Neon Genesis Evangelion

Genre: Science Fiction / Mecha / Action (and just about everything else)


I watched this 26 episode TV series in English & Japanese (some episodes) from early October through mid November of 1998, then the End of Eva fansub movie 'End of Evangelion' on November 21st....now what to say....

Neon Genesis Evangelion (Eva for short) is, IMHO, the finest anime saga to come out of Japan this decade, I know that I should be a little more objective here in my writing, but I get pretty emotional when it comes to Eva. There is no doubt that Eva ranks up there with Macross as one of the best anime series of all time (at least in my book - BTW Eva & Macross have nothing in common). With that said, let me talk about the series a little. No spoilers here, yet, so read on.

Eva is the story of a world that is recovering from the so called 'Second Impact', which occurred in the year 2000 and wiped out about 1/2 of the worlds population. Now it is 15 years later and the Earth is under assault from the 'Angles', mysterious alien creatures that are impervious to conventional weapons (even Nuclear weapons). A special organization called NERV has been created to combat the 'Angles' with the weapon that they are also charged with developing, the Evangelions. The Evangelions are giant biomechanical 'mecha' that can only be piloted by a very select group of 14 year old 'children'. NERV's headquarters is built inside a huge 'Geofront', which is located underneath Tokyo 3, a city built entirely with the defense against the Angles in mind (don't ask what happened to the other two Tokyo's). Also, in this time, the world governments are controlled by a secret organization called SEELE (including the UN), which directly sanctions and funds NERV, and is responsible for the forwarding of something called the 'Human Complement Project'.  What's all this? Watch the series.

Eva is a series that every serious anime fan MUST see, regardless of your preferred genre. The animation in Eva is superior for a TV series, and would put many OAV's to shame. The story revolves around a 'super science meets theology' context (you'll want to buff up if you haven't been to church in awhile!). The characters are excellent, and are unlike those in other anime series in that most of the regular characters represent some of the worst human qualities, but are still expected to fulfill roles that should be destined for those more worthy for the parts. The plot twists and turns, and creates a rich tapestry of drama and intrigue that makes you hungry for the next episode. (In fact, you won't begin to see a clear picture of what is REALLY going on until your half way through the series, and even then you'll have more questions than answers.) In one scene in episode 24, Gainax uses a 120 cut, with is 60 seconds where the scene is completely frozen, and creates one of the most dramatic and heart felt scenes I've ever experienced in any anime series.

(Note: In the English version the monsters are called 'Angles', but in Japanese they are 'Shito', which really means messenger or disciple.)

Some other peoples' views of Eva:

"Having finally been able to sit down and watch the first three hours of this series, uninterrupted.... I can say it breaks down any loyalties I ever had to a particular anime series or OAV...and tops my list of dramatic anime..." "It is these things that make Eva such a powerful piece of work. Long, drawn out moments of silence filled with emotions surfacing in you as you watch. You realize, by the end, that you are just as much a part of this story as the characters." 
-Animecca Internet Fanzine.

"Mysterious and ornate as EVA's conspiratorial story of esoteric theology and ultra-tech mecha is, it is Anno's resolute urgency of NOW that burns through, and it was (presumably) this thing that audiences in Japan sensed - that because this anime show had actually MEANT something to the real person who made it, it might mean something real to them as well." -Animerica

How to watch EVA:

In order to fully enjoy and complete the Eva series, you must first watch the entire 26 episode TV series, then you must watch the second Eva movie called 'The End of Evangelion', which is a direct replacement for episodes 25 & 26 of the original TV series. 

TV Series:

I would suggest that, since watching Eva represents a serious commitment, that you purchase the entire series (13 video cassettes) at once instead of one or two at a time. I know it's rather expensive this way, but you won't regret it. Also, I would recommend that you go with the English dub, which is excellent (remember, I watched several episodes subtitled also). There are many scenes where 5 people are yelling and there are two or three lines of translation to read at the same time, and I don't know anyone who can read as fast as some of that dialog goes by. The English dub lets you concentrate on the action. The Eva TV series comes in 26 episodes, each about 30 minutes in length.
The Movies:
Due to general discontent in the Japanese audience caused by their dissatisfaction with the ending of EVA (you'll understand when you get to it), Gainax remade the ending in the form of two movies:
1) Evangelion, Death & Rebirth
2) The End of Evangelion
The first movie is in two parts, the death portion being a rehash of the first 24 episodes of the series, and the Rebirth part being a completely new episode 25. You don't need to see this one. The second movie, 'The End of Evangelion', contains the entire Rebirth part of the first movie, and a completely new ending to the series. 'End of Evangelion' replaces the last two episodes of the series with a completely different ending that better answers questions and brings the series to a much more, well, 'satisfying (?)' conclusion.

