Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion, lit. New Century Evangelion?), commonly referred to as Evangelion, is a commercially and critically successful Japanese anime that began in October 1995. The series was highly influential, and launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It won 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 mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the primary protagonist.
Events in the series refer to Judeo-Christian symbols from the Book of Genesis and Biblical apocrypha among others. Later episodes 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.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Characters
- 3 Origin and production
- 4 Re-releases
- 5 Inspiration
- 6 Legacy
- 7 Translation notes on the title
- 8 See also
- 9 Further reading
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The story of Evangelion primarily begins in 2000 with the "Second Impact", a global cataclysm which almost completely destroyed Antarctica and led to the deaths of half the human population of Earth. The Impact is believed by the public at large and even most of Nerv to have been the impact of a meteorite landing in Antarctica, causing devastating tsunamis and a change in the Earth's axial tilt (leading to global climate change) and subsequent geopolitical unrest, nuclear war (such as the nuking of Tokyo), and general economic distress. Later, Second Impact is revealed to be the result of contact with and experimentation on the first of what are collectively dubbed the Angels: Adam. The experiments were sponsored by the mysterious organization Seele, and carried out by the research organization Gehirn.
In the year 2010, Gehirn had accomplished a number of its scientific and engineering goals and corporately changed into the paramilitary organization Nerv which is headquartered in Tokyo-3, a militarized civilian city located on one of the last dry sections of Japan; Nerv's central mission is to locate the remaining Angels predicted by Seele, and to destroy them. However, Nerv has its own secret agenda, as directed by its Machiavellian commander Gendo Ikari: the Human Instrumentality Project, which, according to Gendo in episode 25, is the task of uniting all human minds into one global spiritual entity. Associated with Nerv is the Marduk Institute, which has the task of selecting the pilots for the Evas, the most capable being children conceived after the Second Impact (14 year olds). The institute consists of Commander Ikari, and Nerv's chief scientist Ritsuko Akagi; supporting the two are 108 companies which are all revealed to be ghost companies.
As the first episode opens in the year 2015, Tokyo-3 is being attacked by the third Angel. Conventional weapons prove ineffective, largely due to its projected force field called an AT Field. Nerv takes command of the battles, and is able to intercept and defeat the Angels using the Evangelions (Evas), biomechanical mecha previously developed in secret by Gehirn inside the underground Geofront; the Geofront is located underneath Tokyo-3.
Not knowing why his father summoned him, Shinji Ikari, a 14 year old boy arrives to Tokyo-3 just as the Third Angel attacks the city. Shinji reluctantly agrees to join Nerv to pilot Evangelion Unit 01, and begins living with Captain Misato Katsuragi. He and Rei Ayanami battle the successive advances of the Angels together and are later joined by Asuka Langley Soryu, the pilot of Unit 02.
Each Eva has its own designated pilot (Unit 00–Rei, Unit 01–Shinji, Unit 02–Asuka, and subsequently Unit 03–Toji Suzuhara), and operates by synchronizing the pilot's soul and the human soul inside the Eva via the enigmatic liquid substance known as LCL. (In the context of Evangelion, a "soul" refers to an individual's conscious existence, mental structure and identity, rather than a more conventional "supernatural" entity.) Surrounded by LCL, the pilot's nervous system, mind and body join with the Eva's controls, allowing the Eva to be controlled by the pilot's thoughts and actions. The higher a pilot's synchronization ratio, the better the pilot can control the Eva and fight more adeptly.
While Ritsuko mentions at the series' beginning that the Evas do have some biological components to them, the extent of this is not immediately apparent. Unit 01 is connected to Yui Ikari, Gendo's wife and Shinji's mother, since it absorbed her body and soul in a failed experiment, as shown in episodes 16 and 20. Rei herself is suspected to be a partial clone of Yui, and is known to harbor the soul of Lilith, the second Angel.
It is finally revealed, towards the end of the series, that the Evas are not really "robots" but are actually cloned Angels (Units 00, 02, 03, and 04 are made from Adam, and 01 is made from Lilith) onto which mechanical components are incorporated as a means of restraint and control. This control is not perfect, as various units are shown over the course of the series driving into "berserker" mode, in which they can act of their own will, independent of any artificial power input.
Along with the battles against the Angels, the central characters struggle to overcome their personal issues and personality conflicts, which factor heavily into the events of the series and its eventual conclusion. Throughout the series, many of the main characters constantly have to cope with several social and emotional problems: characters are unwillingly forced to confront socially complex and challenging situations; unresolved sexual tensions grow between numerous characters; injuries, deaths, and defeats cause blows to their psyches; and previously steady relationships begin to falter.
Over the final months of 2015, the characters begin to learn of the true plan of Nerv and Seele, the Human Instrumentality Project. Its purpose is to force the completion of human evolution, and thereby save it from destroying itself. To do so, they plan to break down the AT fields that separate individual humans, and in doing so, reducing all humans to LCL, which is revealed to be the "primordial soup", the fundamental composite of human beings. All LCL would then be united into a supreme being, the next stage of humanity, ending all conflict, loneliness and pain brought about by individual existence. At the end of the series, Seele and Nerv come into direct conflict over the implementation of Instrumentality.
In the last two episodes (the second set in 2016), Gendo and Rei initiate the Human Instrumentality Project, forcing several characters (especially Shinji) to face their doubts and fears and examine their self-worth, with sequences that "suggest animated schizophrenia" This ending was made up of flashbacks, sketchy artwork, and flashing text "over a montage of bleak visuals, that include black and white photos of desolate urban motifs such as a riderless bicycle or vacant park benches interspersed with graphic stills of the devastated Nerv headquarters in which Shinji's colleagues are seen as bloodstained bodies", and a brief interlude depicting an "alternate" Evangelion universe with the same characters but apparently in the high school comedy genre, eventually seems to depict Shinji concluding that life could be worth living and that he did not need to pilot an Eva to justify his existence; he is then surrounded by most of the cast, clapping and congratulating him. The introduction implies that this same process took place for everyone.
|“||It's strange that 'Evangelion' has become such a hit - all the characters are so sick!||”|
The characters of Evangelion are continuously struggling with their interpersonal relationships, their inner demons, and traumatic events in their pasts, creating a complex pattern of relationships.
Anno described the hero, Shinji Ikari, as a boy who "shrinks from human contact", and has "convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide." He describes Shinji and Misato Katsuragi as "extremely afraid of being hurt" and "unsuitable — lacking the positive attitude — for what people call heroes of an adventure." When compared to the stereotypical hero, Shinji is characterized more by lack of energy and emotion than by any sort of heroism or bravery. Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu, the other major protagonists, have similar flaws and difficulty relating to other people.
According to Anno, Evangelion was an attempt to make all perspectives into one, creating characters that represent different things to different viewers to make it impossible for everyone to arrive at a single theory. To some viewers, the characters are psychological representations, while to others, they are philosophical, religious, historical, and even themselves. It seems the main goal was to present characters who reflected the deep depression and eventual recovery that Anno experienced before beginning work on Evangelion; the characters all reflect at least a little of Anno.
However the deeply pessimistic nature of the series as well as the rarely seen huge array of problems in all the characters has drawn curiosity on why there is no real happiness in the setting's world. Assistant Director Kazuya Tsurumaki said of the series, "But when all is said and done, Hideaki Anno's comments on 'Evangelion' + 'Evangelion' are that it is a message aimed at anime fans including himself, and of course, me too. If a person who can already live and communicate normally watches it, they won't learn anything."
The character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto have also contributed to the popularity of Evangelion. Sadamoto's attractive designs of the three main female leads, Asuka, Rei and Misato, led to extremely high sales of merchandise (especially of Rei, the "Premium Girl"), and they have been immortalized in the dōjinshi community, garage kit models, and in subsequent anime (such as Burst Angel).
Origin and production
In March 1992, Gainax had begun planning and production of an anime movie called Aoki Uru, which was to be a sequel to Oritsu Uchugun set 50 years later (so as to be easier to pitch to investors) which, like Oritsu, would follow a group of fighter pilots. Production would eventually cease in July 1993: a full-length anime movie was just beyond Gainax's financial ability – many of its core businesses were shutting down or producing minimal amounts of money:
"General Products had closed shop. We'd pulled out of Wonder Festival [a "flea market for garage kits"] and garage kit making altogether. We weren't taking on any subcontracting work for anime production. We did continue to make PC games – Akai had seen to that – but there wasn't a lot of work tossed our way. With mere pennies coming in, we were having a hard enough time just paying everyone's salaries. Finally the order came down for us to halt production on Aoki Uru. We were simply incapable of taking the project any further."
