Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Struggling to find anything cogent to talk about the HEAVY thematic content here so let me start with the visuals. Speaking for the series as well - they're fucking awesome. Like the series at its best, End of Evangelion strikes a perfect balance between epic mech battles and trippy psychological deep-dives. The mechs are unique and substantial, more like lumbering beasts than any kind of feat of robotics, going up against some truly weird and terrifying foes. The first half of this movie has some of the coolest animated fight scenes ever, basically 40 minutes straight of explosions and my two favorite characters going absolutely HAM.

But that's really just setting the table for the second half - the psychological deep-dive. One of the many fascinating things about Neon Genesis Evangelion is that it takes the subtext inherent in alot of anime and just inherent in alot of stories period and makes them literal. Evas aren't a metaphor for man trying to turn into Gods, they're plainly just that. The cute girl who reminds the protagonist of his mom? Well..... And when Shinji has to decide whether the existence of other people is worth the pain and alienation they sometimes cause him, the other path - instrumentality - is a beautiful and frighteningly literal alternative made real through Anno's batshit imagination.

My only real criticism of the series was that it sometimes turns into a wall of jargon that becomes hard for me to wrap my head around, but End of Evangelion moves so fast it doesn't really have this issue. This is a movie and a series that makes me pump my fist with a FUCK YEAH every 15 minutes and then asks me whether it's truly possible for another person to know the real me and if not then what's the fucking point ? - or some other painful existential examination - before going back to the fist-pumping, which is pretty incredible. Thankfully, it ends on a gorgeous, hopeful yet bittersweet note. Hey, sometimes you need a little wishful thinking just to keep on living.

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