Hayden Welch’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I still have no idea how to find happiness...but I’ll just stay here”.
This film is extremely important to me, as is the entire series. Neon Genesis and Twin Peaks are two pieces of fiction that have irreversibly changed the way I think; both in cinematic terms and otherwise. This film has so much to unpack, and while there are small details that reveal the bigger mosaic, yet I think the *feeling* of End of Evangelion and the more sprawling thematic elements really cut deep and the small details are just a horrific icing on top.
The Shining Introspection of Misato Katsuragi
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on Misato since I’ve completed the series -- contemplating why I connected to her character from episode one. I think it’s her introspective analysis of Shinji and self-awareness. She understands her own flaws, and rather than wallowing and self-loathing she tries to improve; a clear opposition to Shinji’s sensibilities. She said it best,
“I'm not perfect, either. I've made tons of stupid mistakes, and later I regretted them. And I've done it over and over again, thousands of times; a cycle of hollow joy and vicious self-hatred...”
I adore the arc she shares with Shinji; her almost maternal relationship with him — an all the more confusing dynamic considering is ever-present sexual confusion — this poignantly highlighted within my favorite scene; the segment on the train, hauntingly fading over all of the crucial female relationships Shinji has had post-quarrel with Asuka. Misato to goes on.
“Find out why you came here; why you exist at all! Answer your own questions. And when you've found your answers, come back to me. I'll be waiting for you.”
I think one of the most universal aspects of Neon Genesis as a whole, for myself at least, is the melding of self-loathing and doubt. The way Shinji demolishes these relationships before they’ve developed out of fear of the future, the fear that what happened to his father or Kaworu will happen to his next potential loved one. Misato understands this clearly, she attempts the entire series to help him through this, finally realizing by End of Evangelion that the only way Shinji will genuinely change for the better is through tough, unadulterated, and razor-sharp love.
One More Final:
I Need You
I adore the structure of End of Evangelion. It’s perfectly emblematic of everything I love about the progression of Neon Genesis. The first half is an absolutely brutal and intense theatrical horror and the second highlighting the philosophical and introspective side. This quiet and emotional “tumbling down” is such a jarring contrast to the emotional exhaust that you experience before the first credits roll. This is emblematic of the two sides of the coin -- the physical and inter-personal. This is perfectly shown with Hideaki Anno’s splendid use of color and framing, it’s haunting, eccentric, and there’s not a frame wasted; perfect in every sense.