The End of Evangelion
December 21st, 2012
The End of Evangelion is the subject of the 44th episode of Anime Abandon, hosted by Bennett the Sage. The episode was posted to That Guy With the Glasses on December 21st, 2012, and to YouTube on June 30th, 2013. In this episode, Sage closes out 2012--and the Mayan Long Count Calendar--by reviewing, in his words, "the final boss of anime." But will Sage be able to even describe the horrors within?
(Anime Abandon opening)
Sage: Ladies and gentlemen…
(Holds up End of EVA DVD)
Sage: …meet the final boss of anime.
Sage (VO): It’s not that it’s the worst anime film ever made, it’s that no anime—film, series, OVA, or what have you—has ever come close to matching its bloated self-importance, its wildly overblown visuals, or its legacy as the de facto albatross across the culture’s neck.
Sage: When I first saw The End of Evangelion, I quite distinctly remembered having never seen a film like it. And to its credit, I still haven’t! (Beat) But 20 seconds afterwards, I also distinctly remember saying, “Wow…that movie sucked!”
Sage (VO): Yes, the film is bad, but it’s a special kind of bad: the kind of bad that can only come about when crazy collides with waaayyy too much money. It is at once impossible to look away, but impossible to take seriously. Simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. A work that is less film and more endurance test.
Sage: I’ve been planning this review for months now, and I still feel like I’m waiting in the dentist’s office for a root canal. (Sighs) No use putting it off any longer…this is The End of Evangelion.
(Cut to stills of the EVA 2.22 European blu-ray release)
Sage (VO): And oh how I wish that title was literal.
(Cut to footage from the film. We see a zoomed in sign, not centered in Evangelion fashion that says “1st Cranial Nerves” and an obnoxiously brightly lit hallway.)
Sage (VO): We begin our tale—apparently on the surface of the sun, judging by how blindingly bright everything is—as Shinji looks over the comatose body of Asuka, who’s still recovering from a fight earlier in the series.
(Shinji attempts to speak to Asuka in room 303. Because of the bad gamma, objects can barely be made out in the room. Asuka is hooked up to monitoring equipment.)
Shinji (voice barely above a whisper): Help me…help me Asuka…
(Shinji attempts to rustle the comatose Asuka awake)
Shinji: Hey…quit fooling around…come on!
(Cut to Sage making a throttling action)
Sage (as Shinji): Yeah, come on Asuka! Wake up! It’s not like you were gravely wounded—OH WAIT!!
(Cut back to film)
Shinji (borderline weeping): Call me an idiot like you always do! Just say something damn it! Please…WAKE UP!!
(Parental advisory ahead. Trust me, this is gross and isn’t even popular in the EVA fandom. It's pretty NSFW)
(Shinji rouses Asuka so hard that he ends up ripping her medical gown open, exposing her breasts and she is left lying in a compromising position. Of course, this can’t be seen because of the gamma, and as such, Censor Kaiser isn’t needed. Shinji is taken aback at this, and he promptly masturbates to Asuka’s comatose body, his breathing becoming more hurried in the act, his grunts signaling he has finished. He looks at the semen on his right hand)
Shinji: …I’m so fucked up...
(Cut to a shocked looking Sage. This says a lot.)
Sage: Took the words right out of my mouth, kid.
Sage (VO): I can’t really confirm this, but I think Manga Entertainment turned up the gamma in this scene to obscure the fact that Shinji just jerked off to Asuka’s lifeless body. I say this because with every other copy of this film I’ve seen, the gamma is not nearly this high. Which begs the question: if they were so uncomfortable with this scene that they tried to censor it, why include the scene at all? It’s not related at all to the plot, it’s just an extraneous and wholly contemptible character moment. So just make like Kite and cut it.
Sage: There’s a sort of…moral event horizon that unlikely heroes have. They need to have bad qualities in order to be considered an unlikely hero, but if they go too far, then you lose your audience and you’re stuck with an unlikable asshole for your protagonist. Whipping up your man-chowder over a comatose girl in a hospital bed is not the mark of an unlikely hero. That’s the mark of a repressed douchebag!
