The End of Evangelion
Though it won awards including the 1997 Animage Anime Grand Prix, The End of Evangelion initially received mixed reviews. A 2014 Time Out poll of filmmakers voted The End of Evangelion one of the 100 best animated films of all time.
|The End of Evangelion|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Hideaki Anno|
|Produced by||Mitsuhisa Ishikawa|
|Written by||Hideaki Anno|
|Music by||Shirō Sagisu|
|Edited by||Sachiko Miki|
|Distributed by||Toei Company|
|Box office||¥2.47 billion|
The End of Evangelion (Japanese: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン劇場版
Teenager Shinji Ikari is the pilot of Evangelion Unit 01, one of several giant cyborgs designed to fight hostile supernatural entities called Angels. Distraught over the death of Kaworu Nagisa, Shinji visits fellow pilot Asuka Langley Soryu in a hospital and masturbates to her unconscious body, but regrets it immediately afterwards.
The shadowy committee SEELE discovers that Gendo Ikari intends to use NERV, the paramilitary organization that deploys the Evangelion units, for his own plans. SEELE dispatches the Japanese Strategic Self-Defense Force (JSSDF) to seize control of NERV, killing most of the staff. NERV major Misato Katsuragi orders Asuka moved to the cockpit of Evangelion Unit 02 and placed at the bottom of a lake, then rescues Shinji from JSSDF troops. Determined to have Shinji defend NERV, Misato brings him to Unit 01's bay doors, but is shot in the process. Before her death, Misato implores Shinji to pilot Unit 01, kisses him, and forces him into the elevator. Shinji discovers Unit 01 immobilized in bakelite.
Concluding that NERV's defeat is inevitable, Gendo retrieves Evangelion pilot Rei Ayanami. He plans to use her to initiate the Third Impact, a cataclysm which will kill everyone on Earth and reunite him with his deceased wife, Yui. Attempting to stop him, NERV scientist Ritsuko Akagi sends a computer command to destroy NERV. Casper, a computer core modeled on Ritsuko's mother, overrides her command and Gendo kills her. Meanwhile, inside Unit 02, Asuka overcomes her trauma and re-activates the unit. She destroys the JSSDF forces, but SEELE unleashes a fleet of new mass-produced Evangelion units, who disembowel her and Unit 02. Unit 01 breaks free of the bakelite and ascends above NERV headquarters. From the cockpit, Shinji sees the mass-produced units carrying the mutilated remains of Unit 02 and screams in terror.
Gendo attempts to merge with Rei, who carries the soul of Lilith, an angel hidden beneath NERV headquarters, to begin the Third Impact. Having merged with another angel, Adam, he will become a god if he merges with Lilith; however, Rei rejects Gendo, absorbs Adam, and reunites with Lilith, growing to a gargantuan size. The mass-produced Evangelion units pull Unit 01 into the sky and crucify it with the Lance of Longinus, which transforms into the "Tree of Life", beginning the Third Impact.
After several dreamlike contemplations, including a fight with Asuka, Shinji decides that he is alone and everyone in the world should die. In response, Rei/Lilith dissolves humanity back into LCL, a conscious primordial soup, reforming the souls of humanity into a single consciousness. Shinji rejects this new state when he realizes that life is about experiencing joy as well as pain. Unit 01, seemingly moving on its own, breaks free of the Tree of Life, wielding the rematerialized Lance of Longinus to destroy the Mass Production Units and end the Third Impact. Rei/Lilith's body splits into pieces, crashing to the surface of the Earth.
Shinji awakens on a shoreline littered with the wreckage of Mass Production Units and the body of Rei/Lilith, and finds that Asuka has also rematerialized. He begins to strangle Asuka, but when she caresses his face, he stops and breaks down in tears.
|Character||Japanese||English (Gaijin Productions/Manga, 2002)||English (VSI/Netflix, 2019)|
|Shinji Ikari||Megumi Ogata||Spike Spencer||Casey Mongillo|
|Misato Katsuragi||Kotono Mitsuishi||Allison Keith||Carrie Keranen|
|Rei Ayanami||Megumi Hayashibara||Amanda Winn-Lee||Ryan Bartley|
|Asuka Langley Soryu||Yūko Miyamura||Tiffany Grant||Stephanie McKeon|
|Kaworu Nagisa||Akira Ishida||Aaron Krohn||Clifford Chapin|
|Gendo Ikari||Fumihiko Tachiki||Tristan MacAvery||Ray Chase|
|Kozo Fuyutsuki||Motomu Kiyokawa||Michael Ross||JP Karliak|
|Ritsuko Akagi||Yuriko Yamaguchi||Sue Ulu||Erica Lindbeck|
|Makoto Hyuga||Hiro Yuki||Keith Burgess||Daniel MK Cohen|
|Shigeru Aoba||Takehito Koyasu||Jason C. Lee||Billy Kametz|
|Maya Ibuki||Miki Nagasawa||Amy Seeley||Christine Marie Cabanos|
|Keel Lorentz||Mugihito||Tom Booker||D. C. Douglas|
|Yui Ikari||Megumi Hayashibara||Amanda Winn-Lee|
|Ryoji Kaji||Kōichi Yamadera||Aaron Krohn||Greg Chun|
|Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu||Maria Kawamura||Kimberly Yates|
The ambiguous ending of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series, broadcast in 1995 and 1996, left some viewers and critics confused and unsatisfied. The final two episodes were possibly the most controversial segments of an already controversial series and were received as flawed and incomplete by many. Director Hideaki Anno received death threats from some fans dissatisfied with the ending.[better source needed] However, Anno and assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki defended the artistic integrity of the finale.
