Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order: The Complete 2021 Guide

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Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Japanese media franchise created by Hideaki Anno and owned by animation studio Khara. It spun from the animated series Neon Genesis Evangelion that was broadcast from 1995 to 1996 and has since attained cult status. Its significant success has allowed the creation of many adaptations in the form of manga, video games, and movies.

Although most of the work in the franchise is in the genre of post-apocalyptic science fiction (or, more specifically, mecha), some spin-offs move away from this very dark topic to, for example, the romantic comedy genre. As of June 2018, the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise is the seventeenth highest-grossing of all time with estimated revenues of $ 14.9 billion.

In today’s article, we at Fiction Horizon have decided to bring you the complete watching order for the whole Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. You are going to find out which works comprise the franchise and in what order you should watch them. Let us begin!

Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order

The Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise can get quite confusing if you’re reading about it the first time. There aren’t that many works within the franchise, but the chronology and the publications are quite complex. This is why there is no unique watching order and you’ll find several different ones around the web, a lot of which are very, very complicated to follow. Our watching order is relatively simple and it follows the release order, but we are going to provide some explanations and give some notes so that you know what to expect and how to interpret some other lists.

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995–1996)

On September 13, 2000, a violent cataclysm hit Antarctica, causing the complete melting of the southern cap and consequently a considerable variation in the inclination of the Earth’s axis. Subsequent climate changes, rising sea levels and the unleashing of global conflicts to get hold of the few remaining resources lead to the deaths of around three billion people.

The explosion, called Second Impact, is attributed to the crash of a powerful meteorite on the south pole. The real cause of the catastrophe, however, is to be found in a failed experiment carried out by a group of scientists on a colossal humanoid being called Adam, the first of a series of mysterious enemies known as angels.

The experiment is being conducted by a research team led by Dr. Katsuragi, behind which lies an organization called Seele and its enigmatic Human Improvement Project. To carry out the plan, a research center called Gehirn is established, the main purpose of which is to develop adequate countermeasures against the attacks of further angels, foreseen in some documents known as Dead Sea Scrolls.

Thus, the huge artificial Evangelion humanoids, the three Magi supercomputers and the city of Neo Tokyo-3 see come to existence. The organization, having completed its tasks, is renamed Nerv and, under the leadership of Gendō Ikari, is charged with countering the imminent attack of the angels. In 2015, the climate changes caused by Second Impact stabilized and humanity adapted to the new ecosystem.

Nerv advanced their studies by producing three Evangelion units: Units 00, 01 and 02. Fourteen-year-old Shinji Ikari, after spending ten years separated from his father Gendō, travels to Neo Tokyo-3 to meet him, having been chosen as pilot of the Eva-01, on board of which he has to face the angels as Third Children.

Having moved permanently to the city, Shinji goes to live with his new guardian, Misato Katsuragi, meets his colleagues Rei Ayanami, EVA-00 pilot, and Asuka Sōryū Langley, EVA-02 pilot, and becomes friends with her new classmates Tōji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida. With the succession of events and battles against the angels, the true nature of the enemies and the Evangelions is progressively questioned.

Furthermore, with the deterioration of relations between Seele and Nerv, the real objectives of the two organizations and their connection with the Project for the improvement of man are discovered. Meanwhile, the pilots continue to fight the angels, who, between physical and mental clashes, sharpen their psychological weaknesses and force them to face their own anxieties and fears.

Asuka, unable to bear the effort, closes in a catatonic state after suffering a psychic attack by the angel Arael. Seele then sends Kaworu Nagisa to Nerv as a replacement pilot for Unit 02. The young man immediately befriends Shinji, but turns out to be the last Tabris angel.

Kaworu, after taking control of Eva-02, tries to reunite with the first angel Adam, whom he believes is kept in the Terminal Dogma of the Nerv headquarters. After discovering that the angel locked up in Terminal Dogma is actually Lilith, he asks Shinji to be killed and let mankind survive, a wish that his companion hesitantly fulfills.

Subsequently, the souls of humanity merge into a single collective consciousness in the Project for the perfecting of man; Shinji, wondering about the meaning of life and its relationship with other people, comes to the conclusion that existence is not determined and that one cannot live by fleeing human contact, destroying the protective shell that had been built around one’s soul.

The characters reappear in their individuality and applaud him; Shinji, smiling, thanks them all.

This is the episode list for the first part:

