Japan, Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
While Evangelion might be a bit more obscure to American viewers, it stands as a major influence to many who follow science fiction (SF) anime. The show features spectacular SF warfare with a dark psychological plot, and biblical iconography. It would later be revealed by the show’s creator, Hideaki Anno, that the biblical iconography was meant only as an inspiration for design, and held no deeper symbolism in the story-line.
Much of Evangelion’s legendary status comes from the anticlimactic ending to the original series. It left its audience with more questions than answers and sparked debates over the ending like wildfire.
Because of the commotion the show caused, a re-edited version was later produced to include several extra episodes in an attempt to clarify the ending. This did not completely pacify the dedicated following the series had attracted, however. Much of the Evangelion franchise lived on in the fans’ continued discussion of the plot as they examined various interpretations for the ever-extravagant symbolism throughout the series.
The anime series has since been rebooted and boasts multiple feature films, all holding true to its symbolic storytelling. Today, Neon Genesis Evangelion inspires future generations to join the discussion and ask, “what does it mean?!”
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