What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (2023)

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers forNeon Genesis Evangelion, now streaming on Netflix.

So you were just lookingNeon Genesis Evangelionon Netflix and you have no idea what it's about. on the surface,Evangelionis a giant robot anime in which the teenage pilots control the gigantic monsters from the Eva series known as angels, who often fight against the clock for dramatic purposes.

However, about halfway through the series.Neon Genesis Evangelionit becomes funny. You may have joined only to be confused by Longinus's Transforming Spear, that live-action shot from a movie theater, or all of them suddenly bursting into orange Fanta. Whatever it is that stopped you, you are not alone.


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Ver,Neon Genesis Evangelionit is deliberately abstract. For starters, the show gradually turns metaphysical, with the overall occult plot progressing into easily overlooked details. Also nonsense jargon like "Pilot reaction borders on infinite zero!" often interleaved for the dressing of hyperbolic sets. Also, most of the supplementary materials, e.g.Evangelionexists as classified information: a (somewhat) canonical compendium originally available exclusively in Japan in 2003neon genesis evangelion 2para PlayStation 2.

Even if you've captured every detailEvangelionHowever, the series challenges the viewer to make their own interpretation. To quote series creator Hideaki Anno: "Evangelionit's like a puzzle, you know. Everyone can see it and give their own answer. In other words, we offer viewers to think for themselves, so that everyone can imagine their own world. We will never offer the answers, not even in the theatrical version... Don't expect to get answers from anyone. Don't expect them to take care of you all the time. We all have to find our own answers."

Although Hideaki Anno hopes that you will find your own answers, we have thoroughly investigated everything.Evangelionto give you a cheat sheet on the more confusing parts.


What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (1)
(Video) Explaining Evangelion—The Lore of Japan's Most Brilliant Sci-Fi

At first it was the First Ancestral Race or "FAR". Faced with annihilation, these ancient aliens created the Seeds of Life: seven ancestors who will continue in FAR's stead, traveling the cosmos in moon-shaped starships to seed the galaxy with life.

There are two types of seed of life: The black fruit of knowledge The seeds produce offspring with high intellect, like humans. Alternatively, the seeds of the white fruit of life create life forms with enhanced physical abilities, such as angels.

If a Seed of the Fruit of Life were to perform a "forbidden fusion" with a Seed of the Fruit of Knowledge, the resulting entity would be almost as powerful as the first ancestral race. Therefore, FAR stipulated that two seeds should never propagate a single planet. As a security measure, each seed is assigned a Spear of Longinus, a sentient weapon capable of impeding the growth of a seed.

What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (2)

Of course, two seeds of life landed on earth: the seed designated as earth, White Moon Adam, landed first, and his moon/egg became our moon. However, before Adam-based life, the angels, could form, Blackmoon Lilith crash-landed on Earth, unleashing all Lilith-based life or "Lilim" in an event known as First Impact.

The clash embedded Lilith's Darkmoon into Earth as a geofront, but destroyed Lilith's Spear of Longinus. Adam's spear fixes the situation by impaling Adam and keeping him in stasis for billions of years. Meanwhile, Lilith spreads her blood, LCL, throughout the world to serve as the primordial soup of life.

Led by Misato's father, the Katsuragi Expedition discovers Adamin in Antarctica in 2000 and takes the spear from Longinus. A "contact experiment" takes place in which Adam comes into contact with human DNA. This mating of a Fruit of Life seed with an organism based on the Fruit of Knowledge results in a cataclysmic explosion known as the Second Impact. Impaling Adam with the spear again reduces him to an embryonic form, but the damage is already done. After the resulting chaos and global climate change, more than half of humanity was wiped out.


What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (3)

The true antagonists ofEvangelion, SEELE ("Soul" in German) is an Illuminati-style organization whose sole purpose is to help humanity achieve godhood by triggering Third Impact to fulfill the Human Instrumentality Project.

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According to the prophecy of the Dead Sea Scrolls, SEELE believes that since Adam was to be the seed of life on Earth, Adam's descendants, the angels, should inherit the planet, unlike the descendants of Lilith, the humanity.

(Video) Neon Genesis Evangelion - WTF did I just watch?

Just as Shinji searches for a way to connect with other humans, the Human Instrumentality Project would unify humanity as one organism using the A.T. Fields that separate entities, eliminating conflict and pain as humanity becomes a single sea of ​​LCL.

What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (4)

While serving SEELE, Gendo secretly plans to trigger Third Impact on his own in order to reunite with his wife, Yui. Yui performed her own "contact experiment" with Eva Unit-01, intentionally connecting her soul with her core.

After losing Yui, Gendo uses Yui's and Lilith's DNA to create Rei Ayanami and raise her as a combination of daughter and puppet. Due to her unique biology, Rei harbors Lilith's soul. Similarly, after Adam's body was reduced to an embryo, Adam's soul reincarnated as Kaworu, a humanoid angel and SOUL agent who can manipulate time and space.


What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (5)

For the last two episodes ofNeon Genesis Evangelion, we are informed through the exposition that the Human Instrumentality Project appears to be underway, "but there is not enough time to record all that has occurred in this process", which is just loose narrative. CompareEvangelionspostmodern arthouse film of a final installment of its action-packed pilot, and it's hard to believe they're both from the same series.

Instead of seeing what the Human Instrumentality Project entails, the final episode is a psychedelic psychotherapy session inside Shinji's mind as he debates whether to remain an individual or embrace the Instrumentality, basically the end ofmass effect 3.

