Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion, lit. Gospel of a New Era), commonly referred to as Evangelion, is a commercially and critically successful anime series that began airing in October 1995. The series was highly influential, and launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It garnered several major animation awards. The anime was created by Gainax, written and directed by Hideaki Anno, and co-produced by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS).
Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series which revolves around the efforts by the paramilitary organization NERV to fight monstrous beings called Angels, primarily using giant humanoids known as Evangelions piloted by select teenagers.
Events in the series refer to Judeo-Christian symbols from the Book of Genesis and Biblical apocrypha among others. Later episodes deconstruct the themes and motifs of the mecha genre and shift focus to psychoanalysis of the main characters, who display various emotional problems and mental illnesses; the nature of existence and reality are questioned in a way that lets Evangelion be characterized as “postmodern fantasy”. Hideaki Anno, the director of the anime series, suffered from clinical depression prior to creating the series, and the psychological aspects of the show are based on the director’s own experiences with overcoming this illness. The anime is an early example of the genre/concept “sekai-kei”, anime/manga/light novels which mirror their protagonists’ lives with the end of the world.
In the year 2000, the “Second Impact”, a global cataclysm, destroys most of Antarctica and leads to the deaths of half of all humanity. The impact, thought by the public to have been a high-speed meteorite impact, causes devastating tsunamis, changes in the Earth’s axial tilt (leading to global climate change), and later geopolitical unrest (including general economic distress and nuclear war). In the following ten years, the research organization Gehirn and its benefactor, the mysterious Seele organization, achieve a number of impressive scientific and engineering goals, including the creation of giant humanoids known as Evangelions and the construction of Tokyo-3, a militarized civilian city located on one of the last dry sections of Japan, in preparation for the arrival of beings known as Angels.
Fifteen years later, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari is summoned to Tokyo-3 by his father Gendo Ikari, the Machiavellian commander of NERV (the paramilitary successor of Gehirn), and coerced into becoming the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01 on the eve of an Angel attack. Shinji begins living with Captain Misato Katsuragi and is soon joined in his mission to locate and destroy the Angels by Rei Ayanami (pilot of Unit-00) and Asuka Langley Soryu (pilot of Unit-02). However, the true nature of the Angels and the Evangelions is increasingly called into question by the conflicting conspiracies and agendas of both Seele and NERV, and their links to the mysterious Human Instrumentality Project.
Learn more about the concepts, principles and symbolism behind the subliminals found in this television series: