And so… I was planning to go to the “official” public screening of the first minutes of Evangelion 3.0+1.0, in Shinjuku in the heart of Tokyo, on July 6. Carlos and me did indeed queue diligently for an hour under the glowering portrait of Godzilla – fitting, given Anno’s past filmography. About 850 people queued with us, though I was disappointed not to see any cosplayers. Oh, and if you were wondering, the ratio of male to female people queuing seemed to be approximately ten to one.
In the end, it turned out that seeing the footage in Shinjuku would require standing for another two or three hours – there were no seats. In the end, I just watched the livestream from Paris like everyone else. (We’ve tried to embed the livestream below; the footage of the new film starts at the 56-minute mark.)
I enjoyed the footage and thought it was an absolutely lovely touch for Anno to premiere the film in the city that he beats up at the start of the film. The cheer of the French audience in the film’s first moment was a terrifically canny PR launchpad. Well played, Anno, well played!
The sequence also satisfies if you know Anno’s back catalogue. His 1990 serial Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water starts in Paris, and the same show’s climax includes a flying battleship (commanded by Captain Nemo) zooming over the city and busting the Eiffel tower.
Then again, the debts to Nadia were just as blatant in Eva 3.33. That film’s Big Dumb Mecha toy, the Wunder, was accompanied by the same Shiro Sagisu themes which greeted the Nautilus in Nadia.
My main worry about 3.0+1.0 is simply that the film is plainly an extension of Eva 3.33, specifically the mecha-porn first half of the film. I’ve rarely heard 3.33 described kindly by fans, though I personally quite liked it. But any otaku who was hoping that the new film would start with Shinji waking into a retconned reality – a pre-apocalypse Tokyo-3, for example – will have been thoroughly disgruntled.
Still, the curiosity value of seeing how Anno chooses to end his franchise this century, twenty-three years after a grossed-out Asuka lay on a white beach pinched from The Quiet Earth, will surely lead to even longer queues under Godzilla when 3.0+1.0 opens in 2020.
(Carlos and me chatted last year about how Eva might end; the video is here.)