Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Updated Aug 31, 2014 at 04:45PM EDT by Random21.

Added May 11, 2013 at 11:10AM EDT by Random21.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion (Japanese: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Shin Seiki Evangerion) is a Japanese mecha anime series created by Studio Gainax and directed by Hideaki Anno. Set in the post-apocalyptic near-future Tokyo, the main story revolves around a war between hostile beings known as “Angels” and the paramilitary organization NERV’s giant humanoids “Evangelions,” which are piloted by select teenagers, including the protagonist Shinji Ikari. Critically acclaimed as one of the most influential anime series made in the 1990s and an example of anime as an art form, the series has gained extreme popularity in Japan, as well as a cult following in the United States and other Western countries.


Animated by Tatsunoko Productions and Gainax, and co-produced by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems, Neon Genesis Evangelion ran as a 26-episode anime series from October 1995 to March 1996 on TV Tokyo. In the following years, the show became a huge success and a major turning point for the then-struggling Studio Gainax, leading onto the creation of two feature films, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion, both of which were released in 1997.

Though the show’s creator departed from Studio Gainax some time after these films were made, he would later return with his new studio, Khara, to produce Rebuild of Evangelion, an alternate retelling of the series. The first three films of this tetralogy were released in 2007, 2009 and 2012, respectively, while the fourth film is still in production. The series also spawned a number of manga series, books, and video games based off the series.


The story begins in 2000, when an alien life-form is discovered in Antarctica that is dubbed as an “Angel”. Shortly after scientists inadvertently awaken the creature, it causes an environmental cataclysm known as the “Second Impact” that destroys most of Antarctica, radically alters the environment, and causes the deaths of over half of the human race. Over the course of the next fifteen years, Biomechs known as Evangelions (or EVAs) are produced to fight off subsequent Angels. In 2015, Shinji Ikari, the son of Gendo Ikari (the Machiavellian commander of the NERV organization and one of the survivors of the Second Impact), becomes the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01 in order to take on the rising threat of the Angel invasion. Shinji eventually teams up with fellow pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu.

Online Presence

Neon Genesis Evangelion has a considerably large online following, spawning a fansite, named Eva Monkey[1], as well as two wikis dedicated to the show[2][3]. As well as these, Evangelion also has a large following on Tumblr[4], DeviantArt[5], 4chan’s /a/ anime and manga[6] and /m/ mecha[7] boards and Reddit[8]. Also, sites such as Anime News Network[9] and TV Tropes[10] offer a variety of information regarding the series.[11] also has over 7000 fanfiction stories in its archives.

Related Memes

A Cruel Angel’s Thesis Parodies

A Cruel Angel’s Thesis Parodies refer to a number of parodies revolving around the opening to the anime. The opening became popular in MADs, both on Youtube and Nico Nico Douga.

The Gendo Pose

The Gendo Pose refers to a series of photoshop parodies revolving aroung the character of Gendo Ikari. The pose is used to indicate a character’s ability to scheme and be in complete control even in the most desperate of situations.

Gainax Ending/“Congratulations!”

Due to monetary constraints within Studio Gainax, the company was forced to recycle animation for non-action scenes more and more as the series came to a close. This eventually culminated in the infamous last two episodes, which completely abandoned the conspiracy that the show was building up to in order to focus on the lead cast coming to terms with their internal fears and anxieties. The final episode ends with Shinji Ikari learning to accept himself for who he is, while most of the characters in the show applaud and congratulate him for his newfound self-esteem.

Though Studio Gainax would eventually make a companion film to reveal what was occurring in the real world during the sequence portrayed in the last two episodes, the ending is still considered to be controversial and divisive among viewers. Shinji’s English voice actor, Spike Spencer, would eventually lampoon the scene during the credits by alluding to the number of unresolved plot threads in the original series via an Easter Egg[12] in the DVD release of the series. The term “Gainax Ending”[13] was coined following the show’s confusing conclusion to describe bizarre endings in later series made by the studio, as well as for other anime series.


Gendowned refers to a video series in which the character Gendo Ikari is show shooting someone (or something) down to AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock”, followed by the word Gendowned, a portmanteau of “Gendo” and “Owned”. The meme was first shown during the video “AMV Hell 2: Son of AMV Hell”[14].

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