The Eternal Debate: Neon Genesis Evangelion Ep. 25 & 26: Good or Bad?

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Classic Speedy

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Yes, it's been debated for a good nine years now, all over the internet. The question: Did you like or dislike the last two episodes of Evangelion? As you know, it was basically taking place inside Shinji's mind, and dealt with his incessant low self-esteem. So what did you think? (Keep in mind before reading this that I haven't seen End of Evangelion)

Personally, I'm 50/50 on it. First, the positives. It was an interesting choice to end an action series (though many would disagree it's "action") in such a philosophical way, and I give props for their guts. And the overall message at the end of episode 26 was quite uplifting, that the world is what you make of it. Also, I enjoyed some of the nonconventional artwork in episode 26, like the squiggly drawings and the animatic references, like Asuka's "pull back". And the alternate universe in episode 26 was some good comic relief from all the heartbreak. Finally, Rei's inner thoughts were stimulating. Do carbon copy clones have souls? I guess they do, since they are shaped by the experiences around them.

Now for the negatives. From a pacing standpoint, ep. 25 & 26 dragged ON and ON. And they kept repeating the same bits of dialog over and over. I know the point was to show Shinji's constant battle with his own mind, but from a writing standpoint it seemed quite lazy. And after a while you just felt like saying, "Get on with it!" I've heard that EoE's last half hour is just more of the same.

Second, it's too vague. There was no resolution, and that's very unsatisfying. To me, a serialized show should atleast wrap up SOME loose ends before finishing, otherwise the previous events can seem completely random for the sake of messing with the audience. We have no idea what happened to NERV (and the world, for that matter) after the final angel was defeated, and we learn nothing about the various red herrings/mysteries along the way. Maybe I just haven't read enough of the backstory that doesn't actually appear in the show itself, or researched enough of the internet theories as to what everything in ep. 1-24 meant. But you shouldn't HAVE to, either. I'm not saying a show should lay everything all out on the table and insult the audience's intelligence, but it also shouldn't try to pass itself off as deep when in reality the theories are generated by the fans, NOT the show itself. If it weren't for all these fan theories on the internet, all of the religious and scientific symbolism could appear to be random and mean NOTHING. It's like, "Oh, let's stick a name from Exodus in there! People will overanalyze it and we'll look like geniuses!"

Finally, the last two episodes made me hate the main characters. If these people would just stop wallowing in their own self-pity for five seconds, they might actually be likeable. Sure, they made mistakes- who hasn't? But the fact that they keep beating themselves up over them instead of making progress to fixing them, and believing that everyone hates them is kinda self-fulfilling prophecy. If you recall, I once said that I liked Eva for the difficulties of communication between everyone, which made for an interesting watch. Heck, I even liked Asuka's breakdown in the later episodes because it exposed her inner insecurities and was satisfying. But when I realized that the characters weren't going to change at all, I stopped caring about their progress. There are only so many times you can be led to believe that a drunk is getting better, only to find that very same drunk on the bottle. Some might say this series is true to real life, in that people don't change easily, but still, it's unsatisfying to watch. It's the same reason why I hate Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind.

Seriously, the last two episodes ALMOST ruined the entire show for me. If it hadn't rebounded at the "alternate universe with crazy Rei" part and had just been whining for 45 minutes, I would've been so angry. Luckily, it managed to bring things to a somewhat optimistic close.

Please note that this thread isn't intended to discuss whether you liked the series as a whole (except incidentally, like my example of how it affected my like for the characters from then on). I'm just interested in seeing what people have to say about the final two episodes. Feel free to add your opinion on End of Eva too, if you want.
 
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Sandoz

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My feelings on eps. 25 and 26 would be completely different if EoE didn't exist. As an ending, the final episode of Evangelion fails. Sure, Shinji gets a life-affirming epiphany, but what about everyone else? (End of series spoilers)
Does Asuka awaken from her coma? What about Ritsuko in prison? What became of Misato and her quest for the truth? What the Heck Ramsey was SEELE up to, anyway?
Not every little plotline or mystery needed to be tied up in a little pink bow, but actual resolution would be appreciated. I couldn't care less about whether or not Evangelion ended in one big, spectacular robot fight, but I wanted to know about the characters. (At least the ones who weren't Shinji.)

But since EoE is around, I can tolerate eps. 25 and 26. They have some nice visual tricks despite the limited animation, and there is some interesting character development for the protagonists. I view the last two episodes as a supplement to EoE rather than an "alternate ending."
 

JetMaster5

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The last two episodes were a huge WTF moment for me. I mean, almost limited animation besides the alternative Rei scene, tons of whining from Shinji (it was annoying throughout the series, but these episodes really made me want to bash that guy in the head), and it was just very distracting. I mean, after the great the last Angel arc, you kind of expected at least some good conclusion. But the black texts and....well, it was different at least. I don't hate the last two episodes. I didn't think it ruin the series for me. But it was a huge WTF.
 

