Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 series)
Created by Hideaki Anno with studio Gainax and Tatsunoko Production.
I still remember the night I flicked channels and landed in the middle of a Neon Genesis fight scene — I was immediately hooked — to this day it’s one of, if not my favourite series.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a sci-fi, mystery, mech thriller set in 2015, fifteen years after a global cataclysm wiped out a significant portion of the population. Now the UN and secret organisation NERV, are trying to prevent monstrous giants called Angels from wiping out humanity with another disaster. We follow Shinji, an introverted teenager with daddy-issues, who pilots the bio-mech weapon Evangelion into battle with the Angels. I still consider the EVA designs to be some of the best in the genre; they have a bestial quality that adds a disturbing undertone.
The series gets pretty dark; it uses theology derived from Kabbalah, Christianity and Judaism which adds an excellent level of mysticism. I find appropriation of religious text makes for good fictional lore; especially when combined with scientific elements — for example, the Human Instrumentality Project is referenced early on and serves as a source of intrigue throughout.
The original series is wrapped up by two films, Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion. The films were created after fan outrage as the final two episodes of the series are hugely disappointing — you’ll see why.
Evangelion was rebooted in 2007 with Rebuild of Evangelion, a four-part film series with an alternate story and ending. The final film is yet to be released, but as of April 2017 it had resumed production; hopefully, we’ll see a 2019 release.