Neon Genesis Evangelion: Season 1 (1995 - 1996)

Season 1
Neon Genesis Evangelion

Critics Consensus

Neon Genesis Evangelion -- both a cultural touchstone for Japan and an uncompromising auteurist vision by creator Hideaki Anno -- doubles as an enthralling apex for the mecha anime genre and as a harrowing exploration of depression -- making for a wholly singular epic about angels and inner demons.



Critic Ratings: 29


Audience Score

User Ratings: 58

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In a world that's only just achieved recovery from a global-wide catastrophe 15 years before, humanity is under attack yet again, this time by gigantic creatures called Angels. Human kind's best and only weapon against the Angles are huge, robotic mecha known as Evas, but the origin of the weapons are shrouded in political secrecy and moral ambiguity - and they can only be piloted by young teenagers. To this end, 14 year old Shinji Ikari arrives in Tokyo-3, summoned by his father to pilot an Evangelion for the salvation of humanity. But can Shinji overcome the sadness and anxiety wrought by years of cold indifference from his powerful father, and can the mysterious Evas truly be controlled?

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Air date: May 13, 2001

Shinji awakens in the hospital, where he's told that he brutally defeated the Angel Sachiel -- but he has no memory of the carnage he wrought while piloting Eva Unit 01. It is time for him to settle into his new life in Tokyo-3, but since his father has no personal interest in him, he is sent to live with the young, attractive, and extremely chaotic Misato Katsuragi, his commanding officer. This strange new life could very well be the closest thing to a real family that Shinji's had in years - but only if he can overcome the pain of his past.

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Air date: May 20, 2001

Shinji tries to acclimate to a normal life in Tokyo-3, and begins school, where he meets his new classmates Kensuke Aida, Hikari Horaki, and the tough-guy Toji Suzuhara. Toji is very angry that his sister was injured in the angel attack, and he is prepared to make Shinji's adjustment a difficult one.

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Air date: May 27, 2001

The pressure to deal with his new responsibilities as an Eva pilot, coupled with the stress of his new home life with Misato prove to be too much and Shinji snaps, running away from home. He decides to quit being a pilot, but he can't be sure of his decision until yet another life-or-death situation arises.

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Air date: Jun 17, 2001

During the initial activation of Evangelion, Unit 00 goes berserk, ejecting the pilot Rei Ayanami as well spending its limited battery power in an attempt to tear apart the test facilities. Shinji Ikari's father Gendou rushes to the rescue of Rei, severely burning his hands in the process of releasing the wounded pilot from Unit 00's ejected entry plug. While NERV is inspecting the remains of the 4th Angel, Shinji notices burns on his father's hands. NERV researcher Ritsuko Ikagi explains the catastrophe involving the activation attempt of Unit 00 to Shinji, since it happened before he arrived. His father's weak spot for Rei confuses Shinji and he begins to question people about her. The evening before the second activation attempt, Ritsuko asks Shinji to deliver Rei's new ID card to her. The second activation attempt with Unit 00 is successful and, almost as if on cue, the 5th Angel arrives. Shinji is sent out in Unit 01 to intercept.

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Air date: Jun 24, 2001

The latest Angel, Ramiel, is shaped like a giant drill that's boring a hole down through the geofront, into NERV headquarters. It's observed to possess the strongest AT field of any Angel yet encountered, so the pilots have to test out a prototype of a new weapon that harnesses power from all over Japan.

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Air date: Jul 1, 2001

NERV's top scientist, Ritsuko Akagi, travels with Misato to a conference, where a rival organization claims to have built a mech fighter better than the Evas called the Jet Alone, which uses nuclear fuel, and doesn't have to be tethered to a power source. When the Jet Alone is brought out for a demonstration, however, catastrophe strikes, leaving Shinji and Misato to prevent a mass-scale tragedy.

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Air date: Jul 8, 2001

Shinji and Rei are about to be joined by a third pilot, the German Asuka Langley Soryu. Misato takes the kids to the UN air craft carrier where they're meeting Asuka and her Eva Unit 02, when they discover that Misato's old flame Kaji will be working with NERV. That surprise is nothing, however, compared to the shock that comes when an Angel shows up, and Asuka's defensive, competitive nature proves to be both a hindrance and an asset.

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Air date: Jul 15, 2001

Asuka moves in with Shinji and Misato and begins attending school with the other pilots, but she doesn't become any easier to get along with. This problem comes to a head when the angel Israfel shows up and after temporarily disabling it, NERV determines that the only way to defeat it is for Shinji and Asuka to work together in perfect synchronization.

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Air date: Jul 22, 2001

The class is gearing up for a school trip to Okinawa, but the pilots are disappointed to be stuck at home, on call in case of an Angel attack. During this time, an Angel that's still in the embryonic stage is discovered deep within the magma of a volcano, and Asuka is sent to retrieve it for research, but soon it becomes apparent that the young Angel is far from harmless.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion: Season 1 Photos

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Critic Reviews for Neon Genesis Evangelion Season 1

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (4)

Combining elements of science fiction, mythology, philosophy and religion, Neon Genesis Evangelion explodes in a lively, garishly colored animated series with hip, contemporary characters that are both thought provoking and entertaining.

Feb 20, 2019 | Full Review…

Evangelion's greatest lesson: life can be confusing -- even terrifying -- but there's joy in being alive to experience it.