Anno's personal biography describes this period:
"In 1991, Anno spent many unproductive days as a result of his inability to mentally distance himself from the Nadia series even after the broadcast had ended. He would work out numerous plans and projects, both on his own initiative and in collaboration with others, but they all fell through, and in the end, Anno's idle days were dotted with projects that he imploded by design. In the midst of all this, one project, a feature film entitled Blue Uru, finally took shape and animation production began, only to be shut down due to circumstances beyond his control."
With the failure of the project, Anno, who had been slated from the beginning to direct Aoki Uru, was freed up. Legendarily, he would soon agree to a collaboration between King Records and Gainax while drinking with Toshimichi Ōtsuki, a representative at King; with King Records guaranteeing a time slot for "something, anything", Anno set about actually making the anime. Unsurprisingly, elements of Aoki Uru were incorporated into the nascent Evangelion:
"One of the key themes in Aoki Uru had been "not running away." In the story, the main character is faced with the daunting task of saving the heroine … He ran away from something in the past, so he decides that this time he will stand his ground. The same theme was carried over into Evangelion, but I think it was something more than just transposing one show's theme onto another …"
The original early plot line for Evangelion remained relatively stable through development, although later episodes appear to have changed dramatically from the fluid and uncertain early conceptions; for example, originally there were 28 Angels and not 17, and the climax would deal with the defeat of the final 12 Angels and not with the operation of the Human Instrumentality Project. As well, Kaworu Nagisa's initial design was a schoolboy who could switch to an "Angel form", accompanied by a pet cat.
Production was by no means placid. Sadamoto's authorship of the manga (Neon Genesis Evangelion) caused problems as multiple publishers felt "that he was too passé to be bankable"; the stylized mecha design that Evangelion would later be praised for was initially deprecated by some of the possible sponsors of a mecha anime (toy companies) as being too difficult to manufacture (possibly on purpose), and that models of the Evangelions "would never sell." Eventually, Sega agreed to license all toy and video game sales.
After several episodes were produced, Evangelion began to be shown: the first episode aired 4 October 1995, long after originally planned. Initially ignored (although received positively by those Gainax fans invited to early screenings), viewership grew slowly and largely by word of mouth.
Episode 16 marked a distinct shift that would characterize the second half of Evangelion as being more psychological than action or adventure. This change in emphasis was partly due to the development of the story, but also partly because by this point, production had begun running out of funding and failing to meet the schedule; this collapse has been identified by at least one Gainax employee as the impetus for Evangelion's turn into metafiction:
I didn't mind it. The schedule was an utter disaster and the number of cels plummeted, so there were some places where unfortunately the quality suffered. However, the tension of the staff as we all became more desperate and frenzied certainly showed up in the film … About the time that the production system was completely falling apart, there were some opinions to the effect that, "If we can't do satisfactory work, then what's the point of continuing?" However, I didn't feel that way. My opinion was, "Why don't we show them the entire process including our breakdown."
But nevertheless, by the 18th episode, it had become enough of a sensation that Eva-01's violent rampage "is criticized as being unsuitable on an anime show that is viewed by children", and episode 20 would be similarly criticized for the offscreen depiction of Misato and Ryoji having sex. With this popularity came the first merchandise, "Genesis 0:1" (containing the first two episodes). Beginning a trend, it sold out. As the series concluded on 27 March 1996 with "Take care of yourself.", the story apparently remained unresolved: Third Impact and the Human Instrumentality Project are implied to have begun or even finished, but the episodes focus largely on the psychology of the characters, leaving deeply unclear what actually happens.
The radically different and experimental style of the final two episodes confused or alienated many fans and spawned debate and analysis, both scholarly and informal, and accusations of meaninglessness; even mainstream publications like the Mainichi Times would remark that "When Episode 25 first aired the following week, nearly all viewers felt betrayed...when commentator Eiji Ōtsuka sent a letter to the Yomiuri Shimbun, complaining about the end of the Evangelion series, the debate went nationwide." (It is worth noting that the ending received such coverage in part because Evangelion had attracted viewers not typically interested in such fare; the TV series was extremely popular.) After the end of the series, Anno 'broke down' and delayed the upcoming films.
The series enjoyed incredible popularity among its fan base. In 1995, the series won first place in the reader-polled "Best Loved Series" category of the Anime Grand Prix, a reader-polled award series published in Animage magazine. The series was once again awarded this prize in 1996, receiving 2,853 votes, compared to the second place show (which was unmentioned) with only 903 votes. The End of Evangelion would win first place in 1997, allowing Neon Genesis Evangelion to be the first anime franchise to win three consecutive first place awards. This feat would not be duplicated again for several years, until Code Geass won the 2006, 2007, and 2008 awards. "Zankoku na Tenshi no These" won the Song category in 1995 & 1996; "The Beginning and the End, or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"" won the 1996 Episode category; and Rei Ayanami won in the Female Character category in 1995 and 1996 (followed by Shinji Ikari winning in the Male Character category in 1996 and 1997), contributing to Megumi Hayashibara's 1995-1997 wins in the Seiyuu category (and until 2001 for other series). In 1998, EX.org's readers voted it the #1 US release and in 1999, the #2 show of all time.
In response to the backlash by fans against the nature of the series finale, Anno made several controversial comments in the months following the series conclusion, and preceding the release of The End of Evangelion. Anno commented in various interviews after the conclusion of the series that "anime fans need to have more self-respect" and to "come back to reality"; in a Newtype interview on 10 May, after the announcement on 26 April of a new movie and re-edited versions of the TV series, he also stated that "computer networking is graffiti on toilet walls." These statements were even more controversial.
After the series ended, Anno was not completely satisfied due to issues of time, financial troubles, and network censorship. Thus, when the series was released on VHS and Laserdisc, each episode was remastered and cuts were reincorporated into episodes 21-26, with the first four being drastically enhanced and the final two being completely remade as the double-feature Death and Rebirth. However, again, due to time and budget constraints, the remastering and reanimating of episodes 21-24 was put on hold in favor of the movie. However, the Rebirth animation wasn't finished and it was decided to later release the second half of Death and Rebirth as a stand alone release. Death included some of the scenes that were already completed for the remastered episodes 21-24. It was then decided that Evangelion: Rebirth II should also include the previous animation and was then renamed The End of Evangelion.
After that, the tapes "Genesis 0:11 and 0:12" were released and contained the redone episodes 21-24 and "Genesis 0:13 and 0:14" contained both endings, 0:13 containing both the TV and film versions of episode 25 and 0:14 containing the TV and film versions of episode 26. In 1998, the Evangelion films were released in their original intended form, without the extra scenes in the recap movie (Death(true)²) and with the full new ending.
In 2000, the "Second Impact Box" was released in 3 parts, containing the 26 uncut, remastered episodes and the 2 movies (also including Rebirth).
In 2003, the nine-volume "Renewal of Evangelion" DVDs were released, with the series' sound and picture remastered for HD and 5.1 technology (for example, new background sounds were recorded). The first eight volumes covered the original 26 episodes (with two versions of episodes 21-24: the uncut version and a reconstruction of the edited version). The ninth volume, containing two discs, named Evangelion: The Movie, contained Death(true)² and End of Evangelion.The Renewal release formed the basis for the western "Platinum Edition" (which didn't include the movies, as the movies were licensed by Manga Entertainment, while the series was licensed by A.D. Vision).The "Platinum Edition" features slightly different English subtitles than the original VHS and DVD releases. The original dub of episodes 25 and 26 were replaced with only the 'Director's Cut' dubs of these episodes.
Evangelion is filled with allusions to biological, military, religious, and psychological concepts, as well as numerous references or homages to older anime series (for example, the basic plot is seen in earlier anime like Space Battleship Yamato) – a tendency which inspired the nickname for the series, the "remixed anime". Anno's use of Freudian jargon and psychoanalytical theory as well as his allusions to religion and biology are often idiosyncratically used and redefined to carry his message. This tendency of Anno's has been criticized as "Total plagiarism!" and "just more mindgames from the animation crew". However, Anno has defended himself by denying the possibility of really original work without borrowing in anime:
"There is no longer room for absolute originality in the field of anime, especially given that our generation was brought up on mass-produced anime. All stories and techniques inevitably bring with them a sense of déjà vu. The only avenue of expression left open to us is to produce a collage-like effect based on a sampling of existing works."
"The people who make anime and the people who watch it always want the same things. The creators have been making the same story for about 10 years; the viewers seem to be satisfied and there's no sense of urgency. There's no future in that."
Regardless, Anno seems to have hoped to reinvigorate the genre of anime – seen as lifeless and moribund in the early 1990s – and restore originality: to create a new anime. This desire is also the reason Anno cited for creating the Rebuild of Evangelion movies:
"Many different desires are motivating us to create the new "Evangelion" film … The desire to fight the continuing trend of stagnation in anime.
The desire to support the strength of heart that exists in the world…
Many times we wondered, "It's a title that's more than 10 years old. Why now?"
"Eva is too old", we felt.
However, over the past 12 years, there has been no anime newer than Eva.
The interpretation of the symbols and concepts varies from individual to individual, and it is not clear how many are intentional or meaningful, nor which were merely design elements or coincidences. Anno himself said, "It might be fun if someone with free time could research them." A number of these symbols were noted on the English DVD commentary for Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion.
Many of the characters share their names with Japanese warships from World War II (such as the Sōryū, Akagi, and Katsuragi; though the ship names and character names are written with different kanji, they share the same pronunciations.) Other characters' names refer to other works of fiction, such as the two characters named after the protagonists of Ryu Murakami's Ai to Genso no Fascism ("Fascism in Love and Fantasy"; the two main characters are named Aida Kensuke and Suzuhara Toji; Anno later directed a Murakami adaptation, Love & Pop).
Evangelion has long been taken as a deeply personal expression of Hideaki Anno's personal struggles. From the start, Evangelion invokes many psychological themes. Phrases used in episodes, their titles, and the names of the background music frequently derive from Sigmund Freud's works, in addition to perhaps some Lacanian influences in general. Examples include "Thanatos", "Oral stage", "Separation Anxiety", and "Mother Is the First Other" (the mother as the first object of a child's love is the basis of the Oedipus complex). The scenery and buildings in Tokyo-3 often seem laden with psychological import, even in the first episode.
The connection between the Evas and their pilots, as well as the ultimate goal of the Human Instrumentality Project, bear a strong resemblance to Freud's theories on internal conflict and interpersonal communication.
The hedgehog's dilemma is a concept described by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and later adopted by Freud. It is the subtitle of episode 4 and is mentioned in that episode by Misato Katsuragi as descriptive of her relationship with Shinji.
Many of the characters have deep psychological traumas in relation to their parents. Shinji's introversion and social anxiety stem from the death of his mother at an early age and his abandonment by his father. Asuka was the target of her mother's insanity, and discovered her mother's body after she hanged herself; her tough, bullying personality is a means of distracting herself from her pain, and she has made piloting Unit 02 her only source of pride and satisfaction. Misato's father neglected her when she was a child; after he was killed in the Second Impact, she stopped talking for a couple of years. In episode 25, Misato states that she was both attracted to and afraid of Ryoji Kaji because he reminded her of her father. Ritsuko saw her mother having an affair with Gendo Ikari; after her mother's suicide she felt both attraction and hate towards Gendo. Indeed, the last two episodes are "stripped of the high-tech gadgetry and the colorful visuals that characterize the earlier episodes in the series, these last two episodes take place largely in muted tones… a form of interrogation proceeds to be carried out as he [Shinji] asks himself – or is asked by an unseen voice – probing psychological questions." The questions elicit unexpected answers, particularly the ones dealing with Shinji's motivation for piloting the Eva – he feels worthless and afraid of others (especially his father) if he is not piloting the Eva. Asuka and Rei are also depicted in deep introspection and consideration of their psyches. Asuka comes to the realization that her entire being is caught up in being a competent Eva pilot and that without it, she has no personal identity: "I'm the junk… I'm worthless. Nobody needs a pilot who can't control her own Eva." Rei, who throughout the series has displayed minimal emotion, reveals that she does have one impulse; it is Thanatos, an inclination to death: "I am Happy. Because I want to die, I want to despair, I want to return to nothing." In episode 25 Shinji and Asuka both show that they in fact suffered similar pasts and found different ways of dealing with it. This is further established in Shinji when he claims he has no life without Eva and this is disproven by the world shown in episode 26 followed by the famous "Congratulations" scene.
Besides the references to Freudian Psychoanalysis there are also some minor references to the theories behind Gestalt Therapy, a form of psychotherapy influenced by both psychoanalytic ideas as well as philosophical notions of a holistic self, personal responsibilities and the consciousness. In episode 15 there is a reference to Gestalt's theory of change, the constant shifting between 'homeostasis' and 'transistasis' on which Fritz Perls wrote in his work 'The Gestalt Approach'. Furthermore episode 19 is entitled 'Introjection', a psychoanalytical term used by many Gestalt Therapists to indicate a neurotic mechanism used for the mental processing of the things humans experience. Introjection is closely related to three other neurotic forms of mental processing; namely projection, confluention and retroflection.
The most prominent symbolism takes its inspiration from Judeo-Christian sources and frequently uses iconography and themes from Judaism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and Kabbalism, in the series's examination of religious ideas and themes.
Assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki said that they originally used Christian symbolism only to give the project a unique edge against other giant robot shows, and that it had no particular meaning, and that it was meant to be susceptible to multiple interpretations. Hiroki Sato, head of Gainax's PR department, has made similar statements, as has Toshio Okada.
References, with multiple equally plausible interpretations which exist, include:
- The Christian cross is often shown, frequently represented by energy beams shooting up skyward.
- The Angels are a reference to the angels of God from the Old Testament (in Japanese, the word used is the same one used for apostle (or messenger), as in the New Testament). They are named after angels from Biblical angelology, including Sachiel, Shamshel, and Arael. The first Angel is named Adam, just as the biblical Adam is the first man created by God. The second Angel is named Lilith, a reference to the Jewish folklore in which Lilith is the first wife of Adam. Lilith is shown crucified and impaled with a spear named the "Lance of Longinus", the same lance used to pierce the side of Jesus during his crucifixion, according to the Gospel of Nicodemus. Eve or Eva comes from Adam's rib; similarly, most of the Evas come from the Angel first identified as Adam.
- The Magi supercomputers are named Melchior, Balthasar and Caspar after the names traditionally given for the Magi who were mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew as having visited Jesus in Bethlehem. (often called "the three wise men", though the number of visitors is not recorded in the Gospel)
- The Tree of Sephiroth (Tree of Life) is mentioned, as well as shown in the opening title sequence and on the ceiling of Gendo's office, with Hebrew inscriptions on it (the terms written there are mostly Kabbalic). It also appears in The End of Evangelion during Seele's version of Instrumentality.
- The Marduk Institute is a front organization for Nerv, tasked with finding the teenagers suitable for piloting Evangelion units. Marduk was the name of the chief Babylonian deity and patron god of the city of Babylon.
Human Instrumentality Project
Neon Genesis Evangelion and particularly the Human Instrumentality Project show a strong influence from Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End, an influence Anno acknowledged. Similarities between the works, such as the larger themes and the declining birth rate after the Second Impact, were gleaned from this work.
Evangelion shows influences from the science fiction author Dr. Paul Linebarger, better known by his pseudonym, Cordwainer Smith. Linebarger was raised in China, became the god-son of the nationalistic leader Sun Yat-sen, and during World War II, worked in psychological warfare on behalf of the U.S. Army, including propaganda efforts by the U.S. against the Japanese. Linebarger's work included strong influences from both East Asian culture and Christianity. His science fiction novels revolve around his own concept of the Instrumentality of Mankind, an all-powerful central government of humanity. Like Seele, the Instrumentality of Mankind see themselves "to be shapers of the true destiny of mankind." Although Anno insisted that Hokan (補完?, complementation, completion) be translated as "Instrumentality" in English, perhaps as a way to pay homage to Linebarger, the two authors' conceptions of "instrumentality" are extremely different.
Existential themes of individuality, consciousness, freedom, choice, and responsibility are heavily relied upon throughout the entire series, particularly through the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Søren Kierkegaard. Episode 16's title, "The Sickness Unto Death, And…" (死に至る病、そして Shi ni itaru yamai, soshite?) is a reference to Kierkegaard's book, The Sickness Unto Death. The Human Instrumentality Project may be inspired by the philosophy developed by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. The title of Episode 4, "The Hedgehog's Dilemma", is a reference to the Hedgehog's dilemma, Arthur Schopenhauer's analogy about the challenges of human intimacy.
From the period from 1984 to the release of Evangelion, most highly acclaimed anime had a style somehow distanced from the usual styles of anime. For example, Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) were both low-key works, while Akira (1988) was influenced by American comic books. Acclaimed director Mamoru Oshii had said that, in the words of Hiroki Azuma, nobody wanted to watch "simple anime-like works" anymore. Evangelion, however, shows the reversal of this trend. It fully embraced the style of mecha anime, and in particular shows a large influence from Yoshiyuki Tomino's Space Runaway Ideon, which Anno recommends; particularly, there are scenes in The End of Evangelion which are clear homages to the last movie for the Ideon series.
