What actually happened in the last episode of the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series? It is episode 26, entitled "Take care of yourself"?
I have read different wikis about the plot of the episode, but I still don't understand it.
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It's a little disguised, but the overall meaning is not too complicated.
Thought the whole series, Shinji was struggling, because he has made a shell to cover himself, not to expose his feelings and fears. Shinji had (as we all do, probably) a lot of things that were bothering him inside: the relationship with his father, the desire to find a place in this world, and so on and so forth, questions like "who am I?", "what am I supposed to be?", "what do I want to become?", "how other people see me?". Finally, Shinji views the world, and himself, in thge comedic high school setting with other characters talking to him, trying to help him answer all those questions. It's something like a visit to a psychotherapist, where the role of the psychotherapist is taken by all the people he knew. Finally, they help him to destroy his shell. He realizes his self-worth. He realizes that he can live the life without Eva, and make it worth living. He manages to acquire the will to live, which he was lacking before.
The Human Instrumentality Project was occurring. As evidenced by the tel-op in Episode 25 stating "And then...The instrumentality of mankind begins" after Gendo fetches Rei and other lines. Another example is an Episode 26 tel-op that reads "In other words, the instrumentality of souls was still ongoing".
There's a lot of existentialism presented in the final two episodes.
Because of similar "real world" scenes in both (Misato and Ritsuko dead in Episode 25, Eva-02 under the lake), some fans take the final 2 episodes as being a variation of what's occurring (e.g. metaphysical events vs in the real world) during the The End of Evangelion.
Regardless of your opinions on how both endings fit, what's happening in the final episode is Shinji's personal experiences of Instrumentality and how he views himself (and how the cast views him) as an individual; Shinji struggling to find his own self worth and reasons for living. The alternate reality sequence near the ending is an example of another possible reality, something to help Shinji realize he can find self-worth in the real world without clinging onto Eva/his identity as an Eva pilot.
If you have a copy of the Platinum (Renewal in Japan) release of NGE, the translations should be pretty clear on what exactly is happening.
Thank you for your interest in this question.
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