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"Neon Genesis Evangelion" redirects here. For the original anime series which began the franchise, see Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime).

The Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangerion?) franchise is an umbrella of Japanese media properties generally owned by the anime studio Gainax. It has grossed over $16 billion since 1995[1]. The central (and original) works of the franchise feature an apocalyptic mecha action story which revolves around the efforts by the paramilitary organization Nerv to fight monstrous beings called Angels. Nerv's primary weapon against the Angels are giant mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom, Shinji Ikari, is the primary protagonist. Other works deviate from this theme to varying degrees, focusing more on romantic interactions between the characters, side stories which did not appear in the original works, and/or reimaginings of the conflicts from the original works.

Core works of the franchiseEdit

The franchise's central works, both titled Neon Genesis Evangelion, are an anime and a manga serial, both of which follow the same storyline, although with numerous minor differences between them. The manga, written by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, debuted in the February 1995 issue of Shonen Ace (published in December 1994) and is still running as of 2009. The manga was intended to raise interest for the anime (directed by Hideaki Anno with character designs by Sadamoto), which was in development at that point and was intended to be Gainax's next major anime release.

The anime consists of 26 television episodes which were first aired on the terrestrial TV Tokyo network from October 4, 1995 to March 27, 1996.[2] It was later aired across Japan by the anime satellite television network, Animax. The series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1995 and 1996.

The anime succeeded wildly beyond expectation and has spawned countless derivative works and imitators[3]. The series established a number of distinctive features of future works in the franchise: a stock set of distinctive characters such as Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu, Rei Ayanami, Toji Suzuhara, and others such as Misato Katsuragi (for a complete list, see here); a number of philosophical, psychological, and religious themes; and an idiosyncratic vocabulary of symbols and allusions drawing heavily on Christian and Kabbalistic symbolism, Buddhist beliefs, and the Japanese otaku subculture. Similarly, Evangelion properties consistently focus on a number of themes and dilemmas, as discussed by Anno:[4]

Eva is a story that repeats. It is a story where the main character witnesses many horrors with his own eyes, but still tries to stand up again. It is a story of will; a story of moving forward, if only just a little. It is a story of fear, where someone who must face indefinite solitude fears reaching out to others, but still wants to try.

After the seriesEdit

File:NGEscreenshot02.jpg
File:NGEscreenshot03.jpg

Gainax launched a project to create a movie ending for the series in 1997. The company first released Death and Rebirth, consisting of a highly condensed character-based recap and re-edit of the TV series episodes 1-24 (Death) and the first half of the new ending (Rebirth, which was originally intended to be the full ending, but couldn´t be finished due to budget and time constraints). The project to complete the final episodes was completed later in the year, and released as The End of Evangelion. The End of Evangelion is an alternate ending of the series and retells episodes 25 and 26. The End of Evangelion replaces the Rebirth portion of the first film Death and Rebirth. The two films were compiled as a single movie (the way they were originally intended to be), called Revival of Evangelion in 1998.

The two endings are similar in plot, but while in the film Shinji rejects Instrumentality, the television series ends after his decision is made but before it is clear which option he chose. In still frames in episodes 25 and 26, Unit 01 is depicted with wings and the corpses of Misato and Ritsuko are shown, hinting that these events had been planned. In the English-language Director's Cut version of episode 24, the preview of the next episode shows concept frames from the fight between Asuka and the mass-produced Evas, and the title of the next episode is presented as "Air", which is the title of the first chapter from The End of Evangelion, rather than showing scenes from the TV series ending as it does in the original cut. There was a sudden shift in tone around episode 16 of the series. This was partly due to scheduling restraints, which drastically reduced the number of frames that could be drawn for each episode,[5] and partly due to the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995, which occurred while the series was under production; Anno decided to remove elements of the series plot that he felt were too similar to the real-life attack.[6] Anno stated before production that he did not know how the show would end, nor what would become of the characters.[7] Reaction was decidedly mixed; reception of the latter quarter of the TV series had often been hostile to the point of death threats, and the movies were seen as being even more incomprehensible (such as the ending), bizarre and even disgusting.

In May 1998, Gainax was audited by the National Tax Agency at the urging of the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau: Gainax was suspected of committing tax evasion on the massive profits accruing from various Evangelion properties. Gainax had concealed 1.56 billion yen worth of income (thereby failing to pay 560 million yen due in corporate taxes) which it had earned between the release of Evangelion and July 1997. Gainax would pay companies closely related to it various large fees, ostensibly to pay for animation expenses, but then immediately withdraw 90% of the sums from the other company's accounts as cash and store it in safe deposit boxes (leaving 10% as a reward for the other company's assistance)[8].

