Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, released in 2021, marks the grand finale of the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy and stands as a monumental achievement in animation. It’s a film brimming with philosophical depth, breathtaking visuals, and a culmination of characters’ journeys spanning decades. Yet, its enigmatic narrative and introspective nature demand a closer look to unravel its true brilliance.
Shattered Worlds and Unspoken Longings: Setting the Stage
The film opens with a desolate world, ravaged by the near-apocalyptic events of the previous installment. Shinji Ikari, our emotionally fractured protagonist, finds himself adrift in a wasteland, stripped of purpose and hope. Meanwhile, the remnants of humanity fight for survival against Gehirn and NERV, two factions vying for control of the fate of mankind.
This bleak setting mirrors Shinji’s internal state. He grapples with survivor’s guilt, isolation, and an overwhelming sense of futility. The once vibrant Eva pilots, Asuka and Rei, are equally burdened by their own traumas, their relationships strained by unspoken emotions.
Deconstructing Reality and Redefining Connections: A Complex Tapestry
Evangelion has always blurred the lines between reality and perception. In 3.0+1.0, this theme is amplified. Dreamscapes merge with tangible situations, memories clash with present conflicts, and the very fabric of existence seems malleable.
This deliberate ambiguity forces viewers to actively engage with the narrative, questioning what’s truly real and how individual perspectives shape our understanding of the world.
Amidst this existential confusion, the film explores the power of connection. Shinji’s interactions with Asuka, Rei, and a mysterious new character named Kaworu provide glimmers of hope and understanding. These relationships, though imperfect and often fraught with tension, serve as anchors in the storm of despair, reminding him that he is not alone.
Instrumentality Beckons: A Choice Between Isolation and Connection
The central conflict revolves around the Instrumentality Project, a plan to merge all human souls into a single entity, eliminating suffering but also individuality.
Both Gehirn and NERV pursue this path, albeit with different motivations. This raises profound questions about the nature of existence, free will, and the value of individual experience.
Shinji, once tempted by the promise of oblivion, ultimately faces this dilemma. He must choose between the seemingly painless escape of Instrumentality and the messy complexities of human connection. His decision, born from newfound self-awareness and empathy, forms the emotional core of the film.
A Symphony of Visuals and Music: A Feast for the Senses
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 is a visual spectacle. The animation seamlessly blends traditional hand-drawn techniques with cutting-edge CGI, creating breathtaking action sequences and emotionally charged scenes.
The iconic mecha battles are exhilarating, but the film truly shines in its quieter moments, where subtle shifts in character expressions and evocative landscapes speak volumes.
The film’s soundtrack, composed by Shiro Sagisu, is a masterpiece in itself. It perfectly complements the narrative, mirroring the characters’ emotions and amplifying the film’s impact. From the melancholic piano melodies to the soaring orchestral pieces, the music elevates the viewing experience to an entirely new level.
Beyond the Ending: A Legacy of Hope and Reflection
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 doesn’t provide easy answers. Its ending, open to interpretation, leaves viewers pondering the choices made and the future that lies ahead. This ambiguity, however, is not a weakness but a strength. It encourages introspection, inviting viewers to reflect on their own journeys and the connections they hold dear.
The film’s true legacy lies in its exploration of profound human themes. It delves into the depths of despair and isolation, but ultimately offers a message of hope and the transformative power of connection.
It leaves audiences with a sense of catharsis, having walked alongside Shinji and the others on their arduous journey towards self-discovery and acceptance.