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    General 
  • Awesome Art: Most of the fight scenes are very visually impressive, especially considering the production issues the show faced.
  • Broken Base:
    • The divide between those still singing Neon Genesis Evangelion's praises and those who feel it hasn't aged particularly well. It doesn't help that some like to attach Evangelion to other series that copy it.
    • Beyond the conflicts of the fanbase over Rebuild of Evangelion, the manga also gets this. Starting initially as a modified adaptation of the anime around the time the series started, Schedule Slip took it two decades to finish with a story that ends up with a radically different conclusion. This and things like Shinji manning up significantly and being much more functional, and plot changes and alterations here and there divided fans between which adaptation was better. Like First Installment Wins below, however, the anime is still considered the overall better product.
    • The performance of Tiffany Grant, Asuka's English voice actress, is this for some. Fans 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 detractors find that she sounds too old, scratchy, whiny and generally annoying.
    • The same goes double for the same character in the first Latin American Spanish dub used by Locomotion and her voice actress, the late Norma Echevarria. This is partly because she was likely cast as Asuka due to the fact she was the only Mexican voice actress at the time able to speak German in a fluent way, despite Echevarria was an older voice actress at the time, and she was normally typecasted into voicing adult or mature, motherly voices, and not kids like Asuka, something she received a lot of flak at first. And just like Grant, some detractors complained about her voice being unfit for a younger girl, while others genuinely liked her performance, especially later on in the series, considering that, unlike both the original Japanese, the English dub and later Spanish dubs, she also spiced the dialogue with lots of German profanities and words.
  • 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.
  • Critical Research Failure: In Episode 5, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi states that "Angels are composed of matter that displays the properties of both particles and waves, just like light". All particles have wave-particle-duality, not just photons, including the particles that compose boring baryonic matter.
  • 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".
    • Among many older fans, the first dub of the series by ADV is strongly preferred over the 2019 dub by Netflix, due to a combination of nostalgia, the Grandfather Clause, and general preference for the more Woolseyism-rich script in ADV's take, with additions such as Shinji's "I'm so fucked up" line in The End of Evangelion becoming iconic among the fandom to the point of Memetic Mutation.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • In the West, the franchise is generally more popular with younger Generation X and older millennial-age anime fans (some of whom grew up with the series) than it is with younger millennial and Generation Z 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 it was broadcast on satellite TV between 2000 and 2005, 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. One of the chief features of that dub is Asuka being given a heavy German accent.
  • Hype Backlash: Given its enduring popularity and its status as one of the most talked-about and imitated anime, this is to be expected.
  • Memetic Mutation: The theme song of course, but that's not all.
  • Mis-blamed: Upon the June 2019 release, Netflix took the brunt of the criticism for a number of controversial changes, especially the more literal translation choices, and the bowdlerization of the homoerotic subtext between Shinji and Kaworu. Both of these changes were actually the result of Studio Khara's more heavy-handed Executive Meddling.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Despite the controversy over Netflix's changes to the series, it didn't stop it from becoming popular on the streaming service, though Netflix doesn't release actual viewing figures.
  • 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 like this, with some of them entering Berserk Mode as soon as anyone dares to criticize their coveted series. For all the debating over whether Neon Genesis or Rebuild is the superior canon, bashing Evangelion is largely considered a Fandom Heresy while doing the same for Rebuild isn't met with as much opposition.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • Zig-zagged. While the ADV 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 histrionic Large Ham. And of course, Spike Spencer's career more or less began here, and the later dubs made a point of getting him back for his most iconic role and he's still considered to have turned in at least a very good if not excellent performance, especially given the other constraints of the production.
    • 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. McAvery not returning for Rebuild, despite the effort taken to get Spike Spencer and Allison Keith back, was generally counted as a mark against those films.
