Damn Those Fans!!

Author: Brian Shea
Source: Anta Baka!?
Dated: May 28, 2002

"Anno only made the movies to get even with the ungrateful fans"

Admit it, you've heard this before, many times. You know the situation. After Anno finished Evangelion the final 2 episodes were met with a lot of frustration from the fans. In order to get even with the fans for not respecting his vision, Anno made an Eva movie where he killed off practically every character in the series, portrayed others in horrific situations, and even went as far to kill off the entire human race. Since the fans had the audacity to disrespect Anno's terrific ending, he created a new one that would cause all the fans who disliked the TV ending to recoil with disgust. Thus, they would see the TV ending in a new light, and finally respect what how he finished the series.

The problem with this argument is that it makes no sense when you look at things in perspective. Gainax is a business. Like any other business on the face of the planet, its objective above all else is to make a profit. Now Anno might have been the creator of the studio's most successful production ever, but you don't give so much power to a single individual. Disgusting the fans or teaching them a lesson is not good business. If you show so much disrespect towards the fans, they'll abandon you. No fans means no one buys your releases nor watches your shows. In that case the studio makes no revenue and goes out of business. Think about this for a minute. You honestly think a company would risk its livelihood for the gratification of a single individual?

In case you haven't found out yet, Evangelion's original ending was changed. Thats right, episodes 25 and 26 are not the exact scenario that was originally planned for the ending. The original script for episode 25 was surprisingly a lot like the first half of the End of Evangelion movie. The problem was due to budget problems and censorship issues (more on this in another essay of mine), the original episode 25 had to be axed. As for episode 26? Well, although there is nothing saying this episode was completely plotted out and later changed, you obviously can't expect it was kept 100% the same when the episode before it was scrapped. Episodes 25/26 of the series is not the original ending. Much of what was in the movie was. If you'll look back to 1996, you'd remember that news of a remade ending came out almost immediately after the television ending aired. It wasn't even 2 weeks after episode 26 aired that an official press release from Gainax announcing redone episodes 25 & 26 based off the original script were announced. Its kinda hard for fan angst to build up that fast, don't you think? Now tell me, how is doing what was originally planned 'getting even with the fans'?

What makes all the sense, and what is true is that the Evangelion movies were made to make money above all else. Evangelion was the biggest hit Gainax ever had. If you were in a situation where not only you had the most popular anime at the time on your hands, but you also had the chance to milk it for all its worth, wouldn't you do the same? Thats what Gainax did. It has nothing to do with 'getting even with the fans'. Gainax was in the perfect situation where not only could they show the originally planned ending on a much higher budget and no time limit, but they could also make a lot of money off their biggest hit without being accused of diluting it.