Neon Genesis Evangelion
|Name:||Neon Genesis Evangelion ((新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion)|
|Creator:||Gainax (directed/written by Hideaki Anno)|
|Date(s):||October 1995 - March 1996|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
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Neon Genesis Evangelion ((新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangelion; literally translated as "Gospel of a New Era") is an apocalyptic science fiction mecha anime created by the anime studio Gainax that was both ground-breaking and a huge critical success when it first aired in 1995.
Its popularity resulted in a multimedia franchise that includes video games, manga, light novels, and movies. Although all of these materials are relatively popular within the fandom, only a few are generally regarded as "main" continuities, as opposed to spin-offs:
- The original TV series, which shares the same continuity with the End of Evangelion movie
- The Neon Genesis Evangelion manga
- The Rebuild of Evangelion movie series
- The Neon Genesis Evangelion- ANIMA light novels
- The Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 video game
Because the last two have never been officially translated, they are not as influential in Western fandom.
All of these versions of the Neon Genesis Evangelion story follow the same basic storyline, focusing on teenage Ikari Shinji, who pilots a monstrous robot called an Eva in order to defend the city of Tokyo-3 from monsters known as Angels. The show is particularly noted both for its intensely psychological storylines and its liberal use of symbols and terminology from Christian and Jewish mysticism.
The Evangelion fandom is often abbreviated into NGE, or Eva.
The Western Evangelion fandom developed in the mid-nineties, at a time when anime was not easily accessible in the West. Kotaku writer Richard Eisenbeis admits to buying bootlegs of the series from Singapore to trade with other anime fans.  Fansubs of the initial Evangelion TV show and the two-part VHS release of the End of Evangelion movie were created multiple fansubbing groups.  The anime later became available legally, exposing it to a wider audience.
The first movie in the Rebuild of Evangelion series, in contrast, was released in 2007, after anime piracy went digital, but prior to the advent of convenient streaming platforms. In fact, the slow English release of the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie was specifically mentioned as grounds for piracy in an Ars Technica article on the topic released in 2011.  However, despite delays in both production and Western release, these movies were affordable and required little previous knowledge of Evangelion to enjoy. They thus attracted a new generation of fans to the fandom.
The Evangelion fandom includes a wide range of demographics, and is located on a number of platforms. Not all parts of the fandom are particularly interested in interacting with each other, and some can be fairly insular. Some fans are most interested in creating theories or analyzing the show, though others engage in more transformative activities such as fanart and fanfiction.
Generally, the most popular pairings in the fandom are between the main character, Shinji, and another character. Some side character pairings are popular as well. Some of the most common pairings include:
- Kaworu/Shinji or Kawoshin
Shipping trends within the fandom have changed dramatically over time. Among the fandom gathered by the original TV series, starting in the mid-90's, Het shipping was most popular, and Shinji/Asuka was the most popular pairing. Fanfiction.net, which hosts Evangelion fanfiction dating back to 2000, but has become less active since the creation of Archive of Our Own, hosts more fics featuring Shinji and Asuka in the romance genre than it does featuring Kaworu Nagisa as a major character. However, shipping trends shifted following the release of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, which brought in new fans, many of whom were more interested in the Kawoshin slash ship. This is reflected by the distribution of fics on Archive of Our Own, where many Evangelion fics, including the most popular fics as of this writing, feature this pairing.  Femslash has also become more common in the Evangelion fandom since the release of the Rebuild movies. 
Because of the generally ambiguous nature of the source material, as well as the large number of available side-stories, which often favor a specific ship to a greater extent than the original show, debates about whether various ships are canon has featured prominently in the discussion of shipping in this fandom. Examples can be found at these links:
- Karl: A name used by the fandom to refer to the manga version of Kaworu 
- Rei I, Rei II, and Rei III: Names used to differentiate the Rei we spend most of the series with (Rei II) and the two other Rei clones who appear in the original TV series. These names were used in the script, but are never used in the show itself. 
- Qworu: Name used by the fandom to refer to the version of Kaworu who appears in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies (Referencing the Japanese title of the movie in which he first appeared, Evangelion Shin Gekijouban: Q or Evangelion The New Movie: Q) 
- Rei Q: Name used by the fandom to refer to the Rei clone who appears in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, again referencing the Japanese title of Evangelion 3.0: You Can(not) Advance
- Tang: A joking way of referring to LCL, an in-universe material with an appearance and apparent consistency similar to Tang, that got extremely popular 
- NGE: Nobody Dies by Gregg Landsman
- Once More With Feeling by Crazy-88
- Advice and Trust by Panther2G
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide by Rommel
- Book of Revels by Laryna6
- Free Will by TGP
- Welter by Budinca
Communities and Archives
- Neon Genesis Evangelion stories on Fanfiction.net
- Neon Genesis Evangelion fanworks on AO3
- EvaGeeks Forum
- /r/evangelion on Reddit
- NGE Threads on SpaceBattles.com
- EvaWiki: Continuities
- Wikipedia: Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Kotaku: "Anime Fans These Days Are Too Damn Spoiled"
- My Puny Fansub Collection
- Ars Technica: "Why anime fans pirate the shows they love"
- reddit: How much does the interpretation of Evangelion vary between different fansites? released in 2011.
- Fanfiction.net: Evangelion
- AO3: Ikari Shinji/Nagisa Kaworu
- AO3: Neon Genesis Evangelion Femslash
- reddit post by shinto29: "To differentiate from..."
- EvaWiki: Rei I
- Wikipedia: Evangelion 3.0
- EvaWiki: Ayanami Rei(tentative name)
- EvaWiki: LCL