Anime Soundtrack Review: Neon Genesis Evangelion Soundtrack 25th Anniversary Box

Neon Genesis Evangelion Soundtrack 25th Anniversary Box is a five-disc box of soundtrack CDs released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Soundtrack 25th Anniversary Box
Publisher: King Records
Release Date: October 7, 2020

The five discs included in this set are re-releases of the three soundtracks for the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series, the soundtrack for the Evangelion: Death and Rebirth anime film, and the soundtrack for The End of Evangelion anime film. Each disc included in this set also had additional tracks added to each of them, and disc one and disc two each had one track replaced (which I will explain a little later). There were also two booklets included in the set.

For whatever reason, when putting this 25th anniversary box set together, it was decided to replace the Claire recording of “Fly Me to the Moon” with a new version recorded in 2020 by Yoko Takahashi. On the first disc, the full-length version of the song was replaced, while on the second disc, the “TV Size” version was replaced with a “TV Size” version of the Yoko Takahashi re-recording. Personally, I was a little disappointed by this decision, because the original Claire recording is the most memorable version of “Fly Me to the Moon.” However, since I also own the Evangelion: The Day of Second Impact soundtrack CD that was released by Geneon in 2004, I have a copy of the Claire recording. But for buyers of this set who don’t already own the original Japanese releases or the Evangelion: The Day of Second Impact CD, they won’t be able to hear the Claire recording. While Yoko Takahashi’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” isn’t a bad version of the song, it would have been nice if this had been included as an additional track instead of replacing something else.

There are also eight additional songs spread out across the five discs of the set that weren’t included on the original releases. The first disc includes a recording of “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by the voice actresses for Misato, Rei, and Asuka. I have no memory of this version ever appearing anywhere in Neon Genesis Evangelion, and I’m curious as to where this version came from.

There are two additional tracks added onto the second disc of the set. The first is labeled as “B-16 [Rhythm Only – MISATO],” and the other is labeled as “B-16 [Rhythm Only – ASUKA STRIKES!].” Both of these are alternate versions of two of the tracks that are on the first disc (which are instrumental themes for the characters of Misato and Asuka). As the titles for each one suggest, these are versions that focus on the percussion and rhythm instruments instead of all of the instruments that appear on the original versions.

There is one additional track added onto the third disc of the set. This track is labeled as “B-20 il tuo sorriso (your smile).” I really don’t know anything about this track, such as where it came from in the series. However, it has more of a “classical” feel to the piece than many of the other tracks on the first three discs of this set. It’s an interesting piece, and I like it, but I just don’t know anything about how it relates to Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Two tracks were added on the fourth disc: “Soul’s Refrain” by Yoko Takahashi and “Choeur: Jesus demeure ma joie, Consolation et seve de mon Coeur.” Since this was a soundtrack for the Death portion of the film and not the Rebirth portion, this would probably explain why the Yoko Takahashi song wasn’t included previously. The other bonus track is a classical piece that, for some reason, wasn’t included on the original soundtrack.

The two additional tracks on the fifth disc are: “M-9 (Original Version of “Expanded Blockage”)” and “F02 version 0706 (Operation 0706 in 2019).” As the title of the first track indicates, it is an alternate version of “Expanded Blockage,” which is one of the tracks on The End of Evangelion soundtrack. I have no information on the other additional track on this disc.

The first disc in the set is the first soundtrack released for the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. It includes the full-length version of “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” the new recording of “Fly Me to the Moon,” as well various score pieces from the series. There’s also an instrumental version of “Fly Me to the Moon,” and an alternate mix of the Yoko Takahashi version of “Fly Me to the Moon.”

The second disc in the set is the second soundtrack for the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. It includes a song by Yoko Takahashi titled, “Premonition,” which was the ending theme for Girlfriend of Steel, a Neon Genesis Evangelion video game that was only released in Japan. There is also a “TV Size” version of “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” the “TV Size” version of the new recording of “Fly Me to the Moon,” four additional versions of “Fly Me to the Moon,” alternate versions of two of the songs on the first disc, as well as more score pieces from the Neon Genesis Evangelion television anime series. The song “Premonition” was just OK, and it wasn’t as memorable as either “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis” or “Fly Me to the Moon.”

The third disc is the final soundtrack released for the Neon Genesis Evangelion television anime series. This has a lot of the more “experimental” sounding score pieces, but this is to be expected, since the story of the series at this point became more experimental and dark. There are also 12 versions of “Fly Me to the Moon” included at the end of disc, as well as the additional track that I mentioned earlier.

The thing I really appreciate about the score pieces for the Neon Genesis Evangelion television anime series is how varied the sounds are. The 90’s classical, the 80’s electronic pop, and the 70’s disco funk are all represented in some way, shape, or form in the score. There were a couple of tracks in particular that really sounded like they were strongly inspired by the score of the original Space Battleship Yamato anime from the 1970’s. Knowing that Hideaki Anno regards Space Battleship Yamato very highly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he asked Shiro Sagisu to specifically give these two particular score pieces this Yamato flair.

The fourth disc of the set is labeled as Evangelion: Death, so I presume it’s the score for the Death portion of the Evangelion: Death and Rebirth anime film. 17 out of the 18 tracks are classical pieces, with the only exception being the Yoko Takahashi track that I mentioned earlier. I’m surprised that the disc didn’t end with the Yoko Takahashi track, because it does stand out so much compared with the rest of the pieces on the disc. Even the second additional track on the disc was a classical piece, so for the sequencing, I think it would have made more sense to flip these two tracks.

The final disc includes the score from The End of Evangelion, as well as “Komm. susser Tod” (“Come Sweet Death”), which is the only track with vocals on the CD. I like to refer to this particular song as the most upbeat song in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It has a dark title and the lyrics are on the dark side, but the musical arrangement is very upbeat. And for those readers who have seen this film, they know what scene this song is used in… and this only adds to the juxtaposition. It’s a very memorable scene.

There are two booklets included in the set. One of them is small booklet that has the tracklisting for each disc, as well as credits for the new recording of “Fly Me to the Moon,” and some production credits for the box set. The other booklet includes reproductions of the CD booklets from the original releases of these soundtracks. I thought that this bigger booklet with the reproductions was a nice item to include in this set.

Overall, I was impressed with the Neon Genesis Evangelion Soundtrack 25th Anniversary Box. My only real complaint is the exclusion of the Claire recording of “Fly Me to the Moon.” Outside of that, though, I thought this was an impressive collection of score and other music from the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. I would highly recommend this set to readers who enjoy the music from this anime series. However, I should caution that as of this writing, the only places that I’ve seen it available new and directly through a retail site instead of through a third party seller are CDJapan and PlayAsia.

Additional posts about Neon Genesis Evangelion:

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