Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone

Year: 2007
Production Co: Gainax
Director: Masayuki/Kazuya Tsurumaki/Hideaki Anno
Writer: Hideaki Anno

Not being a huge anime fan this is my first exposure to the Evangelion universe, and what surprised me most was the sheer scope an animated movie has managed to portray. Usually it's easy to depict buildings crashing down and planets blowing up but for all the charm of animation it doesn't manage the same sense of scale as when it happens in real life (albeit with CGI).

But director Masayuki (so cool he only needs one name?) manages to wrangle the visuals so you really feel the enormous size of these robots and the city and landscape they destroy as they go about their warlike business.

And in true anime style, the global warfighting is tempered by a tiny personal story about a kid who just wants his Dad to love him and can't handle the responsibility thrust upon him.

After the destruction of Tokyo by sentient outer-space beings/creatures/ships called angels, a secret military-industrial cabal exists in the hollows below the city, dedicated to stopping the invaders. They have it in the Evas, huge bipedal battle droids that fight it out on the surface whenever another Angel shows up.

Young Shinji is taken off the ruined streets and bought into the cloistered world where his aloof, barely-known father runs things. His busty, leggy female handler tries her best to help him navigate his strange new world, but his fate is clear – he's a natural born Eva pilot and must take the remaining device into battle after the only other Eva has been badly damaged, its pilot – the silent, stoic Rai – is still convalescing from her injuries.

When the final angel shows up it seems indestructible, and what's worse, it's found the hidden base deep underground and is burrowing towards it. The clock is ticking, and Shinji has to finally overcome his doubts and fulfill his destiny.

It's got everything you expect from anime – from the teen angst to the pneumatically foxy chicks – but there's a lot that will pleasantly surprise you. The visuals and the understanding of military hardware and parlance will add to he sense of scale and few 'real' movies feel bigger on screen.

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