New! Visit my Evangelion News Page for more info and pictures from the Evangelion Renewal Project and the new Live Action Neon Genesis Evangelion movie!
Produced by Gainax, Shin Seiki Evangelion ("New Century Evangelion" premiered on Japanese television on 4 Oct. 1995. It was preceded by a manga version drawn by the show's character designer, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, and published in Shonen Ace. The TV series ran for 26 episodes. It became hugely popular and won awards in 1996 and 1997. When it first appeared it was directed towards a more mature audience, and no merchandising was planned for the series. Following its huge popularity, there is a ton of merchandise now available.
Caution: This page is full of spoilers about Evangelion, and if you don't want it to ruin many of the surprises, read no further. You have been warned.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is the ultimate giant mecha show. It features a world that was devastated Sept. 13, 2000 by the Second Impact (called second because the First Impact was the one to kill off the dinosaurs 65,000,000 years ago). This Second Impact involves the appearance of two giant alien beings in Antarctica, called angels, and referred to as Adam and Lilith. Some kind of giant explosion occurs, the Antarctic ice cap is melted, and ocean levels rise 60 meters, flooding coastal areas around the world, changing the world's environment, and killing off half of humanity. Only one person survives from the Antarctic scientific station, Kusinagi Misato, a young girl at the time. She was placed in a capsule by her scientist father who apparently realizes what is about to happen, and the capsule is fired out to sea. Gendo Ikari, the head scientist of the investigation in Antarctica, also survives, having been conveniently away from the scientific site at the time of the Second Impact.
For a complete description of the angels, click here.
From the body of Adam, scientists have been able to clone their own giant biomechanical beings, Evas, controllable by teenagers who happened to be born nine months after the Second Impact. It is now 2015, and the first of the next 15 angels prophesied by The Dead Sea Scrolls have arrived (Judeo-Christian influences which would be an exotic religion in Japan, abound throughout Evangelion. All of the angels are named after angels found in the Jewish pseudepigrapha). All of humanity's other weapons are ineffectual and only the Evas, piloted by 14 year old Rei, Shinji, and Asuka, stand between humanity and the angel's attacks.
The story begins with the summoning of Ikari Shinji (in Japan they put the last name first) to Tokyo-3 and NERV by his father, Ikari Gendo. Shinji had been dropped off with relatives to be raised many years earlier, after the death of his mother, Ikari Yui, and he had not even seen his father since then. Now he is a 14 year old boy with a rather low self-esteem, and totally unsure why he is being summoned to see his father. Happy family reunion? Fat chance. Shinji is suddenly useful to Gendo as a possible Eva pilot. It seems that the only other pilot NERV has at the time is Rei Ayanami, and she has injuries suffered while trying to synchronize with her own Eva, Unit-00. Shinji's introduction coincides with the attack of the third angel, Sachiel, and none of humanity's other weapons can do more than slow the angel down. Shinji finds himself being plug-suited up, placed into Eva-01, and thrust into the fastest on-the-job training that one can possibly get, in the ultimate-mecha fighting machine. It appears that he will be a dismal failure, as he can hardly even make it walk. But when it looks like he is down, and the Eva project is a failure, Shinji passes into a different state of consciousness, the Eva unit goes berserk in attacking the angel, and when Shinji wakes up later in the hospital bed, he isn't even sure what has happened. But the third angel has been defeated. And Shinji has proven himself as the 'third child'. Here is my Shinji Ikari Picture Gallery.
Rei Ayanami, the 'first child', seems the most mysterious of the Eva pilots. Unlike Shinji, she seems close to Ikari Gendo...and to no one else. She attends Tokyo-3 Municipal High School, but aside from Shinji and Asuka whom she works with, she has no friends there. Her responses to others around her seem emotionally blunted. Her expressions seem blank, whether she is dealing with Shinji's emotional problems or trying to shove an N-2 bomb through an AT field and up some angel's rear end. Her willingness to take orders shows when she has to serve as a shield for Shinji during the attack of the fifth angel, Ramiel. She verifies that she is to serve as the shield even if it costs her life, and her response indicates that she'll follow that order without hesitation, without even dwelling on the potential self-sacrifice. As the story develops throughout the series, it seems that Rei has been genetically engineered, created through the Human Instrumentality project. She was developed from DNA from Shinji's mother, a fact that is not revealed until near the end of the series. In fact, there was another Rei who predates the one in the series. But this first Rei dies as a child when she confronts her rival for Gendo's affections, Dr. Akagi (the developer of the Magi super-computer system), with a series of insults that Rei claims to have overheard Gendo saying about her. Dr. Akagi strangled this younger Rei in a fit of anger, and then leaped to her own death. This may explain why the replacement Rei is so emotionally blunted. It also explains why in episode 1, Rei had been injured while initially trying to learn how to control unit-00, because unit-00 had been infused with the essence of Dr. Akagi, and went berserk when Rei first tried to synchronize with it.