#Japanese titleEnglish titleDirectorWriterOriginal air date
1“Angel Attack”
Transcription: “Shito, shūrai” (Japanese: 使徒、襲来)
“Angel Attack”Kazuya TsurumakiHideaki AnnoOctober 4, 1995
2“Unfamiliar Ceilings”
Transcription: “Mishiranu, tenjō” (Japanese: 見知らぬ、天井)
“The Beast”Kazuya TsurumakiHideaki Anno
Yōji Enokido
October 11, 1995
3“The Silent Phone”
Transcription: “Naranai, denwa” (Japanese: 鳴らない、電話)
“A Transfer”Hiroyuki IshidoHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
October 18, 1995
4“Rain, After Running Away”
Transcription: “Ame, nigedashita ato” (Japanese: 雨、逃げ出した後)
“Hedgehog’s Dilemma”Tsuyoshi KagaAkio SatsukawaOctober 25, 1995
5“Rei, Beyond the Heart”
Transcription: “Rei, kokoro no mukō ni” (Japanese: レイ、心のむこうに)
“Rei I”Keiichi SugiyamaHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
November 1, 1995
6“Showdown in Tokyo-3”
Transcription: “Kessen, daisan shin Tōkyō-shi” (Japanese: 決戦、第3新東京市)
“Rei II”Hiroyuki IshidoHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
November 8, 1995
7“The Works of Man”
Transcription: “Hito no tsukurishimono” (Japanese: 人の造りしもの)
“A Human Work”Keiichi SugiyamaHideaki Anno
Yōji Enokido
November 15, 1995
8“Asuka Arrives in Japan”
Transcription: “Asuka, rainichi” (Japanese: アスカ、来日)
“Asuka Strikes!”Kazuya TsurumakiHideaki Anno
Yōji Enokido
November 22, 1995
9“Mind, Matching, Moment”
Transcription: “Shunkan, kokoro, kasanete” (Japanese: 瞬間、心、重ねて)
“Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!”Seiji MizushimaHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
November 29, 1995
10“The Magma Diver”
Transcription: “Magumadaibā” (Japanese: マグマダイバー)
“Magma Diver”Tsuyoshi Kaga
Hiroyuki Ishido
Hideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
December 6, 1995
11“In the Still Darkness”
Transcription: “Seishishita yami no naka de” (Japanese: 静止した闇の中で)
“The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still”Tatsuya WatanabeHideaki Anno
Yōji Enokido
December 13, 1995
12“A Miracle’s Worth”
Transcription: “Kiseki no kachi wa” (Japanese: 奇跡の価値は)
“She said, ‘Don’t make others suffer for your personal hatred.'”Hiroyuki IshidoHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
December 20, 1995
13“Angel Infiltration”
Transcription: “Shito, shinnyū” (Japanese: 使徒、侵入)
“Lilliputian Hitcher”Tensai OkamuraHideaki Anno
Mitsuo Iso
December 27, 1995
14“Seele, the Seat of the Soul”
Transcription: “Zēre, tamashii no za” (Japanese: ゼーレ、魂の座)
“Weaving a Story”Masahiko Ohtsuka
Ken Ando
Hideaki AnnoJanuary 3, 1996
15“Lies and Silence”
Transcription: “Uso to chinmoku” (Japanese: 嘘と沈黙)
“Those women longed for the touch of others’ lips, and thus invited their kisses.”Naoyasu HabuHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
January 10, 1996
16“The sickness unto death, and then…”
Transcription: “Shi ni itaru yamai, soshite” (Japanese: 死に至る病、そして)
“Splitting of the Breast”Kazuya TsurumakiHideaki Anno
Hiroshi Yamaguchi
January 17, 1996
17“The Fourth to be Qualified”
Transcription: “Yoninme no tekikakusha” (Japanese: 四人目の適格者)
“Fourth Child”Minoru OharaHideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi
January 24, 1996
18“Life and Death Decisions”
Transcription: “Inochi no sentaku o” (Japanese: 命の選択を)
“Ambivalence”Tensai OkamuraHideaki Anno
Shinji Higuchi
January 31, 1996
19“A Man’s Battle”
Transcription: “Otoko no tatakai” (Japanese: 男の戰い)
“Introjection”MasayukiHideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
February 7, 1996
20“Of the Shape of Hearts and Humans”
Transcription: “Kokoro no katachi, hito no katachi” (Japanese: 心のかたち 人のかたち)
“Weaving a Story 2: oral stage”Masahiko OhtsukaHideaki AnnoFebruary 14, 1996
21“The Birth of NERV”
Transcription: “Nerufu, tanjō” (Japanese: ネルフ、誕生)
“He was aware that he was still a child.”Hiroyuki Ishido (TV)
Shunji Suzuki (DC)
Hideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
February 21, 1996
22“Staying Human”
Transcription: “Semete, ningen rashiku” (Japanese: せめて、人間らしく)
“Don’t Be.”Akira Takamura (TV)
Kazuya Tsurumaki (DC)
Hideaki Anno
Hiroshi Yamaguchi
February 28, 1996
23“Tears”
Transcription: “Namida” (Japanese: 涙)
“Rei III”Shoichi Masuo (TV)
Masayuki (DC)
Hideaki Anno
Hiroshi Yamaguchi
March 6, 1996
24“The Last Cometh”
Transcription: “Saigo no shisha” (Japanese: 最後のシ者)
“The Beginning and the End, or ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door'”Shoichi Masuo (TV)
Masayuki (DC)
Hideaki Anno
Akio Satsukawa
March 13, 1996
25“The Ending World”
Transcription: “Owaru sekai” (Japanese: 終わる世界)
“Do you love me?”Kazuya TsurumakiHideaki AnnoMarch 20, 1996
26“The Beast that Shouted ‘I’ at the Heart of the World”
Transcription: “Sekai no chūshin de “ai” o sakenda kemono” (Japanese: 世界の中心でアイを叫んだけもの)
“Take care of yourself”Masayuki
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Hideaki AnnoMarch 27, 1996

Now, a lot of other guides are going to tell you to skip episodes 25 and 26, claiming that they are not canon and that they are overly different, feeling weird when compared to the rest of the series. They do feel weird, different and a bit rushed, but the reason behind that is that the produces ran out of funds and time do to a proper rendering of these episodes, which why they feel so different. Still, we advise you to watch them as they form an integral part of the original release of Neon Genesis Evangelion, regardless of what other guides say. Still, if you want to see the complementary ending of the anime, here is the info you need (these two episodes were actually released as part of The End of Evangelion movie, see below):

