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The End of Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン劇場版 Air/まごころを、君に Shin Seiki Evangerion Gekijō-ban: Air/Magokoro o, Kimi ni?) is a 1997 Japanese animated film written and directed by Hideaki Anno along with Kazuya Tsurumaki; it ended the anime releases in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise until the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy remakes were announced in 2006.

The film is divided into two approximately 45-minute episodes, each given an secondary or English title by Gainax, just as with the original series episodes: Episode 25': Air (secondary title: "Love is Destuctive") and Episode 26': My Purest Heart for You (まごころを、君に Magokoro o, kimi ni?, secondary/English title: "ONE MORE FINAL: I need you."). They can be regarded as either an alternate ending to the popular animated series Neon Genesis Evangelion or a more detailed, "real world" account of the series' original ending in episodes 25 and 26, which takes place almost completely in the minds of the main characters (the style being largely shaped by time and budget restraints).[1] Gainax originally proposed to title it Evangelion: Rebirth 2.[2]

The film won both the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for 1997 and the Japan Academy Prize for "Biggest Public Sensation of the Year";[3] EX.org ranked the film in 1999 as the fifth best 'All-Time Show' (with the TV series at #2).[4]

In Japan between its release and October 1997, The End of Evangelion grossed 1.45 billion yen.[5]

Plot

Episode 25': "Love is Destructive"

Beginning shortly after the end of the twenty-fourth episode of the Neon Genesis Evangelion television series, Shinji Ikari is still despondent over the death of Kaworu Nagisa and ends up pleading for help from the comatose Asuka Langley Soryu. Angrily shaking her for a response, he accidentally dislodges her hospital gown to reveal her breasts and panties (over which he proceeds to masturbate, to his own self disgust).

The secret organization Seele, with the threat of the Angels gone and Gendo Ikari's treachery of their plans obvious, orders the JSSDF's forces to initiate a large-scale assault on Nerv headquarters. The JSSDF soldiers penetrate into Nerv's facilities and begin ruthlessly following Seele's orders to execute all Nerv personnel, including all non-combatants and even those trying to surrender; top priority is given to the execution of the Eva pilots and the capture of the Evangelions.

Misato Katsuragi rescues and recovers Shinji from under a flight of stairs to have him pilot Unit 01. She fights her way past JSSDF soldiers and is able to bring Shinji to the EVA's bay doors, but is mortally wounded in the process. She manages to convince Shinji to keep going and pilot the EVA one more time. Misato kisses Shinji, and tells him "That was an adult kiss, we'll do the rest when you get back." With her last breaths, Misato wonders if Kaji believes she has done the right thing. A brief image of Rei is then seen standing over her body before the area is destroyed.

Asuka is hidden away in the sunken Unit 02, which she is able to reactivate under the threat of death and understanding her mother's soul has been bonded to the Evangelion all along. Although Asuka destroys the JSSDF attack force's aircraft and ground vehicles, the arrival of the "mass-production" EVAs, combined with the severing of her EVA's external power cable, cause her to be defeated as the EVAs prove to be far more resilient than they first appear. Shinji is unable to join the battle after he finds that his EVA is encased in Bakelite, making it impossible for him to enter it. However, the EVA's bond to Shinji allows the EVA to break through the Bakelite by itself, allowing Shinji to enter the EVA. Shinji engages the "mass-production" EVAs, but they have taken to the sky with pieces of a mutilated Unit 02 in their teeth. Shinji screams in horror as Seele's version of Third Impact begins, with he himself as the means.

Episode 26': "ONE MORE FINAL: I need you."

