YMMV / Neon Genesis Evangelion

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    General 

  • Come for the X, Stay for the Y: Come for the iconic Badass Adorable girl characters, stay for the mecha action, character depth, and deconstruction. And watch Anno cry himself to sleep if Rei was your girl of choice.
  • Critical Dissonance: Has been almost unanimously positively reviewed by professional anime/manga critics, yet it's a very divisive series within the world of anime fandom, partly due to the very dark tone, a cast with so many issues that they're under-developed or unlikable, and an ending that was hard for many to understand, among others. In fact, saying you like it in certain places, you might as well call yourself a snob.
  • First Installment Wins: Despite the debates in the fandom on whether Rebuild of Evangelion is better or worse than the original series as well as Rebuild largely replacing Neon Genesis in merchandise, the TV series has always been the best-remembered and most iconic incarnation of the Evangelion franchise. The franchise is still (in)famous for its True Art Is Angsty reputation despite it being toned down in the first two Rebuild movies and most spinoffs, Rebuild Angels are frequently referred to by their original series names, and Asuka is better-remembered as "Soryu" than as "Shikinami".
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • In the West, the franchise is generally more popular with college/university-age anime fans (some of which grew up with the series) than it is with younger fans, who generally skew towards newer series such as Attack on Titan and One-Punch Man.
    • The show is very popular in Latin America, where at least one of its Spanish dubs is widely considered a Superlative Dubbing and many fans grew up with the series. In an "evangelion shitposting"[sic] group on Facebook, many of the members are Latin Americans and a large portion of the posts are in Spanish despite English being the lingua franca of the group.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Spike Spencer (Shinji) was once married to Kendra Benham (Maya) when the two started their voice acting careers. In fanfiction, Shinji is sometimes paired with Maya.
  • Hype Aversion/Hype Backlash: See Seinfeld Is Unfunny. Suffice to say, there's a divide between the people still singing its praises and the people who feel it hasn't aged particularly well. It doesn't help that people attached to shows that copy Evangelion.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: While Gendo is shown to be quite a cruel and sadistic person, he still makes decisions that are quite sensible. "Guilt-tripping" Shinji with injured Rei? Perhaps, but perhaps he used the only person who was still able to pilot at the moment. Forcing Shinji to fight Toji? But maybe, again, he was just protecting his son, not to mention everyone else, in a situation that could already be not salvaged. Being cold about all that? Maybe it's just in his character. Now, actually, the anime shows a lot of sadism on Gendo's part when he does this stuff. But what if it's Shinji's impression of him, cuz' it's his story? Not to mention how sympathetic Shinji himself is portrayed...
  • Love It or Hate It: Most consider it either the most artistic and literary or one of the most overrated and pretentious series. Rebuild of Evangelion addresses some of the more controversial aspects of the series, and managed to win over some fans disillusioned with the show, resulting in a significant Broken Base over which continuity is better.
  • Periphery Demographic: Evangelion was primarily meant for teens (hence the 14-year-old protagonists), but mostly due to the show's age and very mature and deep content, it has a very active adult fanbase that's much more prominent than for newer shonen series, with some fans even in their 30s or 40s (the late Robin Williams was a fan of the show).
  • Sacred Cow: Due to the anime's sterling reputation with critics and long-lasting legacy, many Eva fans treat their franchise as this, with some of them entering Berserk Mode as soon as anyone dares to criticize their coveted series. For all the debating over whether NGE or Rebuild is the superior canon, bashing NGE is largely considered a Fandom Heresy while doing the same for Rebuild isn't met with as much opposition.
  • Values Dissonance: Asuka & Rei, two fourteen-year-olds, are heavily sexualised - more so in the merchandise than in the actual show, but still. (This seems to be a thing with Studio Gainax in general, given the creepy sexual content involving Naota and Eri in FLCL, who are twelve, and Yoko in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, who is insanely sexualised despite being a fourteen-year-old as well.)

    The Characters 

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Intentional on the creator's part, but especially noteworthy in some cases: is Gendo a manipulative monster, a misunderstood genius, a loving but misguided father who wants to make his son strong, the show's biggest Woobie, or a mix of the four? Is Yui a soft and idealized mother/Virgin Mary figure (close to being the series' Canon Sue), the actual manipulative monster who's responsible for messing up Shinji, Gendo and the fate of the world, or just off her rocker? Is Shinji a neurotic, obnoxious wimp, a normal person dealing with impossibly overwhelming odds, or actually a courageous young hero? Is he "pure" or a pervert with Yandere tendencies? Since we're at it, is Shinji similar to Gendo, his polar opposite, or a complex mix of the two?
    • Speaking of Gendo, was he truly sorry that he literally put Shinji, his own son, through hell, and enjoyed doing so when he apologized to the Eva-01 manifestation, or was he apologizing because he didn't want "Yui" to take out her wrath on him and show him how it feels on the receiving end? The look of abject terror we see in End Of Evangelion strongly suggests the latter.
    • Don't forget the entire organization of Seele: is it a group of monsters out to end the humanity just to create a god, a way too extreme but well-intentioned group who just wants to end the insecurities and suffering that humans suffer because AT field separates them from each other and makes them unable to understand each other? Or maybe they are just bizarre.
    • Is Kaworu a Too Good for This Sinful Earth Tragic Hero who doesn't understand how he hurts Shinji, an Anti-Villain who pulls a HeelĖFace Turn after Shinji shows him love, a Manipulative Bastard who played with Shinji's emotions, or some combination of them? There's enough evidence for each of them, and different depictions of Kaworu pick whichever one they agree with best.
