Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Beast That Shouted "I" At the Heart of the World   First Watch 
July 22, 2019 7:14 PM - Season 1, Episode 26 - Subscribe

Shinji continues his existential journey amidst the Human Instrumentality Project, and must figure out what kind of existence he wishes for himself...

Secondary title: Take Care of Yourself

"Fly Me To The Moon" - Episode 26 version

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posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit (29 comments total)
So Gendo just wanted everybody to not feel bad? Wouldn’t have guessed.
posted by rodlymight at 7:48 PM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Everyone who made it to the end:

posted by Fukiyama at 8:08 PM on July 22, 2019 [14 favorites]

I don't know if this is quite the right episode to comment this, but apparently the first time I had seen the series it went straight to the End of Evangelion while skipping these two, so I was extremely surprised by them.

It's kind of funny, as I was watching them I was befuddled as to how they had actually been broadcast on television. I understood the point, but the dialogue seemed to be to be both extremely repetitious and nonsensical, and the animation made it seem like they literally ran out of money, and they simply ran frames that one person had scratched out in the lobby or something.

But then I watched the End of Evangelion again, and while it was much prettier to look at I found myself viscerally disgusted by the ending. I suppose I'll save the why for that thread, but sufficed to say between the two I decidedly prefer this ending.
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 6:32 AM on July 23, 2019 [7 favorites]

There was a moment during one of the doodles where I hoped they'd draw Shinji as Daffy Duck in "Duck Amuck."

Just to break the tension.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:31 PM on July 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

This is the first time I’ve watched the series through to end (I watched to about the 2/3 point back in the 90s) and I really enjoyed this ending. Seems like my loss of interest in the angel battles back in the day was maybe me subconsciously picking up on the subtext of the show, which is very much urtext at this point in the series - that the explosions aren’t the real point. I’d love if something like Star Wars pulled an ending like this: “this is all a pointless power fantasy, and you dear audience have some stuff to work out if you need this that badly”. “Congratulations!” indeed.

I started watching End of Evangelion afterwards, and while the animation’s beautiful, I facepalmed at how it backs away from the statement these last 2 episodes make.

Re: Gendo, in my experience of being and being around guys, that kind of checks out. “Things need to reach some kind of cataclysm to face the emotions of yourself and others honestly, so let’s break things until we get to that point” is most definitely a thing. I see Gendo as passive-aggressively needy in like ... Wagnerian proportions.
posted by threecheesetrees at 4:49 PM on July 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've spent the last year and a half arguing that “this is all a pointless power fantasy, and you dear audience have some stuff to work out if you need this that badly” is basically the end of Luke Skywalker's emotional arc, as shown to us in The Last Jedi.
posted by incomple at 6:04 AM on July 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

Ahhhhh... so if I identify with Gendo that’s a bad thing, even if I bring about Childhood’s End. Got it.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:24 AM on July 24, 2019

Welp, that's the last episode and I've got opinions.

Starting at the end, the Netflix auto-next-episode thing was really annoying. First watchers may be entirely unaware of the "Next Episode" trailers after the credits. No one is going to sit deliberately through all the credits when it's some dramatic piano music instead of half a dozen cover versions of Fly Me To The Moon.

Not having subtitles for many of the Japanese words flashing on the screen. Why?

This new dubbing is not my cup of tea. Everyone seems so low-key compared to the old ADV dub. Giant kaiju are coming to destroy the base, and everyone is speaking so clearly and calmly, like Fuyutsuki passed out beta blockers for everyone. The main vocal cast is good, but only really shine in these last two episodes, and the rest of the cast are so bland it's sometimes hard to differentiate them. The head of Seele sounds much the same as the rest of Seele. Bleh.

Overall, it's not bad. It's cheaply and widely available, so that's a good thing. What I had been hoping for was a high quality redub that could make Evangelion a tentpole feature, like Disney does for Studio Ghibli flicks. Instead it's more like George Lucas revisiting Return of the Jedi.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 6:56 AM on July 24, 2019


Not having subtitles for many of the Japanese words flashing on the screen. Why?

The Waypoints crew eventually figured this out. If you have the subtitles on -- regardless of which audio track you choose --, the title card inserts will only be translated when nobody is speaking. So basically the only way to guarantee that all the title card inserts are presented in English is to watch the English audio with no subtitles.

If that sounds stupid to you, you're absolutely correct. It's something they definitely should have figured out was going to be a problem before releasing... any anime at all on the service, really, since it's really common in anime to either use title cards as part of the story like NGE does or to use establishing shots of, like, a sign or plaque or something that's just the kanji for whatever store or other place the characters are at. Yet it doesn't seem like their subtitle system is up to the challenge of accommodating these extremely common tropes, despite the fact that fansubbers figured out how to do it a million years ago.

the first time I had seen the series it went straight to the End of Evangelion while skipping these two, so I was extremely surprised by them.

This is a long-running fandom thing where some fans who argue that episodes 25 and 26 should be skipped outright in favour of End. Mostly this comes from people who hated the TV ending, which is ironic considering a certain infamous metatextual sequence in End...