    • The Italian dub deserves some props as well. For starters, it's one of the few dubs where Shinji doesn't have a whiny or high-pitched voice, despite being voiced by a man. His VA is fantastic in the dramatic scenes, outclassing Spike Spencer by a mile. While Asuka is a tad underpowered, especially when she's angry, the rest of cast (particularly Maya, Kozo, and Yui) match up perfectly with their Japanese counterparts. It's easily the best foreign dub of the show out there, and it makes watching EOE a whole new experience.note 
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The Netflix version has caught a lot of flak for changing or removing quite a lot from the original series, including:
    • One of the more controversial changes is that the new dub was re-recorded with a Los Angeles-based English voice cast at Khara's request. While a re-dub was understandable considering the length in time between the original and new dubs as well as the fact that Netflix doesn't have the rights to the ADV version, it caused mixed receptions depending on the voice in question. Even Tiffany Grant, who was replaced by Stephanie McKeon as Asuka, publicly admitted how disappointed she was with Khara.
    • For many regions, the series' iconic rendition of "Fly Me To The Moon" has been removed and replaced with a different song in the soundtrack. A lot of the fans took it negatively.
    • The new dub came with a new translation that while being a more exact translation of the original Japanese script, it has received criticism from older fans who preferred the ADV and Manga versions of the TV series and films. Examples include changing Shinji's desire in the final episode from learning to love himself to learning to like himself, and removing the famous "I'm so fucked up" in favor of a more literal translation of "I'm the lowest of low."
    • Netflix has been accused of censoring Kaworu's love confession to Shinji in the dub due to changing the wording from a direct and unambiguous "I love you" to a less obvious "I like you" instead. As it turned out, it was actually Khara's Executive Meddling.
    • In an exercise of irony, the Netflix Latin American Spanish dub received some complaints for doing the opposite thing, as the "I love you" part was kept instead. It should be noted it had less to do with trying to sound "faithful" or "edgier" with the original Japanese script and more to do with both language restrictions and preventing Lip Lock instead.note 
    • The new English translation's change from "terrorists" to "leftist terrorists"note  first in a background newscast also drew criticism, especially since the change was otherwise completely arbitrary and irrelevant to the plot, leading to questions about translator Dan Kanemitsu's political agenda.
    • The first Italian redub received major headscratchers from fans of the original Dynit version, even moreso than the English version. While Oliviero Dinelli once again reprised his role as Kozo Fuyutsuki from the previous entries, many were left disappointed that the characters were recast, as well as the controversial script changes by longtime scriptwriter Gualtiero Cannarsi (which included the widely-accepted terminology being changed, and so on). The result is something that sounds more like a Gag Dub or a fever dream, and makes an already complex series into something just plain impossible to follow. It's a big enough deal that news journals in Italy criticized the changes. Eventually, Netflix apologized and removed the Italian audio track one week later, promising a new re-recording with a better script as soon as possible.
  • Vindicated by History: The ADV dub was hailed (by haters and some fans alike) as a Macekre full of unintentional comedy and considered a cheesy dub overall. However, as the years have gone on, both this dub as well as the Netflix re-release have found quite a few defenders. Even Anime News Network looks back at the first dub as underappreciated.

    The Characters 

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Intentional on the creator's part. Standouts include:
    • 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? Also, during his death scene in End Of Evangelion, was he truly sorry for all that he'd done to Shinji and put him through, or was he apologizing because he didn't want "Yui" to take out her wrath on him and show him how it feels to be on the receiving end? The look of abject terror we see in the scene strongly suggests the latter, though it's not necessarily mutually exclusive if it's because he knows and/or accepts there's no way out of this, and/or that he deserves it.
    • Is Yui a soft and idealized mother/Virgin Mary figure, the true bad guy of the series who's responsible for messing up Shinji, Gendo and the fate of the world, or just off her rocker?
    • Shinji: a neurotic, obnoxious wimp, a normal kid 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 Not So Different from Gendo, his polar opposite, or a complex mix of the two?
    • The entire organization of Seele: is it a group of monsters out to end the human race 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. It's worth noting that the Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 video game states that SEELE's version of Instrumentality would have only applied to its own members, who would merge into one godlike being.
