Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Neon Genesis Evangelion
Original title 新 世紀 エ ヴ ァ ン ゲ リ オ ン
transcription Shin Seiki Evangerion
Neon Genesis Evangelion Logo.svg
genre Science fiction , mecha , action series
Anime television series
Country of production JapanJapan Japan
original language Japanese
Year (s) 1995-1996
Studio Gainax ,
Tatsunoko Pro
length 25 minutes
Episodes 26 in 1 season
Theme music Zankoku na Tenshi no thesis
idea Hideaki Anno
production Noriko Kobayashi (TV Tōkyō), Yutaka Sugiyama
music Shirō Sagisu
First broadcast October 4, 1995 (Japan) on TV Tokyo
first broadcast
June 10, 2008 on Animax
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion - Iron Maiden
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion
Evangelion: 1.11 - You Are (Not) Alone.
Evangelion: 2.22 - You Can (Not) Advance.
Evangelion: 3.33 - You Can (Not) Redo.
Yonkoma and TV series
Petit Eva: Evangelion @ School
Computer games
Computer games related to Neon Genesis Evangelion
title Shin Seiki Evangelion: Ikari Shinji Ikusei Keikaku
Original title 新 世紀 エ ヴ ァ ン ゲ リ オ ン 碇 シ ン ジ 育成 計画
transcription Shin Seiki Evangerion: Ikari Shinji Ikusei Keikaku
country JapanJapan Japan
author Osamu Takahashi
publishing company Kadokawa Shoten
magazine Shonen Ace
First publication 2005 - ...
expenditure 11
title Shin Seiki Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku
Original title 新 世紀 エ ヴ ァ ン ゲ リ オ ン 学園 堕 天 録
transcription Shin Seiki Evangerion: Gakuen Datenroku
country JapanJapan Japan
author Min min
publishing company Kadokawa Shoten
magazine Asuka
First publication August 24, 2007 - August 24, 2009
expenditure 4th

Neon Genesis Evangelion ( Japanese 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion , also briefly NGE or EVA ) is an internationally successful anime - TV show from 1995. It forms the basis for several later release movies, manga important and video games and is one of the previously Anime productions. The work refers to many older films, series and books and had a great influence on subsequent productions. NGE opened up new audiences for the anime medium in Japan and internationally.

The series is about the fight against creatures of unknown origin called angels who attack humanity. They are opposed to fighting machines controlled by young people, the Evangelions . As the action progresses, the characters' psychological problems are increasingly addressed. The anime falls into the genres of science fiction , action and mecha and contains various elements from philosophy and psychology .


As the series progresses, the events that preceded the storyline told by the series are gradually explained. These are explained in the “Prehistory” section; the actual plot of the series begins in the "main story" section.


Logo of the organization SEELE

On September 13, 2000, a cataclysmic explosion occurred at the South Pole , which led to the complete melting of the polar ice in Antarctica and the tilting of the Earth's axis . The ensuing rise in sea ​​levels , massive climate changes and global conflicts over the remaining resources lead to the death of three billion people, which corresponds to half of the world's population. Officially, the impact of a mini meteorite at almost the speed of light is considered to be the trigger for this catastrophe. The real cause of the catastrophe, however, is a "contact experiment" carried out by members of an expedition with a humanoid being recently discovered in Antarctica, known as the first angel Adam . Behind this by Dr. Katsuragi-led expedition and the experiment is the mysterious organization SEELE . This acts according to a scenario that was developed from the scrolls of Qumran , which are in SEELE's possession. SEELE intends to place mankind on a higher, godlike level of evolution within the framework of the apocalypse predicted for the near future .

To implement this plan for the perfection of mankind , the secret organization GEHIRN is founded, whose task is the research and development of suitable defense measures against the angels still to be expected according to the scenario. The organization's headquarters will be built in a huge underground cavity on the shores of Lake Ashi near the Hakone volcano . The city of Neo Tokyo-3 is emerging on the surface of the earth above this cave.

Under the guise of the research laboratory for artificial evolution in Hakone , which is headed by Gendō Ikari, GEHIRN develops the so-called Evangelions (EVAs) based on the work of Yui Ikari, Gendō's wife . These are huge, artificial humanoids that were cloned from Adam or the second angel Lilith and are supposed to fight the angels controlled by a human. In 2004, Yui Ikari dissolves without a trace in its pilot capsule during a test run of an Evangelion prototype. The following year, Kyōko Zeppelin Sōryū, the mother of Asuka Langley Sōryū, lost part of her soul in a similar experiment and hanged herself a short time later. In 2010, construction of MAGI , the organization's three supercomputers, will be completed. Naoko Akagi, the designer at MAGI, feels exploited and betrayed by Gendō Ikari, with whom she has a relationship. In anger, she strangles his alleged ward Rei Ayanami, who is actually a clone made up of parts of Gendo's wife Yui and the angel Lilith, and then commits suicide. Shortly afterwards, the secret organization GEHIRN, whose research and development tasks have been fulfilled, is dissolved and re-established under the name NERV as the executive body for SEELE's plans. Rei is replaced by a new clone.

Main storyline

In 2015, 14-year-old student Shinji Ikari, who grew up with a teacher after the death of his mother Yui, comes to Neo Tokyo-3 at the request of his father Gendō. As a so-called third child, he is supposed to take over the control of Evangelion unit 01 and fight against the angels who threaten humanity. Due to the very distant relationship with his father, Shinji is entrusted to the NERV officer Misato Katsuragi, with whom he also lives. Getting used to his new environment is difficult for Shinji. Rei Ayanami, the pilot of the Evangelion prototype unit 00, with whom he goes to school, only seems to have a closer relationship with his father and is very closed to everyone else. Shinji also finds it difficult to make contact with other students. When his classmate Tōji Suzuhara beats him, doubting his qualification as a pilot, because his little sister was seriously injured during Shinji's first mission, he wants to leave NERV and Neo Tokyo-3. Shortly before his departure, however, Tōji and his friend Kensuke Aida convinced him of the importance of his role as an EVA pilot and remained.

Soon afterwards, the second child Asuka Langley Sōryū arrives from Germany together with EVA-02 and also moves in at Misato. Her self-confident demeanor and quick-tempered temperament cause frequent friction with Misato, Shinji and his new friends Tōji and Kensuke. In the fight, however, the three children Asuka, Rei and Shinji manage to form a team despite various disagreements and successfully fend off the attacks of the angels. Misato's ex-boyfriend Kaji Ryōji comes to Japan together with Asuka. On behalf of NERV he smuggles the angel Adam, who has shrunk to the size of an embryo , to Neo Tokyo-3 and hands him over to Gendō Ikari. Officially, Kaji is a NERV employee and is being transferred to the headquarters, but unofficially he works as a spy for the Japanese government and for SEELE. He discovers that the Marduk Institute , which is supposedly responsible for finding suitable Evangelion pilots, is a front company. In fact, the children of NERV and SEELE are selected from among Shinji's classmates, all of whom are potential EVA pilots.