Classic Speedy

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Hmmm, I suppose I'll check out End of Evangelion, seeing as how it actually gives you an ending, despite the negative reviews from various places.

Sigh... I knew I should've watched this show years ago... it seems nobody wants to talk about it anymore. :sad:
 

silvanoir

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Oh good, someone else hated Shinji's whining too. That guy ruined the show for me :mad: and REALLY ruined the movie for me. That attitude... he couldn't see people were trying to be friends with him, all he could think was "everybody hates me, my father won't pay attention to me... boohoo". If this fall on the floor wimp is chosen to save humanity, we're all doomed.

I don't mind angst, if the character can get over it and learn to fight and be stronger. I don't mind weird, heck I like Lain and Utena (the series, not the movie). But the alst few episodes of Evangleon were a big pile of crazy. I wouldn't mnid it so much if they were in the middle of the series somewhere, and not so long, but as an ending? Come on! I would have liked the series much more if Asuka was the savior of the series, because sure she had angst and insecurity, but she also had a fighting spirit.

I liked the first half of the series... giant robot action with some intense feelings and some huge sets, very cool. But the last two discs... my opinion went down.
 

RogueMartian

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If you had asked me RIGHT AFTER i watched the series for the first time I would have said something like this:

WTF WAS THAT??? THAT SUCKED???? WHAT THE **** HAPPENED???!!!????

However I read something that helped me out.

I forget where I read it, but basically this is what i believe 25&26/EoE was about:
Basically Seele was trying to do the "human instrumentality project" or something to that effect(it's been a while since i've seen it and i've loaned it out to a friend of mine so i apologize for any mistakes) which was essentially the idea that humanity must evolve or it will die. I'm not entirely sure what side Gendo was on...but outside of him and Seele, I don't think anybody else knew what was really going on....and I think this was supposed to be how humans...at least human consciousness was supposed to really survive the angels....or something like that....And someway somehow shinji the whiner was supposed to be the center of it all...not sure why...maybe his father made it that way. Essentially shinji either joins or doesn't join. In 25&26 all the crap going on through shinji's mind is whether he should join or not...and he opts to join so upon becoming one with humanity he sees all his friends and loved ones around him applauding.

In EoE it's almost exactly the opposite ending, As everyone joins they turn into the orange liquid stuff(LCL liquid...is that right?). Shinji (and somehow asuka too) opposes and is left in the completely destroyed earth as either the last two humans or the next adam and eve....take your pick on what you think the future is based on what you know of the characters.


Okay now my review of it today:
Once it was explained to me I rather enjoyed the series. Honestly I've heard the ending exists the way it does because the studio flat out ran out of money and couldn't actually ANIMATE anything. It's too bad, I would like to have seen what the ending would have been like if they had that option. Which is probably why I like EoE better. With the proper funding, the ending was far more pleasing to the eyes to watch. In addition to that I just liked that ending better. Mostly because as an individual, I can't say I like the idea of turning into orange goo....i'm rather fond of hats and shoes and things that you can't have if you are melted jell-o.

I honestly didn't mind Shinji's whining that much, it made him believable. I mean, if you were living in the apocalypse, your mother died and your father abandoned you and appears to not care much for you..."just getting over it" might be a TAD on the difficult side. It's not like he had much healing time or people to help him. First thing that happens at his new school is that he gets punched out. Misato obviously cares about him, but deep down Shinji believes she wouldn't give him the time of day if he wasn't an eva pilot...he's probably right. The fact that he did decide to pilot the eva and that he wasn't more whiny or bizarre was probably a mark of what a strong character he was. Asuka was a pain too, but she also had some massive issues. These kids are also only 14...so in addition to all the crap they've dealt with and deal with during the show, they are also middle schoolers. I've completely blocked out my middle school years and I live in the affluent suburbs....so...I can say I had no issues with the characterizations of shinji or asuka.

So I enjoyed eva, and go with the EoE ending instead and find it to be worth a good portion of the hype and as it is a landmark anime, I think it's well worth watching.
 

beren

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Eva was one of the first Animes I ever saw, and I saw it from beginning to end. I did not like the last two episodes, they didn't really conclude anything, and it was really confusing to me. After I saw EoE I sort of lumped both endings together, blended them together, and it was ok.

p.s. EoE explains most everyting, you should really watch it.
 

Leaping Larry Jojo

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If it's been debated for almost a decade now, why DO we need another thread on it? Don't you guys get tired of repeating yourselves about Eva's last two episodes/Eva the series/Eva the movies?

