Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time
|Rebuild of Evangelion|
|Written By||Hideaki Anno|
|Directed By||Kazuya Tsurumaki, Katsuichi Nakayama|
|Theatrical Release||March 8, 2021|
|Streaming Release||August 13, 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)|
|Video Release Date||3.0+1.11: March 8, 2023 (Japan)|
|Eva Sorties||Eva-02, Eva-08, Mark.09, Eva Series 7, Eva-13, Eva-01|
|← Previous||Next →|
Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon a Time is the title for the fourth and final film in the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series, formerly known by the working title Evangelion: Final. Upon its initial announcement, It was planned to be released in Japan alongside the third film, Evangelion 3.0, at an unspecified date. Previously, the name had been changed to what could be interpreted as either the symbol for "End" or "Repeat" in sheet music..
Unlike the three previous movies, the title is rendered in Katakana as "Evangelion" in the same manner as the TV series. Starting with "Shin", just like Anno's involved live-action titles like Shin Godzilla or Shin Ultraman. The previous three movies had Katakana that spelled "Wevangeliwon". Speculation by fans based on the Jo-Ha-Kyu structure of Japanese drama suggests that Final will incorporate the fourth and fifth acts of the Japanese drama cycle, depicting a long journey and coming to a quick conclusion. Alternatively, the series may be following the Kishotenketsu narrative pattern which concludes in the fourth arc. Whether or not the movie actually follows either pattern of Japanese drama remains for further analysis once the movie is released outside of Japan.
In September 2014, the title of the final film was revealed to be "Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0", based on a title card shown at the end of the TV screening of Evangelion 3.0, followed by the subsequent update of the main Evangelion site with the new title. The final title was revealed on December 27, 2019, along with the initial release date of June 27, 2020.
With the release of Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon A Time on March 8, 2021, the section below has been largely left as it is to show timeline information from past years, and chronicle the release of said timeline information to fans.
On December 31st, 2011 the Japanese website was updated to show a 2013 release date, but that has been removed when the site was updated after Evangelion 3.0's release . The website no longer features any tentative date and none have been announced.
Actual news on the film's production had been hard to come by during the period between 2012 and 2019. Various miscellaneous projects had been done, including two animated shorts that may or may not have been pertinent to the film's own details as well as the end of Sadamoto's manga adaption. However, during this period, the film itself saw no details except for the news that Utada Hikaru, who has been the musical artist for Rebuild's credit themes, would be returning in 2015 from her hiatus to write the final film's credits theme. The source also indicated that the film would release in autumn/winter 2015, but this claim was then refuted by the source, who then stated that no official announcement had been made. Prior to the new title announcement, this was the only solid news (or any news at all) that had been released.
On July 19th, 2016 Anno directly apologized to the fans of Evangelion. He stated "To all the Evangelion fans, I’m really, really keeping you all waiting, I am truly sorry." Anno then went on to say he felt "trapped" while making Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, saying he couldn't recharge. “Up until then, after doing the third entry Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, I thought I wasn’t going to make any more,” After being offered the job to work on Godzilla Resurgence, he stated “At that time, I went into talks with Toho, and it saved me. I think this is how I’m able to keep making Evangelion. However, since it is a fact that I’m making everyone wait, I deeply apologize for that.” 
On July 20th 2018, the official Evangelion website was updated to reflect a 2020 theatrical release.
On July 6th 2019, Khara screened the first ten minutes of the film on Japan Expo in Paris, Anime Expo in Los Angeles, and CCG Expo in Shangai. The film was originally scheduled for release on June 27, 2020.
On July 18th 2019, during showings of Makoto Shinkai's new film "Weathering with You", a new trailer was shown for 3.0 + 1.0 featuring the new June 2020 release. The trailer was later shared officially online.
On April 17th 2020, the official Evangelion website was updated to announced that the release date was being delayed by an unspecified amount of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement of the delay was accompanied by an updated staff/credits list, the release of the official poster in both Japanese and English and the reveal of the English title "Thrice Upon a Time" and the additional message "Bye-bye, all of EVANGELION". Hideaki Anno posted a letter to healthcare workers expressing gratitude for fighting the disease, apologizing to fans for the added delay due to the unprecedented situation and encouraging all readers to persevere.
On December 17, 2020, it was announced that all shooting and editing work for the movie was complete. This was followed by tweets from Studio Khara announcing that the movie had been screened to staff as well as select non-staff members, with the warning that spoilers on social media were a possibility by this point. 
Another trailer was released on December 24, 2020, featuring the "One Last Kiss" theme song.
