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"A Cruel Angel's Thesis" (残酷な天使のテーゼ Zankoku na Tenshi no Tēze?, "Zankoku na Tenshi no Thesis" 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 Anno's request in order to "emphasize maternal affection".[citation needed]

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.[1] In a later survey on a similar program on TV Asahi, it was included as the #18 song amongst anime released during the 1990s.[2]

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.

Oricon ranking

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.[3] 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.[4] When this version of the single was re-released in 2003, it remained on the charts for 41 weeks, peaking at #9.[5] Takahashi's "2009 VERSION" release stayed on the charts for 14 weeks, peaking at #22.[6]

Track listings

Original version
October 25, 1995 (1995-10-25); All tracks performed by Yoko Takahashi.
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These"    
2. ""Tsuki no Meikyū" (月の迷宮?, "Labyrinth of the Moon")"    
3. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These (Original Karaoke)"    
4. "Tsuki no Meikyū (Original Karaoke)"    

"Zankoku na Tenshi no These/FLY ME TO THE MOON"
October 25, 1995 (1995-10-25)
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" (by Yoko Takahashi)  

"Zankoku na Tenshi no These/FLY ME TO THE MOON" (10th Anniversary Renewal)
March 26, 2003 (2003-03-26)
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" (by Yoko Takahashi)  
3. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These (OFF VOCAL Version)"    
4. "FLY ME TO THE MOON (OFF VOCAL Version)"    
5. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" (Director's Edit Version)" (by Yoko Takahashi)  

"Zankoku na Tenshi no These 2009 VERSION"
May 13, 2009 (2009-05-13); All tracks performed by Yoko Takahashi.
Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These 2009 VERSION"    
3. "One Little Wish"    
4. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These 2009 VERSION (off vocal)"    
5. "FLY ME TO THE MOON 2009 VERSION (off vocal)"    
6. "One Little Wish (off vocal)"    

Additional versions

Since the song's initial release, many artists have covered the song. Heavy metal cover band Animetal included the track on their Animetal Marathon V album.[7] Versions by cast members Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayanami), Yuko 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 Tunes' Exit Trance Presents R25 Speed Anime Trance Best 2 album, sung by "MAKI".[8]


Several dance cover remixes have appeared on the Dancemania compilations.

  • Shihori version
Dancemania Summer Story 2008[9]
Wa-euro Best[10]
Best of Wa-euro Best[11]
Dancemania Summer Story 2009 (Techno Mix)[12]
  • Nuts version

Nuts versions have appeared on the Speed series.

Anime Speed[13]
Anime Speed Newtype Edition (Quiqman Mix)[14]
Happy Speed (Quiqman Mix)[15]
Himetra Speed (Quiqman Mix)[16]
  • Mint version
Himetra Best[17]
Himetra Anime*Mix[18]
  • Diana Gross (a.k.a. Kahori Fujiwara) version
Hime Trance 3 (Club Mix)[19]


See also

  • List of Neon Genesis Evangelion albums

ko:잔혹한 천사의 테제 it:Zankoku na tenshi no Thesis pl:Zankoku na tenshi no tēze ru:A Cruel Angel's Thesis zh:残酷天使的行动纲领