Fans were understandably upset with this first ending, based on the movie.Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirthwas released on March 15, 1997. Those waiting for an explanation were given a clip of the first 24 episodes, which included deleted scenes and a sneak peek at the actual ending.the end of evangelion. Fortunately, watching all three endings gives you a cumulative understanding ofEvangelionsFin.


What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (6)

Released in 1997,end of evangelismoffered a more "objective" perspective on what happened in the last two episodes of the original series. Built from Angels, SEELE uses their mass-produced Evas and the JSSDF to take control of the original Evas. Desperate, Gendo attempts Third Impact by fusing with Rei.

As seen for a split seconddeath and rebirthGendo had combined his right hand with the embryonic Adam. Rei refuses to merge and cuts off Adam's hand from Gendo. Rei, now carrying Lilith's soul and Adam's body, merges with Lilith's body and transforms into a giant white Rei, or "Giant Naked Rei" (GNR), as she was nicknamed by fans. Despite her stature, Lilith appears as "human" on biometric scanners, which makes sense since Lilith is the source of all human life.

(Video) The Desire to Not Exist

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After SEELE uses her to kill Asuka, SEELE restrains her mass-produced Evas Shinji and Unit-01. Shinji's AT When Kaworu appears on the field, Lilith makes contact with the angel-derived Entity-01 and fuses the Fruit of Life with the Fruit of Knowledge to create the Tree of Life. Shinji is connected to all souls on earth from the tree and must decide whether or not humanity should accept the instrument.

Essentially, this question posed to Shinji is the hedgehog dilemma, which is the whole point.Evangelion: Does a hedgehog/human who seeks warmth from others learn to reach out despite the inevitable pain others bring, or does the hedgehog simply learn to live alone in the cold?


What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (7)

Unable to deal with the pain others bring, Shinji strangles Asuka, implying that humanity should perish in the instrumentality. This triggers the third impact when Lilith pulls her from the Dark Moon/Geofront into space with the NERV command still inside of her.

Lilith opens the chambers of Guf, those suggestive indentations in her palms, releasing little red balls of energy. These are essentially emissaries from Lilith resembling Rei to gather the souls of humanity, starting with the remaining NERV personnel within the Geofront.

These hideous Reis appear as someone who will comfort their targets, causing them to unknowingly lose their A.T. field so they can be converted back to LCL. They are all collected by NERV except Gendo, who is killed instead of assimilated. Incidentally, three Reis appear before Gendo, representing the three main Rei clones.

The mass-produced Angels pierce their S2 engines with their knockoff Spears of Longinus, spreading the anti-A.T. of Lilith. field around the world. The tree of life enters the third eye of Lilith. In Lilith, Shinji sees a large egg surrounded by a sea of ​​tiny floating rice, basically representing the fertilization of a new world.


What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (8)

Shinji's life literally flashes before his eyes as we see one last quick clip overlaid with supporting characters who hate Shinji. Suddenly we find ourselves in a live action sequence from Tokyo.

(Video) Neon Genesis Evangelion Ending Explained

In the original version of this sequence, Shinji creates an alternate reality, a "dream".Evangelionis a Happy Slice of Life anime where her parents are happily married and Rei is a lively girl. However, Shinji realizes that he cannot live in this dream that he has created and the cracks in his reality begin to show as the animation is reduced to watercolor paints.

This alternate reality "dream" could be depictedend of evangelismduring the live action parts. The swing set mirrors Shinji's childhood swing set, while the "real" Tokyo skyline is not real. The buildings in the background were digitally inserted, with non-existent buildings rendered based on the animated skyline of Tokyo-3.

Similarly, live recordings of a viewerdeath and rebirthit could represent the reality where Shinji is just a character in a super confusing giant robot anime. However, Shinji awakens from this dream and rejects the instrumentalization.

Unit-01, acting autonomously as Yue, emerges from Lilith's eye to decapitate her and floods the earth with her LCL blood. Unit-01 takes Longinus' spear and destroys the mass-produced Evas using their Anti-A.T. fields.

What the heck is going on in Neon Genesis Evangelion? (9)

Unit-01 transforms Longinus' spear into an infinity symbol and drifts through space, while Yui reveals that she had always planned to merge with Eve to ensure humanity's survival.

After a dripping sound, Shinji emerges from the LCL sea. Hearing another trickle, Shinji turns his head to see Asuka lying next to him with Rei floating over the sea before disappearing.

How did a newly bandaged Asuka revive? As Lilith explains, an individual can still be brought back to life from instrumentality as long as he can see himself in his spirit. Essentially, this is what Shinji did during the pencil sequences in the original final episode. The "Drip" was an individual who returned to Earth and was brought back to life by someone close to him: the floating Rei, who transformed the individual into LCL in the first place.

At first you think Shinji is grabbing Asuka's hand, only for Shinji to start strangling her before bursting into tears. As Asuka contemplates her current situation at the end of the world, she hatefully calls out to Shinji before she notices her.


Why did Shinji strangle Asuka again? Is it really Shinji?tatinteracting with Asuka during his hallucinatory visions, so the desire to strangle her for not helping him persists? Could Shinji and Asuka represent Adam and Eve becoming Cain and Abel? Whatever the reason, Shinji repeats the cycle of hurting those close to him before realizing that he really needs them.

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Ultimately, the beauty ofNeon Genesis Evangelionit's that we'll never get a concrete explanation of what's going on. Just as Shinji had to answer the question of what he wanted to do with reality, each individual viewer has to construct his own explanation of what happens in it.Neon Genesis Evangelion.


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