Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo

Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo leaps forward 15 years to explore interpersonal disappointments after yet another apocalyptic event. Shinji's rabid need to rescue Rei from the guts of Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance's Tenth Angel has resulted in a cataclysm known as Third Impact, an accidental apotheosis that has fossilised unbelievers and plunged what remains of mankind into destitution. The survivors of this revelation have split into two competing factions. The Evangelion support staff, led by Misato, have formed WILLE, a floating paramilitary convoy dedicated to destroying their rival group, NERV, and the mouldering ambitions of Shinji's father Gendo.

Shinji, freshly sprung from an orbiting cruciform prison, is immediately positioned as loathsome, a compromised object to be seized spectacularly then filed away from the unfolding action. Misato, previously Shinji's most stable and reliable ally, cannot bring herself to look at him. Shinji then has lost his anchor. His protests and questions are met with a pointed, conspiratorial silence. No-one is willing to tell Shinji what he's done or why they hate him. Although WILLE's mission is clearly one of atonement, there is little desire to include, or forgive, the child they all coerced into action. There's a repeated insinuation that WILLE has cause to believe that this being might not actually be their Shinji. Could he be an Angel facsimile or an artificial recreation birthed from the bowels of NERV?

You Can (Not) Redo talks about its male hero in terms of redundancy, too powerful to be left on the board but uncontrollable enough that no-one (human) dares trust him with responsibility. The predominantly female WILLE already has two ace EVA pilots anyway. Asuka and Mari may bicker constantly but they are also a fluid, complimentary attack force, able to act and react without the hesitation or dangerous introspection of the Third Child. Although more of a sketch than a binding contract, the next episode preview that follows 3.33's credits goes as far as depicting the pair united in one harlequin Evangelion, vanquishing wave after wave of generic imitations. You Can (Not) Redo then leaves Shinji to his own devices, pursuing two faint ideas of friendship in the carcass of his old headquarters. Vulnerable and desperate for connection, Shinji, the despised spare, pursues resolution and responsibility, attempting to expunge the horror he has blundered into.

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