    • The Super Robot Wars games also dabble in this (as they usually do with the series) giving Shinji a backbone and changing story details. For example Toji does not suffer the fate that he does in the TV series and can occasionally join the team as a playable character. Likewise Asuka, in her famous scene from the movie, does not die when she is attacked by the group of EVAs but can actually wipe them out instead.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: Shinji is a far more polarizing character in the West than he is in Japan, to the point that several of the English dub cast members (including Spike Spencer, his own voice actor) dislike and make fun of him.
  • Angst Dissonance: No matter how much hell he goes through, many viewers still attribute Shinji's issues to him just being a whiny, bratty wuss. Not even discovering Unit-02 disemboweled is an adequate excuse for him not taking insane amounts of tragedy, misfortune, cosmic horrors, and near-constant abuse in stride.
  • Awesome Art: Most of the fight scenes are very visually impressive, especially considering the production issues the show faced.
  • Awesome Ego: Asuka has a truly massive ego and is all the more entertaining and adorable for it, even though it's a facade for her low self-esteem and eventually causes her to get into worse and worse situations.
  • Badass Decay
    • Manga Gendo makes for a debatable case, as he's much more emo and pathetic compared to his anime version but also much more cynical, cruel and insane.
      • The same charge has been laid over his confession that he's a pile of self-hate with a social phobia in End of Evangelion as well.
    • Some view Asuka's descent into depression as Badass Decay too (albeit an invoked example), as she was previously established as an incredibly assertive and combative character.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Pretty much every major character.
    • Gendo is ranked around 50% most hated anime character in quite a few polls. This likely overlaps with Love to Hate, though, so it may not be so bad, and many fans praise him for his role as a villain in the series.
    • Shinji is an infamous example; fans either love him for being a very relatable Audience Surrogate with personal issues that hit home for many viewers, or hate him for being an ineffective wuss unlike most other shonen protagonists. Most other continuities try to make Shinji into a more competent character, possibly for this reason.
    • Asuka is one of the most beloved characters (especially in the West), for being a Badass Adorable Fiery Redhead tsundere with a very sympathetic backstory. However, some fans can't stand her abrasive and obnoxious attitude. Asuka also suffers from quite a bit of Hype Backlash due to her popularity, with quite a few people criticizing her and her fanbase for worshipping and overestimating her (similar to the fanbase for Charizard, another red-themed Blood Knight Breakout Character). Tiffany Grant's performance in the English dub doesn't help matters either; some people find her voice endearing, appreciate her more over-the-top histrionics and more fluent German than in the original, and consider Grant to be the definitive voice for Asuka (despite being a dubbed version), while others find that she sounds too old, scratchy, whiny and generally annoying. The former camp also points to the fact that Grant was a genuine fan of the series and her character in it, unlike how Amanda Winn Lee (ADR director and voice of Rei) seemed to treat Evangelion with poor understanding and apathy.
    • Pen-Pen. He's a Plucky Comic Relief Funny Animal who clashes somewhat with the dark tone of the series (especially in its latter half), but he isn't as cartoonish or zany as his archetype suggests: he's largely silent and his antics are fairly understated. Some fans find him cute, funny and inoffensive, while others think that he doesn't fit in the series and see him as The Scrappy.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: The franchise is infamous for churning out merchandise of Rei and Asuka in various gimmicky, sexualized outfits like clockwork. An example.
  • Crazy Awesome: In direct opposition to the above trope is the more recent trend in fanon to think of/portray Shinji as this.
  • Crack Pairing
    • As improbable as it may sound, a Kaworu x Asuka ship has been astoundingly popular since the former's debut, as seen here , here , and here . Also a case of Ships That Pass in the Night, given the two never interacted, at least in canon. The fact that Kaworu hijacked Asuka's Eva unit also makes for ample Fanfic Fuel of the Slap-Slap-Kiss variety.
    • The series is both old and popular enough for almost every possible pairing to have been written and/or drawn about at least a few times no matter how improbable, up to and including Kensuke/Ritsuko. The Video Game Adaptation NGE 2 only adds fuel to the fire, as it allows the player to control any of the main and supporting cast and date whoever they want to.
  • Die for Our Ship
  • Double Standard: Some people consider Shinji and Asuka to both be annoying characters due to the former not being assertive enough and the latter being too brash. When you look at their backstories, it becomes clear that they were both essentially exposed to the same things as kids, but they dealt with them in two entirely different ways. Thus, Shinji becomes extremely quiet and introverted, while Asuka hid it by becoming loud, prideful and aggressive. Both of them do this because they don't want to be hurt. Were their personalities swapped, there would likely be less complaining due to gender role stereotypes.
    • There's also all the flak Shinji gets for being "whiny", especially in the West, when throughout the course of the show, it's probably Asuka who spends the most time angsting — not that she doesn't have cause to — particularly when you consider that she's not quite as major a character as Shinji, and only arrived on the show several episodes in anyway. It's just that Shinji happens to be our main protagonist, so we get his point of view for the most part.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ensemble Darkhorse
    • Kaworu. From being the only person to express love for Shinji to being the only Child who's generally happy-looking, he's well loved by the fans.
      • In a Newtype poll in 2010, Kaworu was ranked as the 2nd most popular male anime character of the 1990's. Yeah...
