Neon Genesis Evangelion

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Name: Neon Genesis Evangelion ((新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion)
Abbreviation(s): Evangelion, Eva, NGE
Creator: Gainax (directed/written by Hideaki Anno)
Date(s): October 1995 - March 1996
Medium: anime, manga
Country of Origin: Japan
External Links:
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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 most of these materials are relatively popular within the fandom, only a few are generally regarded as "main" continuities, as opposed to spin-offs:[1]

  • The original TV series (1995-1996), which shares the same continuity with the End of Evangelion movie (1997)
  • The Neon Genesis Evangelion manga adaptation (1995-2014)
  • The Rebuild of Evangelion movie series (2007, 2009, 2012, 2021)

All of these versions of the Neon Genesis Evangelion story follow the same basic storyline, focusing on teenagers Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Sohryu and Rei Ayanami, who pilot monstrous robots called Evangelions in order to defend the city of Tokyo-3 from monsters known as Angels. The show is particularly noted both for its intensely psychological and philosophical storylines and its liberal use of symbols and terminology from Christian and Jewish mysticism.[2] It is highly influential in the anime medium, and Japanese pop culture.[3]


The Evangelion fandom is often abbreviated into NGE, or Eva.

The Western Evangelion fandom developed in the mid-90s, 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.[4] Fansubs of the initial Evangelion TV show and the two-part VHS release of the End of Evangelion movie were created by multiple fansubbing groups.[5] The anime later became available legally, exposing it to a wider audience through A.D Vision. ADV released one VHS and two different DVD collections, each one featuring considerable differences in their subtitles, mastering, packaging and overall quality.[6] A dub and DVD release of End of Evangelion came out as late as September 2002, and the last Perfect Collection localization was released in 2004-05.[7] Due to ADV's eventual dissolution, Eva was very hard to come by legally in the West for over a decade, limited to used collections sold on sites like eBay. The manga adaptation, by the series character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, was initially created as a supplement meant to promote the series, which had a delayed first airing,[8] but NGE's popularity lead to the manga continuing. Despite cutting most of the series' storyline, the manga was finished in 2013, thanks to a very inconsistent schedule and multiple years-long hiatuses. Sadamoto has repeatedly stated the manga is his separate project, with no involvement or consultation from anime staff,[9] and asks fans not to use it to inform the anime or the Rebuild movies.[10]

The 00s also featured a heavy influx of licensed spin-off manga and video games, many of the former having been officially translated and published in the West such as Angelic Days, though the games did not receive such treatment and are instead limited to fan translations, as well as scanlations of the numerous doujinshi the franchise has inspired. Apart from the English-speaking fandom, Evangelion also enjoys high popularity particularly in the Spanish, French and Italian-speaking fandoms, having being aired, in dubbed form, on public and cable television since 1996-97.[11][12][13] Because of this, Eva became somewhat more mainstream in those countries, and non-English fandoms have also been bestowed with official releases of more supplemental material such as Evangelion Chronicle and Newtype 100% Collection. In particular, Evangelion's edited airing in Toonami in 2003 and an uncensored one in Adult Swim[14] in 2005 brought a new wave of English-speaking fans, which would go on to form the basis of the subsequent fandom in the mid and late 00s. This marks a contrast between the Anglosphere and other Western fans, who see Evangelion as a more mainstream, popular franchise, and not the underground, obscure cult classic English-speaking fans often assume it to be.[15] This ironically brings those fandoms closer to the Japanese and other Asian fandoms.[16]

The first movie in the Rebuild of Evangelion series, produced under Hideaki Anno's new Studio Khara, in contrast, was released in 2007, after anime piracy went digital, but prior to the advent of convenient streaming platforms. 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.[17] Evangelion 1.0 was released in 2007, Evangelion 2.0 in 2009 and Evangelion 3.0 in 2012. 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. They mostly featured a new dub cast in English, but retained the ADV voice actors for Asuka, Shinji, Gendo and Misato. Particularly, the poorly-received dub in the Evangelion 3.0 theatrical release in the West was completely remade under tight Khara supervision, with a DVD/Bluray release only happening in 2016.[18] As previously mentioned, the manga was in fact finished after 3.0, in 2013, which meant it was the most recent non-spinoff Evangelion work for almost a decade, despite being somewhat controversial among fans.[19][20] In fact, it is competes for popularity with some spin-offs and fanmade works. Later political comments by Sadamoto alienated much of the very large Chinese and Korean and led to a boycott of the manga, and he has progressively distanced himself from the franchise since the end of the manga.[21] The series also got a remastered collection in 2015, which reached the West only in 2022.[22] The reception to the Rebuild movies is generally positive but they have a considerable amount of detractors, with Evangelion 3.0 being by far the most polarizing movie, though both that movie and the Rebuilds in general have gotten better reception over the years, while initial reception was significantly more negative. Due to the constant influx of new material based on the Rebuilds in Japan, however, Evangelion there is more primarily associated with the new movies, though the original series is still well-known.

