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An animated sci-fi horror action movie that also comments on anime culture---Watching anime has always carried with it a social stigma: it is something for geeks, manchildren and perverts, not well-adjusted individuals. Of course there is the family-friendly, largely accepted anime of Hayao Miyazaki, and the teen-oriented action shows like Fullmetal Alchemist or Naruto, which are widely regarded as acceptable for the mainstream. But beyond that anime has a lot of unfortunate, 'problematic' tendencies. Anime idolizes cutesy and innocent girls in a sexual way, and in general treats women as sex objects, it has nonsensical, zany humor that seems infantile or incomprehensible to those encountering it for the first time, it is violent and graphic and often carries no 'message' for the audience, no lesson about inclusivity and solidarity. Anime fans also tend to get obsessed about anime. It seems to be addictive by its nature, drawing audiences in fantasy fulfillment and escapism, making them neglect 'real life' duties. Otaku culture is a big problem in Japan and is shunned by many anime creators, notably by Miyazaki himself.Which brings me to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Evangelion is often hailed as a deconstruction of the mecha anime genre, in this context meaning that it took a popular anime genre and did something different with it, examined how it worked and what made it tick, took it apart and assembled the parts into something new. Evangelion gained a rabid following and merchandise relating to the show is still super popular 20 years after it was on air. This is largely because the anime introduced popular female characters that otakus love to moon over: Rei and Asuka. Both of these characters, one mysterious and submissive and the other so-called 'tsundere' meaning she's willful and antagonistic but still in love with the protagonist, are endlessly copied in other anime. (Asuka's character is partly based on the title character in Nadia, an earlier anime by Hideaki Anno.) Neon Genesis Evangelion the TV show ran out of funds before its conclusion, forcing its creator Anno to come up with two ending episodes that infamously feature hardly any animation and are ambiguous and introspective. A few years later this feature film was produced to make up for the ending: The End of Evangelion. I expect that fans of the show were waiting for it excitedly - they were finally going to know for sure what actually happened to their beloved characters. But as the psychological and surrealistic undertones of the TV show hinted, this was a story that was less about the 'what actually happened' and more about the expectations of the audience, subversion of genre and introspection, and the feature movie The End of Evangelion was no exception.The End of Evangelion does tell the story - the literal story, not just what happened in protagonist Shinji's head. But the story might not be to the liking of fans. I don't know if Hideaki Anno purposefully wanted to insult his otaku audience and mock the entire anime culture, but it sure seems like it. The movie begins with Shinji masturbating to a comatose Asuka, a clear message on how disgusting it is to project sexual fantasies on a character that represents a vulnerable 14-year-old girl. The movie kills off every single one of the female characters that otakus love, and it does it in very frustrating ways. One survives a 12-against-1 battle only to find out that the enemies are actually undefeatable and the whole battle was a waste of time. She is eaten alive. One is blown to bits, another is shot offscreen, some are turned into orange jelly (though fans will be quick to point out that this represented only the death of their bodies, not their souls), and one grows into an alien giantess before decomposing and falling apart, her gargantuan pieces littering the landscape. And it also turns out that she was actually a clone of the protagonist's mother. (This we already knew from the TV show so it's not like we came into the movie expecting it to be another run-of-the-mill teen action adventure.) It is a brave endeavor, one that doesn't really care about what people think, concerned only with the vision of its creator. It's relentless, merciless and uncompromising. It makes no concessions - it doesn't even feature the iconic theme song of the TV show. And above all it is beautiful. It is animated smoothly, the giant robots move with the weight they deserve, the colors and compositions are expertly crafted and there are many images that will stay with you in your daydreams and nightmares and that you will come across on the Internet message boards several times. The voice actors do a chillingly good job - the shrieks are so horrible that I don't know if I ever heard anything as moving in any horror movie. I haven't seen the English dub so I can't comment on its quality.The End of Evangelion is a robot action movie, and a good one, and it is a psychological movie, and a horror movie, and a science fiction movie, but it is also more than that. It manages to also be a commentary on anime itself, the state of the industry and the culture surrounding it. But it is also a look into the mind of the individual. At its heart it concentrates on why people do these things, why we become obsessed, alienated, violent, and the answers are found in the mechanics of the mind, and The End of Evangelion shines a light into the dark reaches of the human psyche.
