Neon Genesis Evangelion, one of the most important, ground breaking, and controversial series in the history of anime, will be resurrected this Friday on Netflix. If you’re too excited to cope with this announcement, you are (not) alone.
The original Neon Genesis Evangelion ran on TV Tokyo from October 1995 to March 1996, and made its way stateside shortly after. The series follows a group of children who were born after a cataclysmic event that nearly wiped out life on earth. These children are able to pilot fantastic mecha called Evas, and they are humanity’s only hope against incursions of Angels, fantastic creatures with destructive intent.
The series was a huge hit, and credited by many with saving the giant mecha genre, which had been growing stale and losing its fandom. Series creator Hideaki Anno worked themes of salvation, redemption, and cultural alienation throughout the series, so there was a lot more going on with the show than your standard “kids in mechs” anime series.
Anno ended the series on a bleak note, prompting death threats from fans, and a pair of movies from Anno and Studio Gainax that provided an alternate ending for fans. These films, Death & Rebirth and The End of Evangelion feature some of the most incredible animation to be produced up to that point.
Even fans of the sci-fi genre who avoid anime altogether have likely heard of ‘Cowboy Bebop’ and ‘Ghost in the Shell’, which were each landmarks of both style and substance. But arguably the greatest and certainly most thematically dense of the three 90’s sci-fi anime masterpieces is ‘Neon Genesis Evangelion’. It has one of the most enduring worldwide cult franchises and passionate fanbases in all of geekdom … the most celebrated cast in anime … [and] poster boy/protagonist Shinji is one of the most nuanced, popular, and relatable characters in anime history.
— Nick Verboon, Unreality Mag (13 June 2013)
Rights issues caused Neon Genesis Evangelion to literally disappear from legal distribution sources, causing fans of the series to clutch their ageing VHS and DVD copies like rare relics of a long-gone era.
Several movies were released later, which summarized the movies and featured more action. They look great, but miss a lot of the neurotic drama that makes Evangelion so humanly tragic to watch.
Here’s the thing about Neon Genesis Evangelion in general- the animation is still gorgeous, nearly 25 years after it debuted. With Netflix somehow clearing up the rights to the seminal mecha series, we’re finally getting the Evangelion we’ve always deserved. The series has been restored and cleaned up, and from the looks of the trailer Netflix released earlier this year, has never looked better.
So, with that in mind, you had better get some rest. All 26 episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion, plus the two movies with the alternate ending, will be hitting Netlfix on Friday, June 21st.