#Japanese titleEnglish titleDirectorWriterOriginal theatrical release date
25“Air”
Transcription: “Ea” (Japanese: エア)
“Love is Destructive”Kazuya TsurumakiHideaki AnnoMarch 25, 1997 (Rebirth)
July 19, 1997 (End of Evangelion)
26“Sincerely Yours”
Transcription: “Magokoro o, kimi ni” (Japanese: まごころを、君に)
“I need you.”Hideaki AnnoHideaki AnnoJuly 19, 1997

2. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (1997)

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth is an anime film from 1997. It is the first follow-up film of the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. The film consists of two parts. The first part, Death, is a 67-minute compilation of scenes from the first 24 episodes of the television series with some, albeit very little new content. The second part, Rebirth, develops the plot further after episode 24 in just 27 minutes, but has an open ending because the production was not yet completed when the film opened in theaters. The full version of Rebirth is 40 minutes long and is part of the second film, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion, which was released four months after the first. Here are the synopses:

TitleRelease DateDirectorWritersRunning Time
Neon Genesis Evangelion: DeathMarch 15, 1997Hideaki Anno
Masayuki
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Hideaki Anno72 minutes
68 minutes (True)
68 minutes (True; excluding intermission)²

Death is a summary of the plot of the television series, the scenes of which have been supplemented by a framework and are shown in a different sequence. In the new scenes, the characters Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Sōryū, Rei Ayanami, and Kaworu Nagisa come one after the other into the auditorium of their school and sing various pieces of classical music there. In the end, everyone plays a piece together.

The actual plot is shown between these additional scenes. Apart from the changed sequence, there are only minor differences to the series. Individual text overlays were added. Death ends with the penultimate scene of episode 24, in which Shinji defeats Kaworu in Terminal Dogma. This is followed by the credits.

TitleRelease DateDirectorWritersRunning Time
Neon Genesis Evangelion: RebirthMarch 15, 1997Hideaki Anno
Masayuki
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Hideaki Anno28 minutes

Rebirth begins after the 24th episode and shows a different perspective on the events that follow. Shinji stands next to Asuka’s bedside and tries to wake her up. He unintentionally exposes her upper body and then masturbates in front of her.

Misato discovers that the Second Impact was intentional and that SEELE plans to use the EVA series to trigger the Third Impact. A short time later, SEELE wants to bring the NERV headquarters under his control by penetrating the MAGI computer system. However, when this attack was launched by Dr. Akagi can be repulsed, special forces of the Japanese armed forces begin to penetrate the NERV headquarters by force.

In order to prevent Asuka from being accessed by the intruders, she is placed in the cockpit of EVA-02 despite her poor health and hidden with it at the bottom of the lake in the geofront. The other two children are also supposed to be brought to safety, but Rice’s whereabouts are unknown and Shinji hides inside the NERV complex for fear.

Misato is able to save him at the last moment from being shot by members of the enemy special forces and wants to take him to EVA-01. Asuka sees a vision of her mother in the cockpit of EVA-02 and thereby regains her self-confidence. She manages to reactivate the Evangelion so that she can fight the attacking troops.

When she has practically defeated this, the Evangelion units of the mass production series controlled by SEELE suddenly appear.

3. The End of Evangelion (1997)

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion is the second feature follow-up film of the anime television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Released in 1997, the film is a retelling of the last two episodes of the television series and thus offers an alternative ending to their plot. Namely, the fans hated the original ending so much that the producers actually received death threats; it was really ugly.

The film consists of two parts: the episodes 25, “Love is Destructive” (“Air” in Japan), and 26, “I need you.” (“Sincerely Yours” in Japan). Episode 25 contains the second part of the first film Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, which is called Rebirth there. The plot of the two parts builds on the plot of the series.

TitleRelease DateDirectorWriterRunning Time
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of EvangelionJuly 19, 1997Hideaki Anno
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Hideaki Anno87 minutes

“Air”

Asuka is in a coma in the hospital to recover from her injuries in recent fights. When Shinji visits her, he wants to wake her up because he is afraid of the others and hopes for help from her. He exposes her bare torso and then masturbates in front of her.

Later, NERV is attacked by the JSDF, which was arranged by SEELE. This is to prevent NERV from opposing SEELE under Gendo Ikari. In addition, they want to bring the EVA units and the computer MAGI for the upcoming Third Impact and the execution of the Human Instrumentality Project under their own control.

During the battle, the geofront is exposed and the Japanese forces penetrate into NERV’s command center, the Central Dogma. NERV can hardly do anything to counter the attack, as it is only equipped to fight angels. In addition, the JSDF wants to kill all EVA pilots. Despite her poor health, Asuka is sunk in EVA-02 in the lake in the geofront to protect her.

Shinji is hiding in the NERV complex, is in danger, and is wanted by Misato Katsuragi. Rei is in the LCL pool near the Central Dogma. After she realizes that her mother’s soul lives in EVA-02, Asuka manages to reactivate EVA-02 so that she can fight the JSDF. But then suddenly the EVA series of units 05 to 13 appears, which is controlled by SEELE. Meanwhile, Misato and Shinji fight their way through the NERV complex, in which JSDF soldiers are now everywhere.

