Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, Shin Seiki Evangerion), commonly referred to as NGE, Eva, or Evangelion, is a commercially and critically successful, influential, and popular Japanese anime that began in October 1995; the series launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It is commonly and officially regarded as one of the greatest anime of all time. The anime was created by Gainax, written and directed by Hideaki Anno, and co-produced by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS).
Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series which centers around the efforts by the paramilitary organization NERV to fight monstrous beings called Angels, primarily using giant mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom is the primary protagonist. It follows those teenagers and other NERV members until the defeat of the Angels and the eventual apocalyptic ending.
Events in the series refer to Judeo-Christian symbols from the book of Genesis and Biblical apocrypha among others.Later episodes shift focus to psychoanalysis of the main characters, who display various emotional problems and mental illnesses; the nature of existence and reality are questioned in a way that lets Evangelion be characterized as "postmodern fantasy". Hideaki Anno, the director of the anime series, had suffered from clinical depression prior to creating the series, and the psychological aspects of the show are based on the director's own experiences with overcoming this illness.
In the original Japanese, the word "Evangelion" is pronounced with a hard g per its Greek roots (see Translation notes on the title below).