All 26 episodes of legendary anime Neon Genesis Evangelion are now available for streaming on U.S. Netflix, but there’s something missing. The end credits theme, Claire Littley’s beautiful version of “Fly Me to the Moon”, has been replaced. That’s disappointing.
This week’s Netflix release of Neon Genesis Evangelion marks the first time fans in the U.S. have had easy access to the series since its American license ran out in 2011, but the series didn’t make its return trip West unscathed. Along with an all-new English dub with a new cast, the music has also changed. While Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft confirms the Japanese streaming version of the series remains intact, the U.S. version is missing several musical cues. The most glaring omission is the original ending theme.
Every episode of the original North American release of Evangelion ended with this tune:
That’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” written in 1954 by songwriter Bart Thompson and popularized by Frank Sinatra in 1964. This particular version, sung by Claire Littley, is etched into the hearts of Neon Genesis Evangelion fans around the world. The light and dreamy tune, performed and arranged beautifully, was the perfect chaser for the often heavy and depressing subject matter of the series. The pilots of the show’s colorful giant mecha were mentally not okay, constantly pushed to their breaking points and traumatized by the horrors of war. “Fly Me to the Moon” gave viewers a chance to breathe between episodes. It was like hitting a reset button.
The U.S. Netflix release ends with the same closing animation of a female form treading water in a pool that is reflecting the full moon, but it replaces the original theme with a piano instrumental. It’s an eerie, haunting tune. Instead of relaxing, the sparse minor notes of the piece leave me unsettled. It’s probably for the best that most Netflix viewers skip the end credits of episodic series.
The omission is likely due to a licensing issue. We’ve reached out to Netflix for clarification and will update this post should we hear back. In the meantime, should the adventures of Shinji and the giant robots get too intense, keep this video of the original ending theme handy.