Misato manages to get Shinji to the elevator to EVA-01, but she dies shortly after saying goodbye to him and giving him her necklace with a cross. Asuka almost succeeds in defeating the EVA series before their power reserves run out. But a serial unit can break through its AT field with a copy of the Longinus lance. After their collapse, the defeated EVA units rise again and destroy EVA-02.

Despite Asuka’s attempts to fight again, EVA-02 is then pierced by the EVA series lances. During the fight, Gendo leads Rei into the Terminal Dogma, where Lilith is kept, and meets Ritsuko Akagi there. Gendo wants to stop them by giving MAGI the order to self-destruct. But MAGI’s part Caspar, who represents the personality of her mother Naoko as a woman, rejects the order.

Gendo then shoots her. After Asuka’s lost battle, EVA-01 activates itself and allows Shinji to enter. Thereupon EVA-01 breaks out of the NERV headquarters and builds a wing-like AT field. Shinji discovers the remains of EVA-02 and screams out of himself. The Third Impact begins – the process of perfecting humanity.

“Sincerely Yours”

After Shinji’s cry, his AT field forms a crucifix around EVA-01. Longinus’s real lance then shoots back from the moon, to which it was shot by Rei in an earlier fight, and towards EVA-01. She holds the tip in front of her throat. After that, units of the EVA series pierce the hands of EVA-01 with their fake lances, bite into the wings of the AT field and carry it further upwards.

They form a sephiroth tree (also the tree of life) and trigger a huge explosion that encompasses all of Japan and exposes the black moon, Lilith’s egg cell. This is also where the geofront is located. In Terminal Dogma, Gendo Rei tries to merge with Adam in his hand, but she repels him. She unites herself independently with Lilith.

She throws off her mask and becomes a female figure similar to Rei, who is constantly growing. She rises to heaven to the EVAs. When Rei / Lilith takes the form of Kaworu Nagisa, Shinji’s AT field collapses, and EVA-01 merges with the Longinus lance to form the cross-shaped tree of life. The black moon rises between the hands of Rei / Lilith and Shinji deals with his life and Asuka in dreams.

In this, they quarrel and Shinji chokes Asuka. Eventually, he loses the will to live and also wishes all others death. But the voice of Rei calls him to reason. Meanwhile, Rei / Lilith and the EVA series create a strong anti-AT field that continues to spread. This dissolves everyone’s AT field and people dissolve into LCL. Shortly beforehand, a ghostly figure of the loved one appears to each.

The souls of the people then return to Rei / Lilith. The tree of life with Shinji also penetrates Rei / Lilith through her forehead. Thereupon Shinji comes to an argument with Rei and Kaworu in his psyche, in which they explain to him that he wanted this world that way. Then Shinji decides that he would rather continue to live as an individual among others than in an LCL sea in which everything is one.

Then EVA-01 comes out of Rei / Lilith with the Longinus lance and Rei / Lilith disintegrates. LCL flows onto them from the black moon, the EVA series falls to earth in the form of crucifixes after their lances are shattered and Shinji’s mother Yui explains that every living being can return to its shape as long as it has the will.

She tells Shinji that he can find happiness anywhere. Then she says goodbye to her son and EVA-01 drifts off into space with the Longinus lance, away from Earth. It should still exist forever and be a testimony that mankind existed.

Epilogue

Shinji wakes up and lies on a beach by a red sea from LCL. Misato’s cross is nailed to a wooden stake and Asuka lies quietly next to him, in her plug suit and bandaged. Shinji sees Rei floating over the Red Sea for a short time, she is wearing her school uniform. Shinji begins to strangle Asuka, but when she caresses his face, he stops and breaks down in tears.

4. Neon Genesis Evangelion manga (1994–2013)

The Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, by the Japanese illustrator Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, is an adaptation of the anime television series Neon Genesis Evangelion. The plot of the manga is based on that of the series, but differs in many places, but is based on the same premise. The work can be classified into the genres of science fiction, mecha, his own, and dystopia.

Okay, okay, we know that this isn’t an audiovisual work, but the manga is really good, which is why we actually recommend it. In part, it is an adaptation of the original anime, but it continues the story after The End of Evangelion, which is why we think it would be good to read it. There is a total of 14 volumes, which is not that much for a long-running manga.

The story begins when 14-year-old Shinji Ikari comes to Neo-Tokyo because he was called there by his father Gendo Ikari, he finds himself in the fight against an angel who is attacking the city. Misato Katsuragi, who is supposed to pick him up, saves him from the dangerous area.

Since conventional weapons fail against the angel, Shinji is supposed to fight against him in an Evangelion (EVA). And this under the command of his father, who belongs to the NERV organization, which runs the EVAs. After his resistance to it is broken and he is in combat, he is almost defeated. But when he recognizes his mother in his EVA-01, he can defeat the angel despite the lack of energy.

After the fight, Shinji moves in with Misato. At his school, he is beaten by his classmate Toji Suzuhara because his sister was injured in the fight. When the next angel attacks, Shinji saves Toji and his classmate Kensuke Aida. After the fight, Shinji runs away because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone anymore. Soon after, he is brought back and decides to stay with Misato and control the EVA.

In the following time, Shinji wonders about the behavior of Rei Ayanami, the pilot of EVA-00. She often had problems controlling her EVA. They must defeat the next angel together. After the fight together, Rei begins to open up to Shinji. Shinji and his classmates later meet Soryu Asuka Langley, the third female pilot, in downtown Neo-Tokyo.