File:The End of Evangelion shot.jpg

While Nerv collapses, Gendo Ikari brings Rei Ayanami, to the chamber holding Lilith but finds that Ritsuko Akagi is waiting for them. After attempting to reprogram the MAGI to stop Gendo, she finds that one of the MAGI, Casper, has betrayed her, much to Ritsuko's horror. Gendo kills Ritsuko and attempts to implement his own version of Instrumentality/Third Impact to reunite with his wife by merging the embryonic Adam (bonded to his right hand) with Rei Ayanami (the current vessel of Lilith's soul, whose body is the giant in the same room). However, Rei takes over the process and reunites with Lilith, who finally regains her soul, and creates a planet-wide Anti-AT Field, negating the AT-Fields of all of humanity and causing their bodies to dissolve into LCL. The souls of all human beings are absorbed into the Egg of Lilith, a giant dark sphere cradled by Lilith/Rei, as she grows into a supreme being of size comparable to the Earth itself.

As the souls form a single, complemented existence, Lilith/Rei gives control of the process to Shinji. At first, Shinji's emotional sufferings and loneliness prompt him to accept this new form, believing that there could never be happiness in the real world. He later recognizes, after a series of mental journeys and monologues, that it is necessary to live with others, and that to live life is to experience joy as well as pain. This constitutes a rejection of the goal of Instrumentality/Third Impact and Lilith/Rei decays and dies, releasing the Anti-AT Field and allowing separate beings to potentially come back into existence. In the final scene, Asuka and Shinji are shown to have rematerialized from the sea of LCL together on a beach looking out on the severed head of Lilith/Rei and the apocalyptic landscape.

Production

Script error Gainax launched the project to create a film ending for the series in 1997, first releasing Death and Rebirth as a highly condensed character-based recap and re-edit of the TV series (Death) and the first half of the new ending (Rebirth, which was originally intended to be the full ending, but could not be finished due to budget and time constraints). The project was completed later in the year and released as The End of Evangelion.

Episode 25': Air, uses the original script intended for episode 25 of the original series and forms roughly 2/3 of the previous film, Rebirth. The End of Evangelion later became the second half of Revival of Evangelion, a concatenation of Death(true)² and The End of Evangelion.

Among the images used in the film are of some of the hate-mail and death threats (including graffiti on Gainax's headquarters) as well as letters of praise sent to Anno.[1][2]

The ambiguous and unclear meaning of the TV series' ending left many viewers and critics confused and unsatisfied.[3] The final two episodes were possibly the most controversial segments of an already controversial series[4] and were received as flawed and incomplete by many.[5] However, Anno and assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki defended the artistic integrity of the finale.[6][7]

The meaning of The End of Evangelion is debated — it is not agreed whether it is intended to enlarge and retell 25 and 26 or to completely replace the TV ending with a different one. Some believe that The End of Evangelion is an alternate ending to the series, perhaps created to please those fans who were displeased with the TV series' ending. Tsurumaki said he felt the series was complete as it was.[8]

Analysis

The final sequence

In the final sequence, Shinji and Asuka have separated themselves from the collective human existence, apparently alone in the post-Third Impact world. Shinji tries to strangle Asuka, but stops and breaks down in tears after she touches his face in the same manner that his mother did during Instrumentality. Their interactions display a wide range of positive and negative emotions. The world is irreversibly changed, however, and what happens afterwards is not revealed.

During the taping of this scene, Megumi Ogata became overwhelmed with emotion and strangled Yuko Miyamura, making it "very hard" for Miyamura to say her lines immediately after that.[9]

While Manga Entertainment originally translated Asuka's closing line, "気持ち悪い。" ("Kimochi warui."), as "How disgusting," it can also be ambiguously translated "I feel unwell/terrible/sick," "What a disgusting feeling," or "Feels bad." According to an episode of the Japanese anime show Anime Yawa aired March 31, 2005 on NHK's satellite TV, the final line was initially written as "I'd never want to be killed by you of all men, absolutely not!" or "I'll never let you kill me." ("Anta nankani korosareru nowa mappira yo!") but Anno was dissatisfied with all of Yuko Miyamura's renditions of this line.[10] Eventually Anno asked her a question which described what he was going for with this scene:

