The End of Evangelion Makes Its U.S. Debut 

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Hideaki Anno’s 1997 award-winning anime film The End of Evangelion debuted in the United States for the first time across theaters around the country for two nights only. It’s a thrilling story with deep characters, and its unique take on the popular mecha anime genre had fans glued to their seats.  

The End of Evangelion is the grand finale of Hideaki Anno’s cult classic Neon Genesis Evangelion, commonly shortened as Evangelion or Eva. Evangelion presents itself as a mecha anime, which as a genre is known for its super-sized robots fighting. However, in reality, the 26-episode-long show is a psychological drama that focuses on the protagonist, Shinji Ikari, along with other characters facing an internal battle within themselves to find their sense of self-worth in a post-apocalyptic world. Evangelion is really a show that can’t be fully explained until you’ve watched the show itself. 

Neon Genesis Evangelion quickly gained popularity in Japan following its original run from October 1995 through 1996 due to the young adult audience relating to the many characters within the show. Because of Evangelion’s popularity, it became one of the most influential shows to come out of the ’90s. Many shows in and out of the mecha genre take inspiration from this show and are referenced in popular Western media such as in Regular Show, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even in Spider-Man through the character of Peni Parker in Edge of the Spider-Verse Vol 15 comic.   

Despite being such a beloved show, many fans were dissatisfied with the show’s ending, as the focus on the confusing inner dialogue of characters in the last two episodes of the series caught fans off guard. 

The End of Evangelion replaces the last two episodes of the original show and provides an alternative ending to the series. While the original ending of Eva ended on an optimistic note with series protagonist Shinji Ikari being able to come to terms with his personal problems and push forward, The End of Evangelion presented a more tragic ending as Ikari fails to face his problems which leads to the world-ending Third Impact.

As a big fan of the mecha genre, Neon Genesis Evangelion and The End of Evangelion are among my favorite series of all time. Getting to see the film’s big debut on the silver screen was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I got to share with other fans sitting next to me. What I loved most about the series and the movie was its use of distorted and borderline horrific visuals to convey the feelings of characters in scenes, something I’ve never seen before in anime. Despite the mecha parts being a backdrop for the characters to explore themselves, I love how it mashed different tropes of other mecha such as the “Villain of the week” format, typically used in older mecha animes such as Mazinger Z  and Voltes V,  as well as the use of mechas for military purposes seen in other legendary and influential series such as Mobile Suit Gundam

Overall, The End of Evangelion and the series that precedes it is honestly one of the most innovative and unique pieces of media I’ve ever watched.  While I didn’t like how The End of Evangelion concluded the series, I still appreciate its effort to appease fans after the initial backlash of the series’ original, and in my opinion, intended ending. While its theatrical debut was short-lived, you can still watch Neon Genesis Evangelion, The End of Evangelion, and even the “rebuild” series, which is a modern retelling of the 1995 show in different movies such as Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, and Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time on streaming services including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video with English and Japanese subtitles.

D’Anjou Libunao is a sophomore in his first year in journalism. He enjoys writing reviews on popular media like movies, music, and more! Outside of school he loves spending time with friends.

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