(Cut back to the film)
Sage (VO): It seems that the lack of any remaining imminent threat has the men and women of NERV on-edge. Making matters worse is that SEELE, their presiding overseers—and fuck me sideways if I can concisely explain what the fuck they do and why—are beginning to talk of ending everything and initiating what they call the final step in human evolution, Instrumentality.
Gendo Ikari: Humanity must evolve and shape this brave new world. That was why we created the EVA Series.
SEELE 09: We need not cast aside our human form to use Evangelion as our own private ark.
SEELE 12: It’s merely part of the process to free us all for rebirth.
Unknown SEELE: The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth!
Unknown SEELE 2: Through the sacrament of death, God, humanity and all living beings will be united and reborn as one!
Gendo: Death creates nothing.
Sage: Being honest here, I’ve watched the series more times than I care to count, and I’ve watched this movie even more times. And I STILL don’t understand what the deal is with SEELE!
(Cut back to the film. The SEELE monoliths fade)
Sage (VO): The existence of SEELE in Evangelion is such a convoluted mess of plot holes, character inconsistencies and a whole mess of other problems.
Sage: What it boils down to is this simple list of questions.
(Sage produces a clipboard and we cut back to the film footage. Sage speaks in a disinterested monotone with music in the background. The text of the questions is on-screen)
Sage (monotone VO): One: If SEELE believes that the existence of humanity was a fluke and that the Angels were the true successors of the Earth, why would they fund a program that fights the Angels?
Two: If the Angels knew SEELE were helping NERV to fight and kill them, why would they cooperate with SEELE and send Kaworu, the 17th Angel, into NERV headquarters and merge with Lilith?
Three: If all that had to be done was for Kaworu to merge with Lilith, why did it take so long for this plan to be enacted?
Four: If they knew this plan was going to fail because the prophetic writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls didn’t foretell any of this, why did they go through with it anyway and risk showing their hand to NERV?
Five: If the alleged leader of SEELE, Keel Lorenz, knew about Gendo Ikari’s treachery before—(jump cut back to Sage)
Sage: Wait, where are you going? I’ve got, like, 2,643 more bitchy questions to ask!
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): OK, bottom line: SEELE is a fucking stupid organization that constantly makes decisions that either delay or nullify their stated goal. Got it? Good. Moving on. SEELE is tired of Gendo’s shit and decides to take down the Japanese NERV headquarters via hacking their computer banks…that are named after the Magi, infuriatingly enough.
Aoba: The fourth firewall has been breached!
Hyuga: Locking the main database…negative! The system is being overtaken!
Ibuki: They’re reached the next level! The backup system didn’t even slow them down!
(Cut back to a panicked Sage)
Sage: Everything is down! Our subnet mask! Our MAC address! The bastards even got our token ring! (Overdramatizing) Why didn’t we reinforce our data packets?
(Cut back to film as Ritsuko blocks the MAGI intrusion)
Sage (VO): But it’s okay folks! Ritsuko here completely shuts down the intrusion on her Chromebook! Wow, not only did they literally copy and paste the plot of the 13th episode of the series here—and somehow managed to make it LAMER—they also wasted about four minutes of screen time! Way to go, guys!
Fuyutski: The MAGI was just foreplay. SEELE is planning to launch an all-out offensive against headquarters and take the two EVAs by force, aren’t they?
Gendo: Of course. We have both Adam And Lilith.
Sage: Wait…if SEELE was just gonna take your stuff by force, why did they bother with the hacking attempt in the first place? God…do you see what I mean by this SEELE bullshit?!
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): And lo and behold, they do just that! SEELE launches an all-out offensive on NERV and it seems that there’s little they can do to stem the tide.
(Cut back to a stoic Gendo and Fuyutski, with NERV automated announcements and alarms blaring in the background)
Aoba: The #3 underground barricade has been destroyed! Enemy forces have begun invading Level 2!
Fuyutski (over Aoba): There’s nothing more that we can do to hold them off. Our defeat has become inevitable.
Sage (monotone): Hey man, keep your cool. The last thing we need is for you to lose your composure (normal speech)—G-God fucking dammit, this voice acting sucks!
