Review: Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance (2009)

The Reel Anime Festival 2010 is finally here! Thanks to Madman, I have the opportunity to preview for you the exhilarating Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance and spectacular Summer Wars. Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, which I reviewed earlier this year, will also be screening. So this is a great opportunity to catch some of the best recent animes on the big screen, and I urge you not to miss it.

Evangelion 2.0 is the second part of the new theatrical edition of the classic anime from the 90s, and picks up where Evangelion 1.0 left off. Eva Units-00 and 01 continue to be utilised in the fight against the destructive Angels and heavy damages are sustained. So Eva Unit-02 is introduced, as is her pilot. As more Angels arrive, the Eva Units and their pilots have to engage in increasingly fierce battles. While Shinji is faced with the possible death of a fellow pilot, his will to drive an Eva and protect his city becomes increasingly shaken…

The main characters all return, while new ones are introduced. Shinji is still seeking praise and approval from his father, and there is some breakthrough in their relationship in this film. Rei is showing a greater understanding of people’s emotions. Her relationship with Shinji further develops, but it gets complicated with the arrival of Azuka. She is the pilot of Eva Unit-02 (and admittedly, when I saw the series for the first time as a young dude, I was in love with her), who makes her first appearance in this film. With her arrival, an interesting kind of young love triangle develops. Viewers should start really caring for them, and to see a young pilot yelling, ‘sometimes you have to risk it all to win that special something’ during a desperate fight to defeat an enemy is both thrilling and chilling at the same time.

Again showcasing loads of visual and audio enhancements, You Can (Not) Advance even surpasses the first movie in these technical aspects. The combination of 2D and 3D creates some dazzling visual effects. The giant robots are cool, while the Angels are increasingly strange and menacing. There are plenty of fast-paced action scenes and each is more spectacular than the previous one. There is even the chance to see 3 Eva Units together in stunning combat action. The speed, intensity and sense of danger featured in the fight scenes offer truly edge-of-the-seat entertainment.

Without spoiling anything for you, let me just say that Evangelion 2.0 starts to introduce some interesting brand new plot lines. Die-hard fans who love(d) every minute of the original anime series may complain that it is not loyal to the original, as the new version does begin to deviate from the old one. However, it also offers a lot of room to lead and expand the series towards that all-new ending that the creators have promised. And this, my friends, is most exciting indeed.

While Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone is an extremely well-made and entertaining movie, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance manages to be even better. This is one spectacular thrill ride that truly deserves to be experienced on the big screen. So dear readers, if you haven’t yet got your ticket to see it, what are you waiting for? Now to the good guys at Madman, since you are already running a successful anime festival, would you please also consider starting something like a ‘Eastern Eye Film Festival’ to showcase some of the best Asian genre films?

9.5 delicious lunch boxes prepared by Shinji out of 10.
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