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'Neon Genesis Evangelion' Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Public Showing Of First Episode And Bullet Train

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When anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion premiered 20 years ago, no one expected the impact it would have on the future of anime. Not only did the series offer some pretty heavy religious symbolism, but it also completely deconstructed the idea of mecha, as well as resulted in a revival of the anime industry.

Now, 20 years later, Neon Genesis Evangelion celebrates its anniversary in style, including a public airing of the first episode in Japan at the exact time as when that episode aired: Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m.

That episode will air on Street Vision Jack screens across Japan: these outdoor screens often play advertisements, but on Sunday, they'll show Neon Genesis Evangelion's first episode in Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Akihabara, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo.

For those outside of those areas, streaming service Niconico will livestream the episode at the same time. Retailers in Japan will also have related merchandise to go along with the event.

However, the coolest 20th anniversary gift given to Neon Genesis Evangelion is a themed bullet train, set to hit the rails in November. The train is a collaboration between EVA's Unit-01 and Japan Railways' Sanyo Shinkansen Line. For those interested in getting a ticket, there's information on the official 500 TYPE EVA website.

The train features a few special cars, including one that's a replica of an EVA cockpit. However, those cars require separate applications for entry, followed by a lottery to pick who gets to actually see the special compartments. Interested parties have until Oct. 7 to apply for that.

The EVA train starts running on Nov. 7 and will journey from Hakata to Shin-Osaka and back until March 2017.

Evangelion fans can also get their hands on a new 20th anniversary smartphone cover: the cover looks like armor from the EVA units in the series. Those go on sale in November.

However, what's an Evangelion smartphone cover without an Evangelion phone? It's a good thing that Evangelion-themed smartphones are also coming to the celebration: those phones will feature the voice of Evangelion character Asuka for voice functions and various sounds from the series for notifications.

Meanwhile, fans of the series organized to launch a replica Spear of Longinus at the moon to recreate a scene from the series, but are carefully reconsidering the project, with worry that it could offend Christians and Muslims.

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