The Occult in Anime: The Case of Evangelion

The occult is everywhere in our Dajjalic world: from subtle symbols in mainstream movies to the more explicit lyrics of the most popular pop-songs, there’s always a reference to the occult, which we can define as being a symbol subconsciously pushing the spectator (or listener) towards Kufr and Shirk.

Such symbols can either be outwardly Satanic or subtler, through a reversal of more traditional religious imagery.

But while the place of the occult in Western pop-culture has benefited from many books and documentaries, there’s another brand of pop-culture which has somehow escaped attention: The world of Japanese animes.

The “Japanime” industry is now worth $21 billion, and a lot of it has to do with its growing popularity in the West, popularity which really began with the post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie Akira (1988) and intensified with franchises such as Dragon Ball and Pokémon, pushing influential streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon to come up with their own original Japanime productions to meet the rising demand.

One of the most influential of these Japanimes is Neon Genesis Evangelion, which ran on TV from October 1995 to March 1996, with 26 episodes.

We’ll look at Evangelion in particular not only because it’s one of the most successful anime franchises – its merchandise, figurines, etc., earning some $16.6 billion – nor even due to its cultural legacy and how it shaped later animes, but because it’s full of esoteric meaning.

It begins with the title itself: Neon Genesis Evangelion means “Gospel Of The New Century.”

We won’t go into the details of the story or the characters, of course. Rather our focus is on how occult symbols have been used, often as reversal of traditional religious symbols.

Kabbalah

Every anime has an “opening,” a musical introduction where in generally around 2 minutes, much of the essence of the anime is laid out.

In the case of Evangelion, among the images shown in the opening, we get the so-called “Tree of Life.”

The “Tree of Life” is a diagram used in Kabbalah, the esoteric tradition of Judaism.

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Kabbalists say it’s the tree mentioned in Genesis 2:9 in the context of the story of Adam (‘alayhi as’salam), but there’s of course no conclusive link.

This Kabbalistic tree has ten spheres or sephirots, which are supposed to be “attributes” or “emanations” of God, that they call “Ein Sof” or The Infinite, these categorizations being the “ways” He “manifests Himself” in the world.

A Kabbalist contemplates the tree and does “spiritual exercises” to aim for “union with the divine.”

Jewish scholar Joseph Dan in his Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction shows that this tree and the “spirituality” associated with it have no roots in ancient Judaism, as it all goes back to the Book of Bahir first attested as late as the 12th century CE.

He writes pp. 21-22:

The designation of this treatise as the earliest work of the kabbalah is based on its presentation of three major concepts that are not found in any earlier Jewish source. The first is the description of the divine world as consisting of ten hypostases, ten divine powers, which are called ma’amarot (utterances), which were known in later kabbalistic writings as the ten sefirot. The second is the identification of one of the ten divine powers as feminine, separate from the other nine, and thus introducing gender dualism into the image of the divine realms. The third is the description of the divine world as a tree (ilan); the work states that the divine powers are positioned one above the other like the branches of a tree. It seems that the image was one of an upside-down tree, its roots above and its branches.

This “gender dualism” is interesting because Kabbalah is full of it. In this case it does have Talmudic roots, as we read in B’reshith Rabba 8:1, dated to 300-500 AD:

…Said R’ Yirmiyah ben Elazar: In the hour when the Holy One created the first human, He created him [as] an androgyne/androginos, as it is said, “male and female He created them”.

Gershom Scholem, the modern specialist of Kabbalah, famously defined this esoteric Jewish school as a way to attain “androgynous union,” in the sense that for Kabbalists a man who reaches the “perfect spiritual state,” that of “Adam Kadmon” or Primordial Adam, is somehow gender-less, or both genders at the same time, which thus reflects the “gender dualism” of the Tree of Life itself.

It’s then all natural that we read in Zohar 1:49b:7, the single most influential text of the Kabbalah, dated to the 13th century, that “every person needs to be male and female at all times.”

This “gender dualism” is also found in Evangelion, with the character of Lilith.

In the Jewish tradition, Lilith was the first wife of Adam (‘alayhi as’salam) but rejected by him for her too independent personality, eventually kicked out and becoming a sort of demonic figure.

