|Date of birth||1996|
|Lot in life|
|Favorite Episode||Episode 22, Episode 15, Episode 21|
|Favorite Character||Asuka, Shinji, Misato, Gendo|
|Favorite Relationship||Asuka/Shinji, Misato/Kaji|
Hello! Been a fan for many years. I first watched Eva soon after reading about it on TV Tropes, and have been hooked ever since. I am not super active on the forums though I have lurked them for years, but I have become fairly active in EvaGeek's Discord server. Mostly, I am active in other Eva fandom places.
- 1 The Tiers of Canonicity
- 2 Tier 1: The Anime Itself and its Scripts and Storyboards:
- 3 Tier 2: Statements made by the show's creators, principally Anno.
- 4 Tier 3: Official Supplemental Sources.
- 5 Tier 4: The Manga
- 6 Tier 5: Statements Made by Those who Distribute Eva outside of Japan
- 7 Separate continuities
- 8 Secondary and Tertiary sources
- 9 References
The Tiers of Canonicity
One of the difficulties in analyzing Neon Genesis Evangelion is the large number of secondary sources, some of which seem to be contradictory. Just how does one determine what is and is not canon? A very handy rule of thumb was invented for this purpose by Shin-seiki, a frequent poster at the Anime Nation and Eva Monkey forums. This tool is known as Shin-seiki's Tiers of Canonicity and is a proven system, both simple and effective, for resolving contradictory statements among various sources.
- The anime itself and its scripts and storyboards. The Director's Cuts are the final or official version and take precedence over the On Air version in the event of any theoretical contradiction.
- Statements made by the show's creators, principally Hideaki Anno.
- Official supplemental sources such as theatrical programs, Newtype Filmbooks, and Cardass Cards.
- The Manga, which is actually its own continuity. At best it can be used to support the anime when they are in explicit agreement; it should never be used to contradict the anime.
- Statements made by those responsible for adapting Evangelion for release outside of Japan. In the English speaking speaking world this would be representatives of ADV or Manga Entertainment.
Lower tiers are canon only if they do not contradict the evidence presented in higher tiers. Info from lower tiers should also be treated with somewhat more skepticism than higher tiers.
This system is a widely accepted method in evangelion discussion circles and is therefore accepted as guideline for presentation of material on this wiki.
The following are some examples of each tier.
Tier 1: The Anime Itself and its Scripts and Storyboards:
The primary Canon is the evidence presented in the series. For example, when Misato reveals to Shinji in Ep. 19 that all of his classmates are Eva pilot candidates, that is official and no lower tiered source can contradict it. You can then combine it with evidence from elsewhere in the show such as Toji's implication in Episode 03 that his mother is dead, and the revelations that the souls of Unit-01 and Unit-02 are the pilots' mothers, and conclude that Unit-03's soul is that of Toji's mother.
Everything added to the director's cuts is first tier canon and was put there to set up something that happens in EOE. Shin-seiki has promised to write an essay that will go over this scene by scene.
The production drawings that were applied to the final show also classify as first tier canon. The same applies to genga, the drawings done by the keyframe animators, and "roughs", which are drawings created inbetween the production drawings and the actual genga.
In case of direct conflicts between first tier sources, Renewal takes precedence over the Unremastered version, Director's Cut versions over On-Air versions, and End of Evangelion over the two ending episodes of the TV series. Non-contradictions include Renewal's removal of the mystery images superimposed over the Rei clones in Episode 23' because nothing in the show actually contradicts them.
Tier 2: Statements made by the show's creators, principally Anno.
The most famous example of this is Anno's statement that Kaji was not shot by any of the main characters, but by a nameless assassin sent by either Nerv's or Seele's security division. Anno rarely comments on NGE, so when he does you know that he feels that it's an important issue. In this case he was so shocked that many people believed that the assassin was Misato that he issued an explicit denial. As there is no credible evidence in the only higher tier, the series itself, that Misato is the assassin, Anno's statement is canon.
Note: The Confidential Information is said to have come straight from Anno. Provided that this is true, it should be considered Tier 2, not Tier 3.