She has just arrived from Germany, has already defeated an angel on the way to Japan and is now in a fight that she started herself. She decides to live in an apartment with Shinji, Misato and Pen² (PenPen). Together with Asuka, Kaji Ryoji came to Japan, who brought the embryo of Adam with him. This plays a central role in the project to perfect mankind. In the fight against the next angel, Shinji and Asuka must coordinate their movements to be successful.

This is only possible after extensive practice, as the two of them find it difficult to get along with each other. Misato and Kaji soon get closer, both of whom were together once in their youth. Shinji, Rei and Asuka are also becoming more and more open with each other. Together they can fend off the attack of the next angel.

But soon afterwards Shinji and Misato Kaji follow into the catacombs of the NERV headquarters. There he shows them a huge figure hanging on a cross, which he calls Adam. He explains to Shinji that the organization SEELE is behind NERV and the EVAs. These follow a plan from the scrolls of Qumran, which also includes fighting the angels. As a result of this knowledge, Shinji withdraws more

A short time later, Toji, without Shinji knowing about it, becomes the “Fourth Children” and is supposed to control the EVA-03. But during the test run, it is owned by an angel. When Shinji is supposed to fight the EVA, he gets scared because a person is sitting in there.

The dummy plug system then takes over his EVA and Shinji has to watch as EVA-03 is torn to pieces in front of his eyes. He then learns that Toji was the pilot and died in the fight. When he then wants to take action against his father and NERV commander, he is sent away. When the next angel attacks, he succeeds in quickly getting to NERV and defeating the other EVAs.

At the same time, Kaji Shinji tells of his youth as a street boy after the Second Impact, during which many of his friends died. He can convince Shinji to fight the angel again in EVE. But when the energy supply breaks down again, the EVA becomes independent again and devours the angel’s energy source, the S² organ. Then he can be tamed again, but now poses a danger himself.

Shinji is now trapped in it and is confronted with his psychological problems. Meanwhile, Misato, Asuka and Rei hope to be saved soon. After the rescue, SEELE investigates the incidents. In the following years, Kaji Ryoji was shot dead by a stranger. Rei and Shinji are closer to each other again, whereupon Asuka withdraws more and more.

When the next pilot, Kaworu Nagisa, arrives, an angel attacks again. Asuka is so psychologically damaged that she can no longer control her EVA-02. Now Kaworu is supposed to control it. During the fight against the next angel, Rei is forced to blow herself up with her EVA in order to save Shinji. Shinji then spends the night with Kaworu because he doesn’t want to go home, although he doesn’t like him very much. During the night Kaworu tells Shinji that he loves him.

Shortly afterwards, it is known that Rei is still alive. However, she keeps her distance from Shinji again. Ritsuko soon reveals to Shinji and Misato that Rei is a clone and that after their death the third took the place of their predecessors. Now that Ritsuko destroys the other clones, Rei becomes unique too. Shortly afterwards, Gendo Ikari takes in the embryo of Adam.

It is revealed that the Second Impact was triggered by humans to prevent Adam and the angels from destroying humanity. Kaworu reveals himself as the twelfth angel and Shinji has to fight him. Finally, he kills Kaworu at his request, since he would also die if he would trigger the Third Impact. Before that, he tells Shinji that SOUL wants to destroy humanity in order to then resurrect it as a perfect being.

Soon after, the Japanese army attacks NERV so that SEELE can implement this plan. Shinji is almost killed by the army, which penetrates deeper and deeper into the headquarters of NERV, but Gendo and Misato save him. He learns that his father wants to thwart SEELE’s plans to take revenge on them and on God. Misato tells Shinji that life was brought to earth through the First Impact. Now alternative forms of humans have appeared in the form of angels who wanted to take their place.

Man himself is the thirteenth angel, whom SOUL wants to destroy in order to take his place as a better being. Shinji should now prevent this. Meanwhile, Asuka realizes that her mother’s soul is in EVA-02, so that she can control it again and stop the army with it. SEELE is now using nine automatic Evangelions that they had produced for this purpose.

Misato brings Shinji to EVA-01, but the soldiers kill her in the process. Asuka cannot survive the fight against the EVA series, but Shinji comes to her aid. However, the EVA cannot be killed, so that they finally get EVA-01 with Shinji under their control. This is the beginning of the ceremony SEELE strives for the perfection of mankind. Meanwhile, Gendo Ikari and Rei are with the being in the NERV headquarters, which is actually Lilith.

Gendo wants to let Rei and Adam merge with Lilith in his hand and thus manipulate the ceremony of SEELE in his sense. But Rei does not obey him and unites with Lilith of his own will to meet Shinji. As a giant figure of light, she rises to EVA-01, which was brought by the EVAs in the sky above NERV. Gendo Ikari and Ritsuko, who tried to stop him, shoot each other.

The ceremony continues, EVA-01 with Shinji in it first becomes the tree of life and then unites with Lilith. She promises Shinji and all people the end of all mental pain, as now all people lose their bodies and their souls unite.

Misunderstandings, rejections and hostility are no longer possible. At this moment, Lilith appears to all people as a person they particularly love. But Shinji decides, in contrast to the appearance of Reis, that mankind should not end like this. He remembers his mother’s promise to protect the happiness of all people.

