Between Neon Genesis Evangelion ending with two episodes of solid ideology talk in Shinji’s mind, and the lack of explanation by SEELE regarding their “Human Instrumentality Project,” how did the series physically end? The End of Evangelion finally gives fans resolution, but does it raise more questions than answers?
First off, the soundtrack for this movie includes many classical pieces that provide an epic feel to the battles. Robots and Angels would be shooting lasers and fighting like crazy, yet all you would hear are the powerful strings and band waltzing around. Really neat touch to the already-unique qualities of Evangelion.
The animation is surreal; especially the spiritual ending the movie is famous for. It’s breathtaking, yet makes you feel strange and without an appetite. Invoking a sense of rejuvenation, the movie’s high quality fight scenes and godly interventions are a splendor. Asuka’s fight against the mass-produced Evas in particular is one of my favorite fights I’ve ever seen in anime – and this film was released in 1997! You can just feel the weight of the colossal metal swords she’s swingin’ around!
There are a few curious shots, however, and particularly when real-life video clips are present for some odd reason – but it all adds to the feel of the film (WTF) . . . I mean, I guess. . .?
This movie is divided into two 40-ish minute long episodes, which are supposed to break down what actually happens outside of Shinji’s mind in those last two episodes of the series. Making more sense now?
NERV is being attacked by SEELE, which causes pandemonium to break out everywhere. Shinji goes hysterical over the death of Kaworu and spends the first episode confronting the three lead females as to his remaining humanity, each represented by Naoko Akagi’s philosophy of herself: Asuka, the woman, Rei, the mother, and Dr. Akagi, the scientist. Misato embodies a ‘lil bit of each, and continues to act as the free spirit and love, which is why she is one of the last ones Shinji confronts. This is one of Evangelion’s most crucial themes, which is exploited quite thoroughly in this movie. Following Asuka’s last fight and when the three “are rejected by” or reject Shinji himself, they curl up in despair, which is continued in the second half. Shinji then sinks into the next and final phase of his development.
In the second episode and finale, Gendo Ikari attempts to acheive his ultimate goal – the bringing back of his dead wife Yui through the Angel of humanity’s creation – Lilith. Previously, an “accident” during Eva-01’s creation absorbed Yui’s soul and she was absorbed into the Eva as LCL. When Gendo tried to salvage his wife, the first Rei was born instead. This small detail is the cross point of many questions in the series, including why Shinji, Yui’s son, would have been the ideal pilot for Eva-01, and why Gendo was so insistent on Shinji piloting it.
By using the Rei models as clones for his wife, he had planned to unite her with the embryo form of Adam, the First Angel and genetic basis of the Evangelions, to supposedly “bring himself to his wife” or whatever. This fails, however, as Rei grows consciousness (plus a freakin’ personality) and rejects Gendo.
Rei proceeds to unite herself with Lilith, awakening the Second Angel in the process and creating an Anti A.T. Field that turns all humans but Shinji into LCL – the lifeblood of Lilith. The stage is now set for its grandiose climax!
Yui reacts to the rebirth and as a result, Shinji, piloting Eva-01 against Angels, must make a decision:
- a) allow instrumentality to succeed, “dissolving” the A.T. fields (ego) of humans so that humanity evolves to become one individual, or
- b) reject instrumentality and God knows what happens. . .
At the beginning of Instrumentality, before and during a Shinji’s decision-making,”Komm, süsser Tod” (Come, Sweet Death), an upbeat song plays in the background. I’ve never felt such feels like this with anime ever, and that scene right there was pure bliss. I feel I can just let everything go, that I’ve reached my own salvation with my anime journey.
Because the movie is so intriguing and justly satisfies with a divine ending, I have to take back a comment regarding Neon Genesis Evangelion, in that it is not a “timeless classic.” This movie, however, definitely deserves the title.
Hideaki Anno’s The End of Evangelion does indeed answer the painful questions pondering fans, yet it does so in a very artistic (interpretive) and “spiritual” manner. At its heart, Evangelion is a beautiful story about life. Whether its religious references even make any sense, the movie pulls all of its strings together, ties them in a knot of a balloon called “hope,” and lets it soar into the heavens, so-to-speak. The End of Evangelion is one of the best films to follow an anime ever, and if you haven’t seen it – you’re missing out on a masterpiece. Truly, you are.
“Anywhere can be paradise as long as you have the will to live. After all, you are alive, so you will always have the chance to be happy. As long as the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth exist, everything will be alright.” – Yui Ikari
Whew! What an experience! If you haven’t already seen Neon Genesis Evangelion, go watch it. Like now. I’ve been in such a ponderous mood ever since then it’s not even funny. 🙂 Enjoyed the review? Click the like button below and follow me for more material. Until next time, this has been
– Takuto, your host
PS: Here is a video or two I used to help recap all of the history of the film. If you’re confused about Evangelion, give it a watch – THEY REALLY HELP:
History Explanation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho07Ag6lV9g
How Rei is present in the beginning and the end – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNx-wsaEkZ4