Anime Academy review of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth
Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth,
a.k.a. Shinseiki Evangelion: Shito Shinsei
Company: Gainax/Production IG
Format: 1 movie
Summary: Shinji, Asuka and Rei are pilots of Eva units, giant mecha constructed by Nerv to combat the Angel invasion. Having the fate of humanity resting on one's young shoulders would be stressful enough, but everyone involved in the project must also fight the demons of their past.
Highs: Effective Cliff's Notes version of Evangelion; no wasted scenes.
Lows: Offers nothing new to the series.
Review: After the conclusion of Neon Genesis Evangelion and before the release of End of Evangelion, there was Death & Rebirth. This movie was offered to the legions of anime fans as a sort of buffer to bridge the gap between its predecessor and the series finale. Mission accomplished.
There are many fans who consider this feature film too redundant to enjoy fully. I must disagree, especially when taking into consideration the time of its release. Coming nearly a year after the last episode of Evangelion aired, this flick serves a dual purpose: to whet the appetites of otaku hungry for a "better" ending, and to refresh their memories. Aside from these reasons, I enjoyed Death & Rebirth because it swept away all the inconsequential minutiae and concentrated on what really made the series tick: its characters. Despite being told in a very non-linear manner (snippets of various episodes are chosen with no sense of chronological order), the resulting tapestry of scenes is easy to follow and successfully offers glimpses into each of the character's motivations.
Many of the more intriguing side characters, however, are relegated to the cheap seats at times. Hardly anything is made of Ikari Gendou, and Akagi Ritsuko-sensei (who played such a tremendous, yet subtle, role in the television series) is thrown out with the rest of the detritus. Yes, Shinji, Misato, Rei and Asuka are the main players here, as they should be, but the supporting cast really should have been given more time in the spotlight.
Death & Rebirth does what it was set out to do; nothing more, nothing less. If you're one of the many who had difficulty following the series, this movie will help make sense of it all.