Gainax launched the project to create a film ending for the series in 1997, first releasing Death & Rebirth as a condensed character-based recap and re-edit of the TV series (Death) and the first half of the new ending (Rebirth, which was originally intended to be the full ending, but could not be finished due to budget and time constraints). The project was completed later in the year and released as The End of Evangelion. Its co-producers consisted of Kadokawa Shoten, TV Tokyo, Sega, and Toei Company.
Regular series composer Shirō Sagisu scored The End of Evangelion. The film prominently features selections of Johann Sebastian Bach's music throughout the movie. Episode 25' has the Japanese title Air, being named after the Air on the G String which is played during the episode. Among the other pieces included are Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major (I. Prélude), Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (transcribed for piano and later played again with string instruments in the end credits), and Pachelbel's Canon.
Among the other insert songs are "Komm, süsser Tod" (Come, Sweet Death), an upbeat song (which appears in the film at the beginning of Instrumentality), "THANATOS -If I Can't Be Yours", which is played in both the end credits and the credits to episode 25' (the song is based around "THANATOS", a background music piece used in the series). Another song, "Everything You've Ever Dreamed", was recorded for the film by the same vocalist (Arianne) as "Komm, süsser Tod", but was not used and was later included on the Refrain of Evangelion soundtrack.
The End of Evangelion was first released in Japanese theaters on July 19, 1997. The film was later distributed on Laserdisc in Japan. It also included the first release of the video versions of Episodes 21–24. The film was split up into two 40-minute episodes with brief intros (similar to episode 22), edited credits (for each episode instead of credits for both between the two), redone eyecatcher-textboards (showing "Neon Genesis Evangelion Episode..." instead of "The End of Evangelion Episode...") and a next-episode-preview section in Episode 25'. The episodic version of the film was on the last two discs of the Laserdisc release of the series (Genesis 0:13 and 0:14 respectively), each containing 2 episodes (the original TV episodes and the new End of Evangelion episodes respectively), although the film was also released in its original cinematic form on VHS, Laserdisc, and later DVD. The script was serialized in 4 issues of Dragon Magazine from August 1997 to January 1998. The movie was released on Blu-ray along with Death and Rebirth and the TV series in a box set on August 26, 2015.
Red Cross BookEdit
The Red Cross Book (as it is unofficially known, for the large red St George's Cross on its cover) was an A-4-sized pamphlet sold in Japanese theaters during the release of The End of Evangelion. The book was written by Gainax and various production staff of the Evangelion TV series and films, with an interview with Tsurumaki, a listing of voice actors and brief essays written by them on their respective characters, short biographical sketches, commentary on the TV series and production of the films, a "Notes" section covering the setting of the films, and a glossary of terms used in the series, manga, and the two films. The Red Cross Book was left out in the Manga Entertainment release due to copyright issues. However, it was translated by fans of the series.
In North America, ADV Films, the license holder and distributor for the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, declined to license The End of Evangelion and the associated films, with Manga Entertainment "reportedly [paying] around 2 million dollars" for the rights. Rei Ayanami's English voice actress Amanda Winn Lee wrote the film's script for its English subtitled and dubbed adaptations, and produced and directed the dub. The cast consisted of mostly voice actors reprising their roles from ADV's English adaptation of the TV series, with several supporting roles recast because the original actors were unavailable. To accommodate voice actors living in different parts of the country, the dub was recorded in Los Angeles, Houston and New York City.
In discussing Manga's release, Mike Crandol of Anime News Network determined that "the remarkably strong performances of the main cast overshadow the weaker voice work present", though he criticized the script for being "slightly hammy" in parts. Crandol praised the final exchange between Spike Spencer (Shinji) and Allison Keith's (Misato) characters as "one of the most beautiful vocal performances to ever grace an anime".
