1 of 1 episodes seen
But this praise is not without being sullied with controversy.
Indeed, the original Neon Genesis Evangelion adaptation was notoriously known for its unconventional plot, its extensive complexity of drama and its indescribably upending conclusion which had left even those most hardened fans mad with confused outrage. The Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy of films were produced with the aim of doing justice to the original series.
Now the question remains: Has Hideaki Anno, the Neon Genesis Evangelion series creator, stepped closer to the completion of his beloved Evangelion as he wanted it to be?
Rebuild of Evangelion: Evangelion 3.0 Q Quickening takes off fourteen years after the Near-Third Impact that was triggered at the end of Rebuild of Evangelion: Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. After this lengthy period of time, everything that we have come to familiarize ourselves with from the two preceding movies has been drastically and irreversibly transformed. Be warned and brace yourself as you watch this next instalment of the Evangelion series, for this is -the- Evangelion that you are facing and it will not fail to throw you off your rocker regardless of how well-anchored your chair may be.
There is no shortage of action in this film and Evangelion 3.0 delivers quite the powerful punch. The opening sequence is merely a taste of the intense combat that is featured throughout the film. An entire set of new EVA units is introduced in this latest instalment for each of the young pilots. The new mecha units have been redesigned and upgraded to beefier and vastly more powerful versions of the predecessors, which is no surprise considering the large time lapse that has taken place. However, unlike in previous conflicts, the battles that are now being fought are not simply between Mankind and Angels. With the advent of the Near-Third Impact, loyalties have shifted and Misato Katsuragi’s anti-NERV organization WILLE now wages a brutal war against NERV with its flagship the AAA Wunder that possesses enough insane power to kill even God.
The dramatic changes unveiled in Evangelion 3.0 do not simply limit themselves to merely new EVA units and circumstances. Surprisingly, the most unsettling transformations occur at the human level. Past allies have become each other’s mortal enemies in this desperate and merciless battle to determine the future of Mankind. Evangelion 3.0 paints a grim blood red future which is personified by the redesigned returning characters and on the newcomers to the cast. The atrocities of war have been made apparent on the battle-hardened and gloomy faces of the cast. It is quickly ascertained that humanity harbours a great contempt for a tragically oblivious and ignorant Shinji Ikari and it is implied that the responsibility of a dreadful sin weighs on heavily on his shoulders. Ironically, much to the contrast of the entire world that has changed around him, Shinji Ikari manifests no change whatsoever despite the time that has passed since his last conscious thoughts. Veterans such as Misato Katsuragi and Gendou Ikari return with menacing demeanours and sporting superfluous eyewear. Unit 02-Dash EVA pilot Asuka Langley Shikinami makes a stunning return with a magnificent eye patch and her trademark tsundere compliments. Fans will also rejoice with the coming of Mari Illustrious Makinami’s glasses and her perpetual state of latent sexual attractiveness. Kaworu Nagisa makes his debut as the new EVA pilot and steals the hearts of many with his enigmatic charisma. In essence, Evangelion 3.0 features the original cast whose colours and identities that have been completely repainted with the red gore of war.
Evangelion reprises its role as an animated psychological trip straight to the mental asylum, but unlike the original adaptation, Rebuild of Evangelion manages to fall into the boundaries of comprehension that mere mortals possess. The film itself takes on a grim atmosphere and maintains a subconscious aura of mystery that shrouds the audience in ignorance. Many details concerning the events that occurred within the fourteen year time lapse were meticulously withheld for a large part of the movie and the culmination of this tension has a tendency to leave its viewers in a catatonic state of shock. Near the film’s conclusion, viewers may expect to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and exhibit inexplicable confusion with many unanswered questions that will hopefully be resolved in the series finale. Currently, I can attest to that deranged and disturbed mental state.
The musical score of Evangelion 3.0 composed by Shiro Sagisu is an artistic masterpiece in itself. The music features a harmonic symbiotic relationship between orchestral instruments, choir and electric guitars surprisingly added to the mix. Most strikingly of all, the piano pieces steal the spotlight. Kaworu and Shinji’s piano duet vastly contrasts the doom-and-gloom atmosphere that Evangelion 3.0 boasts, but their light musical presentation was a refreshing welcome which provided a brief respite to the other heavy piano pieces that reflected the grim circumstances. Hikaru Utada’s fans will also scream in delight with her return to the musical scene with the melancholic Sakura Nagashi featured while the curtain of credits draw to a close.
