There are some anime that are so high-quality and so above all of the genre that they should be seen by everyone, even people who don’t really care for anime. One series that definitely earns this ranking is Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is currently streaming on Netflix. It’s worth mentioning that the Netflix iteration isn’t the absolute best way to watch the series, but it is the easiest, and the changes are minimal enough to make it easily recommendable.
Streaming on Netflix, Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the best anime series of all time.
The Netflix-distributed version of Neon Genesis Evangelion does leave out the beautiful cover of “Fly Me to the Moon” at the end of each episode due to licensing problems, but we’ll have to ignore that for now. Regardless of which version of the anime you watch, ready for an incredible experience. The anime is considered important for a reason, and you’ll quickly find out why when you watch it.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is set in the future Tokyo-3, a fortified city that was put together after the cataclysmic Second Impact that changed the world. Attacks on Earth continue to be carried out by beings known as Angels, which humanity fights using giant mecha known as Evangelion. The series mainly follows Shinki Ikari, a young teenage boy who is recruited by his father to pilot one of these mecha.
Neon Genesis Evangelion features amazing animation and fight scenes, but the violence is not glorified like you might see in other animes. Rather, this series is more of a deconstruction of the mecha genre, and it goes deep into psychological themes. The series is absolutely loaded with symbolism, especially religious symbolism, and you’ll be rewarded by watching it multiple times as you pick up on new things with each rewatch.
In short, once Neon Genesis Evangelion gets its hooks into you, you’re going to have plenty of stuff to dive into.
This is especially true if you experience the rest of the Neon Genesis Evangelion brand outside of the main series. Director Hideaki Anno has further iterated on his masterpiece after the release of the original series, including the film End of Evangelion, which gives an alternate ending for the last two episodes of the series. The ending of the original series was controversial at the time for being too abstract, but fans have looked more kindly at it since, especially with End of Evangelion adding more to the story.
Hideaki Anno still wasn’t done with the franchise yet, as four movies collectively named Rebuild of Evangelion would then be released between 2007 and 2021. These films would follow the original series but change story elements and offer a new ending, along with giving the series new animation. Of course, the old animation style still totally holds up, and Neon Genesis Evangelion looks as good as any high-quality anime does today.
In short, once Neon Genesis Evangelion gets its hooks into you, you’re going to have plenty of stuff to dive into. The deep dives you’ll be doing in Reddit and other forums alone to learn more about the symbolism and themes of the series will keep you busy for hours. The series is more than just a masterpiece in the world of anime; it’s a titanic artistic success in any medium.
Neon Genesis Evangelion features amazing animation and fight scenes, but the violence is not glorified like you might see in other animes.
Of course, if you’re getting into Neon Genesis Evangelion for the first time, you may be asking where to start. Simply put, starting with the first series is your best chance. The original anime is only 26 episodes long, so it’s easy to finish in a weekend. With that being said, the series is worth taking your time with, but it might be hard not to take it down in a couple of sittings once you’re involved.
After you finish the Neon Genesis Evangelion original series, you can pretty much watch the movies in the order they’re aired. If you look at the list of films, keep in mind that you may probably skip the film Death & Rebirth, which came out right before The End of Evangelion, especially if you just finished the original series. Death & Rebirth pretty much works as a recap of the events of the series, so it’s the only totally skippable project out of all the movies.
You will have a wild ride with Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it will be well worth it. The show is currently available on Netflix. Make sure to check it out if you haven’t yet.