Once upon a time, the only way for American anime fans to watch the legendary series Neon Genesis Evangelion was to invest in some outrageously priced bootlegs. Then, last summer, Netflix did what Netflix does: realize the streaming dreams of a select group of fans. Evangelion premiered on the service on June 21, 2019 with a brand new dub for a new legion of fans to discover.
The streaming coup raised another question: How long would Netflix hold on to the rights to the series? Could they disappear again? For anyone looking to invest in hard copies, there wasn’t a great answer — until now.
On Saturday night, animation distributor GKIDS announced the acquisition of the American rights to Hideaki Anno’s surreal and hyper-personal series, as well as the films Evangelion: Death (True)2 and The End of Evangelion. The deal will see the release of the series and films on Blu-ray and on digital download-to-own in 2021, a first for the United States. The deal comes on the eve of the show’s 25th anniversary.
“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. “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.”
Reps for GKIDS were not immediately able to confirm to Polygon whether the Blu-ray releases would feature the original English dub, Netflix’s dub, or a brand new track, or whether it would include “Fly Me to the Moon,” notably missing from the Netflix streaming version. But the deal means that if (or when) Netflix’s own acquisition deal lapses, Neon Genesis Evangelion will remain in the possession of fans for years to come.