An emotional preview for the conclusion of 25 years of anime history.

The excitement for Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time was already about as high as we thought it could possibly be, what with the eight-year-plus wait since the last installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion series and the fact that this movie is meant to, once and for all, put a period on one of history’s most discussed and influential franchises ever. Then we realized it actually was possible to reach a more feverish level of anticipation when it was announced that J-pop legend Utada Hikaru would be returning to provide Thrice Upon a Time’s theme song.

And now, Eva’s handlers have kicked things up one notch further with a brand-new trailer that previews Utada’s “One Last Kiss” plus gives us a look at a whole bunch of previously unseen footage from the movie.

Part of what makes Thrice Upon a Time (which comes out on January 23) a must-watch for fans is that no one has any idea what’s going on at this point in the story. While a certain level of viewer confusion is to be expected when watching Eva, the first two films in the Rebuild series were primarily retellings of the first 20-someodd episodes of the original Evangelion TV series. The third film threw a few curves, but many of its key scenes and dramatic beats were also cribbed from the TV series, until its ending veered off in a completely new direction.

The new trailer isn’t tipping its hand, as it presents an astounding variety of images. A blood-red sky with a giant skeletal hand? A beautiful and inviting pool of cool clear water? Rei looking like she’s about to melt in to LCL? Gendo’s cyber glasses pulsing with electricity? Sakuga-show-off-level sequences of Asuka’s butt and what looks like Unit-01 fighting an alternate version of itself with the Spears of Longinus and Cassius?

Yep, it’s all in there.

There’re even moments of what appear to be genuine kindness and emotional openness, which are always at a premium in Evangelion, like when a pair of hands ties the ribbon on the school uniform worn by Asuka, Rei, and the other female teens, but they’re not the hands of the person wearing the uniform. Even Makoto and Shigeru, the respectively bespectacled and long-haired Nerv/Wille technicians, share a poignant fist-bump.

It’s all set to Utada’s haunting vocals, pleading “Can you give me one last kiss? I don’t want to forget what it’s like” and declaring “I love you more than you’ll ever know.”

Those are some powerful sentiments for a series that’s almost always had the vicious cycle of self-isolation and self-hatred as its driving force, and while the trailer doesn’t tell us where Evangelion is going to end up, there’s no mistaking it’s going to be a wild ride getting there.

Source, images: YouTube/株式会社カラー khara inc.official
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!