Death & Rebirth COMMENTARY

 The TV anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" aired from October 1995 to March 1996. The planning, original story and production were done by GAINAX, which was known for anime works such as "Wings of Honneamise (Royal Space Force)", "Gunbuster" and "Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water)". From the initial planning stages, this series has evolved around its director Hideaki Anno, and it could be said that all aspects from the basic concept to the conclusion bear the mark of Anno's creative individuality.

 The series featured high-quality artwork, attractive and varied characters, intriguing SF settings, dynamic battle scenes, a pedantic flavor from incorporating Christian motifs and psychoanalytical jargon into a dramatic work, and a super-intensive amount of information. Evangelion exceeded the bounds of conventional anime on all these counts, making it truly worthy of the title "Neon Genesis". The series enjoyed the enthusiastic support of numerous fans, and also spawned discussions on various topics.

Evangelion became centered on the theme of "people's hearts" from around the middle of the TV series. As the culmination of this trend, the climax of the series, episodes 25 "Owaru sekai (Ending World)" and 26 "Sekai no chuushin de ai wo sakenda kemono (The Beast who Shouted "I/Love" at the Center of the World)", took an experimental and shocking approach in that the story developed within the inner worlds of the main characters. While this climax may have fulfilled the basic thematic requirements, it left the mysteries presented thus far mostly unsolved, and gave a strong impression of having ended with the story incomplete.

 This ending became an intense issue, and by that meaning could be said to have spurred on Evangelion's popularity. The voice of the fans grew stronger and stronger as they demanded a proper ending to the drama, explanations of the mysteries, or even a new story. In order to meet these expectations, a cinema edition was planned -- this is "EVANGELION DEATH AND REBIRTH".

 This movie consists of two parts: "DEATH" and "REBIRTH. "DEATH" is a re-edit of the TV series from episodes 1 through 24, that is to say the contents from the start of the story to just before the climax, together with a large number of new cuts.

"REBIRTH" is Part 1 of the "Conclusion" which retells TV episodes 25 and 26 as a new story. It was originally intended that Evangelion would conclude only with "REBIRTH", but the story content increased as production progressed, so "REBIRTH" is being released as only Part 1 of the conclusion. Evangelion will conclude by showing "REBIRTH" together with Part 2 of the Cinema Edition which is scheduled for release this summer.

 The chief director of "EVANGELION DEATH AND REBIRTH" is Hideaki Anno, with Masayuki and Kazuya Tsurumaki acting as directors. The movie was produced by GAINAX and the group of tight-knit staff that supported the TV series. The animation production was handled by PRODUCTION I.G.

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