- Anno - brainchild
- Enokido, other writers. Producers.
- Other staffers, artists.
- Voice actors are a complicated case. Yuko Miyamura, Asuka's voice actress, has notoriously provided input to EoE's ending, with Anno changing Asuka's original line, which he was unsatisfied with, after asking her how she thought Asuka would feel in her situation. Ritsuko's voice actor has also given insight into Gendo's unspoken line in the same movie. However, these same voice actors have often given many, many opinions that range from the bizarre to the simply wrong. Miyamura, ogata shinji crc
- Essayists, reviewers, critics. Other creators with no direct participation.
- Changing opinions and objectives
- For instance, the December 2006 issue of Newtype magazine has producer Toshimichi Otsuki mentioning "the new story takes place in the same period as the 1995 TV series", which implies that the major events from the new movies occur relatively close to the time they occur in the TV Series. However, the events in the Rebuild series have clearly been had their dates moved forward, with 2.0 taking place in 2017-2018 for an as of yet unknown reason. As such, Otsuki was either simply wrong, or he was expressing something that, while true in 2006, was eventually changed when the movies were released. It's also possible he was simply not specific enough, and while events like Second Impact seem to take place at roughly the same time in the Rebuilds, the rest of the story had their dates changed.
Tier 3: Official Supplemental Sources.
See also: Neon Genesis Evangelion Timeline.
Tier 3 is where the information starts to get a little less reliable, and must be carefully checked against the evidence presented in the series. For instance, the Red Cross Book has:
"[Angels (SHITO)] Beings originated from the source of life called Lilith. They take various sizes and shapes: from a giant octahedron to a minute Angel the size of bacteria, or even a "shadow" Angel without tangible form. Borrowing Fuyutsuki's words in episode 26', it seems that Angels are beings which got the "Fruit of Life" whereas humanity got the "Fruit of Wisdom". In other words, "Angels" are another form of humankind with the same potential as humans. Thus, humans are the 18th Angel."
The first line of the above is blatantly incorrect because it contradicts the evidence presented in the series that Adam gave birth to the Angels. For instance, Kaworu in ep. 24, call Adam "our Mother" (before realizing that he is actually looking at Lilith). The above reference as to the Angels origin is therefore not canon. This does not mean, however that you should throw out the Red Cross Book altogether. It should be considered reliable in places where it does support the evidence presented in the series, for instance:
"[Rei Ayanami] The First Children, and dedicated pilot of Eva-00. A young girl who apparently lacks emotions. Her body was created from the salvaged remains of Yui Ikari after Yui was taken into the Eva, and numerous Rei clones were then prepared in Terminal Dogma so that when one Rei dies she can be replaced by another. The present Rei is the third. The first was killed by Dr. Naoko Akagi, and the second died in battle against the 16th Angel. Although the personalities of these three Rei differ from one another, this is due to environmental factors. Their soul is one and the same, and it appears to have been that of Lilith. At the final stage of the Instrumentality Project, Rei betrayed Gendou, returned to Lilith of her own judgment and entrusted the future to Gendou's son -- Shinji Ikari. Birth date: unknown"
The above is perfectly in keeping with what we see in the series and is thus canon.
Differences among Tier 3 sources
Not all sources are created equal, however. Anime supplemental sources, not unlike those present in other media, can be of varying degrees of reliability, consistency, and oversight or even acknowledgement by the show's actual creators. Several explicitly non-canon material can be taken as "official proof" if one is not careful enough, or presented as such, knowingly or not, partly thanks to the language barrier relative to Japanese sources. The "gold standards", in order of release, usually are considered to be:
- Newtype 100% Collection (1997) is a guide produced by Newtype magazine. This was actually made in conjunction with Gainax, and include many officially verified information and interviews.
- The Death and Rebirth program book and the Red Cross Book (1997), the popular name for the [[End of Evangelion program book], were created very closely to the series' or in this case EoE's release, even if they are not necessarily written by Anno and co., it's the sort of stuff that they'd have the most oversight over. These books were distributed in Japanese movie theatres with the original theatrical showings of D&R and EoE. Program books or pamphlets such as these are distributed to moviegoers in Japanese theaters in order to provide context and information for viewers. Naturally, because D&R is mostly a recap of the series, it also applies to it.