They're so different, though, and I don't think End works at all without these two episodes for context, given that it explicitly calls back to them a couple of times. (Also, I've never watched Death & Rebirth or Death(true)2, but my understanding is that they both include parts of episode 25 that later were added to the Director's Cut version of the series, which is what Netflix has.)

ANYWAY. Yeah, Gendo is a total accelerationist scumbag. And also totally the kind of dad who teaches a kid to swim by tossing him into a pool without lessons or anything.

If I have any criticism of this episode, it's that it doesn't covey the existential horror of Instrumentality well enough. If you agree, don't worry, End of Eva has you covered there.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:25 AM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Death(true)2 regardless of stuff making it back into the DC of 21-24 (the DVD only had DC of those four episodes) or not does have more material that isn't in the DC on the DVDs. For instance there are a bunch of scenes of the Children on stage playing classical music with a 4th that you never see the face of (Kaworu?).

Anyhow, keeping up with keeping up with different versions of things is best left to those evageeks people. I tried to enjoy the new translation and dub since they were 'approved' by someone related to the series or something like that, but in the end I still think the ADV DVDs (at least the Platinum) had much better subs and dub and sound design than the Netflix version.

The Death & Rebirth Wikipedia page has a whole bunch on the different variations/edits leading up to Death(True)² and other "no we swear this is the real ending" sorts of releases.
posted by zengargoyle at 11:58 AM on July 24, 2019

The degree of Gendo’s assholery kind of depends on whether the Third Impact was ever avoidable or was going to happen no matter what anybody did in accordance with the Dead Sea Scrolls and he was trying to get the least bad result. Also if this is Gendo going rogue, what was supposed to happen under SEELE’s plan?

I mean, he’s still an asshole, but how much of an asshole?
posted by rodlymight at 2:13 PM on July 24, 2019

Judging by Kaworu's statements, he was intended to end the Lillim. He is prevented from merging with Adam as he finds Lillith instead. Kaworu asks Shinji to kill him with the understanding that if he didn't, Kaworu's actions would lead to the destruction of mankind.
posted by domo at 2:23 PM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

That the thing right? The Lilim is humanity. I get Kaworu’s goal is to end humanity and perhaps instrumenatalize the angels instead, but is that what SEELE is after? It would be the end of them too. I guess it could be like a millennial death cult, but they don’t really seem to be set that up beforehand. And then why NERV anyway? Why make EVAs and fight angels? Presumably they could have just sat and waited for the end.
posted by rodlymight at 2:32 PM on July 24, 2019

I watched 25 and 26, slept on it, then watched End of Evangelion the following day. My two main thoughts are that a) I liked 25 and 26 more, but also b) something about the ending feels false to me.

It feels like Shinji has his revelation at the last possible moment, making all the connections to get from "I don't want to be hurt and the best world for me is one with no one in it" to "I want to be shaped by other people and live in a society and form meaningful relationships" in what feels like a split second. Anno has said that the final episodes are basically about him; I'm not sure if he meant them to be a message to himself, that there is some form of light at the end of the tunnel. I can't decide if the last revelation Shinji has is earned or not, or what that's even supposed to mean.
posted by chrominance at 2:49 PM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

SPOILER(imgur) that I found long ago and kept because it is a wall-of-text from ancient 4chan (before it was totally evil) days. It does cover End, but I think most interested people have watched already.

I really liked the explanation laid out in this summary of things.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I've pointed it out elsewhere before, but that wall of text image draws heavily from codex entries in the PS2 Evangelion game, which Hideaki Anno was not directly involved in. The devs interviewed him and used the information he gave them to come up with the deep lore explanations for the show. Nowhere else are the First Ancestral Race mentioned, as are many of the other details about the nature of Adam and Lilith, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc. There are a lot of other details in the game that directly contradict what happens in the series and it's unlikely we'll ever know how much of that lore is what Anno had in mind during production of the show.

Basically, don't feel bad if you read that text and wonder how you missed all that in the show, because it's not there.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:06 PM on July 24, 2019 [7 favorites]

I think SEELE planned to survive the destruction of humanity in some way, possibly joining Kaworu's folk as the next inheritors of the Earth, or in some weird Dummy Plug-based form (early ancestors of the Daleks). Clearly, they were only out for themselves and saw Kaworu as their Instrumentality of personal immortality. Kaworu betrayed their intentions, however, as Kaworu saw himself and his folk as "perfected," while humanity was more interesting because of its struggle to improve itself.
posted by SPrintF at 4:47 PM on July 24, 2019

If anyone checks here before watching EoE, watch out that it's more violentally and sexually graphic than the series, somehow. I prefer the final two episodes to EoE on this rewatch since I wasn't confused as hell watching them this time, but I'll leave it at that for now.

I liked the netflix dub! I can see people's complaints, and fuck the translator, but I had a way easier time following things casually this time than with the ADV dub or watching it subbed; something about the deliveries made more sense to me. I loved Shinji and Asuka's performances; Asuka sounds exactly like a cocky kid. Also, I can't not think of this scene with the ADV dub now.

