Not only is Neon Genesis Evangelion one of the most influential and thought-provoking anime to ever exist, but it is also a tough one to get into if you do not know what you are doing. With an original anime series, recap movies, and alternative movies, the Evangelion franchise
is not one to be trifled with. The Neon Genesis Evangelion series is essential for every anime watcher, it is something that you just cannot miss but because of many of the franchise’s prequels, remakes, movies, and head-spinning plot, it becomes really hard for the newcomers to get into it.
Many have criticized the series because of such a confusing plot and people call this a pretentious anime, but in my personal opinion, it drives what it needs to deliver. Evangelion tells a concise and beautiful story that tracks the psychological trauma of its teenage hero characters, who stand as the sole fighters of a war that humans do not stand a chance of winning. They are required to pilot giant robotic monsters (Evas) to battle inscrutable enemies called Angels.
Our main character, Shinji Ikari, is put through the ringer time and again by his own father. At the same time, he is going through the pains of puberty, and working alongside two high school girls is not helping him focus. It is the story that unfolds throughout the original anime.
Yet Evangelion is more than just the 26-episode series that wrapped in 1996. There is a correct way to enjoy this anime that you should follow. Many things will not make sense but they will eventually explain themselves as you will watch movies and other releases.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Complete Watch Order
- Neon Genesis Evangelion Anime Series (1996)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth (1997) Movie
- The End of Evangelion (1997) Movie
- Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone (2007) Movie
- Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance (2009) Movie
- Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo (2012) Movie
- Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time (2021) Movie
First, you should start with the original anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion which was released in 1996 and spanned over 26 episodes. Episodes 25 and 26 might not make sense and it is the reason why so many people drop the series after episode 24. But you should watch the entire series without dropping any episode. The 26 episode anime series is where everything begins.
Set off further in your Evangelion journey by watching the two-part movie called Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth. The first half of the film released in 1997 is just a recap of the anime series, so you might want to drop watching it. The second half shows quite a bit of footage left out of the original series, including Shinji’s mental state and the ever-shifting political situation. Although there is no new story in the movie, it is a must-watch if you are looking to experience that crazy emotional journey of Shinji.
The End of Evangelion is basically a more grand and epic finale for the series. The film was released in 1997 and it has more action and wraps the plot a little better than the original TV show did.
The Rebuild of Evangelion Films: These are the movies that actually made the Evangelion franchise renowned. Evangelion came up with the tetralogy of the films and these films brought everyone’s attention to the original anime series. These movies have better animation, better stories, and most importantly, bigger budgets. The order to watch these films is very simple First you will watch Evangelion 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone (2007), Evangelion 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance (2009), and thereafter Evangelion 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo (2012). The 4th movie to watch is the most latest release of this franchise which is titled Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time (2021).
The new movies are somewhat repeating the original story but they have changed and progressed the plot a lot better than what the original anime has done.
The famous franchise also has a pretty awesome manga, which goes deeper into the emotions of characters than any anime film or series of Evangelion has ever been. Even after watching all the films and the series, the manga will stand alone and separate in its position as one of the best manga of all time. The manga also shows what happened after the End of the Evangelion. So if you want to see the end of the series then you should consider reading the manga series. Moreover, it would give you a deeper insight into the world and characters of the Evangelion franchise.
Well, this was all about the watch order of the Evangelion franchise. Whether it is the characters themselves, the over-the-top religious imagery, or the masterful storytelling, there’s a reason that this is the series that will never die.