With the long-awaited and highly anticipated Evangelion 3.0 aweing its audience with top-tier animation quality and a masterfully executed story reaching its conclusion, viewers will be left with even more questions and angst as they wait for the Rebuild of Evangelion to draw to its inevitable close. Evangelion 3.0 leaves much to be desired, and perhaps to the dismay of many, its direction may be out of the comfort zone that was presented in the preceding films. It seems that the producers are hell-bent on pursuing the near-suicidal mission of saving the original Neon Genesis Evangelion ending, and in order to achieve this daunting task, they employ the same tactic of “screwing over Shinji as many times using the most dastardly means that they can possibly conceive.” After all, it is Evangelion, and it is a necessity that the remake lives up to its reputation. One can only dream that they succeed, and I look forward to that day.
Now returning to the initial premise of embarking on this arduous and lengthy journey; have we come one step closer to answering Hideaki Anno’s goal of remaking Evangelion as it he wanted it to be? Alas, that is a question which can only be answered by Anno himself. However, as witnesses of his artistic masterpieces, each individual of his audience is privy to their own answer to that question. With this, I thank you for reading mine. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
“But, O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”
– Shakespeare, As You Like It
By the end of this humble review, the case may be that I will find myself skewered by countless pitchforks and torched at the stake by those who bear disdain towards K-ON! for forging what is igniting the burning passion in my heart for all to see. In spite of this inevitable dreary destiny, I shall boldly write on and write on I shall ‘till kingdom come for friend or foe to witness. So without further ado, before I enrage the angry mob which desires my public evisceration and execution to the point where they can no longer withhold their murderous intent, I shall grace your eyes with the weaving of this golden yarn of mine.
Infamous for its intricate, innovative and inspiring PLOT, or rather a lack thereof, K-ON! has garnered a reputation for being an inane and unproductive moefest after two seasons of moe madness featuring the endless antics of the musical moeblob members of the Houkago Tea Time Club.
But that is what it is.
And it will stay true to itself regardless of how irrational it may be. Because the story of the hectic daily lives of these high school girls aiming for the Budokan, and their various shenanigans along the way, is the quintessence of why we love them, or hate them, depending on which side of the spectrum that you may be.
This iconic image remains unaltered in its motion picture premiere. Indeed, there is never a dull moment in the world of K-ON! as it flawlessly maintains its ditsy eccentricity from Japan to England and back. That’s right. In this chapter of their high school adventures, the K-ON! girls travel to London, the birthplace of many talented musical prodigies, for their much awaited graduation trip. As with each episode of K-ON!, one cannot help but imagine in anticipation and in expectation of what lies in each installment, however it is usually the case that we are often wrong in our predictions of the coalescence of the events.
The same concept is applicable to the movie, which welcomes its audience with an explosive heavy metal opening that stands in stark contrast to the light and fluffy music that we are accustomed to. However, after a period of violent and erratic headbanging, I came to revisit the overwhelmingly nostalgic innocent and happy-go-lucky atmosphere which characteristically defines K-ON! We are immediately reminded that this chapter in the K-ON! girls’ lives takes place in the period before their graduation, after the senior girls receive confirmation of their acceptance into university. As such, they are presented with the dilemmas of how to celebrate their graduating year and final high school days as well as what will pose as the more uncertain and difficult challenge of expressing their gratitude to Azusa.
With these elements of PLOT presented, KyoAni does a splendid job of executing this duality by not only making the graduation trip an exciting and memorable experience for both the K-ON! girls and their spectators, but also succeeds in weaving the narrative fabric to incorporate the latter aspect throughout the film. And thus, we are once again thrust into the wild wacky absurdity of K-ON! From silliness on the airport conveyor belts which are undoubtedly amusing to tread on, to getting lost in a foreign land resulting in an unintended musical performance via a case of mistaken identity and Engrish gibberish, K-ON! and their fans embark on a misadventure with more destinations than what was planned on the trip itinerary. All of which was expertly animated by the talent at the KyoAni Studio, which never fails to dish out perfection with a side dish of K-ON! The addition of CGI that complimented the meticulously drawn conventional animation was a great welcome and generated eyegasms aplenty.