I'm not dissing the thread, but just that it's kinda quirky that one would lead off with "Yes, we pretty much talked about this before, but..." and then talk about it.

Well, carry on.
 

OverMaster

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Leaping Larry Jojo said:
If it's been debated for almost a decade now, why DO we need another thread on it? Don't you guys get tired of repeating yourselves about Eva's last two episodes/Eva the series/Eva the movies?

I'm not dissing the thread, but just that it's kinda quirky that one would lead off with "Yes, we pretty much talked about this before, but..." and then talk about it.

Well, carry on.
There always is new people into anime, and such into EVA as well. So this kind of topics must be renewed each once in a time, for the sake of those who haven't got a chance to opine yet.
 

Conekiller

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On their own, I wouldn't have liked the last 2. But combined with EoE it forms a much more satisfying ending.

I've always viewd the 2 endings not as parallel tangets, but merely adifferent take on the same scenarios. Whereas the TV show bluntly tells you "the 3rd impact happened, Instrumentality is now occurring" the Movie shows us the events leading up to that, and beyond. The TV show gives us a clearer version of how Shinji breaks free of intrumentality and claims himself as an individual amidst the mass of uber-consciousness. But yet, when he breaks free, the world he witnesses is an empty, devoid nightmare world where the oceans and sky are stained with blood and perhaps regrets his descision.

EDIT: oh yeah, and ep 26 gets mad props for giving us Mega-Babe Katsuragi sensei! ^____^
 

Lord Dalek

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I like both versions of 25 & 26. I enjoy the original 25 & 26 for their on the money deconstruction of Shinji's psyche as well as the
Shinji Alternate Universe featuring Rei with some sort of characterization
. End of Eva is one of my favorite anime films of all time and therefore I may seem somewhat biased in my opinion. It is the polar oposite of everything TV 25 & 26 was both technically and moraly. Outstanding animation, flawless direction, a beautiful soundtrack (which is happily available in the US), and superb use of live action footage were not to be found in the minimalist style of TV25 and 26 but are found in End of Eva. There is also the moral reversal of the film
In "The Beast That Shouted 'I' at the Heart of the World", Shinji, via the influence of instrumentality, finally comes to terms with his self-distructive side and chooses life. In "My Pure Heart For You" (EoE Episode 26), Shinji's mind does not cope and as the film's tagline goes "Everyone just dies".
 

Master Moron

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In general I have a problem with TV shows that force you to read long essays on the internet in order to understand them.
 

RogueMartian

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Conekiller said:
you could always, you know, pay attention, and figure things out for yourself.
Geeze, you guys are harsh!

This is a topic that should come up periodically as newbies get into anime, every budding fan will see eva eventually and I have no problem helping them out, cause damn if I didn't need it when I first saw eva!

As for essays, eva is confusing! Sit down and list all the organizations that they only ALLUDE to. Or all the little plot points or rules that are barely mentioned if not again only alluded to. Just sit there after episode 15 or so and see if you can remember them all. Bet most of you missed one or two! So getting some cliffs notes doesn't seem all that out of the ordinary especially since it really is a good story, and the more you can understand it (even if you need a little help) is a good thing.

There are a lot of little essays on eva and most of them are rather helpful. Shakespeare is 500 years dead and people STILL write new essays on romeo and juliet. If eva had been a book, would that make it more legitimate to write about or ponder over? I thought people on this board understood that just because it's animated doesn't mean you shouldn't consider it with the same tenacity you would consider a film or novel or play.
 

Conekiller

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I may have come off a little harsh, but I went into the show purposefully avoiding any internet involvement and I was able to follow everything just fine. Sure some stuff was a bit metaphysical, but I firmly beleive that the show is what you make of it, and great effort was taken to make sure of that (you cna make the excuse of animation budget in the TV show, but that doens't change the movie)

avoiding a show simply because you assume that you need to read "essays" about it (which is untrue) is foolish and only deprives you of the experience of watching the show. Don't expect stuff to be handed to you everytime, try and figure it out for yourself :cool:
 
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You know, when you basically break it down (which I don't have to show how, everyone's already said it): If you look at the last two episodes from one point of view, it's brilliant. If you look at it from another, it's a big disapointment. There's never gonna be one true feeling from anime fans as a whole on this subject. It's almost like the dub vs. sub "war."

Frankly, I admire Gainax for trying their best to make something different. They didn't have the funds to make the big-bang ending everyone was hoping for, but with what they did have, they made one thought provoking piece of work. Even if you didn't understand it or were dispointed you didn't get a "real ending," I personally believe there's still some credit to be given to them.

Besides, a lot of series with set endings can dispoint you even more than a series ending like Eva's. Personally I felt Last Exile's ending was horrid, but that's just me. (Not that has anything to do with this...but dang I hated that ending)
 

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