As much as Evangelion has been impacted by other works like Devilman, the series itself has become a staple in Japanese fiction. The nature of the show made it a landmark work in the more psychological and sophisticated vein of anime that would be picked up by later works such as Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997) that, like Evangelion, center on an ambiguous world-changing event to come. Serial Experiments Lain is a later anime which dealt with many of the same themes as Evangelion, and so is often thought to be influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion, although the writer did not see any of Evangelion until he had finished the fourth episode of Lain, and attributes the utility pole visual motif to independent invention and the screen captions to his borrowing from Jean-Luc Godard and Anno from Kon Ichikawa. The show His and Her Circumstances (1999), which was also directed by Hideaki Anno, shares techniques (the experimental 'ripping-apart' of the animation and use of real photographs) and portrayed psychological conflicts in much the same way (although the various cinematic devices can be traced back to works other than Eva, for instance the works of Osamu Tezuka.).
Evangelion dramatically changed the design of giant robots in animated works. Previously, mecha or giant robot shows took their "mechanical suit" designs from Mobile Suit Gundam, Mazinger, and other similar shows from the 70s and 80s. Evangelion changed this with its fast and sleek Evas, making a noticeable contrast to the comparatively bulky and cumbersome looking Patlabors and Mobile Suits of the past. Indeed, the style set and created by Evangelion has become more common since its release, yet series like The King of Braves GaoGaiGar have continued to use the classic "mecha" style. RahXephon, a show with designs inspired by 1970s mecha shows, was compared to Evangelion by many English language reviewers. Evangelion is generally viewed to be a part of the soft science fiction genre, by avoiding the technical hard S.F. approach of Gundam and other popular mecha anime in favor of psychological struggle and metaphysical symbolism. Some anime have been made in direct opposition to NGE; Tomino Yoshiyuki publicly stated that with Brain Powerd he intended to "outdo Evangelion". Shows or works involving similar mixtures of religion and mecha are often compared to NGE, such as Xenogears or Gasaraki.
References in popular media
Neon Genesis Evangelion has been frequently parodied and explicitly referenced in popular media. In the Digimon Tamers series, many Evangelion elements were used in the back stories for the three main children, their friends, and the D-Reaper. Gainax's own His and Her Circumstances and FLCL had Evangelion parodies, as did Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi. In Episode 5 of Hanamaru Kindergarten, Tsuchida is seen with Evangelion Gashapon, featuring some of the characters, along with a reference to the Second Impact.
Invader Zim's Christmas episode, "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever", had a cameo parody of Evangelion (a reference to when Shinji was assimilated inside Unit 01.) In the episode "Hamstergeddon", Ultra-Pipi (the class hamster that Zim accidentally mutates into a giant monster) rushes at Zim's War Cruiser in a manner that is a rip from the blitz that Unit 01 makes at the Third Angel, Sachiel (as admitted by the episode's director in the commentaries.) In the online community, Evangelion is a common source of parody. Numerous webcomics, such as Tsunami Channel, have featured Evangelion tributes. Some 'creatures' also appear in other works such as the manga Berserk where a transformed demon soldier, in chapter 233, shares an uncanny resemblance with the unleashed Eva-01.
Anno himself has also poked fun at his work. In the soundtrack Neon Genesis Evangelion Addition, a twenty minute audio drama (directed and written by Anno) was included that reunited the entire voice acting cast, titled "After the End". The drama is set after episode 26 and has the characters breaking the fourth wall and discussing a sequel. Anno is believed to be featured as a guest voice in the piece, taking on the role of the "Black Space God". On a similar note, Spike Spencer made fun of the series' rather ambiguous ending by acting as Shinji throughout the ending credits in a hidden track in the Platinum re-release of the series, highlights of which include him deducting that previous advice given to him towards him not running away doesn't apply to his current predicament on the account that he's on "a big blue ball" and complaining that the animators "ran out of ink", a reference to the lowered budget to the second half of the series.
Evangelion has been referenced in American media as well. In the 2002 film One Hour Photo starring Robin Williams, Williams' character offers Jake an Eva-05 model. This was by specials request of Williams to include a reference in the film. It is commonplace for movies and shows to rename or repackage existing products with a generic name and graphic logo. In this case however, the toy was from Williams' personal collection (he is a fan of the show, as is director Wes Anderson), so the series name Neon Genesis Evangelion and the graphics on the blister card are left untouched, and are clearly visible. An Evangelion Unit 01 model is seen in the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still and several Evangelion figures are seen in Michael's house in the 2007 film Michael Clayton starring George Clooney.
Fan interpretations and reworking of Evangelion have ranged from various stories, fanfictions, and even screenplays that expand or reinterpret the ending to comical fan-dubs such as Evangelion: ReDeath and even hoax posters such as that for the fictional sequel Reprise of Evangelion.
The UK band Fightstar's debut album, Grand Unification is purported to have been heavily influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion. The track "Lost Like Tears in Rain" even contains the lyric "It's Neon Genesis". The artwork for the record portrays vast ruined cityscapes that are reminiscent of similar scenes in Evangelion. Fightstar's second album features a track called "Unfamiliar Ceilings", a reference to the Evangelion chapter "Unfamiliar Ceiling"; there is also a song named "H.I.P. (Enough)" in which H.I.P. stands for "Human Instrumentality Project". Also the words "Human Instrumentality Project" can be seen in the album insert booklet. Fightstar's EP Deathcar also features two Evangelion-related songs. One is titled "Nerv/Seele" and the other is titled "Shinji Ikari". The back of the EP artwork also shows an image of the Lance of Longinus visibly separating the two songs from the other tracks. Their third album, Be Human, also takes its name from an episode of Evangelion (episode 22).
The Mexican electronica/indie group Childs bears self-admitted Evangelion influences; its sole CD, Yui, contains some subtle Evangelion sound sampling and a track titled "Post: Seele".
The indie group LeetStreet Boys song "Yuri the Only One", a love song using anime and gaming references, contains the line, "You're my Angel out of Tokyo-3". In the music video, an image of the Third Angel Sachiel appears. They also make a mention of the series in "The Fanboy of The Opera" which contains the line, "angel of music sings I pull the strings like Gendou."
Translation notes on the title
The Japanese title for the series, Shin Seiki Evangelion, is composed of two parts: "Shin Seiki" (新世紀?, new era/century) from Japanese and "Evangelion" (εὐαγγέλιον, Anglicisation eüangélion, "gospel, good messenger, good news"—etymologically unrelated to the Hebrew word Eva) from Ancient Greek. The decision to call the series Neon Genesis Evangelion in Engrish was originally made by Gainax, and not by translators; the use of the word "Evangelion" in particular was chosen by Anno "because it sounds complicated". It appears in the eyecatches of the original, untranslated episodes, and is used by Gainax to market the series worldwide.
All three words of the English title Neon Genesis Evangelion (Νέον Γένεσις Εὐαγγέλιον) are derived from the Greek language. The simplest English interpretation is "New Beginning Gospel," although it can also be interpreted to mean "(the) Good News of a New Beginning," or even "(the) New Gospel of (the) Beginning."
The title appears to be constructed from the three words "neos," "genesis," and "evangelion" as they are listed in a lexicon or dictionary. In respect to the grammar of the Greek language, a literal translation of Νέον Γένεσις Εὐαγγέλιον (Neon Genesis Evangelion) does not make much sense, as it means something like "a young gospel a beginning." Greek grammar uses cases and gender, which have been ignored in the title and a more accurate rendition of the title in the Greek of the New Testament is (τὸ) Καινῆς Γενέσεως Εὐαγγέλιον or "(to) Kainēs Genéseōs Evangélion", meaning "(The) Gospel (or Good News) of a New Beginning."
Νέος "neos" means "new" in the sense of "young, fresh, not having existed previously." Καινός (kainós) from this grammatically accurate title means "new" as in "replacing something old, superseding." Either "neos" or "kainós" could be used depending on the intended meaning, but καινός is probably more suited to the show's pretext and storyline than νέον "neon."
Γένεσις "genesis" should be given in the genitive case as γενέσεως "geneseos" in order to represent the type or genus of gospel that is referred to: the gospel of a new beginning. This is similar to how the letter "s" is placed after an English word to express possession or kind: "a new beginning's gospel." Γένεσις (genesis), like many abstract nouns, is feminine; καινός (kainos) which describes it must also become feminine καινή (kaine). Thus Καινὴ Γένεσις "(a) New Beginning" becomes Καινῆς Γενέσεως in the genitive ("possessive") case: "of a New (fem.) Beginning (fem.)."