Logo from NERV

When EVA-04 and a NERV branch in the USA are completely wiped out during a failed experiment, the Evangelion unit 03, which was also built in the USA, is to be brought to Japan. There it turns out during the first activation that the unity has been taken over by an angel. Shinji is ordered to destroy the runaway EVA-03, but refuses because he doesn't want to endanger its pilot. His father Gendō then had the so-called dummy plug system activated, with which Shinji's Evangelion can be remotely controlled from the NERV headquarters. EVA-01 shreds the taken over Evangelion-03 and crushes its pilot capsule. The pilot, Shinji's friend Tōji, survives seriously injured. After this experience, Shinji wants to leave NERV and Neo Tokyo-3 for good and never control an Evangelion again. He changes his mind, however, when the 14th angel attacks the city and virtually effortlessly defeats Reis and Asukas Evangelions and incapacitates them. When Shinji threatens to succumb to the angel with EVA-01, the Evangelion rages again, which finally defeats the angel and devours it. Like his mother several years earlier, Shinji is absorbed by the Evangelion, but can later be saved. At SEELE, doubts about Gendō Ikari's reliability in the implementation of the scenario are increasing, so they let Gendō's deputy Fuyutsuki kidnap by Kaji to ask him about Gendō's intentions. However, Fuyutsuki is prematurely freed from SEELE's captivity by Kaji. Shortly afterwards, Kaji is shot dead by an unknown person.

Asuka's self-esteem suffers from the loss to the last angel and the fact that Shinji has surpassed her with his achievements as a pilot. As the 15th angel approaches, Asuka sees a chance to prove herself to the others. Due to a psycho attack by the angel, which confronts her with her own inadequacy, Asuka loses her courage to face life and is no longer able to control EVA-02. The angel, who is out of reach of conventional weapons in Earth orbit, is finally defeated with the help of the Longinus Lance , which is hurled at him by Rei in EVA-00 and then enters a lunar orbit. The Longinus lance is a huge spear that until then was stuck in the chest of Lilith, who was crucified under the NERV headquarters, and is of great importance for SEELE's plans. The attack of the 16th angel is foiled by Rei by blowing herself up with him and EVA-00. When she reappears shortly afterwards, however, NERV scientist Ritsuko Akagi reveals to Misato and Shinji that Rei is a clone of Lilith and Shinji's mother Yui. Numerous Rei clones without soul and consciousness form the heart of the dummy plug system or serve as substitute bodies for the consciousness of a true Rei. Because she feels exploited by Gendō Ikari, with whom she has a relationship, Ritsuko destroys the remaining clones.

Soon thereafter, SEELE sent the fifth child Kaworu Nagisa to NERV to replace Asuka. The friendly, uninhibited and naive-looking Kaworu quickly becomes friends with Shinji, but turns out to be the 17th angel. He brings EVA-02 under his control and penetrates with it into the lowest level of the NERV headquarters, where the first angel Adam is supposed to be, with whom Kaworu wants to unite. Having arrived at the so-called terminal dogma, however, he realizes that not Adam, but Lilith is being held prisoner there. Shinji, who followed Kaworu with EVA-01, kills him after a long hesitation at his express request, but then makes serious accusations because he believes Kaworu was a better person than himself and should therefore have survived. After the death of the last angel, the perfection of humanity begins with a journey through the minds of the different characters, showing their fears and psychological problems. The actual perfection is exemplified by Shinji's mind, which finally succeeds in overcoming its fears.


"It's strange that Evangelion was such a success - all the characters are so sick!"

- Hideaki Anno


As Children (dt .: Children) the pilots of the Evangelion units are called. The term is to be understood as a proper name borrowed from the plural of the English child , which is why in the Japanese original version a single pilot is referred to as a child. In contrast, the German dubbing uses the grammatically correct but not faithful term child . In the anime, the kanji 適 格 者 for children are also given. These mean “qualified person”. What all children have in common is that they were born after the Second Impact and no longer have a mother. Furthermore, all children and potential children are taught in a common school class.

Shinji Ikari ( 碇 シ ン ジ )

Shinji has become more and more isolated from the outside world since he was raised by a teacher instead of his father after the death of his mother. At the age of 14 he is a shy, introverted loner who has practically no self-confidence and who finds it difficult to deal with other people and himself.

He is the third child and controls the EVE unit 01. He is the only one really suitable for this, since the soul of his mother Yui Ikari is in the Evangelion. Although he is initially unaware of this, Shinji takes control of the EVA, as he struggles for the recognition and love of his father, with whom he has a broken relationship. Misato Katsuragi, who takes on the guardianship of Shinji, soon becomes his surrogate mother and he gains increasing confidence through the fight against the angels. Shinji's last name Ikari means anchor - in a different spelling - also anger or hatred . The first name comes from Shinji Higuchi , one of the founders of GAINAX.

Rei Ayanami ( 綾 波 レ イ )
Cosplayer as Rei Ayanami in her battle suit and longinus lance.

Rei Ayanami is the first child and pilot of EVA unit 00. Her biographical data has been deleted. She is a clone made from components of Shinji's mother Yui Ikari and the second angel Lilith and grows up in a technocratically cold laboratory in the GEHIRN headquarters. At the time of the plot, she lives in a bare and gloomy apartment in a remote and shabby neighborhood of Neo Tokyo-3. Rei is even more withdrawn than Shinji. She shows emotions only in the rarest of cases and her facial expression looks petrified. When she does speak, it is short, laconic phrases with a monotonous and robotic voice. Only towards Shinji's father Gendō is she able to open up.

Your body is interchangeable, as other clones are available as replacements for "ensouling"; Rei is also aware of this fact. The first Rei clone is strangled by Ritsuko's mother, Naoko Akagi, at the age of four; the second dies when EVA-00 destroys itself.

The first name Rei , which is only given in phonetic transcription, can mean different things: among other things, spirit (霊), gratitude (礼), command (令), coldness (冷) or zero (零). Anno borrowed him from the character Rei Hino from Sailor Moon with the futile goal of getting Kunihiko Ikuhara , who worked as a director on this series, as an employee. The surname Ayanami comes from a destroyer in the Japanese Navy. A character like Rei Ayanami, who is closed to his whole environment and apparently has no feelings, has not appeared in any work before NGE and thus represents a completely new creation. After the publication of Evangelion , characters appeared with a similar appearance (light blue hair and red Eyes) and a withdrawn, unapproachable and mysterious being in other series, such as Kidō Senkan Nadeshiko (Ruri Hoshino), Gasaraki (Miharu) or Blue Submarine No.6 . These figures, which were created after Rei Ayanami, are referred to by Patrick Drazen as impassive waifs (German for unmoved homeless people ). Thomas Lamarre calls Rei the quintessence of a "soulful body".

School uniform as worn by Rei and Asuka.
Asuka Langley Sōryū ( 惣 流 ・ ア ス カ ・ ラ ン グ レ ー ) / Asuka Langley Shikinami ( 式 波 ・ ア ス カ ・ ラ ン グ レ ー )

Asuka Langley Sōryū is a native German of Japanese descent. Her mother, Kyōko Zeppelin-Sōryū, works at NERV Branch 3 in Germany. After a failed synchro test in which she loses her mind, she no longer recognizes Asuka and holds a doll for her daughter. When she hangs herself soon afterwards, Asuka vows to shed a single tear over nothing or to show any weakness. She always has to prove to herself and to everyone else that she is the best. Shinji and his two friends Tōji and Kensuke are teased by her wherever they can. Asuka has above-average intelligence and already has a college degree at the age of 14.

