The end of “End of Evangelion”
I first saw the End of Evangelion back in 2011. Since then I’ve rewatched it a whole bunch of times and it still hasn’t lost its visual or emotional impact on me. (Pun intended.) But now after my fifth viewing, I finally decided to analyze the notoriously ambiguous final scene.
Shinji almost caused the Third Impact to occur, but changed his mind at the last minute. Despite not really liking people, he decides to give humanity another chance. People need other people to live and thrive. So then why does he begin to strangle Asuka as soon as they both materialize from the sea of LCL?
Upon my first viewing, I thought Shinji simply wanted revenge for all the abuse Asuka gave him. But since Shinji wanted to be with people again and Asuka was the first one to physically manifest, that means he wanted to see her again. So killing her wouldn’t really make any sense. Now, the conclusion I’ve come to is that Shinji wanted to make sure that she actually existed. The strangulation I think was just instinctual due to their rocky relationship.
On the other side, Asuka simply touched Shinji’s face and he ceased the strangulation. The answer to that is easy: It’s the first time that Asuka has ever shown him sensitivity and the slightest sign of affection.
Finally, we have the very last line of the movie, Asuka’s “I feel disgusting/kimochi warui.” The first go around, I thought this line meant that either she felt gross from all of the events that had just occurred, or almost being strangled by Shinji, or both. But Asuka’s personality is loud, obnoxious and prideful. Thus, showing signs of vulnerability towards the boy she had always argued with was disgusting to her.This is what makes this last scene so powerful: Shinji shows assertion and Asuka shows sensitivity. Through switching roles, a quiet but dynamic reconciliation is made between them.
After a lot of thinking, what was initially a baffling conclusion to an already confusing film has become one of my favorite anime endings ever.