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): SEELE is absolutely ruthless, killing unarmed NERV staff without a moment’s hesitation. Even using a FUCKING FLAMETHROWER! Why the fuck would ground soldiers fighting inside a complex bother to carry around a fucking FLAMETHROWER?! What do you think this is, ‘Nam?!
(Cut to a clip from The Big Lebowski)
The Dude: What the fuck does ANYTHING have to do with Vietnam?!
(Cut back to the film)
Aoba: The main bypass is under fire!
Misato: Seal off levels one through three! Order a full retreat! Release Bakelite (pronounced bake-light) infusion in all passages through Section 803!
NERV voice: Commencing Bakelite infusion in section 703.
Sage: (smacks head) You assholes! Bakelite! (Gets closer to camera) BAY-KUH-LIGHT!! It’s pronounced Bakelite! And while I’m at it, it’s pronounced ZEE-Luh (referring to SEELE). SEELE is German for “soul,” and the Germans don’t pronounce it Say-lay! Dammit, Evangelion pisses me off!
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): Misato orders the three children into their respective EVA units, and while they manage to get Asuka inside hers, Rei seems to be missing and Shinji is cowering in a corner. And at least this time, for good reason.
(Gunfire on the metal stairs makes Shinji flinch)
SEELE soldier: We’ve located the Third Child. Commencing termination. Sorry kid. Nothing personal.
(Misato races at the soldiers and shoots two, kicks the last in the head and pins another one against a wall with her gun under his chin)
Misato: Hey, no offense taken.
(Misato shoots him and a cartoonish splat sound effect plays. Cut back to Sage, trying to stifle a laugh)
Sage: OK. Hand to God, I swear I did not put in that Smuckers Jam sound effect. Manga Entertainment are just that inept.
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): Of course Shinji, being the selfish, whiny brat that he is, decides to play the limp doll and refuses to commit.
Sage: And as much as I appreciate Misato verbally slapping the shit out of Shinji…
(Cut back to film)
Misato: Giving up halfway is worse than never trying at all! Come on! Get up! MOVE IT!
Sage: It’s too little, too late.
(Cut to film)
Misato: They plan to initiate Third Impact using the EVA Series instead of the Angels. Fifteen years ago, Second Impact was intentionally engineered by mankind because it was the only way to minimize the potential damage. They had to reduce Adam to an embryonic state before the other Angels awoke. You see, Shinji…mankind was spawned from a being called Lilith, just like Adam was. We are the 18th Angel. The other Angels are just different possibilities: what we could have become.
Sage (disinterested VO): 749: If the Angels are just another form of humanity, why would SEELE think humanity is a mistake when it’s just as likely that the other Angels were the mistake?
750: Why is Lilith in the hands of—(Smash cut back to Sage)
Sage: OK, OK, I swear, last time I do that!
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): Asuka, meanwhile, seems to have had enough and realizes—or hallucinates—that her mother has been with her in her EVA unit all along, and pulls herself and her unit out of the lake to fight the invading forces of SEELE.
Asuka: Mama! Now I understand! The meaning of the AT Field! You were always protecting me! Always watching over me!
Sage: Hey, whatever floats your crazy, crazy boat, lady.
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): As we cut away from this very familiar sight of the Japanese military impotently firing at a massive monster, Misato has been guiding Shinji towards his EVA unit, but is fatally wounded. And even while she’s bleeding out, Shinji STILL can’t get it through his head to buck up and take charge.
Shinji: But you’re not me! You don’t know what I have to go through! You don’t understand!
Misato: SO FUCKING WHAT IF I’M NOT YOU?! THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S OK FOR YOU TO GIVE UP! If you do, I will never forgive you as long as I live. God knows I’m not perfect either. I’ve made tons of stupid mistakes, and later I regretted them. And I’ve done it over and over again, thousands of times! A cycle of hollow joy and vicious self-hatred.
(Cut back to Sage)
Sage: Misato…why didn’t you have this speech with him back in…like…episode 10? That would’ve saved us so many goddamn headaches.
Misato: Promise me.
Misato: See you soon. (She leans in and passionately kisses Shinji) That was a grown-up kiss. We’ll do the rest when you get back, OK?
(Cut to South Park “Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy” Clip)
Police Commissioner: Nice.
