Neon Genesis Evangelion

I’ve never seen a show like it. It’s hard to explain Neon Genesis Evangelion without giving it all away. On the surface, it’s an anime about kids piloting mecha (giant robots) in order to protect a post-apocalypse Tokyo-3 against strange entities known as “angels” while at the same time working for a mysterious organization known as NERV. That may have been a lot to take in, but it moves a lot slower than you think. It’s an incredibly famous and recognizeable anime in Japan or anywhere (I’ve heard it referred to as “Japan’s Star Wars” in terms of cultural phenomenon). For the first time in years, it’s available to be seen again on Netflix. Beyond the controversial new translations of subtitles and dubs, the anime is as good as it ever was 25 years after its original debut and, in my opinion, is a work of art.

How it touches and hints at the range of topics and surprisingly mature, complex themes in such a realistic way (in what was supposed to be a kid’s show!!!) is something you don’t see out of a lot of “mainstream” media. A lot of it rests on it’s auteur-like creator, Hideaki Anno, who draws on his love of the genre and his place as an outsider in society. It’s something to behold in its completion, and the followup movie, End of Eva, rivals Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey in terms of grandeur and awe. As a whole, it genre bends between action, slice of life, coming of age, drama and art film. Underpinned by a feeling of the unknown, it can be as divisive as it is revealing and profound—a work where everyone feels real.

The best thing is, it’s only 26 episodes of 20 minutes each, plus the aforementioned movie. I’ve been trying to get everyone I know to watch it, and so far everyone has loved it—even my friend who hates anime watched it and cried at the ending. Check it out and buckle up for the emotional rollercoaster that is Neon Genesis Evangelion.