Category Archives: Franchises

VOY@GER

My mind is in the speed of light and the layers are peeling off, the curvature of space-time is smoothing my brain out. Please send help.

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The Last Evangelion Film

Woman wearing an Asuka tee with messenger bag over eye

Thanks to Amazon doing the rest of the world a dandy during a global pandemic, I got to see the latest Evangelion movie: Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time. It dropped on Friday, August 13, along with the other Rebuild of Evangelion flicks on the Amazon Prime Video service. As others have said, it’s probably a smart thing to watch 3.0+1.0 and Eva Q in order back to back, since it does work well as a double feature. Do know Thrice Upon a Time is also nearly 2.5 hours long, so budget wisely.

Personally I subscribed to a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime to catch this movie, so I took the opportunity to also catch up on The Expanse, a SF TV series that I’ve been following on and off. In season five of The Expanse, the main crew of the show visits some folks they have left behind in their past, and oddly this is a familiar vibe with 3.0+1.0 as well. It’s more like, “wow it’s been a hot minute since I last saw a Hideaki Anno flick and this is every bit just like every other one he made.” It’s like some famous old guy you knew 20 years ago made house calls across the globe, and catching up with someone who you’ve not seen in a long time just makes you feel 1) old and 2) this guy hasn’t changed a bit, besides getting on in life with less hair on his head.

I guess that’s enough spoilers for The Expanse, which is a fun sci-fi romp. And I don’t get why people call this hard SF it’s really not hard enough for me lol. Spoilers ahoy, in any case.

Evangelion, is hard SF. And for those of us who have spent the time to watch and digest the work and ingest other’s analysis of their own, there isn’t a lot of surprises left other than a curious wonder on how will Evangelion’s Rebuild land. Given that the original story didn’t really land, in a technical sense, even if emotionally it is a bit all over the place, at the very least, I think we are on the same page here in that Anno should pen a work that lands the story more like, say, a cogent adult. Maybe this is what people say about therapy when they talk about Evangelion in that context.

As I plow through the film, the SF elements really struck me as the thing that sets the tone, the pace, and frames the work. When empathy and acceptance has a measurable value like air pollution, when fear, respect, and holiness exhibit themselves as AT fields, and when we plaster Christian lore like the names of Fate GO attacks, we are squarely and solely in an Evangelion, rocking those handle bars trying to get the robot to move.

It’s cute how 3.0+1.0 makes those neck bombs into something, when Asuka wore them plus the thing in her eyepatch as a point of contrast. And man, what’s up with foreign objects going into eyes? Where were we going when the final lance runs up against Giant Naked Rei-Head’s right eye? There is a psychology, a raw reaction, that runs against the SF-ness. Some may say having to deal with orbital mechanics in your SF makes it hard, but when terror is literally manifested as a scientific concept, somehow it is a lot more, I don’t know, personable? I don’t think anyone deserves the kind of torment Shinji went through, even if some, surely in our awesome yet terrible universe, has had worse–certainly not something far majority of us had even tasted a fraction of. Perhaps when we get gassed into the dead vacuum of space, not only we are lost in it, we die due to exposure. This is terrible, but not as terrifying as getting contaminated with L2 particles and turning into a pile of LCL goop.

And what’s beautiful about 3.0+1.0 is not only this terror is a level deeper than very understandable methods of death, but also painted in a beautifully-sad kind of way. In as much as the End of Evangelion and this particular film being the end of Rebuild, are about emotions wrapped up in technobabble, the meta is where all these emotions come into focus. Maybe it’s the simple difference between a teenager and an older adult being that the older person has many years to reflect upon their own existence, the regrets, the good times, and finding a way to walk that path for so long. In Eva, with the kind of death counts it has, maturity is self-selecting: if you aren’t you probably won’t make it that old! And it is just sad, pitiful, and the worst case of misfortune. The intensity of End of Evangelion gives way to 3.0+1.0, such as the parallel moments when Asuka waking up to Shinji by her side, but he isn’t feeling it either way–because, I guess, he grew up.

[I can make more comparison with The Expanse here, but to spare you the spoiler for another nice SF story I’ll just not-name drop two crucial characters from Naomi’s backstory here.]

As we have walked with Evangelion for 20+ years, I think I will still find time to watch 3.0+1.0 again, to gleam more from this final hurrah from an old friend, and the trauma it so succinctly described, before saying goodbye for good. It is a blessing that the world is in such a place, or at least, a good part of the world is in such a place, to enjoy a work like this, where the psychology is so overwhelmingly the front and center that we are all suffering, standing in the intersection of western and eastern storytelling norms, because there isn’t anything else you can do. The Rebuild series is not the same as the original; or rather, it is the small glimmer of hope that the adults in the room would do in response to what the original was. It’s just that by this point, it all really doesn’t matter anymore. The fact that 3.0+1.0 is a work that is still so signature of all things Evangelion is already a massive win.


