Neon Genesis Evangelion is a pillar and standard bearer for the anime community. Its inception brought in a new era of mechas and deeply metaphorical anime, as its own balance of reality, religious commentary, and traumatic adolescence would connect with and inspire fans everywhere. And like any great series, like Death Note, Dragon Ball, or Sailor Moon, Evangelion is celebrated to this day in the only way the anime community knows how: through memes.
As great of a mastodon of intellectual writing, symbolism, and plot structure the series is, nothing it could possible do could save it from a few digs from people with computers. In celebration of this love/hate relationship (very appropriate for the series in question), this list will be running down 10 Evangelion memes that are too hilarious for words. Though...some of them do use words.
10 A Couple of Bestiesss!
2019 was a seminal year for the series. After years of licensing hell, a big distributor finally managed to claim the series and make it accessible to general fans. That distributor, however, was Netflix, a company that to this day, constantly reminds fans that it doesn't know anime.
Even though fans should've learned from the live-action Death Note series, everyone was still disappointed with the dub for Evangelion. Specifically, one of the biggest gripes against them is their censorship of an iconic scene, taking away the homosexual undertones for something safer. Safe, but not Evangelion.
9 Did I Strike...a NERV?
Asuka Langley is one of the most delightfully complex and volatile characters within the series. Look no further than the last few episodes and the End of Evangelion for how dangerous her wrath can be. With pent up tension building for nearly two dozen episodes and a giant robot in her control, Asuka is very much responsible for a terrifying scene that sets her up as one of anime's most vicious characters. Also, the agency she works for is called NERV, so that's a pun.
8 I Hate You, Dad!
Let's not start any confusion. Shinji's dad, Gendo Ikari, is a downright terrible and near unforgivable permission. Shinji's tension with him and the anime community's outright hate for him is well deserved.
With that being said, it is confounding within Evangelion and, perhaps, several anime as a whole, that Shinji doesn't try anything with or, at least, feel fortunate about the beautiful women surrounding him. The series doesn't just scream sexual tension. It hooks sexual tension to an amplifier and turns the volume all the way up.
7 "When" she gets off the elevator...
The scene in question here has divided fans for a couple of decades. Some say it's an artful pause. Others say it's downright padding and lazy. In any case, the main takeaway from this scene is that it took awhile. A long while.
So much so, that fans can understand that Shinji's gonna have to wait to throw that shaving cream. One might as well throw a few more panels in the comic above, because that elevator door is not opening up soon.
6 Shinji's Dad Ruins Everything
How does one explain Evangelion? Perhaps with a 50 page thesis and a full analysis of every frame. In a single picture you say? Now doesn't that seem foolhardy? Well, just look above, and one will see the fine summation of the entire series, which is pretty much, "Please, Gendo! Stop doing things!"
This was mentioned earlier on this list but can't be mentioned enough times, as Shinji's dad really did ruin everything. His son, the government agency he works for, pretty much the entire world during the End of Evangelion. Everything.
5 The Perfect Little Anime
With everything said in #5, there are a few more defined elements to Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is a mech series in vain of Gundam. It draws heavy reference to Freudian psychology. It makes great use of religious symbolism. However, above all else, Neon Genesis Evangelion is pretty depressing.
Its director, Hideaki Anno, was literally battling depression as he went through the series, so it's suffice to say that the magical chemical that defined and made the series would probably be the deep rooted tension and anxiety sitting within everyone.
4 Watching Evangelion
Continuing the trend of Evangelion going off the walls with its psychology, there does seem to be quite a plot structure to the series as a whole. And by plot structure, one does mean roller coaster that goes up a couple of notches before plummeting down beneath the Earth's crust. The series really does get more and more intense with every couple of episodes, with episodes 23 and up and End of Evangelion being iconic for putting on the series' big kid pants. There really is a night and day difference between how the series starts and how it dreadfully ends.
3 Who Would Win?
As much as the community can tease Shinji or get annoyed by his flaky antics, it's impressive to say the least that, as that sad boy, he is able to take down a variety of giant, horrific monsters. And on a near weekly basis no less. Looking at him and the corners he cries in, it's easy to see how confounding it is that he's one of humanity's only hopes. But giving credit where credit is due, Shinji does eventually get in the robot, and he has quite an impressive list of wins over the Angels.
2 Evangelion Ending Explai...Doubt!
Episode 26 is divisive to say the least in terms of how it was handled by its audiences. On the one hand, it followed the surrealism and artifice that Hideaki Anno was building. On the other, it infuriated Japanese fans so much that they had to make new ending. And what an ending it was.
If people didn't like the psychology and surrealism of the original ending, then Anno was absolutely attacking them with this one, as it is a maelstrom of strong imagery, brutal emotion, and a dash of dark intentions. There's so much going on in the ending that it is doubtful that anyone, even with a PhD, could explain it in its entirety in under 10 minutes, let alone IGN.
1 Get in the Robot, Shinji.
One would be remiss if they made a list of Evangelion memes without including at least one of its most iconic meme, one that has persisted before internet memes were even a thing. If you're a new fan to Evangelion who's still working through the first couple of episodes, then be prepared to be internally screaming this phrase throughout the series.
Arguably, the main plot of this series isn't about science vs. religion or daddy issues. It's about one boy's struggle to get in the freakin' robot. While saying it over and over again is a bit old hat, especially considering that it doesn't really take that long for Shinji to get in the robot, this line has become a huge staple for the community as a whole, as everyone's worries and anxieties are brought under one umbrella. Seriously, Shinji. Get in the robot.