Although people can no longer inflict pain on each other, they can no longer love each other, feel any happiness, and are as if dead. Lilith then dissolves and the souls of people fall back to earth. Shinji’s mother, whose soul still lives in EVA-01, says goodbye to him and assures him that everyone will get their body back if they remember their shape.

5. Rebuild of Evangelion (2007–2021)

Rebuild of Evangelion is a remake of the television series in the form of four films produced under the direction of Hideaki Anno. You don’t want to stick too closely to the already established series, but rather reinterpret and update the plot in part. This also includes the introduction of new characters or the increased use of computer graphics, which was not yet possible in this form in 1995.

According to Hideaki Anno, “Evangelion is old, but there hasn’t been a newer anime since then.” His aim was to bring Evangelion to a new audience and evoke a new perspective on the world. Anno wrote the scripts for the films himself; Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki assisted him in directing, as did Mahiro Maeda for the third part. The films are as follows:

TitleRelease DateDirectorWriterRunning Time
Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone.
(ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版: 序,
Evangerion Shin Gekijōban: Jo
)
September 1, 2007Hideaki Anno (Chief director)
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Masayuki
Hideaki Anno98 minutes (theatrical)
101 minutes (uncut)
Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.
(ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版: 破,
Evangerion Shin Gekijōban: Ha
)
June 27, 2009Hideaki Anno (Chief director)
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Masayuki
Hideaki Anno108 minutes (theatrical)
112 minutes (uncut)
Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo.
(ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版: Q,
Evangerion Shin Gekijōban: Kyū
)
November 17, 2012Hideaki Anno (Chief director)
Kazuya Tsurumaki
Masayuki
Mahiro Maeda
Hideaki Anno96 minutes
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time.
(シン・エヴァンゲリオン劇場版:𝄂,
Shin Evangerion Gekijōban:𝄂
)
March 8, 2021Hideaki Anno (Chief director)
Mahiro Maeda
Katsuichi Nakayama
Hideaki Anno155 minutes

Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone

The 14-year-old student Shinji Ikari comes to Neo Tokyo-3 at the request of his father Gendō. On the way there, he finds himself in the middle of the battle of the military against a gigantic creature known as the “fourth angel”.

Shinji is taken to the headquarters of the secret UN organization NERV, which is run by his father. He is intended as a pilot for the Evangelion unit 01, a humanoid universal combat machine that was specially developed and built for the fight against the angels.

After initially refusing, Shinji finally agrees to pilot EVA-01, but has little to counter the angel. When the fight seems already decided in favor of the attacker, the Evangelion suddenly gets out of control and defeats the angel during his rampage, who then destroys himself.

After the fight, Shinji is taken in by the NERV officer Misato Katsuragi due to her very distant and broken relationship with his father. It is very difficult for him to get used to his new environment; at his new school, Shinji has hardly any contact with his classmates. He is even beaten up by his classmate Tōji Suzuhara because his little sister was seriously injured in Shinji’s fight against the angel.

In the fight against the fifth angel, Shinji disregards an order to retreat and instead attacks the enemy head-on. Although he manages to defeat the angel at the last moment, Shinji is confronted and reprimanded for his disobedience by Misato, who is his superior at NERV.

He runs away and wanders around aimlessly until he is picked up by the NERV security service and brought back. During the attack of the sixth angel, Shinji is seriously injured when EVA-01 is bombarded with a particle beam by the enemy.

After recovering the damaged Evangelion, NERV developed a plan to fire a prototype of a high-performance positron cannon at the angel, who was slowly working his way to the underground NERV headquarters with a kind of drill. The energy required for this is to be obtained from the entire power grid in Japan.

Shinji is supposed to take over aiming and firing the weapon with EVA-01. When Shinji refuses to get back into the Evangelion because he is afraid of the possible consequences, Misato takes him to the lowest level of the NERV headquarters and shows him Lilith who is trapped there. She is another angel who could trigger a global catastrophe if it should come into contact with one of the attacking angels.

In 2000, a similar catastrophe occurred with the so-called Second Impact, which killed half of the world’s population. Protecting humanity from a third impact is the task of the Evangelions. With this in mind, Shinji finally agrees to pilot the EVA-01 again. In the second attempt, he succeeds in defeating the angel. Finally, the angel Kaworu Nagisa wakes up on the moon.

He speaks to a representative of the secret organization SEELE, which is behind NERV and the Evangelion project, about the contract that the two parties have concluded. Kaworu explains that he is looking forward to meeting Shinji Ikari.

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

At NERV’s Bethania base in the Arctic, Mari Illustrious Makinami is fighting the third angel with the makeshift Evangelion unit 05. She can finally defeat her opponent, however, EVA-05 is destroyed by an explosion triggered immediately after the fall of the third angel. Mari herself can get herself to safety with the Evangelion’s pilot capsule.

In Japan, Shinji Ikari and his father Gendō visit the grave of Shinji’s mother Yui together. When Shinji and Misato Katsuragi, who accompanied him to the meeting, are on their way back to Neo Tokyo-3, they find themselves in the middle of the fight against the seventh angel, who approaches the city.

Asuka Langley Shikinami, the second child who has just arrived from Europe, is deployed against the angel with the Evangelion unit 02 and can apparently defeat him with ease. After the fight, Kaji Ryoji, who also recently arrived in Neo Tokyo-3, hands Gendō Ikari and his deputy Kōzō Fuyutsuki the key that Nebuchadnezzar had brought with him from the Bethania base, which is said to be able to open the gateway to the perfection of mankind to open.

