The first Evangelion Rebuild movie nicely re-introduced the famous Japanese mecha anime. With cutting edge animation, quality writing and epic action, You Are (Not) Alone is definitely a must-watch for anime fans. It's not a perfect film however, and many of the same problems are amplified in the sequel. You Can (Not) Advance furthers the story slightly. The cliffhanger ending from the previous movie doesn't actually become a real plot point until the cliffhanger of this movie! Not only that, but the unnecessary fan service is nearly doubled. Despite such problems, You Can (Not) Advance remains a quality sequel, though is a step down from the previous movie.
The story opens up focusing on another pilot, Mari. Her Eva is sadly destroyed when she eliminates a runaway Angel. Meanwhile Shinji has seemingly accepted his role of being an Eva pilot. Another new pilot, Asuka, makes Shinji's life a little more hectic. Could she secretly have feelings for him however? Meanwhile Rei is trying to get Shinji and his father together for a quality meal. All this and the Angels keep invading! Even though the movie is technically longer than 'You Are (Not) Alone,' not many truly important things take place. In fact, really the only major thing to happen is in the final minute where the supposed "Third Impact" makes landfall. It can be easy to forget however that Evangelion focuses on the main character and his growth just as much as the overall conflict.
It is great to see Shinji active in his role. His quiet, still-wondering-about-everything persona is still present, but there's solid character development between film 1 and 2. Rei continues to be a compelling focus, though for people who didn't watch the original show her story seems very vague. That is a problem that carries on from the first film: vagueness. Why do the Angels want to get to Lilith so badly? What is the Third Impact? There's so much vagueness that one wonders how exactly it will be paid off. Misato has some very welcome backstory, furthering her character. While it's great to see the main characters develop from the previous movie, You Can (Not) Advance introduces some new key players.
Asuka adds a bit of arrogant loudness to the team. Despite her annoying personality, she has a certain likable charm. She adds some eccentric character to the rather quiet team of Shinji and Rei. The other new pilot introduced, and exclusive to the Rebuild universe, is Mari. Like Asuka, she adds a whole new dimension to the story. In fact, she actually ended being more engaging than Asuka! The final new character introduced is Ryoji. This guy adds a sense of charisma not seen in almost any of the characters. Despite the very strange locker room scene with Shinji, he remained one of the more interesting characters.
While getting a bunch of new characters is good, sadly they are often drowned out by the fan service. No matter how you slice it, there's no justification for fan service in anything. Almost all of it here focuses on kids. There's something really wrong if kids (under 15!) are subject to this type of thing. Evangelion has compelling characters and an engaging story, so why the people doing these movies feel the need to add it is beyond me. The action is very awesome, as you would expect from a theatrical anime film. The Angels aren't cannon fodder, but they're starting to feel like gigantic one-shots. Hopefully in the next two films they'll be explored a little more.
Evangelion's second Rebuild continues Shinji's story nicely enough. That's basically all that continues however, the actual grand part of the plot doesn't really further until the last minute.The final scene was also pretty strange in itself, since it literally comes out of nowhere. The soundtrack is fantastic however, and the fights are as great as they were in the first movie. Also, it's hard to beat the intense scene when the Tenth Angel absorbed Unit-00. Sadly the fan service hurts the overall viewing experience. If it continues to add more and more, it's going to be hard to recommend Evangelion to anyone.