Sōryū and USS Langley are Japanese and US aircraft carriers, respectively. Langley is among other things the name of several American cities, for example Langley (Virginia) , where the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is located. The name Asuka, going back to Asuka-kyō , the Japanese capital of antiquity, wasborrowed fromthe protagonist of the manga Chōshōjo Asuka by Shinji Wada . In the cinema tetralogy Rebuild of Evangelion , her last name was changed to Shikinami , which was the name of a Japanese destroyer - a sister ship of the Ayanami . Asuka's character has also been partially changed.

Other main characters

Misato Katsuragi ( 葛 城 ミ サ ト )

Misato Katsuragi, born in 1986, is the daughter of metabiologist Dr. Katsuragi, under whose direction the expedition to the Antarctic took place in 2000 . Misato, who was 14 years old at the time, who accompanied the expedition, only survived the second impact because her father put her in an escape pod. At first she hates her father, who often leaves his family alone and only seems to live for his work. But after he sacrifices his life for her, she doesn't know whether to hate him or love him. The second impact triggers a psychosis in her , so that she isolates herself from the outside world. Only later does it open up again, especially to Ritsuko. During her studies, she had a stormy relationship with Kaji, which she soon broke up because she believed she recognized him as her father.

A hatred for the angels grows within her, which leads her to become a tactical officer at NERV. She is directly responsible for the work of the children and the evangelions. Misato is not privy to the real plans of SEELE and NERV and believes that after the successful fight against the angels, life should go on as before the attacks. She takes over the guardianship of Shinji and Asuka, who both move in with her. Due to the very different mentalities, this leads to frequent friction among each other. In her spare time, Misato drinks a lot of alcohol, is messy, and unabashed at home. On the other hand, she does her job with fiery zeal and the highest professionalism. Misato often wears very tight clothing. Shinji's classmates are happy about this, but he is embarrassed himself.

Misato has a special pet: the warm water penguin pen-pen (or Pen²), an experimental animal that she took in when it was no longer needed and should be disposed of. Your last name comes from the Katsuragi , a Japanese aircraft carrier. Her first name goes back, like that of Ryōji Kaji, to protagonists of a manga by Minako Narita .

Gendō Ikari ( 碇 ゲ ン ド ウ )

Gendō Ikari, whose name was Rokubungi before his marriage to Yui Ikari, is the father of the third child, Shinji Ikari, and the commander of NERV. After the death of his wife, he does not want to develop deeper relationships with anyone, including his son, and therefore hides his feelings. When he makes decisions, the focus is solely on effectiveness in the fight - even human lives have to take a back seat. He often acts according to the orders of the SEELE committee, but in the course of the action increasingly differences arise between him and the organization. The character Gendō Ikari is not very popular in Japan because he is perceived as too strict. However, this was exactly what Hideaki Annos intended, as he believes that the modern Japanese fathers are "effeminate". Gendō's birth name Rokubungi means sextant in German .


The Evangelion s, or EVAs for short, are about 40 meters tall, artificial life forms of human form that are used in Neon Genesis Evangelion as the main weapon against the angels . The name Evangelion for the combat units was chosen, according to Hideaki Anno, because it "sounds complicated" .

Except for unit 01, which was cloned from Lilith , all other EVAs are clones of the angel Adam. Shinji's mother, Yui Ikari, is the creator of the EVAs. Evangelions have a fast metabolism and can therefore heal themselves in a short time if no more than 50% of the unit is damaged. On the outside, the EVAs are almost completely surrounded by protective armor made of titanium steel , which gives them a robot-like appearance. In the armor there is various armament such as a positron rifle or the progressive knife, the blade of which is set in high-frequency vibrations. In addition to its protective function, the titanium armor also serves to control the EVA. The main defense system of an Evangelion is the AT field, which it receives from its pilot. "AT-Field" ( Absolute Terrorfield ) is the technical term for the power of the soul or aura, a strong energetic protective shield, which is used by EVAs and angels alike.

The EVA is supplied with electrical energy via an umbilical cable that is connected to the spinal cord . Because of the vulnerability of this cable, an attempt is being made to integrate an S² organ into the Evangelions. A corresponding attempt with unit 04 fails, however, and leads to the wiping out of the entire research facility. In the course of the series, EVA-01 gets to an S² organ by eating the energy source of an angel during a rampage. Even with the mass production models 05 to 13, the installation finally succeeds. The organs are based on the supersolenoid theory (S² theory).

The Evangelions are controlled by the Children, which are located in the Entry Plug , an elongated capsule that is inserted into the neck of the EVA and the lower end of which is near the heart. The child wears a plug suit to protect against injury and a headset with two nerve couples that synchronize thoughts with the EVA. The most important medium in the Entry Plug is the Link Connection Liquid , or LCL for short , which supplies the pilot with oxygen and dampens mechanical shocks as well as the telepathic connection between the pilot and Evangelion. It is obtained from the blood of Lilith and is also known as the water of life . The LCL is a kind of primordial soup that is made up of body and soul. When activating an Evangelion, the child in full gear takes place in the entry plug , which is then flooded with LCL to start the synchronization. An Evangelion can also be controlled using a dummy plug . This is a system that has stored a pilot's thought patterns and thus simulates the presence of a human pilot for the EVA. In this way, the EVA can be controlled remotely, but does not have an AT field.

Evangelion Unit 00 ( 零 号 機 , Zerogōki )
The prototype Evangelion Unit 00, built in Japan, is the first ever successfully “brought to life” EVA unit to be cloned from Adam. EVA-00 has significant technical defects in terms of its functionality. During several test runs he gets out of control and attacks Gendō Ikari, Ritsuko Akagi or his pilot Rei Ayanami.
Evangelion Unit 01 ( 初 号 機 , Shogōki )
Unit 01 was built as a test model and is controlled by Shinji Ikari. The Evangelion was the only one cloned from Lilith and is therefore of particular importance. After he has incorporated an S² organ and thus has his own independent source of energy, he becomes a central part of the plan for the perfection of humanity in the movie The End of Evangelion . The ability to synchronize the unit with Shinji is guaranteed by the soul of his mother Yui Ikari, who fused with the Evangelion during a failed test run.
Evangelion Unit 02 ( 弐 号 機 , Nigōki )
In contrast to units 00 and 01, EVA-02 is the first real production unit and is explicitly geared towards the fight with the angels. Accordingly, the Evangelion is able to handle the entire arsenal of weapons, which its predecessors were not yet able to do. Due to the mentality of its pilot and the fact that the unit is only of minor importance to the plan for the completion of mankind, EVA-02 is mostly used on the front lines in combat. The compatibility of the unit with Asuka Langley Sōryū stems from a failed synchro test in which part of her mother's soul has merged with the Evangelion.


The angels appearing in the anime, whose names and properties are partly borrowed from Jewish mythology , are mostly depicted as gigantic beings up to several hundred meters in length, but also appear with small sizes down to the nano range . They consist of a material that has the characteristics of both waves and particles and acts like "solidified light". This matter contains structures that are 99.98% identical to human DNA , making humans more closely related to angels than to chimpanzees. With the exception of Tabris, the 17th angel, they are always abstract in shape, right down to mere geometric shapes. The origin of the angels is not clarified in the series.

