The End of Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン劇場版 Air/まごころを、君に, "Shin Seiki Evangerion Gekijō-ban: Air/Magokoro o, Kimi ni") is the second film in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise, and the last anime release for the series until the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy. The film is an alternate ending to the TV series, taking place after episode 24. The film was released on July 19, 1997.
The film is divided into two approximately 45-minute episodes, each given a secondary English title by Gainax, just as with the original series episodes: Episode 25': Air and Episode 26': Sincerely Yours. They are regarded by the producers as an alternate ending to the television series, or a more detailed, "real world" account of the series' original ending in episodes 25 and 26, which takes place almost completely in the minds of the main characters (the style being largely shaped by time and budget restraints). Gainax originally proposed to title it as REBIRTH2 (Tentative) (REBIRTH2 (仮)).
Episode 25': "Love is Destructive"
- See also: Episode 25'
NERV headquarters is invaded by the JSSDF, as SEELE makes its final move. Asuka awakens from her despair and battles the Mass Production Eva Series to the death.
Episode 26': "ONE MORE FINAL: I need you."
- See also: Episode 26'
Shinji comes face to face with Lilith, who grants him the decisive voice in the world's destiny. As his demons continue to torment him, a choice is made that shakes the world.
Production on a film ending for the series began in 1997, with Gainax first releasing Death and Rebirth. The first half, Death, was a highly condensed character-based recap and re-edit of the TV series. The second half, Rebirth, was originally intended to be the full ending, but could not be finished (due to budget and time constraints). The project was completed later in the year and released as The End of Evangelion.
Episode 25': Air, uses the original script intended for episode 25 of the original series and forms roughly 2/3 of the previous film, Rebirth. The End of Evangelion later became the second half of Revival of Evangelion, a concatenation of Death(true)² and The End of Evangelion.
The ambiguous and unclear meaning of the TV series' ending left many viewers and critics confused and unsatisfied. The final two episodes were possibly the most controversial segments of an already controversial series and were received as flawed and incomplete by many. However, Anno and assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki defended the artistic integrity of the finale.
It is a commonly held belief that Hideaki Anno created End of Evangelion as a form of revenge against Evangelion fans unhappy with the existing ending to the TV series. In reality, the End of Evangelion is closer to the original concept for the series ending, which was changed due to budget and censorship issues. It's also a commonly held belief that the "death threats" flashed on screen in End of Evangelion were for the ending of the TV series, when in fact, the Death threats shown on screen at least, were in regards to Evangelion Death And Rebirth's ending. Most of these "death threats" were, in fact, letters of praise and encouragement. Only two can really be considered "death threats", while only one can really even be considered "hate mail." In a Tokyo International Film Festival interview, Anno revealed that there were legal reasons that prevented them from actually using fan mail, so the mail was actually written by the staff. The "hate mail" letters were written by an old friend of Anno's. This interview can also be found on the Shiki-Jitsu blu-ray extras.
Making-of documentary, subtitled by AnnoCinema.
See also: Final Scene in End of Evangelion
Asuka's closing line, "気持ち悪い。" ("Kimochi warui."), can mean "How disgusting," but it can also be ambiguously translated as "I feel unwell/terrible/sick," "What a disgusting feeling," or "Feels bad." According to an episode of the Japanese anime show Anime Yawa aired March 31, 2005 on NHK's satellite TV, the final line was initially written as "I'd never want to be killed by you of all men, absolutely not!" or "I'll never let you kill me." ("Anta nankani korosareru nowa mappira yo!") but Anno was dissatisfied with all of Yuko Miyamura's renditions of this line. This alternate line was included as a bonus feature in the 2015 Blu-ray BOX set. Eventually Anno asked her what she would say if a stranger had broken into her room at night and masturbated over her, to which she replied, "Disgusting." According to Megumi Ogata, Shinji's voice actress, the scene itself was modeled on an experience of a female friend of Anno's.> The final scene also had many details removed that better suit the ambiguity of the final line, such as it being more clearly implied that Asuka had returned by herself and chosen to lay by Shinji's side.
