Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place in the year 2015, fifteen years after an event known as the Second Impact. This catastrophic event wiped out the majority of mankind. In this new post-apocalyptic world, Ikari Shinji is called to Tokyo-3 to see his estranged father, Gendo. Rather than being welcomed lovingly, Shinji is ordered to pilot one of the massive Evangelion and do battle against an Angel. Shinji is reluctant but when he sees the badly injured girl, Ayanami Rei, being forced to pilot the Evangelion in his place, he gives in and accepts the task.

At first glance, Neon Genesis Evangelion appears to be a show about teenagers piloting mecha and fighting aliens. However, the show goes much deeper, delving into the psychology of mankind as it struggles in everyday life. The series is full of philosophy and religious symbolism and is as thought provoking as it is entertaining.


Originally airing from October 4, 1995 to March 27, 1996, Neon Genesis Evangelion was a huge success. The series was a result of director Hideaki Anno's deep depression and gradual interest in psychology. Whereas the first half of the series focuses on the salvation of mankind, the second half begins to focus more on the psychology of the individual characters. The series lasted for one season consisting of 26 episodes.

The final two episodes of the series drew strong criticism from fans for its confusing story and questionable animation. As a result, Anno and Gainax released Death & Rebirth on March 15, 1997 and The End of Evangelion on July 19, 1997. While Death & Rebirth acts primarily as a recap of episodes 1-24, The End of Evangelion replaces episodes 25 and 26 entirely.

In 2002, Anno began working on a reboot for the series in the form of four theatrical films. Referred to as the Rebuild of Evangelion, the films retell the story of Evangelion but with new characters, settings and conclusion. The films have allowed Anno to recreate the story as he wanted it to be, without any technological or budget constraints. The first of the four films, Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, was released on September 1, 2007. The second and third films, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance and Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo were released on June 27, 2009 and November 17, 2012 respectively. The fourth film has yet to have its release date announced.


The success of Neon Genesis Evangelion has resulted in a lot of spin-offs. Anno himself worked with manga author/illustrator Yoshiyuki Sadamoto to create a manga version of the story to be released prior to the anime in order to generate interest. The manga was published in Shounen Ace in December 26, 1994, nearly a year before the premiere of the anime. Due to Sadamoto's hectic schedule with other projects, the manga finished its publication on June 4, 2013, nearly ten years later.

Several manga spin-offs were created by other authors. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days by Fumino Hayashi is based on the alternate reality seen in episode 26 of the anime, with a romantic comedy setting. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse by Ming Ming is a shoujo version of the series. An additional series by Takahashi Osamu, the Shinji Ikari Raising Project, is based on the simulation game of the same name.