On January 14, 2021, Studio Khara announced that the movie was to be indefinitely delayed again due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, and that the scheduled release of the soundtrack on February 10 would not take place. 
On 26 February, 2021, it was announced that the film would be released on March 8, 2021. This became the actual, finalized date of release for the movie.
An updated version of the film, titled Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time, was released in Japanese theaters on June 12, 2021. This version features updated cuts of various scenes. It also accompanied the distribution of a 36-page booklet called Eva-Extra-Extra, including non-canon illustrations by staff and a prequel manga set before the events of the previous film, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, called Evangelion 3.0 (-120 min.) written by director Kazuya Tsurumaki under Anno's supervision.
Internationally, Amazon Prime Video acquired exclusive streaming rights to the film; it would be released in worldwide on August 13, 2021, excluding Japan. However, on July 20, 2021, Amazon Prime Video announced that would also stream the film in Japan on the same day as its international release.
On July 6, 2019, the event Operation 0706 took place, the film's opening scene (having the production code "Avant 1") was simulcast on screens in Paris, France (Japan Expo) and throughout Japan, following a live event in Paris with Yoko Takahashi and Megumi Ogata. This was followed up later at other locations such as Los Angeles, CA's Anime Expo. A phone application was made available days before to drum up hype for the event, wherein the user was asked to choose between Team Nerv or Team Wille. After the event, their choice affected when they would have access to limited-access freebies: the four Shiro Sagisu pieces that debuted during Op0706, and the first three New Theatrical films.
On April 17, 2020, the announcement of the delay in the release date was accompanied by the revelation of the movie poster and the English title "Thrice Upon a Time". The poster features an image of Shinji in the distant background, walking down branching train tracks in bright sunlight. The location appears to be Ube-Shinkawa station, the main train station in the city of Ube, Yamaguchi Province, where Hideaki Anno was born.
On October 15, 2020, the announcement of the new release date was accompanied by the revelation of a new trailer, showing additional imagery of the characters, locations and Evangelions.
On December 23, 2020, the official Twitter announced that 3.0 + 1.0 would be screened simultaneously with Evangelion 3.333 in back-to-back midnight IMAX screenings in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo, with the official website having a list of double-screenings for both movies.  However, this double-screening did not materialize due to the delay caused in the movie's release date.
On February 16, 2021, Eirin (the Film Classification and Rating Organization) revealed the film's runtime to be 154 minutes.  It was later clarified that the official runtime would instead be 155 minutes. 
On June 21, 2021, Shin Eva became the 49th highest grossing Japanese film, marking its entry into the top 50. 
Assault on Paris
The film begins with Wille stopping in Paris, France, which much like the outskirts of former Tokyo-3 has been converted into core material. A team descends from the Wunder -- comprised of Ritsuko, Maya, three of Maya's male underlings, and Mari in Eva-08 -- and lands on top of a mysterious black pillar. Ritsuko acts as a look-out while Maya and her men connect to the black pillar via laptop to resume the activation of an "Anti-L System" -- something a team of Europeans had previously died while attempting. As the operation begins, large numbers of a never-before-seen Eva type, the aerial 44As, appear in four waves, and Mari holds them off, assisted by helmsman Sumire Nagara utilizing the Wunder's intricate "cable flight" capabilities. Once the Evas have all been defeated, two more new enemy Eva types appear from a camouflaged cocoon: a 4444C unit with a Positron Cannon and the small army of generator-equipped Eva 44Bs that supply power to it. While cable-suspended warships equipped with ESVs are used to block the first shot, the team is left defenseless for the immediate second shot, as all the ships have been destroyed by the first shot. With Nagara's assist, Eva-08 charges the 4444C with the felled Eiffel Tower and before it can charge up fully, Mari is able to twist the tower down the 4444C's gun barrel, destroying both it and the 44Bs, at the cost of minor damage to Eva-08's legs.
Maya and the others successfully activate the pillar, which was actually a giant version of the sealing pillars seen in the two previous films. A radius of effect is created that pushes back the core-conversion, restoring part of the city. A large collection of E.U. Nerv storage lockers emerges from underground, filled with Eva spare parts, munitions, and components for what appears to be an upgraded model of Jet Alone. The Wunder and its support fleet descends, with two teams being dispatched to retrieve the parts and spares, and Mari muses that Eva-02 can be repaired and Eva-08 will be modified for "Overlap" compatibility. The scene ends with Mari promising to come back for Shinji .
Wandering, and Village-3
The opening credits play over a montage of the red Earth, showing locations that have been turned to core. Failures of Infinity litter the landscape, with an anti-gravity effect manifesting in small areas, causing objects around them to float. Shinji, Rei Q and Asuka walk together across its surface, with Asuka using the device in her hand as a compass to find their way. They are picked up by an adult in an SUV and wearing a protective suit.
