Thursday, March 11, 2021

FINAL “REBUILD OF EVANGELION” Movie Released in JAPAN; Western Fans Begin WAIT


In 1995, Tatsunoko Production and Gainax premiered an anime series created by Hideaki Anno, one that would grip the worldwide anime fandom with its story, characters and themes. “Neon Genesis Evangelion” showcased dysfunctional family dynamics and interpersonal relationships spiced up with a post-apocalyptic setting and battles between giant robots (though not exactly) against beings called Angels. The series was followed by two films, particularly the “End of Evangelion” which was pretty much mind-bending to first-time viewers. As if taking things in mind, Anno rebooted the anime as the “Rebuild” films starting 2007. The fourth and final installment has been delayed since the third premiered in 2012. Almost a decade later, it finally released in Japan.

March 8, 2021 was the long-awaited premiere of “Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time,” the concluding chapter of the “Evangelion” film reboot that began a decade and a half ago. Comic Book Resources notes that with the final movie out in Japan, the wait has begun for its eventual release, in whatever form, on Western shores particularly in North America. The normal format of releasing anime films stateside was direct to home media, with a limited cinema release if the feature is popular enough. But when does it actually arrive?

It should be remembered that production on “Evangelion 3.0+10” has been significantly delayed. Its first announced premiere was 2015, or three years after “Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo.” Creator and director Hideaki Anno however became involved in other film projects, pushing back the release so many years some fans felt the movie was “cursed” and may never come out. And now that “3.0+1.0” did finally release, there is still the localization gap that transitions Japanese media to Western consumers. The “Evangelion” films “1.0,” “2.0” and “3.0” all had two-year gaps before they hit US shores (2007-09, 2009-11, and 2012-14).

Are American fans going to have to wait until 2023 to get a localized final “Rebuild of Evangelion” movie? Perhaps that would allow a theatrical release similar to “3.0” in 2014. More optimistic analysts however point to changes in the anime localization scene long after that year, with how recent anime films like “Your Name” (2016) and “Weathering with You” (2019) only had gaps from a year to as little as six months. Could that apply to this heavily-anticipated piece of Japanese pop culture long-appreciated by Westerners? That sounds nice.

But while waiting, the original “Evangelion” series is streaming on Netflix since 2019, so fans will not get bored waiting. Back in Japan, “3.0+1.0” has now earned almost 828 million yen ($7.6 million) in its home box office since premiering.

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