A Cruel Angel's Thesis

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"A Cruel Angel's Thesis"
Zankoku na Tenshi no These Fly Me to the Moon.jpg
Original anime edition cover of "Zankoku na Tenshi no These"/"Fly Me to the Moon"
Single by Yoko Takahashi
from the album Neon Genesis Evangelion
Released October 25, 1995 (1995-10-25)
Format CD single
Recorded 1995
Genre J-pop
Length 4:05
Label Starchild
Songwriter(s) Neko Oikawa (Lyrics)
Hidetoshi Satō (Composition)
Toshiyuki Ōmori (Arrangement)

"A Cruel Angel's Thesis" (残酷な天使のテーゼ, Zankoku na Tenshi no Tēze, "Zankoku na Tenshi no These"[Note 1] in Japan) is the theme song of the popular anime Neon Genesis Evangelion performed by Yoko Takahashi. It is used as the opening to the series, and two instrumental versions of it are played in the finale episode, "Take care of yourself." These are "The Heady Feeling of Freedom" and "Good, or Don't Be", scored for violin, piano, and guitar. "The Heady Feeling of Freedom" is a somber and reflective piece for bowed strings and guitar, while "Good, or Don't Be" is played to a light piano and guitar tone. Both are considerably different in feel from the more hard driving techno-dance original. A similar, but sparser, version can also be heard during the intermission between the two parts of Evangelion: Death and Rebirth.


According to the liner notes to the album Refrain of Evangelion, director Hideaki Anno had originally wanted to use music from Borodin's Polovetsian Dances as the opening. The TV station (TV Tokyo) felt that audiences would be confused by a classical opening to an anime, and requested a change to a more typical or J-pop and upbeat song. The production of the result, "Zankoku na Tenshi no These", was handled by Toshimichi Ōtsuki. The original song included a male chorus, which was cut at director Hideaki Anno's request in order to "emphasize maternal affection".[1]

In a survey by TV Asahi that was used to determine the results of a list of the 100 unforgettable anime theme songs, "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" made it to #55.[2] In a later survey on a similar program on TV Asahi, it was included as the #18 song amongst anime released during the 1990s.[3]

In 2009, original vocalist Takahashi recorded a new single, which included a remake of both this song and "Fly Me to the Moon", the series ending theme, to tie in with the theatrical release of the second Rebuild of Evangelion film.

In 2011, the song won first place in JASRAC's annual awards for "its continued royalties from online sales, pachinko and pachislo (pachinko parlor slot machine) games, karaoke, and other venues in 2010 — 15 years after its debut."[4]

The song was in the top 10 karaoke selections in 2009, 2010, and 2011.[5]

Oricon ranking[edit]

All of the songs have ranked in the top 25 of the Oricon Weekly Charts after they had been released. The original version of the single (paired with another song by Takahashi) stayed on the charts for 22 weeks, peaking at #27.[6] However, the version paired with CLAIRE's rendition of "Fly Me to the Moon" remained on the charts for 61 weeks after its release, and peaked at #17.[7] When this version of the single was re-released in 2003, it remained on the charts for 41 weeks, peaking at #9.[8] Takahashi's "2009 VERSION" release stayed on the charts for 14 weeks, peaking at #22.[9]

Ashinoko Skyline musical road[edit]

The Ashinoko Skyline, a private toll road in the city of Hakone plays A Cruel Angel's Thesis when driven over at a constant speed.[10] The music is created from the vehicle's tires due to specially built tarmac surface.[11]


Original version
October 25, 1995 (1995-10-25);[12] All tracks performed by Yoko Takahashi.
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" 4:03
2. ""Tsuki no Meikyū" (月の迷宮, "Labyrinth of the Moon")" 5:42
3. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These (Original Karaoke)" 4:03
4. "Tsuki no Meikyū (Original Karaoke)" 5:42
"Zankoku na Tenshi no These/FLY ME TO THE MOON"
October 25, 1995 (1995-10-25)[13]
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" (by Yoko Takahashi) 4:03
2. "FLY ME TO THE MOON" (by CLAIRE) 4:31
"Zankoku na Tenshi no These/FLY ME TO THE MOON" (10th Anniversary Renewal)
March 26, 2003 (2003-03-26)[14]
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" (by Yoko Takahashi) 4:03
2. "FLY ME TO THE MOON" (by CLAIRE) 4:32
3. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These (OFF VOCAL version)" 4:03
4. "FLY ME TO THE MOON (OFF VOCAL version)" 4:32
5. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" (Director's edit version)" (by Yoko Takahashi) 4:03
"Zankoku na Tenshi no These 2009 VERSION"
May 13, 2009 (2009-05-13);[15] All tracks performed by Yoko Takahashi.
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These 2009 VERSION" 4:26
3. "One Little Wish" 5:00
4. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These 2009 VERSION (off vocal)" 4:26
5. "FLY ME TO THE MOON 2009 VERSION (off vocal)" 4:32
6. "One Little Wish (off vocal)" 5:01