Shinji wakes up to the sight of a child and a dog. He is examined by an adult Toji, who is highly surprised to see him, and with Hikari, who has since married him. The child is Toji and Hikari's daughter Tsubame, and the dog is Toji's pet. It is revealed that they are in a settlement that has been kept free of the coreification proces, named Village-3, with Toji as the settlement's doctor and Kensuke as a technician/handyman, who is revealed to be the one who rescued the trio earlier. The village is being supported by an organization named Kredit, which works together with Wille to provide supplies and facilitate trade with other settlements. Toji and Hikari greet Rei Q warmly, but she lacks of memory of either of them and is openly confused over the state of the world. Both of them realize that she is not the same Rei they knew, and they nickname her "lookalike". Neither Toji nor Kensuke show Shinji any hatred over Third Impact, and try to help him recover from his trauma, however, Shinji remains catatonic and is starting to feel physically sick, not talking to anyone and not eating anything, much to the annoyance of Hikari's father Bunzaemon, who lives with Toji and Hikari. Tsubame is the cause of much curiosity for Rei Q, who goes out and explores the world within the settlement with an almost childlike sense of curiosity, looking at such things as stray dogs and books. She also begins to learn more about her world, expressing continued confusion over the existence of a pregnant cat, baby Tsubame, and greetings such as "good morning" and "good night". She eventually settles down into village life, learning to farm alongside the older ladies of the village, working in the village rice paddies.
Kensuke offers to take the catatonic Shinji to his place, so that he might have some time to recover on his own. On arriving at Kensuke's residence (a small abandoned train station), Shinji sees Asuka leaving the shower naked, and she expresses irritation at Shinji's inaction, even at her current state. Shinji realizes Asuka has a DSS choker fitted on her as well, the sight of it causing Shinji to vomit due to traumatic memories of Kaworu's death. Kensuke cleans up the mess, and Asuka talks to him about Shinji's condition, calling him "kenken". She eventually has no option but to force-feed him protein bars due to his refusal to eat, and references her own inability to consume anything other than water. While doing so, she says that Shinji, as a fellow Pseudo-Lilin, may eventually join her and neither eat nor grow any longer. He goes out and spends entire days silently the ruins of Nerv-02, which is inhabited by a number of hot spring penguins, including a backpack-less Pen-Pen, while Asuka silently keeps a watch on him. Rei Q comes to Kensuke's house looking for Shinji, but finds only Asuka, who informs her that her feelings for the Third Child have been programmed into the Ayanami-Series since the beginning, as part of their inherent Eva-like restrictors as Eva pilots (notably, Asuka includes herself in these statements as well). Rei tells her she doesn't mind the artificial feelings, as they feel real to her, and Asuka gives in and tells her where Shinji is. Rei then goes to Shinji to return his SDAT along with some rations, but Shinji is still too distraught and knocks it away. Rei leaves with the SDAT, but leaves the rations behind. Overcome by hunger, Shinji eventually gives and eats the rations. Over the next few days, Rei gets better at farming and grows closer to the village folk, becoming more expressive. Eventually, she is able to get Shinji to talk to her, where he claims that he was the one who destroyed everything, and that he just wants to be left alone, and expresses confusion as to why people were being nice to him even after everything that happened, to which Rei replies that it is because they all like him. The response stuns Shinji, and he starts to become more active. Kensuke takes the slowly-recovering Shinji out fishing and on an infrastructure check to show him the massive Angel-sealing Hex Pillars that are generating an Anti-L Field keeping the settlement and its surrounding areas safe from the coreification and the wandering Failures of Infinity, which he says have started moving only recently. Shinji and Toji have a talk, and Toji reveals that he's not really a doctor, but only working with a basic knowledge of medicine and the machines that Kredit give them. He says that there are lives even he could not save, and that shouldering the anger and grief of those moments is what he believes he does best, so for the sake of his family and the village, he would continue to shoulder those burdens. He tells Shinji that he has already fought enough for everyone, and that he is welcome to stay in the Village if he wishes.
Some time later, Kensuke takes Shinji and Asuka to the grave of his father, Hajime Aida, and advises Shinji to try to talk to his own father so he has no regrets about not understanding him. Asuka scoffs at the idea, noting that the other party is "Gendo Ikari", and that it's impossible, but Shinji remains silent.