(Cut back to the film)
Sage (VO): Well, maybe not nice after all, as Misato keels over as she sends Shinji on his way. Meanwhile, Asuka is still trying to wipe out the SEELE forces, including their own line of EVA units.
(Sequence of Asuka screaming and fighting the EVA Series as Bach’s Air sonata plays)
(Cut back to Sage with what is presumed to be scotch in his hand)
Sage (in a refined but not-quite-British accent): Ah yes, Air on the G-string from Bach’s Orchestral Suite #3 in D major. True fact: adding Johan Bach to anything makes it immediately classy and highbrow. Observe.
(Cut to a clip from Jackass 3D where the guys shoot a dildo out of a cannon and it hits Rick Kosick in the face, as he has an apple on his head. The flying of the dildo is, sure enough, accompanied by Air, and the action is all caught on a high-speed camera. We cut back to Sage.)
Sage: Truly the utter height of sophistication. (takes a sip from his scotch)
Sage (VO): Asuka might be classing it up in this battle, but it looks like she’s gonna be doing this on her own because Shinji’s EVA unit has been blocked solid with Bakelite. And if that weren’t enough, it seems that Gendo is leading Rei to Lilith to start Third Impact. But Ritsuko has other plans.
Ritsuko: A loving daughter’s final request. Mother…let’s end it together.
(Ritsuko presses a button inside her lab coat, but nothing happens)
Ritsuko: It’s not working! Why?! Casper betrayed me! Mother, how could you choose your lover over me?
(Gendo raises his gun towards the shell-shocked Ritsuko)
Gendo: Ritsuko Akagi. The truth is…(his next line is inaudible)
Ritsuko: (She gives a defeated smile) …you liar.
(Gendo shoots Ritsuko and she falls into the lake of LCL. Cut back to Sage)
Sage (giggling): How much do you hate me right now?
Sage (VO): Asuka is quickly running out of power and is about to finish off the last remaining EVA unit, when all of a sudden—and out of nowhere—a copy of the Lance of Longinus flies in and impales her unit.
Sage: Which is pretty unbelievable because no one was around to throw it! Every EVA unit was incapacitated. Who threw that fucking lance?!
(Sage blinks a few times, and is then taken with inspiration! He adds that question to his clipboard.)
Sage: Two thousand, six hundred forty-nine…
Sage (VO): So…yeah, Asuka’s toast and is killed by the EVAs. Which is a shame because she was this close to actually being useful! And to add insult to injury, only after it’s too late to do anything does Shinji’s EVA unit come alive of its own accord, and break out of the Bakelite.
Sage: You know…now that I think about it, why DOES Asuka think she’s hot shit?
Sage (VO): Yes, she deals with a number of Angels over the course of the show, but she never did anything in the show to warrant her ego, and nothing without the help of Shinji or Rei. She’s just an overcompensating, delusional little brat. And the one time where she actually has her moment and acted like the hotshot she always said she was, it was against the HOPELESSLY outmatched SEELE forces. You don’t have to be the greatest pilot in the world if the target can’t even put a dent in your armor!
Sage: It’s like if in Top Gun, Maverick only fought enemies in B-52’s while he was in an F-14 and still acted like a pompous jackass! Do you all see why I hate Asuka so much?!
Sage (VO, somewhat exasperated): And don’t give me any shit about how this entire fight scene is her one moment of badass. Really. Her one moment of badass is her fighting a group of people who have no hope of injuring her, only to completely fail at fighting the EVAs!
Sage: Did the definition of badass change without anyone telling me?! THIS is badass.
(Cut to Ghost in the Shell scene where Motoko tries to rip open the tank hatch barehanded, but ends up practically destroying herself)
Sage: THIS is badass.
(Cuts to the golf course scene from Falling Down)
William Foster: Well I guess you’re out of luck, aren’t you? Your little cart’s gonna drown! Now aren’t you sorry you didn’t let me pass through your golf course?
Old Man: (weakly) My…golf…course…
WF: Yeah! And now you’re gonna die, wearing that stupid little hat!
Sage: Even THIS is badass!