Genesis (γένεσις) can also mean "origin, source" or "birth, race" and is the Greek title for the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures, describing the creation of the universe and early Hebrew history. The Japanese term for the first book in the Bible is "Souseiki" "Souseiki" (創世記?, Account of the beginning of the world), perhaps a wordplay (with two different beginning and ending kanji) with "Shin Seiki" in the Japanese title.
Euangelion (εὐαγγέλιον, Latinized evangelium) originally referred to a reward offered for good news (eu (εὖ) meaning "good" and angelos (ἄγγελος) meaning "messenger", and later "messenger of God; angel"), and later came to mean "good news" itself. Eventually it became most commonly associated with the Christian gospel (from Old English gōdspell "good story"). It is the source of the English word "evangelist." This dual meaning (message and messenger) may be the reason both the series itself and the "mecha" are called Evangelion.
There has been debate over the correct pronunciation of "Evangelion." In the original Japanese version a hard 'g' (Template:IPA2) pronunciation is used by Japanese characters, and, episode 18 of the series, a native English-speaking announcer. Official secondary dubs, including the English one, use the pronunciation /ˌeɪvæŋˈɡɛliən/ with a hard 'g'. The confusion probably results from that related words in English, such as "evangelist", the 'g' is soft (/dʒ/). The pronunciation /ˌiːvænˈdʒɛliən/ (with the first vowel rhyming with "Eve" instead of /e/) is not uncommon.
The hard 'g' and /e/ is correct because it is accurate in both the original Greek and Japanese, and they are the pronunciations preferred by Gainax since Evangelion is a Greek word.
In the first episode, Ritsuko names the robot with a hard 'g' /ˌeɪvænˈɡɛliən/ when presenting it to Shinji.
The three influential organizations, Gehirn, Nerv and Seele, originate from German cognates. Gehirn is translated literally into the English word brain or mind, referencing it as the brainchild of the EVA Project. Nerv comes from the German Nerv meaning literally nerve, referencing it as the nerves of the EVA Project. Seele, pronounced [ˈzeːlə] in German, means literally soul, referencing it as the soul of the EVA Project.
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- (Japanese) Endo, Toru. "Konna kitanai kirei na hi ni wa" ("On a day so beautiful and so ugly"). Poppu karuchaa kuritiiku (Pop Culture Critique), volume 0. 1997.
- (Japanese) Gainax, NEW-TYPE. E-Mono: Neon Genesis Evangelion: All Goods Catalog. ISBN4-04-852868-8
- (Japanese) Kotani, Mari. Seibo Evangelion (Evangelion as the Immaculate Virgin). Tokyo: Magajin Hausu. 1997.
- (Japanese) Kotani, Mari. A New Millenialist Perspective On The Daughters Of Eve. ISBN4-8387-0917-X.
- June magazine, ed. Neon Genesis Evangelion June Tokuhon: Zankoku-Na Tenshi no These ("The Neon Genesis Evangelion JUNE Reader: Zankoku na Tenshi no These"). ISBN4-906011-25-X.
- Lippit, Seiji M. Topographies of Japanese Modernism. New York: Columbia UP, 2000
- Morikawa, Kaichiro (ed.). The Evangelion Style. ISBN4-8074-9718-9
- Redmond, Dennis. The World is Watching: Video as Multinational Aesthetics 1967–1995, 2001.
- Routt, William. "Stillness and Style in Neon Genesis Evangelion". Animation Journal 8.2 (Spring 200): 28–43
- Yamashita, Ikuto and Seiji, Kio. Sore Wo Nasumono: Neon Genesis Evangelion Concept Design Works ("That which enables that: Neon Genesis…"). ISBN4-04-852908-0
- "Evangelion Special: From phenomenon to legacy" -(Mainichi Daily News; these three links link to Internet Archive copies)
- "Evangelion Special: Genesis of a major manga"– (Mainichi Daily News)
- "Evangelion Special: For producer Otsuki, success not always a bed of roses" – (Mainichi Daily News)
- (Italian) Neon Genesis Evangelion (Anime Mundi), detailed production information
- 'The Thin Veneer Known as "Evangelion"' -(Anime News Network)
- "Understanding Evangelion" -(Anime News Network)
- "Online Bibliography of Anime and Manga Research" -(collection of Evangelion-related papers, essays, & articles)
- Evangelion has reportedly grossed over 150 billion yen, or approximately 1.2 billion USD . In a discussion at the 2006 Tekkoshocon, Matt Greenfield claimed Evangelion has grossed over 2 billion USD ; Takeda 2002 reiterates that "It sold record numbers of laserdiscs in Japan, and the DVD is still selling well today." (pg 166). "Saving the Earth With a Quasi-Human Partner": "...a franchise that has generated more than a billion dollars so far"
- "Considered by many scholars to be an anime masterpiece, the series is credited by some critics with singlehandedly reviving the genre from what they saw as its creative doldrums in the early 1990s (Azuma 4). While I would not go quite so far, it is certainly true that Evangelion is one of the most important and groundbreaking anime series ever created." pg 424 of Napier 2002; see also "Not exactly the kind of words you'd expect from director Hideaki Anno about his 1995 production 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'. Taking him by surprise, it's been hailed by critics in Japan (and later in America and Europe) as the landmark Japanese animated TV series of the 90's. The modestly budgeted production has also become a commercial success, grossing over 800 million dollars in video sales and 400 million in merchandise in Japan alone." Wong 1996
- NGE won the 18th Nihon SF Taisho Award
- "Back in 1995 the 26-episode Japanese television series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” was a superior anime, a giant-robot tale of unusual depth, feeling and detail. It placed less emphasis on battles than on its story, in which a lonely, timid teenage boy must save the earth from destruction by bonding with a quasi-human fighting machine. (As recently as 2007, Japan’s cultural affairs agency named it the best anime ever.) " http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/09/18/movies/18evangelion.html
- "Japan Media Arts Festival awards". Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- "Animation Kobe winners" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-10-26.
- "文化庁メディア芸術祭10周年企画アンケート日本のメディア芸術100選 結果発表" (in Japanese). Plaza.bunka.go.jp. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- "Constructing a mythic universe that is almost Blakean both in its complex and mythic vision and in its dizzying array of Christian and Judaic religious symbols, the series questions the construction of human identity, not only in relation to the technology that the series' plot and imagery insistently privilege, but also in relation to the nature of reality itself." pg 424 of Napier 2002
- Azuma 4
- "I didn't have any interest in studying human psychology in the past. I only took a course about it in University, but I suppose I always had something in my mind to analyse human psyche. I thought I wasn't interested in humans very much, but then when I started talking about myself, I needed words to explain. So I started reading books on psychology. From Episode #16, Evangelion'S story went into the direction to ask just what the human mind is all about inside. I wrote about myself. My friend lent me a book on human psychological illness and this gave me a shock, as if I finally found what I needed to say." Anno, Protoculture Addicts 43.
- "The narratives, the characters, and the mise en scene of these works evoke the disturbing postmodern fantasy … Sconce suggests that, "where there were once whole human subjects, there are now only fragmented and decentered subjectivities, metaphors of 'simulation and 'schizophrenia'" and he finds that, "in postmodernism's fascination with the evacuation of the reference and an ungrounded play of signification and surface, we can see another vision of beings who, like ghosts and psychotics, are no longer anchored in reality instead wander through a hallucinatory world where the material real is forever lost"". (Sconce quote from Jeffrey Sconce's Haunted Media). pg 419 of Napier 2002
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- "The End of Evangelion – Theatrical Program: Glossary". EvaOtaku.com. 1998-02-20. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
- episode 26
- ".Overcome by the strain of fighting the Angels and the revelations of his commanders' duplicity, his ego implodes. The series ends in a long collage of flashbacks and still artwork, accompanied by a protracted internal dialogue between Shinji and the other characters as he conceives them.
