“Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion” – Chris Luedtke

If you haven’t seen all of the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” series then don’t even bother with this. You’ll walk away confused and frustrated. If you have seen it then this is essential viewing (especially if you were not satisfied by the television ending). The End of Evangelion is meant to replace episodes twenty-five and twenty-six from the series with a more… suiting ending.

 

Opening sequence shows everything in Tokyo 3 and quickly moves to Shinji standing over the mentally broken Asuka declaring his fear of Misato and Rei. The scene is disturbing, symbolic and only a taste of things to come. The movie wastes no time in picking the viewer up and throwing him/her right into the mess that’s about to erupt into catastrophic proportions. If you’ve seen the series you may be asking what could possibly be better about this version as opposed to the first ending. Well, for one this version isn’t a full character study. After viewing this, the original episode twenty-five (”Do You Love Me?”) almost completely ignored everything that The End of Evangelion’s episode twenty-five (”Air”) builds up. Characters also don’t just sit around and talk to each other for fifty minutes. Instead we are treated to more than one sequence of full fluid animation. Battles ensue and characters go places. The story build is much more mature than in the original and will leave the viewer feeling much more satisfied than in the quirkiness of its predecessor.

 

I couldn’t help but be completely blown away by everything this alternate ending had to offer. For its time the animation is way above par. You can also expect much of the signature styles the series had to offer. Characters sit with their mouths covered or at a distance in freeze frame conversation and yet the viewer can’t help but be held in suspense. The tensions build and the humanization of the characters is brought out even more as they grind against with bickering and final betrayals. The voice acting is nothing sort of top notch. All the original cast is back.

 

Beginning to end the movie holds the view by its throat and just keeps feeding it. The action in episode twenty-five is brutal and almost sickeningly violent. People are executed left and right and the battles between Evangelions become extraordinarily vicious. The storytelling is very experimental with episode twenty-six as the movie enters an acid like trip into the consciousness of Shinji. It’s hard to determine sometimes what it is that is going down however because, like much of the series, the viewer is left to make the connection which means that this will be something to be seen more than once. However, most details are hinted at with only a few simple words or imagery; listen carefully and watch closely!

 

Director Hideaki Anno really went out of his way to craft a beautifully bizarre tour-de-force of biblical proportions. Much more is explained in The End of Evangelion which is by far the best part of it. Third Impact and Human Instrumentality get a visual this time around which was probably the coolest part. Shinji’s consciousness, while important in the previous episodes, was much more loyal to his character this time around, especially towards the end.

 

For “Evangelion” fans, this is what they’re looking for in a finale. Everything is back and in better order. I couldn’t be happier with the way the way this turned out. The biblical references, the action, complex plot, original characters, epic ending – this has it all. A new genesis for cinema has been born.

 

Rating: ★★★★

 

-Chris Luedtke

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