Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time: A perfect ending for a classic franchise

“Nothing good ever happens”

– Shinji Ikari

Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be one of the greatest anime series ever. In Evangelion , director Hideaki Anno explores complex themes in religion, philosophy, and psychology. Evangelion is credited with reviving the anime industry in the 90s, as well as influencing future anime series and animation in general. Neon Genesis Evangelion is set on the post-apocalyptic Earth, in the city of Tokyo-3. The U.N. funded paramilitary organization NERV fights against alien beings called Angels, with giant mechs called EVA (Evangelion). These EVA is piloted by the teenagers specifically selected by the secret committee the Marduk Institute, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Shikinami Langley, and Rei Ayanami.

Village 3

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time is the the fourth and final movie in the Rebuild of Evangelion. An alternate retelling of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, Rebuild of Evangelion featured major changes, specifically the introduction of Kaworu Nagisa and Mari Makinami Illustrious. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time opens with a helpful recap of the past movies in the series. WILLE heads to Paris, France to activate the Anti-L System. They’re attacked by waves of Evangelion Mark.44A, Evangelion Mark.44B, and Evangelion Mark.4444C. Mari and her helmsman Sumire Nagara fight them off using a the Wunder’s complicated cable fighting abilities. Maya Ibuki, Ritsuko Akagi, and several male subordinates successfully activate the pillar which restore part of the city. With the underground storage lockers containing spare EVA parts, munitions, and JA-02 components the crew of Wunder prepare to repair Unit-02 and Unit-08.

Rei farming with the older ladies

The Villagers of Village 3

Shinji, Rei, and Asuka arrive at a living settlement called Village 3. They reunite with Toji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida, and Hikari Horaki as they try to survive after the Third Impact. Shinji is his usual miserable self. Unwilling to make eye contact or speaking to anyone. He’s reeling from the results of his actions. He feels he should be hated by everyone and wallows is self-pity. Shinji spends a lot of time sitting in the corner ignoring everyone then occasionally vomits when he’s see Asuka’s DSS Choker, which triggers his traumatic experience with Kaworu. Asuka continues to be rude and insensitive. She cares about Shinji even though she tries hides it.

She wears a scarf to cover the DSS Choker and secretly watches over Shinji. When Shinji refuses to eat she force feeds him. Her methods are cruel but you can feel her frustration with Shinji. Hideaki Anno finally shows us how the rest of humanity lives. It was easy to forget they even exists, making it impossible to care about them. He uses Rei Ayanami as the guide to this new world. A clone of a clone, Rei is unaware of the world outside of NERV. She has never had a bath, doesn’t know basic manners, has never seen a cat, dog, or human baby before. Rei settles into the village going to school and learning to farm along some of the older women. As Rei develops her own identity, she’s able to manage an emotional breakthrough with Shinji.

Rei learning how to plant seeds

However, her independence is never complete. When she decides to get a new name she doesn’t choose one herself. Instead she asks Shinji to give her one. Sadly, Rei realizes she cannot survive without LCL exposure. Accepting her demise, she tells Shinji she “knows what like is and she’s happy.” She dies wanting more from her life. Wanting to harvest more rice, hold Tsubame Suzuhara more, and be with Shinji. She explodes, never getting her new name. Her death spurs Shinji to fight again, however, the remaining crew members of WILLE aren’t so sure. It’s here in the village we learn what they’ve been fighting for.

Overwhelming opposition

NERV heads to a former Calvary Base in Antarctica to reactive Evangelion Unit 13. Misato and Ritsuko prepare to stop them. They hope to restore the world by stopping NERV. Asuka and Mari get new plugsuits and prepare to fight. Before they do Asuka tells Shinji she has feeling for him. The dynamic between Shinji and Asuka feels to distant and toxic to every become a more significant romantic relationship. Regardless, Asuka willingness to express her feelings shows her growth.

The AAA Wunder under attack

When the Wunder arrives in Antarctica they’re attacked by three NERV ships, NHG Erlösung, NHG Erbsünde, and NHG Gebet. Evangelion’s dramatic narrative, trauma moments, themes, and complex story has always been it’s draw. However, it’s combat has always been important. Even though the pilot took the direct physical and mental damage during battle, the crew of NERV and later WILLE were always apart of the combat. Giving orders, managing the EVA’s, encouraging the pilots, and suffering as witnesses to the pilots trauma. With multiple crew members maintain various systems, the combat becomes more dramatic as they attempt to respond to events on the fly. It’s intense. When the Wunder dives into the containment field it’s ambushed by two NERV ships.

