Evangelion is the ultimate in giant mecha shows. When it first appeared in Japan as a 26 episode TV series, it was slotted into a weekday evening time slot, one that is usually reserved for general audience TV shows, rather than the usual kiddy fare time slot. At the time it was first produced, no one expected it to be such a huge hit. And considering their target audience was expected to be older, Gainax initially had no plans for merchandising Evangelion toys.
Over the course of the initial 24 episodes, the teenagers, Shinji, Rei, Asuka, and Toji, met and defeated the giant monsters that came from who knew where, often at great personal cost. Around episode 14 or so, the series seriously veered into an introspective mode, examining the motives and psychology of the NERV personnel. The angels started to retreat into the back ground.
Then episodes 25 and 26 of the TV series came along, wrapping up the series. Rumors had it that Gainax ran out of time and money to produce a proper concluding end, and instead slapped together a cheesy, introspective analysis of Shinji and other characters, illustrated primarily with clips from past shows, and still art, while the voice of Shinji and others narrated their thoughts and feelings. It was said that this introspective look was an analogy for Third Impact. The TV series ends with the troubled Shinji finding a sense of self worth for himself. In all, many fans considered the final ending to be a huge disappointment. Hideaki Anno, the author, was even said to have received death threats from fans. It was decided to produce a new ending, made for theatrical release, which would free Gainax from the criticisms of the PTA and other morality groups in Japan who didn't like the tack that the TV show had been taking. This would free Hideako up to push the envelope like it had never been pushed before.
The first theatrical release was actually two movies, Death of Evangelion and Rebirth of Evangelion. They were released together. Death was a clip show of the first 24 TV episodes with some new, previously unreleased material spliced in. Rebirth then begins the actual new movie material. It starts with NERV personnel wondering if they were going to be laid off or reassigned now that the last angel was destroyed, and ends with them wondering if they were going to survive the attack by Japan's defense forces, while a just woken up and seriously p.o.'d Asuka is guiding Unit-02 into a fight against said forces (who in a very cooperative manner fly their Hellfire missile equipped helicopters close enough to Unit-02 that Asuka can take them out with simple martial arts). Then when End of Evangelion came out several months later, it replayed this first half of the movie, now redubbed as Air and as the 25th episode, and then, after an intermission, played the second half, which is labeled as episode 26, and is named Pure Heart.
The thing that is different about Evangelion, compared with just about any other heroic action show, is the way Hideaki Anno takes the whole genre, and turns it onto its ear...and makes it work. Your typical show has a tall, good looking heroic type, willing to risk his (or her) life in the fight to save the world? Well this series has a whiney 14 year old who would rather be anywhere else, and is only doing the hero-schtick because he is too much of a good kid (or wimp) to ever think of doing anything except what he is told to do. Heroic co-stars? Try a red-headed rhymes-with-witch who is looking for love in the wrong places while alienating the ones who could be her real friends. Or a blue-haired, pink-eyed girl who MIGHT be half-human! One major support character seriously over-imbibes in alcohol on a regular basis, to help deal with her own post-traumatic stress disorder. The list goes on. One by one, we learn how all of our characters have major faults. The one character who actually might have his head screwed on right is Kaji, who is a sneaking spy and womanizer...but for all the right motives!
Also a typical heroic series has huge and ugly monsters to fight against. Well, in this series, the angels as monsters start fading into the background, as you slowly begin to learn who the true monsters are. Save the world? Heck, let's destroy it instead. Its more fun that way. Hideaki certainly took some chances with this one, and that's why it succeeds in grabbing the imagination. So let's analyze some of the elements of End of Evangelion. Anyone with additional interesting insights, please email me, and if I agree, I'll put them in (assuming they fit).
Spoiler Alert! Proceed no further if you haven't seen End of Evangelion and want to be surprised.
First, if you want to read a copy of the End of Evangelion script, episode 25 click here, or End of Evangelion script,episode 26 click here. This was a translation someone did of a Chinese dubbed version, before the English version were available, so it will not match the official English release. But then it is sometimes interesting to see how two translators differ in their interpretation.
Episode 25 - Rebirth of Evangelion.
Episode 25 starts, showing water, and flooded buildings, a pervasive theme in this flooded, half ruined post-Second Impact world. As alluded to in the first 24 TV episodes, when Second Impact happened, Adam grew to gigantic proportions. This first angel is a matter/energy converter, and its ability to release a massive amount of heat energy over the Antarctic ice cap caused the ice cap to melt, resulting in massive world flooding as the sea levels rose about 3-400 feet. All of the coastal cities were suddenly flooded and about a third of all humanity perished in the calamity.
