Ritual ★★★★★

In many ways, Ritual feels like a continuation of End of Evangelion, not in a literal sense but in a thematic sense. While Evangelion forces the viewer to acknowledge their isolating and escapist nature, Ritual explores how this self-fulfilling cycle repeats and breaks. This film is dense not only with stunning cinematography and wildly experimental animation but with thoughts, ideas, and moments, all flowing past each other like rain going down a flight of stairs. In many ways, trying to pin down the exact meaning of a specific scene or event is trying to explain a dream that you've already half-forgotten. As the main character says, images are just another form of fantasy, a fantasy even more sinister because it works the same way that our memories do and thus trap us in a fabricated world. Finishing Ritual felt like emerging from this fabricated world of fantasy, dreamt up by a madman named Hideaki Anno. If only my dreams were as beautiful as this.

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