    • 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 Heel–Face 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 these interpretations, 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 many western countries, especially in the Anglosphere, 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.
    • The End of Evangelion also easy qualifies. Even the more visceral and gory moments are beautifully animated, with Asuka's fight with the MP Eva taking the cake. It was like Gainax was pulling out all the stops to compensate for the original ending's Limited Animation.
  • 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 emotionally weighed down 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:
    • Gendo is ranked around the 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; his fans love him for being a very relatable Audience Surrogate with personal issues that hit home for many viewers and consider him the biggest woobie in the series, while his detractors 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. Her fans (especially in the West) adore her for being a Badass Adorable Fiery Redhead tsundere with a very sympathetic backstory. Her detractors, meanwhile, find her Unintentionally Unsympathetic and consider her an abrasive, bratty and obnoxious Jerkass whose backstory doesn't come close to covering her awful behavior. Asuka also suffers from quite a bit of Hype Backlash due to her popularity, with more than a few people accusing her fanbase of worshiping and over-hyping her supposed badassery.
    • 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.
  • 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:
    • Some Evangelion fans utterly despise Asuka because out of all of Shinji's possible love interests, she's traditionally the one given the most romantic attention and therefore is perceived as the biggest threat, instead of whomever the fans in question believe to be Shinji's "true love". Such Asuka-haters may go to extraordinary lengths to not only remove her as a "threat" to their preferred romantic option, but sometimes even go as far as to punish her for the sin of "daring" to presume she's worthy of getting close to Shinji in any way, shape or form... nevermind that if anyone should be blamed for that, it should be Studio Gainax in general and the anime's director Hideaki Anno in particular, since they're the ones who decided to make Asuka and Shinji as the Official Couple in the first place.
    • There are also other fans who give the same kind of treatment to Rei, somehow believing that she's a threat to Shinji and Asuka's Official Couple status. Nevermind that she barely interacts with either character in any way that is remotely relevant for such a thing.
    • And people just love to call Mana Kirishima from Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel a Relationship Sue, just because she's a possible Love Interest for Shinji in the aforementioned visual novel as well as other NGE spin-offs she appeared in, gets a lot of spotlight in Girlfriend of Steel, is one of the few characters who are genuinely and/or openly nice to Shinji (and arguably the only one among all of Shinji's Love Interests), and is comparatively much more stable as a person than most of the cast, let alone Shinji's other non-Crack Pairing Love Interests (which, in a Dysfunction Junction cast, makes her come across as "too perfect" for some people).
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • 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. This is despite the fact that he only appears in one episode.
    • 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, the former being the first to actually physically breach NERV headquarters and being a full-on Hero Killer, and the second for its unique, utterly alien design (which only improved with the Rebuild movies.)
    • Rei is fairly popular with the fandom. She even got her own game. See Moe and Misaimed Fandom below for details.
  • 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, Zeruel, and Ramiel, usually for combining raw, brutal power with intimidating (or, at least, memorably weird) designs.
    • 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: Due to the differences in tone and focus of characterization, the preferred couple (or in this case Shinji's preferred love interest) varies by series' entry.
    • For the original anime, Shinji/Asuka is the fan-favorite pairing hands down and because of how ubiquitous the anime is, this ship tends to stand out as the fan-preferred onenote . While Asuka is less important to the plot than Rei, she is much more active in the story and thus her interactions with Shinji are given more focus and their relationship is therefor fleshed out more. The two also tend to showcase the most classic signs of Belligerent Sexual Tension and Opposites Attract you will ever see in anime, making it incredibly easy to confirm their attraction to one another, unlike many other ships in the series.
    • For the Rebuild movies, Shinji/Rei has edged out Asuka. Rei is given more character development and interactions with Shinji and others while Asuka is downplayed in terms of screentime (especially time with Shinji). Rei's connection with Shinji is emphasized much more and the two bond and support one another, leading Shinji to care for Rei so much that he risks the fate of the world to save her. It also helps that Shinji and Rei are Birds of a Feather who get along very easily and are shown making each other happy- especially in contrast to Shinji's relationship with Asuka.
