1Neon Genesis Evangelion
What is it?
Shinseki Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン) or Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered by many fans as the best deconstruction of the mecha genre. First aired in 1995, the series raw emotions and tragedies becomes an inspiration of many mecha series after it, that even Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino tried to copy the formula with his Brain Powerd anime in 1998. It is by far, one of the top and iconic mecha anime just next to Macross and Gundam
The story is set in and alternate Japan, 15 years after a massive event that destroyed most of Earth. Mankind is facing a new threat from the beings known as Angels, and in the response, they build EVAs, giant humanoid machines that require specially compatible teens to pilot it.
One of those teens is Ikari Shinji, a shy troubled 14 year old, who is thrust into this war with the Angels because it so happens, his father is in charge of the program. Throughout the series, we see him deal with his new responsibilities as well as the mental anguish and angst involved with it.
The series ran for 26 episodes with two movies back in the mid to late 90s. Now it has been somewhat revived with the re-imagining of the anime by its creator Hideaki Anno and is called Rebuild of Evangelion with three movies out and a fourth and final movie planned under Studio Khara.
Why Watch it?
Cool, non-traditional looking mecha? Interesting and deep characterisations of the main and supporting characters? Throw in some end-of-the-world, apocalyptic premise and you have the makings of a pretty awesome aninme.
The key draw (aside from the EVAs) have always been the pilots themselves. Where traditional mecha anime always showed how ready most of these young, TEENAGE, pilots were willing to go to fight (yes even in Gundam), Evangelion focused on the internal demons the pilots and how they had to deal with them. No mecha anime till then, had explored such themes with this much intensity and honesty before.
Its unique flavour was due to depression suffered by its director, Hideaki Anno after the troubled production of Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water and failure of the Wings of Honneamise sequel project. As the result, all the anguish and anger the director suffered was channeled into this series, and it shows!
Throw in some complex religious like themes, a haunting soundtrack and you’ll find it hard to not be hooked on this series. Then of course there’s the mechas. The EVAs themselves were a far departure from the traditional mecha designs of the past. They were more organic and pretty cool in design.
However is the marriage of the haunting emotional themes in the story, cool mecha designs, and unique universe that has truly made Evangelion a classic over the years and a must watch, if you’re into sci-fi or anime in general.
So there you have it, our picks for top Sci-fi anime to watch. A few more great anime deserve honourable mentions here like Akira, Code Geass, Now and Then, Here and There, VOTOMS, Gasaraki, Vision of Escaflowne, Ergo Proxy, Serial Experiments Lain, Dennou Coil, Eden of the East and Steins;Gate. We might even add them into this list later with full explanations why you have to watch them.
But for now, if there are any Sci-Fi anime you have to watch, it’ll be pretty good start with what we have in our list. That really ought to keep you occupied for a pretty long time.