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Why you should learn to love the ending to Neon Genesis Evangelion

Illustration for article titled Why you should learn to love the ending to emNeon Genesis Evangelion/em

This Friday, the third Evangelion movie (of four) comes out, which makes us wonder how the fourth movie is going to end. A lot of people complain about the ending of the original ending of the anime series, but today some people argued that it's actually way underrated.

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Over in our list of 2014's science fiction and fantasy movies, buttnothing wrote:

I love the ending to Neon Genesis Evangelion. It took a damn cool anime series and raised it to the level of art. I get why someone looking for a typical action series ending would hate on it, but surely there's other people out there who enjoy the mind melting direction they went?

So yeh, if they do change the ending, I hope they don't do it just to try to appease those who hate on the original.

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And then Rogue5211 offers an explanation of what that somewhat controversial ending was really about, and why it was so cheaply made:

NGE is as much a case study of depression as it is a television series about giant robots. The writer/director, who'd struggled with it all of his life, descended deeper and deeper into it as the show went on, which is why it eventually because somber and hopeless. The studio hadn't been happy with this, they wanted a show about vaguely Christian giant robots, and started cutting his budget. The last two episodes almost didn't exist at all, and Anno had to resort to extreme measures to get them out at all, which is why there are so many recycled scenes, text screens, and (cheap) artistic touches.

When they finally did a big budget version of those episodes, the movie End of Evangelion, it was still depressing and dark and weird as hell, but had more giant robot fights.

It should also be noted that FL/CL came out of NGE, largely to give the crew something to cut loose and be goofy with.

Anno has been under treatment for his depression for a decade now, and is taking the opportunity the revisited movies are giving him to address the things he felt he got wrong the first time. You should expect a different ending.

Do you like the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion? In either case, what would you hope to see happen differently in the new movies?

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DISCUSSION

Just a differing viewpoint to the idea that budgets cuts and/or studio displeasure resulted in the cobbling together of the last two episodes of Eva, it's hardly clear whether that is fact or an excuse Anno created under withering criticism. It's also directly contradicted by Toshio Okada, who co-founded Gainax with Anno (and was its former president). He said (emphasis mine):

But Mr. Anno's style on EVANGELION was not so. He wants to put it together episode-by-episode. It's just like the style of a manga. In your typical manga, the artist doesn't have any picture of the last scene, or the last episode. They just think of building up on past episodes. And finally, the manga artist, and his assistants, and editor...[BURIES HEAD IN HANDS], they work out an idea about the last sequence. If it's a good idea, the whole episode is very good. If they can't make a good idea, the whole episode is not so good. It's an unhappy story. And I think that's what happened with the last two episodes of EVANGELION. Mr. Anno and his staff couldn't make a good idea for it. He told an anime magazine in Japan that he couldn't make what he wanted because of schedule or budget. But that's not correct. I talked with Mr. Yamaga and Mr. Anno. They said, "It's not only a problem of schedule or budget. It's a problem of what the ending is going to be." Mr. Anno couldn't decide. Mr. Anno's and my own style of production are very different.

At least according to Okada, it's because Anno was making it up as he went along and ran out of time.