Rei Q eventually asks Shinji to help give her a proper name rather than "lookalike", and Shinji decides to call her "Ayanami" anyway. During a regular trip to check on the Anti-L System, Kensuke takes Shinji to a Wille Outdoor Laboratory that maintains the Anti-L System, and introduces him to "Ryoji Kaji", who is Misato's son with the original Ryoji Kaji. The younger Kaji works at repairing the Wille-built machines keeping the village free from being turned to core. On the way back, Kensuke talks to Shinji and explains the situation with the elder Kaji's death and Misato's current state, stating that Kaji Sr. sacrificed himself to stop Third Impact, and Misato now stays away from him so that she can protect him from afar, also adding that she regrets making Shinji shoulder all the burdens, and that is why (he thinks) she doesn't want Shinji to pilot an Eva again. Rei Q is revealed to require constant exposure to LCL to maintain her existence, and thanks Shinji for helping her find happiness before turning into LCL before his eyes. Shinji is shocked but Rei's experience is implied to help Shinji recover from his previous trauma.
AAA Wunder arrives to unload non-essential personnel. Kensuke reminds Shinji that he can stay in the village if he chooses to, but Shinji decides to go aboard the Wunder with Asuka, SDAT in hand, and Asuka tases him as per her orders. Sakura looks him over in the medical wing, and slaps him when he awakens, infuriated at getting into Eva-13 in the previous movie, and eventually breaks down. Shinji is placed in isolation and under surveillance again, and both Asuka and Sakura express puzzlement at his return after discovering Kaworu's demise from the DSS Choker operational records. The bridge crew discusses the ongoing situation, with Midori expressing distaste over the Captain's decision to keep Shinji alive. Mari greets Asuka, who expresses the sentiment that Shinji "needs a mother, not a girlfriend". Ritsuko and Misato discuss their intentions in a space aboard Wunder dedicated to preserving seeds of life for all species, which is mentioned to be the original purpose of the vessel. Elsewhere, Fuyutsuki monologues about the Black Moon and Fourth Impact as well as Shinji and the fate of "Ayanami-type 6", wondering if Gendo deliberately made Shinji experience the same loss as him.
Wille vs Nerv: Final
Gendo and Fuyutsuki steer the Black Moon towards the epicenter of Second Impact, at Nerv's former Calvary Base in Antarctica, intending to restart Eva-13. Misato and Ritsuko discover this and have completed a "signal suspension plug" to stop this event. Misato and the bridge crew reminisce about Kaji's death and their determination to fight Nerv and restore the world to its original state. The Wunder takes off and heads into the upper atmosphere for repair and refit, and also to launch a number of seeds containing Earth's plant life into outer space. Misato and Ritsuko have a conversation about Wunder's purpose as an ark and it is revealed that the seed vault on the Wunder also includes seeds of the watermelons planted in Tokyo-3 by Ryoji Kaji. Mari and Asuka get their new plugsuits, and Mari reintroduces herself to Shinji. Asuka and Shinji talk and Shinji reveals that he understands Asuka's anger at his inaction in the previous movie. Asuka says that she appreciated Shinji's bento and used to like him in the past, but she has now grown up. Mari and Asuka, satisfied, get into their Evas. A vision of Kaworu appears to Shinji saying that they will meet again, and Shinji agrees. AAA Wunder descends from orbit towards Antarctica with the objective being the neutralization of Eva-13, in what Misato calls "Operation Yamato". The Wunder breaks through a hexagonal barrier that encloses an area of "high L density".
As it nears Antarctica, Wunder is attacked by two Nerv ships of the Erlösung-class, the same as the Wunder - Erbsünde (Original Sin) and Erlösung (Salvation), apparently under Fuyutsuki's control, and with different turret arrangements. The Wunder is also approached by a swarm of Eva Series 7. During the battle, the Wunder resorts to using the guided-missile destroyers in its support fleet as giant guided missiles. Asuka and Mari sortie and battle their way through the swarm of Nerv Evas towards Eva-13. Asuka attacks Eva-13 with the stop signal plug, but Eva-02 is afraid of Eva-13 and puts up an entirely unexpected A.T. Field of its own will. Wunder is ambushed by the fourth Nerv warship, Gebet (Prayer), with Fuyutsuki on board, and reverts to its original state as the first Nerv warship, the Buße (Penance or atonement). Wings of light appear from the four Nerv warships in a manner much like the Adams at Second Impact, indicating an attempted Impact, not in Seele's scenario. Asuka removes her eyepatch and removes a restraint within her eye that keeps the Ninth Angel under control, transforming into a new Ninth Angel and converting Eva-02 into a previously unseen radiant giant state. However, it is revealed that she plays into Gendo's plan in the process as Eva-13 awakens just as Asuka erodes Eva-02's A.T. Field with her own, and destroys Eva-02 in much the same manner as Eva-01 destroyed Eva-03. During the process, Asuka is approached by "her original", revealing that she is a clone of the Shikinami series, and is absorbed by Eva-13. Wunder is taken over by a new Eva Mark.09, which Fuyutsuki is implied to have been responsible for .