The movie also serves as a fast-track tourist trip to London city as we travel with the K-ON! girls to famous landmarks such as the London Underground, the Borough Market and the banks of the River Thames where the Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the Elizabeth Tower containing Big Ben all lie in their gloriously animated state. For those who have been to the massive metropolitan city, it is a refreshing sight to view its beautiful landscape in animated form. By the same token, it stirs a desire to retrace the steps of the K-ON! girls in those who have yet to travel to the hallmark destination.
Moving on, the audience is once again graced with the excitement that a typical K-ON! musical gig provides. KyoAni doesn’t disappoint its fans with the animation of the gigs, which leave me jumping and pumping my fist in the air in tandem with the song. I’m just kidding, I don’t do that. As we approach the film’s conclusion, we re-experience the nostalgic bliss of the end of the senior girls’ high school days and their final gift of gratitude to Azusa that they worked so hard throughout the movie to have come to fruition, which takes form in the performance that is depicted in Episode 24 of the second season. Witnessing the penultimate events which led to the pinnacle of that emotional scene was the most masterfully executed moment of heartfelt nostalgia that I had the privilege of experiencing and I felt the full brunt of the bittersweet joy that I basked in once before.
One would like to believe that after three years have passed since the debut of their high school years, the K-ON! girls would experience some sort of progressive change as they nurtured each other’s growth. However, that is far from the case as the only thing that has probably altered is the fact that they have become complacent to each other’s idiocy, and therefore have become increasingly idiotic. Hirasawa Yui returns as your friendly neighborhood airhead guitarist and stars in all of the crazy acts of hilarity which we all know and love. Tainaka Ritsu’s erratic hard-headed large-forheaded rash irrationality compliments Yui and completes their comedic duo in their plethora of stunts. Akiyama Mio. Ahem. Wait a moment please, I must compose myself. So Mio flawlessly and triumphantly makes her stunning comeback as our adorable and lovable cute and pure maiden. Bubbly Kotobuki Tsumugi and her eyebrows of awesome return to be Mugi and bubbly. Nakano Azusa, also affectionately known as Azunyan, becomes translated into Engrish as Azu-Cat and remains the most sane and levelheaded member of K-ON! Even side-characters make their respective cameos to remind the viewers of all of the individuals with which the K-ON! girls have met in their high school journey. Oh and Sawa-chan looks damn delectably delicious in black. In essence, KyoAni manages to preserve the iconic identities of all of their characters and work their magic by making the vast array of personalities interact and mingle in new ways.
Now how could I possibly forget about the musical score of a series centered around a group of girls who are characterized by their identity as band members? The soundtrack recycles some of the K-ON! series background music pieces to retain its iconic happy-go-lucky feel, but we are introduced to new music as we enter the realm of the English homeland K-ON! style. This is welcomed with open arms as it adds to consolidate the foreign setting of the film. In addition, the OP songs “Unmei wa Endless!” and “Ichiban Ippai” are sure to satisfy the listeners who are yearning for more K-ON! fluff. On the other hand, ED song “Singing” which bears the angelic –singing- voice of Hikasa Youko emanates the same feel as her previous K-ON!! ED piece, “NO, Thank You!” However, the film returns to showcase hallmark tracks which have defined its musical prowess such as “Fuwa Fuwa Time,” “U&I,” “Gohan wa Okazu,” and “Tenshi ni Fureta Yo.” All in all, the film’s soundtrack features some new spectacular tracks and reintroduces their predecessors to keep K-ON! music and nostalgia fresh.
Watching the K-ON! Movie has been the most exhilarating anime entertainment experience that I have witnessed and I am eternally grateful for seeing this legendary series meet its conclusion with such sparkling splendor. Bravo KyoAni for creating a beautiful masterpiece.
And in the end, Yui still got to go to Europe.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I am being carried against my will by this legion of pissed off K-ON! haters to be burned at the stake. I guess I have to visit the hospital after to treat this multitude of pitchfork punctures too. Well don’t worry, it’s just a flesh wound. read more