I think this will be spoilers for EoE but this post helped me understand everyone's motivations about the third impact, if it's accurate. Seems to boil down to everyone wanting the same goal but with someone specific in charge of it.

Also, as a depressed kid looking for hope, I did cry at the end of this.

One more link - Shinji's ADV dub VA ranting in character over the final ending song.
posted by gaybobbie at 5:02 PM on July 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah Mr.Encyclopedia, I get that some of the after explanation is not exactly canon or directly obvious from just watching up to End. I take it like Star Wars and I'm not sure Anno had the whole of everything set in stone but instead had some general overall idea of things and started in the middle. The received interpretations seem to be about 80% cromulent. Some spoilers and re-watching tend to reduce the WTF. Why does Rei-III set off the Angel alarm. Why is Kaworu surprised that it's Lilith and not Adam in the basement. Why is it so hard to sync with different Evas. Why is STEELE so concerned when Unit-01 eats an Angel. Why did Unit-01 protect Shinji from the start. Why is STEELE so annoyed at the loss of the Spear.

Actually asking Anno is like asking Lucas "Who shot first?", or if he really had Episode I,II, and III all in situ in his mind when he started with IV.

Guess I've just been waiting for the End for the First Watchers to say "go read the spoilers" and maybe ease a bit of WTF? and understand that the original was in '95 and there are a bazillion more games/manga/movies because Evangelion seems to be quite open to interpretations.... :)
posted by zengargoyle at 6:41 PM on July 24, 2019

Just added Death (True)2 and End of Evangelion.

I promise next time there will be lots of fanservice.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:22 PM on July 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

The Evangelion games also have Fuyutsuki dressing up Shinji in a wig and maids outfit so he can have photos of Yui, so I'm very comfortable discounting what they say.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 4:03 AM on July 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

I like to think of everything after as branches of Shinji's choice when ending Instrumentality. All multi-verse like. They're all possibilities... Especially the one where Shinji has a normal life and Asuka is a childhood friend and Rei eats breakfast on the run.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:26 AM on July 25, 2019 [4 favorites]

I haven't seen an episode of this or End of Eva in at least 10 years, but I remember being fairly convinced by some online sources that the events of the last two episodes could be fairly convincingly explained as occurring inside Shinji's head while he is [spoilers redacted] in the movie.

Does this ring true for any of y'all? It's been quite a while but I found it fairly compelling at the time.
posted by hototogisu at 4:11 AM on July 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

That's the understanding that makes sense to me! I've seen it argued that they're showing different things, and no consensus on which one is which, but I think they're the same.
posted by gaybobbie at 5:41 AM on July 26, 2019

Could be, but they come to such different conclusions that I think of End as like a “let’s see what was behind door number two” situation.
posted by rodlymight at 11:52 AM on July 26, 2019

Maybe... the real Evangelion ending is the friends we made along the way.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:46 PM on July 26, 2019 [6 favorites]

I think SEELE's plan with Kaworu was to have him merge with Lilith? Wasn't the whole godhood thing about merging the Fruit of Life (Adam) with the Fruit of Knowledge(Lilith) or something?
posted by domo at 7:07 AM on July 29, 2019

I think SEELE's plan was Kaworu + Lilith but Lilith with the spear making her weak. But Gendo got rid of the spear and woke Lilith, then because STEELE had told Kaworu that it was Adam that he was rejoining (as he was the fruit of the first impact when they merged human DNA with Adam)... when Kaworu recognized that it was Lilith he changed his mind and asked Shinji to end him.

On the other hand (heh) Gendo had a weakened Adam from Kinji and wanted to merge with Rei (a weakened Lilith/Yui). Neither happened as planned.

I do think (and IIRC from ages ago) that the running out of money was along the lines of wanting a few more episodes (not a full extra season) and not getting the funding. There's plenty of "they ran out of time and money" that makes me think that End was supposed to be part of the original.

Without End they never finished Asuka (she was in hospital), they never explained the mass-production Evas, they never explained any of the things they setup and only showed Shinji's therapy session. I wanted to know what SEELE was up to, what happens to others, what was the S2 drive, what about the other Evas. Not so much two episodes of Shinji having a trip.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:26 PM on July 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

The first time I saw this series, almost 20 years ago, it was on the air (on the local PBS station, which I had to double-check because how the hell did that happen?) so I really wasn't able to follow a lot of the subtleties, and the end really left me cold.

This time, I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.

Thinking about it some more, what makes the ending satisfying is that it makes perfect (meta)sense: the logical endpoint of a deconstruction is to break out of the frame entirely. So really, this ending was signposted from the very beginning.

I also liked how it deconstructed Instrumentality itself. Sure, it means that people can see inside each other, recognize each other's pains and fears, and from that develop greater compassion toward themselves and others. But the framing was very clearly: your pain comes from the "story" about the world that you tell yourself, and you are the author of that, with or without Instrumentality.

Self-loathing is like Purgatory, it's a prison you make for yourself by refusing to believe that you deserve any better. But it's a prison whose doors lock from the inside; you can actually walk out any time you want. Instrumentality helped Shinji see that, but it didn't open the door, Shinji did.

Congratulations, indeed!
posted by bjrubble at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

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