    • Kaji, to a lesser degree. Toji Suzuhara is also popular. Maybe the reason he ultimately ended up more important than his classmates Kensuke and Hikari.
    • On the villainous side, the Angel Zeruel and Ramiel are incredibly popular to this day.
  • Epileptic Trees: The series never explicitly states just whose soul is in Unit-00. However, implications and dug-up evidence points towards it being a part of Rei's soul, specifically the Rei I version, in a case similar to what happened to Kyoko's split soul in Unit-02.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Gendo Ikari is one of the most famous and memorable villains in anime. His voice is cool, he's a Sharp Dressed Man, his Scary Shiny Glasses and Finger-Tenting are iconic, he's so much of a Magnificent Bastard that he manipulates the Big Bad committee and comes dangerously close to achieving his own personal victory, and his backstory and the explanation for his personality even make him a little sympathetic.
    • Some of the Angels also have their fans, such as Sachiel and Ramiel.
    • Subverted for Kaworu. While he's an Angel and inherently an antagonist, not only is he morally ambiguous, but his less-than-villainous role and kind personality are part of why he's such a popular character; a popular fan nickname for him is "Gay Space Jesus".
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Shinji/Asuka is the fan-favorite pairing due to the obvious Belligerent Sexual Tension between the two. It's very common in fan works for the two to finally express their feelings to each other and get together.
    • Shinji/Kaworu for yaoi shippers, the fandom exploded after the release of 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Historically, Asuka has been a far more popular character than Rei among Western audiences, whereas the complete opposite is true in Japan — even Word of God has commented on this. Of course, Rei is still quite popular in the US and Asuka popular in Japan as well, as evidenced by all the Fanservice-based merchandise for them in both areas. However, this generalization isn't completely clear-cut, as both Asuka and Rei win character popularity polls in Japan; Rei was the clear winner on both sides of the Pacific during the series' heyday, while Asuka has become more popular over time to the point of rivaling and occasionally surpassing Rei.
    • Speaking of Asuka, she's popular enough on this wiki to be the Image Source for several tropes (Fiery Redhead, Jerkass Woobie, Broken Smile, Offing the Offspring and Leave the Camera Running to name a few).
    • Ramiel is inexplicably popular in the English-speaking fanbase.
  • Ho Yay: Kaworu and Shinji. Episode 24 basically drives it home as hard as it possibly can in under twenty-five minutes of time, what with the two explicitly stating their love for one another on separate occasions, the whole holding hands-in-the-shower scene, and Shinji almost constantly blushing and being incredibly open to Kaworu in almost all of their scenes together, Kaworu blushing and telling Shinji "I really was born to meet you"... yeah. The manga, while it portrays a more antagonistic and one-sided relationship (although eventually realized as mutual) between the two, goes even further than the anime in this regard, and explicitly makes Kaworu kiss Shinji at one point (well, Shinji was hyperventilating, and Kaworu couldnít find a bag, but the nature of the scene is ambiguous).
    • Female example: Maya's crush on Ritsuko.
  • Hype Backlash: Given its enduring popularity and its status as one of the most talked-about and imitated anime, this is to be expected.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Because Rei and Asuka are so iconic in the anime sphere and well-known even to non-fans for being Badass Adorable archetype-definers, they in themselves help draw a lot of people to the series. For Asuka in particular, some fans only really pick up interest starting with her debut in Episode 8 (or for Rebuild of Evangelion, the second movie). This happens a lot with fans of the various expies that they spawned, such as Yuki Nagato and Kyoko Sakura respectively. This is one reason why Shinji is a Base-Breaking Character, since some people would rather follow the two girls than his constant, wangsty internal conflicts.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Shinji. Let's see, he gets paired up with Kaworu, Asuka, and Rei, like always. But he also gets paired with Hikari, Mana, Maya, Mayumi, Misato, Ritsuko, Toji, Kensuke, Kaji, even his parents... basically, everyone.
  • Love to Hate: Gendo.
  • Magnificent Bastard
    • Gendo. He manipulated everything and everyone from the very beginning, using and discarding people like puppets for his own ends, and planning ahead in a manner that would make the original Trope Namer proud. What's really impressive is that he managed to completely manipulate SEELE, who are an entire evil council of Manipulative Bastards. The only reason he didn't get exactly what he wanted in the end was because he didn't count on Rei actually developing human feelings and growing to care for Shinji.
      • That's also the only reason Seele didn't get exactly what they wanted, and they arguably still did. They certainly came closer than Gendo to their ultimate goal.
    • Yui Ikari also qualifies, thanks to certain scenes during End of Evangelion.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • People say Gendo's omniscient in his manipulations. He might as well be. Because of Gendo, steepled fingers have become a way to make you feel like a Magnificent Bastard. See also the "Gendo pose" on the Internet. One word: GENDOWNED. Ironic in a way, as his final words make it quite clear that he's actually an adult Shinji, terrible understanding of people and all.
    • In a similar vein to Kamina, Asuka is often held up as the series' "ultimate badass" due to her Hot-Blooded attitude and her in-universe reputation, along with her looks and her cute tsundere personality giving fans more reasons to admire her. This is despite the fact that she starts to frequently suffer from The Worf Effect, has severe Badass Decay as an important part of her character arc, and actually has very low self-esteem and is an emotional wreck much like Shinji, but expressed in a different way. As such, some fans hold her up as an "overrated" character due to her popularity and inflated fan reputation. However, this is somewhat justified by her spectacular final battle in End of Evangelion, even if it ended horribly for her.