The Evangelion fandom includes a wide range of demographics, and is located on a number of platforms with different focuses. Not all parts of the fandom are particularly interested in interacting with each other, and some can be fairly insular. Likewise, preference for specific characters tends to be very marked and strong, so some hardcore fans of certain characters or pairings sometimes isolate themselves from the larger fandom. Due to the overall size of the fandom, it is even possible to find some isolated circles that seem fairly big on their own, even if proportionally they make up tiny sections of the fandom (something common in many large fandoms). Some fans are most interested in creating theories or analyzing the show, though others engage in more transformative activities such as fanart, cosplay and fanfiction.[23] The Evangelion subreddit is one of the largest single anime subs, at over 400 thousand subscribers.[24]

EvaGeeks is a major and influential 15+-year-old forum and website that is still active and responsible for a large part of translations and popular fan theories and interpretations.[25] It also maintains the EvaWiki.[N 1] EvaMonkey is also a big fan site that is still active, and a co-founder of EvaGeeks.[26] The Evangelion Fanfiction Mailing List was active from 2001 to around 2008. Numerous older fan-sites have been mostly inactive since the early 00s.[27] EvaGeeks itself was formed by coalescing several different Evangelion communities in the mid-00s, like its section in AnimeNation Forums (now archived within the forums), EvaMade, Onegeek, and others like those fan sites such as EvaCommenary, reuniting content that gets lost to time in most fandoms as well as being markedly international from the start.[N 2] "EvaGeeks" was, at the time, simply the name used to describe Evangelion fans collectively, though that is not commonly done anymore. Evangelion is also quite popular in certain traditional forum communities, like SpaceBattles and Sufficient Velocity as well as anime conventions.

Eva was finally released worldwide on Netflix in June 2019, giving non-Japanese fans a way to legally watch it (sans importing) for the first time in decades. The new English localization was directly made by Khara themselves with strict oversight over the sub and dub, unlike the older ADV dubs and subs, with an entirely new cast. As it contained significant changes from the ADV dub, it proved quite controversial with the fandom.[28] Later, the Rebuild films were also re-released on Amazon Prime Video together with the fourth and final film in 2021 with a home media release in 2023. Although it was yet again re-translated by Khara, it restored most of the old ADV cast.[29] For additional info on the Khara translation, please see the "Rebuild Translation Issues" section of the Kawoshin page on Fanlore.

Similarly, the sheer number of constant Eva fics over the years means that they also feature fan theories and interpretations that were once popular but have since faded into obscurity. In the 2000s the ADV crew used to be taken as authoritative, and have gradually become more disputed as the fandom found out about more information straight from the source.[N 3] After the 2019 Netflix release, the ADV version was fading into obscurity as new fans are generally indifferent or even actively dislike their old localizations, although some older fans retain a strong preference for it, like their VA's continued interaction with fans over two decades later.[30] However, mixed reception to the Netflix dub for not only its text but also the acting performance and the later restoration of the ADV cast for the Amazon dubs means that there is also a diehard ADV fan contingent and preferences for different dubs, in addition to the usual sub vs. dub debate common in many anime fandoms. In non-English fandoms, this is generally not an issue as they have largely retained their cast and direction as those did not have as many problems originally. This is often shocking to Asian fans when they come into contact with Western fandom, as has become far more common in recent years. While the existence of centralized resources like EvaGeeks means Western fandom enjoys extensive and organized information, it is also influenced by years of anime journalists, Youtubers and other sites knowingly or unknowingly spreading misinformation. Shifting preferences and sources over 25+ years of fandom have led to enormous amounts of myths and misconceptions, with claims ranging from the exaggerated to the blatantly false having taken hold across different sections of the fandom, and shifting over the years.[31]

One of the most enduring ideas, mostly restricted to Western fandom, is that Anno intended Evangelion as a criticism and attack on anime and otaku. The series' extremely controversial ending, wherein it devolves into surreal, self-reflecting dialogue and basic animation, is legendary in Japanese pop culture and has been endlessly referenced.[32] Later, the violent and apocalyptic film End of Evangelion proved even more controversial. Many fans interpret Evangelion through a "deconstructive", anti-commercial, anti-escapist lens, or even that Anno actively hates his fans, including mostly exaggerated but very popular narratives around death threats,[33] violence and harassment,[34] and more. This is also used as an argument against the fandom's ship and waifu wars detailed below. While this has some basis in truth, it's part of a mystification around Anno as an eccentric, larger-than-life, auteur figure, and the notoriety of Eva's traumatic production circumstances, giving rise to many of the tendencies of interpretation in the fandom.[35]

