Warning: Spoilers for Neon Genesis Evangelion, The End of Evangelion and Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon A Time
Neon Genesis Evangelion’s original ending was more emotional and explored the concept of the Human Instrumentation Project, blurring the lines between reality and the spiritual realm. The film End of Evangelion provides context for the events of the series finale by depicting real-world happenings in Instrumentality scenes. Rebuild of Evangelion follows a different path than the original series, with a complex plan of Instrumentality and Shinji’s ultimate decision to leave the world intact while erasing the existence of Evangelions. The ending shows Shinji’s growth and development in a unique way.
Evangelical Neon Genesis is famous for having one of the most confusing endings in all of anime and anyone who has watched it will certainly agree. While the ending of the series may not be particularly clear to most viewers, it has some real meaning behind it and isn’t just weird for the sake of being weird. The anime’s ending is best understood with the context provided by the film End of Evangelion, which will help clarify some of the more confusing points.
Neon Genesis Evangelion Anime ending explained
Evangelion’s ending is initially ambiguous, but emotionally driven
Evangelion is fairly simple to follow until the final two episodes, where the show begins to move away from its traditional narrative style in favor of a more experimental (and much less obvious) style. In episode 25 of the series, the Human Instrumentation Project, which had been much discussed but not yet explained, was put into action. The goal of Evangelion’s Instrumentality is to destroy the “AT Fields” that exist around the human soul, keeping it distinct from other souls. These are the AT Fields that EVA units use to protect themselves from Angels, further confirming the biological nature of EVA.
When Instrumentality activates, The minds and souls of every human being on Earth are combined together into a collective unconscious. The images and scenes in episodes 25 and 26 are set in this mental realm, not in reality, so they have an ambiguous, confusing nature. Shinji, Rei, and the other characters ponder why they exist as separate beings and whether it is worth all the suffering it causes. In episode 26, Shinji sees an alternate version of his life without Evangelions—a peaceful world where he has friends and a happy family.
However, this is just a fantasy and Shinji cannot accept this imaginary world as real. However, it helps him realize that his life doesn’t have to be like that – he doesn’t have to be miserable and lonely. Besides his life as an EVA pilot, he can live other lives. This gives Shinji the courage to accept himself and the world.causing the other characters to stand in a circle, applauding around him.
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Evangelion: Every EVA unit from the original series explained
Neon Genesis Evangelion’s EVA is one of the most unique aspects of the series. Here’s a summary of every EVA encountered in the original anime.
Explaining the end of Evangelion
The big screen brings an action-packed conclusion to Mission
The film The End of Evangelion presents a different perspective on the events of episodes 25 and 26, to the point that the film is effectively divided into two parts: episode 25′ and episode 26′. These parts of the film depict what is happening in the real world at the same time as the series’ Instrumentality scenes.providing context for some of the glimpses of reality seen in the series.
After the defeat of the Last Angel, NERV and the secret group SEELE immediately went to war, as Gendo had his own plans regarding Instrumentality that were different from SEELE’s plans. SEELE arranges a massive attack on NERV HQ, first by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and then by nine mass-produced EVAs. While Asuka seemingly tries to defeat the EVAs, they gradually get up just as Unit 02 is about to run out of battery, destroying it and killing Asuka. Shinji sees Unit 02 destroyed and realizes that Asuka is gone.
Rei, meanwhile, has begun merging with Lilith, kept beneath NERV HQ. Rei, as a clone, was designed to be a human vessel for Lilith, but she didn’t give Gendo what he wanted, instead allows Shinji to shape the fate of humanity by deciding how the Tool will play out. Shinji’s hatred for the current world led to the disintegration of all AT Fields, with people said to have turned into puddles of LCL – the same liquid that filled the inside of the EVA. Lilith merged with Rei’s appearance and personality, becoming a giant in the movie.
In the mental field of Instrumentality, Shinji experiences many visions of the past and talks with other characters such as Misato, Asuka, and Rei, who can no longer hide anything from him. He began to think that it would be better if humanity were destroyed, and Lilith began to absorb human souls. However, The tool did little to end the loneliness Shinji felt and he rejected it., causing AT Fields to begin regenerating himself and allowing him to reform as an individual alongside Asuka. Shinji realizes that although connecting with people is difficult and scary, it is worth it in the end.
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Evangelion’s ending reconstruction explained
The latest Evangelion film takes a very different path
Rebuild of Evangelion takes place in a very different continuity, taking place far in the future from the original series. However, Shinji and the other EVA pilots do not age at all due to becoming EVA pilots. At the beginning of the last movie, Shinji is almost severely depressed after witnessing Kaworu’s death and takes quite a while to recover in a small village. There, he gets to know a new clone of Rei, who ends up integrating into the LCL, which eventually forces him to try to come to terms with his psychological trauma.
Gendo’s plans for Instrumentality are even more complicated here than in the series. He created the “Black Moon,” some kind of ship that brought Lilith to Earth and was buried under NERV HQ. With the Third Impact having taken place before the time skip, Gendo plans to create a Fourth Impact to establish the Engine. He can transform the Black Moon into two new Longinus Spears and travel to the site of the Second Impact to do it himself.
Gendo explains that he has become far beyond humans and that humanity was always destined to destroy the Angels or be destroyed by them. He entered a mysterious portal with EVA Unit 13, and was followed shortly by Mari Makinami and Shinji in Unit 08. Shinji joined Unit 01 and achieved infinite synchronization speed, allowing him to recreate the EVA back to its former glory. Shinji took one of the spears from Gendo and transformed it. In a world where the laws of physics do not apply, Gendo and Shinji fight for the fate of humanity.
Gendo took this opportunity to show Shinji “Evangelion Imaginary” a hypothetical EVA could only exist here. Gendo plans to use Evangelion Imaginary to rewrite reality and bring back the Tool that way. Shinji challenges his father’s beliefs and tries to understand him for the first time. Their problems of loneliness and isolation are essentially the same, and Shinji overcomes him. Gendo apologizes to Shinji and disappears. Still in the imaginary space, Shinji decided to leave the world intact but erase the existence of Evangelions.
Gendo and Yui’s souls use Unit 13 to make Shinji’s wish come true, and the film ends with adult versions of the EVA pilots (showing they were never pilots in this reality) at a train station, where Shinji appears to be in a relationship with Mari. It ends with live-action scenes of series creator Hideaki Anno’s hometown, which is very relatable.
Evangelion’s endings are confusing because they often focus more on what Shinji and the other characters are thinking and feeling about what’s happening than the events themselves. Evangelion is very character-driven in this way, and the original ending perhaps went too far in depicting how the events felt in terms of what was happening physically. End of Evangelion is designed to fix that, so the two are best enjoyed together instead of experiencing one or the other. Evangelical Neon GenesisShinji’s endings are all very different, but combine to paint a complex and unique picture of Shinji’s growth.
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