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FUNimation Picks Up Evangelion:1.0 Anime Film Remake (Updated)

posted on 2008-12-31 19:00 EST
Evangelion:1.0 You Are (Not) Alone launches 4-film remake of sci-fi classic

The North American distributor FUNimation Entertainment has announced on Wednesday that it has acquired Evangelion:1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, the first film in an ongoing four-film remake of the Evangelion science-fiction anime franchise. Director Hideaki Anno (Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, His and Her Circumstances, Love and Pop) co-created the original 1995-1996 Neon Genesis Evangelion television series at the anime studio Gainax (Royal Space Force - The Wings of Honnêamise, Nadia - Secret of Blue Water, FLCL). The Evangelion story subverted the standard robot anime tropes of a scientist's robot-piloting son and global apocalypse, all while dealing with themes of alienation and individuality.

Evangelion already hit the big screen in two films in 1997, but Anno co-founded a studio called Khara to remake Evangelion into four new films with NTV. The first film, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone, opened in Japan at #1 with standing-room-only audiences in September 2007. It eventually earned over 2 billion yen (about US$20 million) at the box office. It then sold 219,000 DVDs in its first week of release in April, and sold 297,927 copies by December. It won the Harayasa Tōkaimura Award at the 7th Annual Japanese Otaku Awards, the Animation of the Year award at the 7th Annual Tokyo Anime Awards, and the Theatrical Film Award at the 13th Animation Kobe Awards.

While Evangelion:1.0 changed little in the basic premise and overall structure of the original Evangelion story, its new final scene and the included preview for the next film indicated broader changes in the remaining three films. The next film, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, will open in Japan in early summer of 2009. FUNimation will release the Evangelion:1.0 film in North America in 2009. The original Japanese theatrical trailer is available at FUNimation's website.

ADV Films released the original Neon Genesis Evangelion television series, and the project became one of the biggest anime franchises in North America. Manga Entertainment licensed the two 1997 films, while Viz Media published the main manga version from character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. ADV Films' corporate parent A.D. Vision released Fumino Hayashi's Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days romance story re-telling through its Newtype USA magazine and its ADV Manga division. Dark Horse announced at Anime Expo this past July that it licensed Osamu Takahashi's manga version of the Shin Seiki Evangelion: Ikari Shinji Ikusei Keikaku (Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project) game. Gainax, the New Zealand special-effect firm WETA, and ADV Films were working on a live-action film proposal, but that proposal has not moved past the development stage.

Update: The official website notes that FUNimation has the enhanced Evangelion:1.01 You Are (Not) Alone edition that was first released in Japan on DVD. The film caps off FUNimation's 10-day countdown of title announcements. The titles are the following:

Ikkitousen*
Gad Guard*
Vandread*
Nabari no Ou
Last Exile*
Oh! Edo Rocket
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo*
Slayers Revolution/Slayers Evolution-R
Gungrave*
Samurai Champloo*
Soul Eater
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone
* Formerly released by Geneon Entertainment

Images © Khara

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