I understand why people were so furious about this, now. Thoroughly. Utterly. Totally.
While I certainly would never condone fans sending Gainax death threats and flooding message boards with vitriol over this, I can at least understand where they are coming from. If this were presented to me as the de factor “ending” of this amazing show that I’d been so wrapped up in for 25 episodes, I’d probably be spitting mad. All that amazing character interactions, all those clues of am intricate conspiracy plot, all these heady secrets seeming to about to be unveiled, and then… a group therapy session that resolves nothing aside Shinji “choosing life.”
I would’ve been FURIOUS.
Luckily, I understood that END OF EVANGELION is the “real” ending while I watched this episode (and I’ll be checking that out soon enough.) I’m all for challenging endings, but this reminds me a lot Stephen King’s DARK TOWER series, which similarly gets a little “meta” to frustrate audiences at the end. King actually gave you a choice at the end of that book. You, as the reader, could choose either the “happy ending” and close the book with peace of mind, or you could continue on for ten more pages and experience the “real ending.” If the relationship of this episode to END OF EVANGELION might be comparable, then I'm definitely plugging ahead to get real answers. Seriously, there are so many remaining questions...
What is human instrumentality? What does it actually entail for the world?
What caused the Second Impact? Hell, what actually happened in the Second Impact?
What about all those mass-produced Evas? Weren’t they on their way out of the facotry?
Aaaaaaaaah! I need answers and they better be in END OF EVANGELION. Maybe they’re in the director’s cut episodes (look for my review of those tomorrow.) Otherwise, this ending would be the biggest cop-up I’ve ever encountered.
Wow... I think I'm officially a "mark" for Eva, now. HA HA...