Some time later, Gendō Ikari and Fuyutsuki go to the Tabgha Moon Base to see SEELE’s progress in the construction of the mysterious EVA Mark 06. While waiting for permission to land their space shuttle, they encounter Kaworu Nagisa, the designated pilot of Unit 06, who is sitting on a finger of the Evangelion in free space without a protective spacesuit.

While Commander Ikari is absent, the eighth angel approaches from space and threatens to fall on the NERV headquarters like a bomb. Misato develops a strategy according to which all three children with their Evangelions should come against the angel and stop him. Although Asuka is convinced that she can defeat the angel on her own, the angel can only be destroyed through the cooperation of all three pilots. However, in the fight, EVA-00 and EVA-01 are significantly damaged.

Some time later, when a NERV branch in the USA was completely destroyed during a test run of the Evangelion prototype unit 04, the EVA-03, also built in North America, was brought to Japan to be activated for the first time with Asuka as the pilot. It turns out that the unity was taken over by the ninth angel. Shinji is supposed to destroy the runaway EVA-03 with the now repaired unit 01, but refuses because he doesn’t want to endanger Asuka.

His father Gendō then had the so-called dummy plug system activated, with which Shinji’s Evangelion can be remotely controlled from the NERV headquarters. EVA-01 shreds the taken-over Evangelion-03 and crushes its pilot capsule. Asuka survives seriously injured. After this experience, Shinji wants to leave NERV and Neo Tokyo-3 and never control an Evangelion again. Soon after, the tenth angel approaches.

Mari, who also secretly arrived in Japan some time ago, hijacks EVA-02 and confronts the attacker with him. When the Evangelion, badly damaged, threatens to succumb to the angel, Rei comes to his aid with the EVA-00, which is not yet fully operational.

She tries to destroy the angel at close range with an N2 missile, but fails. Shinji, who has sought refuge in a nearby shelter, witnesses EVA-00 being assimilated by the angel. He decides to steer unit 01 again to save Rei. Together with his Evangelion, which has refused to reactivate it with the dummy plug system, Shinji can finally defeat the angel.

With his determination to save Rei, Shinji enables EVA-01 to break free from the bonds that were supposed to keep his true powers in check and transform himself into a higher, godlike living being. Shinji can free Rei from the angel’s core; she, Shinji and the Evangelion merge and thus set the Third Impact in motion.

After the end credits of the film, Kaworu Nagisa descends from the sky in EVA Mark.06 and pierces EVA-01 with a lance; the Evangelion transforms back into its original form and the Third Impact is averted for the time being. Kaworu explains that this time he will make Shinji happy.

Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo

Fourteen years have passed since the Third Impact, but humanity is still under attack by the angels. Rescued from Evangelion Unit-01, Shinji Ikari realizes that things have changed, but not for the better: the world has been devastated and his former NERV allies have become hostile to him and Rei Ayanami. The new organization WILLE, led by Misato Katsuragi, exists solely to destroy the last remaining EVAs of NERV.

Although Shinji had risked everything for Rei, she has not yet been found in EVA unit 01. His former girlfriend Asuka is more hostile to him than ever, but reveals to him that none of the EVA pilots have aged in the past 14 years. During the first official meeting with Misato and Asuka, an attack by the EVA unit 09 sent by NERV, which is controlled by Rei, takes place.

Disappointed by Misato, Shinji goes into the care of EVA-09 and disappears with her. The EVA unit brings him to the almost completely destroyed Geo-Front, where the last remnants of NERV, which essentially consists only of Shinji’s father Gendō Ikari and his vice-commander Kōzō Fuyutsuki, continue to work on the perfection of humanity. Shinji tries to adapt to the new environment and meets the enigmatic Kaworu Nagisa.

Both go on a search for Rei and come across terrible truths behind the angels, NERV and the Evangelion. While Shinji struggles with himself and keeps wondering what happened to the “real Rei” and why he saved her and then didn’t save her, he learns the truth about his mother Yui Ikari and Rei Ayanami. Fuyutsuki reveals to him that his mother was once responsible for the controls on the EVA project and wanted to connect to the core itself.

In doing so, however, she merged with it and only her notes remained, from which the Ayanami series was finally created. He also explains that the real personality of Rei Ayanami, just like the real personality of Yui Ikari, will be preserved in Evangelion Unit-01.

After this realization, Shinji’s unstable personality breaks again, as he realizes that at the end of the previous movie he had indeed not saved “his” Rei. EVA-13 is ready and Shinji is supposed to control it together with Kaworu. You move with the new unit, together with Rei in EVA-09, in the direction of the central dogma, from where the Third Impact originated in order to revise it. Shinji, annoyed by the new knowledge, is always derogatory to Rei, who in his opinion is not “his” Rei.

Having arrived at the central dogma, Kaworu has doubts about the mission; something is wrong with the two spears of Longinus and Cassius that they want to get their possession down there, because they should be of different types, but apparently, they are not. Since Kaworu no longer reacts, Shinji steers EVA-13 alone in the direction of the spears that were stuck in the body of Lilith and EVA unit 06. Suddenly EVA-02 and EVA-08 appear to prevent Shinji from pulling out the spears.

