Anime Film Review: Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone

Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone is the first of four feature films that re-tells the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. The film was originally released under the title Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. However, after complaints were made concerning darkness issues in the original DVD release, the film was given a re-transfer to fix those issues, and three additional minutes of new animation was added to the first 15 minutes of the film.

Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone
Directed by: Hideaki Anno, Masayuki, and Kazuya Tsurumaki
Written by: Hideaki Anno
Starring: Megumi Ogata, Megumi Hayashibara, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yuriko Yamaguchi, Fumihiko Tachiki, and Motomu Kiyokawa
Rated: PG-13

FUNimation holds the North American distribution rights to the film. The company released 1.01 on DVD on November 17, 2009; the 1.11 DVD and Blu-ray were released on March 9, 2010. The two-disc DVD release of Evangelion 1.11 has the film on one disc, with the bonus features are all included on the second disc. The Blu-ray pressing is one disc. When it comes to the Blu-ray, I noticed a significant difference between the image quality on this disc and the image quality on the DVD of this film that I had viewed previously on the DVD pressing. According to the back of the Blu-ray box, the video is 1080p High Definition 16×9, the audio is Dolby TrueHD: English 6.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 6.1, and subtitles are available in English. Both pressings of the film come with a 20-page booklet.

Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone is essentially a point-for-point re-telling of the first six episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It opens with Shinji Ikari arriving in Tokyo-3 in the midst of an attack by the fourth Angel. After being picked up by Misato Katsuragi, he is taken to see Gendo, his estranged father. There, Shinji learns that he has been chosen to pilot the Evangelion Unit-01. He is ultimately pressured into doing it because Rei Ayanami, the other Evangelion pilot, is too injured to fight. The film also includes the battles with the fifth and sixth Angels, and the battle with the sixth Angel is the climax of the film.

One of the major differences I saw here was the reduced importance of the characters of Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida. This is due in large part to the fact that Shinji isn’t shown in school as much in the film as he was in the original anime series. Also, at the point where Shinji runs away, he never encounters Kensuke out in the wilderness in the movie. It will be interesting to see in the later films if Toji will become a more important character, or if a particular event that’s depicted in the anime series has been changed for these movies.

Overall, I have to say that from what I’ve seen so far, I think the movie version works better than the anime series. In some respects, the anime series suffers from having a bit of a sluggish pacing. The movie, however, keeps the action moving, and there seems to be more of an effort on telling a linear story than on focusing as much on symbolism and images. While there is still symbolism and imagery in the first film, it doesn’t seem to be focused on as much in the film. It will also be interesting to see if this continues in the other films or not.

The 20-page booklet that comes with both pressings of the film opens with a piece written by Hideaki Anno that explains why he decided to re-tell the story of Neon Genesis Evangelion as a series of feature films. From here, there are pieces that introduce the film and explain the “rebuild” concept. There is also an explanation of the “Rebuild of Evangelion 1.01” feature that appears on the disc as an extra. There are also pages dedicated to explaining animation production terms, the characters, and words association with Evangelion.

There are five bonus features included on both pressings of the film. The first is two versions of “Rebuild of Evangelion 1.01”; one is labeled as the Shiro Sagisu version, while the other is labeled as the Joseph Maurice-Ravel version. Both of these run for almost 16 minutes, and they seem to consist of various sequences as they changed from the storyboarding process through the final animation. Unfortunately, no explanation is truly given as to what these are, and so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to be looking for or expecting with this feature.

Also, it should be noted that the labeling for the two versions on the DVD pressing have been flipped, since the “version” is designated by what music was used for the background. Sagisu composed the music for Neon Genesis Evangelion, while Ravel was known for orchestral music. The first one is labeled as Sagisu, but the music sounds more orchestral and classical in nature. The second one is labeled as Ravel, but it sounds more like music you would hear in Evangelion. When I checked this feature on the Blu-ray pressing, they were labeled correctly.

Next is the “Angel of Doom” promotional music video. This piece uses footage for the film and is set to a song that appears during the film. “News Flashes” runs for 55 seconds, and it includes what appear to be two television trailers for Evangelion 1.0.

“Movie Previews” contains a total of three theatrical previews for the film; they all run for the same length and they all use “Beautiful World” by Hikaru Utada as the background music. There are only very subtle differences in the visuals between the three trailers. The final extra is trailers that FUNimation included on the disc for releases they were promoting at the time this film was released.

I think Evangelion 1.11 would be a great way to introduce people to the Neon Genesis Evangelion universe, and it should be in the home video collection of anyone who enjoys the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. If you have the capability to watch Blu-rays, then I would highly recommend getting the Blu-ray pressing of the film.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of the Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone Blu-ray that my husband and I purchased.

Additional posts about Neon Genesis Evangelion:

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