Ten things you might have missed in The End of Evangelion
I don’t need to tell you that The End of Evangelion is a film brimming with detail. You can watch it numerous times and still find things you didn’t notice before. There are literally parts of the movie where you have to go frame by frame to catch certain details. On top of that, the release of The End of Evangelion that was put out by Manga Entertainment makes some of these details even harder to catch, because quite honestly, it’s terrible. It was technically inferior when it was released, and time has not done it any favors whatsoever.
In the beginning of the film, just before Misato realizes shit is about to hit the fan, she can be seen using a portable terminal to access records about the Second Impact. If you’ve never thought to freeze frame just before the records are deleted, you’ll actually be treated to a history of Studio Gainax. Granted, a lot of the years and names of things have been swapped out with references to Adam and the Second Impact, however the text still makes mention of Nadia, Otaku no Video, and Ultraman Returns. You know, the live action fan film where the main character turns into Hideaki Anno dressed as Ultraman? That was totally a thing.
The JSSDF’s seige of Nerv Headquarters is an incredibly one-sided engagement. For the most part, the JSSDF are just indiscriminately mowing down Nerv personnel, and blowing up everything in sight. The only casualties the JSSDF are seen to incur are at the hands of Unit 02, Unit 01, and Misato Katsuragi at her blood-thirstiest. There are however a pair of JSSDF soldiers that suffer a really unfortunate end. You may not have noticed, but they actually get crushed by one of the Mass Produced Evas as it touches down. What a lame way to go.
Right after Shinji and the Tree of Life descend into the third eye of Lilith, Shinji sees a stream of Reis swimming by, followed by a quick pan of the chamber of Guf, and then a reverse pan of the same shot in negative. But did you ever notice that the Rei clones in the chamber of Guf actually morph into Shinji? It’s not like the morphing between Rei and Kaworu earlier in the film, where their entire bodies morph. No, in this instance, it’s just the heads, meaning you’ve got Shinji’s head on Rei’s body, breasts and all. Once you see it, you can never unsee it.
In the final scene, Asuka is shown with a bandaged arm and eye, corresponding to wounds sustained while piloting her Eva at a high synchronization ratio.. There was at one point a really unusual fan theory theorizing that instead of Asuka, it was actually a composite of Asuka, Rei, and Misato, in essence “Shinji’s perfect woman”, and that the bandaging was evidence of this as it visually corresponded to injuries sustained by Rei and Misato at earlier points in the show. However, after Unit-02’s head is pierced by a false spear of Longinus, if you look closely, you can actually see blood streaming from Asuka’s eye socket. And if you frame through the animation of her arm splitting, you can catch a few frames of blood spurting out. This is not a visual metaphor, her arm literally split in two.
That one mass produced Eva that Asuka destroys isn’t the only thing to get cut clean in half. If you pay attention to when everyone turns to LCL, you’ll notice Misato’s bloodied jacket, and pretty much nothing else. But did you know that if you frame through the blast that kills her that you can actually see her getting blown into two distinct pieces? Why she wasn’t pulverised or vaporized by the explosion you ask? ANIME PHYSICS.
Yeah. So. You know that scene in the beginning that’s super awkward and super weird to talk about? Remember that one shot of Shinji’s hand that’s all covered in… you know… Did you notice that it’s not completely static… that it actually drips a little? I never noticed it in the Manga Entertainment release. It kind of makes me want to look through the groundwork animation, find out who the key animator was, find him at a convention one day, and ask him, so, how did you feel about your life on that particular day?
If you haven’t noticed, there’s female genitalia everywhere in The End of Evangelion. When Gendo’s arm is sucked into Rei’s body, when Unit-01’s core is exposed, when slits open in Lilith’s palms, when the Tree of Life descends into Lilith’s forehead… it appears over and over. When Rei merges with Lilith it’s actually a vagina dentata. Even Unit-02’s eye sockets are vaguely reminiscent of it, and even more subtly, they actually make an effort to draw tear ducts in close shots, something I don’t feel they ever did in the show. But, it’s not surprising, the film has vast sexual undertones. People sometime over-interpret films and say “it’s all about sex”, but in this instance, that is literally the case.
In contrast to much of the rest of the film, the live action sequence, complete with Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Jesu (yay-zoo), Joy of Man’s Desiring” is very relaxing. And being pulled out of the animated world and into the real world, it’s possible to miss a detail that should be very obvious, given that it stares you in the face for a full seven seconds. There’s a tracking shot of a city scape, presumably shot from a train, that includes an apparent effect shot of buildings in the background that only exist in the world of Evangelion. This altered perception of reality is also echoed by shots of Rei, Asuka, and Misato in a crowd of people, both in and out of costume.
Evangelion is known for throwing quick cuts of flashing imagery at viewers, and you can find interesting things in them sometimes. When the Mass Produced Evangelions start merging with Lilith, and Shinji subsequently loses his shit, there’s a quick cut of flashes. In those flashes are various pictures of Rei Ayanami from the TV series. A couple are cracked, however one in particular has Rei’s face split right down the middle, which is interesting, because you can interpret that as foreshadowing the events at the film’s conclusion.
You would think that after being available in English for years and being under a microscope constantly that there wouldn’t be any hidden details left to discover. But as one very determined fan found out several years ago, there was still at least one secret yet to be found. After the tree of life descends into Lilith’s forehead, we’re treated to a minute-long barrage of single frame stills from the TV series that are scratched, painted on, distorted, and layered over top of one another in interesting ways. In total, it’s about 1800 frames. Understandably, few people are willing, or patient enough, to frame through something that long. But, as it turns out, buried within that epileptic mess are four stills of figures of the female characters. Yes, that’s right, inserted into the film are photographs of Evangelion merchandise.