The first angel is Adam, according to the biblical first man Adam and the kabbalistic concept of Adam Kadmon , the appearance of God as creator and archetype of man, who causes the second impact in Evangelion . He is succeeded as the second angel Lilith, according to Jewish mythology the first wife of Adam, who is found in a cave below Japan. The other angels that are fought against are numbered according to their appearance. The last angel is Lilim, humanity itself. In the Talmud , Lilim are the demons that Lilith gives birth to after she was expelled from Paradise. The term Shito ( 使徒 ) used in Japanese for these beings actually means apostle in German . The translation with the English term Angel , i.e. angel, was intended by Hideaki Anno himself.

Origin and production

“'Evangelion' is my life and I have put everything I know into this work. This is my whole life. My life itself. "

- Hideaki Anno


Gainax studio building in Tokyo

The plans at the Anime - television series at Studio Gainax began in July 1993, the production lasted until 1996. In addition to Hideaki Anno directed, co-producer, co-character designer and co-musical writers were Yoshiyuki Sadamoto as a character designer and Hiroshi Kato involved as artistic director . Assistant director was Kazuya Tsurumaki , second screenwriter Akio Satsugawa . Ikuto Yamashita was responsible for the mecha design together with Hideaki Anno. The producers were Noriko Kobayashi and Yutaka Sugiyama. Some of the animations were also created by Studio Production IG and, in episode 11, by Studio Ghibli . Tatsunoko and TV Tokyo were also involved in the production.

Motivation and Origin

Before the production of the series, the Gainax studio was in a serious crisis. For the Aoki Uru project , which began in March 1992 and was planned as a sequel to the film Wings of Honneamise , hardly any sponsors could be found, and the studio ran into financial difficulties. When the project ended in July 1992, many employees also left the studio and management began to cut expenses as much as possible. That same month, Gainax began planning for Neon Genesis Evangelion . In September 1994, while Evangelion was still being produced, the group of employees around Takami Akai who were working on the computer game Princess Maker 2 split from the studio and founded the company AKAI.

Hideaki Anno suffered from severe depression in the period prior to the production of the series , which also affected the content of NGE. With the idea of ​​the new series, he regained courage. From the basic theme of Aoki Uru , "not to run away", he developed the concept of Evangelion . At the beginning, Anno's idea was in the foreground of the production of multiplying the number of anime fans, the otakus , through the series . So he wanted to break the isolation of the fans that was prevalent at the time. The plot should depict a battle between humans and gods. A girl was initially planned as the main character, as was the case in previous productions of the studio, for example Gunbuster or Die Macht des Zauberstein . This design was similar to the later Asuka, but was discarded because the concept of the other series was not repeated and a boy could more easily be imagined as a pilot of a fighting machine. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto had the idea that the dead mothers of the pilots would live on in the EVAs after a television documentary about the A10 nerve . The pilots also experienced a special development through the early death of their mothers. Asuka's relationship with Shinji was modeled on that of Nadia and Jean in The Power of the Magic Stone . Rei was designed to be the opposite of Asuka.

The storyline of the series was originally planned differently than it was later realized. The first episode was supposed to show a fight between Rei and an angel; Shinji should only be used after the angel's victory over Rei. However, most of the other early episodes are roughly in line with the concept planned at the beginning. From episode 13, the plot was changed more and more. Only episode 16 still corresponds to the original plan in the first part. In the first version of the ending, an angel from the moon should threaten humanity, the UN should turn away from the project for the completion of humanity, and Ritsuko and Gendō remain as defenders of the project. A final battle in an ancient ruin "Aluka" would result in the decision against the project, which would also destroy NERV. The script was not written until the series was in production, and it began airing after only a few episodes were finished. The later course of the plot was influenced by the reactions of the fans and the rethinking of Hideaki Annos as well as the time shortage that occurred towards the end of the series. In addition, the scenario was changed because of the poison gas attack by the Aum sect , as the originally planned was too close to the actual events. Anno didn't want the series to lose its fictional character and thus the potential for interpretation and changed the plot so that the parallels to reality were less obvious. However, Anno also said that behind the incidents with the Aum sect and NGE was the same societal problem of demarcation from society and alienation.

From the 16th episode, Between Life and Death ( 死 に 至 る 病 、 そ し て / Splitting of the Breast ), the conception of the series changed and the plot diverged more and more from the original draft. This was due to the fact that Hideaki Anno was dissatisfied with the reactions to the series. Then the series changed in a more critical direction; Anime fans and their way of life were particularly criticized. Anno also wanted to convey an understanding of real life through violence and sex scenes and thus develop the story further. In addition, the audience, especially children, should be hardened and prepared for life. In addition, it was during this time that Hideaki Anno began reading books on psychology and mental illness. Fascinated by this, he wanted to show what goes on in the human mind. Now Anno wanted to create something new with the series and develop the anime further. According to director Kazuya Tsurumaki, the 16th episode forms the boundary between the two parts of NGE - the first, action-packed part of the episode belongs to the first part of the series, the second part with Shinji's self-talk in the angel belongs to the second part of the series. In the second half of the production, the tension in the team increased as the original planning was ignored and time and money became scarcer. The further development of the series shows the state of the production team. Some of the staff wanted to quit because it didn't seem possible for them to finish the anime in sufficient quality. The last two episodes were then not produced according to the original script, although some scenes of the 25th episode had already been completed and shown in the preview. Instead, both episodes were redesigned and produced in the remaining time.

With the series, Hideaki Anno also wanted to revive the mecha genre and the anime itself and lead them in a new direction. In his opinion, the same stories had been told in science fiction over and over again in the previous ten years. According to Annos, the character Shinji represents his own self. However, this is mainly to be seen symbolically, not literally. Hideaki Anno brought in a lot of himself, especially in the second part. However, he also says that he doesn't like these parts.

Concept and style

“Evangelion is like a puzzle. Anyone can look at it and find their own answers. In other words, we allow viewers to think for themselves so that everyone can create their very own world. We will never give all the answers ourselves, not even in the movies. Many Evangelion fans hope that we will give them some kind of All About EVA reference book - but there is no such thing. Don't expect others to give you the answers to your questions, that everything will be set before you. We all have to find our own answers. "

- Hideaki Anno

Graphic style and animation technique

From the outside, the series is heavily influenced by the mecha anime of the 1970s, whose passionate lover was and is Anno. In the second half of the series, fade-ins of white text on a black background are increasingly used. This text also communicates with the characters, especially Shinji. This technique is used particularly frequently in the last two episodes. It can be traced back to Jean-Luc Godard , who also used this technique. In contrast to the anime films Akira and Ghost in the Shell , which also came out around the time and developed the anime further, in NGE the images are not made more detailed to convey more information. Fast cuts are used instead. However, in other scenes long still images are used or only a few slow movements in one direction are shown. The figures designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto are very slender and pointed, less round and cute, and each have easily distinguishable silhouettes.

Like all productions by Studio Gainax, the series was produced as a limited animation . The illusion of movement is created less through the sequence of many different individual images than through special settings of the simulated camera and the rhythm and speed of the cuts. The technique is the cel animation . Hideaki Anno often uses the film technique , in which the film with the part of the picture to be moved is tilted against the background in order to achieve a sense of depth. In the later part of the series, especially in the last two episodes, montages are also often used, that is, sequences of simple images, texts and image foils ( cels ) stacked on top of one another . The cuts are deliberately set too quickly or too slowly.

