Netflix's acquisition of Neon Genesis Evangelion has led to renewed interest in the classic mecha anime, but for hardcore fans that interest hasn't waned since the series went off the air in the mid-90s. Through the manga, reboot films, and many, many cross-media spinoffs, they've also had plenty of other avenues to stay connected to Evangelion.
The same can be said for the country of Evangelion's origin, Japan, where it's still a multi-million dollar franchise. All of this has ensured the property remains a favorite among anime cosplayers, as -- even without being familiar with the story -- the characters are still very recognizable to anime lovers.
10 REI AYANAMI
Rei uses the Spear in Episode 14, as instructed by Shinji's father, to pierce the body of Terminal Dogma's greatest secret. The replica Spear used in this photo is, obviously, a lot smaller than the real deal.
9 ASUKA LANGLEY SORYU
Evangelion's fan favorite leading lady is stunningly brought to life here by model, Disharmonica and photographer, Akunohako. The Second Child is the headstrong and outspoken pilot of Unit-02, and for a time, she's the best that NERV has ever seen.
As you'd expect, Asuka is just as popular a cosplay subject as she is a fictional heroine. But while many can slip into that skin-tight scarlet suit and rock the ginger wig, few can look this good doing it. Of course, extra credit here goes to the convincing CG in the background.
8 SHINJI IKARI
Shinji, Evangelion's depressive main protagonist, has never looked more lively than he does in this photo from AmenoKitarou. The costumes and props were made to be showcased at Animania 2011, where Ameno and his team picked up first place.
Sadly, the hand-made Eva Unit heads had to be left behind because they were too big to transport. "My love of cheesy blurring has never been so satisfied!" Ameno writes. "[...] I've had people telling me I am making Shinji more determined and epic than he should be."
7 KAWORU NAGISA
The mysterious Fifth Child, Kaworu, enters the fray in Evangelion to take over Unit-02. We're immediately clued into his other-worldly aura, as is an intrigued and suspicious Shinji, and despite only appearing in one episode of the show, Kaworu's presence cast a long shadow.
The simple design of his civilian clothing makes cosplaying him seem like a similarly simple task. But this lovely shot from cosplayer, vigiil-sparda and photographer, RiperJack just shows how much you can elevate a shirt, trousers and wig with the right composition and attention to detail.
6 MISATO KATSURAGI
NERV's young Operations Director not only looks after the young pilots on the field of combat but she becomes something of a maternal figure to them out of battle. An unstable maternal figure, sure, but for Shinji -- who Misato develops a particularly close bond with -- her presence is something he sorely needs.
Tenori-Tiger's excellent Misato cosplay here mimics the sequence in the series when she sets about rescuing her young ward from the JSSDF soldiers ordered to kill him. Other than the spot-on clothing, the neon lighting really makes the image pop.
5 UNIT-01 AND UNIT-02
It's not often you get to see the mechs from Evangelion represented by cosplayers, but arthemis92 (and their unnamed brother) are here to fill that gap. Unlike most mecha manga/anime, Evangelion's piloted 'bots are semi-organic, a frightening mash-up of machine and flesh.
These costumes are a lot less frightening and a lot more wow. Unit-02 even comes equipped with Asuka's deadly Progressive Knife. According to their creator, it took a year's worth of hard work to create the pair.
4 REI AYANAMI AND MARI MAKINAMI ILLUSTRIOUS
It's a two-for-one special here featuring both Rei, modeled by nekotin, and Mari, modeled by tajfu. Animation-wise, Mari is a movie-specific character, introduced to the franchise in Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. As the pilot for Unit-05 and 08, she certainly gives Asuka a run for her money.
In this photo, which has her and Rei in their school uniforms, you'd never suspect that a wickedly good -- borderline brutish -- Eva pilot lies beneath her innocent-looking exterior.
3 ASUKA LANGLEY SORYU
We couldn't resist slipping another Asuka cosplay in here, especially one as incredible as this! Here, the Unit-02 pilot is submerged in the orange-tinged LCL fluid that enables the young pilots -- in womb-like conditions -- to connect with their mechs.
"This was a hard photoshoot, but worth it!" photographer pingtimeout adds to the photo post. Considering this, it's impressive how easy model whiskeyyhotel makes the shot look, which is supposed to evoke the character's drowning mental state as she deteriorates during the story.
2 REI AYANAMI
Another Rei, a different Evangelion continuity. This black-and-red plug suit is worn by the character in the third Rebuild movie, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. Without going into spoiler territory, let's just say that this Rei is a pretty big departure from previous iterations.
This change is reflected by the costume so beautifully modeled by onbluesnow in this photo (taken by Danielle Cosenza). Whereas Rei's usual plug suit is predominantly white, this one is almost a total inversion. She also switches from Unit-00 to Evangelion Mark.09.
1 RITSUKO AKAGI
NERV's chief scientist in her natural habitat! Ritsuko carries out the important job in Evangelion of ensuring Tokyo-3 is well-guarded against the continual Angel attacks. She also works well as a no-nonsense foil to the nonsense-creating Misato.
The two women are shown to be very capable in their respective jobs despite their inherent differences. We love the little details in cosplayer, Meiko Inoe, and photographer Krietor's work here, from the blueprints on the desk to the character's brunette roots.