(Cut to Team Fortress 2: Meet the Heavy)
Heavy: Some people think they can…outsmart me. Maybe. (Sorrowfully sniffs) Maybe. I’ve yet to meet one who can outsmart bullet!
Sage: This?! This is weaksauce! Call me Morpheus, because I’m force-feeding you the blue pill* and pulling you out of The Matrix! (Sage gets closer to camera) Asuka is nothing but a whiny. Simpering. Little. Bitch. Yeah. Asuka is the original Rainbow Dash! (Pounds chest as if to say “come at me!”) What?
You meant the red pill, Sage? I thought so.
(Cut back to the film)
SEELE Soldier: Evangelion Unit-01!
SEELE Commander: The devil himself!
(Crossfade to EVA Unit-01, and eventually Shinji inside it, still looking somewhat catatonic)
(Various flash and fast-speed shots see a mostly-devoured EVA Unit-02 with an eyeball hanging out and all in all, looking pretty disturbing)
Sage: Did I mention this movie is horrifying? And speaking of horrifying!
(Cut back to film, one of Rei’s arms has inexplicably fallen off. She’s also naked, for some reason.)
Gendo: We’re running out of time. Your AT Field won’t hold its shape for much longer. Let us begin, Rei. Release your AT Field, the barrier of your mind. Discard this unnecessary physical shape! Merge all souls into one…and then…take me to my Yui’s side.
(Rei closes her eyes, and Gendo reaches towards one of her breasts. His hand seems to merge into it. Cut to an incredulous-looking Sage)
Sage: I just—what do you say to that?! What do you say to a scene where a full-grown man reaches inside a teenage girl…and asks her to take him to his dead wife?
(Cut back to film)
Sage (VO): It’s about at this point in the film that my role as curator has been rendered superfluous. No longer is this movie about Shinji growing up, or facing his dad, or…anything. Nope, it’s about everything coming to a violent end and showing the audience images that were never meant to be seen.
Aoba: The EVA Series has unleashed their S2 Engines!
Hyuga: Dimensional values are inverting! All readings negative! Numerical expression is impossible!
Fuyutski: Sweet Jesus, it’s an anti-AT Field.
(As…something…happens, Oancitizen [Kyle Kallgren] pops in to explain)
Oancitizen: Ah, yes. The Tree of the Sephiroth, a classic symbol of Jewish mysticism. Coming from Kabala—meaning literally “the receiving” in Hebrew—was first put down by Isaac Lurie in the 16th Century—
Sage: Wait, waiwaiwaiwait. Oancitizen?
Sage: Are…are you actually trying to expound on The End of Evangelion?!
KK: Why, yes I am, but the question is…why are you NOT expounding on The End of Evangelion?
Sage: Because I don’t like pissing up ropes.
KK (confused by the axiom): …Come again?
(Cut to scenes from episode 26’, the 2nd half of End of EVA, while II Air plays in the background)
Sage (VO): Listen, I am fully aware of the religious imagery and symbolism at play here, and more importantly, how the film seems to be in love with Judeo-Christian iconography: the Holy Stigmata, the crucifixes, the Greek cross, I get it. I sincerely get it.
KK (VO): So why are you brushing all of that aside? These are important themes to the film and ignoring them would be like ignoring the characters or the plot.
Sage (VO): Because at the end of the day, the way the film utilizes the imagery is less about theme than it is about aesthetics!
KK (VO): Well, of course it’s a matter of aesthetics, but it’s not just about how it affects the look of a film. Besides, how a film looks and how it visually defined itself is important, too.
Sage (VO): You’re missing my point. I’m talking about how THIS particular film seems to be more focused on how they can squeeze as many religious symbols without any regard for how they may affect the story! Yes. Seeing EVA Unit-01 being swallowed up by the Tree of Life is all well and good. But this is less about what the Tree of Life means than it is about seeing the Tree itself. And I’m not even going to TOUCH on how overboard it goes in some of the later scenes.
Sage: Just because you can open up a theology textbook and put whatever cool pictures you saw inside there in your film doesn’t mean it warrants anything more than a “meh.” I’m sorry!
KK: Why are you apologizing? I agree with you!
(Music abruptly stops)
Sage: Wait, what?
