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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated m ] Neon Genesis Evangelion
End of Evangelion

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: M
Recommended for Mature Audiences

Reviewed by C.J. Scott:

The End of Evangelion is available in the United States only through fansubs. Manga Entertainment has bought the U.S. rights, but is not likely to release it before 2001.

(WARNING: Numerous plot spoilers below!)

This motion picture has generated considerable controversy ever since its release, and with good reason. It is much more disturbing and graphic than the television series that preceded it. First, a little background:

When the television series Neon Genesis Evangelion ended, fans either loved or hated (mostly hated) its minimalist, psychoanalytic "Our Town"-style climax. Due to fan demands and animation company Gainax's desire to milk their first truly profitable franchise, Evangelion writer/director Hideaki Anno was eventually convinced to continue the story.

No small trick, that, as mankind was eradicated during the next-to-last TV episode. So, how does one continue a story when virtually all the characters are dead? Try telling it again from a different perspective, of course!

The TV Evangelion ended with an hour inside hero Shinji Ikari's head, exploring his feelings about himself after the death of everyone around him.

The destruction of Earth, however, was quite purposely off-camera. "EoE", the movie, shows us nothing less than God's Final Judgement in grisly, transcendent, revolting, and glorious detail. If one were to put "2001", "Fantasia", and "Pulp Fiction" into the cinematic blender, the resulting puree would be visually similar to EoE.

As to the movie's appropriateness for younger viewers, I think recitation of a single scene, though -not- indicative of EoE as a whole, will suffice: Early in the film one character becomes so lonely and distraught that he visits a friend in the hospital- and masturbates over her comatose body.

Pretty shocking stuff, and intentionally so. Anno was not happy with having to continue a story he thought already complete, and this scene was a deliberate slap in the face to those "fans" who saw his complex and emotionally resonant female characters as mere pinups and fodder for unlicensed pornographic ripoffs.

More shocking material abounds, from the disgusting (bodies burst into puddles of primordial soup as their spirits are pulled toward the hereafter) to the horrifically beautiful (a Beatlesque tune entitled "Come, Sweet Death" plays as the souls of all mankind are lovingly gathered by the Angel of Death/Lilith/Rei and the Earth collapses into a wet husk beneath her).

This is all very primal, and actually manages to succeed more often than it fails. Even the short divergences into live-action do not seem too out-of-place, and if a more affecting cinematic apocalypse has ever been put to film, I'm unaware of it. Watching the sometimes painful and protracted deaths of characters we've come to love over the course of the series, however, is more disturbing than any purely visual component.

Additional review by Steven Anteau:

I am writing this in hope that people will watch this movie. There are 2 types of people. Those who hate EoE and those who love EoE. The above review was written by someone who hates EoE. I simply love it. The movie is very mental and deals with fear, hope, lonelieness, and how insignificent everyone is. It is a true masterpiece that will leave you thinking for DAYS. I suggest everyone to watch it evenm if you havn't seen the series.

Sticking to topic this movie is NOT for kids. As stated it deals with hoplessness and fears and such. It is also very violent and contains a heavy amount of nudity. Besides kids won't understand it at all. I don't even understand it.

Parent's Guide Rating:

red (Recommended for Mature Audiences)

Here at the Parent's Guide to Anime we usually list objectionable material so that parents might make their own judgements. However, trying to list all the material parents might find objectionable in this film would be pointless, as there'd be very little film left. Frank sexuality, visceral mayhem, a "unique" view of Christianity and Judaic traditions, and emotional torture are all here by the bucketload.

This is not, however, a statement on the movie's quality. Despite the fact that EoE adds little or nothing to the TV series' central storyline or essential truths, I treasure its profound imagery and another chance to say goodbye to some of my all-time favorite anime characters. Measured in the balance, The End of Evangelion is found powerful. - C.J.

Sticking to topic this movie is NOT for kids.As stated it deals with hoplessness and fears and such.It is also very violent and contains a heavy amount of nudity.Besides kids won't understand it at all.I don't even understand it. - S.A.

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