The Neon Genesis Evangelion series is considered essential viewing by the anime-obsessed masses, yet its staggering number of releases make it the ant
The Neon Genesis Evangelion series is considered essential viewing by the anime-obsessed masses, yet its staggering number of releases make it the antithesis of ‘newbie-friendly.’ Even without considering the head-spinning content itself, one look at the catalog of films and director’s cuts will have even the most seasoned viewer rethink their watch order.
Should you watch the original ending? Should you skip Death and Rebirth? Is the manga considered required reading? Why is the theme song so addictive? We’ve got the answers, and we’ll get them to you quickly. There is quite a bit of content to review.
Before we begin, I want to clarify that some people will disagree with my order. If you enter the fandom, you’ll find that many viewers have very strong, and sometimes very complicated opinions on just how to consume Hideaki Anno’s legendary works. There’s nothing wrong with that, and we wouldn’t consider any of the hyped fans to be wrong. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible so you don’t get confused by all the other Evangelion watch order guides out there, so let’s get started. Yes, where it all began…
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Original Anime Series
Original series aired in 1995 and lasted 26 episodes. Watch all of them.
There will be people who say that episodes 25 and 26 don’t fit, and you should skip them and come back… but watching them won’t harm you. The company was a bit tight on funds at the time, which explains the differences between the final two episodes. They are very strange, and while you may not understand what is happening defend them here at OTAQUEST. Yes, really.
This is where it all began. Whether it’s the characters themselves, the over-the-top religious imagery, or the masterful storytelling, there’s a reason why this is the series that will never die. Begin your Evangelion journey by watching the series on Netflix. Yes, this version contains the Director’s Cut versions of episodes 21 to 24, including extra scenes not broadcast on Japanese television.
(Neon Genesis Evangelion will also be released on Blu-ray in North America later this year!)
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth
Our goal is to make this process as quick and painless as possible. The anime film Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth was released in 1997. It consists mostly of a recap of the show. The second half shows quite a bit of footage absent from the original series, including Shinji’s mental state and the shifting political situation.
They released a re-edited version in 1998, titled EvangelionDeath(True). This film was combined with the next film on the list, The End of Evangelion, to create a film called Revival of Evangelion. Yes, really. We’re so sorry this is so complicated. We wish we could fix it.
Don’t panic. Death and Rebirth are, in our honest opinion, skippable. If you want the FULL, utterly maddening experience, feel free to watch after the original series. Be warned, it’s a bit of a mish-mash of what you’ve already seen. Also, in the second part? It’s the beginning of The End of Evangelion.
The End of Evangelion
Remember when we said the last two episodes of the series were weird? People didn’t like them when they came out. I mean, they really didn’t like them. Gainax got death threats. It was bad.
Evangelion: The End is a more grand and epic conclusion to the series. The film was released in 1997 with great fanfare. People were here for it: it’s got more action and wraps the plot a bit better than the original TV show did. Was this better than episodes 25 and 26? It’s up for debate (forever). It’s also available on Netflix. What a great time to be a fan.
The Rebuild of Evangelion Films
Evangelion has entered a new era with the tetralogy film. Have you noticed the waves of new merchandise and crossovers? Thank these gorgeous movies.
You can watch the films in this order: Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance, then Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo.
In reality, you’ll watch 1.11, 2.22, and 3.33. This is because these versions have some bonus scenes and reanimated shots. See? Relatively easy and painless.
Rebuild is a retelling of the original anime story, though in the course of time it has strayed from that plot. Fans call them ‘sequels’ to the original series, but that is your decision. Either way, the Blu-ray releases are worth picking up on Amazon.