Originally airing in 1995, few animes have been as influential or as critically celebrated as Neon Genesis Evangelion. Centring around the character of Shinji, the show depicts an apocalyptic future in which the world is under constant threat from the Angels, mysterious creatures with an unknown origin who appear from nowhere and begin wreaking havoc on human cities.
The only defence against these otherwise unstoppable monsters is the organisation known as NERV who build and maintain enormous, bio-machines (Evangelions) that are piloted by gifted individuals. One of these individuals is the protagonist, Shinji, an emotionally withdrawn teenager capable of maintaining a symbiotic connection with Unit-01 despite his overwhelming anxieties about rejection.
Somewhat of a deconstruction of anime tropes and clichés, Evangelion will surprised you with its nuances and intricacy. The characters are relatable and likeable, and theres almost nothing to break the immersion and disconnect you from the story. Everything fits together perfectly into a neat 26 episodes, complete with one perfect film, and a bunch of terrible ones that you really dont need to see.
Why It's Perfect For Beginners: Though Evangelion gets far more complicated the further down the rabbit hole you go, the central themes of loneliness, isolation and rejection are tackled with a maturity and a complexity rarely seen anywhere else.
If youre looking for the perfect starting place, this is it. Youll find nothing more engaging, emotionally challenging and deceptively straightforward as Neon Genesis Evangelion. If you appreciate good storytelling, it wont matter that youve never seen another anime in your life; this is the real deal.