Creators throw patient fans a jaw-droppingly gorgeous bone.

Whether it’s making mecha skinny, having penguins live in an eternally summery climate, or completely skipping any sort of on-screen resolution to a war between humanity and aliens, Evangelion has always been committed to telling its story on its own terms. That goes for the production schedule of the current Rebuild of Evangelion movies series too, which took two years between its first two installments, stretched that out to a more leisurely three years between parts two and three, and has been dormant for the past six years.

But last week Studio Khara, Eva’s current rights holder, casually let it be known that the fourth, and final, Rebuild of Evangelion film finally has a release date, or a release year, anyway: 2020. It even threw patient fans a bone with a gorgeously animated teaser which played before screenings of new anime film Mirai of the Future, and which has now been released online.

Set to a jazzy backing track and energetic choir vocals, we see mecha pilot Mari Illustrious (who was added to the cast in the first Rebuild film) twirling her war machine above a boundless sea that’s a shade between red and purple, meeting a line of clouds at the horizon with a dazzling blue sky above.

Featuring some jaw-dropping camera movement as both the perspective and mecha rotate wildly, the trailer shows Mari’s Evangelion firing a pair of rifles, attached to arms that seem to have been pulled from another robot entirely.

There’s no indication of what she’s firing at, though. Given Evangelion’s penchant for psychological conflict, there’s just as much chance of a character unleashing massive firepower upon his or her own emotional demons as any physical-entity adversary.

▼ “Take that, unresolved feelings of adolescent loneliness and isolation!”

Virtual lack of any hints to the plot aside, the teaser at least seems to provide a more concrete preview of what to expect in terms of visuals than the final trailer for the third Rebuild movie, which was an (admittedly impressive) CG model of a piano.

Then again, prior to the “piano” trailer, Evangelion 3.0 had a conventionally animated preview…which the creators then decided to completely toss out, including none of its scenes in the film’s final version. So really, it’s too soon to 100-percent believe that even that sequence of Mari spinning through the sky will be in the fourth Rebuild installment, since director Hideaki Anno could just decide to make the whole movie nothing but still shots of melted-ankle Ritsuko. Still, since Evangelion 3.0 came out all the way back in 2012, the teaser’s release means fans have only gotten 3.7 seconds of new Eva animation a year since 2012, so maybe it’s best to just be happy to have anything at all.

Source: YouTube/KING RECORDS via Jin
Images: YouTube/KING RECORDS

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s partial to the Rei Ayanami version of the Eva opening theme.