Near the end of the series, Rei does die while defending Shinji during the attack of the 16th angel, Armisael. But Gendo does not let that be known, and replaces Rei in the hospital with a new, third Rei, who turns out not to have quite the same personality of the Rei that so many have grown to know and love. When Shinji thanks her for saving him, she replies, "I don't remember. I think I am the third."
Here is my Rei Ayanami Picture Gallery
Asuka Langley (German-American) is the 'second child' and the pilot of the Eva unit developed in Germany. She is a brilliant child, having graduated college at the age of 14, and arrogantly proud of being an Eva pilot. She is determined to be the best Eva pilot ever. So, when Shinji often surpasses her in managing his Eva, and often in fighting the angels, it grates on her as she does not want to be second to anyone. Asuka's determination to be the best dates back to her rejection by her family. Her parents are divorced. Her mother was a scientist developing the German model of the Eva unit. When her mother attempts to synchronize with the Eva unit, in an attempt to test it, it drives her mad. She is hospitalized, and never able to be released from the hospital. The mother develops as fixation on a doll, which she treats as her own daughter, telling the doll to ignore that other girl over there (Asuka). Asuka is raised by others, and excels in her school work. When she is accepted to training to become the pilot of Unit-02, she excitedly runs to the hospital to tell her mother the news, only to burst into the room and find that her mother had hung herself.
Here are my Asuka Picture Gallery and Asuka Animations Gallery pages.
The 'fourth child', Toji Suzuhara, is a classmate of the others from Tokyo-3 Municipal High School, and was an unwilling Eva pilot himself. His involvement with the Eva program against the 13th angel, Bardiel, ended up in disaster for himself and NERV. He is severely injured when Gendo orders Shinji to attack Unit-03 because it has been corrupted by Bardiel and is attacking NERV. Shinji, refuses, and Gendo activates Unit-01's dummy plug system and takes remote command of Unit-01 and finishes Unit-03 off. It is only after that, that Shinji discovers who Unit-03's pilot was.
Kaoru Nagisa, the 'fifth child' is the most enigmatic of the special children able to control Evas. He was introduced into NERV by Seele, the organization that oversees NERV and is working to bring about the mysterious Human Instrumentality Project which is supposed to bring mankind to the level of godhood. Kaoru is everything that Shinji is not, confident, and philosophical. In him, Shinji suddenly finds a friend that he can relate to. Kaoru displays a uniqe understanding of Shinji, and accepts him as a friend. NERV finds that it has a child on its hands with no apparent emotional problems and the ability to synchronize an Eva at top efficiency on his first attempt. This latter seems all important as by this time, Rei was killed in defending Shinji from the 16th angel and Asuka's confidence has been shattered such that she can't synchronize with a Eva at all. So with one angel to go, NERV now has two pilots and two Eva's for defense...or has it? Kaoru turns out to be Tabris, the 17th angel (aka the angel of free will) in human form. He is even able to remotely synchronize with Unit-02 and sets it to fighting Unit-01 while he penetrates to the deepest core of NERV, seeking to recover Adam, the original angel. But Kaoru is somewhat surprised to find that the angel crucified to a cross in the deepest part of NERV is actually Lilith. His mission a failure, Kaoru then goads Shinji, in Unit-01, into killing him.
After 24 episodes in which heart stopping mecha fighting mecha action fades into back ground, and exploration of the multiple emotional issues each of the children have been facing becomes the main story, the last two episodes of the TV series degenerate into cheesy clip shows in which Gainax explores each character's emotional traumas and borrows a lot of footage from previous shows. Rumor has it that the individuals responsible for creating the series spent so much time promoting it that they ran out of time to finish the series properly and had to slap something together to fulfill their contracts on schedule.