Because of this, in addition to its wealth of fanmade material, Evangelion is also notorious for its analytical and interpretative fandom pieces. Since its release, it has been heavily featured in anime media attempting to explain its themes and characters, and is a regular feature of Anitubers and similar content creators. In Japan, Eva has long been recognized as a "social phenomenon".[36] Some fans find Eva to be a dark and depressing work, while others have the opposite opinion. This is clearly seen in the reception of the endings.[37] Particularly in the 00s, Eva was seen as an avant-garde work of a wave of "intellectual" anime, and to this day Eva fans have something of a reputation as being snobbish, pedantic, pretentious and over-analytical.[38][39]


Evangelion's cast consists largely of the main character's classmates and his co-workers at NERV. Some of the most prominent characters are:

Supporting characters who often appear in fanworks include:

  • Shigeru Aoba
  • Maya Ibuki
  • Makoto Hyuuga
  • Kozo Fuyutsuki
  • Yui Ikari
  • Naoko Akagi
  • Pen-Pen
  • Keel Lorenz

Although Shinji is the main character, Eva has a well-developed support cast, and there is some discussion as to who is the deuteragonist. The autonomy and depth of its female characters irrespective of Shinji was one of its differentiating aspects.

Character Popularity

Asuka, Rei, Shinji and Kaworu are consistently present in popularity polls like those of Newtype magazine. However, Rei was overwhelmingly popular in Japan during the initial years of the fandom, meaning that Asuka, Misato or Kaworu were proportionally less popular, as well as ships involving them. Preferences also vary among differing Western fandoms, with Rei and particularly Kaworu being more popular in the proportionally smaller English-speaking fandom, whereas others are dominated by Asuka and Misato. Rei's merchandise sales were so strong at the time she was called the "Premium Girl" inside the industry. However, like in the West, Asuka steadily rose in popularity over the years, a fact that has surprised Anno, who says Asuka is his favorite character.[40] He attributes this mainly to the fact that Rei had simply lost her mystery, as her character was endlessly copied in a multitude of anime. Rei is, in fact, often credited with being a huge influence in creating the kuudere archetype and moe aesthetics, much like Asuka was very influential in developing the tsundere archetype.[41][42] Evangelion, and pretty much all of its elements, has been a steady influence and heavily referenced in hundreds if not thousands of subsequent anime.[43] Asuka in the 90s was always just as or slightly more popular than Rei in the West but would gradually become just as popular and eventually surpass Rei's popularity even in Japan along the 00s. Asuka and Rei's rivalry in the fandom gave rise to one of the most famous "waifu wars" in anime history, leading to an enormous amounts of memes and parodies. It is even lampooned in licenced spin-offs.[N 4]

Despite being the main character, Shinji is not necessarily the most popular or heavily featured in a lot of material over the years. Some fans actively dislike him and prefer the other pilots, and before 3.0+1.0 he might have been anywhere from 3rd to 7th most popular character. His VA Megumi Ogata has publicly commented on his lack of appearance in merch.[44] Another difference in Western fandom is that the adult characters, like Misato, are very popular, something noted by Anno himself.[40] Mari Makinami Illustrious is a character exclusive to Rebuild movie series, and is quite controversial. Because she was added to the franchise late and is generally less troubled than most of the cast, some fans have accused her of being a flat character (particularly, a Mary Sue), or of only existing to generate merchandise.[45] Indeed, her character was introduced at the request of a producer, and co-director Kazuya Tsurumaki attributed it to "commercial reasons". Unlike with other Eva characters, Anno was not primarily responsible for her development.[46]

Spinoff Media

Evangelion has given rise to a fantastic number of spinoffs in various media. Many of these works have been translated and are available internationally. A few prominent spinoffs include:

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Iron Maiden, also known as Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel, was a PC visual novel released in 1997. It took place in a canon-adjacent setting and featured romantic endings for Shinji both with Asuka and with Mana Kirishima, a character original to the game.[47]
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days, a manga published in Asuka magazine from 2003 to 2005. It is a shoujo romantic comedy/drama that adapts the Girlfriend of Steel 2 game, and features Asushin as a canon pairing. Confusingly, it is also named Iron Maiden or Iron Maiden 2 in certain markets. It was so popular in the 2000s it can be considered a classic girl's manga on its own.[48]
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project is also a video game that was then adapted into a manga. It ran in Shounen Ace from 2005 to 2016, and was a romantic comedy that edged into ecchi, most prominently featuring Asuka, Rei, and Shinji.[49]
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse was serialized in Monthly Asuka from 2007 to 2009. It was a supernatural fantasy set at a school. It focus on Shinji and Rei.[50]
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: ANIMA is a night lovel that ran from 2007 to 2013, written by the series' mechanical designer, Ikuto Yamashita. Has an AsuShin ending. It extended the series' storyline several years later into a more action-focused storyline with more varied mecha and several new characters.[51]



Generally, the most popular pairings in the fandom are between the main character, Shinji Ikari, and another character. Some side character pairings are popular as well. While Shinji's pairings are kept inconclusive (although Asuka is the one he has the most development with, and is present with him in the ending), canon pairings are limited to Misato/Kaji and Gendo with Yui/Naoko/Ritsuko at different times. Toji/Hikari also almost get together before a plot event interferes. Canon, particularly the original anime, does not have much in the way of romance, but this has been greatly expanded in licensed material, which features many different pairings in different, usually much more light-hearted settings.

