Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion is a film for the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series that was directed by Hideaki Anno and Kazuya Tsurumaki. The film was released in Japan in 1997. The film was released on DVD in North America by Manga Entertainment in 2002. However, Manga Entertainment no longer holds the rights for the film.
The End of Evangelion is divided into two approximately 45-minute episodes. The first is "Episode 25': Love is Destructive," and the second is "Episode 26': ONE MORE FINAL: I need you." These "episodes" can be seen either as a kind of "replacement" for the original ending of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series, or as a more detailed "real world" account of the ending of the original series.
"Episode 25" opens with Shjinji Akari still mourning the death of Kaworu Nagisa, and he is pleading with an unconscious Asuka Langley Soryu for help. Meanwhile, SEELE attempts to take over NERV by hacking into the MAGI computer system; however, their efforts are thwarted by Ritsuko Akagi, who installs a firewall program that SEELE cannot penetrate. SEELE manages to convince the Prime Minister of Japan to deploy the JSSDF to conduct a large-scale assault on NERV. The JSSDF soldiers are given permission to kill NERV personnel on sight, to execute the Eva pilots, and capture the Evangelions. A lot of the story of this episode focuses on what happens during the assault on NERV. In addition, Dr. Gendo Ikari takes Rei to Terminal Dogma to initiate the Third Impact.
In "Episode 26," Gendo tries to merge with Rei to begin the Third Impact, but Rei takes over the process and reunites with Lilith. This episode focuses on what happens after Rei's merge with Lilith, and the interactions that Rei/Lilith have with Shinji.
Overall, I have to say that this film was rather strange. Also, by the time I reached the end of this piece, it felt as if Shinji and Asuka had never really evolved, even though they went through some major events that really should have brought about some kind of a noticeable change. Also, the ending of this film really doesn't "end." Perhaps someone who is more of a die-hard fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion series would have a greater appreciation for this than I do.
As for the visual content, there is definitely more blood and nudity than in the anime series. It's a film that I would only recommend to anime viewers who are 17 or 18 years of age and older who already have familiarity with the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise.
It should be noted that while the DVD looks like it should be a double-sided disc, there appears to only be content on one side of the disc. The DVD provides six audio options: Japanese 2.0, Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, Japanese 6.1 dts es, English 2.0, English 5.1 Dolby Digital EX, and English 6.1 dts es. For subtitles, you can choose English Titling, English, and None.
There are a few bonus features included on this release. The first is an audio commentary provided by Amanda Win Lee, Jason Lee, and Taliesan Jaffe. The next feature is labeled as "Evangelion Trailers," and it runs for two minutes and 39 seconds. There are two English language trailers included: one is for The End of Evangelion, and the other is for Death and Rebirth.
The final extra is labeled as "Manga Extras," which takes you to a menu with several options. The "Manga Video Previews" is ten minutes and nine seconds of trailers, which starts automatically when you select that menu option. "Manga DVD Catalogue" has a menu that allows you to select from the items listed on the screen. "Merchandising and Catalogue Info" is a slideshow that runs for two minutes. "Websites" lists the links for Manga Entertainment, Sputnik 7, and Palm Pictures. You can also select the icons for Palm Pictures or Sputnik 7 that appear on the screen to see a promotional piece for those entities.
In some respects, the bonus features may not seem like much on the surface. However, when I realized that there are other anime DVD releases on the market that include even less than this, it makes these features seem a little more impressive to me than they might have otherwise.
I would only recommend this DVD for die-hard fans of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. However, this DVD is now out of print in North America; the only way to find it is to look at stores and websites that sell used DVDs.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD that I checked out through the King County Library System. My husband and I later found a used copy to purchase for our own collection.