These are included in an early draft of the film, along with other considerable changes. For instance, Shinji was originally supposed to masturbate in his room alone thinking of Asuka, and even his face as he ejaculated would have been shown, and there is a cut scene with him biding farewell to Toji and Kensuke.
Live Action Sequence
Main article: Episode 26' Live Action Cut
The live action scene near the end of the film was originally intended to be a much longer sequence with Megumi Hayashibara, Yuko Miyamura, and Kotono Mitsuishi portraying their characters from the series, ten years after the events of Evangelion. In this continuity, Shinji does not exist and Asuka has a sexual relationship with Toji Suzuhara. Asuka is called out by Anno's own voice, and she seems confused to hear it. The sequence ends with Shinji's voice saying, "This isn't it, I am not here," proving it is a false reality much like the one he sees in Episode:26. The scene was left out for unknown reasons, but the footage is used in the film's theatrical trailer.
Everything You've Ever Dreamed
Much like Komm, süsser Tod, Anno also wrote another song that was eventually assorted into English and fully produced and sung, Everything You've Ever Dreamed, probably for the end credits. It was eventually unused, but it's very focused on Asuka and Shinji's relationship, unlike the more general Komm, süsser Tod.
- Main article: The End of Evangelion (soundtrack)
The music of The End of Evangelion was composed by Shiro Sagisu, with vocal performances by Loren & Mash and Arianne. The theme songs Komm, süsser Tod, THANATOS -If I Can't Be Yours-, and the classical piece Air were released as a single on August 1, 1997. The film's soundtrack was released later, on September 26.
The End of Evangelion was released in Japanese theaters on July 19, 1997. Between its release and October 1997, the film grossed 1.45 billion yen. It was later released to home video on Laserdisc, VHS, and DVD. The film was edited into an episodic format for the VHS/Laserdisc releases of Genesis 0:13, 0:14, DVD Volume 7, but the theatrical version was released alongside it in each format. For the Renewal DVD series, the theatrical version was remastered with DTS audio and released with Death(true)² of Death and Rebirth. The previously-mentioned episodic format release of the film was also included as a bonus feature on Disc 9 of the 2015 Blu-Ray BOX set.
- Main article: Red Cross Book
Sold at theatrical showings was a program containing cast and staff interviews, as well as a glossary of terms from the series. The name originates from the red cross logo on the cover.
The film won both the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize for 1997 and the Japan Academy Prize for "Biggest Public Sensation of the Year"; EX.org ranked the film in 1999 as the fifth best 'All-Time Show' (with the TV series at #2). Since its release, The End of Evangelion has received very polarized reactions from anime fans and critics, and currently has an 8.2/10 on the film database website imDB.
Notes and references
- Screenwriter Akio Satsukawa, who worked on twelve Evangelion episodes, also worked with Anno on Love & Pop, a 1998 live-action romantic drama film. Anno had first approached Satsukawa about the project, which he felt was a way for Anno to "run away from Eva". According to Satsukawa, Anno kept saying he was atracted to the main character. They had inserted some references to Eva and particularly End of Evangelion in the film. Notably, the shooting version of the script began with the same line as Asuka's final line in End of Evangelion: Disgusting (Kimochi warui), but this was edited out of the movie at the last moment. Satsukawa noted the thematic similarity with Eva, and felt Love & Pop was almost like a continuation of Evangelion, and Anno said he was attracted to the protagonist, a mentally ill girl with multiple personalities. In fact, the movie starts in the same date End of Evangelion was released.- [[Statements by Evangelion Staff#Akio Satsukawa: Love & Pop Theatrical Booklet (1998)|Love & Pop Theatrical Booklet (1998)]
- The End of Evangelion: Production from EvaOtaku.com.
