Neon Genesis Evangelion(Japanese: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Hepburn: Shinseiki Evangerion, lit. "New Century Gospel") is a Japanese mecha anime television series produced by Gainax and animated by Tatsunoko, directed by Hideaki Anno and broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 1995 to March 1996. The cast included Megumi Ogata as Shinji Ikari, Kotono Mitsuishi as Misato Katsuragi, Megumi Hayashibara as Rei Ayanami, and Yūko Miyamura as Asuka Langley Soryu. Music for the series was composed by Shirō Sagisu.
Evangelion is set fifteen years after a worldwide cataclysm, particularly in the futuristic fortified city of Tokyo-3. The protagonist is Shinji, a teenage boy who was recruited by his father Gendo to the shadowy organization Nerv to pilot a giant bio-machine mecha named "Evangelion" into combat against beings called "Angels". The series explores the experiences and emotions of Evangelion pilots and members of Nerv as they try to prevent Angels from causing more cataclysms. In the process, they are called upon to understand the ultimate causes of events and the motives for human action. The series has been described as a deconstruction of mecha genre and it features archetypal imagery derived from Shinto cosmology as well as Jewish and Christian mystical traditions, including Midrashic tales and Kabbalah. The psychoanalytic accounts of human behavior put forward by Freud and Jung are also prominently featured.
Neon Genesis Evangelion received critical acclaim but also garnered controversy. Particularly controversial were the last two episodes of the show, as the ending was considered confusing and abstract to many viewers and critics alike. In 1997, Hideaki Anno and Gainax released the feature film The End of Evangelion, which brought more context to the ending of the original show. Anno has also created four more movies after The End of Evangelion collectively named Rebuild of Evangelion, which are a retelling of the events of Neon Genesis Evangelion with twists in plot and an alternate ending exclusive to the Rebuild universe. The original series led to a rebirth of the anime industry and has become a cultural icon. Film, manga, home video, and other products in the Evangelion franchise have achieved record sales in Japanese markets and strong sales in overseas markets, with related goods selling over ¥150 billion by 2007 and Evangelion pachinko machines generating ¥700 billion by 2015.