I downloaded yesterday the new Neon Genesis Evangelion movie, Evangelion 1.0 You are (Not) Alone. Well, it's sort of new. It's actually an adaptation of the first six episodes of the television series into a two and a half hour movie. This is the first of a series of movies collectively known as Rebuild of Evangelion. New animation, alteration of scene sequence, and, in some places, drastic changes to the story, all under the direction of Evangelion's original director, Hideaki Anno. So it's not merely a collection of clips. It must seem a strange project to a lot of people who aren't familiar with anime, but you might have some idea as to why this first rebuild movie was so massively successful from something Anno said about his reasons for undertaking the project (paraphrasing); because there had been nothing truly new since Evangelion.
Indeed, it's hard to overstate the influence of Evangelion. I see shades of it in virtually every anime I've seen since*, to the point where some series creators, like Chiaki Konaka of Serial Experiments Lain, are embarrassed by it--according to Lain's Wikipedia entry, "The authors have been asked in interviews if they had been influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion, in the themes and graphic design. This was strictly denied by writer Chiaki J. Konaka in an interview, arguing that he had not seen Evangelion until he finished the fourth episode of Lain." Then perhaps it was someone else on the staff who was responsible for scenes in the first episode that are carbon copies of Evangelion scenes, like the one of Lain staring at her hand on a trolley.
There's a Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei episode where characters are forced to admit developing interests in psychology, Christianity, and classical music because of Evangelion. To put it simply, Evangelion is a big deal.
So now a director returns to a Sci-Fi series he created that had enormous impact on entertainment and culture in order to do a special edition. Sound familiar? Hopefully the same imp that sits on George Lucas's shoulder isn't also whispering into Hideaki Anno's ear.
I haven't actually had time to watch the new movie yet--hopefully I will to-night, but there's still a little colouring I need to do on the last page of Chapter 1, and there are a number of things I want to do for the web site. To-morrow I'll have less time because I'm going to a Cure concert with my sister. I'm trying to get in the mood. I used to love the Cure obsessively, but now I've found they've been almost entirely usurped by my love for Morrissey. Inner Cure fan, please awaken . . .
*Except perhaps Inu-Yasha, which mostly resembles previous Rumiko Takahashi series..