Gendo floats down to the Wunder himself, and Misato and Ritsuko confront him. Ritsuko shoots Gendo through his visor, however, her bullets are entirely ineffective and he simply scoops his blown-out brains and puts them into the hole in the back of his head. It is revealed that Gendo has used the Key of Nebuchadnezzar and has thrown away his humanity by adding "information that surpassed the logic of the world" to his body, and it is shown that there is only a cross-shaped glowing void where his eyes used to be. Gendo monologues about the purpose of the impacts and about the Human Instrumentality Project, before hitting the Wunder's engine with an Angel-like optical blast to retrieve Unit-01, and entering Eva-13 through its mouth.
Human Instrumentality: Father and Son
Shinji turns to Misato and asks to pilot Eva-01 to stop Gendo. Midori Kitakami and Sakura are appalled at the prospect of Shinji entering the Eva and fire at him, but Misato blocks Sakura's bullet with her own body. Misato thanks Shinji for saving them all from destruction using Eva-01 fourteen years previously, and explains that as his superior, the responsibility for his actions was ultimately hers, and since Shinji is still her subordinate, she will take responsibility for his actions. Misato and Shinji have a conversation in which Misato asks Shinji to take care of her son. Meanwhile, Mari takes Eva-08 into an "overlapping" state where it merges with Eva-09, 10, 11, and 12 after partially consuming them, giving Eva-08 the ability to navigate the space beyond the Doors of Guf. Shinji enters Eva-01 out of nowhere and the original Rei Ayanami appears to him inside, with her hair grown very long. She apologizes to him for not being able to make it so that he wouldn't have to get into an Eva, but Shinji thanks her and says he will take care of the rest. Ritsuko and Maya are shocked to discover that Shinji, rather than having a zero percent synchro rate with Eva-01 like they previously thought, has in fact attained a previously impossible infinite synchro-rate with Eva-01, as Shinji restores Eva-01's limbs and begins to strangle Eva-13, prompting Gendo to remark that "Unit-01's Pilot has awakened, has he?".
Gendo shows Shinji an "imaginary Evangelion" that takes the form of a Black Lilith due to Shinji's memories. This being was predicted by the theories of Dr. Katsuragi. The twin spears of Longinus and Cassius enter the imaginary Evangelion and transform it into a giant Rei with a floating decapitated head. Fuyutsuki recognizes Mari and addresses her as "Maria of Iscariot", and Mari refers to him as "Fuyutsuki-sensei" and adds that it has been a long time since anyone called her by that name. He tells Mari that he has given her what she requested, and addresses Yui with his last words before turning to LCL.
Gendo and Shinji fight in an "alternate universe" where LCL gives shape to perception, entering a surreal fight where they clash in multiple different locations across space and time that take form from Shinji's memories, but the rest of the world is revealed to be little more than a tokusatsu movie set complete model warships and Evangelion costumes for suit actors. Eva-01 and Eva-13 are in synch with each other, and Shinji fails to prevail over Gendo during the entire surreal fight. When they reach a location that is based on Shinji's memories of the village, he remembers the conversations he had with Toji and Kensuke and appeals to Gendo to stop and talk. Gendo is revealed to be afraid of Shinji as he puts up an A.T. Field of his own, but Shinji breaks through by handing over Gendo's old SDAT.
Gendo reveals his past; he was a lonely individual who grew up without parents, and the only loves in his life were books and the piano. A slightly older Mari - who is revealed to be a friend of Gendo's - introduces him to Fuyutsuki as well as Yui, whom he falls in love with. Shinji sees a vision of Gendo's past experiences and life, and learns how Yui's loss traumatized him. The setting is now on the KuMoHa42 rail car. Misato prepares to turn the AAA Wunder into another Spear to hurl at a giant Red Rei, using Ritsuko's knowledge to transform Wunder's spinal linkage system. Mari in the overlapping Eva-08 scuttles the other three Nerv warships and bids goodbye to them, referring to them as "Adams". Eva-08 boards the spinal system as Misato uses the Wunder to ram the eye of the giant Rei-being. Misato sacrifices herself to hold back Gendo's Additional Impact and manifest the Spear of Gaius, representing humanity's will. The Gaius materializes in miniature form between Shinji's hands as Misato completes her sacrifice.