The Evangelion Mark.07 attack Unit 2 and Unit 8

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time’s hectic combat

Despite being overwhelmed and outgunned, the AAA Wunder manages to reach it’s destination and launch all guided Munitions. However, NERV responds by releasing mass Evangelion Mark.07. EVA Unit 02 and Unit 08 are launched to counter. Armed with a variety of weapons, Asuka and Mira work together to defeat the army of Eva’s, and land near EVA Unit 13. One difference from Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time and the past series is the number of combatants. In this movie, NERV sends massive swarms of reproduced EVA Units to fight. As a result, the pace of the battles are much faster, making it difficult to follow at times. In the past, the Angels were the main enemy. They would appear one at a time and be the center focus of NERV. The conflict was more deliberate. In The End of Evangelion, Asuka fights nine winged Mass Produced Evangelion. While there are multiple enemies the action felt better paced.

I still enjoyed the combat in Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, but the enemies feel like fodder more than serious obstacles. When Unit 02 finally reaches Unit 13 it refuses to attack. Confused by what’s happening, Misako commands the crew shoot the third ship. Suddenly, the Wunder is impaled by a fourth NERV ship, destroying the guns. Desperate, Asuka removes her eyepatch releasing the 9th Angel, transforming herself and Unit 2. Gendo Ikari had planned this all along. He sends a new EVA Unit 09 to attack the Wunder. As it takes over the Wunder, Gendo Ikari descends.

Gendo Ikari transcends humanity

Gendo Ikari’s plan

Misato and Ritsuko Akagi meet him and Ritsuko shoots Gendo in the head blowing a hole in his head. He survives. Gendo used the Key of Nebuchadnezzar to transcend his humanity. Before entering Unit 13, he explains that the second impact purified the sea, the third the Earth, and the fourth will purify the souls. Humanity will abandon their bodies and become a collective intelligence becoming immortal. Misato and Dr. Akagi still have hope for humanity. Shinji appears and begs Misato to allow him to pilot Unit 01. Sakura Suzuhara and Midori Kitakami try and stop them and Misato gets shot. She reassures them that she will take responsibility for Shinji’s actions.

Mari and Shinji head to the Anti-Universe to confront Gendo. Shinji syncs with EVA Unit 01 and fights with his father. Gendo promises that if Shinji gives up he can see his mother again. They face off in close combat in a surreal scene. As they fight they’re transported from the City, the apartment, classroom, and other places from Shinji’s past. Gendo claims the two EVA’s are perfect counterparts and are in sync, resulting in them mirroring the others movements. Shinji pleads with his father to stop. Gendo shows Shinji the “imaginary Evangelion,” or Black Lilith. Humanity can only perceive it if they believe “equally in fantasy and reality.” It’s the only way Gendo can get his wish to reunite with his wife, Yui.

Elsewhere, Misato decides to create another spear, the Lance of Gaius. The crew evacuates, while Misato sacrifices herself. Gendo and Shinji continue to talk. Gendo admits he hated people, whether it was visiting family, or going to school. He wanted to be alone, playing piano, and gaining knowledge. He feared pain, betrayal, and rejection. Once he meet his wife Yui, his life changed. However, he learned what the pain of lonely felt like when she died. He finally realizes that his abandonment of Shinji was wrong and apologizes to him. With the power of the Lance of Gaius, Shinji can now rewrite the world. He tells Asuka he likes her too, says goodbye to Kawory Nagisa, and to Rei. Shinji creates a world without Evangelions, a “Neon Genesis.”

A World without Evangelion

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time reminds us that it’s just a movie. Hideaki Anno uses the Anti-Universe portion to remind the audience this is just a movie, Shinji falls into what appears to be background, he’s on a soundstage when he’s talking to Rei. In this warehouse we see scaffolding, EVA costumes hanging on the walls, and PlayStation controllers. Before the credits roll we see the storyboard of movie and watch it transition back into animation. Hideaki Anno has struggled with depression and used the experience as a source for the series. Despite the series cult following, fans haven’t been too kind to Anno. He’s spent much of his life creating Evangelion and now has his freedom. Anno is telling fans to live our lives.