Some of the most common pairings include:

OT3s are somewhat rarer, with the most common option by far being Asuka/Rei/Shinji, or sometimes Asuka/Kaworu/Shinji or Asuka/Misato/Shinji.

During the 90s, Japanese fans often wrote pairings as three letters: "L" for "love," followed by the involved characters' first initials. As one of the few fandoms with continued activity for so long, these ships are still referred to using this system in the Japanese, Chinese and Korean web.[52] Pairings involving characters who only appeared in the Rebuild movies are usually not referred to using this method, nor is Kawoshin due to its later popularity influx.[53] For this same reason, LMS is only used for the older Misato/Shinji ship, despite multiple newer alternatives, especially Mari.[54] Mari herself, despite existing in the franchise since 2008, which also is as long as Pixiv has existed, was also never as popular as the main members of the original cast. Mari shipping was also never significant, except for Asumari in limited numbers after 3.0, which as of mid-2023 still enormously outpaces LMS.[55][56][57]

Shipping Trends

Shipping trends within the fandom have changed dramatically over time. Among the fandom gathered by the original TV series, starting in the mid-90s, Het shipping was most popular, and Shinji/Asuka was the most popular pairing, closely followed by Shinji/Rei., which hosts Evangelion fanfiction dating back to 2000, hosts more fics featuring Shinji and Asuka in the romance genre than it does featuring Kaworu Nagisa as a major character.[58] Among fans of specific characters, Asushin and Kawoshin shipping is common, but Rei fans don't ship Reishin too often nowadays, in contrast to the 2000s, when LASxLRS ship wars were common.[59]

However, shipping trends shifted following the release of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, particularly Evangelion 3.0, 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 the newer Archive of Our Own site, where many Evangelion fics feature this pairing.[60] Femslash has also become more common in the Evangelion fandom since the release of the Rebuild movies, primarily Asumari and Ritsumaya.[61][62] However, eventually activity on AO3 had greatly decreased and FFN still maintains an active and larger community and many averagely popular fics, both newer and older, have as many reviews and favorites as many of the most popular AO3 fanfics put together, and the Asushin and Reishin preference is still pronounced there. There are more Asushin fanfics in FFN alone than there are Kawoshin ones in AO3 and FFN combined (often posted on both), or more than all Eva fics in AO3, excluding crossovers (shown separately on FFN), despite the burst of activity around and after Evangelion 3.0's release.[63] Reishin fics on FFN are less popular than they used to be, but still enjoy decent popularity, also surpassing K/S fics on both sites.[64] For this reason, authors not writing Kawoshin tend to avoid AO3, and K/S ones get little if any attention on FFN, and FFN thus maintains several times larger number of fics overall. There are also several Evangelion fanfiction hosted on independent and smaller sites, some older than FFN, like Evafics,[65] Darkscribes,[66] Fanbards, Seele HQ,[67] EvaComics[68] and Lemontastica,[69] as well as older well-known fics with their own sites like Eva-R - which notoriously even features voice-over work by Asuka's first English VA, The Child of Love and HERZ. Some of these are quite old and are now defunct, or are undergoing reforms.

Particularly after Evangelion 3.0 also, the popularity of the Reishin ship fell drastically as many fans, even casual ones, believed the movie had shut down Reishin as the apparently canon relationship for the Rebuild movies, after strong teasing in Evangelion 2.0. Many Reishin fans feel betrayed by Anno because of this, which led to much fandom controversy and fan campaigns.[N 5] In turn, this gave way to the increased popularity of Kawoshin which became far more prominent. Over time, however, Kawoshin, concentrated on the Tumblr and LiveJournal Eva fandom and in the English language, also declined in popularity.[70] Asushin is still popular overall and, although Reishin might still not be more popular than Kawoshin again, it has greatly regained popularity, significantly more so than after 3.0.