  • Memetic Loser: Shinji was meant to be a deconstruction of a typical anime action hero, a guy who really wasn't cut out for fighting horrifying monsters and who suffered extreme emotional problems because of it. He also lacks a backbone when dealing with the other characters, and almost never stands up for himself. Some viewers expected he would come into his own like Noriko Tayaka note , but the angst fest the series became means he only got more and more screwed up. It's a topic of heavy debate whether he was an effective examination of his character type, or if he was just too whiny to be sympathetic. Pretty much every spin off (including the manga and Rebuild of Evangelion movies) writes Shinji to be more confident, which makes it seem like it wasn't just the casual viewers who had a problem with his portrayal. note 
  • Misaimed Fandom: Rei Ayanami, as noted under Moe below. This was arguably because she was portrayed sympathetically; instead of thinking she was creepy, viewers wanted to give her a hug.
  • Moe:
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Whenever Asuka says "anta baka?!"/"what are you, stupid?!". D'awww.
  • Never Live It Down: Like him or not, Shinji masturbating over a comatose Asuka would leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Asuka and Shinji's "Asushin", Kaworu and Shinji's "Kawoshin", and, interestingly enough, Rei and Asuka's "Asurei".
  • Ron the Death Eater: There are a surprising large amount of fanfics out there that have Kaji cheating on Misato as the reason they originally broke up, despite extended scenes in the anime directly contradicting this. And that's saying nothing on what some fans do to Kaworu in Shinji shippings.
  • Shinji gets a great deal of hate in the fandom for his perceived Wangst despite the fact that a tiny fraction of what he goes through has broken characters far, far more confident and assertive than himself both before and after his debut. So much so that some fans equate him with Hitler, despite the fact that Shinji had absolutely zero control over anything that happened in End Of Evangelion, until after he found himself swallowed up by the Rei+Lilith fusion, and by that point, everybody else had already been reduced to "Tang."
  • The Scrappy: Naoko Akagi is hated for the irreprehensible act of strangling a small child to death.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Pairing Kaworu with Asuka is surprisingly popular, despite the fact that the latter spends the entirety of the former's screentime unconscious in a hospital room. Pairing Kaworu with Rei has much more plausibility, given their shared backgrounds and the subtle but powerful interactions they have in their limited screentime together, but is still mostly a case of this as they say all of three sentences to each other in total.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The representative dismissing NERVís methods. He criticizes their use of manned Evas that put a huge emotional strain on their pilots and generally rely too heavily on fallible humans, canít be controlled when they go berserk (ĎLike a hysterical woman!í), are energy-inefficient (they can go for only 5 minutes when not plugged to an energy source, while the Jet Alone can go on for months), and cost a lot of money that is sorely needed elsewhere, e.g. employment opportunities in the US (the only opponent of increasing NERVís budget) and the 20,000 people dying of starvation in Japan alone. Even worse, he makes the Ďhysterical womaní comparison while talking to Ritsuko, who later on destroys the Rei clones in a fit of jealousy, and Casper, the computer based on her motherís personality as a woman, foils her attempt to make NERVís HQ self-destruct and stop Instrumentality. It can be argued just how much of a point he actually has though, considering other events in the series.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Asuka's singing voice is unusually babyish and adorable, which is ironic considering how she's the most aggressive and callous of the three female leads. It makes sense considering her childhood trauma and Sour Outside, Sad Inside, as well as the "dere-dere" half of her character archetype.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Well, more like they wasted a perfectly good character backstory, but Aoba never gets his potentially angsty past (given the way he got Tanged in EOE) expanded upon, not even in the spin-offs.
  • Too Cool to Live
    • Charismatic, wisecracking, and perhaps the main person Shinji (and in the manga, Asuka too) can have for a good father replacement? Way to seal your fate, Kaji.
    • Kaworu is incredibly kind, compassionate, and selflessly loving towards Shinji, aka the boy who has been shunned and rejected by other people for nearly his whole life, either because his own actions or not... and he dies in the same episode he is introduced.
  • Ugly Cute: Believe it or not, some fans consider Sachiel to be this.
  • Uncanny Valley: Anno wrote and designed Rei to serve as this. For the major part — which is really an understatement — it completely and utterly failed. Even so, there are still people here and there who see her as creepy and inhumane. Even then, she does show emotions....
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Rei Ayanami. See Misaimed Fandom above.
  • Unwanted Harem: Being the only major fighting male pilot in the series that lasts the whole series, Shinji is often hooked up with the female cast, even if some are way too old for him.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Similar to his status as a Memetic Loser, many fans find Shinji to be overshadowed by the highly varied, highly unique supporting cast.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Occasionally happens when Maya is mistaken for Shinji, and the other way around. The source of this confusion is that, Word of God, Shinji's character design is actually a female head slapped onto a male body: he's based on Nadia, the main character from Gainax's previous series, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, just with shorter bangs and the jewelry removed. So when people accuse Maya of looking "butch" it's actually the other way around: Shinji is based on a girl. Maya is just how Gainax draws generic girls. This has actually led to some Epileptic Trees saying that Shinji and Maya are related in some way.