Eventually Takeshi Sawamura and tax accountant Yoshikatsu Iwasaki were arrested on 13 July 1999 for concealing income of 1.5 billion yen failing to pay corporate taxes of 580 million yen.[9] Yasuhiro Takeda defends Sawamura's actions as being a reaction to Gainax's perpetually precarious finances and the shaky accounting procedures internally:

"Sawamura understood our financial situation better than anyone, so when Evangelion took off and the money really started rolling in, he saw it as possibly our one and only opportunity to set something aside for the future. I guess he was vulnerable to temptation at that point, because no one knew how long the Evangelion goose would keep laying golden eggs. I don't think he purposely set out with the goal of evading taxes. It was more that our level of accounting knowledge wasn't up to the task of dealing with revenues on such a large scale."[10]

Regardless, Evangelion is perennially popular, especially among otaku such as cosplayers [11][12][13] or doujinshi artists.[14][15][16][17]

Rebuild of Evangelion seriesEdit

On September 9, 2006, Gainax confirmed a new animated film series called Rebuild of Evangelion, consisting of four movies to be released in 2007 and 2008 originally. However, only the first film was released in 2007, and the second in 2009. The first three movies will be an alternate retelling of the TV series (including new scenes, settings, backgrounds, characters), and the fourth movie will be a completely new conclusion to the story.[18] The first of the new movies was released in Japan on September 1, 2007 under the name Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. The second, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance debuted in theaters on June 27, 2009.

Other mediaEdit

The franchise has spread beyond the anime into a number of different media.

MangaEdit

A number of manga series based on the anime have been released. Neon Genesis Evangelion, by series character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, has been serialized since February 1995, eight months previous to the official premiere of the series. Evangelion was originally conceived as an anime series, and the early publication of the manga appears to be a way of promoting the anime even before its actual release.Template:Citation needed Two other manga based on non-canonical video games have been created: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days, by Fumino Hayashi and Shinji Ikari Raising Project by Takahashi Osamu. Evangelion has also inspired various doujinshi, like Gakuen Datenroku and RE-TAKE. Even famous mangaka have contributed their own NGE manga: "Birth of Evangelion" was drawn by Yun Kōga, the mangaka who designed Earthian and Loveless.

Video gamesEdit

Several video games have been released around the franchise for Windows, Mac OS, and several home game systems, including the Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2. Many of the games are RPGs and dating simulators, while others are more combat-oriented. The long-running Super Robot Wars video game franchise features Evangelion characters in Super Robot Wars F, Super Robot Wars Alpha, 3rd Super Robot Wars Alpha, and Super Robot Wars MX. In the video game KOF: Maximum Impact 2, the character Leona Heidern has alternate costumes based on Asuka and Rei's plug suits.

MerchandisingEdit

Asides from the many releases and forms of the TV series and movies[19] Merchandise for Evangelion appears in many media; one catalog of only officially licensed merchandise as of 1997 fills a book of 144 pages. The book is described as covering[20]:

"...cards, posters, toys, models (fifty different figurines of Rei alone--plug suit Reis; school uniform [standard and Episode 26] Reis; swimsuit Reis; not to forget the inevitable hospital gurney Rei and summer-fireworks-festival-yukata Rei), videos, CD-ROMs, games, books, manga, "official" fan comics (doujinshi) collections, T-shirts, bags, caps, ties (Kaji's), gloves (Misato's), wearable plug suits (Rei's; wouldn't Asuka's have been more appropriate?), keychains, pins, watches, bookmarks, stationary, pens, pencils, rubber stamps, a Prog Knife-shaped, knife, binders, wallets, floppy disks, mice, lighters, mugs, coasters, a Spear of Longinus-shaped fork, SEELE "Sound Only" speakers, washtubs and soap, towels, umbrellas, fans, postcards, laminated cards, playing cards, phone cards... None of this, by the way, covers the rare Evangelion items--they get their own, 13-page section.