Other ships, like Marishin, Misashin, Hikashin, Asurei, Kaworei, Asumari and Asukawo, also have their own smaller followings, the latter two of which were also suddenly popular after 3.0 but quickly relegated to a much smaller following.[57][71] Additionally, Kaworei enjoys some significant popularity, especially as a side ship by Asushin shippers who also like Rei and/or Kaworu.[72] It used to be more common, however, to pair Rei with a "leftover" character in the 00s, normally Kensuke, such was Kaworu's lack of popularity at the time.[73] Asurei pops up perennially due to its obvious sex appeal but has very limited actual support.[74] Misakaji is generally quite liked but its already canon nature, in contrast to other ships, ironically also makes it less common in fan production, though it still outpaces many other ships.[75]

The trends in Japan are mostly similar compared to the West,[76] except that in Japan Evangelion is not considered just a cult classic anime, but instead it is a pop culture phenomenon. Although it is no longer exactly mainstream as something like Naruto, Eva has kept consistent popularity over the years even as other more mainstream and/or seasonal anime rose and fell in popularity,[77] with perennial releases of supplemental material, spin-offs, video games, figures, merchandise, official art and crossovers and tie-ins with several brands and other media[78][79] allow Evangelion to always stay relevant and popular. The Rebuild movies, first released in 2007, marked a slight shift back to Rei and Reishin, particularly with Evangelion 2.0 from 2009, which featured her heavily. However, Evangelion 3.0, released in 2012, was heavily marketed with an emphasis on Kaworu and yaoi fans, and was very commercially successful. Much like 2.0 featured Reishin heavily, 3.0 featured Kawoshin heavily, and it and Kaworu exploded in popularity. It also greatly widened the gap between Rei/Reishin and Asuka/Asushin in both Japan and the West, as Kaworu received a lot of the popularity Rei used to have.[80][81] This means that Kawoshin received disproportionate official and fan-made material, including from artists uninterested in Evangelion apart from the Kawoshin ship. Because of this, in the years following 3.0 had a predominantly Kawoshin output, unlike before 2012, as can be seen in the total amount of official and fan material dedicated to other ships throughout the years. As of recent years and particularly after the release of 3.0+1.0, things have become more balanced again and there are numerous prominent Asushin and Reishin artists in Japanese fandom.[53][54][59]

Ship Wars

Mainline Evangelion media is ambiguous on the topic of romantic relationships for the main character. Although he has romantically charged moments with all of the characters he is shipped with, Shinji never enters into a relationship with anyone in the main canon media. Several spinoff properties do depict him having a relationship with one of his fellow pilots but fans disagree about how much weight these non-canon properties carry with regards to the main property.

Given this situation, Evangelion has become somewhat infamous for its ship wars. In a 2017 thread on ship wars, SpaceBattles user thesevenwielder noted that "Evangelion may not have had the strongest shipping wars, but they're one of the longest lasting."[82] Another redditor responded to renewed tensions between these ships during the release of the Rebuild movies as "the 'Second Impact' of the Waifu Wars" (with Second Impact being a reference to a near-apocalyptic event that occurs in the series).[83]

Evangelion 3.0+1.0

The release of the final Rebuild movie in 2021, Evangelion 3.0+1.0, led to renewed debate on the validity of various ships both in the Rebuilds and in NGE/EoE. While well-received, it has also proven divisive in many ways.[84] In Western fandom in particular, the film was only official released after a six-month delay, and before that Western fans had to interpret the chaotic feedback from the Japanese web. Of note was that Western fans managed to leak the script for the film hours before its Japanese showing, by hacking a closed-caption app intended for hearing impaired viewers and managing to bypass the strict Japanese restrictions on piracy, later fan-translated, and as is usual with Evangelion script, minute differences were the source of great debate.[85][86] Cast also protested the leaks.[87]

Although it seemingly generally gives more focus on Asushin and most of its fans interpret it as supporting that relationship, ultimately Shinji does not end up with any of the original characters, but instead the ending features an alternate reality with Mari Illustrious Makinami, a character original to the Rebuild movies, which has been variously interpreted as she and Shinji as an official couple.[88] The ending is also less commonly interpreted as validating Kaworei. 3.0+1.0 also further canonized Touji/Hikari and Misato/Kaji by having them had children during a timeskip. In the film, Asuka also has a close, but debated relationship with Kensuke. Some antishipper fans believed Marishin to have "killed" the ship wars, and some fans like to use it to attack rival ships they believe have "lost" to Marishin.

However, neither it nor Asuka/Kensuke have managed to gain popularity in the fandom. Partly due to Mari's limited popularity, even two years after the movie's release, the LMS tag in Pixiv still includes Mari and six other characters, including extra-canonical ones, and is behind almost all other ships in number of works, with no dedicated MariShin or AsuKen tag having been established, something even AsuMari had, being smaller than any of the main ships by orders of magnitude.[56] Instead as the characters dominated overall anime popularity for months on end, the film had a marked effect in reinvigorating Asushin and to a lesser degree Reishin, with little effect in existing Kawoshin fandom. Conversely, in some past polls Kaworu would have a better ranking than Shinji, but this was not the case for 3.0+1.0.[89] Its confirmation of the existence of cycles has also impacted fandom discussion on the validity of spin-offs and a multiverse for the series and supporting ships, despite previous statements to the contrary. Another point of contention is whether it is a sequel proper to the original series and EoE or should be treated as a separate continuity. Because the film moves into a sort of alternate reality where Asuka, Rei and Kaworu are still present, fans have variously interpreted it as possibilitating or saying farewell to these characters and pairings.

