Neon Genesis Evangelion (franchise)
Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion?) is a Japanese media franchise created and owned by Gainax. Most of the franchise features an apocalyptic mecha action story, which revolves around the efforts by the paramilitary organization NERV to fight hostile beings called Angels, using giant humanoids called Evangelions that are piloted by select teenagers. Other works deviate from this theme to varying degrees, focusing more on romantic interactions between the characters, side stories which did not appear in the original works, and/or reimaginings of the conflicts from the original works.
The Neon Genesis Evangelion manga debuted in Shōnen Ace in December 1994, as a way to generate interest in the upcoming anime release. The Neon Genesis Evangelion anime was written and directed by Hideaki Anno and originally aired from October 1995 to March 1996. The show was groundbreaking, delving into religious, psychological and philosophical themes on an otherwise standard mecha backdrop. There was great debate over the controversial ending of the television series, especially the last two episodes. In response, two films were made to provide an alternate ending for the show: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, released in March 1997, and The End of Evangelion released in July 1997. Death is a compilation of clips from the TV series, with some new footage added, and Rebirth comprises the first 30 minutes or so of End of Evangelion.
The popularity of the show spawned numerous additional media, including video games, radio dramas, audio books, a novel, and a tetralogy of films titled Rebuild of Evangelion. Other derivative works include Angelic Days, Petit Eva: Evangelion@School and Campus Apocalypse.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Anime
- 3 OVA
- 4 Films
- 5 Manga
- 6 Video games
- 7 Other media
- 8 In western media
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Works within the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise typically have the same setting, characters and theme, but can vary in their portrayal of the storyline with alternate re-tellings of the original anime. Evangelion's fictional setting is an apocalyptic mecha story which takes place after the Second Impact, a cataclysmic explosion in Antarctica which resulted in the deaths of billions and threw the Earth off its axis. Fifteen years after the Second Impact, a group of mysterious beings referred to as "Angels" begin appearing and pose a worldwide and existential threat to mankind. The NERV organization, a paramilitary special agency, is tasked with defeating the Angels, with the use of giant mechanical warriors known as "Evangelions" to fight them. A select group of children pilot the Evangelions, with a focus on Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, and Asuka Langley Soryu.
The backdrop of Neon Genesis Evangelion slowly reveals the true nature of Rei Ayanami, the Evangelions, the Angels, and the NERV and SEELE organizations. Religious themes include Christianity and Kabbalah references to Adam, Lilith, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The series is well known for its psychoanalysis of the characters, most heavily covered in the implementation of the Human Instrumentality Project, the secret goal of NERV and SEELE, whose result varies across different media, including the original anime, films, manga, and video games.
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 Evangelion or Eva, is a Japanese science-fantasy animation series that first aired from October 1995 to March 1996. It was directed and written by Hideaki Anno. Evangelion follows Shinji Ikari, a fourteen year old boy, who is summoned to Tokyo-3 by his father Gendo Ikari to pilot Evangelion Unit-01 on the eve of an Angel attack. Treated as a tool by his father, Shinji joins Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu as mankind's last hope against the mysterious beings known as the "Angels". As the series progresses, the true natures of NERV, the Evangelions, and the Angels are revealed.
Petit Eva: Evangelion@School is a super deformed parody OVA series that ran for 24 episodes as an adaptation of the Petit Eva and Petit Eva Bokura Tanken Dōkōkai manga. Petit Eva is a spin-off work that centers around high school life in a manner similar to Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days.
Evangelion: Death and Rebirth
Death and Rebirth, originally released on March 15, 1997, is a film that consists of a highly condensed character-based recap and re-edit of the episodes 1-24, titled Death, and the first half of an unfinished new ending, titled Rebirth, a retelling of episodes 25 and 26 of the television series as the events of the Human Instrumentality Project unfold from an external point of view.
The End of Evangelion
The End of Evangelion, released on July 19, 1997, is the completed version of Rebirth, an alternate version of the final episodes of the television series. SEELE attacks NERV, using their Mass Production Evangelion units, all in an attempt to complete the Human Instrumentality Project and initiate the Third Impact.
Rebuild of Evangelion
On September 9, 2006, Gainax confirmed a new animated film series called Rebuild of Evangelion, consisting of four movies presenting an alternate retelling of the TV series (including new scenes, settings, and characters) and a completely new conclusion to the story. The first film was released in Japan on September 1, 2007, with the second and third released on June 27, 2009 and November 17, 2012, before the final film's last stated for a later release date.
Development of a live-action movie version of Neon Genesis Evangelion by Gainax, Weta Workshop Ltd., and ADV Films (then the worldwide distributor of the Evangelion series outside of Asia and Australia) was announced at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2003. Early coverage included ADV Films raising "about half of the $100 million to $120 million needed to produce the film" and some concept art produced by Weta Workshop.