    • Shinji/Kaworu for those who are sick of angst and want to Shinji to finally find some happiness. Unlike Asuka and Rei, Kaworu has always enjoyed popularity as a love interest for Shinji but he was never seriously considered that viable an option until the release of 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo. Then the fandom exploded with support and its arguably become the most popular ship, but only time will tell if it lasts.
  • 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 couldn’t find a bag, but the nature of the scene is ambiguous).
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Asuka may come across like an annoying brat initially, but she has an incredibly heartbreaking Freudian Excuse: When Asuka was very young, her mother, Kyoko, went insane and ceased to recognize her as her daughter. When Kyoko committed suicide, Asuka found her body, with the doll Kyoko believed to be her own daughter hanged right beside her, in a sort of would-be murder-suicide. Her father seemingly never cared about her mother or Asuka in the first place, and began having an affair with the head nurse in charge of her. So far in her life, the people she cared about either a) killed themselves or b) revealed that they didn't care at all. Asuka threw herself into learning how to pilot EVA-02 in a desperate attempt to earn affection from others. She also feels that anyone she cares about will leave her, so she developed a fake arrogant personality to hide her real insecure self and push everyone away. And then the events of the series kicked in. Including the Trope Namer for Mind Rape.

      Then the second episode after the Mind Rape features Asuka naked, hollow-cheeked, and lying in a tub, well past the Despair Event Horizon, stating that she no longer has the will to live. The tub appears to be filled with a red liquid indicating that she tried to kill herself by slitting her wrists. Poor Asuka...

      And in End of Evangelion, she finally gets to see her mother inside Unit 02 and feel love and acceptance from her... only to be shortly thereafter forced through the experience of being eaten alive by the Mass Production Evas.

      On the other hand, the story also Deconstructs the trope by showing that just because you have a bad past, does not justify having a crappy attitude towards others and offloading your anger on others, as the other characters get more and more fed up with the Jerkass half and stop caring about her as they have other things to worry about than her. In fact, the only person who cares about her in the end is Shinji, whom she still abuses when Third Impact happens.
    • The original anime's Gendo is sometimes considered one too due to his backstory and motivation contrasted with what those things turned him into.
  • 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. However, the Big Three are still Shinji/Asuka, Shinji/Rei and Shinji/ Kaworu.
  • Love to Hate: Gendo.
  • 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: The way Shinji gets described sometimes, makes it sound like he all does in the series is nothing but sitting around angsting and whining ineffectively about his daddy issues and his refusal to pilot the Evangelion, only occasionally pausing when he masturbates to the sight of comatose girls (though that last event did undeniably and understandably leave a strong impression with viewers, to put it diplomatically). But Shinji, as a matter of fact, rarely ever angsts out loud, instead being mostly just brooding and quiet. If anything, Asuka is possibly the most vocally angsty and emotionally unstable character. And Shinji's initial refusal to pilot Unit-01 is in the larger scope of the series really just a minor arc that lasts for the first six episodes. After that, Shinji's reluctance towards being a pilot only comes up two times, the first being in Episode 19, where its used as a 10-Minute Retirement plot that really just last for that episode alone, and the second being in The End of Evangelion where Shinji has crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Rei was meant to come off as an unsettling person to invoke case of Uncanny Valley. Fans instead found her to be adorable, especially with her sympathetic characterization. Likewise, Kaworu was supposed to come as disturbingly cheerful. Instead seeing him acting happy at such a dark point in the series, coupled with his friendship with Shinji, turned him into fan favorite for completely different reason.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Asuka and Shinji's "Asushin", Kaworu and Shinji's "Kawoshin", and, interestingly enough, Rei and Asuka's "Asurei".