  • Wangst: This is a common complaint about the show, especially about Shinji himself. Of course, opinions on whether the characters have justified reasons for their angst are subjective, like other things on the show. Shinji is a very special case when it comes to Wangst designation, in that people agree that the amount of Shinji's angst is completely justified considering what happens to him, but they still find it excessive anyway. Asuka also gets stuck with the same situation, and it seems to be one of the more inevitable consequences of having a Dysfunction Junction series with such a high Dysfunction/Instability quotient that it's a wonder any of the characters can actually function at all.
  • The Woobie: Everyone, to some extent. Except possibly SEELE.

    The Story 
  • Anvilicious: Did you know that people are full of ugly fears and impulses? Also, did you know that modern technologies are a mixed blessing? Or that science doesn't have the answer to everything?
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Although it has obtained fans, and hard-core ones at that, the reality is that taking the elements at face value will drive one type of audience or another off. Those who want a typical Super Robot show (especially with GAINAX now having produced shows like Gurren Lagann) will be driven off by the show's unrelenting darkness and focus on character drama (or rather the absurd amounts of Dysfunction Junction) and those who want character drama may not like the fact that said character drama depends greatly on demolishing Super Robot tropes. There is a third camp to note, as well-those who come to see the show because it defined a certain approach to Mecha anime that is now occasionally copied... and for this group the possibility exists of the show falling into Seinfeld Is Unfunny territory (as explained below).
  • Awesome Music: Enough to have its own page.
  • Better Than Canon: Thanks in part to Adaptation Distillation and less navel gazing, there are those who feel that the manga has produced a stronger story than the anime.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Jet Alone episode... never comes up again. Aside from giving a Moment of Awesome to Misato, foreshadowing the Mass-production EVA units, and filling some space, it doesn't ever show up again.
  • Broken Base: One of the few irrefutable statements that can be made about Evangelion is that it is the most divisive anime ever. Virtually everything about this series has been, is, and will be the topic of heated debate. Is [insert character here] a sympathetic character? Do the religious allusions really mean anything? Did the series change direction over its run, or was it all planned out from the beginning? Which ending is better? Are they the same, or do they conflict? Is the English dub as good as, better than, or vastly inferior to the Japanese? Is the series itself one of the greatest in the history of anime — or even cinema — or merely one of the most overrated? Can the live-action movies be done right? Which girl would you bang? If you wonder it for even a second, there is absolutely no question that it has been the subject of fierce debate inside or outside the fandom. The fact that, one way or the other, people generally tend to form very strong opinions about this series helps cement it firmly within this trope.
  • The Chris Carter Effect: The original series hit this trope hard by completely dropping the plot for the last two episodes, but with the addition of The End of Evangelion, its placement under this trope became ambiguous. Some felt that The Movie provided an adequate payoff for all, or at least most of the plot threads built up over the course of the series; others felt that it was just another cop-out.
  • Cult Classic: The series itself, outside of Japan, especially as the fandom has aged over time. While obscure outside of the anime fandom, it's very well-known and held up as an anime milestone (good or bad) within it. In Japan, it's about as mainstream as Star Trek or The Matrix.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A high possibility exists of feeling this, because the show goes out of its way to deny the characters any happiness (and if they do obtain it, expect it to be taken away from them with extreme prejudice in short order), "everything goes From Bad to Worse" is an understatement, the Big Bad Ensemble holds all the cards throughout the show and in the end, by all means and purposes, win (except for the little detail that Rei gives control of Third Impact to Shinji instead of Gendo—but Shinji is so shattered by then that the ending is a very small reed of hope in an insanely weird and depressive sea of uncertainty.)
  • Ear Worm
    • Listening to "Cruel Angel's Thesis" is like eating Pringles: you can't do it just once.
    • Komm, Süsser Todd (Come, Sweet Death). Tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down...
    • Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude (the piece that played during the Mind Screw live action sequence) is a piano piece that's equally melancholy and soothing.
    • Twenty-two versions of "Fly Me To The Moon" will catch up to you. There's also "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" (the theme song), the infamous "Komm, Süsser Tod" (which becomes really creepy when you consider the lyrics), and "Good or Don't Be", the instrumental version of the main theme that plays in the background of the infamous "Congratulations!" scene.
    • The Spanish version of Cruel Angel's Thesis is very good.
  • Eight Deadly Words: Detractors of the series frequently point this out as a problem. With a bleak story and ineffectual heroes in comparison to the villains, who pretty much succeed in their plans, it's pretty easy to stop caring about the characters.
  • Ending Aversion: For the half of the fans that hate End and consider it to be a horribly written, pointless Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending that involves numerous Ass Pulls and Take That, Audience!. The ending is so badly received that a sizable portion of the fanfics are devoted to fans coming up with their endings, which some argue are Better Than Canon.
  • Epileptic Trees: If you thought that the show was disturbing and insane, you clearly haven't read the Fan Wank. One could basically go on forever given just how much there is out there.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending:
    • In The End of Evangelion. Almost all of humanity has become one. They have the power to go back to their individual selves, if they have the will to live and find happiness, but apparently... most chose not to.
    • The manga ending might be quite happy on the surface, but elements of it carries some rather disturbing underlying implications. Shinji might be a more stable and optimistic person and the world seems a happier place, but by all appearances that is only because his and everyone else's memories appears to has been removed as an effect of Instrumentality. The ending seems, at least unintentionally, to argue that ignorance truly is bliss and that literally forgetting your problems completely is the real answer if you are struggling with feelings of depression, which clashes against the series' main message about facing up to your problems as running away from them will only make them worse, and comes across as somewhat of a Broken Aesop.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Works particularly well. Shinji as a pathetic messiah/Jesus figure; the Jesus imagery/connotations that can be applied to Yui, Rei and Kaworu; Gendo as Judas, Satan or the antichrist, or alternately as the God of the Old Testament; angels/apostles; crosses... It's hard to tell whether the Eva verse is meant as a kind of Hell or as a purgatory, though...