"Concerning the final line we adopted, I'm not sure whether I should say about it in fact. At last Anno asked me 'Miyamura, just imagine you are sleeping in your bed and a stranger sneaks into your room. He can rape you anytime as you are asleep but he doesn't. Instead, he masturbates looking at you, when you wake up and know what he did to you. What do you think you would say?' I had been thinking he was a strange man, but at that moment I felt disgusting. So I told him that I thought 'Disgusting.' And then he sighed and said, 'I thought as much.'" [11]

Tiffany Grant, Asuka's English dub voice actress, made the following statement:

"The most widely circulated translation of the last line of EoE [End of Evangelion] is "I feel sick," but Amanda Winn Lee (Rei Ayanami's English voice actor and director of End of Evangelion) said she asked several translators, and she felt "disgusting" was the most accurate adaptation. You could say she is disgusted with/sick of the situation or with Shinji himself. My favorite explanation though, is this one: My husband, Matt Greenfield, directed the TV series and is very familiar with the whole Eva franchise. Matt has said that although (Eva creator) Hideaki Anno seems to change his mind frequently about what various things mean in Eva, Anno once said that Asuka's comment about feeling "sick" was a reference to morning sickness. Now THAT gives ya something to think about, doesn't it! Of course, Anno is quite passionate about the idea that every person should decide for him or herself what Eva means to them."[12]

Some state that, despite the somber ending the results of Instrumentality are not permanent. Both Rei and Yui comfort Shinji and tell him that people can restore themselves to physical existence if they want to, depending on the strength within their hearts. It is suggested that Asuka is one of the first persons to manifest herself back into reality. Another Evangelion trading card explains:[13]

"In the sea of LCL, Shinji wished for a world with other people. He desired to meet them again, even if it meant he would be hurt and betrayed. And just as he had hoped / wanted, Asuka was present in the new world. Only Asuka was there beside him. The girl whom he had hurt, and who had been hurt by him. But even so, she was the one he had hoped/wished for...."

Music

In addition to Shiro Sagisu's original scoring, the film prominently features selections of Johann Sebastian Bach's music throughout the movie. Episode 25' has the Japanese title Air, being named after the Air on the G String which is played during the episode. Among the other pieces included are Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major (I. Prélude), Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (transcribed for piano and later played again with string instruments in the end credits), and Pachelbel's Canon.

Among the other insert songs are "Komm, süsser Tod" (Come, Sweet Death), an upbeat song in which the singer describes their motivations for suicide (which appears in the film at the beginning of Instrumentality), and "THANATOS -If I Can't Be Yours", which is played in both the end credits and the credits to episode 25' (the song is based around "THANATOS", a background music piece used in the series).

Release

Script error The End of Evangelion was first released on Laserdisc in Japan. It also included also included the first release of the video versions of Episodes 21-24. The film was split up into two 40-minute episodes with brief intros (similar to episode 22), edited credits (for each episode instead of credits for both between the two), redone eyecatcher-textboards (showing "Neon Genesis Evangelion Episode..." instead of "The End of Evangelion Episode...") and a next-episode-preview section in Episode 25. The episodic version of the film was on the last two discs of the Laserdisc release of the series (Genesis 0:13 and 0:14 respectively), each containing 2 episodes (the original TV episodes and the new End of Evangelion episodes respectively), although the film was also released in its original cinematic form on VHS, Laserdisc, and later DVD.

English release

The script for the film's English dub was written by Amanda Winn Lee based on a translation by Sachuchi Ushida and Mari Kamada.[1] Several creative changes were made to the English audio track of the film, including the addition of some lines of dialogue that were not present in the Japanese script and the alteration of several sound effects. Though some fans criticized one or more of these decisions, Lee was responsible for producing the effects, explaining why she felt them to be appropriate within the context of their respective scenes.[2] The translation has received criticism from fans as well, with some translation choices (such as the use of strong profanity in several scenes) seen as overly liberal, as well as a major mistranslation of a significant line of exposition by Misato to Shinji regarding the relationship between Adam and Lilith.[3]

The DVD release also remixed the film's audio no less than three times according to the packaging. It featured a 6.1 DTS, a 5.1 Dolby, as well as a new stereo track downmixed from the 6.1 in both languages. The original stereo is not included. It is unknown if the subtitled VHS included the original or the remix stereo.

