Mark Watches ‘The End of Evangelion’: Part I – Air

In the first half of The End of Evangelion, I WASN’T READY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Trigger Warning: For suicide, depression, trauma/PTSD, blood/gore.

WELL, THIS CERTAINLY GAVE ME SOME ANSWERS.

Help Me

I don’t know the reason for The End of Evangelion. All I was told was that it was a “replacement” for the final two episodes of the show. But I don’t know why the creators of the show did this. Fan feedback? Were they disappointed with the way they chose to end the show the first time? Regardless, it’s really fascinating to me how these episodes work as a natural progression of the series anyway. If the previous two episodes were more metaphorical than literal, then The End of Evangelion allows them to be more direct about the conclusion of this story.

I also noticed that this is WAY MORE GRAPHIC AND BLOODY. Way more! I mean, the first scene is Shinji begging Asuka to wake up, and then masturbating at the sight of her. It’s… a bit much. I get that they’re communicating Shinji’s sexual frustration (which has been an ongoing theme of the show), but WOW. If there was any indication that this movie would go further than the show, HERE’S MY SIGN, RIGHT AT THE START.

SEELE

I don’t think the film abandons the surrealist nature of the Neon Genesis narrative, but I am happy that many things are spelled out better. I know this is a point of contention. I’m usually of the camp that I want my fiction to tell a good story, even if that means leaving things up to the reader/watcher. I like art that makes me work. With a show so deeply detailed and full of a complicated mythology, though, I can understand anyone feeling frustrated by the final two episodes of the show. Entire plot threads were completely abandoned, and if it weren’t for The End of Evangelion, I would probably have had to rely on a lot of you to help me sift through everything. Is that a problem? I don’t know. If a story is so dense and labyrinthine that most people cannot figure out what its about, does that make it lose value? Or does the value come in figuring it out?

I could run circles of logic here, but I won’t. If The End of Evangelion didn’t exist, I would still have enjoyed the show and felt closure for Shinji. HOWEVER! The film fills in a lot of gaps for me. It’s clear that Gendo DID betray SEELE and has no interest in the Third Impact. Not only that, but they want to use the Evangelions to bring about the end of the world. Thus, we’ve got our conflict: SEELE abandons NERV, and then orders the Japanese defense forces to launch an all-out attack on headquarters, all with the goal of retrieving the Evas.

It is one of the most relentlessly bloody and disturbing sequences in the entire series. If humanity is going to be destroyed by the Third Impact, then SEELE has no reason to tell the Japanese troops to take any prisoners. No, instead, literally everyone is executed on sight. EVERYONE. Missiles and an N2 mine are dropped on the facility. Huge parts of headquarters are destroyed out of spite.

And amidst this, the surviving NERV team watches everything fall apart. Ritsuko does her best to defend the Magi from hacking; Misato desperately searches for Shinji to get him in his Evangelion; and Asuka, hiding in her Eva at the bottom of the lake, has her awakening. There’s so much going on here, y’all, but it works. I never felt lost in the action. I was horrified while watching this, but that’s a completely separate thing. I just… IT WAS BLOODY CHAOS. EVERYWHERE.

Sacrifice

Jesus, I just realized that Misato, Ritsuko, and Asuka are all tied by this theme. Misato sacrifices her own life to get Shinji to his Eva unit, after having risked it to save him from execution. Ritsuko sacrifices her life in order to get back at Gendo one last time, though her own mother’s soul ends up betraying her at the last second. And Asuka… holy shit, y’all. HER MOTHER’S SOUL WAS IN HER EVANGELION THE ENTIRE TIME. THE ENTIRE TIME. Her awakening is one of the best moments in the whole series!!! The realization that the thing she’d been looking for the whole time was with her all along… oh lord, I’m emotional again just thinking about it.

Asuka’s attack on the Mass Production Evas is a goddamn spectacle. Here’s a woman who felt alone and ignored, realizing that the person who loved her most is literally shielding her from harm, doing everything she can to save humanity. With less than five minutes of power (THE UMBILICAL METAPHOR WAS SO GREAT, OH MY GOD), she takes out nine Eva units. NINE. Less than twenty seconds per unit!

Which is why it’s so unbearable to watch what happens next. I still have no fucking clue where that Lance came from. HOW? IT WAS LITERALLY ORBITING THE MOON!!! HOW IS IT BACK ON EARTH? And I can’t even fathom how Asuka survived being eviscerated by the resurrected Mass Production units. Oh, right, THEY CAME BACK TO LIFE. ALL OF THEM.

Remember when I said how Shinji’s screams will haunt me? I hadn’t heard him scream in this episode.

h e l p

The video for the first half of The End of Evangelion can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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