While EVA-08 is shooting at EVA-09, Asuka tries to stop Shinji with her EVA. It doesn’t work. Shinji climbs onto Lilith’s back with his EVA unit and pulls out both spears, despite Kaworu’s warnings that this is wrong. Instead of reversing the Third Impact, Shinji triggers the Fourth Impact. Lilith’s body dissolves and reveals EVA unit 06: It is the 12th angel. The angel’s energy core is formed around EVA-13, but it now assumes its true shape and incorporates the core.

While Shinji is desperately trying to understand what he’s been doing, Kaworu realizes that he is not only the first but also the thirteenth angel. Meanwhile, EVA-13 climbs higher and higher and opens the gates of Guf. Meanwhile, Rei loses control of EVA-09 and catapults himself to safety by ejecting the pilot capsule. The driverless EVA unit 09 is now attacking Misato’s aircraft to prevent it from stopping the Fourth Impact.

Asuka attacks EVA-09 but fails to gain the upper hand in conventional combat. Finally, Asuka initiates the self-destruction of EVA-02 and catapults herself to safety just before the explosion. To prevent the fourth impact, Kaworu lets himself be killed in front of Shinji’s eyes by a dead man’s mechanism, the chocker.

Shinji then turns into a ball and no longer cares about EVA-13 or the world, whereupon EVA-13 falls to the ground. Mari, who is in EVA-08, manages to blast the entry plug with Shinji out of the EVA. In the end, Asuka takes Shinji and Rei to a safe place so that Misato can pick them up there.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

In Paris, a team from the WILLE organization, led by Maya Ibuki, is working on a system designed to restore the city to its previous state. When attacked by the forces of Nerv, they are defended by the Wunder fleet and Mari Illustrious Makinami in Unit-08. Mari defeats the attackers and WILLE’s team restores Paris.

Meanwhile, Asuka Shikinami Langley, Rei Ayanami, and Shinji Ikari, still dejected, walk on the outskirts of Tokyo-3. They finally arrive at a settlement made up of survivors and meet Toji Suzuhara, Hikari Horaki, and Kensuke Aida, now adults. Touji is a doctor and has a son with Hikari, while Kensuke is a technician and they are all friends with Shinji. Asuka expresses frustration with Shinji, force-feeding him.

As Shinji slowly recovers, Rei explores the town and settles down, working as a farmer. Shinji meets Ryoji Kaji, the son of Misato Katsuragi, and the late Ryoji Kaji. Rei requires constant exposure to LCL and cannot maintain herself, breaking down in Shinji’s presence. Wunder arrives to pick up Asuka and Shinji decides to go with her, despite protests. Shinji is isolated.

Meanwhile, Kozo Fuyutsuki, distraught over Gendo Ikari’s treatment of Shinji by forcing him to experience the same loss as him, helps Gendo restart Unit-13. In response, Wunder heads to Antarctica. Before the mission, Asuka expresses her previous feelings for Shinji, acknowledging that he is growing up. Upon his arrival, Wunder is attacked by three Nerv ships and a swarm of EVA units. Asuka and Mari go out and defend the Wunder. Unit-13 appears and forms an A.T.

Asuka removes her eye patch, revealing the Ninth Angel contained within her, turning Unit-02 into a new state. Unit-13 overpowers and destroys Unit-02. Moments before dying, Asuka is approached by hers “original” of hers, revealing her to be a clone from the Shikinami series. Meanwhile, the Wunder is attacked by a new EVA, Unit-07.

On the Nerv ship that restrains the Wunder, Misato and Ritsuko Akagi confront Gendo, and Ritsuko shoots him to no effect as Gendo has used the Key of Nebuchadnezzar to transcend humanity, becoming the Final Angel. Gendō reveals the purpose of the Human Instrumentality Project and enters Unit-13. A determined Shinji asks Misato to let him pilot Unit-01. Sakura and Midori Kitakami try to kill Shinji, but Misato receives the bullet instead.

Misato apologizes to Shinji, saying that he was wrong to blame him and that he will take responsibility for his actions, asking him to take care of his son. Mari takes Unit-08 and fuses it with Units 09 to 12. Inside Unit-01, the original Ayanami clone appears before Shinji, apologizing for not being able to prevent him from having to enter an EVA, but Shinji says that he’s fine.

Gendo and Shinji fight in a surreal “less space”, and Gendo shows Shinji an “imaginary Evangelion”, a “Black Lilith”. Misato prepares to attack a naked giant Rei using the Wunder, while Mari battles Nerv’s EVAs. Wunder is destroyed trying to prevent Gendo’s “Extra Impact”.

Shinji meets Gendo and sees a glimpse of his past experiences, including how the loss of Yui traumatized him. Shinji talks to Gendo and gives him a close; to Asuka, returning her feelings; and Kaworu Nagisa, who is revealed to be trapped in an endless loop, always trying to make Shinji happy every time he is reborn. Kaworu also talks to Major Kaji, who addresses him as Commander Nagisa.

Kaji helps him understand that his own happiness should not be tied to Shinji’s, thus freeing him from the loop cycle. Shinji says goodbye to Rei, deciding on a complete reboot of the world, a “Neon Genesis”, that is, a world without Evangelions.

Gendo and Yui sacrifice themselves, converting all of the Infinity Faults to their original forms and restoring the world. In the final scene, the Children are present as adults at a train station, Mari leads Shinji out of the station, and the movie ends with footage from the real world.

***

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