Hideaki Anno began “rebuilding” his seminal anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion way back in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2007 when the first of the four movies arrived in Japanese theaters. It’s been quite the bumpy ride since, with long delays between the subsequent movies, Anno working on other projects (e.g., Shin Godzilla, Space Battleship Yamato 2199) as well as experiencing a breakdown after the third film, and of course, COVID.
But here we are, nearly two decades later, and the final film — officially titled Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time — has finally arrived in Japanese theaters (and done very well at the box office). Was it worth the wait? Did Anno give his “Rebuild of Evangelion” project a satisfactory conclusion? Is Shinji still as whiny and mopey as ever? Read on and find out.
Ollie Barder, “Not only breaking box office records, it’s also really good”
I really don’t want to spoil anything here, but Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 was really special. Not only in how it finished off the Rebuild of Evangelion series but also helped rationalize and justify aspects of the original TV series.
Chris Cimi, “Hideaki Anno’s Vision (Finally) Fulfilled”
I won’t spoil the fun… but that climax could only be meaningfully achieved in The Rebuild of Evangelion, specifically in a second Evangelion cycle that is self-aware and knows it’s being watched with 25 years of complex manifestations in its viewer’s heads, spiritually confirming the tetralogy as essential… a much-needed part of the Evangelion experience. Following that, the spiritual Evangelion closure that you’ll either fully embrace or outright reject makes for the cherry on top.
Richard Eisenbeis, “It certainly delivers a satisfying conclusion”
All in all, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time is an excellent mix of new and old. It uses the same building blocks from decades before to create a new story with a more hopeful message. Characters are explored in interesting, dynamic ways and the film ties up the vast majority of loose ends that the previous films have left hanging. And while it does have some weaknesses in its world-building, you’re likely to be so caught up in the adventure that you barely notice your first time through, or are willing to overlook them in the face of everything else it does well.
Daryl Harding, “A happy end to Evangelion”
One thing Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time makes certain, and something I couldn’t believe despite all the marketing messages is that this is Hideaki Anno’s true end of Evangelion. It may not be the last time we get an Evangelion-something, but this is the end of the franchise for Anno. The end, which brought a tear to my eye, perfectly encapsulated Anno’s feelings on the matter.
Kyle McLain, “A wonderful sendoff for the franchise”
This conclusion to the Rebuild of Evangelion film series is overflowing with messages of hope and positivity, to the point that it may come across jarring to longtime fans. Along the course of the surprisingly lengthy 154-minute runtime, series creator Hideaki Anno leads the viewer into uncharted territory, all the while giving legacy characters a fitting farewell worthy of the franchise.
Matt Schley, “Anime epic gets a fitting finale”
Time has allowed for amazing advancements in CG, and 3.0+1.0 blows away the first three films. While I think I’ll always prefer the hand-drawn elegance of End of Evangelion, there’s no denying that computer animation allows 3.0+1.0 to bring the spectacle to a new level.
But under that spectacle is a very personal story.
These are the only English language reviews that I’ve found so far. This being Evangelion, though, I expect there to be plenty of dissension, disagreement, and dissatisfaction as (hopefully) more people get to see Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 in the coming months.
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon a Time is currently playing in Japanese theaters. There have been no announcements concerning film’s release here in the States. Funimation released the previous “Rebuild” films, but that’s no guarantee that they’ll be releasing the fourth. In the meantime, American Evangelion fans can watch the original series on Netflix.