Just like with anything out there, there are lots of bad stuff, some good ones and few great ones. When it comes to Japanese animation, Neon Genesis Evangelion is the best of the best.
From it’s opening theme to the controversial and nerve-wrecking plot, Evangelion appeared during the mid 90s and became a breaking point in animation. We know the Japanese don’t make their cartoon only for kids, but for anyone who wants to be bombarded with a blast of imagination without being bounded by reality. Evangelion pushes that concept to the limit.
Evangelion has 26 episodes for TV and 2 movies, which, depending on who you ask, could be a real finale, or another look at the end we were already told. And by finale, I mean it. With the final episode (or movie) in Evangelion, the world ends. There is nothing more. Or maybe there is, but not as we know it. So, let’s take a look at one of the greatest, if not the greatest piece of animation ever made.
In the year 2015 the Earth is devastated by what is knows as “The Second Impact”, a disaster of cataclysmic proportions that destroyed Antarctica and killed half the world’s population. A 14-year old biy, Shinji Ikari arrives to the city of Tokyo 3 after being called by his father. After arriving, he will witness a huge monster being attacked by civilian forces and finally stopped momentarily by a bomb. After being rescued, he is taken to the Nerv, where his father is commander in chief.
In Nerv, Shinji finally meets his father after several years. But also, he learns the harsh reality. The monsters that are attacking the city are angels send by God to produce the “Third Impact” and move forward to another reality. Eventually we will learn that to do this, they have to fuse with Adam, the first angel, who is being held captive in embryonic from by Nerv.
Furthermore, Shinji has been summoned to serve as a pilot for the Evangelion, giant organism made with Adam’s angelic DNA. These Evangelions lack a soul and Shinji, as well as the other Evangelion pilots, will have to serve as such.
The battles are quick, bloody and breath-taking, enough to gather a huge legion of fanboys. Add to that the deep psychological processes between the different characters, from the loud and arrogant Asuka, to the silent and almost autistic Rei, both also Evangelion pilots. Every battle will take a mental toll on the characters, to the point in which an inevitable fate will come to occur, for better or for worse.
The idea that God wants to destroy his creation to “improve it” is not a new one. Having already destroyed its creation with a flood, this time God starts sending his angels with a specific purpose and it’s up to us, humans, to stop them.
Personally, I have to admit that Evangelion played a key role in my questioning of the beliefs I once had. The different interpretations of Christianity and its lining along other beliefs, even as part of a cartoon show, made a crack in what I once thought was rock solid. If there is only one cartoon you should ever consider to watch, that cartoon is Evangelion