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

Hideaki Anno's masterpiece Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the few achievements in media to actually affect me on a deeply personal level. Its revolutionary genre-creating action sequences are second to none, packed tight with some of the most exhilarating fights that can be seen from watching giant robots fight godlike beings. But the real brunt of the series is behind its philosophical ponderings that boil and intensify before coming full circle in its final two episodes, which were unfortunately constrained (by its budget) into a minimalistic narrative form that gave the series a more psychological ending without offering a more satisfactory closure on the events happening around the protagonist. That's where The End of Evangelion finally steps in, as an alternate, more cinematic finale that leaves the viewer breathless at its magnificent coda.

Obviously, if one hasn't watched Neon Genesis Evangelion, then they shouldn't have any business even thinking about watching this film. Its supplemental nature to complement the internal finale that the original series left off on doesn't offer any kind of explanation or filler to keep the viewer up-to-date on its events, nor should it have to. It perfectly picks up right where it needs to without fanfare, just as easily whisking you into its frenetic pacing as ever. The animation is breathtaking, an impressive stroke of mastery that even after nearly twenty years pales in comparison to most modern animation. There's a heart and soul behind these animated sceneries- each adrenaline-laced action set piece a marvel in its own right. These characters, whom dedicated viewers feel all the more attached to, feel far more fleshed out, their ambitions and emotions finally able to reach full fruition in the apex of their planetary crises. This is so clearly the joyous work of a man finally able to reach for the closure he needed his emotional catharsis.

It is also evermore apparent that Evangelion can only be the work of a madman in the depths of a psychological depression. His own existential crises are funneled into his young protagonist, a display of his own feeling of innocence, as the emotional and psychological pressure builds before reaching its moment of truth. Evangelion and its End present questions about our purpose here and life itself that caused me to realize my own internal crisis clearer than ever before. Why am I here? Why did I survive a brain surgery at birth, only to go through two more equally expensive medical procedures and countless therapies, and then proceed to disappoint my parents by not becoming the sports star they always wanted? Why did I endure high school only to drop out halfway through college and tread water between jobs until I reach a dead end in life? Why do I experience love? Why do I have feelings for someone when I know deep down inside that it will never become a reality? Why do I not at least try to show someone I love that I care? Why are emotions and relationships so difficult to fully comprehend? What is the point of anything at this time in my life? If you had told me a week ago that an anime series was going to cause me to have a very real crisis of identity, I probably would have laughed it off as some kind of hyperbole. Yet here we are now. Evangelion and its End left me numb inside and in literal tears. It's a borderline religious experience that should be viewed from beginning to End for its immaculate balance of perfectly orchestrated action and dizzying psychological drama.

Thank you Diogo, Eli, Austin, Jaime, Jose, Tyler, Noah, and so many others who finally helped (whether knowingly or not) push me into viewing this series. I don't know if I could say it would change my life, but it's certainly impacted it nonetheless.

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