The End of Evangelion: Renewal

A new version of The End of Evangelion was released on June 25, 2003 in Japan by Starchild and King Records as part of the Renewal of Evangelion box set (which compiled "new digitally remastered versions of the 26 TV show episodes, 4 remade-for-Laserdisc episodes, and 3 theatrical features" as well as "a bonus disc with never-before-seen material").[4]

This version of the film conjoins the "recap" film Evangelion: Death with End, omitting the Rebirth segment from the first film, and added a new live-action scene with Megumi Hayashibara, Yūko Miyamura, and Kotono Mitsuishi portraying their characters from the series, ten years after the events of Evangelion. In this continuity, Shinji does not exist and Asuka has a sexual relationship with Toji Suzuhara. The sequence ends with Shinji's voice saying, "This isn't it, I am not here," proving it is a false reality seen through his eyes.

Manga Entertainment stated in 2006 that it was "ironing out the contracts" to release the Renewal versions of Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion, with the hope of being able to release them in the United States within the next year, though this has yet to occur.[5] Reportedly, Manga Entertainment no longer holds the overseas license for the movies.[6]

Reception

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Mangaka Nobuhiro Watsuki wrote:

A little while ago, I finally saw the theatrical version of Evangelion (I'm writing this in August). It was obvious that the people who created it didn't love the story or the characters, so I'm a little disappointed. But the dramatization, the movement, and the editing were superb. When the story led into the self-improvement seminar, I was nearly fooled for an instant. I don't know if most people enjoyed it, but as a writer, I was able to take home something from it.[1]

Newtype USA reviewed the film as a "saga of bamboozlement". It also criticized the film's "more biblical overtones, teen melo-drama and bad parenting" and that "for some frustrated viewers, these DVDs might bring on the '4th impact' hurling these DVDs against the wall."[2] Manga Entertainment CEO Marvin Gleicher criticized the Newtype review as "biased and disrespectful" and a "facile and vapid" product of "ignorance and lack of research".[3]

Many reviews focused on the audio-visual production; Light and Sound editorialized that "narrative coherence seems a lesser concern to the film-makers than the launching of a sustained audio-visual assault. The kaleidoscopic imagery momentarily topples into live action for the baffling climax...",[4] an assessment echoed by critic Mark Schilling.[5] Mike Crandol of Anime News Network gave the film an overall passing grade and described it as "a visual marvel". In discussing the film's English adaptation in particular, he determined that "the remarkably strong performances of the main cast overshadow the weaker voice work present", though he criticized the script for being "slightly hammy" in parts. In particular, Crandol praised the final exchange between Spike Spencer (Shinji) and Allison Keith's (Misato) characters as "one of the most beautiful vocal performances to ever grace an anime". He described the DVD release as "a mixed bag", expressing displeasure over the "unremarkable" video presentation and overall lack of extra material.[6]

Carlos Ross of Them Anime Reviews compared the tone of the film to The Blair Witch Project in that it deconstructed the series while "cashing in" on it. He was especially critical of the film's entire second half by saying:

The second half of the movie is so incoherent and obtuse that it completely loses the mainstream audience (and in fact, virtually any audience) this series has attracted before. It goes beyond art film and beyond anime. And in doing so, it goes beyond the audience's capability to understand and be entertained, which defeats the purpose of something labeled as entertainment."[7]

Schilling reviewed the film as more than a deconstruction, but an attempt at unification of mediums:

"Despite the large cast of characters, decades-spanning story, and a profusion of twenty-first-century jargon, much of it borrowed from early Christian sources, the film is essentially a Power Rangers episode writ large: i.e., super-teens piloting big, powerful machines and saving the world from monsters. We've seen it all before. What we haven't seen, however, is the way the film zaps back and forth through time, slams through narrative shifts and flashes explanatory text, in billboard-sized Chinese characters, at mind-bending speed. It's a hyper-charged phantasmagoria that defies easy comprehension, while exerting a hypnotic fascination. Watching, one becomes part of the film's multimedia data stream.
Shinseiki Evangelion is looking forward, toward an integration of all popular media - television, manga, movies, and video games - into new forms in which distinctions between real and virtual, viewer and viewed, man and machine, become blurred and finally cease to matter. O Brave New World, that has such animation in it."[8]