The series also uses techniques from the abstract animator Norman McLaren in some dream sequences , such as creating images by scratching the film material or painting the images directly on the film.

Notes on the title

The Japanese title Shin Seiki Evangelion consists of a Japanese and a Greek part. "Shin Seiki" ( 新 世紀 ) means New Era or New Century . The ancient Greek Evangelion (εὐαγγέλιον) means good / happy news . The decision to name the international version Neon Genesis Evangelion (νέον γένεσις εὐαγγέλιον) was made by Gainax himself. The title does not completely correspond to the ancient Greek grammar. Neon means new , Genesis origin / source or birth / origin . It also denotes the first book of the Bible and the Torah , in which the creation of the world is described. Euangelion (Latinized Gospel ) is composed of eu (ευ), good , and angelos (άγγελος), ambassador . Alcion (Japanese Arushion ) was initially intended as the title, but Yoshiyuki Sadamoto enforced Evangelion .

Content influences

The tree of life with the 10 Sephiroth is shown in the opening credits of the series.

In addition to psychoanalysis , various religions influenced the work on Neon Genesis Evangelion . Religious allusions, especially terms from Judaism and Christianity, which are rather exotic for the Japanese, play a central role. But above all, these should serve to make the series more exotic and interesting. The organization SEELE refers to the scrolls of Qumran . Elements of Kabbalah are used in the use of the Sephiroth of Otz Chiim ( Tree of Life ) and Lilith . The Lance of Longinus is reminiscent of the spear with which a Roman soldier pierced the chest of the crucified Jesus. But the dimensions of this lance are more reminiscent of those of the Japanese gods of creation Izanagi and Izanami , who, according to the Shinto creation myth, created the country with this spear. According to Patrick Drazen, Shinji, Asuka and Rei can also be seen as personifications of the Japanese deities Susanoo , Uzume and Amaterasu . Like Susanoo, Shinji acts in a way that is not accepted by those around him, Asuka, like Uzume, is proud of her body and Rei, like Amaterasu, is "reborn". Other religions are also used. So the front company Marduk Institute consists of 108 branches, the number of Buddhist misconduct . Marduk himself was the main deity of the Babylonian religion. The shape of the Evangelion units is also based on a figure from Japanese mythology, the Oni , who also wears horns on his head. However, all religious quotations were not reproduced truthfully, but alienated, as required by the plot.

Furthermore, reference is made to current and historical events. The term Second Impact refers to the impact of another celestial body during the formation of the moon as First Impact . In addition, this impact causes the southern polar cap to melt and the northern hemisphere to warm up, which is similar to the consequences of the greenhouse effect . The impact s and the threat from the angels can also be understood as an abstraction of the threat from the atomic bomb . The attack of the angels repeats the events of the Pacific War from a Japanese perspective.

There are also various homages to science fiction classics, such as the title of the last episode, " The Beast That Shouted 'I' at the Heart of the World " . The I written in katakana is often interpreted as the English "I". Read as "ai", Japanese for "love", it pays homage to " The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World " (1969) by Harlan Ellison . Gendō Ikari's uniform is an allusion to Space Battleship Yamato , an anime series from 1974. The concept of Human Instrumentality Project , which is central to the series, goes back to the Instrumentality of Man series by Cordwainer Smith . In addition, Anno and Sadamoto were strongly influenced by the mangaka Go Nagai and his series Devilman and Densetsu Kyojin Ideon , from which the concept for NERV and the robots controlled by children originate. The character Gendō Ikari and his subordinate Fuyutsuki are based on Commander Ed Straker and Col. Alec Freeman from the TV series UFO . According to Patrick Drazen, influences from other series can also be recognized, such as Giant Robo , young people and robots save the world, Three Days of the Condor , political intrigue, and Ordinary People , because of the portrayal of Shinji's psyche and social problems. Also, I have The Prisoner contributed to specific narrative structure. With the psychological plot at the end, the series also partially repeats elements of the earlier Gainax production Gunbuster .


In addition to the fight of the children against the angels, which ostensibly dominates the plot, the series deals with the fear of change and technology or the relationship between man and technology, but also the abuse of technology. It is also about Shinji's growing up and the search for identity, in which the EVAs and the angels stand for the aspects of himself and the others that he has to face. In addition, the ability of people to isolate themselves from others with their character and thus inflict pain on themselves is highlighted. This is represented by the EVAs, which are supposed to protect as armor, but cannot protect the characters from harm. Failed adults and adolescents damaged by them are shown. Thematically, the series is very similar to The Power of Magic Stone , which the studio and Hideaki Anno had previously produced.

Structure of the plot

The narrative flow of the series alternates between epic narrative of the struggle for the end of the world and personal considerations of the characters. This scheme was probably influenced by Otaku no Video , a production by the studio in previous years in which a story about fans alternated with portraits of fans. It allows even more intense than in Anno's previous series The Power of the Magic Stone to interweave the big questions of humanity with small, everyday conflicts.

Since there is a change in the planned plot during production, the series can be viewed in two parts. The narrative speed of the first seven episodes is quite high, but consistent. During this time, the characters of Shinji and Rei as well as philosophical aspects are considered, such as Schopenhauer's porcupine dilemma in episode 4, which also bears this name. It is about the conflict between people's need for closeness and the pain that closeness causes. This is followed by a few episodes with more humor and action. The first part contains many humorous and action-oriented scenes, but also deals with the problems of the four characters Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato, who find it difficult to make contact with their outside world due to psychological trauma . The consequences nevertheless convey a message of redemption, the characters slowly open up to their surroundings and thus a solution to the problems. In addition, the first part of the series is very much oriented towards previous productions and cites many anime and science fiction series. At the time, it contains elements of the anime that were regarded as typical, like many beautiful girls and high-tech machines, but also concentrates them and exaggerates them.

From the 16th episode, Between Life and Death , in which Shinji is trapped in his pilot capsule, Anno changes the development of the plot. The following episodes become more violent than the previous ones, the humor and especially the hope for salvation disappear. The series turns away from the typical elements of the anime and increasingly criticizes the way of life, especially the fans. The narrative forms and stylistic devices of the previous productions are not discarded, but concentrated and pushed to their limits. This was intended to prevent the audience from identifying with the main character in order to attack the fans, who can only appreciate works if they can project their feelings onto the characters through identification. In addition, the action is accelerated in the second part. In episode 23, Rei III - Tears , Rei dies within just two minutes. Also, the order of events is now less chronological when puzzles arise that were already solved in the first half. At the same time, many events, such as the throwing of the Longinus lance and its effect, are no longer explained at all. To understand them, knowledge is required that the series does not convey.

The last two episodes fall out of the series' appearance. The Japanese critics Eiji Otsuka and Tetsuya Miyazaki describe this as brainwashing or psychotherapy. A progressive action is completely eliminated. The episodes consist entirely of dream sequences in which Shinji or other characters talk to themselves or to others. This often happens against a black background or with still images from previous episodes. Short dream scenes in previous episodes were designed similarly. Often one of the characters is sitting on a folding chair, confronted with a younger self or past events. Shinji's confrontations, which play a major role in the last episode, sometimes take place in an empty theater room. The episodes offer an analysis of Shinji Ikari's character.


Logo of the TV Tokyo broadcaster

A rough version of the first two episodes was shown in July 1995 in front of 200 visitors to the Gainax Festival. The 26-part series was first broadcast in Japan from October 4, 1995 to March 27, 1996 on TV Tokyo . Later broadcasts on the channels Animax and WOWOW followed .