The End of Evangelion: RenewalEdit
A new version of The End of Evangelion was released on June 25, 2003 in Japan by Starchild and King Records as part of the Renewal of Evangelion box set (which compiled "new digitally remastered versions of the 26 TV show episodes, 4 remade-for-Laserdisc episodes, and 3 theatrical features" as well as "a bonus disc with never-before-seen material").
This version of the film joins the "recap" film Evangelion: Death with End and omits the Rebirth segment from the first film. Also, on the aforementioned bonus disc is a previously unreleased deleted scene shot in live-action with voice actors Megumi Hayashibara, Yūko Miyamura, and Kotono Mitsuishi portraying their characters, 10 years after the events of Evangelion. In this continuity, Shinji does not exist and Asuka has a sexual relationship with Toji Suzuhara. The sequence concludes with a male voice (implied to be Shinji's) saying, "This isn't it, I am not here," proving it is a false reality seen through his eyes. Manga Entertainment announced in 2006 that it was "ironing out the contracts" to release the Renewal versions of Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion the next year, though their rights to the film have since expired.
Home media releaseEdit
On June 10, 2002, Manga Entertainment had released Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion on DVD and it was presented in Anamorphic Letterboxed widescreen theatrical format and the audio presented in 6.1 DTS-ES Digital Discrete Surround audio and 5.1 Dolby Digital EX sound in both English and Japanese language.
Manga Entertainment also released the film on VHS on September 24, 2002, in both dub and sub.
End of Evangelion won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for 1997 and the Japan Academy Prize for "Biggest Public Sensation of the Year" and was given the "Special Audience Choice Award" by the 1997 Animation Kobe. EX.org ranked the film in 1999 as the fifth best 'All-Time Show' (with the TV series at #2).
A little while ago, I finally saw the theatrical version of Evangelion (I'm writing this in August). It was obvious that the people who created it didn't love the story or the characters, so I'm a little disappointed. But the dramatization, the movement, and the editing were superb. When the story led into the self-improvement seminar, I was nearly fooled for an instant. I don't know if most people enjoyed it, but as a writer, I was able to take home something from it.
Newtype USA reviewed the film as a "saga of bamboozlement", criticizing its "biblical overtones, teen melodrama and bad parenting", and suggested that the film would frustrate viewers. Manga Entertainment CEO Marvin Gleicher criticized the Newtype review as "biased and disrespectful" and a "facile and vapid" product of "ignorance and lack of research".
Many reviews focused on the audio-visual production. Light and Sound wrote that "narrative coherence seems a lesser concern to the film-makers than the launching of a sustained audio-visual assault," an assessment echoed by critic Mark Schilling. Mike Crandol of Anime News Network gave the film an overall passing grade and described it as "a visual marvel". He described the DVD release as "a mixed bag", expressing displeasure over the "unremarkable" video presentation and lack of extra material. David Uzumeri of ComicsAlliance described the film as "a dark, brutal, psychedelic orgy of sex and violence that culminated in the mass extinction of humanity set to an optimistic J-pop song with lyrics about suicide."
David Uzumeri of ComicsAlliance stated that the series themes of "criticizing the audience for being spineless and lost in a fantasy world [are] cranked up to eleven, as the protagonist Shinji basically watches everybody die around him due to his refusal to make any effort whatsoever to engage with other people."
In the final scene, Shinji and Asuka have separated themselves from the collective human existence. Shinji begins strangling Asuka, but when she caresses his face, he stops and breaks down in tears. Asuka utters the film's last line, "気持ち悪い" (Kimochi warui), which has been variously translated into English as "I feel sick" or "disgusting". The meaning of the scene is obscure and has been controversial.
In a 2008 article for Slant Magazine, writer Michael Peterson wrote that "it was not until the End of Evangelion film that Anno's visual strengths as a director really stood out". He observed that "Anno, like David Lynch, possesses a skill at framing his shots, and using the attendant color, to create visual compositions that stand out not only as beautiful in the story's context, but also as individual images, a painterly quality that he then applies back to the work. When Anno frames an image, the power of that specific image becomes a tool that he can later refer back to for an instantaneous emotional and intellectual response."
Carlos Ross (local 4head) of Them Anime Reviews compared the tone of the film to The Blair Witch Project in that it deconstructed the series while "cashing in" on it. He was especially critical of the film's entire second half, saying:
The second half of the movie is so incoherent and obtuse that it completely loses the mainstream audience (and in fact, virtually any audience) this series has attracted before. It goes beyond art film and beyond anime. And in doing so, it goes beyond the audience's capability to understand and be entertained, which defeats the purpose of something labeled as entertainment.
