The end is nigh—care to share any thoughts before the curtain closes on Evangelion?
In the wake of Evangelion 3.0+1.0’s big screen debut which is set for tomorrow, March 8th, Studio Khara streamed the first 12 minutes, 10 seconds, and 10 frames of the highly anticipated final Rebuild film on their official YouTube channel. At its high, nearly 150,000 viewers were live watching the YouTube premiere (the Amazon Japan live also had a huge turnout), and I was one of them.
As a fan whose life has been irreversibly impacted by the legendary anime giant that is Eva, I felt compelled to discuss some of my thoughts on what the final film will be about, as well as express my hopes for the finale of this historic franchise.
Naturally, some spoilers for the previous films may be brought up. You have been warned!
While the action-packed opening of 3.0+1.0 displays the talents of Khara’s remarkable animators and sound design staff, it does little else to cue us about the plot. Except for showing us a glimpse of outside world that is now stained red as a direct result of 3.0’s Fourth Impact, we still don’t have much in the way of an established story.
Maybe it’s just self-assumed to many fans (including myself) that this opening scene is set up to invite us back to the world of Eva with exciting action first, plot later. And that is completely fine. I shouldn’t be judging this massive 155-minute long film on these first 12ish minutes alone.
Oh that’s right, in case you didn’t know, 3.0+1.0 is set at 2 hours 35 minutes. This is amazing news, given the relatively short runtime of the third film, which was just 96 minutes. The recently announced runtime also brings me to my next theory.
As the name 3.0+1.0 might indicate, I believe that this film will be divided into two parts: the climactic resolution to 3.0, and the return back to the world of 1.0, where the story will finally conclude. Many theorists speculate (based on recent PV content) that we will either be traveling back in time, or somehow revisiting and “redoing” the initial events of the Rebuild.
It’s crazy to think that Eva could have this element of time travel, but it’s not implausible. If anything, this will only cement the original message of the Rebuilds: That Evangelion is a story of repetition, one in which the characters fight over and over again until the can make things right. It’s a romantic sentiment, and I hope the final film commits to this noble purpose pitted by the equally optimistic (if slightly dreary) End of Evangelion.
If the 1.0 segment of the film does in fact shoot for this round table conclusion, then the first 3.0 half will feature high-octane action sequences and earth-shattering reveals about the events which took place between 2.0 and 3.0. Why does Wille and Misato hate Shinji if they are the ones who initially cheered him on to cause Second Impact? What happened to Kaji? And who the heck is Mari??
With the latest 12-minute premiere, we can now confirm that the Until You Come To Me short film is 100% canon—this is a huge step toward some answers. The third film raised a lot of questions about where the story is going, while the first film made fans curious as to why their beloved world of Tokyo-3 was different from the start of the Rebuild. Resolutely, 3.0+1.0 will aim to answer all of our burning questions. Or so, we hope.
Lastly, and if this wasn’t obvious from the start, but I believe Shinji will finally find happiness in himself—not just satisfaction with the idea of eventually being happy, but truly, confidently experiencing this joy for the first time. And that’s how the film will end—with the efforts to revisit the past (or the start another iteration), and the heroics of Shinji as he decides to pilot the robot from the start. The hero defeats all of the Angels, including the final Angel, Tabris (or Kaworu-kun), and the curtain closes on his smiling face.
From the start, this Rebuild story was never really about the other characters, just Shinji. As much as this saddens me, we’ve known this. Anno has told us this in several interviews. It’s Shinji Ikari’s story.
And tomorrow, it ends!
Congratulations Shinji—You are going to be fine! Keep fighting, and win happiness for yourself! We are all rooting for you!
I do hope very sincerely that we somehow get a legal streaming of the film before everyone in Japan spoils the film’s story for us! Some speculate that Amazon may be streaming it, at least Amazon Japan, but we’ll see what happens. And hopefully a physical release will come sooner rather than later—if Funimation doesn’t get to release it for us, my heart might just break!
What are your thoughts on 3.0+1.0? This will be the third time that Hideaki Anno paints an ending for Evangelion, and despite the controversies, I’ve enjoyed every single interpretation. The franchise has give me so much personal hope and fascination over its world, characters, and story. The fact that it’s finally coming to an end is scary and satisfying at the same time. Anyway, share your thoughts below, and let’s enjoy a conversation over some coffee. Thanks for reading, and ‘til next time!
Bye bye, all of Evangelion!