As time passed without any official announcements of production, the film project showed increasing signs of being in development hell. At Anime Expo 2008, ADV founders Matt Greenfield and John Ledford revealed that they had hired the producer John Woo, pitched the idea to other producers such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg, and seen increased interest in the wake of the success of the 2007 film Transformers. At Ohayocon 2009, Matt Greenfield announced that several U.S. studios were competing for final rights to the project, predicting an official announcement naming the studio, director, and perhaps casting information within the next nine months (he later noted that the closer he got to sealing a deal, the less he could say anything about it). Though the sudden collapse and asset sale of A.D. Vision in September 2009 raised concerns over the project's viability, Greenfield, Ledford, and producer Joseph Chou insisted the project was still actively searching for a director (claiming delays owed more to the general deterioration of the American anime market than to ADV's internal issues).
In August 2011, A.D. Vision sued Gainax, claiming their refusal to accept an option payment for the perpetual live-action rights to Evangelion was a breach of contract and resulted in losing an opportunity to produce the film with a major studio. A.D. Vision has asked to be awarded the full live-action rights and any accruing legal fees.
A number of manga series based on the anime have been released, mostly notably the official series by series character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, which was first serialized in February 1995 (eight months before the series' official premiere, in order to promote interest), and ended 18 years later, in 2013. Three other manga have been created: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days by Fumino Hayashi, Shinji Ikari Raising Project by Takahashi Osamu, and Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse by Min Min.
Neon Genesis Evangelion has spawned a number of video games. These range from action games such as the same titled game for the Nintendo 64 and its sequel on the PlayStation 2, the fighting game Battle Orchestra, the visual novels Girlfriend of Steel and Girlfriend of Steel 2nd, and the rhythm game 3nd Impact (read "Sound Impact"). Characters from Evangelion also make numerous appearances in other titles such as in the Super Robot Wars series by Banpresto.
The Evangelion franchise has spread from the original anime into a number of different media, with some following the official canon (of the 26-episode anime series and its three related films or the new Rebuild series) and others differing on important plot points originally introduced in the anime.
- Newtype 100% Collection: A 1997 collection of Newtype Japan's coverage of Evangelion, particularly of artwork
- Death & Rebirth and End of Evangelion theatrical pamphlets: Limited edition supplementary booklets were distributed in Japanese theaters during the initial run of both Evangelion: Death and Rebirth and The End of Evangelion. The latter pamphlet, nicknamed the "Red Cross Book" by overseas fans, contains descriptions and definitions of many areas and terms in the Evangelion storyline that the series left unclear.
- Der Mond and Die Sterne: Two German-titled art books of the work of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, including concept art, character designs and renditions, and commentary about the Evangelion series. Both books also feature selections of Sadamoto's work on earlier and later works (such as Nadia, or Fatal Fury 2).
- 2015//The Last Year of Ryohji Kaji: A limited edition, Japan-only publication by Newtype in 1997. The book is a combination photo/text book profiling the character of Ryōji Kaji through 16 mission "documents" left by him. The included letters, notes, and poems were written by Hiroshi Yamaguchi (a writer on the original TV series) and the photographs (including digitally-altered pictures of Evangelions, Angels, and other series-related objects) were taken by Ichiro Kamei.
- Groundwork of Evangelion is set of artbooks that contains production sketches. The first three cover the anime, with Volume 1 covering episode 1-8, Volume 2 covering 9-19, and Volume 3 covering 20-26. Groundwork of Evangelion The Movie 1 covers the first movie. Groundwork of Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone covers the first Rebuild film. Two volumes cover Groundwork Of Evangelion You Can (Not) Advance 2.0, the second Rebuild film.
A parody radio drama, Neon Genesis Evangelion – After the End, was released in 1996 as part of the NEON GENESIS EVANGELION ADDITION album. The story features the anime's original cast reuniting to star in a new Evangelion series, while attempting to change various themes of the series to make it more popular/accessible than it already is. A separate Evangelion audio cassette drama was released in 1996.
Evangelion has had numerous soundtrack releases since its debut on television, with most of the music composed by Shirō Sagisu. The television series' opening theme song "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" has become an iconic anime theme song. Four releases titled "Evangelion Classic", each one contained the classical music of Beethoven, Verdi, Handel, and J.S. Bach respectively.
- CR Neon Genesis Evangelion (Pachinko)
- CR Neon Genesis Evangelion Second Impact (Pachinko)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (Pachisuro)
- CR Neon Genesis Evangelion —Kiseki no Kachi wa— (Pachinko)
Evangelion is also popular among doujinshi, inspiring notable titles such as "Evangelion RE-TAKE" (an unofficial sequel to the End of Evangelion) by Studio Kimigabuchi and even works by famous manga artists, such as "Birth of Evangelion" by Yun Kōga.
On July 22, 2010, Fuji-Q Highland opened a 1,460m2 section devoted to Evangelion, featuring a lifesize entry plug and statue of Mari Makinami, an approximately 3-meter titanium Lance of Longinus, NERV hallways with character cutouts that lead to a hangar room with the 1:1 bust of Eva Unit-01, SEELE monoliths, appropriate cosplay, Eva-themed hotel rooms, and food products. A bust of Eva Unit-02 modeled after a scene in Evangelion: 2.0 was installed in 2011.
In western media
Robin Williams briefly discussed the series in-character in the 2002 film One Hour Photo, mistakenly identifying the Mass-Production Evangelions as "heroic robots that fight the monsters." Williams used a toy from his personal collection and added that line intentionally; as a fan of the series, he knew the comments would enrage fellow fans watching the movie.
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