These profoundly unsettling episodes suggest animated schizophrenia and recall the chilling conclusion of Yukio Mishima's Sea of Fertility tetralogy, in which the main character realizes he can no longer be certain of his own existence. Both works offer a desolate vision of a universe in which no answers exist--in this life or any other. " 'DVD Review', Charles Solomon, 2 October 2003, Los Angeles Times
- pg 427 of Napier 2002
- Wong 1996
- "This, the opening episode is constructed around all the conventions of the classic "saving the world" narrative, only to undermine them by showing IKARI [sic] Shinji, its fourteen-year-old ostensible hero, in a far from heroic light … In a more conventional anime sf narrative, Shinji would climb into the EVA with gusto and proceed to save the world. In fact he does pilot the EVA and succeeds in destroying the Angel – who turns out to be the third of seventeen – but only with the greatest reluctance and after a display of temper, fear, and vulnerability that seems less than conventionally heroic." pg 424–425 of Napier 2002
- Evangelion: Death and Rebirth; End of Evangelion. [DVD commentary track]. Manga Entertainment.
- "Evangelion is my life, and I have put everything I know into this work. This is my entire life. My life itself." Hideaki Anno, Protoculture Addicts 43
- "Anno often deconstructs the main casts' mental states, via abstractly presented interrogations within each character's mind. Re-opening hidden emotional wounds from the past and uncompromisingly addressing their personality flaws, 'Evangelion' offers a fascinatingly complex character study that is rare indeed, especially in popular animated entertainment. Returning to write and direct the series after an extended hiatus – reportedly due to depression – there is an acute sense that 'Evangelion' is a very personal statement." Wong 1996
- "In the September 1996 issue of the Quick Japan information magazine, Hideaki Anno, the director of Evangelion, described Eva as a 'personal film,' each character reflecting part of his own personality. Anno, born in 1960, told the magazine that Japanese in his age group have nothing but TV, unlike their parents who worked furiously to help Japan rise from the ashes of World War II." Japan Economic Newswire MAY 8, 1997, THURSDAY "Cartoon 'Eva' captures sense of void among Japanese youth". by Yoichi Kosukegawa. TOKYO, May 8 Kyodo
- Gainax (1998-02-20). "A Story of Communication: The Kazuya Tsurumaki Interview". Red Cross Book. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- "The release in October 1995 of Neon Genesis Evangelion on Japanese TV ignited a boom in merchandise unprecedented in a country already awash with such goods. As if overnight, well over 600 different items were made to commemorate the event. Figures were the most popular, with the inimitable bandaged Rei outselling all else. The Eva girls, kitted out in swimwear and striking suggestive poses, were, overall, a huge success, and things went a bit too far…" pg 126 of Fujie 2004. See also: "Arguably, it is because of Anno's dictates on design that few Evangelion toys were initially made. But figures of Rei, in all her bandaged beauty, sold like wild fire. This is probably the first and only example of an animated [mecha] series where reproductions of the human characters outsold those of the robots." pg 98.
- "Rei's popularity soared in Japan, with books featuring her image on the cover selling like hot cakes. She was christened by the media, "The girl who manipulates magazine sales at will", "The fastest route to the sold-out sign!" And even, "The Premium Girl."" pg 39 of Fujie 2004
- Woznicki, Krystian (1998-02-20). "Towards a Cartography of Japanese Anime - Interview with Azuma Hiroki". Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- pg 155, Takeda 2002
- pg 157–158 of Takeda 2002
- "Anno knew a guy from King Records named Otsuki, and as the story goes, the two were out drinking one day when Otsuki suggested to Anno that they work on a TV anime project together. Anno agreed on the spot, came back to the office and promptly announced it to everyone. Nobody even batted an eyelash. We just accepted it without further thought." pg 164 of Takeda 2002
- pg 165 of Takeda 2002
- NEWTYPE 100% COLLECTION: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. 1997 Kadokawashoten. ISBN 4-04-852700-2. Partial translation.
- pg 167 of Takeda 2002
- "At the planning stage, director Hideaki Anno is reported to have said, "With recent robot anime series there have been too many instances of toy makers sticking their big noses in from the design stage so they can get a spec that is easy to turn into a toy. I don't want any interference from toy makers, so I'm going to design a robot that just cannot be turned into a toy." pg 97 of Fujie 2004
- Takeda continues: "He said the legs were too skinny, and then proceeded to give Otsuki a lecture on the principles of robot design. Otsuki is bitter about the incident to this day." pg 166–167 of Takeda 2002
- "Fans liked the concept, praising it for a psychoanalytical look at anime that had never been attempted before. Sato sees Episode 16 was of particular importance. A spherical black Angel called Ririeru (Leliel in English) appears and Shinji's Eva Unit 01 is absorbed into it. Normally, such close contact between an Evangelion and an Angel would have resulted in combat. Instead, in this episode, Shinji is confronted by another version of himself. The two Shinjis engage in conversation as the young boy probes "himself" about who he really is and the meaning of "self." The episode clearly shows how Shinji explores his inner self as he continues asking why it is that he has been selected to pilot the Eva. The series continues in this way with a strong focus on Shinji's internal struggles until Evangelion draws toward its climax." "Evangelion Special: From phenomenon to legacy"
- "A STORY OF COMMUNICATION: The Kazuya Tsurumaki Interview"
- "The animation in this series is a major selling point. I especially like the way the characters are drawn. Their faces are vivid and express wonderfully. It's no GHOST IN THE SHELL, but it's very good. " "I saw the first EVANGELION volume in subtitles, so I braced myself for linguistic torture. However, my fears were for naught. Misato actually sounded sleepy in the morning! Allison Keith presents one of the best voice-over performances I've heard. That's all it took to make me forgive the stiff and unnatural moments that occasionally cropped up in the rest of the tape. The rest of the cast do a pretty good reading, but Misato's lines made me cringe the fewest number of times. When compared to most other English dubbed anime this one shines. The language is clear and usually isn't too clunky. Dubs really are getting better, and the future sounds pretty good." http://www.ex.org/2.1/19-eva02.html
- "EVANGELION was complex and layered" http://www.ex.org/5.6/20-animej_flcl.html
- "Takagi: Yes, but I have very little time. One of my current favorites is EVANGELION for its richness in stories and characters." http://www.ex.org/2.3/08-kcon2.html
- "The art is beautifully done and the character designs are reminiscent of EVANGELION or GUNDAM WING." http://www.ex.org/4.2/15-anime_gasaraki.html
- pg 162, Fujie 2004
- "Even though some fans had heard that the final two episodes were unusual, they didn't realize how strange they were until AD Vision released them. They found those episodes were a cross between the "stargate" sequence in 2001 and a Fellini film: talky and unfocused, a stream-of-consciousness meandering that left some Eva questions unanswered. When the American voice actors who handled the lead roles in those episodes were asked about the final volume, they admitted that they also had trouble understanding it.
"The last two episodes of Eva I had no idea what was going on," said Tristan MacAvery, who played Gendou. "I had to figure how I should read the part, flat or philosophical." MacAvery and the other actors said there was nothing wrong with the English translation, that the Japanese original was incomprehensible." http://web.archive.org/web/20080617215942/www.fansview.com/080798h.htm
- "Unfortunately, this is where things get a little odd. Due to budget cuts and other factors, the end of the series seems abrupt and confusing and leaves a lot of loose ends. Many fans felt that it was a cop-out, prompting the studio, Gainax, to create several movies as attempts to deliver a better ending and retell certain parts of the story." "DStv Pick of the week: Neon Genesis Evangelion : Monday, 15:45, Animax", Matthew Vice, 15 November 2009, The Times
- "Almost as soon as they were broadcast, the final episodes of "Evangelion" became the subject of heated discussions that show no signs of abating. Some viewers hailed them as profound; detractors replied that their meaning was more apparent than real." Solomon 2003
- "Evangelion Special: From phenomenon to legacy"
- "Miyadai categorizes young Japanese into three groups. One is what he calls the 'street' group who seek only to enjoy the fads of the moment, such as those who crave for Tamagotchi 'virtual pet' toys and exchange tiny self-portrait photo seals taken from 'Print Club' machines with their friends. Another group is the 'otaku,' the rough equivalent of computer nerds -- people who withdraw into the world of video games and animation, rejecting communication with the outside world. The third is a middle group of the so-called 'good boys, good girls' who do well in school in line with the expectations of their parents. Miyadai says the middle group is now at a 'critical' stage. Like Ikari, who questions the reasons he has to fight, middle-group people have doubts about why they have to go to school to satisfy their families' expectations. 'It should be noted that Evangelion is attracting such middle-group people in addition to the otaku group,' Miyadai says." from "Cartoon 'Eva' captures sense of void among Japanese youth"
- "-- Now even businessmen are debating the mysteries of "Eva" in bars. (laugh)
KT - (laugh) For example, Hideaki Anno says that, "Anime fans are too introverted, and need to get out more." Further, he should be happy that non-anime fans are watching his work, right?" "A STORY OF COMMUNICATION: The Kazuya Tsurumaki Interview"
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- "Although it draws upon earlier classic anime such as the Yamato series in terms of the ostensible narrative – alien invaders, in this case known as Angels, are attacking the Earth and only a small group of young people can save it, using impressive giant robots with which they synergize – the narrative's actual execution defamiliarizes this rather hackneyed story line." pg 424 of Napier 2002
- "Evangelion carries a large number of quotes from and references to other anime productions, such as the mecha designs of Ultraman, Space Battleship Yamato, and Gundam. The works of Go Nagai – such as Mazinga Z – and even the novelist Ryu Murakami are also referred to; in particular, Devilman is seen as a major source for the overall plot. This was so apparent that Evangelion became known as "the remixed anime". pg 9 of Fujie 2004
- pg 75 of Fujie 2004
- "The overall design of Evangelion calls to mind Devilman by Go Nagai. In fact, the whole concept of the Evas, which are made from Adam, and harbor the souls of humans, can be considered borrowed from scenes from Devilman, where the soul of Akira Fudo is possessed by Amon, the Lord of War. Moreover, the heavily religious undertones, the suggestion of conflict with an indigenous people, and the cosmic view that mankind may not be the ultimate being all owe something to Devilman." pg 76 of Fujie 2004
- Anno, as quoted in Wong 1996
- From 17 February 2007 movie theater poster by Anno; translation from "Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies: EVA creator posts message in theatres across Japan, hopes to lure new audiences to Evangelion films", 2007-02-20, Anime News Network.