- The Cardass Masters Game (1998) is of less clear reliability, but uses the RCB text almost verbatim and
- The Classified Information (2003) files are in a bit of a gray zone. They were not writen by Gainax but instead were written by the NGE2 game developers in order to provide furhter context to the series, after interviewing Gainax staff. This is hardly an ideal arrangement, but the CI are used because they are so useful and overall help explain so much, and in fact there is additional evidence that the First Ancestral Race and other elements present in it were conceptualized by the writers before, but were eventually not featured in the anime, only to be slowly re-introduced over time.
- Evangelion Chronicle (2007) is a encyclopedia-like collection that provides all sorts of information, and it is also considered the most recent "gold" standard.
However, several sources are written with more questionable veracity, oversight, or consistency. Because there is such a gargantuan variety of additional Evangelion material, there is no reason to believe that every single one of them, let alone every single thing written in them, is approved, overseen or even known by the show's creators. Thanks to this, there are multiple inconsistencies and contradictions among them. This is when things get complicated
Misattributions and non-canon sources
There are several sources that are circulated around the Internet as "official Evangelion sources" that are anything but. Several manuals and guides are written with specific purposes and are not and are not even claiming to be canon, despite being "approved." It should be noted, however, that licenced, official, and canon are not the same thing. For instance, "licenced" material includes dozens of pornographic doujinshi anthologies that were collected and re-printed by Gainax. Though these are "licenced", they are not even trying to claim they are official. The only real difference those have from completely fan-made material is that they have an ISBN and might be sold beyond fan markets. There are also fan books that have multiple problems, and those include both books that were licenced by Gainax (much like these doujinshi) or completely fan-made ones. There is also a wide variety of promotional material that present, for instance, "Q&A for true (character) fans!" that are created with [All About Kaworu Nagisa: A Child of the Evangelion such obvious pandering in mind]] that they should hardly be taken seriously, particularly when they directly contradict other more "serious" sources very often.
This also applies to guides, manuals and such written specifically for video games and spin-offs. They only exist to inform the reader in regards to what is present inside the continuity of those spin-offs, not the series itself. This, naturally, also applies to merchandise, figures and such. Some sources, like the Eva Fan Club are also "official" but simply consist of fan letters and theories, and do not constitute official statements by the creators. Likewise, the Rebuild movies and Sadamoto's manga are official, but are not canon as they are part of their own, separate continuities.
It's also worth noticing that sometimes official sources are misquoted or misclaimed. For instance, there are several cases where an interview with Anno or another senior staffer has been wrongly represented, sometimes what the interviewer's says or asks is attributed to the interviewee themselves, or sections of the publication that contain the interview, but are not part of the actual interview, are atributed to these Eva staffers. For instance, Anno or Tsurumaki can get interviewed for a magazines (in a regular issue of such magazines and not special guides like Newtype 100%), and fan letters inside that magazine, or articles written by the magazine's staff or other writers concerning the anime, have been claimed to have come straight from Anno in the past, despite the interviewee only having control over what is said in their own interviews and the actual magazine making a clear differentiation between them. Be wary of these affirmations - as a rule of thumb, if someone says that "Anno said this" or "Anno said that", or simply said "an official Evangelion/Gainax source", without providing the specific source, it is extremely likely they are simply repeating hearsay, rumours, or distortions, knowingly or not.
Particularly, considering Gainax has not been in control of the Evangelion brand for almost a decade, and the fact that there are many other Evangelion staffers that have given interviews, particularly considering Anno's stance that he will not explain everything, quoting "Gainax" or "Anno" specifically is usually an indicator of this. Thankfully, there are ample resources collected by fans over time that you can refer to yourself, with hundreds of pages of material collected in the below links.