Shinji helps Gendo find closure, and similarly for a now-adult Asuka, helping her find closure as well  We learn the backstory behind Asuka Shikinami, that she is the last surviving clone of the Shikinami series, having survived past all the combat training that the other clones failed and were eliminated for. Asuka is old enough to remember seeing Gendo, Yui and a little Shinji visit the Euro-Nerv facilities. Shinji tells the now-adult Asuka that he used to like her - making it clear, that like Asuka, any romantic or sexual feelings between them are in the past, and asks Asuka to say hi to Kensuke for him. Shinji talks to Kaworu and gives Kaworu the closure he seeks; In a scene that is indicative of what happened during the 14-year timeskip, Kaworu and the elder Kaji speak to each other. Kaworu is dressed in the same Nerv commander uniform as Gendo and the Bethany base commander, with Kaji in the same vice-commander uniform as Fuyutsuki and the Bethany base vice-commander. Kaworu, whom the elder Kaji calls "Commander Nagisa", agrees to go to the settlement where the younger Kaji farms. Shinji eventually settles upon a complete reset of the world, a "Neon Genesis", a world without Evangelions. Shinji prepares to stab himself with the Spear of Gaius. Shinji is then pushed out of Eva-01 by his mother Yui, who is revealed to have been with him the entire time, and they are embraced from behind by Gendo in Eva-13. Gendo and Yui, Eva-01 and Eva-13 together sacrifice themselves to finish what Shinji began, spearing all Evangelions that ever were created at once. Their actions return all Evangelions and Failures of Infinity back into human and animal forms, restoring the world to its original state before the impacts.
In the final sequence, Asuka, Rei and Kaworu are seen on the platform of a train station with the KuMoHa42 approaching, and an older Shinji is approached by Mari from behind. Mari closes his eyes and asks him to guess who she is, referring to her initial meeting with him and her meeting with him on the Wunder. The grown-up Shinji (voiced by Ryunosuke Kamiki) answers correctly, and Mari takes the DSS Choker that adult Shinji wears off his neck. Shinji holds Mari's hands and both of them head out of the train station together, and the sequence transitions into both Shinji and Mari escaping into a live-action sequence of Anno's hometown of Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, implying that all the Children have found closure in our reality.
Production History and Development
Early development and delays
The film was announced alongside Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo for release in 2008 as the final part of the Rebuild series under the working title Evangelion: Final. After delays of the first three films, Evangelion: Final was expected for release in 2015. In 2014, director and producer Hideaki Anno announced that due to other commitments, the film would be further delayed to an unknown date. Following the troubled production of the third film, director and producer Hideaki Anno became depressed and stated publicly in 2015 that he could not work on another film. As part of his recovery, Anno had also worked on Studio Ghibli's The Wind Rises under his mentor Hayao Miyazaki. Toho (which co-distributes the film in Japan with Toei) also approached Anno with an offer to direct a reboot of its Godzilla film series, Shin Godzilla, which also contributed to the delay on 3.0+1.0. Financial reasons also played a part. In 2014, Anno's Studio Khara loaned his former company Studio Gainax 100 million yen ($916,400). In 2016, Anno filed a claim for debt collection, fearing not only for the return of the money but also because of Gainax selling production materials to third parties, after a precedent of other sales of intellectual property without informing him. This was part of several legal issues surrounding Gainax and Evangelion.
Production on Evangelion resumed after the production of Shin Godzilla ended in late 2016. After a formal apology, animation director Takeshi Honda stated that the last film had resumed development. Studio Khara tweeted on April 5, 2017, that development was going smoothly. In May 2018, the studio put out a job listing for animation staff to work on 3DCG, VFX, and 2D animation starting on June 30, 2018. Animation was going through the final check by October 2, 2020. Dialogue recording wrapped on November 19, 2020. On December 16, 2020, Studio Khara announced that compositing and editing work had finished. In 2019 the film was scheduled for a June 27, 2020 release date but received two delays due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, first scheduled for a January 23, 2021 release, before being released on March 8, 2021.
Anno was very reluctant to return to work on the film in 2016. In 2018, Anno had asked for the opinion of voice actors like Megumi Ogata (Shinji) on how to move the plot forward after 3.0. Anno felt he could no longer understand Shinji and by now his current self was closer to Gendo than Shinji, and needed Ogata's input on how Shinji could recover after the events of 3.0. Anno felt that at that point the only people who could understand Shinji's feelings were Ogata herself and his personal assistant, Ikki Todoroki. Anno himself had intended to go to Paris for Japan Expo 2019, but the film's continuing delays in production prevented him. Anno had often visited the film's music composer Shirō Sagisu, who lives half the year in Paris, and wished to pay homage to the city in the opening 10 minutes of the movie, entitled AVANT1 ("before" in French), seeking to surpass his earlier depiction in Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. At the event, Ogata also recounted Anno had asked what ending she preferred "as Shinji". AVANT1+2, including a further 2 minutes of the opening sequence, was also streamed on Khara's YouTube channel and Japanese Amazon Prime Video for free for two weeks.
