Where do you start with a topic as vast as Netflix redub of Evangelion? Might as well start at the beginning, the literal beginning. I think we all know the main characters? But the opening would come before you knew anything about them, so it doesn’t matter. I’ll talk about the characters, in-depth, in a later blog post.

Technical difficulties with the sound? Let me know and I’ll try to get it fixed.

Interspersed with images of giant robots doing battle and flashes of faces of important characters, near the beginning we have Shinji thinking about Rei Ayanami as her nude figure moves up the right side and down the left. Some time is devoted to this so it must be important.

Not only is he fantasizing about her, but he is also watching her.

Then we have the Captain, Misato. She is also nude and in sihoulette (and sans nipples), with the fuller figure of an adult woman. We see her body unfold until it is arches back and she is looking upward. But look at the face. There’s a lot of anguish going on there. It isn’t the look of someone looking upwards for spiritual or sensual reasons. She is unhappy.

Again, a lot of time here. More time devoted to her than any other character (other than Shinji) in the OP. Animators don’t spend a lot of time on something without reason. Especially in opening and closing credits which get seen many times. This is something they really want you to remember.

And the look at this magnificent fade! Now her figure is sitting slumped forward. A position of failure and sadness. Still the look of pain and anguish. We see that this is really her thinking about Shinji. Is she sad about the cruel fate she has consigned him to?

There is a hint here that she feels something deeper than Platonic friendship for him.

And there’s one quick shot of Asuka looking peaceful and content, something she never showed in the anime. Look at the red light she is shown in. Orange skin against a blue background with scarlet streaks across her body. Is that symbolic of her fiery temperament? Or maybe bathed in the warm glow of sunset? Her face is much too peaceful for it to be embarrassment. Except that it takes effort to hold arms like that (I tried), I’d think she was asleep.

Asuka is a very important character and the short shrift she receives in the OP is curious. All of Asuka’s images are brief flashes that came from the last half although she spends as much time in Shinji’s lustful thoughts as any other female. What was Netflix thinking?

The last half of the OP changes from loving slow sequences to rapid-fire images so fast I was having great difficulty grabbing them at half speed.

But wait, there’s more!

Compare the Netflix opening with the Japanese opening. The US version taries lovingly on the initial scenes of Rei and even longer on the Captain. The Japanese version is entirely fast clips. It also shows a wider variety of situations and even includes more shots of Kaworu. It is almost a quick summary of the entire anime.

Now, let’s look at the music. “A Cruel Angel Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi.  It sounds like great music for a zero-to-hero mecha, right? You’re not prepared for this but settle into your role and become the boy of legend.

Young boy, like a cruel angel’s thesis,
Live up to be a legend…

Even though clear blue winds
Beat on the door of my heart
You just smile, looking straight at me
Too involved in yearning for
Something to hold on.

The innocent eyes still know nothing of fate yet.
But someday you will notice

On those shoulders of yours
There are strong wings
To guide you to the far future.

A cruel angel’s thesis
Will someday fly high from the window
If memories are betrayed by
The overflowing, burning pathos.
Young boy, shine like a legend,
Holding the sky in your arms.

The cradle of love that sleeps within me
There will be a morning that
A servant of dreams will come for you.
The moonlight shines on your thin neckline.
I’d stop time in this world
And lock it away for myself, but…

If there is any meaning
In the fate that pulled us together,
Then I am, yes, the Bible
That teaches you of freedom.

A cruel angel’s thesis
And then sorrow comes forth
When the shapes of the dreams you hold in your arms
Come to life within you.
Young boy, who shines brighter than anyone else,
Rise to become a legend.

People weave together love to create history
And so I live on,
Unable to become a goddess…

A cruel angel’s thesis
Will someday fly high from the window
If memories are betrayed by
The overflowing, burning pathos.
Young boy, shine like a legend,
Holding the sky in your arms.

From: https://wiki.evageeks.org/A_Cruel_Angel%27s_Thesis


This is very upbeat music. The implication is that it is a character’s thoughts. Is Misato the bible he is to learn freedom from? Or is it the EVA unit he pilots?

Yet, as I will later discuss in another post, many people will argue that this is not an upbeat anime but rather a tragedy.

There are the original endings. All 26 of them are covers of the same song, Fly Me to the Moon, by different artists. Looks like Netflix wasn’t willing to cough up the money for the rights to the song. Written in 1954 by Bart Howard. and sung by Kaye Ballard, this bit of Jazz was originally entitled “In Other Words”. Ten years later Frank Sinatra made it his own and it became associated with the space program.

Yes, that is a nude Rei. You are looking at a reflection in the water of the moon with her slowly spinning around as she floats in the air. (Original theme was “Fly Me to the Moon” after all.) Is she floating in the air from bliss? Or is she twisting in the wind? How does the musical selection change how we interpret this?

This is the ending they replaced it with.  A simple piano solo of a different piece of music, “Rei’s Theme”.

The full version of it is as sad and as beautiful as she.

Frank Sinatra was probably the leading male vocalist for much of the late 50s and early 60s, particularly among the adult demographic. He was also a movie actor of incredible talent. His particular “crooning” style of singing expressed the feelings and aspirations of a man who is either planning on going places or has already been there and is proud about it.  (I love belting out his signature song “My Way” in front of an audience at the Two Roads Theater and I usually get a standing ovation. It is at the extreme limits of my “good” vocal range.)

His singing made “Fly Me to the Moon” an informal theme song for the American space program. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, you should probably listen to Sinatra’s version.

Next time maybe I’ll talk about how Shinji is broken. For that matter, so is every other major character as well as the NERV organization itself.