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Shinji was a very divisive character when the anime first released, his detractors being especially vocal in their dislike of him, but as time has gone on, he's been experiencing this. The Rebuild movies, for instance, made him a stronger character to counteract his supposed weaknesses in the original series. Aside from that, Shinji has become a character example of Vindicated by History thanks to the increased awareness of the detrimental effects of emotional abuse, the increased focus on mental health and criticisms of toxic masculinity in The New '10s. In short, while some still see his behavior as Wangsty, modern audiences are a lot of more understanding with regards to his circumstances.
  • 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 (Misato broke up with Kaji, by lying about her having found someone else, as she had realized that Kaji reminded her of her father and it weirded her out). And that's saying nothing on what some fans do to Kaworu in Shinji shippings.
    • Asuka was by no means the most pleasant character in the series but she had her sympathetic moments, and a backstory that at least made it clear that her behavior was the result of her being a very psychologically damaged individual. However in many fanfics, particularly those that ship Shinji with another character, she is portrayed as a constantly ticked, physically abusive psycho who is unworthy of Shinji's affections and needs to be put in her place often with no sympathy for her tragic backstory.
    • 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. Some fans even call him a selfish mass-murderer for the events of End of Evangelion, despite the fact that Shinji had absolutely no control over anything that happened, until after he found himself swallowed up by the Rei/Lilith fusion, and by that point, everybody else had already been taken in by the Instrumentality.
    • Fanfics tend to treat Gendo as a completely irredeemable villain defined entirely by overwhelming megalomania and sociopathy, ignoring the fact that the whole point of his character that he is ultimately Not So Different from Shinji and that his villainy is entirely driven by his own self-hatred and loneliness.
  • 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 NERV's 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, can't be controlled when they go berserk ("Like a hysterical woman!"), 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 NERV’s budget) and the 20,000 people dying of starvation in Japan alone. Even worse, he makes the "hysterical woman" comparison while talking to Ritsuko, who later on destroys the Rei clones in a fit of jealousy, and Casper, the computer based on her mother's personality as a woman, foils her attempt to make NERV’s 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.
    • Shinji himself in The End of Evangelion as Rei, Asuka and Misato criticize his depressive tendencies during Instrumentality. Shinji's seemingly pathetic rebuttal of, "Then, try being nice to me" becomes devastating in light of the fact that he had just been forced to kill Kaworu, the only person who openly expressed affection for him. None of the women even try to comfort him, and Asuka and Misato even get angry at his Heroic BSoD without considering the circumstances. The three's protests that they are indeed nice to Shinji ring false as a result.
  • 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. While she was clearly meant to be a creepy Uncanny Valley deconstruction of the Emotionless Girl, it's hard to feel all that creeped out by her given her downright awful origins, being under Gendo's thumb, living in a squalid apartment, the fact that she's died and come Back from the Dead more than once, and her whole destiny being that she's an Apocalypse Maiden just makes viewers want to give her a hug and some help.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • As pointed out in Base-Breaking Character, Asuka is this for one half of the fanbase. She's clearly meant to be a Jerkass Woobie and her backstory is undeniably tragic, but her abrasive and egotistical personality made her detractors feel her backstory wasn't quite enough to cover her more obnoxious traits. The downright ungrateful way she acts about Rei saving her from a horrible Mind Rape and treatment of Shinji are just two of the many sore spots people have with her character.
    • Much like Asuka, for the fans that don't find him The Woobie, Shinji is this in spades. While he has plenty of good reasons to be an emotional wreck, his detractors can't help but find his fixation on his terrible circumstances to be over-the-top to the point of coming off as hysterical. As a result, they wish they could slap him and make him shut up and grow a spine.
    • Gendo. While his villainy is entirely driven by his own self-hatred and loneliness, it's hard to feel much for him given his downright horrible treatment of his son, grooming of Rei, and generally coming off like he's completely insulting the memory of his late wife. It's no wonder that many Fix Fics have him face some kind of Laser-Guided Karma at the hands of one of those three.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Occasionally happens when Maya is mistaken for Shinji, and the other way around. The source of this confusion is that, per 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.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Shinji. Of course, some see this as the entire point of the series.