In English, the anime was released in the US and UK by ADV Films and in Australia by Madman Entertainment . This language version was broadcast on Cartoon Network , SciFi-Channel and Special Broadcasting Service , among others . A French version has been published by Dybex and broadcast on Canal + and Mangas . The Spanish translation was broadcast on television in Spain and Latin America, with MTV Italia showing the anime in Italian. The series has also been translated into Arabic, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish and Tagalog .

In Germany, Neon Genesis Evangelion was first published by OVA Films in Japanese with German subtitles on VHS cassette. The anime was shown for the first time on television between October 27, 2000 and January 1, 2001 as part of the dctp night program on VOX . It was broadcast weekly, with the 26 episodes being shown unabridged in six films in the original language with German subtitles. The series was also released in Japanese with subtitles in May 2001 by OVA Films on three DVDs in two collector's boxes. These boxes, each limited to 2999 copies, differ only in the design of the cover; the content is identical. From December 2004 to February 2006, Neon Genesis Evangelion was released by ADV Films with German synchronization as a Platinum Edition on seven DVDs. This version was broadcast on television for the first time on June 10, 2008 by the station Animax.


Rei and Misato's spokeswomen, Megumi Hayashibara and Kotono Mitsuishi , were famous in Japan before Evangelion , but played unusual roles for them in the series. The German synchronization was created in 2005 for the publication of the Platinum Edition by Deutsche Synchron based on the English translation. In 2019 a second German dubbed version was created for Netflix . This second dubbed version was produced by postperfect Berlin GmbH . Directed by Olaf Mierau, the dialogue books came from the pens of Lydia Hibbeln, Corinna Dorenkamp and Kaze Uzumaki.

role Japanese voice actor ( seiyū ) German voice actor (1st voice over version) German voice actor (2nd voice version)
Shinji Ikari Megumi Ogata Hannes Maurer Christian Pointer
Asuka Langley Sōryū Yūko Miyamura Julia digit Johanna Dost
Rei Ayanami Megumi Hayashibara Marie Bierstedt Franziska Lather
Misato Katsuragi Kotono Mitsuishi Julia Kaufmann Anna Amalie Blomeyer
Gendo Ikari Fumihiko Tachiki Erich Rauker Urs Remond
Kensuke Aida Tetsuya Iwanaga Gerrit Schmidt-Foss Frederic Böhle
Tōji Suzuhara Tomokazu Seki Julien Haggége Volkmar Leif Gilbert
Kaworu Nagisa Akira Ishida Robin Kahnmeyer Jeremias Koschorz
Ritsuko Akagi Yuriko Yamaguchi Peggy Sander Cornelia Waibel
Kōzō Fuyutsuki Motomu Kiyokawa Hans-Werner Bussinger Sven Riemann
Lorenz Kiel Mugihito Horst lamp
Kaji Ryōji Kōichi Yamadera Marcel Collé Daniel Kröhnert
Hikari Horaki Junko Iwao Ilona Brokowski Anni C. Salander


The music mostly has a classical character, which is due to the fact that Hideaki Anno is a lover of classical music . In episode 24, excerpts from Beethoven's 9th Symphony are played, with the plot partly following its text. For example, the choir sings when Kaworu reaches the terminal dogma: "And the cherub stands before God" .

The opening title Zankoku na Tenshi no thesis ( 残酷 な 天使 の テ ー ゼ , dt. "Thesis of the cruel angel") was sung by Yōko Takahashi. The end credits are underlaid with interpretations of the title Fly Me to the Moon by Bart Howard . In the TV version, 14 different versions from swing to techno were used, which were sung by Claire Littley, Megumi Hayashibara or Yōko Takahashi or are purely instrumental. For the DVD version of the Platinum Edition , interpretations by Kotono Mitsuishi and Yuko Miyamura were also used.


Films 1997

Due to numerous protests from fans who were dissatisfied with the end of the series, two films were produced under the direction of Hideaki Anno, which present an alternative ending to the plot:

There is also the film Revival of Evangelion , which is a combination of the two previous films. For this purpose, a new cut version of the first part of Death & Rebirth was created under the name Death (true) ² , in which some scenes newly created for the original theatrical release were removed. This is followed by the unchanged The End of Evangelion . The revised film was released in 1998 and is considered the definitive version of the motion pictures.

Rebuild of Evangelion

In Rebuild of Evangelion is a remake of the television series in the form of four films produced under the direction of Hideaki Anno. You don't want to stick too closely to the already established series, but rather reinterpret and update the plot in part. This also includes the introduction of new characters or the increased use of computer graphics, which was not yet possible in this form in 1995. According to Hideaki Anno, "Evangelion is old, but there hasn't been a newer anime since then." His aim is to bring Evangelion to a new audience and evoke a new perspective on the world. Anno wrote the scripts for the films himself; Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki assisted him in directing , as did Mahiro Maeda for the third part .

The first film in the series was shown in Japanese cinemas from September 1, 2007, the second from June 27, 2009 and the third from November 17, 2012.

The release date of the fourth and final film has been postponed several times. In 2012 the title was changed to Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 ? . The character used in the title, ? (: ||), is a repetition character in musical notation.

The official website currently states 2020 for Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0.



Based on the television series, a manga by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto has been appearing since 1995 , reinterpreting the plot. In Germany, this appeared under the title Neon Genesis Evangelion in Carlsen Verlag . In addition, a six-volume spin-off series was published under the title Neon Genesis Evangelion - Iron Maiden , which is based on the computer game of the same name and was also published in Germany by Carlsen Verlag.

Based on the computer game Shin Seiki Evangerion: Ikari Shinji Ikusei Keikaku ( 新 世紀 エ ヴ ァ ン ゲ リ オ ン 碇 シ ン ジ 育成 計画 ), a manga of the same name by Osamu Takahashi has been published in the magazine Shōnen Ace since 2005 , which so far comprises ten volumes. Since December 2006, a manga on the game Meitantei Evangelion has been published in Shōnen Ace magazine . Under the title Petit Eva: Evangelion @ School , a manga was published in Japan from May 2007 to September 2009 based on the SD figure series of the same name . From October 2007 to 2009, the spin-off Petit Eva: Bokura Tanken Dōkōkai appeared . From August 2007 to August 2009, the manga Shin Seiki Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku ( 新 世紀 エ ヴ ァ ン ゲ リ オ ン 学園 堕 天 録 ) by the cartoonist Min Min was published in Japan in Asuka magazine (issues 10/2007 to 10/2009) of the Kadokawa Shoten publishing house . From March 26, 2008 to December 26, 2009 the chapters were summarized in four anthologies .

Real film

The material of the series is prepared for a real film . Responsible for this are GAINAX , ADV Films and the New Zealand company Weta Workshop , which among other things, the effects in the film version of The Lord of the Rings was responsible.


Two booklets containing background information that are not provided in the films have been published in small numbers to accompany the two films. The second booklet, sold when The End of Evangelion was performed, is also known as the Red Cross Book because of its cover picture . Furthermore, two art books with the titles The Moon and The Stars were published. These also have the German-language titles in Japanese.