The 'End of Evangelion' movie is a cinema quality production, and contains some of the finest CGI graphics that have ever been produced for an anime series to date. Besides the imagery though, it's what happens that will completely BLOW YOU AWAY. 

Where can a get a copy of the 'End of Eva' Movie?'
While the main series is available from, well, the Anime Corner Store.... ^_^, the Movie rights have been acquired by Manga Video, but have not yet been released (as of this writing). Word on the street has the movies being released in the Fall of 2000, but no concrete has been issued as of yet. Prior to Summer if 1999, the movies could be obtained as fan subs, but when Manga picked up the domestic rights, all the fan sub orgs had to immediately stop distributing the movies.

If you don't know someone who has a fansub copy, or you don't want to watch the all Japanese import, you'll just have to wait........

In summation, all I can say is see Eva. See it however you can, at any cost. You won't regret it. Be forewarned that this is a powerful series, and the philosophical and theological aspects can be overwhelming at times. During the viewing of this series, you may well be forced to examine aspects within yourself, aspects that you wouldn't normally consider. You may even be changed forever as a person after it's all over, I know I was....   -_^

The Eva Gang.
Asuka, Shinji, Misato, Ritsuko, and Rei
(Rei is bringing up the rear, I wish I was back there with her! -_^)
(Hey, where is that older guy, the one that looks like me with the broken glasses and the bad attitude?)

Episode Synopsis:

Volume 1, Episodes 1 & 2
Angel Attack & The Beast

 In the year 2015, the Angels, huge, tremendously powerful, alien war machines (?), appear in Tokyo for the second time. The only hope for Mankind's survival lies in the Evangelion, a humanoid fighting machine developed by NERV, a special United Nations agency. Capable of withstanding anything the Angels can dish out, the Evangelion's one drawback lies in the limited number of people able to pilot them. Only a handful of teenagers, all born fourteen years ago, nine months after the Angels first appeared, are able to interface with the Evangelion. One such teenager is Shinji Ikari, whose father heads the NERV team that developed and maintains the Evangelion. Thrust into a maelstrom of battle and events that he does not understand, Shinji is forced to plumb the depths of his own inner resources for the courage and strength to not only fight, but to survive, or risk losing everything.

Volume 2, Episodes 3 & 4
A Transfer & Hedgehog's Dilemma

It is the year 2015 and the Angels have returned to plague the Earth again. Fourteen year old Shinji Ikari finds himself drafted as the pilot of Evangelion Unit 01, the last hope of a beleaguered planet. Under pressure from NERV, the United Nations Agency charged with defeating the Angels, to perfect his combat skills and pressure to fit in from his classmates at school, Shinji must find the fine line between duty and personal desire.

Volume 3, Episodes 5 & 6
Rei I & Rei II

As Shinji begins to come to terms with his role as an Evangelion pilot, he also becomes more curious about the other Evangelion pilot, Rei. Their relationship begins to develop but things are complicated by the arrival of a new, even deadlier Angel. When it seems that nothing can stand in the way of the new menace to Tokyo-3, Misato decides that the use of a newly developed super weapon is required. There is only one draw back to her plan… the new weapon will require ALL of the power available to Japan, leaving the rest of the country in a total blackout!

Volume 4, Episodes 7 & 8
A Human Work & Asuka Strikes

The Evangelion is the most powerful fighting machine ever conceived by man, but can even Eva stand against the combined forces of cost-conscious budget cutters and politicians? With allies like this, who needs Angels? The question becomes a moot one when a proposed low-cost replacement for the Evas malfunctions during a test and runs amok! Now Shinji and Misato must stop the rampaging robot before it melts down and destroys the city and military base at Atsugi! Then the fight for Mankind's survival moves into a whole new phase as the first combat-designed Eva is prepared for battle! The naval convoy transporting the new Eva is attacked by an Angel and the protected becomes the protector as Second Child Asuka Langley and Shinji activate Unit 02 for a deadly underwater duel to the death!

Volume 5, Episodes 9 & 10
Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win
Magma Diver

There's double trouble in store when NERV is faced with an Angel which splits into two Angels. To meet the new threat, Shinji and Asuka must learn to act in perfect unison. But can they learn how to tango before the Angel destroys Tokyo-3? Then, Asuka goes diving in a volcano in an attempt to retrieve a dormant Angel. When the Angel awakens, however, it is up to Shinji to save Asuka!

Volume 6, Episodes 11 & 12
The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still
She Said "Don't Make Others Suffer For Your Personal Hatred"

A major power failure cripples Tokyo 3, and NERV is left defenseless as a new Angel approaches with lethal intent. As Gendo and Ritsuko struggle to ready the giant Evas for combat without benefit of modern technology, Shinji, Asuka and Rei must find their way through the underground labyrinth of tunnels and crawlways to the Eva's subterranean launch bays. However, even if they get there, will they be able to launch without electricity? Then, against the background of an attack by the largest Angel yet, both Shinji and Misato must come to grips with their feelings for their respective fathers while still trying to save the Earth from total destruction!

