Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shinseiki Evangerion) is a Japanese mecha anime series produced and made by Gainax and the franchise's creator, Hideaki Anno. It aired from October 4, 1995 to March 27, 1996 on TV Tokyo. It was licensed by ADV Films and is one of the most important and influential anime ever created.
Set in the year 2015, the series focuses on a 14-year-old boy named Shinji Ikari, who suffers from mental trauma after being abandoned by his father, Gendo Ikari. He's recruited by NERV to finally become the pilot of the EVA Unit-01 in order to fight and destroy the monstrous menaces known as "Angels". During the course of the series, Shinji is joined by both of the pilots, the very shy, girly Rei Ayanami and the German tomboy, Asuka Langley Soryu.
Why It Rocks
- Well-written and interesting story of the EVAs and Angels.
- The concept of organic-like mechas fighting aliens with Judeo-Christian themes is very original and well-executed.
- The characters are likable, such as Shinji, Rei, Asuka (its most iconic and popular character), Misato, Toji, Kensuke, Hikari, Kaji, and Kaworu.
- "Director's Cut" episodes were released for episodes 21-24 to give more info about the characters' past and what they went through.
- As explained before, it deals with serious themes like depression, mental trauma, and pain.
- Very well-created and mysterious lore within the series.
- Amazing fight scenes between the EVAs and Angels.
- The animation still looks beautiful to this day.
- Its opening, "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" by Yoko Takahashi, is a classic.
- Great voice acting in both the original Japanese version and the ADV Films dub.
- The End of Evangelion, the theatrical film that resolves the series' plot, is considered by many to be one of the greatest anime films of all-time.
- A wonderful opening theme that has spawned many internet memes and the ending theme is a cover version of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon".
- It has some funny moments, like the scene where Shinji's privates are censored by a conveniently-placed can of beer, and the episode where an Angel is defeated through the use of a synchronized dance number.
- Due to budget and time constraints, the lore and proper ending of the series had to be resolved in a theatrical film.
- The story can get pretty confusing at times.
- The international Netflix release got flack for removing "Fly Me to the Moon" and bowdlerizing Kaworu's sexuality.
- The "Omedetou!"/"Congratulations!" ending scene is incredibly confusing. In fact, some fans actually sent death threats to Hideaki Anno after the series finale first aired.
- Shinji can be unlikable at times, especially during The End of Evangelion.
- While a good character, Asuka can be pretty a mean character at times.
Neon Genesis Evangelion received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike for it's atmosphere, characters, tone and story. MyAnimeList has a rating of 8.3/10 while IMDb gave the series a 8.5/10 and Rotten Tomatoes has a 100% approval rating. However, it also attracted controversy. Particularly controversial were the last two episodes of the show, as the ending was considered confusing and abstract to many viewers and critics alike. In 1997, Hideaki Anno and Gainax released the feature film The End of Evangelion, which brought more context to the original ending of the show.
- Robin Williams was a huge fan of this anime, even referencing it with a Sega Real Model 09, EVA-MP in his 2002 film One Hour Photo.
- The "Congratulations!" scene and the opening theme both became internet memes.
- The success of the series led to a rebirth of the anime industry, and it has become a cultural icon. Film, manga, home video, and other products in the Evangelion franchise have achieved record sales in Japanese markets and strong sales in overseas markets, with related goods selling over ¥150 billion by 2007 and Evangelion pachinko machines generating ¥700 billion by 2015.