Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion ★★★★

Easily a better ending in the sense that it doubles down on everything that made the show great – haunting imagery, engaging conspiracy plots, and gripping battles.

As a singular example of how The End of Evangelion succeeds at marrying action and theme, the revelation of the true nature of the Evangelions (just an obvious implication in the show) is executed incredibly well; Asuka's final standoff is beautifully animated, full of emotion, and cathartic even in its complications in a way the franchise has a habit of avoiding. Cannot endorse it enough.

There are a lot of other narrative advantages to this version as well. Though the movie doesn't go too far with it, making the characters fight against non-Angel opponents is definitely a thematic opportunity worth exploring; it feels like a proper payoff, something the show was slowly building towards. It's just nice to get actual sendoffs for all the side characters, too; the show ending's hyperfocus on Shinji felt like a mistake when it was more of an ensemble thing for so much of its runtime.

The climax, kind of disappointingly, still resorts to monologuing, but at least in a way that feels like a result of artistic intention instead of production troubles. The way it is done here is more focused with its storytelling and works pretty well as a bridge between the preceeding events and the epilogue. I kind of miss the visual experimentation of the show's ending, though; the incorporation of live action footage isn't as mind-blowing as its playful use of different animation styles. The ambiguous final scene, at least, packs a proper punch while also feeling more conclusive than its counterpart.

Just thoroughly enjoyable, even if personally not as transcendent of an experience as it apparently is for many others based on the reception. Let's see what the Rebuilds have to offer!

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