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Due to the series' aforementioned divisive nature, so much as starting a discussion thread about it on certain message boards can result in this. However, one of the biggest ones for hardcore Eva fans in the west is Amanda Winn Lee, the ADR director of some parts of the English dub and its voice actress for Rei. There are two main reasons for this; the first is because she demonstrates a poor understanding of the series and of some aspects of Japanese culturenote  all while acting like a know-it-all and shamelessly promoting her dub work in the series' various commentary tracks, with End of Evangelion having the most infamous commentary track. The second reason is that she seemed to treat the series with disdain in later years, in contrast to other cast members such as Spike Spencer and especially Tiffany Grant who seemed fond of their roles, characters and the series in general.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Given how it's one of the most (in)famous series in the anime world, it's bound to run into competition
    • Since the 90s, several fans has started a rivalry between Evangelion and fellow Humongous Mecha series Gundam. Some people have come to believe that Evangelion is deep and philosophical while all of Gundam is childish and stupid, conveniently ignoring that Gundam also has a dark War Is Hell theme and has very serious entries like Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. While mostly discredited, this stereotype prevails to this day, much to annoyance of Gundam fans. Conversely, the opposing belief is that Gundam is Closer to Earth and more relatable while Evangelion relies too much on grotesque shock value and pretentious Faux Symbolism. This latter view holds much more of a sway over today's anime fandom.
    • Evangelion and Puella Magi Madoka Magica fans have formed rivalries over which entry is the better Genre Deconstruction (respectively of Humongous Mecha and Magical Girl). The same rivalry occurs between Evangelion fellow mecha deconstruction Bokurano. Although Hideaki Anno himself is a huge fan of Madoka, praising it for the same kind of ruthless Deconstruction of a popular genre that he was trying to do.
    • Evangelion and RahXephon fans are rather contentious towards each other given how much RahXephon borrows from Eva. This of course is rather ironic given how their respective directors are good friends who worked on many projects together.
  • Fan Hater: Ditto.
  • Fan Myopia: Due to the amount of critical praise the show has received, the fandom has a tendency to overestimate itself. It's gotten to the point where it's seen very frequently on this wiki.
  • Fanon: A general note: so many things about the series and its mythos are implied and left open to interpretation, rather than explicitly stated, that drawing the line between canon and fanon can in some cases be extremely difficult, if not downright impossible. As a rule of thumb: if you heard it from somebody on the Internet (including This Very Wiki and even Wikipedia), or in a magazine, or at a convention, or even in the freaking DVD special features - don't assume it's canon. Hell, even the creators themselves tend to make contradictory statements about the series, so you might not want to trust them so much either.
    • No, Gendo and Fuyutsuki never actually have a drinking party in the series. And no, Shinji isn't some kind of sex master, thank you very much. This also extends to Misato's father's name; Hikari's sisters' personalities; Shinji's wardrobe; and many other things. The "SEELE dudes" have been given the fanon names Teddy, Vlad, Nigel, and Pierre.
    • Also worth noting: No matter how you might remember it, Gendo does not officially have a theme song.
  • Fan Wank/Wild Mass Guessing: Sustains nourishment from these.
  • Faux Symbolism: Debate rages to this day (and on this very wiki) regarding the degree to which the religious symbolism is meaningful, but at least according to one statement from assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki (whose other work you may be familiar with), most of it was thrown in simply to make the series appear "mystical" as much of the "symbolism" is not actually used correctly.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In episode 9, Toji wonders aloud if only weirdos are chosen to be Eva pilots. Come episodes 17 and 18...
    • Especially because he may actually be right. As it's revealed towards the end of the series that the Evas all have to have the souls of their pilot's mother inside them, this means that Parental Abandonment is essentially a requirement to qualify as an Eva pilot.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The first half of the show is a fairly straightforward — albeit highly entertaining — character-driven mecha series. Starting around episodes 14 and 15, the focus shifts decisively from the Monster of the Week battles onto the relationships, internal struggles, and schemes of the characters as the pacing picks up, the action and drama become more intense, and the series gets progressively darker. It's in the latter half of the series that it develops an identity truly its own.
    • The English dub also takes some time to grow its beard. For the first few episodes it is admittedly rather clumsy and over-the-top (albeit no more so than most dubs of its time), leading many viewers to dismiss it entirely and question why it was ever so well-loved in the first place. Around the time of Asuka's introduction it starts noticeably improving, and the main cast become progressively better as the series goes on, until by the end of the show they are delivering the iconic, emotional performances that fans love them for.
    • Jump the Shark: For fans who preferred it as a mecha series without heavy melodrama and Mind Screw, the same turning point marks this.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Shinji utters this quote in the DVD release in response to the series' Gainax Ending:
      Shinji: Okay, the movie better sure as Hell make up for this, I'm telling you right now, 'cause I'm stuck in Nowhereland!
    • Come End of Evangelion, where everyone — save Shinji, and later Asuka, who are actually stuck in Nowhereland, surrounded by a sea of Lilith's blood and decomposing body parts — has become part of the sea of LCL. Despite that, however, there's still an underlying hope that others, like Asuka has done, will come back, because they have the will to live and find happiness, and eventually rebuild civilization.
