Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is the crown jewel of Gainax Studios achievements in anything they had previously done. The
studio, which found success with
"Top O Nerae! Gunbuster" and "Nadia of the Mysterious Seas", would find that Evangelion
would overshadow anything that they had accomplished so far. To this day, Evangelion still remains a popular commodity,
and its success has produced numerous websites and pages devoted to the show. Gainax was hard pressed to join forces
Evangelion's primary copyright holders in order to protect their investment. The series itself came out in the mid 90's,
when anime was beginning to suffer from what seemed to be a lack of interest from the general population for the media.
Evangelion is often credited with bringing life back into the anime industry, along with another series which also proved to be
immensely popular,
"Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon". It also marked Gainax's return to the genre after a four year absence.
Shinji Ikari
The story of Evangelion opens rather generically, as the oldest premise in Japanese anime is brought into play: The
introduction of a boy needed by his scientist father to pilot a giant robot. The year is 2014, fourteen years after what is
known as the
"Second Impact". Half of the Earth's population has been wiped out by the disaster. Children are also a dying
resource as it's later discovered. And it is children, particularly those born during the
Second Impact fourteen years hence,
which are needed to pilot the huge bio-mechanical robots called
Evangelions. However, as the series starts to unfold itself,
we find that the boy, Shinji Ikari, is not at all eager to pilot the thing in which his father helped create. In fact, we learn early
on that Shinji shares a rather strained relationship with his father, almost to the point of actual hatred. It is Shinji's lack of
confidence that gives cause to his finally piloting
Evangelion Unit 01, as subconsciously he wants to find his place in the
world in which he lives.
Asuka Langley Sorhyu
This is one of the strong points of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Gainax saw to it that character interaction was more important
than just staring at constant mecha in action. In fact, the mental attitudes of some of the dysfunctional main charcaters is
such that they border on insanity. Case in point, the
Second Child, Asuka Langley Sorhyu. As the series progresses,
Asuka's determination and strong will are constantly chipped away as she finds that Shinji's victories against the entities
known as the Angels prove to be too much for her. To Asuka, she should be claiming victory, for she wants to be an
Evangelion pilot. Even though Shinji is the Third Child, Asuka feels that the boy is not worthy of the respect he has garnered
from his peers. Shinji is just an annoying pest who somehow always proves that he's better than her. In the end, Asuka's
mind snaps at her latest defeat at the hands of the Angels, her resolve finally gone.
Rei Ayanami
Another character that proves to be equally interesting is Rei Ayanami. She is the complete opposite of Asuka. She is quiet
and extremely reserved. Rei also accepts her roll as an
Evangelion pilot without question, unlike Shinji. She also has the
distinction of being the
First Child, and of piloting the prototype Evangelion, Unit 00. Asuka picks up on Rei's demeanor
early on and taunts her for it. Rei's special bond with Shinji's father is also something of fascination. It is also something
which creates a further rift between father and son, as Shinji witnesses his father showing affection and concern for a child
not his own. However, the bond also passes on to Shinji later on in the series, as we find out exactly who Rei is and what
part she plays in the planning of the
Human Instrumentality Project.
Misato Katsuragi - Ritsuko Akagi - Gendo Ikari
Other characters include Misato Katsuragi, a major at NERV headquarters assigned to the Evangelion project, who takes
Shinji in and acts as a sort of surrogate mother/sister to him. Her strength is cool and calculated, and she takes her job at
NERV very seriously. She is also a habitual slob, as Shinji points out to her, but Misato states that who she is off base and
on is just how she is. Asuka also moves in with Misato later on, further irritating the situation between Shinji and herself.
Misato's friend, Ritsuko Akagi, works at NERV headquarters as a computer specialist and
Evangelion creator. At times, the
relationship between the two women becomes rather strained. We also learn later on of Ritsuko's past with Shinji's father,
Gendo Ikari. As for Gendo, he is in charge of NERV, and his motives as to what he wants to do with the
Evangelion machine
Unit 01 proves to be a thorn in the side of his superiors, an organization known only as SEELE.

All in all,
Neon Genesis Evangelion proves to be a series well worth watching. The scenes of combat in which the three
Evangelions are pitched against the Angels are brief, but spectacular. The realism that is added to the battle sequences are
also tainted by shocking and brutally surreal images which are disturbing to say the least. (Note: A boycott was started
against Sega, who provided financial support for the show, trying to have the series canceled, because this violence was
deemed too graphic. This helps to explain why animation quality dropped after episode 18.) The mental anquish which Shinji
suffers later on in the series is enough to make one mad. We realize this as Shinji is forced to watch as one of his friends is
almost murdered at the hands of his father, who had taken control of his
Evangelion. There is also quite a bit of political
intrigue, as you do not know who is going to stab who in the back once all is said and done. If you are new to
give it a try. You will be pleasantly surprised at how the series will pull you in, making you a part of the characters' lives.
The "Neon Genesis Evangelion" images and references used on this webpage are copyright © 1995, 2021 GAINAX Co., Ltd
and are used with permission. Copying, distribution, or usage in other webpages is strictly prohibited. All text on this page is
copyright © 1999, 2021 Carl E. Lindblom Jr. Any unauthorized reproduction of the author's published materials without
expressed written consent is a violation of law. All rights reserved.

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