Teaching Students About “The End of Evangelion”


The End of Evangelion, serving as both an alternate ending to the animated series Neon Genesis Evangelion and a theatrical adaptation of episodes 25 and 26, offers a wealth of opportunities for educators to discuss complex themes and engage students in meaningful conversations. As a groundbreaking work within the anime genre, The End of Evangelion tackles profound topics such as existentialism, human psychology, and the impact of societal expectations. This article serves as a guide for educators looking to incorporate The End of Evangelion into their curriculum.

Setting the Context

Before diving into the major themes presented in The End of Evangelion, it is essential to provide students with an understanding of Neon Genesis Evangelion’s background. First released in 1995, the series follows 14-year-old Shinji Ikari after he is summoned by his estranged father Gendo Ikari to pilot a giant mecha called an “evangelion” in order to save humanity from beings known as Angels.

Key Themes in The End of Evangelion

When teaching about The End of Evangelion, educators should address various thought-provoking themes that emerge throughout the film. Here are some key themes teachers may wish to explore:

1. Existential Crisis: A dominant theme throughout both Neon Genesis Evangelion and The End of Evangelion is the uncertainty about one’s purpose in life. The protagonists continually struggle with questions of self-worth and purpose, ultimately engaging students in discussions about how individuals cope with personal isolation and doubts.

2. The Human Instrumentality Project: As a central plot element within both the series and the movie, this project aims to merge all human consciousnesses into one entity – thereby eliminating loneliness and conflict. Debating whether this loss of individuality constitutes salvation or damnation will encourage students to consider broader philosophical questions.

3. Shifting Perspectives: Throughout the film, the audience sees events unfold from multiple characters’ points of view, which can lead to further considering narratives and storytelling techniques. By discussing how the film uses these shifting perspectives, students can grasp the importance of empathy and how differing viewpoints impact a story’s interpretation.

4. The Impacts of Societal Expectations: From gender roles to expectations placed upon young people, The End of Evangelion explores a myriad of societal pressures that affect the characters. Educators can foster discussions around how such pressures impact mental health, self-worth, and self-expression.

5. Relationships and Vulnerability: A driving force within The End of Evangelion is the relationship between the main characters, emphasizing their struggles with vulnerability and emotional intimacy. By discussing these complexities, students will delve into the theme of human connection and consider real-life applicability.

Teaching Methods

To create an engaging and insightful learning environment, teachers should use a variety of teaching methods when addressing the themes in The End of Evangelion:

1. Group Discussion: Encourage open dialogue among students by posing questions to explore deeper themes.

2. Multimedia Approach: Utilize clips or images from both Neon Genesis Evangelion and The End of Evangelion to illustrate certain points.

3. Creative Writing Prompts: Assign students writing exercises that allow them to explore themes further or analyze scenes from different perspectives.

4. Research Projects: Task students with researching topics related to The End of Evangelion’s themes, perhaps focusing on philosophical concepts or psychological aspects.


The End of Evangelion offers educators a rich resource for teaching complex themes in an accessible format. By thoroughly addressing core themes and utilizing diverse teaching methods, educators can engage students in deep discussions about existentialism, human psychology, and societal expectations – ultimately inspiring reflection on their own lives and experiences.

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