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Netflix’s Evangelion is missing its great end-credits music

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‘Fly Me to the Moon’ didn’t survive the licensing process

Artwork of Shinji Ikari and Rei, with the EVA-01 unit in the background, from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Gainax/Netflix

Neon Genesis Evangelion is now available to stream on Netflix, but not without some changes from the version that existing fans are familiar with. For one, it has a new English-language dub, but it’s also missing its original end-credits song, “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Every episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion originally ended with an arrangement of “Fly Me to the Moon,” a frequently covered jazz tune written by Bart Howard. Each episode featured a different version of the song, some performed by singer Claire Littley, some by Yoko Takahashi, who also sings the opening-credits banger “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis.”

Netflix’s version of Evangelion — at least in the U.S. — features a portion of Rei’s theme over the closing credits. It’s a dramatic tonal change from the upbeat rhythms of “Fly Me to the Moon” — which itself was often a tonal contrast against the anime’s sometimes dark and depressing cliffhanger endings.

In Japan, “Fly Me to the Moon” appears intact on Netflix, affirming that rights issues led to the track being dropped from streaming in the States.

Since Netflix downplays end credits anyway, thrusting viewers into the next episode and the next, it’s a change that newcomers to the series might not have missed. But for longtime fans who often sat processing Evangelion’s emotional gut punches to “Fly Me to the Moon,” it’s a disappointing alteration.

Fans who want to revisit Neon Genesis Evangelion’s many versions of “Fly Me to the Moon” can do so on a site where musical copyright is of marginal concern: YouTube.