NEON GENESIS EVANGELION is the story of Shinji Ikari, a bland young boy afraid of other's view of him. In the year 2015 the predictions included in the Dead Sea Scrolls become reality as Angels now walk the Earth and human kind faces anhilation. Evangelion, directed by Hideaki Anno, may appear at first glance to be a straightforward animated science fiction series about young pilots controlling giant robots, but once one peers below the surface one finds a far more complex structure of metaphysical and religious underpinnings that serve as currents to drive the story forward. By the time EVANGELION reaches its climax in the highly controversial original series ending, the fundamental basics of our existing reality have been thrown out the window as director Hideaki Anno and his staff seek to find a way to reconcile the traditional concepts of God and Creation with a new millennium in which, depending upon one's analysis of the facts as presented, Man either attempts to find an alternative path to God... or to become God himself. What interests me the most is that EVANGELION is literally filled with both verbal and visual religious references and analogies, it would be difficult to dispute that there must be some significance to all the religious and mystical subtext. For example, the names of the three super-computers that actually control all aspects of human life within Tokyo-3 are biblical in origin: Melchior, Balthazar and Casper, collectively known as the three Magi, while the code name for NERV's hidden base in the underground Geo Front is Central Dogma. The mysterious NERV logo that is constantly emblazoned across the screen though out the series contains the phrase "Gods In His Heaven. All's Right With The World," a quote from Browning, while a Systema Sephiroticum, drawn by the German priest Athanasius Kircher in 1653, appears on the ceiling of NERV head Gendo Ikari's enormous office. Multiple references are made to the Kabbalah, and both a mystical Tree of Life and a Jacob's Ladder are displayed during the opening credits sequence. The Seven Eyes of God appear, quite literally, during a sequence in which an object referred to as the Spear of Longinus (the "Spear of Destiny", which pierced the side of Jesus during the crucifixion) is shown piercing the side of the Angel Lillith, which has been bound to a crucifix-like support. The Second Impact, which annihilates half of the Earth's population fifteen years prior to the actual start of the series, accomplishes the majority of its damage via a flood second only to Noah's, and even the cataclysmic explosions that occur when Eva Unit One first goes into combat against an Angel are undeniably cross-like. And then there are the Angel's themselves... Although originally represented as alien beings of unknown origin, and though never completely explained to date, it becomes increasingly obvious that the Angels are not simply ruthless invaders, but are, in fact, working according to some kind of plan that is meant to somehow steer the human race. Despite their apparently limitless power, the Angels never attack in sufficient numbers to overwhelm NERV, and the defeat of each Angel, in turn, always requires some new advancement in the evolution of the relationship between the Evas and their young pilots. Perhaps the greatest evidence that the Angels are, in fact, working to some divine plan, is the revelation that the so-called Second Impact, initially explained by both military and scientific authorities alike as the result of an asteroid strike on Antarctica, was actually the result of man's first contact with an Angel, and that it was the Second Impact itself that produced the only human beings capable of controlling an Evangelion. Are we to assume the fact that the children of the Marduk Report, all born nine months after the cataclysm, are merely some form of cosmic accident? Or, rather, as many have surmised, are we actually being shown the mechanism through which the human race will be evolved to the next level of being? The continued evolution of the human species, incidentally, is also being attempted by the human inhabitants of the Eva Universe. Referred to as the Human Instrumentality Project, a name that, again, the creators have specified for use in the English language version although a more literal translation might render the original Japanese name as the Human Completion or Enhancement Project, this scientific crusade has the most religious of foundations. With the stated goal of changing Mankind from an "incomplete herd" to a "complete one", the HIP is apparently focused around the extraction of DNA from the embryotic remains of Adam, a being found in Antarctica just prior to Second Impact. Was Adam in fact an Angel, or is he, as NERV head Gendo Ikari states in episode eight, the first human? And given that Gendo is apparently in full control of both the Evangelion Project and the Human Instrumentality Project, exactly how far do their respective goals overlap? Has Gendo gone so far as to sacrifice his own son Shinji, the Third Child and the pilot of Eva Unit One, on the altar of a new technology in order to create a new race of Man? EVA's creators have remained fairly quiet on the subject of the mystical and religious implications of this extraordinary series. However, for those who doubt that there is a message buried beneath the surface veneer, there is one last thing that we should mention. Although NEON GENSIS EVANGELION is the title the original Japanese creators have specified for the English Language version, the original Japanese title is SHINSEIKI EVANGELION, created from the Japanese words "shin" (new) and "seiki" (century) and the German word for Gospel, "evangel', from which the word evangelist is also derived. Thus, a literal translation would read "The Gospel of the New Century"... and with a new millennium waiting just around the corner, perhaps we will find that the speculations and fantasies of the creators of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION are not as strange or as far-fetched as we would like to believe.

Copyright Gainax 1997, all the pictures in this page are property of Gainax and cannot be used for commercial pourpuses. Some text based on ADV films web page.

Asuka Langley

Rei Ayanami

Shinji Ikari

Misato Katsuragi

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