Neon Genesis Evangelion (Japanese: 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Hepburn: Shinseiki Evangerion, literally “The Gospel of the New Century”) is a Japanese mecha anime television series produced by Gainax and Tatsunoko Production and directed by Hideaki Anno, and was broadcast on TV Tokyo from October 1995 to March 1996. The cast included Megumi Ogata as Shinji Ikari, Megumi Hayashibara as Rei Ayanami, and Yūko Miyamura as Asuka Langley Soryu. The music 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 to the shadowy organization Nerv to pilot a giant bio-machine mecha called an “Evangelion” into combat with alien beings called “Angels“. The series explores the experiences and emotions of Evangelion pilots and members of Nerv as they try to prevent any and all of the Angels from causing another cataclysm, and as they deal with the quest of finding out the real truth behind events and organizational moves. The series features imagery derived from Kabbalah, Christianity, and Judaism; these are combined to form a deconstructionism.
Neon Genesis Evangelion received both positive reviews and controversy. Particularly controversial were the resultant last two episodes of the show, leading the team behind the series to produce the original intended version of the ending in the 1997 film The End of Evangelion. Regarded as a deconstruction of the mecha genre, the original TV 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 selling ¥700 billion by 2015.