The End of Evangelion
: Commentary

"THE END OF EVANGELION" is the conclusion to "Neon Genesis Evangelion".  This movie is comprised of the two episodes 25' "Air" and 26' "Magokoro wo, kimi ni (Sincerely Yours/My Pure Heart for You)".

In the last scene of TV episode 24 "Saigo no Shisha (The Final Messenger/The Last to Die", our protagonist Shinji Ikari kills Kaworu Nagisa -- the first person to understand him, and also the last Angel -- by his own hand.  Episode 25' "Air" starts immediately thereafter.  In other words, episodes 25' and 26' are the continuation of TV episode 24 "Saigo no Shisha".

For the TV series, episodes 25 "Owaru sekai (The Ending World)" and 26 "Sekai no chuushin de ai wo sakenda kemono (The Beast who Shouted "I/Love" at the Center of the World)" were shown following episode 24 to conclude the series.  Thus, the story of Evangelion branches into two after the last scene of episode 24.  There is one ending as shown in TV episodes 25 and 26, while episodes 25' and 26' as shown in "THE END OF EVANGELION" are another ending.  (Here, plain numbers are used to indicate the TV episodes, and numbers with apostrophes for the movie episodes)

The TV series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" aired from October 1995 to March 1996.  The planning and original story were done by GAINAX, which was known for anime such as "(Royal Space Force) The Wings of Honneamise" and "Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water)", as well as video games like "Princess Maker".  The animation production was performed jointly by Tatsunoko Productions and GAINAX.

From the initial planning stages through this cinema edition, Neon Genesis Evangelion has evolved around its director Hideaki Anno.  All aspects from the overall theme and framework of the story down to each individual drawing and line of dialogue bear the mark of Anno's creative individuality.

Since the original TV broadcast, Evangelion has enjoyed the enthusiastic support of numerous fans, and the show also spawned discussions on various topics.  Featuring intriguing SF settings, dynamic battle scenes, a pedantic flavor of incorporating Christian motifs and psychoanalytical jargon into a dramatic work, and a super-intensive amount of information, Evangelion exceeded the bounds of conventional anime on all these counts, making it truly worthy of the title "Neon Genesis".  The show's soaring popularity rivaled the biggest hits of the past such as "Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato)" and "Mobile Suit Gundam (Kidou Senshi Gundamu)", giving rise to the phrase "the Eva phenomenon".

A major theme in Evangelion is the problems of "people's hearts", and this is one of the attractions of the series which could not be found in other anime.  Relationships with others, the meaning of one's existence, what is the self....  Evangelion started as a semi-realistic SF mecha-action anime, and at first it was thought that the "people's hearts" of the characters were merely added as dramatic flavoring.  However, as the series progressed, the issue of "people's hearts" grew in importance until it ultimately outstripped the other elements of mecha-action or solutions to the various mysteries.  As the culmination of this trend, the final episode of the TV series, "Sekai no chuushin de ai wo sakenda kemono", took a novel approach in that the story progressed only within the inner world of the protagonist Shinji Ikari.  Although this fulfilled the basic thematic requirements, the drama of the Eva characters and explanations of various settings were left unfinished as the story ended.

This became a major issue as the final episode of the TV series could be considered incomplete.  The voice of the fans grew stronger as they demanded a proper ending to the drama, explanations of the mysteries, or even a new story.  Thus, in order to meet these demands, it was decided to remake episodes 25 and 26.

The remade episodes 25' and 26' were originally intended for release as OVA, but during production it was decided that they would be released in theaters.  This was "EVANGELION DEATH AND REBIRTH" (Shin Seiki Evangelion Gekijouhen -- Shito Shinsei) which consists of two parts: "DEATH" which a summary of the TV series and the newly remade "REBIRTH" which was to serve as a climax.  However, the content of the remake grew much larger than planned, so the content shown in "REBIRTH" was only about 2/3 of the new episode 25'.  Thus, "EVANGELION DEATH and REBIRTH" was released in March 1997 as Part 1 of the conclusion.

Now, four months after "EVANGELION DEATH AND REBIRTH", the completed conclusion has been released.  This is this movie "THE END OF EVANGELION".

As mentioned previously, "THE END OF EVANGELION" is the continuation from TV episode 24 "Saigo no shisha".  All the Angels are dead, and SEELE's Instrumentality Project (HCP) is at long last about to enter its final phase.  The Japan Strategic Self Defense Force attack on Special Agency NERV; the fight to the death between Asuka in Eva-02 and the Eva series mass production models; the mysteries explained; the course of Instrumentality (Human Complementation); the heart of Shinji Ikari....  Episodes 25' (Air) and 26' (Magokoro wo, kimi ni) are packed with breathtaking cinematic scenes: the drama of the characters, action scenes, solutions to mysteries, etc.  On the other hand the movie also takes an experimental approach which deals squarely with the issue of "people's hearts" in the same manner as the climax to the TV series.  Thus, in both name and fact, this is the complete conclusion to Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The chief director and script writer is Hideaki Anno.  The director for episode 25' "Air" is Kazuya Tsurumaki, and for episode 26' "Magokoro wo, kimi ni", Hideaki Anno.  Like "EVANGELION DEATH AND REBIRTH", the animation production was done jointly by PRODUCTION I.G and GAINAX.

The movie lasts for about 87 minutes.

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