After the TV series finished, 3 TV movies appeared which attempted to explain some of the mysteries of the Evangelion series. They are Death, Rebirth, and The End of Evangelion. Evangelion: Death recaps important events and character developments from the TV series, while introducing some new footage not previously seen on television. It is basically a clip episode, but cranks up the intensity. Evangelion: Rebirth picks up where episode 24 of the series leaves off, after the death of Kaoru. The 17th and last of the prophesied angels has been defeated and the Instrumentality of Man project has proceeded uncompromised. So everything should be over for NERV, right? But schemes countering schemes abound. Misato is continuing the work that Kaji left (killed during the TV series while trying to uncover the truth about NERV). Asuka is comatose. Shinji is emotionally traumatized (I think it is his normal state), and Rei who has returned from the dead seems to have a new agenda of her own. And Seele has run out of patience with NERV and is resorting to drastic measures. Seele decides that the Evas are still necessary, so it decides to go and take them back. Cutthroat Seele troops start tearing through the front door of the already increadibly damaged NERV facility., with orders to more or less "thin out" every single NERV staffer. A vicious battle ensues. Misato is able to get Asuka into Unit-02 before Seele can get to her. Tokyo-3 is bombarded with everything from tactical missiles to an N-2 nuke, but does not fall. Asuka awakens from her coma to find her unit under attack at the bottom of lake Ashino. She lashes out against her attackers. The final image is that of a new, winged Eva descending on the geofront. The final film, The End of Evangelion winds up the story as a whole with a full length feature that takes the questions of the Angels and the Evas to a cosmic scale, solving the mysteries of the series in a final, climactic showdown. With the End of Evangelion movie, Gainax released a book which was sold in the movie theaters, explaining a lot about Evangelion. This book is known as the Red Cross Book. Patrick Yip was kind enough to translate it and release it for anyone to copy and post. Click here to read Patrick Yip's translation of Gainax's Red Cross Book.
Will Evangelion ever return? I found the intriguing graphic on the left on an anime newsgroup once. It is titled "Reprise of Evangelion" and appears to show an older Rei, Shinji, and Asuka". The number in the lower left corner is 2002 and made me wonder if a new project is in the works. Asking around on the internet yielded the information that this graphic is widely considered to be fan art and does not represent a new project in the works. But it is really, really good fan art.
But now I have some early information about The Evangelion Renewal Project! (See pic to the right).
First, let us say what this is not. It is not a sequel or prequel to Evangelion. It is a complete remastering of Evangelion footage on a video and an audio level using technology that is available in 2003, vs. what had been available in the early 1990's when the series was first released on Japanese TV. The justification is to tell the Evangelion story like it was supposed to be seen. Oh yes. There will be lots of new merchandise released too. A friend of mine who recently visited Japan says he saw it on Japanese TV. The new version looked cleaner than the old, but the section he saw looked like the same story. It was a demo where they put up half the image from the old DVD and half from the new. He also says there is a new version of the game, Iron Maiden (see Mana Kirishima page) called Iron Maiden 2, coming out in Japan. He doesn't think that there will be an English version though. For more information, please see Frank Sanchez's article on AniPike.
It was announced at Cannes, May 21st, that Gainax, ADV Films, and Weta Workshop (handled the special effects for "Lord of the Rings") will be making a live action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion! Go to ADVFilms web site and look for the announcement for May 20th, or check the DVDToons! Toon Headlines web site, or The Digitally Obsessed web site for further info. Of course, knowing how the Japanese make live action movies out of anime titles, this might really be bad!
Evangelion Links Page
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Visit the NGE Angels web page
Visit the Asuka Picture Gallery
Visit the Asuka Animations Gallery
Visit the Rei Ayanami Picture Gallery
Visit the Shinji Ikari Picture Gallery
Visit the Misato Katsuragi Picture Gallery
Visit the Mana Kirishima Picture Gallery
Visit the Miscellaneous Evangelion Characters Gallery
Visit my End of Evangelion Page - New!
Read the Script for End of Evangelion Movie - Episode 25 - New!
Read the Script for End of Evangelion Movie - Episode 26 - New!
Visit my Evangelion News Page - New!
Read Patrick Yip's translation of Gainax's Red Cross Book