Dialogue for Parts A and B, set after AVANT, started recording in March 2019. As there were several changes to the plot, many voice actors had to come back and record lines again. In 2020, due to the pandemic restrictions, production slowed down further and recording was mostly done by the voice actors separately as many dozens of takes were necessary, and they organized themselves through a Line group. This created a bond between the cast that was unprecedented in previous productions. At the end of recording, Anno thanked the cast for their contributions. Yūko Miyamura, who played Asuka, was instructed to treat her character as completely separate from the series' Asuka Langley Soryu, and the last thing asked of her was to write the character's full name in cursive herself to be used in the movie. She had lived in Australia for the past two decades, but was still unsure of how to write "Langley". Miyamura expressed her surprise at Anno's behavior near the end of production, in contrast to his behavior during the making of End of Evangelion: "Anno-san is amazing. He has become an adult".
Anno sought to bring in new talent and people outside the usual Evangelion core crew, like Darling in the Franxx creator Atsushi Nishigori, a protégé of his, while other core staffers like chief editor Masayuki largely stepped down in order to allow new talents to gain more experience. In addition, the series' original character designer, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, has had diminishing involvement since 3.0, and the new character designs are mostly done by Hidenori Matsubara. Anno had long stated his wish to revitalize the anime industry, and saw the sponsorship of new creators as a prime way of achieving this, as well as the promotions of events backed by Studio Khara like the Japan Animator Expo. Director Mahiro Maeda recounted Anno wanted him to figure out specific details of the plot on his own when asked. Similarly to production in the series, Anno would take ideas from staffers but have the final word in plot decisions. Anno had also been an advocate of employing new and innovative animation technologies, combined with extensive use of motion capture and computer-generated imagery, and employed them in the film. Maeda and others noted nonetheless that Anno seemed to be directing the film more like a live action film than animation, including in the way he directed the voice actors, taking cues from theatre techniques, after his previous experience outside Evangelion, despite the staff's own limited experience, something he had previously attempted in Cutie Honey. He thought Anno "wanted to get out of here the most", but expressed his feelings in film sincerely.
Director Kazuya Tsurumaki details Anno wanted to try a new process for the film. Instead of first creating storyboards and then developing the animation based on them as is traditional, Anno proposed to first draw the animation cels and then draw the scenes from them. This technique was generally referred to by staff as "pre-visualization". He was once more inspired from the usual process in live action, where scenes are first shot from multiple angles and then stories are created and then selected during editing. The latter half of the film, however, progressively returned to the traditional anime style. Tsurumaki noted the original intention was that "the first 80%" of the Rebuild series would be a "compilation" of the original anime series, and the changes would only start with the last film, in keeping with earlier comments in 2006 by producer Toshimichi Ohtsuki regarding the intention that only the ending would be a major departure from the series, as staff felt End of Evangelion could not receive a sequel, and the Rebuild movies were not going to be "metaphysical" like the original anime, but rather "oriented towards entertainment". This eventually changed, and major changes started happening as early as Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. He also noted that the previously stated goal of "destroying Evangelion" through the character of Mari was entrusted to an external party. Anno would ask the opinion of many parts of staff, including those not involved in the actual film like office staff for their opinions on several nuances. Anno's wife Moyoco Anno provided early designs for some characters. Studio Ghibli also provided assistance to scenes set in the survivor's village. For the village itself, Khara had a box model custom-built to orientate the artists, and Anno personally adjusted it to the smallest details like individual house layout, road with and utility posts to make it as realistic as possible. Staff consulted with multiple professionals and conducted research like sky-diving for maximum accuracy.
A making-of documentary aired on Japanese broadcaster NHK in March 22, 2021, with the crew following production for 1214 days. BS Japan also broadcast an extended version of the documentary on April 29, 2021, totaling 100 minutes of runtime, featuring unused footage. Amazon Prime Video included the extended version of documentary in its international release of the film in August. When production started in 2016, Anno initially intended to not involve himself much in the film, wishing to delegate most of it to his directors, particularly Tsurumaki, generally considered Khara's second-in-command, but as the release date approached with mounting production problems he progressively took more control and took on more tasks directly, also driven by his perfectionism. Maeda was also not initially serving as a director, but was brought in the middle of production. Kim Morrisy of Anime News Network described it as tumultuous: "There were several occasions shown when he decided that the work he had done at the time was insufficient and would scrap it entirely. The [final] D part of the script was eventually completed in early 2019, at the latest possible stage it could have been done to meet the deadline."