Schilling reviewed the film as more than a deconstruction, but an attempt at unification of mediums:
Despite the large cast of characters, decades-spanning story, and a profusion of twenty-first-century jargon, much of it borrowed from early Christian sources, the film is essentially a Power Rangers episode writ large: i.e., super-teens piloting big, powerful machines and saving the world from monsters. We've seen it all before. What we haven't seen, however, is the way the film zaps back and forth through time, slams through narrative shifts and flashes explanatory text, in billboard-sized Chinese characters, at mind-bending speed. It's a hyper-charged phantasmagoria that defies easy comprehension, while exerting a hypnotic fascination. Watching, one becomes part of the film's multimedia data stream. Shinseiki Evangelion is looking forward, toward an integration of all popular media – television, manga, movies, and video games – into new forms in which distinctions between real and virtual, viewer and viewed, man and machine, become blurred and finally cease to matter. O Brave New World, that has such animation in it.
Chris Beveridge of Mania.com described the film as "work[ing] on so many levels", but cautions that it is not meant to be watched without having seen the rest of the series.
The End of Evangelion is frequently ranked among the greatest anime films. Patrick Macias of TokyoScope ranked it one of his 10 greatest films, and the best anime movie of the 1990s; CUT film magazine ranked it third on its list of the top 30 best anime films.
In 2014, Time Out New York ranked the film at #65 on its list of the top 100 animated movies as voted for by filmmakers. Critic Keith Uhlich described the film as an "immensely satisfying" conclusion to the TV series, the climax as "an end-times free-for-all that mixes Christian symbology, Jewish mysticism, sexual paranoia and teenage angst into a searing apocalyptic stew," filled with "sights and sounds you'll never forget".
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- "The kaleidoscopic imagery momentarily topples into live action for the baffling climax, which alternates Disneyesque bromides ("Truth lies in your heart") with metaphysical blather ("So long as the earth, sun and moon exist, everything will be alright.")." Sight and Sound (2003)
- Napier 2002, p. 427: "The stunning originality of these final episodes cannot be overstated [...] the series deals with these elements in breathtakingly creative ways to create a unique and memorable vision of inner and outer collapse, and, perhaps, renewal. [...] many viewers were outraged by the two final episodes. Expecting a more conventional end-of-the-world scenario, fans were baffled and indignant that, instead of outward explosions and satisfying combat, the cataclysmic struggle occurred wholly in the character's mind."
- Napier 2002, p. 428: "In these last two episodes the machines have literally stopped, and both characters and viewers are left with no recourse but to confront their/our own flawed humanity in all its desperation and insecurities without the technological armor of the typical sf text."
- "The End of Evangelion: Commentary". EvaOtaku.com. February 20, 1998. Archived from the original on May 19, 2009.
- "Anno Hideaki allegedly created the two episodes contained here in response to death threats from fans dissatisfied with the original conclusion to his anime sci-fi saga." Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion, M.L., Sight and Sound, vol 13, issue 4, April 2003; pg 59
- "Lately due to the ending of episodes #25 and #26, some people started watching Evangelion. They were not anime fans. In fact many of them are females and they tell me that they really enjoyed episode #25, objectively. Most anime fans are furious. I understand their anger. I can't help laughing when hard-core anime fans say that we did a very lousy job, with intentional negligence. No we didn't. No staff members did a lousy job. In fact, every member at Gainax gave more energy than anybody can imagine. I feel sad that those fans couldn't see our efforts. Personally I think the original TV ending we showed ended up beautifully." Hideaki Anno, Protoculture Addicts 43
- "My opinion was, 'Why don't we show them the entire process including our breakdown." You know — make it a work that shows everything including our inability to create a satisfactory product. I figured that, "In 10 years or so, if we look back on something that we made while we were drunk out of our minds, we wouldn't feel bad even if the quality wasn't so good.'
Q: Really?" "KT – So, no matter what the final form, I feel it was great just being able to make it to the end of the TV series. " Tsurumaki interview, RCB
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[...] the data here is translated from the "Red Cross Book", a source of oodles of information made for sale as the programme book for the movie in Japanese cinemas. It's extremely comprehensive and it's a good way of presenting the data
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- "TokyoScope's Patrick Macias found them magnificent bastards, actually, judging The End of Evangelion the most important anime film of the past decade and a considerably more progressive work than that year's other cel-phenom, Princess Mononoke." https://web.archive.org/web/20060822225929/http://www.pulp-mag.com/archives/6.03/flcl.shtml
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The new issue of Japanese film magazine CUT is about to street. [...] Anyways, here is CUT's list of the 30 Greatest Anime Films of all-time, forever, always, never changing, no arguments. And for the record, I agree with about 5 of them. [...] 3. End of Evangelion
- Napier, Susan J. (November 2002). "When the Machines Stop: Fantasy, Reality, and Terminal Identity in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain". Science Fiction Studies. 29 (88): 418–435. ISSN 0091-7729. Retrieved May 4, 2007.
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