Before watching the latest "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time", let's go over the story and mysteries of the 3 previous films of "Rebuild of Evangelion"!
The latest film of "Rebuild of Evangelion", "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time", will soon be released. (The release date has been delayed from the initial Jun. 27, due to the novel coronavirus)
It has been 8 years since the last film, "Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo". Let's go over the unsolved mysteries and differences from the previous pieces of work.
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone
This film is set in Japan, 15 years after the unprecedented catastrophe known as the "Second Impact", which killed half the population on earth. Ikari Shinji, an introvert 14-year-old, gets dragged into the war against the giant life forms called "Angels". At first, he doesn't even know how to interact with other people, but through the fearsome battles as a pilot of the Multipurpose Humanoid Decisive Weapon, Evangelion, he grows and begins to build relationships with his boss, Katsuragi Misato, and another Eva pilot, Ayanami Rei. Shinji belongs to NERV, which is run by
ZEELE, and the mysterious "Human Instrumentality Project", conducted by the two organizations, begins to reveal itself.
The story up to "Operation Yashim" from the 6th episode, "Showdown in Tokyo-3", of the initial TV series, has been depicted with even more intensity and on a larger scale. The smile of Ayanami Rei, when Shinji says "You should try smiling," after the project, has again captured the hearts of many fans.
The differences from the previous TV series.
Most of the development in "1.0" follows the steps of the previous TV series, but there are some differences. For instance, in the former series, the story was specifically set in the year 2015, but in "1.0", it is only said that it has been 15 years since the "Second Impact" and they do not mention a specific year. Also, the giant humanoid life form, "Lilith", which is hidden in the NERV headquarters, makes an appearance a lot earlier than in the TV series.
The first Angel they encounter in the 1st episode was the 3rd Angel, but in "1.0", it is the 4th Angel. Visually, the blue ocean in the previous series has been colored red in the Rebuild series.
Another difference you can't miss is that Kaworu, who only appeared in the very last of the TV series, has already made an appearance.
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance
Unlike "1.0" which was mostly the same as the TV series, "Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance" makes its original developments. A new pilot from Germany, Shikinami Asuka Langley, joins Shinji and Rei, and fight against the Angels, building new relations.
Rei, who didn't show much emotion in the previous film, trying to change herself, such as her saying "I feel warm when I'm with Ikari-kun," and organizing a dinner party for Shinji, are some of the best scenes of the film.
The film depicts the plans of NERV and SEELE advancing at the cost of the children. Shinji resists against his father, Gendou, and refuses to ride Eva. However, he gets back on to rescue Rei and becomes the trigger of the "Third Impact".
The story from episode 8 to 20 of the TV series has been drastically changed. One of the biggest surprises for the fans must have been the new function of Eva, secret code: "The Beast". The pilot's eyes change color showing the pilot losing control as Eva changes into a beast-like form. Becoming more compatible with battle, it raised the heat of the battle scene towards the end of the film.
Also, by playing the famous folk song "Tsubasa wo Kudasai", right before the "Third Impact", it gives the scene a majestic feeling.
The differences from the previous TV series.
The biggest change was the appearance of the new Eva pilot, Makinami Mari Illustrious, who wasn't in the former series. (She did make an appearance in the manga adaption) Her words, such as how she calls Shiji's father "Gendou-kun", as if she knows him well, are very meaningful, making her a mysterious character.
Fans were also surprised that Asuka, who is as popular as Ayanami Rei, had her name changed. (She used to be called Souryuu Asuka Langely) Also, story-wise, her role has been changed, as she becomes the pilot of the testing of Unit-03, which formerly was piloted by Shinji's classmate, Suzuhara Touji, in the TV series.
The biggest surprise was the new function of Eva, secret code: "The Beast". Somehow, Mari knew about this ability that even the general NERV staff didn't know.
Also, they added a new scene where they show Evangelion Mark.06 being assembled at NERV's Moon Base, and Kaworu getting in.
There has been a change in the role of Misato's ex-boyfriend/triple agent, Kaji Ryouji. He brings the Adam sample for Gendo in the TV series, but in "2.0", he instead brings him a mysterious item called "Nebuchadnezzar's Key".
The new character Mari also has many secrets. Since she knew about the secret code "The Beast", and says meaningful things, she may know more secrets about NERV and Gendou than Misato and the other characters.
Though there are many mysteries left, such as the true intentions of SEELE and Gendou, which seem different, and how they are involved with the "Third Impact", the story had made a significant development, raising the expectations of the fans to the max.
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
Unlike "1.0" and "2.0", "Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo" developed a completely original story of the "Rebuild" series. It is set 14 years later from "2.0", where the opposing organization of NERV called WILLE, which Misato and Asuka now belong to, kidnaps Shinji, who had put to sleep.
Shinji, who has no idea of what happened in these 14 years, decides to go with Rei (actually a clone of her) who attacked WILLE with Evangelion Mark.09. He meets Gendou at NERV's headquarters, which has fallen apart, and is told to ride Evangelion Unit-13 along with Kaworu.
Shinji feels a moment of peace being with Kaworu, but despairs once he is told that the "Third Impact" was triggered by him and the world has been destroyed because of it. Kaworu tells Shinji to ride along in Unit-13 to redo the universe, but Asuka and Mari have come to NERV headquarters to stop them. When Kaworu dies in front of Shinji because of Gendou's tricks, it almost triggered the "Fourth Impact".
In this film, Asuka, who was severely injured in "2.0", returns with outstanding performance. She fights at the forefront to retrieve Shinji as one of the main members of WILLE and goes into beast mode to stop the enemies at the battle to prevent the "Fourth Impact". She acts as the hero of the film who saves Shinji even though she is sick of his moping around.
One of the main attractions of this film is the battles between Evas. The fight between Unit-02 Revised and Unit-08 against Unit-13 and Mark.09 is something never seen in the previous 2 movies nor the former TV series.
You also don't want to miss the scene where Shinji and Kaworu bond through playing the piano together. The beautiful music and images are very emotional, and displays why Shinji trusts Kaworu even more convincingly than in the TV series.
It has been 14 years since the events in "2.0", leaving us with even more mysteries. What happened during the 14 years? Why is Misato standing against NERV? How did Asuka return from her injuries? Why haven't the Eva pilots grown older? Why did Asuka refer to these reasons as "Eva's curse"? What happened to "Nebuchadnezzar's Key" and Kaji Ryouji who brought it? There are so many mysteries yet to be solved. Gendou's intentions are also still a secret to us.
We went over the 3 movies while comparing them to the former series, but it's difficult to anticipate the conclusion with so many mysteries left unsolved. Will all of them be solved in "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time"? Sadly, the series is coming to an end, but at the same time let's look forward to the day of seeing the conclusion of this grand saga.
(C)Khara (C)Khara / Project Eva. (C)Khara / EVA Production Committee