In the documentary, Anno is depicted as frequently late or absent from the studio, or would often stay overnight adjusting individual scenes he was unsatisfied with. Part A had been rewritten multiple times, and at one point Anno was so lost on how to resolve the story lines he considered restarting it from scratch after nine months of work. Anno believed he wouldn't miss working on the franchise and said everything he needed to, feeling finishing his work remained a priority, even at the expense of his well-being. Anno told Ogata later at post-production that he'd indeed miss it. Hayao Miyazaki described Anno, as an apprentice of his, as "one who sheds blood for his films". Gainax co-founder Toshio Okada criticized the documentary as "sloppy" and "propaganda" trying to make Anno look better, claiming Anno's live-action approach in fact took inspiration from Hiroyuki Yamaga's work in Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise instead of being sui generis as the documentary implied, and Anno noted the crew was in fact not present during the highly intense production of Part D for several months, nor did it cover him thanking the staff at the end.
On March 28, 2021, the cast was fully reunited for the first time in 14 years and held a stage greeting, commenting on the film and their bond to the characters. On April 12, 2021, directors Anno, Tsurumaki and Maeda, as well as Ogata, held another stage greeting. On June 26, 2021, Anno held a live stream on singer Hikaru Utada's Instagram page, and debated the film. On June 27, 2021, another cast greeting was held. Mari's voice actress Maaya Sakamoto explained she had been absent from the previous events because she felt apprehensive over the details she knew about Mari's character that Anno told her, but refused to share them: "I will take secrets to my grave". A last stage greeting was held on July 11, 2021. Anno felt he had now done everything he could with anime, and accordingly Khara denied reports that he was working on a reboot of a popular animation series. He also noted he initially attempted a shorter two hour runtime, but had to extend it.
Future of the franchise
Anno had originally intended on making a new Evangelion story since 2000 and has intended to open-up the franchise in the future to new creators and turn Eva into a "new Gundam", using the Rebuilds as a foundation for this, but 3.0+1.0 is intended to be his final Evangelion work. The Animator Expo already featured two independent works based on the franchise: Evangelion – Another Impact and Neon Genesis IMPACTS, as well as until You come to me, a short film intended to showcase the talent of younger Khara animators, not as an official trailer. In an interview in August 2021, Anno stated other parts of the franchise and story might be revisited later. In Hikari Utada's live stream featuring Anno, he comments that "the New Eva isn't 100% what I want it to be." Additionally, the 3.0+1.01 re-release and the Evangelion 3.0 (-120 min.) prequel manga can already be seen as early examples of additions to the franchise with Anno's blessing and involvement, with the former started a mere month after the film's initial release at Anno's initiative. Popular interest also remains extremely high, as can be seen NHK's making-off documentary, EVANGELION: 3.333 Breakdown (under Anno's supervision), the high number of interviews and articles done in the 6 months between Japanese and international release, with more on the way.
- Evangelion: 3.0+1.0, Avant 1, Operation 0706 Ver. English subtitles. Translated by Maryno_penguin, Reichu, sackboy71 et al.
- The name literally means "Swallow" and is quite possibly a reference to the Tsubame service on the Kyushu Shinkansen, continuing the Shinkansen reference in Hikari's name
- The Japanese term used here is Lilin-modoki, where modoki can variously mean "fake", "an imitation", "something that looks similar but is not the same".
- Based on currently available information, the Mark.09A Evangelion was possibly created from the remains of the original Mark.09, which was subject to Eva-02's self-destruct explosion at the end of Evangelion 3.0.
- While this scene is set on a beach resembling the final scene in End of Evangelion, this is Shikinami Asuka Langley and not Asuka Langley Soryu.
- Interviews have confirmed that Kaworu took over as commander of Nerv with Kaji as his vice-commander soon after the events of Evangelion 2.0, with Gendo and Fuyutsuki being deposed.
|Episodes & Films|
|Television Series||Episode 01 | Episode 02 | Episode 03 | Episode 04 | Episode 05 | Episode 06 |
Episode 07 | Episode 08 | Episode 09 | Episode 10 | Episode 11 | Episode 12 | Episode 13
|Movies||Death | Rebirth |
|Rebuild of Evangelion||Evangelion 1.0 | Evangelion 2.0 | Evangelion 3.0 | Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0|