In Evangelion, Lilith, an essential character we can’t describe in details here, is a gigantic creature with no identifiable gender which is crucified in an obvious reference to the alleged crucifixion of ‘Isa (‘alayhi as’salam), as Christians falsely claim.

Such heavy Kabbalistic appropriation is quite intriguing in a Japanese anime (Judaism is virtually non-existent in Japan).

Evil “Angels” and Transhumanism

If we could summarize Evangelion in one line it would be that it’s about the struggle between humanity, represented by “mechas” (giant humanoids), and angels bent on destroying our planet for apparently unknown reasons.

What’s striking is their looks: they don’t have the anthropomorphic appearance of the angels depicted in Western art, and in fact fit more with the Biblical description one could find in the Book of Ezekiel and elsewhere, appearing “scary,” as some would put it.

This warfare against the “evil angels” is done by the Nerv, a military organization linked to the United Nations, which employs the “mechas.”

Later, we find out that it’s actually a secret organization, SEELE (“soul” in German), which actually runs a global world order, manipulating the United Nations and others, aiming for what we’d call a transhumanist program: the “Human Instrumentality Project,” which seeks to unite the souls of all humanity into a single entity, so it could erase all the individual pains and sorrows, as a human would no longer live as an ego but as part of some totality, a totality that won’t feel the egoistic sufferings.

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We have to keep in mind that Evangelion is considered the first “existentialist” anime, in the sense that it’s an anime which gave much space to questions of loneliness, depression, friendship, and so on.

So when one goes through the anime and hears about this transhumanist project, it becomes an attractive idea: transcending the human form.

But it’s interesting how such an influential Japanese anime combines Kabbalistic themes, the Gnostic idea of “evil angels,” as well as a transhumanist project. We could also have added many other points, such as Freudian psychology and its “Oedipus complex” or Jungian psychology so much favored by the New Age.

But keep in mind, we find all of this despite Japan not being concerned with these influences from a civilizational perspective, which demonstrates the reach of the Western culture and its themes through neoliberal globalization.

It also shows that Western pop-culture is not alone in being infested with the occult. These media are how many Muslim youth, as well, are indoctrinated into evil ideologies.

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Bilal Rauf

I’m surprised to see a post regarding Anime here in MuslimSkeptic. Well written article!

Mohammad Talha Ansari

Why surprised? Who else will talk about such issues? The compassionate imams or the Indian mullas who tell people that they shouldn’t read the Quran and Hadith with meaning or they will get confused?

Zaid Diaz

Speaking of Judaism in anime, I remember one anime named ‘Date a Live’. Judaism and magic are rampant there.

Zahra

Assalamualaikum, jazakallahu khayr for this article. We need more of this, many brothers and sisters only see anime as a harmless pastme instead of something that has actual consequences on their iman.

Dragonball Z is full of shirk

In Dragon Ball Z, probably the most popular anime of all time, there is lots of shirk in it.

Takeshi

True, the only positive thing about it is that it motivated many to workout or join martial sports, other than that I fully agree with you.

Dragon Ball authored by Akira Toriyama is basically the “father” of all animes, all the animes were inspired by it.

Amir

I personally know people who have been so heavily influenced by anime in a bad way that some have fallen into depression, some even became murtadd. Anime is often a gateway to very bad internet habits and influences. Teenagers are watching anime online and then going into chatrooms on these websites and discord channels where they’re being exposed to really harmful environments, disgusting material etc.

Last edited 2 months ago by Amir
Truth seeker

Subhanallah only day before yesterday I read an article on how most Hollywood actresses are in reality men coz of the whole kabbaalah thing. Then I watched a webinar of dr omar zaid who alluded to it as how these satanic ideology says God is bi and so was Adam, and here today I read ur article that says the same thing along the same lines.hint hint..
https://www.bitchute.com/thetransfiles/
Do watch this analysis..we live in a crazy distorted world.

Hamza Çavuş

Video games a lot of times have such imagery. And one more interesting thing is that in video games when they mention God it’s always plural. Like it’s always Gods and never a single God.

Ayaan

So big bro should I stop watching anime altogether?