KK: I agree that using imagery and symbolism are about more than just affecting the look of the film. I don’t agree with your assessment. I do agree with your sentiment.
Sage: So…what the hell are we arguing about?
(Cut back and forth between Sage and Kyle, caught in a rut, not knowing what to do next. Sage squirms, Kyle adjusts his tie. Sage mugs, Kyle plays with his hands on his chair. Sage finally breaks the awkward silence)
Sage: You…want me to play you out?
Sage: Ah…well…uh…what do you want?
KK: I don’t care, just get me off screen!
(Sage squirms a bit and is audibly nervous. Kyle isn’t going to like this…)
(Cut to a GIF of Kyle’s head superimposed over Ronald McDonald’s. Ronald is driving a blue car, pointing skywards. In the speech bubble next to Kyle’s head, it says “lol internetz revu-r.” As we see this image, “Running in the ‘90s” from Initial D plays. Cut to a very disapproving Kyle and a sheepish-looking Sage)
Kyle (seething with quiet anger): Is this 2005, Sage?
Sage: I was desperate!
Sage (VO): And so begins…it. What is “it?” “It” is 30 minutes of animation. That is the best I can do! I am sorry, but it’s true!
Sage: I am quite serious when I say that some of these scenes…I can’t possibly put into words.
(He’s right, folks. I’ve seen the movie multiple times and it’s impossible to describe many of the Eldritch Horrors we see. We do hear more of Shinji screaming, though.)
Sage (stammering, searching for words that don’t exist): Good luck with that one, assholes!
Fuyutski: The Fruit of Life is held by the Angels. The Fruit of Wisdom is held by man. EVA Unit-01 now possesses them both…and therefore, becomes God. Now the source of all souls, the Tree of Life, has been formed again. Will it be an ark to save mankind from the vacuum of Third Impact? Or is it a demon that will destroy us all? The fate of mankind now lies in Shinji’s hands…
(Cut back to Sage singing to a familiar Beethoven tune)
Sage: We’re fucked, we’re fucked, we’re fucked, we’re fucked, we’re fucked! We’re fucked, we’re fucked, we’re fucked, we’re fucked, we’re fucked! We’re fucked, oh yes we’re very fucked, oh yes we’re very fucked, oh yes we’re VERY FUCKED!!
Sage (VO): And then, the movie backs right into navel-gazing territory, and I just…I-I don’t care! I fucking don’t care about Shinji talking in circles, or any of these montages of characters talking obliquely about how much Shinji sucks!
Asuka: If I can’t have you all to myself, then I don’t want ANYTHING from you.
Shinji: Then why don’t you try just being nice to me?
Asuks, Rei, Misato: We are nice to you.
Shinji: LIARS! You’re just hiding behind those smiles, but you intentionally keep things ambiguous!
Rei: Because the truth causes—
Sage (interrupting, having finally had enough): No! Enough! Enough! God. What the fuck am I doing? And what the fuck are you doing?! Why did you click on this video, what did you honestly expect to see? You knew that Evangelion sucks! I mean, did you honestly think I would say something that hasn’t been said a thousand times over by now? Shinji’s annoying! Big fucking news! I just…I mean…(takes off hat) all I’m doing is wasting your time! And my time! And my life…(looks down at his hat, a defeated look on his face) my life…
(The End of Evangelion has seemingly broken Sage. He looks over at a baseball mitt and glove that he has. Baseball is Sage’s favorite pastime outside of his work. He picks up the dark brown glove and a dirtied ball, and tosses it into the mitt a couple times. Sage then tosses aside his End of EVA DVD, and looks at his mitt again.
We cut to shots that are meant to parody the storytelling style of the Evangelion TV series. A cloudy sky looks over a park with a soccer goal and a baseball backstop. As Sage stares at the backstop, he narrates over a part of his life that was seemingly forgotten.)
Sage (VO): Every now and then, I think about what would’ve happened if I played baseball as a kid. I played basketball and soccer but…I wanted to play ball. My dad signed me up at the local Boys & Girls Club for a T-ball team one time but…it wasn’t the same.
(We see intermittent flashes of Sage’s previous episodes of Anime Abandon. Could this be the end of the show?)