In the wake of the movie's release, even minor statements by Anno[90] and other staff received considerable backlash.[91] In the following months after release, staff participated in multiple media events and released a high number of statements which many fans saw as apologetic.[92] Voice actors that were previously neutral or antipathetic were routinely queried by fans, and openly discussed their frustrations with the film and feelings about pairings, particularly Asushin, leading to much controversy.[93][94][95] One of the major arguments over MariShin was the claim that Mari was based on Hideaki Anno's wife, Moyoco. This was controversial enough to reach mainstream Japanese media and lead to harassment.[96] Mari's voice actress generally avoided answering questions.[97] A year after release, Anno, in addition to multiple staff members and Moyoco himself,[98] not only vocally complained about fan outpouring and harassment of staff multiple times, but also explicitly denied the Mari theory, a rarity since Anno generally encourages fans to have their own interpretations.[99][100][101] Asushin fans also unexpectedly received a very supportive manga tie-in, Evangelion: 3.0(-120min), later animated in conjunction with another OVA, Evangelion: 3.0(-46h). Additionally, a Kaworei illustration by staff greatly angered Reishin and Kawoshin shippers, despite its purely promotional nature.[102] After significant protest,[103] the animator responsible suffered some criticism and made another Kawoshin artwork a week later, which some perceived to be damage control.[104][105] Events such as these gave rise to resentment among many shippers, which accuse the film of being inconsistent or rushed, and having either no conclusive message or having backtracked. A famous NHK documentary on the making of the film also fed these arguments, with some fans accusing Anno of not knowing what he wanted, while others praised him for perfectionist vision.[106] This had also happened after the original end of the series, when Anno himself was the target of much hate.[107]

Anno had originally intended on making a new Evangelion story since 2000[108] and has intended to open up the franchise in the future to new creators, but 3.0+1.0 is, at least for the moment, intended to be his final Evangelion work. -120min and -46h were handled by other staff.[109][110]

Because of the generally ambiguous and inconclusive nature of the source material, as well as the large number of available side-stories, licensed or otherwise, debates about whether various ships are canon, closest to it, or which, if any, are of a romantic nature, has featured prominently in the discussion of shipping in this fandom. Examples can be found at these links:


Generally speaking, Eva merch is mind-boggling numerous and completely shameless. Thanks to the franchise's shifting demographics and preferences, releases over the years have focused on different characters and pairings. Some fans like to point out to these as official support for their preferred pairing and interpretations, but not only do the show's creators have no real involvement with them as they exist purely for commercial purposes, virtually everything has received licensed material, although it is led by Asuka/Asushin and Rei/Reishin, following general character and shipping trends. Some games feature multiple paths, others are restricted to Asushin and Reishin. Unlike in the West, LGBT pairings were already commercially established in Japan, so in the 90s Kaworu and Kawoshin received a lot of material, which receded by the early 00s. Similarly, Mariasu was also very popular after Eva 3.0 but greatly fell in popularity after a few years, as well as original characters.[N 6] The nature of Eva merch has also changed with the times, with things like cassete tapes, visual novels, or action or RPG video games being complemented or supplanted by designer clothing, accessories, jewelry, pachinko and amusement parks in multiple entire physical stores dedicated to Eva. This is one of the most prominent differences in interpretation across languages, since non-English Western markets have better knowledge of Evangelion's commercial status. As many English-speaking fans believe Evangelion to be a lot more underground than it really is, many are often befuddled by this[111] and believe it to be some sort of "betrayal" of Anno's perceived message for the audience, but it should hardly come as a surprise, as the bulk of profits for anime in Japan actually comes from merch and other licensed material, not media sales or streaming. In fact, Anno has repeatedly expressed his indifference for merchandise.[112][113]



NGE is known for sparking the popular Get In The Robot Shinji meme.