  • The Woobie: Everyone, to some extent. Except possibly SEELE.
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    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?
    • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Both of the endings contain speeches that are meant to encourage Shinji to overcome his depression. While a speech may not be enough to save him, or anyone, they address the issue head-on.
  • Awesome Music: Enough to have its own page.
  • 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 Tod (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. There are also elements of a Space Whale Aesop in there, with how the ending seems to imply that the best way to achieve the whole act of forgetting your problems is to reset the world with mystical technology from Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • 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 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 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: 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • A few of Shinji's classmates express jealousy over Shinji getting to pilot the Eva and hope that they'll get a turn someday. These scenes become rather chilling after the late-series revelations that Shinji's homeroom class is basically a holding pen designed to keep potential pilot candidates close to NERV, and that becoming a pilot requires either the death or psychotic break of the child's mother.
    • 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, which doesn't really make up for the series finale—the "Nowhereland" trapping Shinji goes from a metaphysical void to the real world, completely razed and devoid of human life other than Asuka. Despite that, however, there's still an underlying hope that others, like Asuka has done, will eventually remember their desire to find happiness and reform their bodies and rebuild civilization.
    • The suicide of Ritsuko’s mother Naoko comes off as way creepier after the suicide of Robin Williams, who was probably Eva’s most famous fan.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • 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...
    • In episode fifteen, before Asuka kisses Shinji, she says "Here I come!" triumphantly. Five minutes into End of Evangelion and... he did.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • It's not too difficult to stomach the declining animation and artwork in the final two episodes if you tell yourself it fits the psychological themes. However, sometimes the sketches are so simple that Rei looks like she's incredibly exasperated—this face, basically: ¬_¬
  • 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. Her terrible origins and the sorry state of her life certainly earned her some sympathy points.
  • Older Than They Think: That Instrumentality scene? You know, with the crucifix images everywhere, and a bunch of people dying, and a deceptively cheerful-sounding song that becomes incredibly nihilistic and bleak once you actually listen closely to the lyrics — but the movie still goes out on a bittersweet and hopeful note? Where have we seen an ending like this before?
    • Surprisingly, NGE was not the first to come up with mecha that are powered by liquified humans. Live A Live used a similar concept one year ahead.
  • "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 first 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. And the voice acting when it comes to the extras are, well, a really mixed bag to put it politely. 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 polarizing 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 ‘Get in the fucking robot Shinji’ meme. The Evas are not robots! Even if they were, he does get inside.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The two really notable instances of Leave the Camera Running, have become some of the most referenced moments from the series:
    • Of course, when most people about "that scene" they are referring to the infamous opening scene of The End of Evangelion, where Shinji masturbates over a comatose Asuka.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Getting along with people and finding your own self-worth can be a long, hard struggle, but it’s one that’s 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The "Decisive Battle" track has quite a few similarities with "007" theme used in From Russia with Love.
    • Komm, Susser Tod sounds a lot like Hey Jude, oddly enough.
  • 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 the original 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. Not to mention haters who feel Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: It's also been accused of having this mindset, particularly from haters with the opposite mindset.
  • Values Resonance: The series premiere on Netflix was well-timed with The New '10s' destigmatization of mental health and depression and increased awareness of the effects of parental negligence and abuse.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Writer Cop Out: Quite a few fans of the anime view the manga's ending as such. Rather than committing to the changes the manga did to the series' storyline, like characters having somewhat different backstories, characterisation, and development, it instead forgoes all of that entirely by using a strange combination of a Time Skip and a Reset Button, to depict the last chapter a more normal, happier world were everyone is alive again and apparently doesn't really remember the events of the story. In the end, none of the characters' arcs are resolved by organic Character Development, but rather by a strange magical amnesia so they can no longer remember their problems, most prominently Shinji himself.


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