after so so long its finally here, the movie weve all been waiting for - the third installment in the serial experiments of lain, a modern take on the story showing the experiment playing out in a world far past the cusp of consumer onboarding of the internet, and how her story would play out in a world where the very ties that bind have been weaponised by the powerful for control and exploitation.
i kid, of course, but how cool would that be huh? we can only dream.
i talk of course about clears throat EVANGELION: 3.0 + 1.01 THRICE UPON A TIME, a name only exceeded in length by the one thing dear to my heart (other than my amazing partner), the aptly named 1998 neon genesis evangelion cardass masters g trading card game.
it should go without saying that a lot of people have a lot of thoughts regarding this film and film series, and i am no exception, so without further ado, lets get on with it.
is it as good as the original?
of course not, in no way is this reboot series anything close to the masterpiece that is the original series plus the end of evangelion - possibly the greatest piece of animation to ever exist.
the sole reason for these films to exist is money, and a capitalistic need to rehash old ip for cash. the originals had some need to exist, their purpose is to express what anno could not himself, and for that they shine.
these films were not made with a true purpose, and exist simply to fill a void of there being a lack of marketable evangelion since the mid 90’s. they have succomb to the flanderisation of every aspect avaliable - in many cases the cause of rather extreme irony.
for this reason alone, i dont expect the critical reception to be great, however i think it would be doing disservice to the films to call it there. regardless of franchise they exist in their own sphere, and can be read and analysed seperately from their lineage.
these films say something different to the original series.
the thing that these films say differently to the original series
the original series is about validation, and the self actualisation of its characters. it is about flawed humans who come to learn that heedless escapism is something to avoid, no matter the comfort it provides.
it is a message to grow oneself above the troubles, to accept them, and to move on.
this is the reason this series has resonated with so many people, why evangelion fans seem to treat this franchise with such revere, to look above all its superficial flaws (you didnt really think people where in it for the freudian aesthitic and faux-christian veneer did you?) and appreciate it as exactly what many a misguided teenager needed to hear.
this movie was released almost a decade after the previous entry. this film series has taken over fifteen years to conclude. this movie marks twenty five years since the original series first aired.
this series has existed for my entire life, and almost half of my life has passed since the moment i first saw this series.
waiting for this series to conclude has lasted a long time relative to the other events in my life.
i have started and graduated university.
i have started and lost my first professional job.
i have been unemployed and moved town and country multiple times.
the wait for this conclusion has lasted longer than every relationship i have ever had, combined.
this connection to this franchise, to the result of a miserable creators plea for help, is one essentially the longest running constant in my life, and it is no exaguration to say it has shaped who i am today, for the better or for the worse.
however this story, the original series plus the end of evangelion, cannot be our guiding light forever.
all things must come to pass, and perhaps many of us have taken too much comfort, too much escapism, in the end of evangelion.
the actual rebuilds (the last heading was a lie its actually this one)
i believe the purpose of these films, whether coincidental or not (death of the author baybeeeeee) is to show that at some point we must move on, we must continue with our lives and grow from who we were when we were teenagers. we need to take heed of the lessons of the original series, and put this into praxis.
we are introduced to characters we are meant to know and love, yet they are all different. they have become simulacrum of their previous selves, each taking on the extreme of the singular character trait they are most known for. the routine has worn thin and everything about these characters feels a little off - not unlike those of us continuing still to deal negatively with our childhood stresses, those of us who have yet to move on in some way.
it speaks to the people of the fandom clinging to the escapism that is what they first felt, the first time they watched EoE, neither moving forward or back, but just still, motionless.
its like he doesnt wanna live but he doesnt wanna die either
and this is exactly what we see in shinji for a large portion of the start of this film, a motionless, expressionless person, effectively not a part of this movie outside of the rememberence of who they used to be.
we see rei as a rather explicit caricature of the steriotypical weebshit fan - unable to perform even the most basic of social interactions and - in what i see as a very nice piece of symbolism - finally starting to learn that they can, and will enjoy, living in a world outside of evangelion.
asuka sits around playing video games, angry at everyone, but continuing to take part in the system that led to her being as angry as she is, something thats only gotten more and more ingrained over the last fourteen years - until we finally learn that she is essentially a completely new person, one solely defined by her relationship to the evangelion (literally, rather than figuratively as before).
the film ultimately ends with the only ending that needs to be said for its audience, and for anno.
shinji rewrites reality into one in which the evangelions do not exist, and everyone can continue on with their normal lives, experiencing social progress and the highs and lows that come with it.
notably, he does not erase the events of the films - we should not conflate moving forward from our days of finding comfort in evangelion, with the lessons we learnt doing so. however the message could not be more clear:
endless escapism is a proxy life at best, and antithesis to progress at worst
the main character we’ve come to know was able to find happiness by letting go of the evangelion, and i believe it is anno’s way of telling us we should do the same.
one last kiss
thank you hideaki anno, for creating something that has truly changed my life for the better. i cant know your thoughts on the film series, and i suspect you, like i, are not amazingly fond of them - however i am glad to finally have the closure to this series that we all needed.
- to anno, thank you
- to evangelion, farewell
- and to all the fans, congratulations!