Anime Academy review of Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion
Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, a.k.a. Shinseiki
Evangelion: Shito Shinsei
Company: Gainax/Production IG
Format: 1 movie
Summary: SEELE is on to Ikari Gendou's real motives. So alarmed are they by Gendou's plans for the Evas, SEELE orders a hostile takeover of Nerv's computer system, Magi. When their attempt at a peaceful resolution fails, more "direct" methods of persuasion are implemented... in other words, the quick death of anyone associated with the Eva project. With Asuka in a coma, Rei's whereabouts unknown and Shinji in a near-catatonic state, Nerv's days appear numbered.
Highs: Visually lush and stark; outstanding seiyuu cast; disturbing imagery well suited for story.
Lows: Second half will befuddle many viewers; end of television series was better.
Review: For every Evangelion expert who proclaims to have successfully deciphered End of Evangelion, there are hundreds more waiting in the wings who have totally different interpretations. To really understand this film, one would need to know why it was even created in the first place. Beleaguered by budget and time constraints, Anno Hideaki wrapped up the final two episodes of Evangelion with a cacophony of inner monologue set to a seemingly chaotic collage of warped images. Needless to say, public reaction was loud and scathing.
The resulting response to the backlash, End of Evangelion, is an unabashed orgy for the mind. The way in which the sheer violence of the scenes is conveyed on the screen has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. The eye candy is succulent enough to give cavities. Such an enormous amount of dialogue in the script necessitates an equally prodigious voice crew to pull it off... and few anime have the collective seiyuu talent of this movie.
Here's my problem with viewing this movie with any real seriousness. While much of the content in the first half follows a fairly linear path, the second half is filled with half-asked questions answered by half-asked questions. It's fairly evident, given the history behind this movie, that Anno Hideaki's true intentions were to merely stir the pot of the anime community and offer a sardonic "gift" to those who led the backlash over the end of the television series.
I am among the group that preferred the original ending to this "remake". With that in mind, I can appreciate the message Anno was getting across by thumbing his nose at the opposition. But as a work of art, End of Evangelion is an irresolute psychological thrill ride splashed with generous amounts of tongue-in-cheek direction. Take that!