For anime buffs all around the world, Neon Genesis Evangelion is simply a must-see. But by the time you're done, you might be left with more questions than answers. Not to fear! There's a movie, too, called The End of Evangelion. Surely, that'll answer more questions, right? Well, not exactly. In fact, people have been trying to analyze this movie for decades now, and there are some areas where nobody has ever gotten a straight answer. This has given rise to a ton of strange, unique, and downright terrifying fan theories about The End of Evangelion.
One thing we know for sure is that both the show and the movie are steeped in religious commentary. Many End of Evangelion fan theories are centered around that. But there's even more to delve into. Between the Eva souls theory, deities, references to dating sims, and the inner workings of creator Hideaki Anno, you can be sure things are about to get weird.
So if you're a fan of conspiracy theories, particularly End of Evangelion conspiracy theories, then this list is for you.
The Timeline Constantly Repeats Itself
This theory has gained more support as of late, mostly because of the Rebuild/Sequel version of NGE that's come out more recently. This theory holds that the NGE timeline is fractured, looping, and we only see a small part of it at any given time. This is backed up by the fact that Kaworu seems to know who Shinji is, and that Rei has a sense of her life restarting multiple times. It also explains the vast differences in the sequel, the original series, EoE, and even the manga.
What this means for the EoE movie is that this ending is just one of many, and that Shinji might actually have a sense of that. This is also supported by occasional scenes going back in time, like Shinji and Asuka yelling at each other over coffee. We know these scenes didn't actually happen during the original series, so where else would they have come from except for alternate timelines? Which timeline comes first, however, is still widely debated to this day.
The Girl on the Beach at the End Is a Combination of Rei, Misato, and Asuka
This is one of the oldest running fan-theories about the ending movie, and you can sort of see the logic behind it. In the final scene of EoE, a girl who looks like Asuka lies next to Shinji on a beach. He gets up and begins to choke, her, and we get a pretty good look at her features. Some fans claim that the girl has brown eyes and Asuka's red hair, but the same bandages that Rei had in the beginning of the series. This leads to the theory that the girl is, in fact, not Asuka at all. She's instead a combination of the three female protagonists we see the most in the series: Asuka, Misato, and Rei. Given the... awkward relationship Shinji has with women, it would kinda make sense.
However, when you change the contrast in the scene, you can see the girl actually has blue eyes, indicating that, yes, this really is Asuka, and only Asuka.
EoE Is What Happens When Shinji Rejects Instrumentality
Instrumentality is a key theme throughout the series, and some say that, in the end of the TV series, Shinji finally accepts instrumentality. He doesn't make a choice, he doesn't fight it, he doesn't even really question it that hard. He just gets a huge dose of self-love and acceptance and acknowledges the new world he's been brought into and realizes he can live there comfortably.
The movie, on the other hand, is all about Shinji making a choice. He doesn't just blindly accept a new world made for him, full of sunshine and rainbows. Instead, people around him die, he loses many he cares about, and he never really hits a point where he loves himself at all. As Asuka points out, he doesn't even really like himself. Many fans think this indicates that the TV ending is all about acceptance, while the movie is all about rejection.
EoE Was Just a Big Middle Finger from the Show's Creator
When the original NGE series concluded, many fans were a little upset about the ending. Between the applause and congratulations, the bubbly, happy Rei, and the disjointed dismissal of all the conflict that was ongoing, the ending was kind of a muddled, confusing letdown. And fans weren't ashamed to say so, in big capital letters. The creator, Hideaki Anno, received actual death threats and a huge amount of hate mail. This lead to many saying that the movie, made well after the show ended, was his revenge against all the complaining fans.
Fan favorite characters all die, there are random shots of abusive language and hate messages, and there's even a shot of the audience itself. Anno may have been pressured to create the movie due to the hatred the final episode garnered, but it's unlikely that the whole movie, which is so drenched in symbolism, is all just a way to tell off his critics.