Chris Beveridge of Mania.com described the film as "work[ing] on so many levels", but cautions that it is not meant to be watched without having seen the rest of the series.[9]

Patrick Macias of TokyoScope ranked it one of his 10 greatest films of all time,[10] and the best anime movie of the 1990s;[11] CUT film magazine ranked it third on its list of the top 30 best anime films of all time.[12] As of April 2010, it is ranked #42 on IMDb's list of Top 50 Animated Films.[13]

Red Cross Book

The Red Cross Book (RCB) is the unofficial name of a Japanese pamphlet that was sold in theaters to viewers who came to see The End of Evangelion.[14] The book is printed on A-4 sized paper, with the cover consisting of a red Georgian cross over a black background and the film's title printed on it.

The book is essentially a canon glossary, authored by Gainax and various members of both the Evangelion TV series and film staff, of many of the terms used in the TV series, manga, and the two films to introduce The End of Evangelion's background to unfamiliar audiences. Also included are an interview with deputy director Kazuya Tsurumaki, a listing of seiyū and brief essays written by them on their respective characters, short biographical sketches, commentary on the TV series and production of the movies, and a "Notes" section covering the setting of the movies. Translations of RCB material beyond the US DVD extras are available online.[15]

See also

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References

  1. Act 147, Rurouni Kenshin volume 17, ISBN 1-59116-876-7
  2. Newtype USA issue 1 pg 157
  3. Script error
  4. Light and Sound 2003
  5. "[EoE] throws so much visual and narrative data at its audience, including titles zapping by at almost subliminal speed, that total comprehension is all but impossible. The experience is similar to watching a kid play a Final Fantasy video game at warp speed or flipping through a Shonen Jump comic in a blur". Contemporary Japanese Film review, Mark Schilling, ISBN 0-8348-0415-8, pg 334
  6. Script error
  7. Script error
  8. Contemporary Japanese Film 1999
  9. Script error
  10. http://archive.sensesofcinema.com/contents/top_tens/archive03.html#macias
  11. "TokyoScope's Patrick Macias found them magnificent bastards, actually, judging The End of Evangelion the most important anime film of the past decade and a considerably more progressive work than that year's other cel-phenom, Princess Mononoke." http://web.archive.org/web/20060822225929/www.pulp-mag.com/archives/6.03/flcl.shtml
  12. "The new issue of Japanese film magazine CUT is about to street....Anyways, here is CUT's list of the 30 Greatest Anime Films of all-time, forever, always, never changing, no arguments. And for the record, I agree with about 5 of them....3. End of Evangelion" http://patrickmacias.blogs.com/er/2006/11/mama_inai.html
  13. Script error
  14. "...the data here is translated from the "Red Cross Book", a source of oodles of information made for sale as the programme book for the movie in Japanese cinemas. It's extremely comprehensive and it's a good way of presenting the data" http://www.mania.com/neon-genesis-evangelion-special-edition-movies-box-set_article_77113.html cf. http://www.animefringe.com/magazine/02.08/reviews/1/ & http://www.aintitcool.com/?q=node/10883
  15. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2002-07-23 http://www.animefringe.com/magazine/01.01/feature/2/index.php3
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External links

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ko:신세기 에반게리온 극장판 THE END OF EVANGELION 에어/진심을, 너에게 it:Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelionpl:Shin seiki evangerion gekijō-ban: Air/Magokoro wo, kimi niru:Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion sv:The End of Evangelion th:อีวานเกเลียน: ปัจฉิมภาค zh:新世紀福音戰士劇場版:THE END OF EVANGELION

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