Is the coronavirus the 19th Angel?

When you’re really enjoying a work of fiction, part of you can’t wait to see what happens next, triggering feeding frenzy-like impulses to consume the media as quickly as possible. At the same time, though, there’s a reluctance to get the to the end, because you don’t want the story to be over.

That’s definitely something fans of Evangelion can relate too. The franchise started all the way back in 1995, then went dormant for a 10 years until the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series fired up in 2007. Then Rebuild stalled after its third installment nine years ago, but even after nearly a decade worth of waiting, it’s kind of sad to think that once the next installment, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, hits theaters, it’ll be the last piece of Eva anime ever.

Well, it looks like fans will get to look forward to the true end of Evangelion for a little while longer, since Thrice Upon a Time has been delayed yet again.

▼ Back to rewatching the trailer it is…

Creator Hideaki Anno’s final punctuation point for the series was supposed to come out on Saturday of next week, January 23. Then Japan’s coronavirus infection numbers started spiking, causing the producers to call off planned opening day midnight screenings for Thrice Upon a Time. Last week, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and three of its neighbors, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba Prefectures, and on Wednesday night the emergency status was expanded to Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Gifu, and Tochigi Prefectures, which include the majority of the most populous cities in Japan.

So once again, Studio Khara has made the decision to delay Thrice Upon a Time’s premiere, issuing a statement through its website that reads:

“To start, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to those who have suffered ill effects from the new-type coronavirus and COVID-19. We would also like to express our deep respect for medical care workers and others involved in relief efforts.

As cases of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) are spreading, the Japanese government has declared a state of emergency. This is a grave matter, and we are taking it into due consideration in deciding how to proceed.

We believe that containing the virus should be given the highest priority, and so we have decided to once again delay the opening of the new Evangelion movie, which had been scheduled to premiere on January 23

We are in the process of carefully considering the new premiere date, so that the movie will open at a time when everyone is able to watch it with peace of mind, and deeply apologize to everyone who is looking forward to it for making you wait once again.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with such an earnest expression of sound judgement. Studio Khara isn’t giving any sort of prospective timetable for Thrice Upon a Time’s release, but the state of emergency will be in effect until February 7, so it’s safe to assume that the movie won’t be opening until sometime after that. Even early February may end up not being possible, though, should the state of emergency get extended, putting Thrice Upon a Time in the same delayed boat as Universal Studios Japan’s Super Nintendo World.

▼ We’re not happy, but we understand.

On the bright side, Thrice Upon a Time is at least completed, so it’s not a question of if we’ll get to see it, just when. For now, though, there’s not much we can do except sit back and wait while sipping a drink from our Eva Unit-01 cup-holding arm.

Source: Studio Khara
Images: YouTube/株式会社カラー khara inc.official
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