Finally, Third Impact has been unleashed. It’s The End of Evangelion.
This brilliant and complex story delivers its final horrifying conclusion here in which humanity finally faces its ultimate foe. And it may not be everything we’ve come to think.
I’m not going to mention anything at all here regarding the plot, as this may give away too much and no doubt fans will wish to see for themselves this final chapter of the Evangelion saga. This conglomerate of Episodes 25 and 26 finally answers all those nagging questions that have hung around in the conspiracies so long, though manages to bring with it a whole bunch of further questions to ponder once the final frames of film have rolled. Herein we also get a taste of reality with some live action in the final act, though this isn’t entirely joined to the storyline.
|"The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth… "|
Also, this one was made for the cinema it seems and features a mess of animation studios investing their time into the quality of the production (a full minute 30 of studio logos opens the film). The credits to Episode 25 appear in the middle though, so it’s kinda confusing as to whether this saw a cinema audience or not. These credits though, it has to be said, are ultra-cool and well worth seeing just for the imagery alone. Judging by the audio commentary this did see cinemas and the cinema aspect ratio would also attest to this (plus there’s the killer sound package as well), so who knows? I guess it doesn’t matter in the long run. You’re here to learn the fate of this landmark series and the characters within, not whether it saw a cinematic release.
This film has received a fitting climax I can safely say. Sources tell me this was actually created as a reply to the general discontent with the original ending of the TV series and (having missed that on the teev) it worked for me. The animation is simply superb and the transfer here is magnificent. The storylines are suddenly a bit more adult though (which would again hint at the cinema) and make for a grittier finalé than perhaps television would have allowed. It gets very bloody, it has swear words and it has some particularly adult moments earlier on in the film.
So, this then is a brilliant finish to a brilliant series and one that is a satisfying conclusion to events and maybe, just maybe, hints at the possibility of a sequel series. Having the film on DVD is definitely a bonus as even the most hardcore fans may find cause to rewatch this two or three hundred times to get all that can be gotten from it. This isn’t due to poor delivery; rather just the opposite. There’s so much information being tied up in the ending here it may take several viewings to even begin to untangle it all. However, it will be immeasurably rewarding for those who choose to.
As noted, the cinema aspect ratio of 1.85:1 brings the enormity of some of these images to the screen beautifully. There can be little doubt if this film did indeed see cinemas (which I am pretty much certain of now) it looked amazing, but this transfer is as good as it could ever look on television. Perhaps the only fault that can be noted, and this is a rather footling one, is that it doesn’t receive anamorphic enhancement for the widescreen TV people. Made in 1997, this looks like it has all been scanned to computer and digitally painted as it has a better overall looking picture than even the restored Director’s Cut: Resurrection of Episodes 21 thru 23. As noted the credits in the film’s centre are pretty cool too and look better than the ones that actually close this disc.
A choice that outweighs my review equipment here, with DTS ES 6.1 being the primary choice, plus Dolby Digital 5.1 surround in both English and original Japanese plus a comparatively weak stereo Japanese delivery as well. The surround stage keeps busy here as much of the film is war battles and such and the subwoofer also rages for the most part, calming down only when the surrounds do in the last act. It’s a superlative soundstage for an animated feature of this magnitude and is well worthy of the ten yellow spots up there. Interestingly, the score by Shiroh Sagisu here is mostly piano going from dramatic right through to cheesy piano lounge at times. Fitting, but at times mildly disappointing.
Neon Genesis: Evangelion has become a household name in terms of the animé genre and here we experience what the whole thing was leading up to. It’s a brilliant and fitting conclusion that is transferred perfectly here and any Evangelion fan will no doubt be impressed by the sheer magnitude of this monster conclusion. Probably not for those who haven’t followed the series as it may well be just too confusing, being firmly enmeshed in an existing story as it is. However, for those who know the epic tale of the Angels and the Evas, this will thoroughly impress and couldn’t have been brought to DVD in any better fashion. Well, except perhaps for the 16:9 enhahncement issue.
Definitely a staple for any animé collector.