As of 2007, NGE merchandise is estimated at over 6000 distinct items[21]. Action figures of the Evas, the Angels, and the pilots[22] have been created. Asuka and Rei in particular are popular subjects for garage kits and models. There have been two Pinky:St figure sets based on the show. Overall sales of the merchandise are tremendous; Evangelion music and OSTs sold more than 6.3 million CDs as of 1999.[23]

Some of the merchandise is tenuously connected to the series, such as an Evangelion humidifier[24], Doritos[25], or operating system utility[26] or calendars[27]; the merchandise is sometimes very expensive, such as the "$900 laser engraved Rei (EVANGELION) crystal cube"[28]. Perennially popular are the NGE-themed pachinko machines[29][30].

A great deal of the merchandise is otaku-oriented (such as headphones[31], iPhone battery-packs[32], or dakimakura[33] body pillows) and has a much lighter tone than the series, something for which Anno has expressed considerable discontent, although he has not been involved in production for any of the merchandise.Template:Citation needed Two dolls featuring Pullip by Junplaning were released in February and March 2008. The Rei Ayanami Pullip was released in February 2008[34], while the Asuka Langley Soryu Pullip was released in March 2008[35].

Live-action TV seriesEdit

Main article: Neon Genesis Evangelion 10th Anniversary

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, Tokyo Broadcasting System and PBS joined forces with TriStar Television to produce a shot-by-shot live-action remake of the series with live actors. Daniel Radcliffe (who had learned Japanese prior to his casting), Ai Maeda, Emma Watson, and Eriko Sato play the main characters.

Live-action filmEdit

Untitled Evangelion Project
Written by Hideaki Anno (creator),
Matt Greenfield (screenplay, no writer - producer)
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) TBD
IMDb profile

Development of a live-action movie version of Neon Genesis Evangelion was announced in May 2003 by the Houston-based anime distributor ADV Films, who holds worldwide rights to the series outside of Asia and Australia, and Universal Studios would be the American distributor. The film will be made by ADV, Gainax, and Weta Workshop Ltd.. Its release is currently projected to occur at any time ranging from as early as 2009 to as late as 2015. In December 2005, Fortune Magazine reported in an article about ADV Films that it had raised "about half of the $100 million to $120 million" needed to produce the film.[36] It's not completely clear if this money was raised by ADV alone or if part of that amount was contributed by Gainax.

Template:As of, the project is considered to be in "development hell", as a director has yet to become available or announced officially. In a panel discussion at Tekkoshocon on April 2, 2006 featuring Matt Greenfield and wife Tiffany Grant, many aspects of the project were revealed.[37] Greenfield recalled that Weta approached ADV about a live-action Eva movie after completing work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but work was delayed by King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia. It was revealed that three described "A-list" directors and several celebrities had approached the project, rather than the other way around, and the slug script was written by a writer of several other well-known science fiction movies (though this is subject to be rewritten and tailored to the director's vision). Greenfield also reiterated his belief that they did not want to make the movie for profit, but because they wanted to do it and have it done right (as with the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and promised effort toward a trilogy of Evangelion films (as opposed to trying to condense the story into one film and lose vast amounts of material), similar again to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Beyond these official announcements and some concept art produced by Weta Workshop[38], little or no more information about the film(s) has been made available. At Anime Expo 2008, ADV founders Matt Greenfield and John Ledford, in response to a question over the progress of the live-action film, revealed they had hired the producer for Appleseed Ex Machina, John Wu, and pitched the idea to other producers such as Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Spielberg.[39] They went on to say that interest in the project had been boosted by the success of the 2007 film Transformers.[40]

In an Evangelion panel at the Ohayocon anime convention in Columbus Ohio on January 30, ADV director Matt Greenfield announced that several U.S. studios are competing for final rights to the project, meaning that actual production should begin soon. Matt Greenfield estimates that an official announcement, including naming the studio, the director, and perhaps casting information, would be made within the next 9 months. During the opening ceremonies when ADV head Matt Greenfield was introduced, someone in the crowd shouted a question about whether or not fans would ever see the long-promised live-action Neon Genesis Evangelion movie. "Soon, and I'm not kidding" was Mr. Greenfield's response. He clarified a bit later that evening during an Evangelion panel, saying that the closer he gets to sealing the deal, the less he can say anything about it.

The current status of the film is unknown following the sudden collapse and asset sale of A.D. Vision on September 1, 2009.

CastEdit

No cast has yet been announced for the film, as several parties have stated that one of the goals of the production is to cast children of ages appropriate to their roles and then cast adults who will be able to work well with them.