    • The suicide of Ritsukoís mother Naoko comes off as way creepier after the suicide of Robin Williams, who was probably Eva’s most famous fan.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Aoba's Instrumentality scene can be downright hilarious once you realize his (English) voice actor is married to Rei's (English) voice actress. Let the Freudian subtext wash over you.
    • At the end of the DVD Commentary for The End of Evangelion, Jason C. Lee and Taliesin Jaffe make a crack about the (un)likelihood of Eva 2: Electric Boogaloo. 10 years later, guess what one of the fastest-growing fan theories about Rebuild is...
    • Also in the commentary, at one point during Asuka's battle Amanda Winn Lee notes that The End of Evangelion came out around the same time as Titanic (1997), and notes how amusing it would be if Leonardo Dicaprio happened to be on one of the ships Asuka and Eva Unit-2 attack. A few years later, this clip gets made as part of AMV Hell.
    • In episode fifteen, before Asuka kisses Shinji, she says "Here I come!" triumphantly. Five minutes into End of Evangelion and... he did.
    • Shinji fights Angels and arguably falls in love with one (or, in the manga, admits to being attracted to one). Megumi Ogata, who voiced Shinji, later voiced the angelesque Yue, plus the person-shaped can heís sealed in, Yukito Tsukishiro. Even more hilarious when you compare NGEís intro and Cardcaptor Sakuraís third intro.
    • People always noted that Shinji continues to use a Walkman, even given the advanced technology present in the rest of the world. Come 2015, Sony announces an updated model, the same year the story takes place in.
  • Internet Backdraft: Evangelion generates so much heated debate that some forums forbade launching threads about it.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Who doesn't know about the endings to the series nowadays?
    • Unit 01 is Yui Ikari, aka Shinji's mother.
    • Kaworu dying in the very same episode he is introduced in.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Though what part of the fandom is misaimed is up for tremendous debate.
  • Moral Event Horizon: SEELE deliberately engineered Second Impact by tricking the Katsuragi Expedition into waking Adam in order to fulfil their plans. Or to put it differently: SEELE wilfully orchestrated a massive disaster that inflicted horror, chaos, and misery on a global scale for years and ended up causing a death-toll of in the ballpark of 3 billion people, while gambling the rest of Earth's population in a war against the Angels, who by the by had an Instant-Win Condition on their side, just so they could have a shot at achieving godhood.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The characteristic "ping" of an AT field, regardless of whether it's used by friend or foe.
  • Narm: Most of the series's more intense moments are so extremely serious that they will either come off as utterly spellbinding or hilariously over-the-top, depending on the viewer. Even many fans who adore the show agree that its dramatic extremes and rampant weirdness make it ripe for lampooning.
  • Narm Charm: The English dub; while the quality doesn't hold up that well 20 years on, it was excellent and highly praised at the time, and many of the cast members were fellow geeks and fans of the show (most notably Tiffany Grant) and poured a lot of heart, soul and personality into their characters. Even some of the weaker moments have their fans, such as the now-memetic "EVERY SINGLE MISSILE HIT THE TARGET!!!!"
  • Never Live It Down
    • Eva has the reputation of "that one robot show that nobody understands". In reality, it's actually pretty easy to understand on the surface, at least until the ending; it's only when you start looking deeper, and more into the symbolism of things, that it starts getting rather confusing. Supplementary information has also been released to clear up some of the more confusing areas... but only in Japan.
    • The fandom doesn't show any signs of forgiving Shinji for masturbating over Asuka while she was comatose anytime soon, even though he explicitly stated that he was disgusted with what he had just done.
    • As noted above in Double Standard, Shinji has always flanderized by the general fandom into a wangsty coward who would faint or break into tears if he so much as get a paper cut. In the actual series, while still defined mostly by his emotional depression, Shinji actually doesn't whine as much as other characters like Asuka.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Rei was meant to fit in the Uncanny Valley as a deconstruction of the Moe archetype. Apparently someone in the animation department didn't get the memo, since half the time she's utterly adorable.
  • Rewatch Bonus: This series has a very dense plot. If you only watched it once, you probably missed something. Watch it again, and you'll notice a lot of foreshadowing.
  • Running the Asylum: Shinji Ikari Raising Project, like most of the show's spinoff products, is quite obviously done by a Promoted Fanboy, is entirely powered by Mythology Gag and Fanservice, and is incredibly Doujinshi-esque. The same could be said about the Angelic Days manga. Not that we complain; it's Eva characters, so we'll buy it.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny:
    • Good gravy. The show's a cracking good watch, even today; but to a modern viewer, some of it might seem pretty cliche, Rei in particular. However, you have to remember that everybody copied this show like mad, after it aired in 1995. Strange, godlike robots; everyone having emotional problems, conspiracies within conspiracies; noodle-like protagonists... for anime, it all really did start here.