- "It should be clear by now that Evangelion is a text that can be read on many levels. On the one hand, as Kotani and other critics point out, it can be seen as a coming-of-age story, expressed through the narrative of a young boy's growth vis-a-vis others, in particular the patriarchy represented by his father and the feminine presence represented by not only his colleagues but, as Kotani argues, by the EVA itself." "… a moment that suggests that Shinji's endeavor to develop a cohesive form of subjectivity has been successful. Or has it?" pg 429 of Napier 2002
- "Whereas Yamaga Hiroyuki last year said that Honneamise reflected his opinion of the world at the time he wrote and directed it, Anno Hideaki declared in last November's issue of Newtype that he's going only by his own value system in judging the series. That, combined with Anno's surprise remarks at the end of vol. 1 of "Eva" character designer Sadamoto Yoshiyuki's Evangelion manga (itself a similar, but "alternate" version of the anime story) that this project represents the end of four years that were for him no more than "simply not dying," indicate this TV anime series is personal and deeply felt to Anno." "Overriding it all, as the noted Japanese social writer, Sato Kenji, has remarked, is Anno Hideaki's overall honesty, his own whisper of the heart--"to live is to change"--from one of Japan's top animators, caught for four years in the personal hell of depression and helplessness as an artist. It helps to remind one that the people who make anime don't do it just for the often paltry living it provides, but to express what's inside them with these tools they know. To make something that means something to them is the reason Gainax makes everything. "Arrogant and selfish" is how Anno describes it." "Speaking Once as They Return: Gainax's Neon Genesis Evangelion"]; Carl Horn, AMPlus 1.2 1995
- "Aside from Old Testament quotes, there are numerous cases in Evangelion of far-reaching references to such Freudian concepts as the Libido and death wish…", "Going off on a tangent, the choice of theme songs, "Thanatos – If I can't be yours" and "Come Sweet Death" both illustrate the importance of the death wish to the movie." pg 147, 150 of Fujie 2004
- "In the final episode, Anno is clearly referencing Freud and perhaps Lacan as the unseen voice inside Shinji's head explains to him that he creates his personality first through disassociating with the mother and then through distinguishing himself from others." pg 234 of Napier 2002
- "Shinji and Misato's descent into the seemingly bottomless depths of Nerv headquarters can be read, as critic Endo Toru suggests, as a descent into the unconsciousness, metonymically reinforced by the profusion of downward escalators and elevators from which the protagonists emerge into a disorienting maze of long empty corridors and bizarre machinery (84). It is surely no coincidence that, in the first episode, Misato and Shinji enter Nerv only to become hopelessly lost, a situation that recurs symbolically and concretely throughout the series until the final episode explicitly displays Shinji as "lost" in his own subconscious." pg 428 of Napier 2002
- "In the terms of the thermodynamic model which informs Freud's concept of the death drive, what is feared is the entropy' at work at the heart of all organization, all differentiation. By this same token the woman also signifies precisely that desired 'state where everything is the same': the pre-Oedipal bliss of the fusion of bodies in which infant and mother are "'inextricably mixed', that absence of the pain of differing, condition of identity and meaning, whose extinction is deferred until death." ―Victor Burgin
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- "The hedgehog's dilemma… The nearer we get, the deeper we hurt each other… I see."
- pg 426 of Napier 2002
- "At first he insists that he does so to "save mankind." But when that answer is met with the response "Liar", he shifts to a more complex self-analysis… he admits to piloting the Eva because of his own need for the liking and respect of others, and finally acknowledges that he feels "worthless" unless he is joined with the Eva." pg 426 of Napier 2002
- As quoted in pg 426 of Napier 2002
- Kentaro ONIZUKA. "Neon Genesis Evangelion: Final Episode". Literal Translation Series. Animanga.com. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- "Although the scenes of combat are gripping and imaginative for the genre, what makes Evangelion truly groundbreaking are the psychic struggles in which the characters engage. These struggles are both wide-ranging and emotionally draining. They are also presented with surprising psychoanalytical sophistication as the characters try to come to grips with their own inner turmoil, their problematic relations with each other, and finally, their relation to more remote forms of Otherness – the gigantic machines that are the EVAs and with which they must synchronize, and the enigmatic Angels who present a riddle that is increasingly depicted in terms of what seems to be a Christian or perhaps Gnostic notion of apocalypse." pg 425 of Napier 2002
- "Anno says the new offering from Gainax will consider some of the ultimate questions posed by science fiction, and, indeed, philosophy, such as: What is the nature of evolution? What is humanity's relationship to his or her god? Does god, in fact, exist? What does it mean for the human race if that question can be answered definitively?" From "Gainax Returns to Anime with Shinseiki Evangelion", published in the February 1995 edition of Animerica, and as quoted in Neon Genesis Evangelion, volume 10.
- "There are a lot of giant robot shows in Japan, and we did want our story to have a religious theme to help distinguish us. Because Christianity is an uncommon religion in Japan we thought it would be mysterious. None of the staff who worked on Eva are Christians. There is no actual Christian meaning to the show, we just thought the visual symbols of Christianity look cool. If we had known the show would get distributed in the US and Europe we might have rethought that choice." ― Kazuya Tsurumaki
EvaOtaku.com FAQ; see also an interview with Tsurumaki which contains the same quote  (Archive link)
- "Evangelion is like a puzzle, you know. Any person can see it and give his/her own answer. In other words, we're offering viewers to think by themselves, so that each person can imagine his/her own world. We will never offer the answers, even in the theatrical version. As for any Evangelion viewers, they may expect us to provide the 'all-about Eva' manuals, but there is no such thing. Don't expect to get answers by someone. Don't expect to be catered to all the time. We all have to find our own answers." from Hideaki Anno's Anime Expo '96 interview, pp20–3 in the November 1996 Newtype, as translated by Miyako Graham in issue 43, pages 40–41 of Protoculture Addicts and as quoted by Lawrence Eng  
- "But Hiroki Sato, 32, head of the public relations department of GAINAX, the company that produced the animation, says various devices included in Evangelion are only elements of the product and are not directly linked to its theme. 'Anno made a soul-searching journey in producing Evangelion by including his daily sufferings and thinking about them,' Sato says." Japan Economic Newswire, 8 May 1997, 'Cartoon 'Eva' captures sense of void among Japanese youth'
- "Mr. Anno ("Evangelion") apparently never read the Bible, despite the heavy Christian symbology of his work; he just (according to Mr. Okada) picked out a few interesting technical terms. Likewise, the anime creation staff might open a book on psychology and, rather than read it thoroughly, simply go through it picking out "great technical terms" to use in the anime!" http://web.archive.org/web/20080504115217/www.mit.edu/people/rei/manga-okadaluncheon.html
- "Terminology". Evangelion Death & Rebirth, special edition pamphlet. Japan: Gainax/Eva Production Committee. 1997.
- "Glossary". The End of Evangelion pamphlet. Japan: Gainax/Eva Production Committee. 1997.
