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It’s been almost two years since the theatrical release of the third Rebuild of Evangelion movie. The film series is a reboot of the phenomenally successful and influential psychological science-fiction anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or maybe it’s a sequel. Actually, knowing series creator Hideaki Anno’s penchant, and talent, for throwing viewers gigantic curve balls, it could be something else entirely.

All we really know is that fans have been waiting since January of 2014 for more Eva, and their patience has been rewarded with a brand-new, highly artistic Evangelion short that’s already streaming online.

While Eva started off as a production of Studio Gainax, the franchise is now Studio Khara’s baby. Founded by Anno in 2006, for most of the time since Khara has had its hands full with the Rebuild series. The studio has also pinch hit, however, with roles in the production of anime such as Wolf Chidlren, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and even Studio Ghibli features From up on Poppy Hill and The Wind Rises, for which Anno also provided the voice of the male lead.

Khara also runs the Anima(tor)’s Exhibition website, which it uses as a place to showcase its short animation projects that are “produced with love and energy, regardless of any genres.” Some of these are collaborations with other production houses featuring new characters, but the newest short, which was just released on December 19, is all Khara, and features some faces anime fans should be very familiar with.

Titled until You come to me, the video (lest it has been pulled from YouTube) can also be seen here. You’ll have to jump to the 1:30 mark to get past the opening (or you can just click the handy “Skip Opening” button on at the bottom right of the player). You won’t need to bother with the English subtitle setting, since the roughly five-minute short has no dialogue, but even without any vocal cues, we think anime fans should be able to recognize most of the cast.

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In contrast to the pictured vortexes of urban destruction, the video opens to the relaxing notes of “Danny Boy” being played on steel drums, which is possibly an even more unexpected musical choice than when “Fly Me to the Moon” was used as the ending theme to the Evangelion TV series.

Scenes of devastation and emotional juxtapositions that seem at once awkwardly unsettling yet compelling on some primal level are par for the Eva course, though. The bigger surprise comes after the tune switches to an orchestral arrangement and we see something Evangelion has never shown us before: snow.

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In the Eva world, damage from the ongoing interstellar conflict has caused ecological upheavals on Earth, and the planet is locked in an eternal summer. So it’s a bit of a shock to see who appears to be series protagonist Shinji walking along a road while soft white snows flitters around him.

Then it’s back to destruction.

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Shinji himself, though, seems oddly at peace, staring up at the sky as more snowflakes drift down. At least, he seems at peace until we cut to a scene of the teen mecha pilot simultaneously being stabbed through the heart and having his ribcage ripped open.

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▼ Which is followed by some visuals that instantly bring to mind the God Warrior from Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, a character animated by Anno himself.

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Later, we get a few brief glimpses of a blue ocean, something else that’s supposed to no longer exist in Evangelion’s world, plus Rei, anime’s most iconic emotionally muted female character, in what looks to be a moment of affectionate playfulness.

▼ Don’t worry, though. The short still remembers to finish freaky.

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So in the end, is this a preview of what’s to come in the fourth and final Rebuild of Evangelion movie, or just a fractured daydream of Shinji’s as he reels from yet another trauma with a weight beyond what his young mind should have to bear?

The video doesn’t tell us, because after all, this is Eva, which has always ended with its only truly definitive statement being, “That’s for you to figure out.”

Source: Jin
Images: Anima(tor)’s Exhibition