One point worth noting is that in the earliest days of disclosure, Tiffany Grant stated through interviews and self-published articles, that the film would feature a cast "mostly of European descent," as well as mentioning ADV Films toying with the idea of giving the English dub actors cameos in the film.[41]. Not long after Grant's statements, concept art produced by Weta Workshop was released featuring character slug names such as "Kate Rose" (in lieu of Asuka Langley), "Ray" (Rei Ayanami), and "Susan Whitnall" (assumed by some to be Misato Katsuragi). The art was later changed to reflect the original, Japanese names, but caused a great deal of controversy among NGE fans.

Neon Genesis Evangelion in other worksEdit

The Keroro Gunso (Sgt. Frog) anime features many aspects of the Evangelion series, when Saburo first appears in the Hinata's House it is shown his A.T. field. Later he descends to their underground Base like Kaworu Nagisa (the final angel) and with the same Handel's Messiah playing in the background. Episode 48 is almost seen as a tribute or parody to the series when Keron March Energy gains a human like form that resembles Rei Ayanami threats to destroy the planet with the March Impact.

The anime Digimon Tamers reuses many elements of Evangelion[42]Template:Verify credibility; the "Tamers" of Digimon parallel each of the Eva pilots in personality and appearance, and the relationship between the Tamer and their Digimon is almost the same as that of a pilot and their Eva. Unlike the pilots, however, the Tamers do not have such crippling emotional problems; though the depression that Jeri goes through at the loss of her partner is used to power the final antagonist. Like the Angels, Wild Digimon originate in a matterless universe and most create false bodies in order to materialize on Earth. The design asthetics of many of the Digimon parallel those in Evangelion as well. One of the evolutions of the main character's Digimon, WarGrowlmon has the jaw of Unit 01, and seemingly pointless cord on its back which is identical in appearance to the EVA's umbilical cord. Furthermore, the true antagonist of the series, the D-Reaper is heavily based on Rei/Lilith fusion, and seeks to absorb the world in order to eradicate humanity's illogical emotions and negative feelings; the mask of its final form, "Mother D-Reaper, is even based on that of Lilith, and at one point it materializes a giant replica of Jeri's head to attack while the real Jeri is held inside of it, similar to how the Rei/Lilith fusion's mask falls off to reveal Rei's face.