- In episode 23,Tear/Rei III, Ritsuko states that "These are dummies. And nothing but parts for Rei. Humans found a god, and thus, tried to obtain it. As a result, humanity was punished. That was 15 years ago. The god that they found vanished. However, they tried to revive the god themselves. It was Adam. A human was made from Adam to be close to the god. That is Eva." See also Fujie 2004: "Elsewhere, we learn, "That which was born of Adam is the Eva", effectively proving that Adam was the model for the Evangelions." (pg 48).
- pg 60 of Fujie 2004
- Broderick, Mick. "Anime's Apocalypse: Neon Genesis Evangelion as Millenarian Mecha". Intersections 7, 2002. Retrieved December 29, 2009
- Horn, Carl G. "Speaking Once as They Return: Gainax's Neon Genesis Evangelion". Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- "References to: Cordwainer Smith and the Instrumentality Project". Yoko NGE All-In-One FAQ. Yoko NGE InfoCenter. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-15.
- Galen Strickland. "Cordwainer Smith Profile". The Templeton Gate. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
- Horn 1995
- Tsuribe, Manabu. "Prison of Self-Consciousness: an Essay on Evangelion". Otaku Fanzine.
- "If this sounds blasphemous to the numerous EVANGELION fans out there, bear in mind that Anno Hideaki, director of EVANGELION, cites Tomino's traumatic IDEON as one of his key influences." http://www.ex.org/2.2/06-news1.html
- "Anno: Of the movies, I recommend Gundam III - Meeting in Space. The picture is quite nice. Moreover, if I have to recommend Mr. Tomino's animation, I would choose Legendary Giant IDEON (1980, TV). It would be best to watch the movie version's Part II (1982, movie) after watching the TV series. Although some of the picture quality might be poor, please tolerate it." http://web.archive.org/web/20050407200800/home.comcast.net/~hasshin/shimamoto.html
- "Neon Genesis Evangelion and Serial Experiments Lain have much in common. They can readily be described as postmodern in terms of their concern with a notion of identity as fluctuating, their rapid and sometimes incoherent narrative pace, and their refusal of conventional forms of closure … More importantly, they share a complex and problematic attitude toward the real. The two stories also deal with issues that are perhaps culturally specific to Japan: the increasing distrust and alienation between the generations, the complicated role of childhood, and, most significantly, a privileging of the feminine, often in the form of the young girl or shōjo." "This contributes to a pervasive sense of the uncanny that imbues both narratives, linking them with the genres of horror and fantasy." pg 423–424 of Napier 2002
- Nakajima, Shin-suke (1999). "HK: Interview with Chiaki Konaka". Retrieved 2006-09-16.
- "Neon Genesis's 14 year-old protagonist, Shinji Ikari, lives in Tokyo without contact with his family, and his mood is often illustrated by the use of shooting scenes from above, animation cells washed in drab blue, and passages of extreme action interspersed with reflective passages of stillness or close-ups of Ikari's face.
(But, as Brophy explains, such innovation is by no means a first for Neon Genesis - in the late 1940s the Japanese cartoonist Osama Tezuka borrowed artistic techniques from German Expressionism in his four-volume cartoon version of Dostoyevsky's Crime And Punishment.)" The Age (Melbourne, Australia) January 14, 1999 Thursday Late Edition "Orient expressive". by David M. Walker GREEN GUIDE; Pg. 23
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- Bertschy, Zac (2004-01-12). "Review: RahXephon DVD 7: Crescendo". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
- Oppliger, John (2002-08-20). "Is RahXephon an Evangelion Rip Off?". Ask John. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
- "Grading SF for Realism": "Science fantasy: … Examples include Peter Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy and the Shadowrun RPG (both of which incorporate supernatural elements into an otherwise typical medium (space opera) or very hard (cyberpunk) SF setting), and the Neongenesis [sic] Evangelion anime series."
- "After resurfacing with the DUNBINE sequel GARZEY'S WING, rumor had it that Tomino was planning to do another robot show. Could it be? In an interview with Sunrise Radio, Tomino himself took the stage and confirmed that yes, he was preparing to work on another show this year. Not just any robot show, but one that would, in his words, "outdo EVANGELION...!"" http://www.ex.org/2.2/06-news1.html
- "Over a year and a half ago, Tomino Yoshiyuki, creator of GUNDAM, announced that he was going to start work on a new mecha show that would outdo EVANGELION. Rumors flew about what it would be about, who would work on it, and even where and when it would air." http://www.ex.org/3.5/18-anime_brainpowerd.html
- "Indeed, Tomino was so confident about BRAIN POWERED he bragged it will outdo EVANGELION. Don't you believe him." http://www.ex.org/4.7/14-anime_brainpowered.html
- "The game starts with a stunning full motion video sequence that feels rather reminiscent of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. It starts by quoting Revelations 1:8, "I am the Alpha and the Omega... who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."...Then, most of the second disk concentrates on explaining all the questions and telling the whole story using monologues. (A friend of the reviewer noted, "It's just like the last 2 TV episodes of EVANGELION!")" http://www.ex.org/3.3/38-game_xenogears.html
- "So after a somewhat slow and confusing start, this show is starting to pick up steam. Like NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, there is a lot of intrigue and unanswered questions floating around. However, unlike EVANGELION, GASARAKI seems to have an excellent sense of direction and looks to be heading towards a very interesting conclusion. With each new volume the story becomes even more engrossing, and I am looking forward to following this series to its end." http://www.ex.org/articles/2001/2001.07.20-rev_anime-us-gasaraki-vol_2_3.html
- "The first two episodes of GASARAKI do not shed much light on where the story is going; they merely introduce the Gowa clan and what their role is in the warfare industry. The series seems to be following in the footsteps of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION with its religious overtones. As for what Shintoism has to do with the development of the mechs is beyond this author's experience, but I'm sure as the story progresses more will be explained. The art is beautifully done and the character designs are reminiscent of EVANGELION or GUNDAM WING." http://www.ex.org/4.2/15-anime_gasaraki.html
- "www.evamonkey.com/addition_audio_drama.php". Retrieved 2007-03-17.
- "This is a Japanese cartoon that is very difficult to describe and might not sound that great if I tried anyway. It is 24 episodes, and we watched them all in less than a week because you start to want to believe it’s real. This could spawn something like Scientology." http://goop.com/newsletter/25/?utm_source=Goop+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2703a3ac10-Goop25_03_12_2009
- "EVA RE-TAKE". Kurogane's Anime Blog. February 7, 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- "Evafics.org". Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- "Neon Genesis Evangelion - Unofficial Fan Continuation". Eva-r.com. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
-  Poster for hoax sequel Reprise of Evangelion
- Harrison, Kathryn (2008-07-20). "Killer Children". The New York Times.
- "Now, in a remarkable turnaround, Fightstar's debut long-player, Grand Unification, has been called "stunning posthardcore" by Kerrang! magazine; it even put the boys on its cover. The record is inspired by Manga – particularly the Neon Genesis Evangelion series (act like you know). It's about time comics and metal got a pin-up." "GIG Fightstar", by Beth Pearson, from The Herald, March 16, 2006, GOING OUT; Pg. 2
- "If you think of other gorgeous titles of anime — Neon Genesis Evangelion, A Little Snow Fairy Sugar — you get some sense of the lyrical possibilities of Engrish, which draws heavily from the Latinate side of English (not to mention Latin itself). " http://themedium.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/07/ergo-proxy-the-official-language-of-the-internet/
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- Liddell, Henry George with Robert Scott and Henry Stuart Jones. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford, 1940.
- AZUMA, Hiroki. "Anime or Something Like it: Neon Genesis Evangelion". Intercommuncation 18. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- Fujie, Kazuhisa; Martin Foster (2004). Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Unofficial Guide. Tokyo, Japan; printed in the U.S.: DH Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-9745961-4-0. Cite uses deprecated parameter
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- Takeda, Yasuhiro; Yu Sugitani, Yasuhiro Kamimura, Takayoshi Miwa; translated by Javier Lopez, Jack Wiedrick, Brendan Frayne, Kay Bertrand, Gina Koerner, Hiroaki Fukuda, and Sheridan Jacobs (2002, 2005). The Notenki memoirs: studio Gainax and the men who created Evangelion. ADV Manga. p. 190. ISBN 1-4139-0234-0. Cite uses deprecated parameter
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|40x40px||Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Neon Genesis Evangelion|
- Madman Entertainment's Evangelion page
- (Japanese) Neon Genesis Evangelion – Gainax's official Evangelion page.
- (Japanese) 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン – Evangelion Website of King Record.
Articles and information
- (German) Evapedia
- Neon Genesis Evangelion at the Internet Movie Database
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Neon Genesis Evangelion at the Open Directory Project
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