    • The English dub. It was highly acclaimed at the time for being full of woolseyisms and adapting the original script very well. Additionally, most televised anime in the West was aimed at children at the time,note  which made the uncensored, adult-oriented Evangelion dub stand out more along with its brethren such as Cowboy Bebop. However, it also suffered from a few awkward translation and pronunciation issues compared to modern anime. Because many viewers at the time were unacquainted with Japanese culture, some lines were translated awkwardly for easier understanding, such as "oni, a Japanese devil" in the first episode despite the show taking place in Japan. Additionally, many characters have a slight Texan accent due to ADV Films being located in Houston, and almost all Japanese names are pronounced with an American accent as well (rather than attempting the Japanese pronunciation as modern anime dubs do). Finally, some characters, such as Ritsuko, can come across as overacted or underacted. All of these problems would be addressed in later anime (including Rebuild of Evangelion) by FUNimation and other dubbing companies, which also have the benefit of larger budgets for dubbing than during The '90s. As a result, the Evangelion dub can feel slightly dated to some people, and is a more of a Love It or Hate It case than it was during the show's heyday, especially with a more sophisticated Internet bringing easier access to the original Japanese versions of shows.
  • Shallow Parody: The ĎGet in the fucking robot Shinji’ meme. The Evas are not robots!
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Bardiel incident.
    • Unit 01 curb-stomping and eating the Zeruel.
    • Shinji masturbating over a comatose Asuka.
    • And of course, the endings to both the TV series and The End of Evangelion.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Getting along with people and finding your own self-worth can be a long, hard struggle, but itís one thatís worth it.
    • Basically, the entire last scene of episode 26 of the original airing.
    • Running away from life because it's painful won't solve your problems.note 
    • The Hysterical Woman concept and the seemingly insurmountable rift between men and women are bullshit, men and women really are Not So Different.note  This is a message that, as Jon Stewart demonstrates, definitely bears repeating even in the mid-New Tens.
  • Squick
    • End of Evangelion pegs the Squickometer multiple times; heck, even Shinji has been touched (ahem) by the disease. There's also pretty much everything Gendo does, especially in The End of Evangelion.
    • The whole Shinji-Rei relationship has some subtext for you.
    • The manga goes extremely far in making all the Freudian implications explicit when Shinji, trapped in the Eva, is "tempted" by a seductive apparition of naked Yui, or rather Unit 01's Angelic side in her guise. Even for Evangelion, that scene was seriously disturbing.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • Zig-zagged. While the English dub was highly praised when first released, it has become more divisive over time due to the quality of anime dubs improving in general, as well as controversy over Amanda Winn Lee, one of the most prominent figures in the dub. Despite this, some people love the dub for its Narm Charm and for many of its cast members being fellow anime nerds, most famously Tiffany Grant whose sheer geeky adoration of Asuka shows through in her depiction of the character as a histronic Large Ham.
    • One English dub voice that's consistently praised is that of Gendo Ikari (Tristan MacAvery) in the first dub. MacAvery provides the character with a voice that's at once very menacing, very charismatic and very cool, and also nails the character's more emotional moments.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: the "Decisive Battle" track has quite a few similarities with "007" theme used in From Russia with Love.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: A lot of the changes in the manga have gotten this reaction.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • When it comes to using religious symbolism so haphazardly, such as where every Angel explodes to the point where you'd start thinking it was Bomberman laying the fatmans. Now, before you hit the edit key, think: how many times did the crucifix relate to the scene it appeared in? (Everybody Is Jesus in Purgatory notwithstanding)
    • Touji He is rarely brought up again other than a few casual mentions. Mostly on the idea if it was really Shinji's fault for not fighting him or if he has hard feeling towards Shinji. He isn't mentioned in the movie when Shinji's at his lowest point. Some fans still question if he could have fought off or it was all his fault in the first place. They aren't alone because the manga blames Shinji entirely which kills Touji off instead of sparing him.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Many people who love Neon Genesis Evangelion cite this as one of the series' strengths, and use it as a point against the first two Rebuild of Evangelion movies due to their lighter and saner tone.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: According to Word of God, the target demographic for the series is adolescents. Many people — not least among them Japanese parents — have found this claim a bit hard to swallow. Some people suggest that the show is similar to a seinen series in terms of graphic content, although Evangelion is far from unique in this regard - other teen-oriented shonen franchises such as Death Note and Attack on Titan have similarly mature and dark content, and teenage anime fans are quite often familiar with the level of violence and depth shown in series such as Evangelion.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: The director actually researched some academic psychology, and when a man climbing out of a depression reads a psychology textbook you know he's paying attention. Consequently, its usage is fairly accurate in the show, although it suffers from All Psychology Is Freudian. For example, one of the episodes, "Oral Stage," is named after one of Freud's psychosexual development phases. Many of the music titles derive from mainstream psychology, e.g. "Borderline Case", "Separation Anxiety", "Mother Is the First Other", "A Fragile Ego Border", and "Hedgehog's Dilemma".
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: More likely is that series was made because Hideaki Anno wasn't taking his meds.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Shinji. Of course, some see this as the entire point of the series.
  • Woolseyism: Ample amounts; see the entry on the Woolseyism page for Anime.
    • A somewhat unusual case of Woolseyisms being enforced by the original creators: Anno himself oversaw the series' translation and dubbing, and personally selected translations for some of the terms in the series. These include the Angels (shito, which would ordinarily translate to "messenger", whereas tenshi would mean "angel"); the Human Instrumentality Project, more literally translated as "Human Complementation Project", was translated as such as a Shout-Out to the writings of Cordwainer Smith; the English episode titles (see Shout-Out entry) were in most cases completely changed from the Japanese originals, initially to titles of songs from the series' soundtrack, but later to original titles, e.g. episode 16's "Splitting of the Breast"; and of course the title of the series, which is a pretty accurate translation from the Japanese - to Greek, not English, where it would be something like "Good News of the New Creation".


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/NeonGenesisEvangelion