The series remains a bit convoluted and I had to rewind a few times to try an understand what’s going on at least at the end. None of this is a problem. Part of the joy of Evangelion is it’s complex story and you can always enjoy the mecha fights while you try to figure everything out. The music adds to the intensity of the atmosphere, the dreary piano playing and the somber religious chanting. The score enters when the stakes are the highest. The animation from Studio Khara, during the portion of the film in Village 3, the animation was it’s most impressive. The scene when Shinji and Kensuke head to his house, the walkway crumbles with detailed realism. While Rei is working on the farm the plants, sticks, and wires feel 3D. The backgrounds are so lifelike it can be difficult to determine if it’s CG or not.

The movie is more hopeful than expected. Despite the complexity and trauma the characters suffered, none of them seemed likeable. The final Evangelion movie gives them a more sympathetic image. Evangelion has been an anime series with a number of problems hindering it’s completion, mainly the cost of production. As it finally ends it feels satisfying. Overall, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time concludes one of the greatest anime series of all time with an unexpected ending, a happy one.


Jacques Derrida and the Deconstruction of the Super Robot genre

Image of Super Robots

I wrote how Jacques Derrida’s “deconstruction” was later applied to “genre deconstruction.” Since we could choose what we wrote about for my English 244 class, I decided to write on how Evangelion deconstructs the Super Robot Genre. I ended up writing 7 pages so it’s long. If you have the time, read it and let me know what you think. I added the quotes and images to this post.

French philosopher Jacques Derrida is credited with coining the term “deconstruction.” Deconstruction is defined as “a criticism of Platonism, which is defined by the belief that existence is structured in terms of oppositions (separate substances or forms) and that the oppositions are hierarchical, with one side of the opposition being more valuable than the other” (Lawlor). This hierarchy is often observed in the binaries, rich and poor, black and white, male and female, and smart and dumb. In each example, society values one over the other. Generally, we prefer to be rich than poor, diverse societies tend to have a preference for white people over black people. It is common for societies to be patriarchal, given most societies are controlled by men. While everyone can’t be equally intelligent, and most people may not care if they’re the smartest, societies generally have been shown to prefer intelligence.

Derrida was interested in how the meaning of a text could be inferred from what is absent from it as well as what’s present. For example, the word high is defined by its opposite low. Even if “low” isn’t present, its concept is always there. A language that is created by humans, is likely to be embedded with bias. Derrida challenged Western philosophy by examining language, and the philosopher’s obsession with logic and reason. He believed that almost all our ways of thinking suffered from bias, speech is privileged over writing, reason over passion, and words over pictures. He hoped that we could learn to appreciate the value of the underprivileged concept. To successfully deconstruct an idea, we must accept that these ideas are difficult to grasp, and simple answers aren’t always possible. Derrida’s concept of deconstruction aims to seek the hidden meaning in texts by questioning the binaries found within them.

Deconstruction in literature and genre

Deconstruction was later applied to feminism (gender), religion, law, and literature. When deconstructing literature it’s important to examine how words relate to one another and explore their hidden meanings. Often deconstruction is used to break down the genre. First, we need to define a genre. Generally, a genre includes a set of tropes, themes, and characters commonly found in a particular set of works. For example, the horror genre aims to “frighten, scare, or disgust” (Wikipedia). To accomplish this, the genre employs various elements such as imagery, language, and atmosphere to create fear, dread, and revulsion in the reader. Applying deconstruction to literary genres means taking them apart and exploring how the genre functions. Genre is rarely fixed, changing over time as culture shifts and new genres are invented. One way a genre can change is through deconstruction. A genre’s tropes and conventions are given real-world consequences when we deconstruct them.

For example, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire deconstructs the “honor before reason” trope. This trope is illustrated when characters adhere to a code of ethics even at the expense of themselves. In A Song of Ice and Fire, Ned Stark is willing to sacrifice his honor for the good of others. Ned allows his wife, children, and Westeros society to believe he fathered an illegitimate son, rather than reveal that Jon is his nephew. He does so to protect Jon from being killed because he would be the rightful heir to the throne. Multiple tropes must be examined, broken down, and how characters will react if living in a more realistic world is explored. Deconstruction can often be mistaken for merely applying a more cynical view to a genre. While this tends to be the result it’s not the goal or a requirement. Sometimes deconstruction focuses on what’s ignored and explores what’s overlooked. Any work that avoids engaging with politics, gender, race, class, and/or sexuality is considered perfect fodder for deconstruction.