Wonder Egg Priority Is about [Spoiler]

Spoiler about WEP ahead, and I guess I might also talk about some themes from Wonder Egg Priority, which includes suicide and other mental troubles. More over, how do people watch that show, realizing the dream battles are metaphors, and not realizing the show is a giant metaphor about social media? It’s like not realizing a bunch of trees make up a forest.

Wonder Egg Priority Is about Social Media is the original title to this post.

Koito and Ai in school uniform
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IM@S 16, Anime Update

Seeing the VOY@GER MMXXI trailer on this past Sunday morning was something, to say the least. Goripon is back to do another project with the IM@S content that he is still purportedly a fan of is definitely a sight for sore eyes. The studio Khara link is curious, and the most important “Animas team” tease is a seriously strong dose of hopium.

What is worth also noting is that on the 15th anniversary, July 27 2020, we were not only in the depth of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we saw the Million Live anime teaser. That means in the gap of a year we saw 2 anime teasers, but the only anime since were some Cinderella Girls Gekijo stuff? I might have missed something but that is it, right? Oh, there was this.

We did get an update from WakachikoP last month with the annual Million Live Theater Days anniversary issue of Famitsu. So I can say that at least this is the minimum fans deserve–even an update that they need more time is needed for a fandom this engaged.

As an aside, even if a big project like Theater Days are run by a big team with a lot of people working on it, with planning that span years, having Hazama-san in charge feels like the product and franchise is just in a better place than KominoP as we had in the past when he took over the role during WakachikoP’s leave.

Back on topic: What is there to expect about VOY@GER MMXXI? I don’t think it’s anything more than just another extended trailer, similar to the one they released 5 years ago to celebrate the 4th year of Million Live. (By the way, I guess this is worth watching if you care about new folks doing research and not knowing about the team Anim@s connection.) If we’re lucky, it might stretch beyond the 10-minute mark, but since it has been referred to as a concept movie or promotional video, I won’t bet on it. It’s suppose to come out soon, so given the neck-breaking pace that Goripon had to deal with regarding the latest Eva movie, that only means there has been about half a year of actual production time when staff can actively create the animation, at the most. Depending on how many people are actually working on the project, of course, it could mean a variety of things, but there has been enough time past since the last time team Anim@s has done anything.

At the same time, we still don’t have a release date for the video, but the song will be out soon in mid-August. The cast has yet record for the work, if the announcement stream reactions were genuine, although they of course have already recorded the song. I don’t think it’s good to dwell too much on it, other than to celebrate the first animated anything for the 3 Shinymas characters, and the other characters who were left out of their respective anime previously.

If I were to actually speculate, VOY@GER was suppose to be a project launched along with the 15th anniversary festivities. On the music side, VOY@GER turned into the same release format as Nandodemo Waraou which seems like a logical thing they will want to do every year going forward. But IDOLM@STER Five Stars songs probably had 6-12 months of lead time, similar to a new mobile game event/content drop for MLTD or CGSS. If we take the cancelled Theater Days PSTour event as a measuring stick, it took them about 9 months to redo it as it’s scheduled for early October. There are other factors affecting these so we can only take that number with a healthy amount of salt, but +/-3 months seems reasonable.

Predicting anime production schedule during COVID seems like a foolish thing to do, so maybe guessing about staff is more productive. If you are good you can probably guess staff from the cast list, because, as MingosP mentioned on the livestream, of course Makoto is in this project because Goripon is a MakotoP. Maybe you can find the biggest Derem@s animator stans for Minami as the next one up.

In summary, it’s like what they say, it’s just more IM@S. MillionPs have been through this before, but this time we’ll have the newbies from Theater Days along for the ride. For CG folks, they know how Spin-Off is like. For the other old timers though, this is all gravy.


On Million 7th Reburn, Online Events

Since I only watched IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE 7thLive Q@MP FLYER!!! Reburn (that is a mouthful) online, I did not actually travel to Fuji-Q Highlands Conifer Forest to participate in the audience. There is a world of difference between going to a concert live in person, versus watching it in the comfort of home (although I enjoyed the comfort of someone else’s home, not mine). As a fan of the franchise, and especially the live concert part of this franchise, I think there is enough in the remote viewing experience to count for something.

Anyways, I will save the pontification later. First, on ML 7th.

(I had wondered by what “Conifer Forest” meant but it gets clearer if you see it.)

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