Well-known Fanfics

Webcomics and doujinshi

Evangelion has several long and well-known fan-made doujins, naturally, they often include pornographic content but many are also non-pornographic in nature or at least only have sporadic sex scenes and focus on the story, such as:



Communities and Archives


  1. ^ The Evangelion FANDOM Wiki is mostly based off the EvaWiki.
  2. ^ This is even more true in Japanese internet, where many sites have gone down over the years, including those hosting sources, thanks to stricter copyright infringement, older infrastructure etc. Not all of these have been archived, and several sources are now only available on EvaGeeks itself, leading Japanese fans to use it sometimes as well.
  3. ^ Like in Mythology of Evangelion, a now infamous 2004 bonus feature from the last ADV DVD release, wherein ADV president and Gendo VA Matt Greenfield attempts to explain the show's themes and lore.
  4. ^ After The End, a satirical bonus feature in one DVD voiced by the cast, directly makes fun of this "popularity contest".
  5. ^ Certain groups of aggressive Rei fans became notorious for spreading conspiracy theories about Anno's supposed hate for Rei and her fans and intentions to use the Rebuilds to shift fans tastes' towards Asuka.
  6. ^ Shinji has licenced material featuring him with no less than six video game OCs: Mayumi for 2nd Impression, Mana for Girlfriend of Steel 1, and Satsuki, Aoi and Kaede for Shinji Ikari Raising Project. Except for Mayumi, they're also featured in the manga adaptation of SIRP. The latter three are also adults. Kaworu also gets paired with a female OC.


