Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Resurrection (1995)

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Forget Mel Gibson’s The Passion. For true Easter spirit check out Neon Genesis Evangelion: Resurrection. This is the first of the two ‘directors cut’ volumes featuring brand new, never-before-seen footage. Resurrection, the first of the two volumes, hosts episodes 21-23.

This is Hideako Anno’s third go at finishing the Evangelion series, after two post-series movies; Evangelion: Death & Rebirth and End of Evangelion he’s still at it.

Up front I want to get off my chest that I don’t know how I feel about all these constant revisions. At university I only got one chance to hand in my essays. If I later remembered some vital reference about social cognitive process, there was no way Professor Tobin, my Social Pych, lecturer was going to allow me to rewrite. Sometimes I feel one rule exists for me and another for Hideako Anno whose excuse that, “His psyche ate his homework” is allowed to fly.

Once I got past these reservations, I threw myself whole-heartedly into the exercise watching the original episode (both subs & dubs), followed by the revised version (both subs & dubs). And I’ve got to say, I’m in love all over again.

The first thing that struck me about returning to Evangelion is that it is dense — really dense. You can miss more information by shooing the cat off the couch than in whole other series. So if you want to invest in Evangelion: Resurrection you better be paying attention.

So what do you get?

New scenes have been added to each of the three episodes on the disc. These scenes clarify plot and characterisations. The first episode gives us a more insight into the second impact as well as scenes featuring Shinji’s mother, (a character largely absent from the original series), that reveal her motivations. With its focus on the strident Osuka, the scenes added to the second episode are outstanding. Elements that were obliquely hinted at are tied together in a satisfying whole. The final episode’s focus on the enigmatic Rei also clarifies her place in the project.

It wouldn’t be Evangelion if a few of the new scenes were not, well… odd. A sequence, of a lift descending into the bowels of NERV, transforms the elevator from a platform to a cage. What we are meant to glean from this anybody’s guess.

With a series as complex as Evangelion, discrepancies between the subtitling and the dub are bound to occur. The subtitles have been cleaned up and appear to closer match the dubbing, which interestingly, suggests the dub is nearer in intent. In other cases, the subtitles have been made a little more vague, as if the originals stated things a little too obviously.

Is it worth it? If watching the series for the first time, Resurrection would make for a superior option than the original. For long terms fans there is a lot to like. Opaque references are brought into focus while not giving the whole game away. A word of advice: watch the episodes back-to-back. Although you brain has stored the broader themes you will be amazed how much detail you have forgotten. It’s as if Anno is offering you an insight into your brain’s memory functioning.

Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me.

9 synch ratios out of 10.
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