Audio publications

The opening credits Zankoku na Tenshi no These by Yōko Takahashi and the closing credits Fly Me to the Moon have come out as singles . In addition, 15 albums with background music and five audio DVDs were released . In 1996 a radio play on the television series was also released.

Video games

Neon Genesis Evangelion released over 20 games for console and PC . There are also over 20 computer games programmed by fans for the series.


In addition to the other implementations in various media, various licensed articles on Evangelion have been and are published in Japan . In addition to postcards, toys, posters, stationery and models of the characters, these include washing accessories, cutlery, dishes and clothing with images from the series or items of clothing for individual figures. Including, for example, a knife shaped like the Prog-Knife of the Evangelions. For some time, food specially designed for series was offered in various restaurants in Japan. For example, the Cure Maid Café in Tokyo has LCL drinks and Sachiel pasta. Most recently, an Evangelion- inspired fashion collection came onto the market.

Reception and meaning

In Japan

Success and reactions

The series was granted in Japan on the part of the viewers attention, more than the current also at this time successful series Gundam Wing of Bandai . NGE dōjinshis were the most popular in the Japanese market at the time. In Japan alone, sales of the videos made over $ 800 million and merchandise over $ 400 million. The last installment in the series was watched by over 10 million people and the videotapes sold 110,000 each. Character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto explains the success by saying that NGE was what people were looking for. According to Lawrence Eng , this was also due to the well-thought-out mix of genres that the anime attracted a large audience.

Hideaki Anno was attacked by fans after the series ended. He and the studio were accused of spoiling the series. Anno defended the end and regretted that the work of the studio was not recognized by the fans. There were also suspicions that he was suicidal after the end of the series. As a result, Anno was stressed out and declined further discussions about the ending. In addition, he was disappointed because he did not see the desired revolutionization of the anime happen. There were also suspicions that the ending was censored, but this was denied by the production team and considered unlikely by critics.

After airing the first half, Neon Genesis Evangelion was already called the best series since Mobile Suit Gundam . The series was later named one of the four revolutions of the anime by a group of Japanese critics, including Noburo Ishiguro. The criteria of innovation, influence on the medium and success of the series were evaluated. In 2006, the series was voted the most popular anime in a poll for the tenth Japan Media Arts Festival , which attracted over 80,000 fans. In a 2006 poll by TV Asahi , the series was voted the second most popular anime series.


The Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma particularly emphasizes the figures of angels as materializations of fear without cause , as well as Rei as the embodiment of the sterility, unadornedness and coldness of modern science, especially laboratories. He associates both with the incidents surrounding the Aum sect , since here too fear without a cause and the coldness of science played a role. The series exposes the various social problems in Japan at the time. According to Azuma, the second half includes a second event that means a revival of the anime. Anno exceeded the standards created in the first part by far, but turned in a completely different direction. In the series, Anno would both bring the anime to an end and revitalize it.

Other critics see among other things the conflict between the patriarchal system of NERV and the feminine character of the EVAs, which it uses. The angels are also interpreted as father figures in which Shinji expresses his hatred of his father. In addition to the identification of the Evangelions as "mother and self" comes the identification of the angels as "father and self". The swimming of the pilots in the LCL inside the EVAs is often seen as a symbol of pregnancy and childbirth; the EVAs are thus also represented as the “mothers” of the children. NGE also shows the female pilots as stronger figures than the pilot Shinji and thus fits in with a trend in mecha anime that had already shown more and more attractive, female instead of male pilots.

The last two episodes are also seen symbolically for the flight from the world, which is often carried out by Otakus , withdrawn anime fans or even people who are alienated from their environment. However, it is not certain whether Anno wanted to criticize or support this isolation. According to Thomas Lamarre, the series as a whole is Anno's attempt to criticize otaku culture from the inside out - and a criticism of Japanese society in general, which Anno characterizes as childish and immature. An important means of doing this is his unusual and extreme use of limited animation , which receives great attention in the anime fan scene. This, together with the unexpected end, breaks with the expectations of the audience and should show them Anno's picture of Otakus. Lamarre also sees a narrative strategy in the variety of contextual references to other works and cultural areas from Shinto to Kabbalah: The plot offers such a large number of frames of reference that it can be completely unclear for the recipient which one carries the real, intended and deeper meaning Frame of reference is. Lamarre sees this in connection with animation, which makes intensive use of the layering and reuse of drawing levels ("layers" or cels), so that a "superplanar image" is created both formally and in terms of content. Lamarre sees a similar kind of interaction between content and animation in the last episodes, which not only represent a dismantling of the psyche of the characters, but also a dismantling of the images. Lamarre calls the use of animation increasingly used by Anno, which continues to exploit the means of simple animation and thus develops its own formal language, "hyperlimited animation". Another connection - also to The Power of the Magic Stone - is the reduction of people to an object of technical optimization or perfecting themselves, people as a resource or as part of a "human park". Lamarre sees this symbolically embodied in the reuse of the animation films and their storage in a Cel database, which at the same time anticipates the efficiency-oriented handling of people through information technology. Overall, Hideaki Anno continues to optimize limited animation technology and its expressiveness to its limits and in this way, with animation itself, explore the relationship between man and technology. The solution to the conflict between humans and technology is sought in the ongoing optimization. In his theoretical justification for his analysis, he refers to Gilles Deleuze's theories on film, the image of movement and the image of time. Lamarre sees another important aspect of the series with regard to Deleuze in Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's character design, which gives the characters an easily distinguishable, impressive personality from their appearance without knowing the history of the characters. This gives the characters great expressiveness even in still images, supports the often motionless animation and is a perfect implementation of Deleuze's time picture. The design and handling of it are also showing the shift from story-based franchises to character-based franchises, as noted by Hiroki Azuma over the past few decades.

Impact and Importance

Some see the series as the most significant turning point in the history of anime and otaku culture, but this assessment is not undisputed. Tsugata Nobuyuki sees the series together with Princess Mononoke as an essential work at the beginning of a third wave of anime expansion in Japan in the 1990s. In addition, it is considered the most important work of the Gainax studio .

Hideaki Anno used various techniques from Neon Genesis Evangelion , such as montages with images and text, in his next works. For example in the television series Kareshi Kanojo no Jijo , which he directed in 1998. He also added pictures from the manga and super-deformed drawings in his montages. He also introduced these techniques to the 1999 real film Love and Pop . The composer Shiro Sagisu reused parts of his work on Evangelion in the series Bayside Shakedown . For the studio Gainax, which was previously in financial difficulties and dependent on sponsors, the success of Evangelion brought a steady income from the merchandising products. Various books have been published in Japan that provide background information on the series, deal with the architecture and technology in the series, or look at the design and psychological background of Neon Genesis Evangelion . Furthermore, a number of official and unofficial dōjinshis and adaptations by other artists appeared.