Almost 20 years?---Like all instant classics, End of Evangalion has aged well. One of the most impactful movies put before my eyes. Disturbing, nightmarish, haunting and beautifully poetic, End of Evangelion is the gold standard for how to end an Anime series. Hideaki Anno's masterpiece, and one of my all time favorite films. This sites 'Did you know?' section is absolute must for any fan, and reads more like an insiders look at Apocalypse Now or a Robert Altman film. Clearly a labor of love, far more than the sum of its parts - everyone involved clearly poured their life essence into their respective obligations.Understatement? To say this isn't for everyone! But those who make their way through the series, do their homework, and understand what this film fulfilled will be rewarded with emotions they didn't know they had. So good it hurts, and will indoctrinate one completely into the adult animated world that only can be accomplished by Japanese culture. Thank Goodness for Anime!Glad to revisit: 10 out of 10
Great visuals, but frustrating 'plot'---When I first starting NGE I was instantly hooked by the possibilities that this show presented. Giant robots fighting each other? Awesome! But as the series continued, things got worse. Much worse. The action scenes were replaced by long conversations about emotions, the feeling of excitement became like a distant memory. The plot became so caught up in its own meaningless definitions of mankind.And then came the ending of the show. If you're hoping that the movie might be different like I was, don't be fooled. The characters are still painful to watch, with Shinji whining more in this movie than in his whole career as 'teenager voted most likely to commit suicide by the end of the year'. I get that he's supposed to be this depressed kid, unsure whether he wants to save mankind or punish it. But please, give him one entertaining quality, like being really good at whistling. Something. Please.As for the other characters, Asuka is the only one I really enjoyed. Just like the rest of the movie, the animation is the only redeeming element. Her fight scene was animated beautifully, with matching violence and everything that I wanted from robots beating the life out of each other. So, if you're looking to become frustrated with a plot that tries much too hard at being deep, and characters that make you want to claw your eyes out, I'd definitely recommend this movie to you. Otherwise, stay far away from this movie.p.s: is the movie only getting such high ratings because of the giant, floating 'plot' points towards the end?
fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice ...---I admit it; it's my own fault. Having had mixed feelings about the Neon Evangelion series, which became increasingly perplexing and offered nothing like a real ending, I should have just let it go. But no, I had to watch this movie to try and get some answers.And yes, there are some answers here and there, but they are often confused half-answers, and motivations are still perplexing. There is also never an explanation to how Shinji has the significance he has in the end, although the idea of the Destined One is so powerful that even though he's never described that way I imagine people will take it for that.The movie is basically set up as the final two episodes of the series. The first episode is very action packed, which is not at all like the series. In fact, one of the things I liked about the series was that it eschewed the mecha-battle-of-the-week approach in favor of studying the psychology of its characters. But in the first half of the movie there is mainly action and little psychology or character development.The second half basically does exactly what the final two, famously unsatisfying episodes of the series did; it goes into Shinji's head and talks about his fears. I appreciate that the writer was aiming for something more than a sci-fi fantasy tale, and that his real goal was to explore loneliness and unhappiness. But it is possible to do both, and offering half a story and then wandering into the mind is not the way to do that.But of course, that's exactly what happened in the series. I hoped it would be different, because the director said much of what happened at the series end had to do with time and money constraints, but that now looks to be a lie. This is what he wanted to do. And some people love it. But for me it just didn't work.
Art direction can define a movie!---" How Disgusting" the last line of the movie may be in the minds of must viewers who see this film. This being an alternate ending to the post modern epic TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion. But although many viewers will probably leave either the theaters or their living room confused and dumbfounded this film is a great alternate conclusion to the TV series. The thing that makes this movie perfect is the fact that although one may not understand the details and significant plot points in the movie one can just marvel at the art direction and stunningly beautiful backgrounds present throughout the film. I myself am confused on some points of the film and the series but that does not harden my outlook on this film. Many hardcore fans have the luxury of understanding the plot and connecting the significance of each character to one another. I am glad that Anno gave us an ending that most fans agree is better than the TV ending. I think this film is a treat for all viewers and is one of the best anime movies i have ever seen. Even if one has not seen the anime TV series before, one can just marvel at the spectacular visuals displayed throughout the film and more importantly knowing the plot of the film is just a treat that adds to the films perfection. Overall even though this film leaves us a lot of questions the opportunity to find those answers makes this film and this film experience a reward for film watchers everywhere.Direction: 10/10 Art: 10/10 Acting: 10/10 Plot: 10/10 Sound: 10/10 Writing: 10/10 Overall: 10/10