Bandai’s Gundam series

Deconstructing the Super Robot genre

The super robot genre is a science fiction genre of anime and manga. Massive robots take the place of the traditional hero. These “super robots” are often creations of Mad Scientists that develop the mechs in secret. Sometimes the robot is created by the pilot’s father or grandfather. It’s often left unclear how they get funding, parts, and equipment without anyone knowing. The mecha are often piloted by a teenager with no training, who happens to be great at piloting the robot. The mechanics for controlling a super robot are simplified to a joystick or a few buttons. Despite its size and rigid shape, the giant mecha moves with a fluidity that resembles humans. The mecha is generally sentient, responding to the pilot’s emotions or willpower of the pilot. The super robot genre presents the hero and his mecha as the last hope against evil.

This evil is often mysterious alien villains with shallow motivations. Even though combat between the mecha and these aliens results in massive explosions, environmental effects, and destruction, the likely human casualties are ignored. The super robot genre makes the outcome from war seem insignificant, not to mention that defending the world is so simple that a teen could do it. The super robot genre was deconstructed by the Neon Genesis Evangelion series. Evangelion is considered to be one of the greatest anime series ever created. The series has one of the most complex, and sometimes confusing, narratives. Evangelion combines themes in psychoanalysis, specifically social anxiety, and religion. Philosophical themes like individuality, freedom, choice and a specific focus on the philosophies of Soren Kierkegaard are major influences.

Evangelion’s deconstruction of the super robot genre places the previously mentioned elements in a more serious context. The series shares the basic premise of the super robot series, an ordinary high school student pilots a mech designed by his father, to battle aliens without discernible motives. However, it quickly pivots in tone. Evangelion explores the likely consequences of having children pilot these giant war machines. The main character, Shinji Ikari, is summoned by his father, Gendo Ikari, to pilot an Eva (the name for the giant mechs). Gendo’s disregard for his son’s safety is obvious as he pressures Shinji into piloting. Evangelion is exploring the type of parent that would allow their child to become a soldier in the first place.

Gendo abandoned Shinji when he was an infant. This distance results in a cold relationship between father and son. The series explains it takes “several months’ ‘ (“Angel Attack (14:20 – 14:40) for a pilot to sync with Eva. Evangelion is calling attention to the absurdity of allowing a child to not only pilot but to do so without any training. It’s important to note that while Evangelion questions how the super robot genre treats the child pilots it doesn’t stop the children from piloting. Deconstruction is supposed to question the themes, conventions, and tropes, not undo them completely.

Neon Genesis Evangelion – Eva Unit 01

Unlike the typical super robot, Eva’s are referred to as “artificial human” (“Angel Attack (13:36 – 13:45). The Eva’s are organic, making their movements more believable. Like the super robot genre, the Eva’s are sentient, but they are biological beings embedded with the souls of the mothers of the pilots. This explains why the Eva’s are protective of the pilots. In the series, the mechanism for controlling Eva is more complex than most super robot series. The Eva’s are monitored by NERV’s control room. Once inside, the pilot is submerged in a liquid called LCL. This substance will “feed oxygen into the pilot’s bloodstream” (“Angel Attack” (19:25 – 19:35). The mechanics of piloting an Eva is considerably more complicated than what is common for the super robot genre. In the second episode, “Unfamiliar Ceilings,” Shinji encounters one of the alien monsters called Angels. These alien creatures vary in appearance and motives. Most can’t communicate, making it impossible to gain insight into their thoughts.

During this encounter, Shinji is tasked with making Eva walk and finds it difficult. He has no time to regain control and is attacked by the Angel. Shinji is overwhelmed by pain as the synchronization that links him with Eva causes him to share its damage mentally (“Unfamiliar Ceilings” (2:20 – 3:25). Shinji is nearly killed in this battle, which should be expected considering his lack of experience. By deconstructing this trope of the child hero, Evangelion is claiming that it would likely end in disaster. The series further dissects this genre, explaining how Eva would come into being. NERV is established by the United Nation. The U.N. provides NERV with funding, income, and equipment. NERV is a large governing body with security, technicians, and maintenance crews, this is what a more realistic world would require to build and run the Eva’s. In the traditional super robot series, the robot’s creator would make Eva’s by himself, which is implausible. Evangelion shows the true cost (financial, physical, and mental) of fighting for humanity’s survival and it’s a great cost.

