END OF EVANGELION (1997)

 

Format: Two 45-minute episodes presented back-to-back as a single movie.

 

Rating: R (N, AC, AL, GV)

 

American Production: Manga Entertainment/Gaijin Studios

 

Japanese Production: GAINAX/Production I.G.

 

Grading

Ep. 25í

Ep. 26í

Premise:

A

A+

Story:

A

not rated

Writing:

A

not rated

Character Design:

A-

A-

Mecha Design:

A

A

Animation:

B

not rated

Artistic Merits:

B+

not rated

English Dub:

A

A

Musical Score:

A

A

Songs:

n/a

A-

Opener:

n/a

n/a

Closer:

B+

C

 

 

 

Humor Content:

n/a

n/a

Action Content:

A

not rated

Drama Content:

A

not rated

 

 

 

DVD Presentation:

††††††††††† B+

DVD Extras:

††††††††††† B-

 

 

 

OVERALL:

A-

not rated

 

NOTE: This review assumes that you have watched the original series. If you have not, then you should not even consider watching this movie!

 

Synopsis

††††† End of Evangelion is divided into Episodes 25í and 26í, which replace Episodes 25 and 26 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 25í picks up the story right after the events in Episode 24 of the original series: the final Angel has been defeated, Asuka is still out of it, Shinji is on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and SEELE is less than pleased that their efforts to regain control of NERV and the Human Instrumentality Project have been thwarted. They arenít about to let NERV Director Gendo Ikari subsume their direction of the next stage in human evolution, so they set out to reassert their will the hard way. When a computer-based attack on NERV fails, they send in elite military forces Ė essentially making mankind the 18th Angel. All hope is not lost, though, because all the key NERV personnel survive the first wave and Asuka finally comes out of her funk in a big way. Then the Eva production line models arrive and things get really ugly as most of the main characters are brought to one kind of traumatic resolution or another. Shortly after that, in Episode 26í, things get really strange as Third Impact occurs and the Human Instrumentality Project comes to fruition.

 

The Long View

††††† Although it claims to show the ending of Evangelion as it was originally intended, I have heard said that End of Evangelion was actually made in response to rampant fan complaints about the last two episodes; Hideaki Anno, the writer and director, even received death threats about them. Because of this, one might expect a somewhat hackneyed job. Instead we have a stunning, in-your-face work of utter genius, one which has no conceptual equal in animation and few outside of it. The first of the two episodes is rife with symbolism, stunning revelations, and shocking and powerful imagery, as well as fantastic musical scoring. The elements come together so well that the viewer is taken along for the ride, making it nearly impossible to watch passively. No matter what you might have thought about Asuka before, for instance, you will find yourself making a cathartic connection with her as you join her in her journey through joy, confidence, anger, defiance, and pain. Just try to watch this and not empathize with her. And then thereís the second episode, where everything comes together - literally. It is a mind-boggling 45 minutes of multilayered symbolism and incredible imagery, set to a soundtrack thatís a masterful mixture of classical music and new productions. It is so packed with multiple interpretations and hidden details that Iím sure you will see something new in it each time. (For instance, the director cleverly stuck some of the death threats he received into one of the flash scenes towards the end, and watch the zoom-in part of the live-action street scene very carefully.)

††††† End of Evangelion is not for everyone, however. It is so far out there conceptually that not everyone will appreciate it, and the symbolism in it may bother some people. It is also tremendously intense in places, so much so that more squeamish viewers will really be squirming at points. Some viewers will find one very early scene to be utterly tasteless (even though it fits perfectly under the circumstances) and an extended sequence of rapid-fire flashes late in the second part may bother those prone to seizures or migraines. Itís also possible that some viewers will find parts of it to be boring or be turned off by Shinjiís behavior, and the ending is quite controversial. Overall, episode 26í tends to provoke extreme reactions; some people are blown away by it, others hate it with a passion. Because interpretation of it is so subjective, I have refused to give it ratings in several categories. You must watch it and decide for yourself whether or not the writing and imagery works for you. You will also have to decide for yourself whether or not this is a more satisfying ending than the original. Personally, I think itís a toss-up.

††††† The English vocal performances in the lead roles are all stellar, with Tiffany Grant deserving special recognition for her performance as Asuka. Thereís a slight drop-off in the supporting roles, but itís still overall one of the best English dubs of any anime. The graphic content is considerably stronger than in the original series, and between that, the nudity, the occasional four-letter word, and the intensity level an R rating is well-deserved. For the less squeamish among you, <<SPOILER ALERT>> try playing the scene where Misato is laying in a pool of blood frame-by-frame until the explosion and you may catch an interesting visual of what happens to her in one frame. <<END SPOILER>> Also pay particular attention to the shot of Asuka at the very end. Some feel that it carries particular meaning which ties back to the very beginning of the series, but others disagree.

††††† If you were expecting something provocative and mind-blowing from End of Evangelion then you will not be disappointed. Anyone who is a fan of the original series should check it out for themselves.

 

DVD Extras

††††† Unlike Death and Rebirth, the extras for End of Evangelion are limited:

  Company trailers and merchandising information

  Catalog of company titles

  End of Evangelion trailers

  Audio Commentary track featuring co-directors and co-producers Amanda Winn Lee and  Jason Lee and Talesein Jaffe, who voiced various minor parts and provided general support services. Itís not as informative as the one in Death and Rebirth but itís still worth checking out once youíve seen the movie through once or twice.

 

Links

The Evangelion Otaku Page - http://www.evaotaku.com/index2.html

- Provides several references not available elsewhere, including translated versions of the Red Cross Book and other supplementary material released by GAINAX, translated scripts, Directorís Cut details, and alternative scripts.

 

NERV Headquarters - http://www.nervheadquarters.com/

- A solid (if poorly-edited) collection of information on many Evangelion-related topics

 

Principle English Voice Actors

Role

Voice Actor

Shinji Ikari (3rd Child)

Spike Spencer

Rei Ayanami (1st Child),

 Yui Ikari*

Amanda Winn Lee

Asuka Langley Soryu (2nd Child)

Tiffany Grant

Misato Katsuragi

Allison Keith

Ritsuko Ikagi

Sue Ulu

Gendo Ikari

Tristan MacAvery

Fuyutsuki*

Michael Ross

Ryoji Kaji

Aaron Krohn

Maya Ibuki*

Amy Seely

Makoto Hyuga*

Keith Burgess

Shigeru Aoba

Jason Lee

Chairman Keel*

Tom Booker

 

††††† * - indicates a role whose voice actor has changed from the original series

 

 

 

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