• Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.01: Thrice Upon a Time

    is

    the fourth and final film in the

    Rebuild of Evangelion

    project

    , and it's available along with the previous three on Prime Video.

  • With these films, creator and director Hideaki Anno revisits his cult series and monument of japanime with more budget and a new ending.

  • As rare as it is elusive, Hideaki Anno spoke to

    20 Minutes

    , an exclusive interview for France.

Monument of Japanese animation, legendary series of the 1990s and object of fascination for fans,

Neon Genesis Evangelion

has never ceased to influence, even to haunt, pop culture, and more particularly the otaku culture of which it was made. both celebration and criticism. Came to see giant robots save the world, the spectators left overwhelmed by adolescent spleen and an existential crisis. The arrival of the series, and the films

Death (True) ²

and

The End of Evangelion,

streaming in 2019 on Netflix was already an opportunity to see it again for the nostalgic and to discover it for the new generations.

But it is on another platform, on Amazon Prime Video, that the real event takes place on Friday with the exclusive and worldwide broadcast of the film

Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.01: Thrice Upon a Time,

fourth and final film of the

Rebuild of Evangelion

project

.

The previous three, already available on DVD and Blu-ray from Dybex, are also on Prime Video in their final versions.

If the starting pitch is the same,

Rebuild of Evangelion

allows its creator and director Hideaki Anno to “rebuild”

Evangelion

as close as possible to its original vision, without budget problems and with a different, final ending.

Because

Evangelion

is inseparable from Hideaki Anno, like

Twin Peaks

may be David Lynch.

The result is not really a reboot or a remake, but a

new, different

Evangelion

, which completes and illuminates the original series, but also the “original” personality of its author.

Rather rare in an interview, Hideaki Anno nevertheless lent himself to the exercise during a round table, a

20 Minutes

exclusivity

for France.

After the series and films “Death (True) ²” and “The End of Evangelion”, why did you feel the need to revisit “Evangelion” 20 years later?

In the early 2000s, when I had to think about my new project,

Evangelion

became obvious.

I tried working on other ideas, but each time they sounded like

Evangelion

.

I still had some interesting things to do with the franchise, or rather to redo.

I didn't want the same ending.

Times have changed since the show, the world is different, I'm different, in another place in my life.

The last movie took 10 years to make, why was it so long?

Were you less connected to the franchise, to the characters?

The third movie,

Evangelion 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

, left me in a

bad

state, I was broken.

I took a lot on myself to finish it, but it affected me more than I would have thought both physically and mentally.

I needed to distance myself for a while, to work on something else to find myself and to confront

Evangelion

again

.

Without this project [the

live

film

Shin Godzilla

], I don't think I would have come back.

You have shot several live films, did this experience have an influence on the “Evangelion” films?

The only limit of the animation is what you want to tell.

Me, I have always used live shooting techniques in the animation process.

Or when I couldn't yet, I always kept it in mind.

For the fourth film,

Evangelion: 3.0 +1.01

, I was able to use the latest technological advances, such as motion capture for example.

Has having more budget allowed you to accomplish things that you can't on TV?

It's true that I had a hell of a budget for the

Rebuild

movies

, but there were a lot of things I wanted to do like action scene previews.

A difficult, expensive and impossible process on a TV series.

But I couldn't get such a budget just because it's

Evangelion

.

I am not sure that I would have the opportunity to work again with a budget of this magnitude, the opportunities are rare in Japan and it has to be in line with my ideas.

Anyway, I'm going to focus on

live action

for a while, and maybe come back to animation someday.

What's the main difference about the hero Shinji between the show and the movies, and what message do you want to get through him?

In the show, Shinji wasn't ready to take on the world.

He was only able to talk about his own story, in an almost selfish survival reflex.

In the movies he is more mature, able to look around and help the people around him.

If there is a difference, it is there.

Could the “Evangelion” series have been misinterpreted, what do you think as a creator?

It is the characteristic of works, to be interpreted, even badly interpreted.

It happens all the time.

We create universes, stories, characters, but how they're going to be received really depends on the people.

People suffering from anxiety were thus able to feel closer to Shinji, to his discomfort, and to receive the series and its themes more strongly.

But we want to reach everyone.

Why do you think “Evangelion” is so important to some fans?

Did you expect such success outside of Japan?

When we thought about and built the series with the crew and the cast, our driving force was to be always more interesting.

Our brainstorming sessions have led us to question ourselves, to push our limits.

So when viewers started spreading the word, debating the show, taking it back, it was pretty exciting to watch.

Afterwards, I am Japanese and address myself above all to the Japanese public.

That the series traveled outside of Japan and reached so many people came as a real surprise.

A happy surprise.

How do you feel now that you are done with “Evangelion”?

If you're really done of course.

I can only speak for myself, but yes, the story of

Evangelion

is well and truly over.

I will not continue.

After the last film was over, I felt an inner calm, a kind of liberation.

Still, from a pure story standpoint, there's that 14-year ellipse at the start of the third movie, and therefore the potential to tell something, in any form.

But I don't have the desire now, I don't feel it to be completely honest.

If animation in general, and Japanese in particular, has always been successful, it is enjoying record popularity with the boom in streaming services.

What do you think ?

Animation is, in my opinion, the best medium for transposing imaginations into images, and therefore for creating entirely fictional worlds.

It therefore has the potential to cross borders, cultures ... We must not forget that in a not so distant time, cartoons were considered, and often intended for children.

But that has changed, animation is now for everyone, for adults, and the democratization of platforms and series is proof of that.

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