We can (hardly) believe it, but the long-awaited anime is finally going to get in the damn theater!

A long time ago, I read a review of 1997 anime movie The End of Evangelion in which the writer remarked “Sometimes you die without figuring everything out.” The comment was in regard to the ambiguous and cataclysmic ending of the follow-up film to the 1995 Evangelion TV series, but in recent years, you could also take it as being symbolic of the much newer Rebuild of Evangelion film series, since it wasn’t clear if it would reach its conclusion in any of our lifetimes.

In 2007, series creator Hideaki Anno went back to the Eva well by starting Rebuild, which is maybe a reboot of the original TV series, maybe a sequel to End of Evangelion, or maybe something else entirely. Two years after the first Rebuild film came the second, which was followed by the third, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, in 2012. And then…nothing at all for six years, with Anno even finding time to star in a beer commercial and direct kaiju movie Shin Godzilla in the meantime.

But there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel, as the fourth, and final, Rebuild of Evangelion movie now has an official release year: 2020.

▼ Promotional still for the final Rebuild of Evangelion movie

Our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa snuck out of work on July 20 to go see Mirai of the Future, the latest film from Boy and the Beast director Mamoru Hosoda. But before the movie started, mixed in with the other previews was one featuring Evangelion character Mari, piloting her mecha and firing a rifle while standing above a blood-red sea. The clip lasted less than ten seconds, and almost felt like a daydream, until Seiji was shocked to attention when text appeared on screen announcing that the film will be released sometime in 2020.

Reactions to Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo were fiercely divided, with unsatisfied viewers saying the story had gone off the rails while supporters argues that going off the rails is what Eva does best. Some have speculated that the harsh criticisms may have torn Anno’s confidence and sapped his energy, as Eva has always been deeply connected to his personal psychological trials, while others blame the delays on Anno writing himself into a corner after drastic changes to the series’ narrative in 3.0.

The text on the fourth movies’ understated promotional still, in typical Evangelion fashion, is open to multiple interpretations. The first section reads “Tsuzuki, soshite owari,” meaning “The continuation, and the end,” though it’s unclear if it’s referring to the Rebuild series (the fourth movie is being billed as the final installment), the world its characters live in, or perhaps protagonist Shinji’s emotional state and/or childhood.

Further down, the second batch of text reads “Hi, soshite han.” While both hi and han can both be translated as “rejection,” the former carries the connotation of denial or absence, while the latter has the feeling of opposition or pushing back against an existing force or concept. Evangelion has often explored the sometimes painful relationship between existing as an individual and being connected emotionally to others, and this seems to be something that will continue in the fourth Rebuild movie.

Meanwhile, not a single story detail has been revealed, but then again, many passionate Eva fans would say that if you’re watching the series for the plot instead of the themes, you’re doing it wrong.

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Insert images: Evangelion official website
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