ReferencesEdit

  1. "total sales of more than 1,500 billion yen" http://web.archive.org/web/20070429194334/www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/news/2007/02/12/02.html
  2. With the exception of the first two episodes, which were first shown in a rough form three months before (in July 1995) airing to approximately 200 Gainax fans at the second GAINA Matsuri or "GAINAX Festival" (a "camp-style convention" for fans) in Itako, Ibaraki. Pg 162 and 175 of Takeda 2002
  3. Takeda 2002, for example, mentions that no one in Gainax was expecting NGE to succeed on the scale it did (beyond anything else Gainax had done); indeed, the stress of just handling all the money made by the franchise caused Gainax's accounting scandal and the 1999 arrest of its president.
  4. Anime News Network. Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies
  5. Gainax (1998-02-20). "A Story of Communication: The Kazuya Tsurumaki Interview". Red Cross Book. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.
  6. Woznicki, Krystian (1998-02-20). "Interview with Azuma Hiroki". Retrieved on 2006-08-15.; see also Azuma Hiroki
  7. Template:Cite book
  8. Asahi Shimbun/ASAHI EVENING NEWS. November 13, 1998. "JAPAN- Animator hit for tax evasion" Pg. News.
  9. [1], [2]
  10. pg 170, Takeda 2002
  11. "One of the professional cosplayers from Japan, dressed up as Misato from the show Evangelion." http://www.ex.org/3.4/04-feature_ax1.html
  12. "Costumes ranged from the usual Ranma to Sailor Moon but also included characters from VAMPIRE HUNTER , STREET FIGHTTER, LUPIN and EVANGELION....However for most people, the Evangelion angel and Pen-pen costumes won the most attention." http://www.ex.org/2.6/10-news_otakon.html
  13. "Cosplayers dressed up as Rei and Asuka (Evangelion)." "Cosplay is the other thing that Comike is known for, and this time was no exception. In the atria there were cosplayers from just about any series imaginable, from GATCHAMAN to SAILOR MOON to EVANGELION." http://www.ex.org/1.4/07-comike.html
  14. "Art is not always manga quality, but there are a decent number of diamonds in the rough. As to content, they generally go by what is popular. GUNDAM W (GUNDAM X doujinshi is just starting), NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, RUROUNI KENSHIN, and SLAM DUNK are big sellers" http://www.ex.org/1.2/14-doujinshi.html
  15. "Sunday featured mostly male-oriented (read, ecchi) works in anime and girl-get games. Favorites such as EVANGELION, SLAYERS, and TOKIMEKI MEMORIAL were out in full force" http://www.ex.org/3.6/14-event_comike.html
  16. ""Probably the two biggest titles were SHINSEIKI EVANGELION and Konami's TOKIMEKI MEMORIAL ~forever with you~. About 30-40% of the titles were ecchi." http://www.ex.org/1.4/07-comike.html
  17. "It has been credited with defining gender roles, influencing attitudes toward the environment, and spawning the madly obsessive — and immensely profitable — otaku subculture embraced by tens of thousands of geeky fans who spend their lives unraveling the larger message of the show and collecting pornographic comic books featuring the show's female characters." "Let's Die Together", David Samuels, Atlantic Monthly; May 2007, Vol. 299 Issue 4, p92-98, 7p
  18. "Rebuild of Evangelion". Gainax (2006-09-10). Retrieved on 2006-09-12.
  19. As of 2006, by one count, there have been over 14 distinct releases; this count is incomplete. See http://eva.onegeek.org/pipermail/evangelion/2006-May/003288.html
  20. E-Mono: Neon Genesis Evangelion All Goods Catalog, as described by Carl Horn: http://www.evamonkey.com/writings_horn13.php
  21. http://web.archive.org/web/20070429194334/www.sponichi.co.jp/entertainment/news/2007/02/12/02.html
  22. http://reggiocomics.blogspot.com/2009/12/neon-genesis-evangelion-portraits-3.html
  23. "Starchild, a division of Japan's King Records, said it has sold a total of 3.5 million Evangelion CD albums and 2.8 million singles, with sales of video software and laser discs reaching a combined 3.5 million volumes." AAP NEWSFEED, January 29, 1999, Friday "Japanese animated cartoon stirring quiet boom in Australia" By Naoya Hayashi
  24. http://www.hlj.com/product/MOV01260
  25. http://picasaweb.google.com/gtsmang/Junk_bought#5106596355679946898
  26. "Eugene Moon: EVANGELION character utility (Windows 95). A neat little utility that sits a character from Eva on top of your active window. Sure, they don't do anything but sit there and blink, and your graphics may glitch slightly while playing CIVILIZATION II, but it's just cool. So get Misato to cheer you up while you do programming drudgery in Borland, or have Asuka give you the glare as you type up that EX article that was due last week..." http://www.ex.org/1.x/08-xmas_misc.html
  27. http://www.ex.org/2.1/39-calendars.html http://www.ex.org/2.8/42-release_calendars.html
  28. http://www.ex.org/3.7/08-feature_holiday5.html cf. "Still more prototypes of future merchandise were displayed, such as a full 3-D etching of Gundam carved not on, but inside a crystal block (a la the EVANGELION Ayanami Rei Crystal Art)." http://www.ex.org/3.5/12-event_gundam1.html
  29. http://ameblo.jp/gunp06s/entry-10443295050.html
  30. http://neweva.blog103.fc2.com/blog-entry-798.html
  31. http://www.strapya-world.com/products/36119.html
  32. See http://www.evageeks.org/2010/01/eva-iphone-case-and-battery/
  33. http://nebs66.livejournal.com/1053526.html covering http://www.evastore.jp/index.cgi
  34. http://www.hlj.com/product/JNPF-579 http://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Evangelion-Ayanami-Pullip-Fashion/dp/B001U9IW78
  35. http://www.toyretard.com/2009/03/04/neon-genesis-evangelion-rei-asuka-langley-pullip-fashion-dolls/
  36. "It's... Profitmón!" by Daniel Roth, December 12, 2005
  37. "10 Years of Death and Rebirth" (Google video), Tekkoshocon 2006
  38. CGSociety link to Weta NGE concept art; http://neon-genesis-evangelion.moviechronicles.com/2006-05/new-weta-workshop-concept-art/
    http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=16790
  39. 411mania.com: Movies - The Vile One's Dungeon 8.07.08: San Diego Comic Con 2008 - Jane And The Dragon Interview with Richard Taylor and Martin Baynton
  40. ADV Films - Anime Expo 2008 - Anime News Network
  41. "Notes About the Live Action Evangelion Movie" by Tiffany Grant
  42. THE EVA CONNECTION

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