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Neon Genesis Evangelion review

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Neon Genesis Evangelion is a 1995 anime developed by Studio Gainax and directed by Hideaki Anno. On the surface, Evangelion appears to be a basic mecha anime, but it reveals itself to be one of the most unique and thought provoking pieces of animated history.

The anime begins with the clearly defined protagonist, 14 year old Shinji Ikari, as he lives on Earth that had been ravaged by a mysterious catastrophe known as Second Impact. In the first episode, Shinji is summoned by his father Gendo Ikari to the secret military foundation known as NERV when a mysterious alien threat known the Angels attempt to breach it. Unbeknownst to him, Shinji was summoned not for family matters, but for the sole purpose of piloting a giant bio-mecha known as the Eva, short for Evangelion. Forced by both his father and his newly formed responsibility for all of humanity, Shinji pilots the Eva and narrowly defeats the angel. From then on, Evangelion continues to establish its universe while the characters fend off frequent Angel invasions in order to prevent Third Impact. Evangelion introduces the other Eva pilots such as the cold Rei Ayanami and the bombastic Asuka Langley Soryu early on. The heroes of Evangelion all have interesting background stories, traumatic childhoods, and can even be analyzed by psychological Freudian theories. Packed with both religious imagery and scientific/psychological terminology, Evangelion is a treat to the senses.

Despite its impressive animation and visuals, the second half of the original series was plagued by production issues. The final two episodes of the show were only partially animated, and the series did not have the originally planned ending. However, the anime was so popular that Gainax was able to go back and create director’s cut versions of the final six episodes, transforming the final two episodes to form one movie length episode appropriately named The End of Evangelion.

I give Evangelion a rating of 9/10 since it executes so many of its directors visions flawlessly. I respect Evangelion deeply since it treats the animated medium as something much more than just a medium aimed at children. The medium itself is one that has no limits on the director’s vision, and Evangelion is a living testament of that.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion review