In three months time, a new Evangelion film will have its premiere in Japan. To say that this is an anticipated event is an understatement: ever since the original television series "Neon Genesis Evangelion"
aired in 1995 it has been a phenomenon to be reckoned with. For those interested in what happened between that first airing and the current popularity of anything Evangelion, I've tried to recap that wild ride in my review for the first film of the current series of four (link here)
. Today, the franchise is alive and kicking, huge with a capital H...
But for, say, 99% of the fans the story so far has lacked a satisfying ending. The television anime had one of the most intriguing setups ever and a magnificently detailed universe, yet while it was great at posing questions it wasn't all that interested in providing any answers, leading to an ending that was so incredibly ambiguous that creator Hideaki Anno famously received several death threats. A reworked ending was incredibly spectacular, finishing in the cinema with the devastatingly psychedelic feature film "The End of Evangelion"
. It didn't bring all that much clarity though. It is telling that some say the two endings (TV-series and film) complement each other, while others say they exclude each other.
So when Anno announced that he was going to retell the whole story again as four cinema features with a new (FINAL) ending, fan response went through the roof. So far he wasn't lying: we got "Evangelion 1.0 : You Are (Not) Alone"
in 2007 and "Evangelion 2.0 : You Can (Not) Advance"
in 2009. And the waiting started for the last two films, which Anno claimed would be released close together and would both show the same ending, only from different viewpoints. WHOA!!!
While the first of the four films had closely followed the original anime's story, the second one spectacularly veered off the beaten track and included one of director Anno's staples: a hidden post-credits sequence with a completely different ending. Everyone could not help but wonder what parts 3 and 4 would bring.
That was three years ago.
What has happened in those three years? Fake trailers, fan rumblings, rumours of fights between Hideaki Anno and the producers... What we did NOT get was a teaser poster with a defining image, like we got for the first two films. What we also did NOT get was a definite title: even the website made constant double mentions of both "Evangelion: Q"
and "Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo"
(an ironic title if there ever was one).
Whenever the new film was mentioned or new footage unearthed, it always turned out to be fake, or bits and pieces from the post-credits sequence.
Then last year in August, we got the first truly new glimpse when we saw a short clip of Asuka, wearing an eyepatch and steering her Eva through space. And we rejoiced: delayed or not, new footage actually existed!
In 2012 we got an official teaser and an official trailer. Problem is: the teaser was a re-edit of known footage while the trailer showed a cgi piano playing a tune AND. NOTHING. ELSE.
As of today we still have no final poster except a blue square with some letters on it. No teaser mentioning a story. No trailer showing actual footage of a new film.
So what will we be seeing come November? Is there really a new film? Or only half a film? Or two films?
Has Hideaki Anno lost his mind? Or found a new one? Are the voice-actors at each other's throats again?
Will Evangelion ever end as a story, or will this series of films once more take such a different direction that it leaves us all behind, disappearing behind some unseen horizon for another ten years?
Nothing is known yet, but speculating about this will be fun as always.
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