The influential anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” will soon be available on Blu-ray in North America for the first time. GKIDS, known for distributing Studio Ghibli films in the U.S., will release the 26-episode show and two “Evangelion” films next year on Blu-ray and digital download.
Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the original airing of the first episode of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” in Japan. The celebrated series, created by Hideaki Anno, takes place in 2015 after Earth has been damaged by a cataclysmic event. The fallout includes attacks by aliens that can only be defeated by manned military robots that require a mental connection with their pilots. The existential threat to humanity also serves as an exploration of the human psyche.
IndieWire senior film critic David Ehrlich called the series “essential viewing” for anime fans or for anyone “even casually interested in a work of popular television so daring that only David Lynch has come anywhere close to it on this side of the world.”
GKIDS plans to release both the series and the films “Evangelion: Death (True)²” and “The End of Evangelion” next year.
“‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’ was one of the first titles that transformed my idea of what animation is truly capable of,” said GKIDS President David Jesteadt in an official statement. “GKIDS was created with the intent to distribute the best animation in the world, and it’s an honor to help share such a groundbreaking work with North American audiences in new formats.”
After the DVDs went out of print, the series had been unavailable to purchase or stream for over a decade. That was until last year, when Netflix made the series and two films available on its platform with an all-new English dub.
The series has been widely influential both in and outside of Japan. Among its fans are Wes Anderson, who named “The End of Evangelion” his third-favorite animated movie in a list for Time Out New York, ahead of Hayao Miyazaki classics “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away.”
GKIDS, founded in 2008, produces and distributes adult and family animation. Its films have earned 11 Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature, most recently for Mamoru Hosoda’s “Mirai” in 2019.