Neon Genesis Evangelion was a fantastic TV series. It was hugely popular and had an enormous fan base. A few weeks after the end of the series, it was decided that two movies would be made for spring and summer of 1997. Gainax said that the first one would be a sum-up of the series, while the second would be an "Original Story".

Eventually it was decided that the first movie, called "Evangelion: Death and Rebirth", would consist of two parts.

The first part, "Evangelion: Death", directed by Masayuki (not Anno Hideaki), being the sum-up of the series, with a few extra scenes added, some of them being excerpts of the yet-to-come Redone Evangelion Episodes 21 and 22 which were released on video.

The second part, "Evangelion: Rebirth", was planned to be the new Evangelion Episodes 25 and 26.

However because of schedule problems (yet again), Gainax announced that "Evangelion: Rebirth" would only be the beginning of the new ending.

So just to recap"Evangelion: Death and Rebirth" in the end was made up of "Evangelion: Death", a summary of the series, and "Evangelion" Rebirth", the first part of the new ending.

Also in January 1998, a director's cut of "Evangelion: Death and Rebirth", called "Evangelion: Death (True) and Rebirth", was aired on Japanese TV. It seems that the director Masayuki really didn't want to include all these excerpts of the new scenes for episodes 21 and 22, so he removed some of them for this new version of "Evangelion: Death". "Evangelion: Rebith" remained the same.

Now in March 1998 they released Revival of Evangelion which contained yet another version of Death, titled "Evangelion : Death (True)²". This was an improved version of "Evangelion : Death" in which they made changed to the music and sound.

Confused yet? I still am and I've been an Eva fan for years. The fact that it is so confusing is probably why it hasn't been noded before now. Anyway, so they decided that the second movie would now be the complete new ending. It was originally titled "Evangelion : Rebirth II", however they finally decided on the (in my opinion much better) name of "The End of Evangelion".

Update concerning the Manga release:

The recent Manga Entertainment release closes a chapter on the saga of the movies. It took them more than 3 years but they finally did it. Their version contains "Evangelion : Death (True)²". It is important to note here that the extra scenes in this version of Death were not ones that were taken out of the series episodes, but rather extra scenes that were added in to the Japanese "video" release of episodes 21 to 24. See my writeup on the Redone Evangelion Episodes for more details.

So Manga used the most recent version of Death for their release, but the second half is not actually Rebirth. The version of Rebirth that screened theatrically in Japan and that was shown on the WOWOW Japanese network is slightly different to the first part of The End of Evangelion that eventually superseded it. For the Japanese release Rebirth and the first part of EoE are different. Rebirth has a preliminary audio track and some of the animation is very rudimentary. For The End and entirely new music track was added, a very short extra scenes put in and some other scenes altered slightly or otherwise cleaned up. These differences are evident when you view the Japanese release of Rebirth and compare it to The End of Evangelion. However they are not evident when you compare the Manga release of Rebirth to the first part of The End. For Manga's release "Rebirth" basically consists of the first part of The End of Evangelion exactly transferred apart for the addition of two eyecatches and the ending credits. So in effect you are not getting "Rebirth" as such, you are getting the first part of The End of Evangelion.

Many fans wouldn't even notice the difference. Unless you actually own or have seen a copy of the original Japanese release of Rebirth then you would have no clue that what you got is not actually Rebirth. Even if you had seen the original, the visual differences are so small that they can be easily missed and if you are not paying attention to the music you might not notice that is different either. For the sake of completeness though I make mention of it here.

It should be noted that Manga Entertainment seem free from blame in not actually giving fans "Rebirth". They say that just worked with the masters provided to them by Gaianx. Quotes from Manga representatives seem to indicate that even they didn't realise there was a difference between Rebirth and the first part of The End of Evangelion.

Finally on the dub itself. All of the inconsistencies in pronunciation by the cast members of different words (Eva, Kaoru) just goes to show the lack of professional directorial skill that Amanda Winn Lee possesses. The commentary itself should be proof of that though, where in some places she maintains that she held true to the original, and in others she gleefully points out places where she changed things and added silly sounds because she thought they sounded 'cool'. Also the translation used in both the sub and dub in the Manga release contains some jarring mistakes. Adam was not born of Lilith or vice-versa.

Overall I am glad that occidental fans finally received this release, however after waiting three years I expected much more.

As a footnote to Redalien's writeup, I feel bound to add that the UK DVD of Death & Rebirth is typically Manga in its quality. The film has been telecined to NTSC and the resulting mess of 3:2 pulldown artifacts then converted to PAL, possibly without aid of an Alchemist or other motion-compensating converters hardware.

The result looks horrible, especially when it's being shown on a big screen in a cinema that somehow hasn't managed to connect its DVD player to its projector using at least an S-video connection, never mind RGB component video, and is using composite video.

Probably also worth adding, in the context of the Subtitled or Dubbed? debate, is that Manga managed, in spite of having 50% of the original dub actors available, to produce a lacklustre dub. This, Redalien, is why the pronunciation of Eva changes. There is an argument for Ei-va in that the word is arguably German. This would be inconsistent with how SEELE is pronounced, however: Fuyutsuki says it in French, even if it's with an American English accent.

(To clarify the rights issues: the TV series was released by ADV - for the price that Gainax were asking for the rights to the film, ADV were quoted as saying they acquired the rights to 13 TV series.)

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