Hiroki Azuma describes the effects of NGE as a shock to anime fans as well as other viewers. This happened all the more because the series was only advertised to a limited extent and only an ordinary anime series of the mecha genre was expected. But Neon Genesis Evangelion went beyond the previous series and became a big event when it ended. Hiroki Azuma attributed the success on the one hand to a high-quality and detailed animation and on the other hand to the fact that the series exposed the various social problems of Japan at the time. Anno uses new narrative techniques in the series and produces lasting images in a way that has not happened in Japan since the early 1980s. In addition, he would give the anime, which, according to Azuma, is in a lack of content, new impulses. He succeeds in doing this by concentrating on what anime of the previous ten years has made. Therefore, he already describes the first part of the series as an event. The quality of the plot would speak for a high level of skill Anno as an author. According to Azuma, Neon Genesis Evangelion split the anime industry in 1995. One direction is based on reality, the other produces more fantastic works. NGE was also never surpassed in the ten years that followed. The series also generated greater interest in anime among adult audiences. The series has brought back many viewers who turned their backs on the medium in the early 1990s. Neon Genesis Evangelion led to an anime boom in Japan as well as to the success of later, more demanding and equally dark series such as Serial Experiments Lain , Cowboy Bebop , Blue Submarine No. 6 , Kidō Senkan Nadeshiko and Gasaraki . With Evangelion , the television series became the growth area of ​​the anime industry. It was also one of the first series with a significant online fan base that was actively commenting in parallel to the broadcast, thus contributing to Evangelion's success.

A branch of Lawson

In 2003, there was a murder in Japan in which a 22-year-old man killed his mother. He justified this with the fact that he was convinced by the series Neon Genesis Evangelion that "the end of evolution is the downfall" and that humans are useless and responsible for the destruction of the earth. He later wanted to kill more people and was sentenced in 2004.

Between April 23 and May 17, 2010, a branch of the convenience shop chain Lawson in Hakone was supposed to advertise the upcoming Blu-ray release of the film Evangelion: 2.22 - You can (not) advance. do. For this purpose, the shop was given a decoration that matches the theme of the series. This message had already spread widely in advance, so that shortly after it opened, the store in a remote location in Hakone was so besieged that it led to numerous problems due to overcrowding. This also affected the place itself, as parking spaces were becoming scarce. The Lawson office therefore had to be temporarily closed.


The series was very successful in North America and is still very well known in fan circles to this day. For the video publisher AD Vision it was the first successful publication in the USA and enabled further licensing, for which similar series were then selected. According to Manga Entertainment's Marvin Gleicher , the series has broken with the tradition of retelling existing stories in animation, opening up new possibilities for the medium. Hideaki Anno would have revitalized the mecha genre in particular and painted a haunting picture of psychological paralysis. The large number of fans in Japan and America prove the importance of the work.

Thomas Lamarre sees in the last two episodes of the series in particular an avant-garde and experimental use of the possibilities of limited animation , which also show it as an art movement. Previously, limited animation was mostly seen as a result of economic pressures and a cheaper production variant. According to Lamarre, Anno takes limited animation to a point where the frequently established contrast between moving images in full animation and still images in limited animation is no longer tenable. Anno occupy the animations differently so that they represent the spatial and temporal properties of the movement as a montage of images and content. According to Patrick Drazen, Evangelion is the most controversial television series of the 1990s that brought new impetus to animated film. The series, especially the last two episodes, is also an expression of the uncertainty that prevailed in Japan in 1995 during the economic crisis and after the attacks by the Aum sect. The anime also shows Hideaki Annos self-discovery. But Evangelion has a different meaning for everyone and offers a lot of food for thought.

Susan J. Napier counts Neon Genesis Evangelion, along with Princess Mononoke and Ghost in the Shell, among the works that shaped an image of the intellectual anime and became the subject of many scientific works, not only in Japan. The series stands with other works for an adulthood of the anime in the 1990s. She describes Evangelion as an extraordinarily complex work that can be viewed as a deconstruction of the mecha genre. The initially introduced genre-typical features such as the young hero, an evil enemy and a high-tech near future would be reversed in the course of the plot, leaving the viewer confused. Even in Shinji's first fight against an angel, his relationship with his mecha was an unusual and fearful one. The fight is not a visual spectacle, but simply designed, and the music comes to the fore. Shinji does not use high technology as a weapon, but a large knife. The last episode disappointed many viewers because of the lack of action and effects, but offers a classic psychoanalysis of the main character Shinji Ikari and a personal, psychological form of the apocalypse. During the series, the motionless scenes were of particular importance as they supported the psychological part of the plot. Scenes with physical violence are more brutal than in the usual television anime.

According to the Anime Encyclopedia , the series is one of the most influential and important anime, but it also creates the illusion of a deeper meaning that it may not even have. The anime contributed significantly to the fact that more longer series are published in the USA and an offer was created for the audience, which after Pokémon asked for more series. The series' images and music themes were used by British band Fightstar in their 2005 album Grand Unification .

In Germany

In Germany, Evangelion is considered a cult series and classic in fan circles, but is hardly known beyond that. However, the nighttime television broadcast of Neon Genesis Evangelion achieved good success with above-average ratings. The fluctuating image quality, which ranges between very good animation and extensive use of still images, is often criticized. The most important thing, however, is the action, which requires the viewer to actively think along, many things are only hinted at and are very complex. The ending is controversial; Sometimes it is praised that there is no action, rounds off the series and leaves room for interpretation. Others criticize that Evangelion is overloaded, that surprises and psychological scenes deter and annoy in the long run. For many viewers, the ending is incomprehensible and unusual. However, the series is consistently recognized as having well-crafted characters and good music. The humor is not neglected either. The specialist magazine Animania describes the anime as a "mixture of poignant sci-fi story, groundbreaking animations and philosophical undertones" .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k Hiroki Azuma : Anime or something like it: Neon Genesis Evangelion , essay
  2. a b c d e Lawrence Eng : A look at "The Four Revolutions of Anime"
  3. a b Momoko Yasuda ( 安 田 モ モ コ ): 永久 不滅 の エ ヴ ァ 人 気 . (No longer available online.) Livedoor, July 23, 2006, archived from the original on May 1, 2008 ; Retrieved February 9, 2009 (Japanese).
  4. a b c d Interview with Hideaki Anno, director of 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'. (No longer available online.) January 1997, archived from the original on May 16, 2008 ; Retrieved February 28, 2009 (English, interview by Amos Wong with Hideaki Anno from Aerial Magazine, January 1997).
  5. Kanji for children in the subtitle of episode 14, approx. 2:00
  6. ^ Trivia for "Shin seiki evangerion" (1995). Internet Movie Database, accessed November 29, 2008 .
  7. a b c d Hideaki Anno: 雑 記 . (No longer available online.) November 2, 2000, archived from the original on February 7, 2007 ; Retrieved May 27, 2009 (Japanese, annotated, English translation ).
  8. a b c d e Krystian Woznicki for BLIMP Filmmagazin, on Nettime mailing list archives , with an interview with Hiroki Azuma ; dated February 20, 1998
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  • Patrick Drazen: Evangelion ; in anime explosion! - The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation . Stone Bridge Press, 2014. (English, revised and updated edition), ISBN 978-1611720136
  • Susan J. Napier: Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation . Palgrave, 2001. (English)
  • Hiroshi Yamaguchi: 2015: The Last Year of Ryoji Kaji . Newtype (Japanese)
  • Kaichiro Morikawa: The Evangelion Style . (Japanese)
  • Ikuto Yamashita and Seiji Kio: Sore wo nasumono - Neon Genesis Evangelion Concept Design Works . (Japanese)
  • GAINAX, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto: Neon Genesis Evangelion Artbook. 100% New Type Collection . Carlsen Verlag, 2001.

Web links

Commons : Neon Genesis Evangelion  - collection of images, videos and audio files
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on March 20, 2009 in this version .