In the beginning of this episode, Hideaki Anno takes his first shot at Shinji early when he has Shinji whining to a comatose Asuka in her hospital room. "Wake up! Please wake up! You're the only one who can help me!" Instead of waking her up he only succeeds in rolling her over and causing her hospital gown to pop open revealing her breasts and underwear. Shinji, overcome with lust, proceeds to lock the door to her room and then stimulate himself over the catatonic, half-naked Asuka. Lust sated, he then condemns himself as being the lowest of the low. It just sets the stage for what Hideaki intends to put Shinji, his ultimate anti-hero, through, in this, the close of the series.
Cut to Misato, who is busy hacking into NERV's computer network to find out the truth about the organization that she works for - "So, mankind, a race of flawed and separate entities, has reached the end of its evolutionary potential. The Instrumentality Project will manufacture the evolution of man's separate entities into a single consummate being. And the committee won't use NERV or Adam. They'll use the evas. Just like Kaji said they would."
Cut to the SEELE monoliths discussing the situation with Gendo Ikari - "The time is at hand. Without the Lance of Longinus, we cannot use Lilith to complete the project. Our only hope is to procede using Lilith's only true offspring, Eva Unit-01." Gendo denies that this needs to be done. The monoliths and Gendo continue to debate the Human Instrumentality Project - the forced evolution of man into one giant God-head, where all souls are joined together in perfect peace and purpose. Gendo appears to be at cross-purposes with SEELE. Monolith 1's response (Keel) is to say "Then I will save death for you all." This forshadows SEELE's hostile takeover bid of NERV.
NERV comes under attack by Tokyo Defense Forces. Special Forces Soldiers who are under the impression that NERV is working to control or destroy the world, attack NERV without mercy. Orders are to execute non-combat personnel. The Eva pilots are to be shot on sight.
Misato takes command of the situation and orders the catatonic Asuka to be placed in Unit-02, and Unit-02 to be launched into the bottom of Tokyo Harbor. In her condition she knows that Asuka is a helpless sitting duck, but she judges it to be Asuka's best chance at survival. Then she orders Shinji to Unit-01, but initially Shinji is no where to be found. The finally locate him, in withdrawal himself, hiding under a stairwell, with soldiers heading in his direction. Having watched the soldiers ruthlessly executing other NERV personnel, Misato has no illusion about Shinji's chances of survival, unaided.
Misato runs to the rescue, just as the soldiers have located and are about to execute Shinji. One soldier's comment to Shinji as he pointed a gun at Shinji's head, is "Sorry kid, nothing personal!" Misato arrives, guns blazing, and two soldiers go down before they have a chance to respond. Misato pins the last soldier to the wall, with a gun pointing up to his chin, and says "Nothing personal", and then shoots and kills him.
But Shinji has reached the point of only wanting to die. Misato has to motivate him to live. She braves out her wounds and kisses him. Telling him, "That was an adult kiss. We'll do the rest later." She then pushes him onto the elevator going to Unit-01 and closes the door behind him. Then she collapses from her wounds and bleeds to death. As she dies, Rei appears as a ghostly apparition, looking down on her body, right before the area explodes due to munitions fired by the Tokyo Defense Forces.
Meanwhile, Asuka is revived from her coma when the Tokyo Defense Forces drop an N2 bomb on her position. At first, she is traumatized, having all of her life flash in front of her. Asuka relives the moments when she is a little girl. Her mother was a single parent - Asuka having been the product of a sperm donation from a sperm bank of Nobel prize winners. Her mother was also a brilliant researcher who had worked on the NERV program, creating the Evas. But it seems perhaps that the Evas only worked when a human soul had been taken into them. Yui's soul had previously be taken into Unit-01, and her body never recovered, when Shinji was only four years old. Asuka's mother tried an experiment using herself as the test subject. It worked, and Unit-02 became a viable Eva, but Asuka's mother was left as a hospitalized mental invalid, unable to recognize Asuka as her own daughter, instead cuddling a doll to herself as if it were her daughter and telling her to ignore that "girl over there" (Asuka). On the day that Asuka was notified that she was selected to be the pilot of Unit-02, she excitedly ran to her mother's hospital room to tell her that she was going to be an Eva pilot, only to find that her mother had committed suicide by hanging herself, and Asuka was the one who found the body. After that, Asuka never cried again, and was determined to be tough, the best of the best.