Deconstructing genres isn’t exactly like Derrida’s prescriptions for philosophy, but the breaking down of work to determine greater meaning is derived from his views. When we ask “how would this work in the real world,” we are not aiming to delegitimize the genre, but explore what might make the genre more complex. The super robot genre makes a mockery of the trauma of being a child soldier and the destruction society endures during the war. Deconstruction doesn’t aim to destroy a genre but merely take it more seriously, creating a more sophisticated genre, and engaging in possible assumptions the particular work makes.

Work Cited

“Genre Deconstruction / Anime & Manga.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Themes of Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Wikipedia, 18 Feb. 2021,

“Deconstruction.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Anime / Neon Genesis Evangelion.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

Wikipedia contributors. “Evangelion (Mecha).” Wikipedia, 14 Apr. 2021,

“NERV | Evangelion | Fandom.” Evangelion, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“What Is an Angel?” Evangelion, Accessed 19 May 2021.

Lawlor, Leonard, “Jacques Derrida”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <;.

“Horror.” Literary Terms,

“Super Robot Genre Aka: Super Robot.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Literature / A Game of Thrones.” TV Tropes, Accessed 19 May 2021.

“Angel Attack.” Evangelion, created by Creator Hideaki Anno, season 1, episode 1, TV Tokyo, 1995.

“Unfamiliar Ceilings.” Evangelion, created by Creator Hideaki Anno, season 1, episode 2, TV Tokyo, 1995.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge–Day 18

Favorite Supporting Female Anime Character

(Asuka Langley Soryu)

My favorite supporting female character is Asuka Langley Soryu. She is the “Second Child” and the pilot of Unit 02. She is of German and Japanese descent but from America. Asuka has rather abrasive, self-absorbed, and often mean and abusive, usually toward Shinji. She has great confidence in her ability as an Eva pilot and has synced with Unit 02 better than average. She is severely insecure because of trauma from her childhood and uses her attitude as a mask. In the Rebuild of Evangelion series, it changes her name to Asuka Shikinami Langley.

This version of Asuka is like her original. She’s confident, opinionated, and aggressive. However, she doesn’t have the same relationships that the old Asuka had. Another change is with her backstory. In the original, Asuka graduates from University at age 14. In the Rebuild of Evangelion, Asuka joins the European Air Force, becoming a Captain at age 14. Asuka’s genius and cockiness the follows isn’t for show. She’s got the skills.

Asuka’s shining moment for many fans is when she single-handedly battles armed forces and 9 mass-produced EVA’s. Though she succeeded in defeating them at first, Unit 02’s run’s out of power. The Mass-Produced Eva’s have infinite power “which allows them to remain functional despite being severely damaged or mutilated” and finally allows them to “eviscerate and dismember” Unit 02 using their “Lance of Longinus” replicas. I didn’t like Asuka until this moment. I found her offputting, but she proved she was the best Eva pilot.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge–Day 11

Favorite Mech Anime (Evangelion)

I once wrote about the “mecha” genre for the Artifice in an article called Mechas: Disassociation from Science Fiction. Mecha anime is one of the most valued subgenres. The genre is further split into three sub-categories, Super Robot, Real Robot, and Hybrid Robot. There are four “types” of mecha’s: “sentient, remote-controlled, wearable, and piloted.” Neon Genesis Evangelion is a “Hybrid Robot” series that aims to “deconstruct” the mecha genre. Gainax created Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno wrote and directed the series.

Evangelion is an apocalyptic anime that focuses on a teenage boy named Shinji Ikari. They give him the opportunity to save the world using a mecha called an “Eva.” He uses this giant robot to defeat enemies called Angels. It’s considered one of the most successful anime of all time, grossing over 150 Billion yen. I think Evangelion is one of the most impressive intellectual and though provoking anime ever created. Evangelion has tremendous action sequences and complicated themes based on religion and philosophy. The series can be violent, so caution should be taken if your easily offended. You can miss the underlining symbolism that Evangelion features so I would recommend watching the series several times.

100 Day Anime Challenge · Challenges

100 Day Anime Challenge – Day 2

Favorite Anime you’ve watched so far

Over the years, several new anime have entered my top ten anime. However, none have topped Neon Genesis Evangelion. When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. They credit Evangelion with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and an altered climate. After the nuclear war, half the world’s population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.

Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, and references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series, and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. Evangelion has been described as a ” critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Evangelion is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that make Evangelion one of the most well-regarded series ever.