Many fans consider Neon Genesis Evangelion to be the best anime out there. You may have heard its incredibly catchy opening song that was immortalized through memes, A Cruel Angel’s Thesis. As a newcomer, getting into the show might be a bit tricky. The series includes movies and spin-offs, and it might get messy trying to sift through all of them. Here, we’ll be taking a look at the Neon Genesis Evangelion watching order. This order will give you a viewing experience suitable to the greatness of this wonderful anime.
Which Is The Best Watching Order To Follow?
The numerous fans of the show swear by many different orders of viewing the show, and each is a great watching experience in its own way. The viewing order that we would recommend for a new coming fan is as follows-
The original anime was the first to be released and has 26 exciting episodes. The episodes 21-24 were further modified, adding new footage and two important plot points- these are the director’s cut. We recommend watching the director’s cut, as some of these episodes are several minutes longer than the original episodes. The director’s cut episodes are available on Netflix.
Episodes 25 and 26 of the series are VERY controversial; in fact, fans were enraged when the original episodes aired, so much so that they even sent death threats to the studio, Gainax. However, watching these episodes in the beginning can also make for a great and shocking experience.
This one’s a movie that acts as an alternate ending to the series. The movie has two parts- the first is a recap of the show and includes extra footage, including the two plot points I mentioned in the director’s cut earlier. The second part continues from where episode 24 left off, containing new scenes and character backgrounds never seen before. It also gives us more insight into the political situation.
This film was re-edited, and the new film was called Evangelion Death(True). THIS version was once again edited to give us Death (true)2, the final version of this film. While watching this cinematic release isn’t necessary to understand the rest of the story, you can watch it if you want to really dig deep into the lore of the show. The final version is available on Netflix.
The second movie in this series provides a more grand and exciting conclusion to the story. Think of it as an alternate version of episodes 25 and 26 of the original series.
Evangelion Death(True)2 and The End of Evangelion were combined and re-edited into a new cinematic release, Revival of Evangelion. While Death & Rebirth can be skipped, you should watch The End of Evangelion, as it’s an essential part of the story.
This is a tetralogy of films that serves as a more modern retelling of the stories. While they begin out similar to the original episodes, these movies gradually stray away from the original premise. These movies are meant to be watched independently of the original, but some fans also believe them to be sequels to the originals. You can decide that for yourself. The films included in this revision are-
- Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone– Sep 1, 2007
- Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance– Jul 27, 2009
- Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo– Nov 17, 2012
- Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time– Mar 8, 2021
These are the names of the original theatrical releases; they were renamed in Home releases as 1.11, 2.22, and 3.33. These versions of the film have some reanimated scene and contain extra footage.
Why Is There So much Debate on The Order?
The fans have strong views on the best way to watch the series. In the end, what matters is what you’re looking for from the series.
What Order Is Best For Me?
- If you’re looking for a way to quickly watch the whole show and be able to experience all of the essential plot points in the story, You should watch the original series (with the directors cut, which is available on Netflix), including episode 25 and 26, and then watch The End of Evangelion.
- If you want to get a complete and meticulous experience of the show, watch everything in the above order, that is-
- Neon Genesis Evangelion- The Original Series
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth
- The End of Evangelion
- Rebuild of The Evangelion
Yes, the series is a mess, but the journey is absolutely fantastic. You will find yourself enjoying the ride and questioning your own psychology. You will find characters you love and hate passionately, playing into a story that captivates your mind. Once you complete the entire series, you can also check out the manga; it provides more backstory to some characters and even shows the events after the End of Evangelion. The manga is available on Amazon.