Sage (VO): He just wouldn’t have me playing Little League, always going on about my older brother when he was my age and how his Little League coach was a raging prick. He said that I would have to try out for the team and he didn’t believe that kids should have to try out for a team, so…I never played. I think he was trying to protect me from the disappointment of being not good enough for something. I remember hating him for a long time, making me play sports that I didn’t want, and keeping me from the one sport I liked. Sometimes I try talking to him about it, but he says he doesn’t remember any of it.
(Sage starts to throw the ball against the backstop, fielding the ground balls that come back his way. He starts to think about what could have been as we see more clips from previous episodes.)
Sage (VO): Maybe nothing would’ve come from me playing. Maybe I would’ve gotten bored or I’d quit or maybe I wouldn’t have been good enough from the start. But…maybe I would’ve been. Maybe I would’ve been great. Maybe I would’ve been the best player on the team. Maybe I would’ve been on the high school team, earned a scholarship and attracted scouts! Maybe I would’ve been the best damn pitcher the world has ever seen! Maybe I could’ve been worth a goddamn!!
(Sage misses a grounder and collapses to his knees, out of breath. We see close-up shots of the chain link fence, Sage’s labored breathing, and finally, the ball at rest on the grass.
Cut back to Sage’s room, where he sits back down in his usual spot on the recliner. He then gets a Skype call. Sage almost doesn’t answer it, but he does eventually. It’s Brett Weaver, formerly of ADV Films!)
BW: Hey man, how’s it going?
Sage: Oh, Brett…yeah. Umm…doing all right, I guess.
BW: You guess.
Sage (mildly annoyed): Yeah. I guess.
BW: All right man, do you need me to pry it out of you? I mean, dude—if you’ve got something wrong, just say it.
Sage (gives a heavy sigh): You ever…you ever wonder what you could’ve done in the past to change your life?
BW: Well, sometimes I wish I hadn’t been so loyal to ADV, but that’s ancient news, I mean…why are you asking?
Sage: I guess I’m just…I’m just doubting what I’m doing now.
BW (gives a facepalm): You tried to review EVA, didn’t you?
Sage: How did you know?
(Brett gives a knowing chuckle)
Sage: Oh, right.
BW: Listen, you can’t let that of all things get you down.
Sage: It’s not Evangelion, specifically; it’s just what it represents. Everyone expects me to say something about it and all I’m doing is just parroting what everyone else with half a brain stem has been saying since, like, the late ‘90s! So…what good am I then?
BW: Man, you’re the only one that can answer that question.
Sage: Who gives a shit if I think I’m worth a damn!
BW (laughing again): Because that’s your job, asshole! You’re supposed to make them give a shit! So…what if you’re just saying what everybody else is saying? Who cares? I mean, it’s still your words, your opinions. Just make ‘em yours! I mean—use ‘em to challenge, or reinforce, tear down—whatever you wanna do, but don’t just sit there with your thumb up your ass, complaining about shit you can’t control! Look, why did you start reviewing anime?
Sage: Because…I had something to say.
BW: OK, and…what is it?
Sage: That…that I love old anime. And I wanna share it.
BW: OK, well, why do you love it?
Sage: It’s the art, you know. It’s the purity of the design, the breadth of stories told, I mean…when I first saw it, it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before! And…and it’s a part of my life I can share with others….good and bad.
BW: OK, well that’s…like…a lot to say right there! You have a lot to say.
Sage: Yeah…I do. Thanks, Brett.
BW: Whatever. Look, I gotta go because E.K.’s here and I gotta make dinner so…
Sage: Ah, right. Thanks again, man. Bye.
(Sage looks reinvigorated! He hangs up the call as “Komm, Susser Tod” from the End of EVA soundtrack plays. He looks back at his setup and sits in his chair.)
Sage: Next time on Anime Abandon, we’ll have some fun with Baoh. And…from the bottom of my heart, thank you…for sharing a part of my life with me.
Music and Footage Sources
The End of Evangelion
The Gonk – De Wolf Music
The Big Lebowski
Air on the G String – Johan Bach
Ghost in the Shell
Team Fortress 2
Running in the ‘90s – Maurizio de Jorio