Friday, February 11, 2011

A Night with Evangelion 2.0

Recently I saw the movie called Neon Genesis Evangelion 2.0: You may (not) Advance. It’s Japanese animation, rated 14A. A big event: It played for one night only, in theatres across the land, including four here in Calgary.  It might return this winter.

As I type this I am wearing my “middle aged man” glasses—readers from the drugstore—that I carry in my pocket in a case that I ordered from Japan. My polyurethane case is as slick as an apple ipod, white, with straight and curvy black lines: Yes, it’s modeled after Rei’s plugsuit. Her name is there, in the reversed Japanese fashion. Ayanami Rei. She’s the poor girl who doesn't smile. The survivor in me can relate.

When I went right after work to the ticket wicket, hours early, I learned the show was nearly all sold out. Eh? Well of course! Young people will buy their tickets using technology! After retiring to the mall for some youthful Yankee junk food (KFC if you must know) I took my seat “early” and watched the theater, already mostly full, quickly filling up with excited fans. And yes, the kids really do hold up all sorts of hand held devices…

The last time I attended a special movie was at the Citadel, while visiting Edmonton, to see Orson Wells in The Third Man. At the time, already middle aged, I was a year or two younger than everyone else. None of the men there wore a baseball cap, and all of them wore a button up the front plaid shirt. Beards too. Not me, with my ball cap, jeans and T-shirt…

So there I was at Evangelion, a decade or two older than anyone else, and let me say: It was nerd heaven! Everyone wore a T-shirt. Me too. Next to me was a line of five young men who reminded me of something I had detested back in my youth: The guys in the center, talking excitedly, turning inward to each other, with their backs to the guy on the end, a fellow who was trying to be cool with being ignored and silent. Poor guy.

At the end of the flic I just had to chuckle. I’ve noticed how mundane moviegoers, whether they arrive by car or by foot, just as soon as the ending credits start to roll, seem to share a panicky senseless urge to escape. Not we nerds. A big clean up crew came in when the screen darkened for credits, but then they just had to stand in the corner… as almost none of us left… even though the words were in Japanese. The crew must have wondered, “Who are these anime fans?” At last the screen lightened and showed what we were waiting for: A preview of the next movie in the series. We’ll all be there!

Sean Crawford
Across the Pacific from Japan
A few speed bumps past my youth
February 2011

~When I bought my third figurine of Rei, (an alternate universe version) at a comic store on Granville street in Vancouver, the woman at the counter said her boyfriend had two shelves of Rei figures, like a shrine.
~Last Sunday a member of the “over age thirty crowd,” a man with teenage boys, was over at my place. After seeing my anime figurines and tapestries he pulled up his sleeve to reveal his anime tattoo. Neat! Or as the kids would say, Sweet!

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