- "… This became a major issue as the final episode of the TV series could be considered incomplete. The voice of the fans grew stronger as they demanded a proper ending to the drama, explanations of the mysteries, or even a new story. Thus, in order to meet these demands, it was decided to remake episodes 25 and 26." From the Commentary of the Red Cross Book
- "Lately due to the ending of episodes #25 and #26, some people started watching Evangelion. They were not anime fans. In fact many of them are females and they tell me that they really enjoyed episode #25, objectively. Most anime fans are furious. I understand their anger. I can't help laughing when hard-core anime fans say that we did a very lousy job, with intentional negligence. No we didn't. No staff members did a lousy job. In fact, every member at Gainax gave more energy than anybody can imagine. I feel sad that those fans couldn't see our efforts. Personally I think the original TV ending we showed ended up beautifully." Hideaki Anno, Protoculture Addicts 43
- "My opinion was, 'Why don't we show them the entire process including our breakdown." You know — make it a work that shows everything including our inability to create a satisfactory product. I figured that, "In 10 years or so, if we look back on something that we made while we were drunk out of our minds, we wouldn't feel bad even if the quality wasn't so good.'
Q: Really?" "KT – So, no matter what the final form, I feel it was great just being able to make it to the end of the TV series. " Tsurumaki interview, RCB
- "Annno [sic] didn't live with my line no matter how many times I tried. Ogata and I were at a loss how we should play what Anno wanted to express; she even tried to ride on me and choke me to meet his demand. He must have been pursuing reality." "Asuka's final line in the Evangelion movie was Miyamura's idea"
- "Concerning the final line we adopted, I'm not sure whether I should say about it in fact. At last Anno asked me 'Miyamura, just imagine you are sleeping in your bed and a stranger sneaks into your room. He can rape you anytime as you are asleep but he doesn't. Instead, he masturbates looking at you, when you wake up and know what he did to you. What do you think you would say?' I had been thinking he was a strange man, but at that moment I felt disgusting. So I told him that I thought 'Disgusting.' And then he sighed and said, 'I thought as much.'" Yūko Miyamura appearance on Anime Yawa, March 28 
- According to Megumi Ogata, Shinji's voice actress, the scene itself was modeled on a experience of a female friend of Anno's. This friend got into an argument with her boyfriend, and at some point he choker her in rage. Instead of reacting violently, this friend felt no fear, hatred or even a need for survivl, but rather a desire to caress him tenderly. In response, her boyfriend lost her grip. However, Anno's friend instead grew cold, and muttered Asuka's line from the EoE draft almost verbatim. Ogata believes this scene was how Anno wanted to "convey different ways how to bring feelings of love to a conclusion that exist in reality. You are you, I am I". Naturally, this reflects on the films of individuality and the duality of reaching out to others present in Eva.
Anno also guided Ogata to treat OMF partly as a separate story: "as something that just exists. As if everything that happened before in the movie is merely a dream that never happened. It is its own narrative unity, something that can fundamentally be taken away from its context in the movie and still be interpreted as a dramatic whole. It is and is not the final scene of EoE."
Furthermore, Ogata asked Anno to help her understand what Anno wanted to convey through the scene and how Shinji is supposed to act. Hearing this, Anno first stands silent and confused for a moment. Then he firmly wraps his arms around himself and hugs himself. This is on the "purpose" of what he is trying to express. As for how Ogata should play Shinji Anno asks her to not play Shinji: " "For this scene alone, I want Ogata to take on and express my feelings rather than Shinji's" - Koji Ide's Evangelion Forever
- Ogata actually choking Miyamura for the EoE scenes was clearly consensual, List_of_Common_Misconceptions#Anno_forced_Megumi_Ogata_to_choke_Yuko_Miyamura despite rumours to the contrary.
- December 1997 NewType, p.90
- Carl Horn, "My Empire of Dirt" (2002), for Viz Communications