Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (1997)

aka Shin seiki Evangelion Gekijô-ban: Shito shinsei

2007 #91
Hideaki Anno, Masayuki & Tsurumaki Kazuya | 107 mins | DVD | 15

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death &a RebirthThe genesis of this film is a long story (at least, longer than I’d like for this review!) The anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion ends with bizarre theme-centric episodes that fail to conclude the story; a film was produced to re-tell the end from a story-centric position and/or to provide an alternate ending (depending who you believe). This is not that film, but something that was released a bit before that.

The first 69 minutes (titled Death) are an intriguing reorganisation/summary of the series in a somewhat impressionistic way, including a few new scenes. It’s either quite clever or just a jumble. The final 27 minutes (titled Rebirth) are an all-new continuation of the story.

There are answers, revelations, some great sequences, and a great cliffhanger! Unfortunately this is also the start of the concluding film, which ultimately renders this as just one thing: a fan-only curio. Its main value, in my opinion, is the neat cliffhanger, which makes for a tantalising ending (instead of the first act plot point it must be in the next film).

If you’re curious about Evangelion and think a filmic summary sounds a good idea, don’t watch! Get hold of the series, it’s worth the time. (I’ll undoubtedly share my thoughts on the conclusion, The End of Evangelion, as soon as get it back in stock.)

2 out of 5