A relatively inoffensive example about inconsistencies in material is how Asuka's birthdate is stated to be December 4th, 2001 in multiple supplemental material. This is following anime industry convention of matching characters' birthdates with their voice actors'. Except, these materials also state Asuka as being 14, when evidence president in the show indicates that she was actually 13, at least up until the latest episodes, during the vast majority of the series.
A more particular example is the complete series' timeline provided in the Ayanami Raising Project game. Unlike NGE2, this game doesn't seem to have any involvement from Gainax writing staff. However, while this timeline might prove useful at least to orientate a fan, it bizarrely states events during Episode 18 and 19, and events during Episode 23 to have happened in January and March of 2016, respectively, despite Maya's laptop in End of Evangelion placing the latter events date in 2015. It also contradicts the dates shown in Episode 9, with Israfel's destruction being safely attributable to September 11th, 2015. The computers in Episode 20 also show Shinji's 30-day long absorption to be during 2015. This is one example of a "poor" supplemental source directly contradicting the series. It also contradicts dates from the D&R program book.
This isn't necessarily a problem however, as the timeline contained within the game can easily be taken to only apply to the game's own internal continuity. It is, however, an example of why one should avoid using non-canon material as evidence to be used for the series, even though this material is fully licenced and official.
There are several bigger offences, however, to less "objective" points that seem to be more of a matter of interpretation.
- height chart
Tier 4: The Manga
As stated above, the Evangelion manga has established its own canonicity, separate from the television series. When debating the series, the manga can be useful mainly as reinforcement. For instance, if the manga and the series both say that Kaji misidentifies Lilith as Adam then it must be true. What one should never do is try to claim that facts that are present only in the manga are also true in the anime. For instance, the notion that Asuka is a test tube baby is true only in the manga; in the anime, the man identified as her father is, in fact, her real father. Some people claim that the manga should be considered canon in instances where the anime is silent, such as Kaji's backstory, but even that seems to be very ill-advised.
Unlike it is sometimes assumed, the manga is in fact not the original version of the story, but instead it was created as a supplemental designed to promote the TV series and was continued thanks to the series' popularity. Sadamoto has also repeatedly stated that the manga is his own individual work and should never be used as a reference for anything in the anime or the Rebuilds. He has also denied links to the Rebuild movies. Though Anno is certainly aware that the manga exists, he hasn't provided support, approval, or even commented on anything present in it.
- check this statement!
Tier 5: Statements Made by Those who Distribute Eva outside of Japan
These are the least reliable of any of the official sources. It's evident, in fact, from some of their statements that the people at ADV and Manga Entertainment have a less than perfect understanding of Evangelion, sometimes giving credence to some of the most infamous "theories" that have sprung up in the on-line community. For instance, in her EOE commentary, Amanda Winn Lee seems to support the bizarre theory that it's not really Asuka on the beach at the end of the movie, but instead it's a "combination girl" of Asuka, Rei and Misato. The "evidence" presented for this is that her eyes are the wrong color. The trouble is that they aren't the wrong color, they're just reflecting the scene's ambient lighting in certain shots. In other shots you can see that they are, in fact, their normal blue. Likewise, in ADV's Episode 19 commentary, their special guest Sean McCoy states that the Unit-01 berserk incidents are Shinji's subconscious taking over the Eva, and that Unit-01 taking the S-2 Engine into herself represents Shinji declaring independence from his mother and becoming a man. In fact, the exact opposite is true. The evidence presented in the series is that the berserk incidents are Shinji's mother Yui, Unit-01's soul, taking control. The berserk incidents always take place when Unit-01 is out of power and can't be controlled by the pilot, and Ritsuko even says "She's awakened." In short, statements from these sources need to be taken with several grains of salt: they are fans of the series, and they've watched it a great deal, but they do not know significantly more about it (as in access to "behind the scenes information") than basic fans do.
- Other releases
- Problems with ADV
The Rebuild of Evangelion series classifies as a wholly separate continuity with its own backstory, which may not be applicable to the TV series and shall be treated as such. Although minor details such as Eva-01's blood type and the Lilin romanization can be accepted as official, even these might have to be viewed on a case-by-case basis if neccessary. Since this site primarily deals with the TV series (And Rebuild is still a work in progress), creating separate Tiers of Canonicity for Rebuild would be premature as best, although it is not inconcievable that it would be done sometime in future.
