Top 10 Neon Genesis Evangelion Moments

VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
Okay – things are about to get heavy. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Neon Genesis Evangelion Moments.

For this list, we're looking at the best moments in "Neon Genesis Evangelion;" including the TV series, "End of Evangelion," and the "Rebuild" movies. Please note, a spoiler warning is now in effect.
Top 10 Neon Genesis Evangelion Moments

Okay – things are about to get heavy. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Neon Genesis Evangelion Moments.

For this list, we’re looking at the best moments in "Neon Genesis Evangelion;" including the TV series, "End of Evangelion," and the "Rebuild" movies. Please note, a spoiler warning is now in effect.

#10: “Both of You, Dance like You Want to Win!”

Moments of genuine levity in “Evangelion” are few and far between, so when they do happen it’s a breath of fresh air. Episode 9 has both Asuka and Shinji working together to defeat an Angel, with the pilots needing to be perfectly in sync to take down Israfel. After a pretty fun episode that shows early hints of Asuka and Shinji's turbulent potential romance, the final battle is one of the few rare moments when "Evangelion" grants Shinji and Asuka a definitive win. Considering what happens later in the series, it’s nice to see Shinji and Asuka almost get a long for a change.

#9: Congratulations!

Describing "Neon Genesis Evangelion's" TV conclusion as divisive is an understatement, and the final "Congratulations!" scene is no exception. Even if "End of Evangelion" tends to be preferred, the anime's abstract final two episodes provide a fascinating and in-depth exploration of Shinji's psyche, as the protagonist gradually grows to appreciate himself. The final scene of all the characters showing up to give Shinji a standing ovation is iconic, if not necessarily universally loved, and has definitely itched its place in anime history. It’s not the ending fans wanted, but the one Shinji definitely needed.

#8: Rei’s Sacrifice

Withdrawn and hard to read, Rei presents an enigmatic figure for the majority of the TV series. Created specifically to play a role in Third Impact, all incarnations of Rei are treated as tools by Gendo, with the clone seldom being allowed to express any emotions. After the Angel – Armisael – takes over Eva-00 and Rei, the pilot begins to understand her own emotions and decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save Shinji. Rather than the sacrifice, this moment is important because Rei directly defies orders and gains autonomy, something that very few characters in "Neon Genesis Evangelion" accomplish.

#7: Asuka’s Debut

After seven episodes of the reluctant Shinji and the aloof Rei, "Neon Genesis Evangelion" was crying out for some energy to be injected from somewhere. As it so happened, Germany had the perfect person for the job. Asuka arrives on the scene like a hurricane; loud, threatening, and with a gust of wind. While the pilot's opening scene is primarily played for laughs, Asuka instantly leaves an impact on the series, serving as the perfect counter to Shinji's timidness. "Rebuild 2.0" meanwhile opts to give Asuka an introduction that features a lot less fanservice and a lot more badass.

#6: Shinji & Rei vs. Ramiel

Along with boasting an awesome design, Ramiel is undoubtedly among the most dangerous angels encountered by the Eva pilots and comes painfully close to killing Shinji. Up until this point, Shinji and Rei had maintained their distance from each other, but defeating Ramiel mandates the two work together to stand any hope of victory. With Ramiel coming very close to penetrating NERV Headquarters and Shinji having almost no room for error, the fight itself is incredibly intense and the payoff more than lives up to the hype. The episode also ends with a touching moment between the two pilots, even if Rei's backstory does retroactively undermine this scene's sweetness.

#5: Shinji “Saves” Rei

Initially starting out as an action-heavy retread of the original series, "Rebuild of Evangelion" begins to deviate considerably by the end of the second film. With Rei swallowed by the Tenth Angel and all hope appearing lost, Shinji temporarily taps into his inner Shounen hero, fuses with Unit-01, receives a power-up, and seemingly saves the absorbed pilot. In most other anime, this would be Shinji's moment of triumph; however, "Evangelion" is a franchise like no other. In the sequel movie it is revealed Along with not really saving Rei, Shinji's "Gurren Lagaan" moment nearly brings forth the Apocalypse and destroys a large section of Tokyo-3.

#4: Asuka vs. Mass-Produced EVAs

Not a single character gets off easy in "Evangelion," and Asuka spends the last stretch of episodes spiraling out of control while trying to sustain a facade of confidence. By "End of Evangelion," Asuka is a shell of a person but the 14-year-old girl manages to find the resolve to take on SEELE's Mass Produced Evangelions. The battle is vicious from the start, with Asuka dismantling the knock offs without too much trouble. When things are suddenly lookup up, EVA-02 runs out of power and the seemingly defeated Mass Production Evangelions begin to move again. Asuka – someone so desperate to be loved and seen as special – is eaten by soulless mass-assembled nobodies.

#3: Human Instrumentality

Achieved through the event known as Third Impact, Human Instrumentality basically means that all human souls return to Lilith, the Second Angel responsible for creating life on Earth, and be united as one being. Third Impact is finally triggered during "The End of Evangelion" and damn does it leave an impression! Putting aside context, the image of a massive Rei towering over the Earth while absorbing all of humanity's souls is simply an unforgettable sight. Surreal, grim, and epic; Third Impact distills "Neon Genesis Evangelion's" strange awesomeness into a single moment.

#2: Kaworu's Death

"Neon Genesis Evangelion's" final few episodes are virtually non-stop torture, the one exception being a couple of scenes of camaraderie between Shinji and the mysterious fifth child, Kaworu. Ultimately, Kaworu is revealed to be both the first and final Angel, leaving Shinji no choice but to kill the one person who seems to truly understand him. While it had been coming for a long time, this is the moment that truly breaks Shinji. Up until this point, Shinji is primarily following orders and could at least distance himself slightly from most of the casualties; however, even if the situation necessitated taking drastic measures, the pilot actively makes the choice to kill Kaworu.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a couple honorable mentions:

EVA Unit-00 Uses the Spear of Longinus

Shinji & Asuka Kiss

Bardiel infects EVA Unit-03

THAT Elevator Scene

EVA Unit-00 Goes Berserk

#1: EVA Unit-01 the Beast

Whenever Shinji has an impressive moment in "Neon Genesis Evangelion," more often than not, there is a catch. While fighting the 14th Angel – which utterly destroys Asuka and Rei – Shinji runs out of power. In order to save everyone, the protagonist unleashes a Berserk Mode, which greatly increases Unit-01's power but pries control away from Shinji. While Shinji's determination and willingness leads to victory, this can only be achieved by the pilot basically losing himself to the EVA. Blending vicious mecha action and psychological drama – this moment is "Evangelion" in a nutshell.