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How to watch the Evangelion Movies in Order

Don't stop the mecha.
Image via Gainax

The Neon Genesis Evangelion series has become a bit of a legend since it first aired in the mid-1990s. The story follows a group of young pilots who are tasked with saving the world from giant monsters called Angels. The anime series was hugely popular and spawned a series of movies that continue the story.

If you’re interested in watching the Evangelion series, then you might be wondering in what order you should watch the movies. Here’s a quick guide to help you out:

Neon Genesis Evangelion Anime Series (1995)

Scene from Neon Genesis Evangelion Anime Series
Image via Gainax

While, technically, it’s a TV series, the original anime series is a fundamental starting point for appreciating the Evangelion movies. The 26-episode series follows the story of Shinji Ikari, a 14-year-old recruited by his father to pilot a giant biomechanical mecha called an Evangelion in order to fight mysterious aliens called Angels. Along with fellow pilots Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami, Shinji must protect Tokyo-3 from the Angels while struggling with his own sense of self-doubt and inadequacy.

The series is widely considered to be a masterpiece of the mecha genre, and its psychological depth and complex characters have earned it a devoted following. It’s also essential for understanding the events of the subsequent Evangelion movies.

Don’t forget to watch the Director’s Cut episodes as they contain additional scenes and story elements not present in the original release.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (1997)

Scene from Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth
Image via Gainax

The first Evangelion movie is actually a compilation of two episodes of the anime series that were never aired on television. The first half, Death, is a retelling of the final two episodes of the series. The second half, Rebirth, is a new story that leads into The End of Evangelion. These two movies are meant to be watched together, as they flow directly into one another.

The End of Evangelion (1997)

Scene from The End of Evangelion
Image via Gainax

The End of Evangelion was released in 1997 and is a sequel to both the TV series and the previous film, Death & Rebirth. The film picks up where the TV series left off, with Shinji Ikari having been absorbed into Unit 01. The other characters are also struggling to deal with the aftermath of the Third Impact, which has left the world in a state of chaos. The film follows a non-linear narrative and features a mix of animation styles.

Rebuild of Evangelion Film Series

The Rebuild of Evangelion film series is a series of four Japanese animated films produced by Studio Khara and released in theaters from 2007 to 2021:

Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone (2007)

Scene from Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone
Image via Studio Khara

The first of the Rebuild films and a retelling of the original TV series, Evangelion 1.0 follows Shinji Ikari as he’s drafted into the Eva pilot program and asked to save humanity from giant aliens called Angels. It’s a classic story of good vs. evil, with some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance (2009)

Scene from Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance
Image via Studio Khara

The second film in the Rebuild of Evangelion series, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance opens with a brief prologue set 15 years prior to the main events of the film, depicting a young Misato Katsuragi and Ritsuko Akagi working together on Project E at NERV headquarters. The film then cuts to the present day, where Asuka Langley Shikinami has been transferred to Tokyo-3 as the new pilot of Evangelion Unit-02.

Much of Evangelion 2.0 focuses on the relationship between Asuka and Mari Illustrious Makinami, the pilot of Evangelion Unit-05. The film also expands upon the backstory of Rei Ayanami, with several flashbacks detailing her early life and upbringing at NERV headquarters.

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Evangelion 2.0 culminates in a battle against the Angel Zeruel, who manages to critically damage Eva Unit-01 and injure Shinji Ikari. As a result, Eva Unit-01 is rendered useless and Shinji is left in a coma.

Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo (2012)

Scene from Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo
Image via Studio Khara

The third movie follows fourteen years after the events of The End of Evangelion, in which Shinji Ikari decides to pilot Unit 01 one last time in order to save humanity from total destruction.

The film starts with a bang, as we see Shinji fighting against the mass-produced clones of Eva Unit 02 piloted by his former friends and allies. It’s a visually stunning battle, and it really sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The film also features some amazing action scenes, including a mind-bending fight between Eva Unit 01 and an entity known as the Tenth Angel.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time (2021)

Scene from Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time
Image via Studio Khara

The last movie in the Rebuild of Evangelion film series was released in 2021. This movie concluded the story that started back in 2007 with Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. It starts with the team led by Maya Ibuki working on restoring Paris to its previous state. Meanwhile, Asuka, Rei, and Shinji are in Tokyo-3, trying to come to terms with what happened in the previous movie.

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