Remember the Neon Genesis Evangelion X Tamagotchi collab we talked about yesterday? Those cute little angel babies are coming out this summer as part of (what was supposed to be) a cross-promotional campaign timed with the debut of the fourth and final Rebuild of Evangelion film, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time. Well, in true Rebuild of Evangelion fashion, the long-awaited release of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 has been put on infinite hiatus due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has recently seen an uptick in confirmed cases in Japan.
“Studio Khara expressed concern about those impacted by covid-19 and added that the decision was made after careful consideration due to the spread of the virus within Japan and internationally,” reads Kotaku’s translation of an official statement made on the film’s website. The announcement was made around the same time as the film’s official Twitter account debuted English and Japanese versions of a new poster for the movie.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 is no stranger to delays. Originally announced in 2011 as Evangelion: Final, the film was supposed to see a Japanese theatrical release sometime in 2013, shortly after the fall 2012 debut of the third Rebuild of Evangelion film, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. Evangelion: 3.0+1.0‘s release would later be pushed to the fall of 2015, and then suspended indefinitely, as series creator Hideaki Anno first took time off to handle his severe depression, and then to write and co-direct Toho’s 2016 kaiju resurgence vehicle, Shin Godzilla. After the release of Shin Godzilla, Anno returned to work on Evangelion: 3.0+1.0, which was finally given a release date of June 27, 2020, in 2018.
— エヴァンゲリオン_official (@evangelion_co) April 17, 2020
Now, Rebuild of Evangelion is a whole different sack of cats from the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series, which ran from October 1995 through March 1996, and spawned two films of its own: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth and The End of Evangelion, both of which hit theaters in 1997. Death and Rebirth was actually two shorter films; an ultra-condensed re-edit of the original series (Death), and 24 minutes of new footage that would later become the first third of End of Evangelion, entitled Rebirth. End of Evangelion wasn’t really a standard film either, but rather two new, radically different versions of the final two episodes of the original series, complete with a credits break and new title cards halfway through the movie.
Neon Genesis Evangelion and its subsequent films are famously dense, inscrutable works that require no small modicum of effort to wrap your head around. So in order to bring the series more in line with his original vision, and to present a version of the story that could be more easily ingested and understood by the populace, Anno endeavored to recreate Evangelion from the ground up as a four-part animated film tetralogy, henceforth referred to as Rebuild of Evangelion.
The first film, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, hit theaters in the late summer of 2007, so people have already been waiting 13 years for this thing to wrap up again. Most of those 13 years have been spent waiting just for Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 to come out, so to see it get delayed again is especially tragic. Delaying the film is obviously the right call given the circumstances, but I think we can all agree that we’re ready for a little closure, at least for Anno’s sake.