Been a few months since last visiting this topic, but I’ve finally sat down and watched the Evangelion movies. Death turned out to be a decent recap of the series despite its frantic jumping about the time line. Each main character and plot point was touched upon and serves its purpose well enough. Rebirth was a good teaser for End of Evangelion but given the hype around the series probably wasn’t needed.
The meat of the movies is End’s attempt to flesh out the end of the TV series mythology. It does address some of the concerns I had with the TV series; explanations are given for the entire development of the Eva series, Human Instrumentality, and other items. Many mysteries are still left untouched, but there is a semblance of the TV series having led up to something. A gory and still jumbled something, but it is something.
However, all the mythology and symbolism still feels a bit tacked on, a necessity needed to get a point across rather than something that has a point weaved into it seamlessly. I am still left with a sense that the series recognized this schism but could not quite resolve it. One resolution I would have enjoyed seeing is a melding of the director’s cut episodes with the content of End.
However, I prefer the ending of the TV series to how End, well, ended things. The TV series evoked a feeling that Shinji had a true epiphany, that he finally took a step towards conquering his fear. As the final scene of End rolled by, I simply wanted to give Shinji two in the hat. I had a clear sense of what the director was trying to say in the TV series and how he wanted the characters to exit the stage; End left me wondering if the director had forgotten what he wanted to say and just decided to drop the curtain. It was satisfying to have the mythology tied up (as neatly as possibly feasible), but the ending for our protagonists left much to be desired.
This certainly was an interesting ride, one I do not regret taking. My opinion of the series has not changed after viewing the films; I respect Anno’s attempts to experiment with the mecha genre, but the results are not what I would call a complete success. The character study is the heart of the story, but the mythology tends to get in the way. While the cash cow appears to have four more moos in it, I’m not sure there is much left for the series to say, at least to me.