Volume 7, Episodes 13 & 14
Lilliputian Hitchhiker & Weaving a Story

A new form of Angel attacks NERV and suddenly the war for the fate of mankind shifts to a field of battle in inner space. As the three Eva pilots sit naked and unprotected in their cockpits, their Evas and the powerful MAGI computers that control Tokyo 3 are violated by a savage wave of neural attacks that threaten to leave the entire city crippled and easy prey for the attacking Angels! Ritsuko must face her ultimate challenge as she races against time to decipher the arcane secrets buried deep inside the core of the MAGI by her own mother! Time ceases to have meaning as the events of the preceding months are re-discovered in a swirling vortex of hidden facts, emotions and memories.

Volume 8, Episodes 15 & 16
Those Women Longed for the Touch of Another's Lips, and Thus Invited Their Kisses
Splitting of the Breast

Betrayals and revelations erupt across NERV as Kaji's allegiance to a higher authority becomes apparent. However, is he on the side of good or evil? The discovery of what lurks inside a Top Secret hanger inside NERV is enough to shake anyone's faith in Mankind. Meanwhile, a new battery of tests shows that Shinji is beginning to lose his ability to focus and the fault becomes deadly when a new Angel attacks and absorbs Unit 01! Trapped inside a shadowy womb-like structure, Shinji's mind begins to collapse as a series of hallucinations assault his sanity and unless he can free himself, Ritsuko will have him destroyed!

Volume 9, Episodes 17 & 18
Fourth Children & Ambivalence

The situation careens out of control as Gendo learns that NERV Branch 2 has been completely destroyed! A pilot is selected for the new Eva Unit 03 but the first test of the new Eva turns into a disaster as the giant bio-humanoid goes insane and proceeds to run amok! When the combined efforts of Asuka and Rei fail to stop the berserk monster, Shinji must face it alone in Unit 01. However, will his compassion for the fellow human trapped inside the beast be his undoing? As Gendo unleashes the monstrous power of Unit 01's "auto-pilot", it becomes horrifyingly apparent that the Evas are far more than just machines!

Volume 10, Episodes 19 & 20
Introjection & Weaving A Story 2: Oral Stage

The sight of the Fourth Child’s body in the torn remnants of Eva Unit 03 snaps Shinji’s mind. Disgraced and dismissed from NERV, Shinji can only stand by and watch in horror as the most powerful Angel yet attacks NERV and defeats both Asuka and Rei with horrifying ease! In order to save his friends, Shinji must once again take control of the dangerously unstable Unit 01. It’s the most nightmarish confrontation yet, but the worst is still to come. Not only must Shinji conquer his own fears and defeat the Angel, but he must also fight for his very life and soul in the belly of the beast itself. For what the Eva has consumed it will not relinquish easily!

Volume 11, Episodes 21 & 22
He Was Aware That He Was Still A Child
Don't Be

The secret workings of NERV begin to become clear as SEELE mercilessly interrogates NERV's key personnel in a ruthless bid to uncover Gendo Ikari's real agenda! An unexpected interloper works to sabotage their plans while the real truth behind the origin of NERV and the Evangelions begins to become clear. Mind-reeling possibilities may soon become horrifying reality, for what was once God's Domain has become NERV's playground! A complex triple-cross leaves the fate of Mankind hanging in the balance as the Evangelions must once again defend the Earth from a host of Angelic invaders whose presence now signifies something far more terrifying than mere global genocide!

Volume 12, Episodes 23 & 24
The Beginning & The End, or 'Knocking on Heavens Door'

The beginning of the end is now. With Asuka traumatized from her last Angelic encounter and unable to fight, Rei must make a terrible sacrifice in order to save NERV. As the survivors sift through the wreckage of their lives in a desperate bid to come to terms with the horrible consequences of the latest battle, a guilt-ridden Ritsuko summons Shinji and Misato to a secret chamber for an even more startling revelation! In the deadly calm of the aftermath, the sudden and unexpected arrival of the Fifth Child hits like a hurricane. Shinji seems to have found a kindred soul in the unearthly Nagisa Kaoru, but does Kaoru have a soul at all? A battle to the death follows.

Volume 13, Episodes 25 & 26
Do You Love Me? & Take Care of Yourself

Prepare for the shocking conclusion to the most controversial animated series ever produced. Third Impact has occurred. The world has ended. And now, where Angels fear to tread, Shinji must go alone. At last, the circle of life will be complete. He is the beast that shouted "I" at the heart of the world.

End of Evangelion Movie

I'm not going to give you any info on the movie, just the knowledge that you MUST see it! It replaces episodes 25 & 26, and will BLOW YOU AWAY!

Links the other Evangelion sites:

Ikari Gendo's Ultimate EVA FAQ (still confused after watching the series? Go here :)

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