Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance is the second part of the cinematic retelling of the original TV Series. The First movie, 1.0, is essential viewing and our review of that can be found here. Moving along, I can’t begin without saying how amazing the art is. Every individual frame is a work of art and its a feast for the eyes. A possible drawback is that the movie definitely has an appeal to Evangelion and Anime fans. I don’t think it will go over so well with soft-core fans or those who are new to Anime. Tons of little details and nuances could and would possibly fly over their heads.
This is why I won’t waste time giving you a synopsis. Those of you interested in reading this review should be familiar regardless, so with that in mind, the new character, Mari isn’t a so welcomed addition to the movie. When first announced as being a new Evangelion pilot, there was much anticipation over her involvement with the new storyline. To balance it all out, there is also some character interaction and development, enough to flesh out the characters like Asuka and Mari. Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance pushes the story along so efficiently that it appears clear that the third film should bring us to the end of the story as presented in the television series before moving on to the final two films for the finale.
The father-son relationship between the main character Shinji Ikari and his father Gendou has been improved as well as the connection between Shinji, Asuka and Rei—the three children who pilot the Japanese EVAs. All in all this movie is great stuff, a real crowd pleaser. There are a slew of changes, yes, but you hardly even notice them at this point. In the first movie, I literally took notes on every single change that appeared, because it was just a reordering and retelling of the Ayanami warming up arc of the series. battles, brutal as they were in the TV series, take on a more animalistic nature, similar to Gurren Lagann but bloodier, that taxes the film’s budget and the audience’s stomachs to the fullest. Where 1.0 was a faithful reconstruction of the original Evangelion series, 2.0 is more of a rebuild in terms of plot as well as animation.
From a dramatical point of view, the movie naturally has a hard stand. While the story advances pretty far (roughly up to the point of episode 19 of 26 in the original series), it still leaves the audience with a dangling cliffhanger. Most frustrating is the inclusion of the controversial original character Mari Makinami Illustrious. She just drops in, looks pretty, kicks ass, and exits. I left this movie wondering what the hell was wrong with the writers who just lazily included characters in the film. I’ll admit to being quite startled by what they decided to do. I didn’t care too much for the progression of the storyline in this film and am eagerly holding out for the next chapter, as should you.