Forget “I mustn’t run away,” and keep telling yourself you mustn’t drink a large soda before seeing how the anime franchise wraps up.

Here’s a strange anime statistic to ponder. Neon Genesis Evangelion premiered on Japanese TV in 1995, and the first installment in the theatrical remake/reboot Rebuild of Evangelion film series opened in 2007. With only three of the four planned movies yet released, that means the gap between the start and finish of Rebuild is now even longer than the one between the end of the TV series and Rebuild’s beginning.

The primary reason for that is the eight years (and counting, following an indefinite coronavirus-related delay) that have passed since the highly divisive third Rebuild film hit theaters, during which time series creator and director Hideaki Anno scraped his soul working out what sort of ending punctuation he wants to put on his magnum opus (and also directed a little side project called Shin Godzilla). With all that pent-up anticipation, fans’ eyes are sure to be glued to the screen once they finally do get to see the final Rebuild film…provided their bladders can hold out, which could be a real issue if this statement from Eva producer Studio Khara is saying what some people think it does.

The tweet was posted on Sunday, which marked the 25th anniversary of the original broadcast of the first Eva episode. The left image is a message from Anno, thanking fans for their support and patience. At the top right is the cover of the original pitch proposal for the Evangelion TV show, and at the bottom right is an internal-use title card for test footage from the fourth Rebuild film, with the text indicating it’s for the “D-part,” the final sequence of the movie, going right up until the ending credits start.

It’s a cool visual representation of the start and end of the franchise, but what’s raising eyebrows are the two top lines of text in the Rebuild title card image, which read:

Sin_Dpart 2020/10/02

That “05:59:50:00” looks very much like a time counter, and if it is, it seems to indicate a run time of five hours, 59 minutes, and 50 seconds, or, to round up by a miniscule amount, six hours.

Twitter users who noticed the numbers and interpreted them that way have responded with:

“Five hours and 59 minutes, huh? Well, there’s no way they can wrap up the story in just two hours, so I guess it makes sense.”
“Six hours sounds like a long time, but when I think that this will be the very last chapter of Evangelion, it still feels short to me.”
“I think I remember someone saying there was a chance that they’d split the fourth part of Rebuild into two movies…but this would have been enough for three!”
“Please include a bathroom break intermission!”

It’s worth keeping in mind that at this point, Khara hasn’t made any sort of official announcement that the fourth Rebuild movie, which will bear the numerical designation 3.0+1.0 and the English subtitle Thrice Upon a Time, will indeed be six hours long. Then again it hasn’t made any statement about the run time at all, and if there’s one franchise that would be bold enough to release a six-hour movie, and that fans would be willing to sit through, it’s Evangelion.

Source: Twitter/@khara_inc via Otakomu
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