On fully awakening from her catatonia, after reliving her life's traumas, Asuka realizes that her mother had never left her. Rather, her mother was with her whenever she was in Unit-02, protecting her with an AT-Field as powerful as anything on Earth. Asuka is now fully awakened, back to full form as a pilot of one of the mightiest fighting machines created by man. She is ready to handle anything that the Tokyo Defense Forces can throw at her, and she will be taking no prisoners.
Asuka fights off all of the offensive forces arrayed against NERV. Her first response is to lift a battleship that had been dropping depth charges on her, out of the water in Tokyo-3 Harbor, and use it as a shield against incoming artillary. She then tosses the battleship against ground forces arrayed around the lake. Missles and helicopter gunships also prove no match for her armor and AT-Field. The soldiers however, target Unit-02's weak link, its dependence on its power cable, and sever it.
SEELE's response is to dispatch the Eva Units numbered 05-13, all equipped with S2 engines so that they are self powered, and with wings. Each also has a dummy plug so it is controlled from a remote site, instead of an internal pilot.
Asuka's power cable having been cut in the previous fight, Unit-02 has only 3.5 minutes of power left when the production model evas arrive. Or as she puts it, "Fight off 9 evas? 20 seconds per eva? Plenty of time!" She then proceeds to demonstrate the superiority of an internal pilot and combat experience as she tears through the 9 evas like a tiger through a bunch of puppies. This is really Asuka at her best - fighting against insuperable odds, and winning, if only temporarily. At least she never gives up!
Gendo has located Rei deep inside the facilities of NERV and taken her to Terminal Dogma, where Lilith hangs, crucified to the wall. But Ritsuko Akagi confronts Gendo Ikari and Rei in Terminal Dogma. She pulls a gun and announces that she changed the magi's settings when she reprogrammed the firewalls. She pulls a gun and tries to shoot Gendo. But Caspar, the computer portion of the magi that represents her mother's personality, denies her the ability to fire the gun at Gendo. She is shocked, "Mother! You would choose your lover over me!" Gendo pulls his own gun and then announces, "Ritsuko Akagi, the truth is..." The rest is not translated on the English language DVD. But Ritsuko then calls Gendo a liar, right before he shoots and kills her. A ghostly apparition of Rei in her school girl outfit floats in the air, watching Dr. Akagi's death dispassionately.
As for Shinji, he has reached Unit-01, but it is encased in bakelite, and he can't even enter the unit. While Asuka is cursing him for not being there to help her in her fight against the production model evas, Shinji sits down, helpless and miserable.
Asuka is cleaning out the last of the production unit evas with less than a minute of power in her reserve. Then one of the eva weapons comes flying at her. She stops it with her AT field, but it twists and deforms into an artificial Lance of Longinus, the only weapon known to successfully pierce an angel's or eva's AT field. The lance flies through Unit-02's head, piercing it just as Unit-02 runs out of power. Asuka feels every bit of the pain just as if the lance has pierced her own head. Unit-02 collapses backwards, pinned by the lance. The destroyed production model evas then reactivate and begin a self healing process that demonstrates the superiority of not having a human operator. They descend on Eva Unit-02 and disembowel it, like so many flying buzzards on a dying carcass. Asuka feels every pain of being disemboweled as well. Unit-02 is finished.
Shinji is huddled by Unit-01, unable to reach it, and on hearing the news that Asuka was likely dead in Unit-02, says, "I can't get to eva. There's nothing I can do." On cue, Unit-01 activates, as it has on a couple of previous occasions, and reaches out to Shinji, breaking through the bakelite encasing it. Shinji realizes that his mother, whose soul animates Unit-01, is doing this. Evangelion Unit-01 has awoken. Self-powered by the power supply of one of the angels it has defeated, it breaks forth from NERV with a display of awesome power that nothing made on earth can match. Hurricane forces stirred up by the power released by Unit-01 batters the Tokyo Defense Forces. Inside, Shinji is riding, as if he cannot be made to interest himself in all of the tragic things going on around him. But when he sees the ruined carcass of Unit-02, he begins to go crazy himself.
