Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime series in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise
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Neon Genesis Evangelion follows Shinji Ikari and his friends who are trying to defeat a threat known as "The Angels", while, at the same time reveal the mysteries of their appearance.


At the turn of the millennium, a "meteorite strike" on Antarctica wipes out half of Earth's population. The NERV project fights the real danger-aliens called the Angels who are sending bioengineered weapons to destroy the rest of humanity. The experimental Evangelion project fights the outsized invaders with giant cybernetic organisms, but only children born after the Antarctica incident can pilot the machines. With Rei, the original test pilot, critically ill after an accident, head scientist Gendo Ikari summons his estranged son, Shinji, to take the first mission. Shinji is taken in by the sisterly Misato, an alcoholic burnout with a passionate hatred for the Angels, and the arrival of the hot-headed pilot Asuka Langley creates a dysfunctional surrogate family.

With this novel excuse for young, audience-friendly protagonists and giant fighting robots, Gainax incorporates many of its favorite staples from classic anime and monster movies-the Evas themselves even have a five-minute timer in homage to Ultraman. A deeply personal, psychological odyssey that allowed Anno to remake his earlier Gunbuster at a slower pace, Eva similarly replayed the Pacific War from the Japanese point of view, specifically the apocalyptic final events. Cosmetic use of Western religious imagery, such as Angel weaponry exploding in cruciform patterns, may appear to suggest that Western beliefs themselves are an alien invasion, but this owes more to Anno's own readings in Jungian psychology and archetypes as he coped with creative doldrums post-Gunbuster.

Like Gunbuster, Eva also piles on the parodies, particularly from Gerry Anderson shows (see Thunderbirds 2086), with hidden fortresses launching superweapons and uniforms lifted from Anderson's live-action UFO (1969). It also features innovative casting, allowing famous voice actors to shine in unusual roles, especially Ranma 1/2's Megumi Hayashibara as the schizoid Rei and Sailor Moon's Kotono Mitsuishi as the tragic Misato.

Ultimately, however, Eva ended in a series of disappointments. Gainax was criticized for later scenes broadcast without network approval, indirectly causing the more censorious climate that hurt Cowboy Bebop. Later episodes ran visibly low on funds, with overlong pauses to stretch the animation budget and two concluding episodes that were glorified radio plays. Rumors abounded that Gainax had run out of money and/or time, and that the final chapters were thrown together in just two weeks when Anno's hard-hitting original finale was disallowed. A succession of Eva movies followed. An audio drama, The Conclusion Continues (1996), joked that having saved the world, the Eva cast would consider placing it in fake peril to get their old jobs back; though the gag was ironically close to the mark. The promised "real" finale turned out to be a double bill-Death and Rebirth (1997), a recap of the first 24 episodes with the first reel of the true ending. Audience patience was tested a second time with Death (True)2, which added tantalizing scraps of extra footage, including the moment of "Second Impact" and bonus sequences that also appeared in the Japanese (but not U.S.) video releases of the TV episodes. The genuine movie edition, End of Evangelion (1997), was a truly shocking apocalypse, taking the themes of the original to their logical conclusion presented as the two "missing" episodes that should have closed the series in the first place. These multiple endings have since been repackaged in another edition, Revival of Evangelion.

Despite this confused denouement, Eva was the most critically successful TV anime of the 1990s, drawing back many fans who had given up on the medium, and even inspiring Newtype to test market a new magazine for "intellectual" anime viewers. But like another of Anno's 1960s favorites, The Prisoner, it teased viewers with the illusion of hidden depths that weren't necessarily there, and though designed to be the last word on the giant-robot genre, its success merely ushered in a succession of imitations. Its influence, however, can also be seen in some of the better shows of the years that followed, Blue Submarine No. Six's Japan fighting a morally superior foe, Nadesico's tongue-in-cheek homage to old shows, and Gasaraki's mixture of militarism and theatrical passion. In the wake of Eva, TV became the growth medium for anime, in turn altering the U.S. anime market, with distributors forced to risk more money for longer series when they would prefer shorter movies or video productions. However, this was eventually beneficial in the long-term, allowing American TV channels to scoop up these serials for broadcast during the boom in anime fandom that followed the Pokémon generation into their teens.

In the aftermath of Eva, Anno reused many of its stylistic conceits (such as multiple onscreen titles) in the live-action Love and Pop (1999) and the anime romance His and Her Circumstances. Sagisu's score was also recycled when parts of it were lifted for Katsuyuki Motohiro's live-action TV series Bayside Shakedown. In a final irony, two members of the Gainax studio were indicted for tax evasion over the films' profits-the impoverished filmmakers who finished on a shoestring were now the new fat cats. In 2004 a DVD box set entitled Neon Genesis Evangelion: Renewal (aka Renewal of Evangelion, also the name of the 10th-anniversary project) was issued, containing re-authored versions of the television show (both broadcast and director's cut releases) and both of the movies, all using restored film prints.The TV components were released in North America as NGE: Platinum (or Platinum Edition). Themes and images from Evangelion were used by the British pop group Fightstar for the album Grand Unification (2005).

Season/Ep# Name Airdate
1 - 6
Showdown in Tokyo 3
1 - 5
Rei Beyond her Heart
1 - 4
Rain, Escape & Afterwards - Hedgehog`s Dilemma
1 - 3
A Transfer
1 - 2
Unfamiliar Ceiling
1 - 1
Angel Attack!

View all 26 episodes »

Original US Poster Art

General Information Edit
Name Neon Genesis Evangelion
Name: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン
Romaji: Shinseiki Evangerion
Publisher Gainax
Start Year 1995
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Aliases Neon Genesis Evangelion
New Century Evangelion
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