Best Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order

In terms of essential, quality anime, this series' peers are few to none.

by J.R. Waugh

Neon-Genesis-Evangelion-Watch-Order

Neon Genesis Evangelion is essential viewing for any anime fan, whether they are fans of the sci-fi genre, longtime fans of the franchise, or newcomers.  It’s a challenging series with cerebral themes exploring psychoanalysis, the tolls of war, existentialism, and religion along Judeo-Christian lines of spirituality, imagery, and symbolism, but also eastern influences such as Shintoism.  To call it simply a mecha or sci-fi series would be to oversimplify it, as the franchise frequently subverts multiple genres while providing beautiful representations of them, and features wonderful characters and writing.  While it’s a heavy watch, it’s an exceptional one, so read on for our guide on the Best Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order!

Best Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order

Neon Genesis Evangelion, or ‘Eva’, is a concise, but densely-packed series that can be watched with relative ease, and most importantly, practically no filler, unlike other culturally significant anime, and the watch order, therefore, is simple:

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion (anime, 1995-1996) 26 episodes
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (film, 1997)
  • End of Evangelion (film, 1997)

Viewing these in sequence will be a solid way to watch the series.  Be sure to check the director’s cut for the anime episodes 21-24 for full enjoyment, as well, and if you wish, you can watch episodes 1-24 and the films while potentially not having to watch episodes 25-26 at all.  It doesn’t hurt that the series’ music is full of bangers like “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, and many more (even if the latter was removed from Netflix, we don’t forget).  On top of this, once you’ve digested the series and are an instant fan as you likely will be, be sure to check out the following as well:

Rebuild-of-Evangelion

  • Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone (film, 2007)
  • Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance (film, 2009)
  • Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo (film, 2012)
  • Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time (film, 2021)

The above films are collectively referred to as the “Rebuild of Evangelion.”  These serve essentially as retellings of the plot and function as a tetralogy with a new conclusion in the fourth film, using heftier production values and featuring a musical collaboration with Hikaru Utada, among other selling points.  In terms of viewing experiences, you can’t go wrong with these as a way to cap off your watch sessions, and the release of these films was originally intended to appeal to wider audiences, so it will be an approachable watch.  These can be viewed on Prime Video.

Eva began in earnest as an anime in 1995 thanks to early promotion in manga form the year before, depicting an apocalyptic vision of the near-future, 2015.  It is one of the most well-written, beloved series in the medium, and is well-regarded for its subversive approach to anime storytelling including the mecha genre, such as posing important questions like “if you are made to be a machine for war, what happens when the war is over?” and “if God so loved the people he created, why is he so cruel to his creation?”  The series is visually spectacular,  gets the mind going even more so than the heart, and solidifies itself as a tour de force and seminal 90s anime series along with Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell.

This concludes our guide on the Best Neon Genesis Evangelion Watch Order!  You can check the show out on Netflix, and if it’s not available where you live, you can use this simple trick to view it (for instance, it works on Canadian Netflix!)  Viewers will come for the music, colorful characters, and visuals, but stay for the heavy existentialism and spirituality, to the point of psychoanalyzing the choices of hair color for its characters.  Be sure to check out other watch order guides as well, and check out our entertainment column for more content like this!

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