Are the endings shown in the anime series and shown in The End of Evangelion different/alternate or are they same but in different places?

  • To answer your question, yes they are the same ending. But I'd like to say that I agree with Mindwin's answer to some extent. This work did not give definitive answers and left room for interpretation. I personally abhor such behavior from any creative work (and especially its creator), but that's how it is. I do not believe that "Western minds have trouble coping with a lack of closure" though. Its a personal preference. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 9:00
  • Correction. Series ending was how Anno wanted it. Then he got death threats from pissed off fans that wanted a concrete ending. Enter End of Evangelion. Everyone got their concrete ending..........All the characters were turned into.........well......you know. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 2:37
  • Also, I think many minds, not just western minds, want an absolute finale, in which nothing is left open. Another way of saying they want to be spoon fed as it is less work for the mind lol. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 2:39

5 Answers 5


First the history of the endings.

Gainax studio went through a huge financial crisis near the ending of evangelion. They decided to end the series anyway, and went for a low-budget ending (the episodes 24-25).

The television series takes a very avant-garde approach and focuses on a first-person psychological account of the instrumentality process from the perspective of its main characters (primarily Shinji Ikari). ref

The fanbase reaction was brutal. From death threats to graffiti, hatemail and the likes. Anno's take on that:

On Evangelion's last two episodes , which upset many fans... ANNO: I have no problem with them. If there's a problem, it's all with you guys. Too bad.
(emphasis given because of verbal cue given by Anno himself during the interview

Later they decided to do the feature animation "The end of evangelion", retelling the ending.

You have to take in mind that Anno's style of storytelling is very fluid. He would only work on a new episode when the previous was finished:

Toshio Okada: But--the last scenes were never fixed. When I talked to Mr. Anno a month ago, he said he couldn't decide the ending until the time came. ref

Anno comments on the development of the series:

Hideaki Anno: “The development of Evangelion gives me the feeling of a ‘Live’ concert. Whatever the story or the development of the characters, I made them without a plan. During the production, whether listening to various opinions or analysing my own state of mind, I kept questioning myself. I got the concepts from this personal stocktaking [self-assessment]. At first I had intended to make a simple work featuring robots.

But even when the main scene became a high school, it did not differ compared to other productions in the same style. At this point, I did not really think of creating a character with two faces, two identities: one shown at school, and the other inside the organization he belongs to [Nerv]. The impression of ‘Live’ concert that gives me the birth of Eva, was the team joining me in developing it, in the manner of an improvisation: someone plays the guitar and, in response, the drums and bass are added. The performance ended with the TV broadcasting ending. We only started working on the next script once the previous one was done. ref

So they made the film with the new ending, re-telling the story from another perspective. Some classify the first ending as the personal instrumentality inside Shinji's mind, the other as the external instrumentality.

Anno, in the best "death of the author fashion", said (and I am sorry I couldn't find the source) that the "true" ending lies with the viewer. When he started to make the new movies (the rebuild of evangelion), he is simply telling another evangelion story. Like folklore, the true story is nowhere to be found, all of them are true, depending only on the viewer's impression.

Hideaki Anno: ”Eva" is a story that repeats.
It is a story where the main character witnesses many horrors with his own eyes, but still tries to stand up again.
It is a story of will; a story of moving forward, if only just a little.
It is a story of fear, where someone who must face indefinite solitude fears reaching out to others, but still wants to try.
We hope that you look forward to the 4 new retellings of this story.ref

So the truth is that the real ending is all / any of them. The interpretation of what you saw on the screen is intentionally left open.

  • 1
    Great answer, except I disagree with the last sentence. Many works of Western literature, including the dystopian works 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale, leave the ending up in the air; this isn't peculiar to Japanese works. It would be more accurate to say that those whose expectations are adapted to popular works with a clear ending, regardless of culture, have trouble coping with the lack of closure of certain kinds of literary, avant-garde works such as Eva.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 6:18
  • @Torisuda sorry if it seemed biased against Japanese works. I was just putting it in context since it was an anime Q&A. Correcting it now. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 3:31
  • I actually took it as somewhat biased against Western works, as if you were saying that all Western works have clear, simple, unambiguous endings. That is pretty much true for popular works, but Eva is more of an art house work, so I felt we should compare it with fine literature and more art house-type films like Children of Men (highly ambiguous ending, by the way) rather than popular works like, say, Harry Potter or Return of the Jedi. All that said, I wasn't offended, I just thought it would be useful and somewhat interesting to talk about that.
    – Torisuda
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 3:39
  • Here is another article which echoes many of the same points in this answer.
    – GDP2
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 1:17

The endings are actually the same. The series ending shows how humans perceive the human instrumentality in their minds (their loneliness erasing and all their minds merging). The movie ending shows the events that happen in the outside world (the physical events).

Really, the movies were result of pressure from fans. :D


They are different.

In the original series, Shinji ultimately accepts human instrumentality and joins the rest of the human race in the pool of LCL, surrendering his fear, and by doing so also sacrificing his individuality and personhood, to become part of a singular superorganism.

In EoE, he rejects human instrumentality, unable to let go of his fear of becoming one with everyone else. He ends up on a beach, alone except for an unconscious Asuka beside him. Everyone else is gone. Earth is devastated. The chances of rebuilding civilation are slim but not non-existent. At a loss for what to do, Shinji walks over to Asuka and chokes her. She wakes up and expresses her disgust. Credits roll.

  • Since the ending is left open for the viewer to interpret (so all answers are right), I like your interpretation and I think it's the most correct
    – evilReiko
    Commented Sep 2, 2019 at 12:10

I have to go with cantthinkofacoolname... they are the same ending. In both, Shinji rejects instrumentality. The film elaborates and shows how it looks in the real world, and in the anime, it was how it worked in Shinji's mind.


I personally like the same ending theory. I feel like while Shinji was in instrumentality he worked through his issue through ep. 26's sequences as instrumentality intends to do, but since Rei is a clone of Shinji's mother and instrumentality happened with him as the center point inside the Eva his mother fused with, he was pulled out of it by Rei/Lillith enough to understand what instrumentality was and rejected it after having experienced it. Choosing to instead endure the pain of attempting to find the connections he's looking for properly, rather than being a single being to have those connections effortlessly.

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