Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shin Seiki Evangerion), commonly referred to as NGE, Eva, or Evangelion, is a commercially and critically successful, influential, and controversial Japanese anime that began in October 1995; the series launched the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. It won several major animation awards. The anime was created by Gainax, written and directed by Anno Hideaki, and co-produced by TV Tokyo and Nihon Ad Systems (NAS).
Evangelion is an apocalyptic mecha action series which revolves 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. 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". Anno Hideaki, the director of the anime series, 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.
The Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise is a multi-billion dollar umbrella of Japanese media properties generally owned by the anime studio Gainax. The central (and original) works of the franchise feature an apocalyptic mecha action story which revolves around the efforts by the paramilitary organization Nerv to fight monstrous beings called Angels. Nerv's primary weapon against the Angels are giant mecha called Evangelions which are piloted by select teenagers, one of whom, Shinji Ikari, is the primary protagonist. Other works deviate from this theme to varying degrees, focusing more on romantic interactions between the characters, side stories which did not appear in the original works, and/or reimaginings of the conflicts from the original works.