Spin-offs and games
Besides the anime, manga and Rebuild movies, the Evangelion franchise also includes a wide variety of spin-off manga such as Shinji Ikari Raising Project and Angelic Days, as well as games such as Girlfriend of Steel. Along with a multitude of merchandise, this material is made by outsourced companies and authors with no link to Evangelion itself, and are produced for purely commercial purposes, with no Gainax/Khara oversight. Though they are technically "approved" by them, in effect pretty much all possible and impossible scenarios are depicted in these materials, as long as they can make money. Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 is a good example of this in the video game side of things, with its over 20 absurd scenarios such as Ritsuko seducing Kaworu and Aoba dating Maya. On the spin-off side of things, things range between "sanitized" romantic comedies like Angelic Days featuring much more stable and altered characters and the constant ecchi bombardment of SIRP, to Evangelion Anima on the other extreme, with loli neko Mari, multiple loli Rei clones, Asuka fusing with her Eva and being in a relationship with Shinji, and more. Anyone that is actually familiar with the extra-canon Evangelion spin-offs should be able to tell how completely disconnected from the "main" Evangelion continuity they truly are.
It is thus, highly innacurate to say they are official, let alone "approved/endorsed by Anno". In fact, Anno himself is directly quoted that he is indifferent to what other authors do with his franchise, and that it is all "a matter of economics". This should hardly come as a surprise, since the bulk of anime profits are not in fact generated from merchandise and licenced material sales, not home media, box office or even advertising.
- How to differentiate sources
Secondary and Tertiary sources
Evangelion, being a massive cultural phenomenom in Japan, has been written about extensively by independent parties. These range from other anime and manga creators with or without direct or indirect infuence on Evangelion, such as Ikuhara, Miyazaki, Go Nagai and others, but without actually being a part of the production process. While their opinion on Eva is certainly valuable from an artistic and cultural perspective, they are not sources by themselves on determining what is canon.
- Transcript of NewType Magazine, December 2006
- "To solve the mysteries you must understand the world of Eva itself The Eva 2 game draws you into the world of Eva once again. During production, the developers did their best to understand everything about Eva, and tried to incorporate what they learned into the game. Without their efforts, it would've been impossible to re-create the world of Eva. Hiroshi Shibamura of Alfa System prepared a thick questionnaire and conducted an interview with Hideaki Anno, the director of both the TV series and the films, that lasted more than ten hours. The interview included questions such as, "What do you think about each of the Gundam series?" (to help program the "Anno AI" in the game) and "What was the first Angel?" (to further understand the story behind Eva). Director Anno and his staff answered the questions frankly, and the game reflects that. However, it won't be easy to find answers. The quickest way to gather clues is to play the game repeatedly in as many different roles as possible. There are some deceptive characters, such as Gendou (you can never tell whether he's telling the truth). And after all of the hard work, much of the information obtained may turn out to be contradictory or just plain false. That is because a correct answer from the standpoint of one particular character isn't necessarily correct from the standpoint of another. On the other hand, mystery-solving is only a part of it. Instead of trying so hard to find the right answers, just keep playing around in the puzzling world of Eva to discover clues about the "Official Answer," which GAINAX is said to have presented in the game." - Newtype USA Jan 2004
- Statements by Evangelion Staff: Protoculture Addicts #43 (NewType 11/1996) "Evangelion is like a puzzle, you know. Any person can see it and give his/her own answer. In other words, we're offering viewers to think by themselves, so that each person can imagine his/her own world. We will never offer the answers, even in the theatrical version. As for many Evangelion viewers, they may expect us to provide the 'all-about Eva' manuals, but there is no such thing. Don't expect to get answers by someone. Don't expect to be catered to all the time. We all have to find our own answers." -PA #43, translated by Miyako Graham from 11/96 Newtype
- All About Kaworu Nagisa interview
- Interview with Sadamoto, includes his confirmation that the Mari bonus chapter was just fanservice.