There are few anime series as revered as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
At first glance, it's just a simple show about giant robots fighting giant monsters — but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Not only is the show one of the biggest head-trips you'll ever watch, but the stories and mythologies that creator Hideaki Anno created are unparalleled in the medium.
So, when the Rebuild of Evangelion project was announced, fans went ballistic. The project would be a complete re-imagining of everything Evangelion — one story split across four full-length animated films. It was the sort of thing that most anime fans dream of ... sadly, things didn't go as smoothly as Anno had planned.
Each of the films were delayed numerous times, to the point where missing a release date became the norm. What's worse is that, after the third film launched back in 2012, the series went silent: aside from a short teaser, there's been no word on the status of the final Evangelion film.
Thankfully, Hideaki Anno (via Oricon, translated by Kotaku) has finally broken his silence in regards to Evangelion 3.0+1.0 — but fans might not be all that happy with what he had to say. There's still no word on when the next Evangelion film will be released, but Anno did apologize to his fans for the numerous delays:
"To all the Evangelion fans, I'm really, really keeping you all waiting. I am truly sorry ... Evangelion can only be described as my soul. It's a work that chips off parts of me."
While it's a shame that Evangelion 4.0 isn't coming anytime soon, it's nice to know that Anno isn't giving up on it just yet. The third film in the Rebuild series completely changed the status quo, leaving fans in the dark as to what would happen next. Most assumed that it would be delayed — every other film in the series was — but even the idea of not seeing a proper conclusion is almost too horrible to consider.
It may seem like Toho's Godzilla: Resurgence is the bad guy here, but it also sounds like Anno's live-action work is keeping him from giving up on Evangelion altogether:
"Up until then, after doing the third entry Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, I thought I wasn't going to make any more. At that time, I went into talks with Toho, and it saved me. I think this is how I'm able to keep making Evangelion. However, since it is a fact that I'm making everyone wait, I deeply apologize for that."
Again, it's disappointing that Evangelion was put on the back burner while Anno switched over to live-action work — but if Godzilla is what gets the Rebuild films back on track, so be it.
It'll likely be years before Japanese fans get a chance to finally see the conclusion of the Rebuild of Evangelion quadrilogy, and American fans can tack a few more years onto that. At the very least, the English dub of Evangelion 3.33 finally made its way stateside earlier this year — it might not be a new film, but at least American fans can finally watch the whole series in English.
Otherwise, Godzilla: Resurgence is due out in Japanese theaters on July 29.