Feb 20, 2019 | Full Review…

It is ultimately a show about depression, about the depths and reach of loss. And it does justice to these heavy topics with a maturity and originality uncommon in Western television. It's not a happy show, but it is a phenomenal one.

Feb 19, 2019 | Full Review…

The show introduces a brilliant chicken-and-egg conundrum: Do humans define machines, or do machines define us?

Jun 21, 2019 | Full Review…

The post-apocalypse is a backdrop so often taken for granted in sci-fi entertainment that to see something treat such a premise this starkly is startling.

Feb 26, 2020 | Full Review…

Classic anime series is violent, introspective.

Jul 30, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Few pieces of mass-marketed media have ever relayed as many specific truths about humanity as Evangelion does while still ripping as a gloriously dorky robot saga.

Jul 3, 2019 | Full Review…

Audiences marveled at the thought of piloting giant mechanical beasts, but Studio Gainax and writer/director Hideaki Anno had another idea -- what if piloting giant mech wasn't cool, but instead downright terrifying?

Jun 19, 2019 | Full Review…

If it speaks to you, then that's wonderful, and welcome to this shared understanding of such a weird and moving piece of art.

Jun 25, 2019 | Full Review…

While Netflix's release of Evangelion is by no means perfect, the series itself is a masterpiece and a rite of passage for anyone who watches anime.

Jun 24, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Evangelion is a frightening, violent, and brutally sad series, whose end, while insanely unexpected, is quite uplifting, above it all -- just not in the gung-ho friendship-and-love way that traditional mecha anime series usually are.

Jun 24, 2019 | Full Review…

So far so pulpy, right? That's exactly what the show wants you to think... Neon Genesis Evangelion even indulges this for a good five or six episodes. Then it gets weird. Then it becomes a masterpiece.

Jun 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Neon Genesis Evangelion: Season 1

  • Oct 07, 2020
    I truly wish to give it more than that. But I can't. I liked the characters, their development and their respective relationships for the most part (you can't spell Asuka without "suka" whilst PenPen had more personality than Rei... And he's a flipping penguin) enjoyed the music, the premise, the religious themes and connotations... Even the pseudo psychoanalysis was interesting, albeit everyone can figure out a main theme early in the show. Obviously, the end was just not quite there. What the flip was that? What happened to everyone else? How did it end for them? What did they think? I had to watch the film for some closure and because of that it knocks it down a peg. Also, I believe I may be quite dense... But I had to look up the terminologies so many times because I was getting bamboozled. Either the show was confusing itself, or I am quite dim. Nevertheless, if you want to feel bummed out and hopeful at the same time then give this a go. It's worth a watch.
  • Sep 22, 2020
    This series takes the best of everything and puts it together in one neat, entertaining and though-provoking package. It has some of the best characters ever and the events are so densely intertwined that the more times you watch it, the better it becomes. Of course, to top it all off, it has one of the best soundtracks ever and the opening and endings are always used so well. This is my favorite piece of media ever and everyone should give it a shot.
  • Sep 20, 2020
    Teenage angst and giant robots. Timeless.
  • Aug 25, 2020
    A confusing amalgam of science fiction, religion, philosophy, self-loathing, and possibly love? None of the main characters are mature enough to handle the monumental responsibilities given to them, they bounce violently between the dichotomies of inaction and action; irresponsibility and responsibility; hate and love within themselves and between one another. Undertones of religion and philosophy are used as a backdrop to provide a possible remedy to the inner turmoil that plagues them to no avail. An accurate portrait of the 21st century as we are ourselves are trying to make sense of the world anew as our religions and philosophies give way.
  • Aug 07, 2020
    8.0. NGE is much more than battle robots fighting aliens, and if it isn't apparent in the first episodes, the last few will be sure to show you. NGE explores adolescence and the coming of age with self doubted Shinji, shy Rei, and annoying yet captivating Asuka. Yet even as it delves into the psychological issues each character faces, NGE has an abundance of action with unique Angels that pose a new threat every episode. While its abstract aspect of the series is both a blessing and a curse, NGE stands out as an influential anime through time.
  • Aug 01, 2020
    It shares the same common flaws from which many modern animes suffer, even when it is from 1995: weak and whiny protagonist who can't defend himself; awkward conversations about pseudo-philosophy and -psychology; one dimensional characters whose personality (the little there is) and role could be described with two words; playing the pronoun game (a lot); expecting sympathy without background knowledge; lewd jokes (a lot) which aren't funny; child heroes who fight in gigantic military robots. Sorry, it's just ridiculous.
  • Jul 20, 2020
    Favorite show of all time!
  • Jul 16, 2020
    This is easily one of the worst anime I've ever seen. Almost every character is one-dimensional and can be summed up by one adjective. Shinji is a wimp, Misato is a drunk, Rei is emotionless, Asuka is rude, etc. The world seems interesting and prompts questions, like what are the giant monsters? Where do they come from? Where are the robots from? Almost none of the questions are answered, and those that are only get answered in the last few episodes, meaning the show until then is uninteresting and unsatisfying. The characters have no curiosity about these topics either, nobody questions anything that's happening. The ending is an acid trip that barely seems to relate to the plot and comes out of nowhere with almost no lead up. There's a lack of a memorable soundtrack as well. The only memorable song is the opening theme. I would've dropped this anime by the second episode, but I assumed based on the many high reviews that it must get better. It did not.
  • Apr 10, 2019
    Arguably, the best anime series ever made!
  • Mar 26, 2019
    really good enjoyed it

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