.33 delivers but the one area the third chapter is going to challenge you in is your capacity to understand what is happening and why, because unless you're familiar with terms such as LCL, Eva-units, and Seele, all this will go directly over your head especially if you haven't seen the previous two films. Additionally, Evangelion 3.33 pushes even more religious undertones and new material in our face that it can be totally overwhelming; even for a guy like me who has seen the original TV series, read the manga and seen the previous films, I still had a hard time following the new changes. In a way, I can understand why some fans believed the film's director and creator of the series Hideaki Anno went off the deep end once again like he did when the TV series ended; then again, these new films retcon anything established from the TV storyline to tell a new one, and the films expect- no, obligate you to pay attention to the little details to understand the bigger picture. So if you have seen the past two films in the Rebuild tetralogy, then you're pretty much caught up. So with that out of the way, let's get to it.
Evangelion 3.33 opens up in the darkness of space, where we see Eva pilots Asuka and Mari retrieving a cross-like container that holds the Eva unit 01 and its' pilot Shinji Ikari inside. After salvaging the container, Shinji reawakens in the facility of WILLE, an organization consisting of ex-NERV members Shinji once knew. Shinji is met with detestation from the crew, especially from their leader Mitsuko, Shinji's former adult guardian that took him in when he first became a pilot. Shinji realizes that he's been in a catatonic state inside the Eva unit for 14 years (his appearance remains unchanged) and that the world he thought to have saved in the previous film is in a devastating state of limbo as a result of the Third Impact he inadvertently triggered. With alliances divided and questions without any clear answers, Shinji comes under psychological turmoil for his past decisions; ramifications which may have damned the whole world. Shinji vehemently searches for a way to correct his mistakes as well as to get redemption; but the Third Child will soon realize that the decisions of the past cannot be undone. In the world of anime, the Evangelion franchise is both revered and notorious for twisting the mecha genre, breaking apart from old criterions and creating new ones. It's also famous for being confusing as hell (intentionally or not), with a lore that is so deep that if fashioned into a novel, it could be as large as a Game of Thrones book. There is a lot to absorb in Evangelion 3.33; the biblical images and settings that can be seen throughout, the references to religious figures, and the symbolic actions of specific characters. Not knowing what these represent will detract from your experience of understanding or more importantly, enjoying the film, anime fan or not. Sure, there's some awesome mech battles which the series has never failed to deliver on, an English track that nails the translation of the Japanese dub, and the amazing art direction that is a staple of the franchise which you won't see in any other anime. However, the main attraction of Evangelion which constantly keeps bringing in more fans (including bringing back older ones) is the story. Never mind the fact that Evangelion 3.33's level of comprehensibility remains at best strictly for avid fans, or that it brings up more questions than answers. The events of this third entry escalate to such ridiculous heights that it makes one want to know just how this story will wrap up all the loose ends heading towards its' climax, and despite being released three years later, we'll still be waiting a while until the fourth and final chapter arrives. Regardless, Evangelion 3.33 is a dazzling if a bit unbalanced; neither the best or the worst entry in the Rebuild project, it's still unlike any other anime around.
-Reviewed by Razor, 2/3/16
-Reviewed by Razor, 2/3/16