End of Episode 25
Episode 26 - "My Pure Heart for You"
Episode 26 begins with Shinji inside Unit-01, rising out of the damaged NERV facilities. The energy release from the Eva is awesome, and hurricane-force winds batter the Tokyo Defense Forces surrounding NERV. Shinji on the inside of the Eva, however, seems resigned to being carried along on the ride - an anti-hero scripted to carry on to the fate assigned to him, without understanding why it is all happening.
Gendo is standing with Rei before Lilith. He tells her "Release your AT field." Rei's left arm separates from her body and drops off. Gendo then places his hand on Rei's breast. His hand is the transformed embryo of Adam, which Gendo had been carrying with him at all times, covered by a glove. It merges into Rei's body.
The production evas lose interest in the ruined remains of unit-02, and capture unit-01 instead, carrying it upward high into the air. Shinji is carried along for the ride, doing nothing constructive. Eva's lances pin Unit-01 in the air in a spread-armed, crucified fashion. Keel, of SEELE, comments that Unit-01 has been stigmatized, parallelling the stigmata of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. The evas release their S2 engines and proceed to go into reverse AT fields. Maya, reading the computer readouts of the action, announces that the readings match Second Impact, and that Third Impact has begun. A huge explosion from an N2 mine fired by Tokyo Defense Forces blows away all that is on the surface outside of NERV, but not NERV itself.
Gendo announces to Rei, "It's begun. Now it is time to take me to Yui once more." But Rei says flatly to Gendo, "I will not be a puppet for you to control." She rejects Gendo, and when he pulls back from her, she takes Adam into her body removing it from his arm. Her left arm, which had dropped off previously, now reforms using Adam, which she had taken into her body. She floats up to Lilith, while Gendo begs her to take him with her, so he can see Yui again. But she simply replies, "I can't. Ikari is calling me." She then announces, "I'm home," and is absorbed into Lilith's body. This accomplishes the forbidden union of Adam and Lilith, thus triggering Third Impact.
Lilith falls forward, off of her crucified position, and arises, with the mask falling away from her face. The body is transformed, to become the body of a giant, transformed Rei. It begins its ascent straight through the walls, floors, and ceilings of NERV, no more substantial than a ghost. Maya, at Central Command, reads the tremendous energies involved. Another asks, "Is it an angel?" Maya replies, "No, it's human!" Then Rei passes through her, on the way to the heavens.
Rei assumes gigantic proportions, and assumes a position in front of Unit-01 and Shinji. Shinji totally freaks out when confronted with an angel-sized Rei Ayanami.
SEELE monoliths: "Through the destruction of the Eva-1 pilot, humanity will now be completed." Cyborg guy, "The Third Retribution is finally at hand. Amen!" It is a weird kind of ceremony in which these men of SEELE are trying to trigger Third Impact, fulfilling the Human Instrumentality Project, and forcing all of mankind to join together into one giant God-head (or something like that). It is commented on as the force evolution of mankind.
The eva fields begin resonating with each other. As Professor Fuyutski asks, "Have the evas begun merging with Rei?", the evas begin transforming with multiple Rei faces all over. Shinji only freaks more. He begins to flail at the eva controls, trying to get away, but Unit-01 won't respond. Fuyutski pronounces, "The pilot's ego won't take much more of this!" Shinji, at the controls, only repeats over and over "I can't take it any more!" The giant Rei transforms into a giant Kwaouru, the only person who Shinji ever felt, accepted him as he was. And Shinji, who had previously killed Kwaouru in episode 24, is comforted.
Professor Fuyutski "The fruit of life is held by the angels. The fruit of wisdom is held by man. Eva Unit-01 now possesses them both." Unit-01's S2 engine is pierced by a lance, and the unit transforms into the Tree of Life. "The Tree of Life has been formed again…. The fate of man kind now lies in Shinji's hands." This triggers multiple episodes in which Shinji begins exploring his own life. Somehow Shinji's acceptance or rejection of human existance as he has known it will decide whether Third Impact will succeed in joining the whole human race together...or fail.
Shinji begins a flash back to a young child hood playing in a sand box with a young Asuka and Rei(?). Then the mother comes and takes the playmates away, leaving Shinji, whose mother, Yui, vanished into Unit-01 when he was only four, all alone, to play with until dark. He builds a pyramid out of sand that resembles the pyramid at the NERV complex, and contemplates it. Then he kicks it down.
