Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion?, literally "Gospel of a New Century"), commonly referred to as NGE, Evangelion or Eva, is a Japanese science-fantasy mecha dystopia genre animation series that first aired from October 1995 to March 1996.
The 26 episode series was created by the anime studio Gainax and was both directed and written by Hideaki Anno. The original Japanese cast of the show includes the voice actors and singers Megumi Ogata as Shinji Ikari, Megumi Hayashibara as Rei Ayanami, and Yūko Miyamura as Asuka Soryu. The music was composed by Shirō Sagisu and would top the Oricon charts upon release; the theme song continues to receive recognition for its lasting impact in the decades after its release. The Evangelion franchise also includes a movie tetralogy called Rebuild of Evangelion, as well as several other spin-off anime, manga and video game series.
The show begins fifteen years after a global cataclysm, known as Second Impact, with the arrival of fourteen-year-old Shinji Ikari in the futuristic city of Tokyo-3 in response to the summons of his estranged father Gendo Ikari, the director of the special paramilitary force NERV. Upon reaching the city, Shinji witnesses the NERV forces battling an Angel, one of a race of large monstrous beings whose awakening was foretold by the Dead Sea Scrolls. NERV's giant Evangelion bio-machines, controlled from within by pilots whose nervous systems must be synched to the Evangelions, are the only weapons capable of keeping the Angels from annihilating humanity. NERV officer Misato Katsuragi escorts Shinji into the NERV complex beneath the city, where his father pressures him into deploying the Evangelion Unit-01 against the Angel. The Shinji life never be the same when he meet Rei and Asuka. The Get close with Kaworu and new friend.
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, 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.
In May 1996, Gainax announced an Evangelion film in response to fan dissatisfaction with the series finale. In advance of the promised film, on March 15, 1997 Gainax released Death & Rebirth, consisting of 60 minutes of clips taken from the first 24 episodes of the series and 40 minutes of the upcoming movie, The End of Evangelion.
The End of Evangelion, which premiered on July 19, 1997, provided a complete retelling of the final two episodes of the television series. Rather than depicting series' climax within the characters' minds, the film provides a more conventional, action-based resolution to the series' plot lines.
On September 9, 2006, Gainax confirmed a new animated film series called Rebuild of Evangelion. Consisting of four movies, Rebuild of Evangelion presents an alternate retelling of the TV series that includes new characters and a different conclusion to the story. The first film, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone was released in Japan on September 1, 2007, with Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance and Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo released on June 27, 2009 and November 17, 2012. The final film, tentatively titled Evangelion: Final, is anticipated to be released in 2015 but because Hideaki Anno is working on Godzilla Resurgence soEvangelion:Final delayed till unknown time.
- ↑ The End of Evangelion – Theatrical Program: Glossary from EvaOtaku.com.
- ↑ 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