OK, OK, before I get doxxed for making this video, let me be clear: many, many people dislike the ending of the Evangelion TV series, even Evangelion fans. And...actually, I don't hate it that much. But there's a widely-held belief that Gainax screwed it up, and in this video, I'll explain why.

Evangelion is famous as a heavy, psychological mecha series. But if you just watch the first few episodes, you'll see action, and drama, and fast edits intermixed with long, slow scenes, a few hints of romance, and...there's actually a lot of comedy.

Indeed, the first half of Evangelion balances a number of different tones, shifting between them as appropriate to the unfolding story.

Meanwhile, there's a fundamental tension with our protagonist, Shinji. He's an incredibly passive person, thrust into an extremely strange and stressful situation, and it's very clear from the outset that he needs to break out of his shell.

Then, about two-thirds of the way through the show, two things happen.

Shinji finally gains some self-confidence in the episodes around Kaji piloting. That self-confidence is then shattered, but doesn't completely go away. In later scenes, he does seem slightly but noticeably more comfortable in his own skin...but unfortunately, we almost never see him after this point.

Shinji basically disappears from the show as the plot focuses on Asuka, robbing us of the satisfaction of actually seeing Shinji grow. We'd been waiting the whole show for this, only to have Shinji pushed into the background.

Secondly, the show's structure and tone grows extremely psychological. This is not news to anyone, but it's important for this argument. The plot was leading up to a big, apocalyptic confrontation between humanity and the angels, between NERV and SEELE, between Shinji and his father. And we get none of it.

This one-two punch is bad enough, except Gainax adds a roundhouse kick: one of the most popular characters in the show...attempts suicide, and nearly succeeds.

Here's the thing: suicide is serious. That's a major card to play. This is especially true in Japan, a country that's struggled with high teen suicide rates for decades.

To be clear: I'm not an Asuka fanboy. Her actions were clearly motivated, but they were also difficult to watch.

Also to be clear: Shinji's very slow growth is clearly motivated and realistic. Gainax never outright promised a rousing action finale. I'm not saying that.

I'm saying that these issues were annoying to Eva's audience. You could make a TV series that shows a person breaking rocks over and over looking for a diamond. Clearly motivated, but not necessarily good TV.

That's the problem with the final arc of the Eva TV series. It's not that it's bad; it doesn't fit what came before it.

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