Teenaged Asuka: "Enough already! God, you're annoying!" Shinji replies, asking, "Because I'm just like you?" Asuka chibi-izes and cries out "Momma!" Shinji and Asuka are then transported to watch a session of love-making between a younger Misato and Kaji. Shinji asks, "Do adults really do things like this?" Asuka pronounces "It's just two depressed people licking each other's wounds!"
Everything begins devolving into an exploration of Shinji's difficulties with human relations, particularly with Asuka, who in the past has constantly teased Shinji, practicing female wiles on him, while trying to attain Kaji as a boyfriend. But Kaji only looked at Asuka as jail bait. Shinji comes to Asuka who is crying on a table, asking her for help. But she only gets mad at him, "You never even learned to love yourself! You don't even like yourself!" She continues to berate him. "Pathetic!" she pronouncesat one point. When he asks again for her help, she replies "No." He then tries to strangle her in his fantasy.
The anti-AT field field from Lilith is expanding, and materializing. Lilith/Rei is seen expanding from the earth, and cradling the Egg of Lilith in her hands. Makoto, Maya, and Shigeru are monitoring the situation at the NERV command post. Shigeru had previously commented that the Egg of Lilith was the source of all human life. Now whether life continues on Earth will be according to the will of Lilith. Shigeru then announces that "It's AT field has exceeded critical limits! Soon individual entities will be unable to maintain their individual forms!"
Fuyutski pronounces, "The Chamber of Gaf has opened…." Rei's manifest everywhere that people have recently died. Their bodies turn into LCL fluid. Those who are alive, see Rei, and then see a manifestation of the one who they love most. Then their soul is taken and their body is turned into LCL fluid. Fuyutski see's Rei turn into Yui Ikari. Maya, who is lesbian, is visited by Ritsuko. Makoto, who was in love with Misato, sees her coming to him. Shigeru, ends up cowering from multiple Reis under a desk. It doesn't help. Keel, one of the SEELE members, pronounces "The beginning and the ending are one and the same. All is right with the world." He melts down, leaving a puddle of LCL fluid and all of his cybernetic enhancements.
Gendo finally reveals his motives for triggering Third Impact, to be with his beloved Yui again. Yui comes to him, and Rei manifest separately at her side. He reveals the same distrust that anyone could ever love him, that Shinji manifests. He is also confronted by Rei and Kwaouru, questioning his ability to form bonds with those around him. When he dies, instead of being taken by the one he loves most, Unit-01 manifests and bites his head off.
Third Impact spins on, with all the people on Earth dying, their souls taken up swirling around the Egg of Lilith floating between in Rei's hands, witnessed only by Shinji.
Suddenly we cut to an empty movie theater. The empty theater one sees is the theater where End of Evangelion first previewed. Gainax staff shot footage of the theater while it filled, and the audience as they sat waiting for the movie to start, and then hurriedly spliced the footage into the movie itself so as to involve the audience in the experience of the film.
The Giant Rei, floating the Egg of Lilith between her hands, the begins spraying blood from its neck, and slowly dies.
Shinji awakes in a world that is without AT fields…an ambiguous world. Rei is sitting on top of him with her hands passing through his chest as if they are not there…a world where "we are all one. This is the world you wished for. Your world." When he asks if he has died, Rei tells him "No. Everything has joined as one." She further tells him that this is the world that he had hoped for.
Shinji tells her that he doesn't believe that it is the world he had hoped for. Rei tells him, "If you hope that other people exist again, your heart will separate everyone once more. But you will be frightened of other people, again." Shinji tells her "It doesn't matter." He asks Kwaoru to reestablish the AT fields again. He does so, and Third Impact fails.
Shinji finds himself on a beach next to an ocean of LCL fluid, with an injured Asuka beside him. Maybe because of all the times he's teased her, his response is to do what he had fantasized about, and try to strangle her. But she stops him with a touch to the cheek, and he breaks down and cries. She then says her closing line, which in English is translated as "How disgusting." This line is very misunderstood. In Japanese, the line is "Kimochi warui", which can be translated as "I feel sick", "I don't feel well", "What a disgusting feeling", "How disgusting", "I don't like this feeling", or "This feeling sucks". The Japanese language tends to deemphasize personal pronouns. This line seems to repesent Asuka commenting on how she feels, rather than insulting Shinji one last time.
What if those two are the last human beings on earth, protected because they were inside their evas through Third Impact. If they are, then I wonder if perhaps the human race is doomed.
Well, this is my take on End of Evangelion. If you have some different or additional ideas, Thanx!
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