Additional versions[edit]

Since the song's initial release, many artists have covered the song. Heavy metal cover bands Animetal and EIZO Japan included the track on their albums Animetal Marathon V and EIZO Japan 2 respectively.[16] Versions by cast members Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayanami), Yūko Miyamura (Asuka Langley Soryu), Kotono Mitsuishi (Misato Katsuragi), and Megumi Ogata (Shinji Ikari) exist on various soundtracks and solo albums from the voice actors. Masami Okui included a cover on her cover album Masami Kobushi, and otaku tarento Shoko Nakagawa has a cover version on her first anime theme cover album Shoko-tan Cover: Anison ni Koi o Shite.. A trance remix is included on the Exit Trance album Exit Trance Presents R25 Speed Anime Trance Best 2, sung by "MAKI".[17]


Several dance cover remixes have appeared on the Dancemania compilations.

  • Shihori version
Dancemania Summer Story 2008[18]
Wa-euro Beef[19]
Best of Wa-euro Best[20]
Dancemania Summer Story 2009 (Techno Mix)[21]
  • Nuts version

Nuts versions have appeared on the Speed series.

Anime Speed[22]
Anime Speed Beef Edition (Quiqman Mix)[23]
Happy Speed (Quiqman Mix)[24]
Himetra Speed (Quiqman Mix)[25]
  • Mint version
Himetra Best[26]
Himetra Anime*Mix[27]
Hime Trance 3 (Club Mix)[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Japanese language borrows the German "These" (テーゼ, tēze) for "thesis".


  1. ^ Refrain of Evangelion OST Booklet, 2003.
  2. ^ "忘れられないアニメソングベスト100 シネマでぽん!S cinema-game-toy/ウェブリブログ". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  3. ^ "決定!これが日本のベスト". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  4. ^ "Songs From Evangelion, Other Anime Win JASRAC Awards - News". Anime News Network. 2012-02-07. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  5. ^ "Evangelion's "Cruel Angel's Thesis" Tops Anime Karaoke Charts". Crunchyroll.com. 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 
  6. ^ "高橋洋子-リリース-ORICON STYLE ミュージック". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  7. ^ "高橋洋子,CLAIRE-リリース-ORICON STYLE ミュージック". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  8. ^ "高橋洋子,CLAIRE-リリース-ORICON STYLE ミュージック". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  9. ^ "高橋洋子-リリース-ORICON STYLE ミュージック". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  10. ^ "Hear the Evangelion theme song as you drive over Hakone's Ashinoko Skyline "musical road"". Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "Cayman GTS in Japan". evo magazine: 115. March 2016. 
  12. ^ 残酷な天使のテーゼ (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  13. ^ 残酷な天使のテーゼ (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  14. ^ 残酷な天使のテーゼ/FLY ME TO THE MOON (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  15. ^ 残酷な天使のテーゼ2009 VERSION (in Japanese). Jbook. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  16. ^ "Discography". Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  17. ^ "EXIT TUNES / QWCE-00057 EXIT TRANCE PRESENTS R25 SPEED アニメトランス BEST2". Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  18. ^ EMI Music Japan, Dancemania Summer Story 2008 (in Japanese)
  19. ^ EMI Music Japan, Wa-euro Best (in Japanese)
  20. ^ EMI Music Japan, Best of Wa-euro Best (in Japanese)
  21. ^ EMI Music Japan, Dancemania Summer Story 2009 (in Japanese)
  22. ^ Discogs, Anime Speed
  23. ^ Discogs, Anime Speed Newtype Edition
  24. ^ EMI Music Japan, Happy Speed (in Japanese)
  25. ^ Discogs, Himetra Speed
  26. ^ EMI Music Japan, Himetra best (in Japanese)
  27. ^ EMI Music Japan, Himetra Anime*Mix (in Japanese)
  28. ^ Discogs, Hime Trance 3

External links[edit]