  1. ^ EvaWiki: Continuities
  2. ^ Wikipedia: Neon Genesis Evangelion
  3. ^ "a cultural touchstone for Japan" per Rotten Tomatoes' 100% score
  4. ^ Kotaku: "Anime Fans These Days Are Too Damn Spoiled"
  5. ^ My Puny Fansub Collection
  6. ^ A Polygon article dealing with the long and messy history of Evangelion releases in the US
  7. ^ North American Video Releases on Eva Wiki
  8. ^ Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga), on Evangelion FANDOM Wiki
  9. ^ Milano Manga Festival: Sadamoto Days
  10. ^ The Current Status of GAINAX – Interview: Hiroyuki Yamaga & Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
  11. ^ Evangelion Locomotion ad
  12. ^ Evangelion is very popular among russians. And here is why. on r/Evangelion
  13. ^ Manga outside Japan#Europe
  14. ^ NGE in Toonami Fandom Wiki
  15. ^ Cosplaying Comedian Says No to Marijuana on Kotaku
  16. ^ Cosplaying Politician Elected In Taiwan on Kotaku Australia
  17. ^ Ars Technica: "Why anime fans pirate the shows they love"
  18. ^ IGN: "NYCC 2015: Evangelion 3.33 Blu-ray, DVD Release Date Announced" by Alex Osborn, 15 July 2016
  19. ^ Reddit: r/evangelion: "Should I read the Evangelion manga?" by SingerBills2378, 2016
  20. ^ Reddit: r/evangelion: "Is the manga better than the show and movies?" by AlbinoTuxedo, 2017
  21. ^ Evangelion Character Designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Attracts Criticism Over 'Dismissive' Tweet about Korean Comfort Women Statue
  23. ^ reddit: How much does the interpretation of Evangelion vary between different fansites? released in 2011.
  24. ^ r/Evangelion
  25. ^ EvaGeeks Forum
  26. ^ Evamonkey
  27. ^ The NERV Archives
  28. ^ Otaquest: "Netflix Redubbing Evangelion Leaving Voice Actors and Fans Upset" by Chris Simi, 24 March 2019
  29. ^ 'Rebuild of Evangelion' Movies Get New English Dub Cast Ahead of Prime Video Release
  30. ^ Spike Spencer (Shinji), Amanda Winn-Lee (Rei), Tiffany Grant (Asuka)
  31. ^ List of Common Misconceptions on Evangelion FANDOM wiki
  32. ^ Gainax Ending on TV Tropes
  33. ^ Death threats, and "Anno's Revenge" - Evangelion FANDOM wiki
  34. ^ Anno forced Megumi Ogata to choke Yuko Miyamura on Evangelion FANDOM Wiki
  35. ^ Who Is Hideaki Anno?
  36. ^ Koji Ide's Evangelion Forever
  37. ^ Final Scene of End of Evangelion on Evangelion FANDOM Wiki
  38. ^ 2deep4u and other memes were commonly used to mock Eva fans
  39. ^ I see, since you know, fans tend to read deep into that kind of thing. Yamaga: Yeah, particularly on Evangelion. They think every little detail has a meaning. (laugh) - The Current Status of GAINAX – Interview:
  40. ^ a b Hideaki Anno's Roundtable Discussion (1996) on EvaWiki
  41. ^ Rei Ayanami Expy on TV Tropes
  42. ^ "Evangelion" Creator Hideaki Anno Discusses Rei Versus Asuka
  43. ^ Tributes to Neon Genesis Evangelion in other Anime and Manga on EvaWiki
  44. ^ Voice of Evangelion’s main character sad to see how often he gets left out of anime group shots
  45. ^ reddit: can someone explain the mari hate in detail
  46. ^ Mari Makinami Illustrious on Evangelion FANDOM Wiki
  47. ^ Evangelion Wiki: NGE Iron Maiden
  48. ^ Evangelion Wiki: NGE Angelic Days
  49. ^ Evangelion Wiki: NGE Shinji Ikari Raising Project
  50. ^ NGE Gakuen Datenroku
  51. ^ Evangelion: ANIMA on MyAnimeList
  52. ^ Reddit: "How the Japanese Eva fandom names ships" by Daumann
  53. ^ a b Kawoshin page on Pixiv's wiki
  54. ^ a b Eva ships on Pixiv's wiki
  55. ^ Mari Makinami Illustrious tag on Pixiv
  56. ^ a b LMS tag on Pixiv
  57. ^ a b Asumari tag on Pixiv
  58. ^ Evangelion
  59. ^ a b LAS and LRS pages on Pixiv's wiki
  60. ^ AO3: Ikari Shinji/Nagisa Kaworu
  61. ^ AO3: Neon Genesis Evangelion Femslash
  62. ^ Ritsumaya tag on Pixiv
  63. ^ Asushin fics on FFN, ordered by reviews. Unlike on AO3, many fics are not tagged.
  64. ^ Reishin fics on FFN, ordered by reviews. The inconsistent tagging also applies.
  65. ^ Archived version of EvaFics
  66. ^ Darkscribes archive
  67. ^ Seele HQ archive
  68. ^ An interview with Rhine, author of from 2004
  69. ^ Archived version
  70. ^ r/Anime's Best Anime Couples Ships bracket from mid-2019, Previous editions: I; II; III; IV.
  71. ^ Asukawo tag on Pixiv
  72. ^ LRK tag on Pixiv
  73. ^ Kensuke Aida tag on Pixiv
  74. ^ Asurei tag on Pixiv
  75. ^ Kajimasu tag on Pixiv
  76. ^ Japanese Evangelion fan-sites on EvaGeeks
  77. ^ List of highest-grossing media franchises on Wikipedia
  78. ^ Popular 'Evangelion' bullet train makes final run
  79. ^ Kotono Mitsuishi Narrates Evangelion-ish Trailer for Shinkalion Film
  80. ^ Eva Store's Character Popularity Poll Yields Surprising Results
  81. ^ This 2020 NHK poll has Asuka, Kaworu, Rei, Shinji, Misato and Mari as the most popular characters.
  82. ^ Most Brutal Ship Wars (SpaceBattles Thread)
  83. ^ reddit: I vote we call the inevitable wave of new people arguing about Rei VS Asuka the “Second Impact” of the Waifu Wars.
  84. ^ Seriously, why do you hate Rebuild of Evangelion? on r/Evangelion
  85. ^ Shin Eva leak general on Evageeks
  86. ^ Alright shippers ,read at your own risk. is this a win for you ? (PS. Leaks not fully confirmed) on r/Evangelion
  87. ^ Megumi Ogata on Twitter
  88. ^ " Otakukart: Does Shinji end up with Mari?
  89. ^ Newtype popularity polls (2021)
  90. ^ 「エヴァってロボットアニメなんですよ」 庵野秀明さんの発言、ファンに衝撃を与える
  91. ^ Final Evangelion Film's Studio Khara Reports Slander, Threats, Criminal Intent Against Staff
  92. ^ Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Assorted Translations on EvaWiki
  93. ^ Miyamura on the 3.0+1.0 booklet
  94. ^ Miyamura Fanicon live stream
  95. ^ Miyamura: 20 Years As Asuka
  96. ^ 『シン・エヴァ』場外乱闘で評価ガタ落ち? 岡田斗司夫を名指し批判して賛否
  97. ^ Maaya Sakamoto will take Mari's secret to the grave.
  98. ^ Moyoco Anno's personal newsletter
  99. ^ First Anniversary Khara Q&A
  100. ^ Evangelion Creator Debunks Popular Fan Theory About Mari
  101. ^ In the Eyes of Hideaki Anno, Writer and Director of Evangelion
  102. ^ reddit:Is this official canon art?
  103. ^ 【悲報】エヴァおじ、脳を破壊されて円盤を全て叩き割る
  104. ^ レイとカヲルの夫妻(子供付)イラストを描いたエヴァスタッフさん、自分も子供を肩車している写真をTwitterに載せる ⇒ 独身エヴァおじさん発狂wwww
  105. ^ Iseki Shuichi on Twitter
  106. ^ NHK Documentary Captures Hideaki Anno's Creative Struggles on Final Evangelion Film
  107. ^ Online Hate Took Evangelion Creator Hideaki Anno To A Dark Place
  108. ^ Evangelion 1.0 Complete Records Collection
  109. ^ 10 Years of Khara, interview with Hideaki Anno
  110. ^ The Final Evangelion Movie Won’t Be the End of the Franchise
  111. ^ Can You Live Off Evangelion Merchandise? by Red Bard on Youtube
  112. ^ Hideaki Anno's Roundtable Discussion
  113. ^ July 2021 cast radio talk