Last summer I found this interesting anime. After watching most of the series I was astounded by all the similarities it has to Evangelion...
I think I'll start with the main character. Lets call him 'Bob', although thats not
what his actual name is. Bob is a Japanese teenager, just like Shinji. It is stressed
early in the series that he has been seperated from his parents often, especially in
recent times. In the first episode of the series Bob is in a city under attack by an enemy
threat. Intense damage is dealt to the surroundings and there are many casualties. Bob
ends up getting into the cockpit of a powerful robot and uses it to save everyone, just
like Shinji. Unfortunately for Bob, he essentially finds himself forced into a powerful
military organization, just like Shinji was essentially forced into NERV. Being just a
teenager, Bob certainly isn't suited to the life of a mecha pilot. He is put under a lot
of stress and often times doesn't want to pilot the mech. Sometimes he can't take it
anymore and blatantly says he will never pilot the mech again. When he finds the situation
that this decision puts his friends in though, he reluctantly returns to his duty. Bob is
often in conflict with his superiors, especially a certain male authority figure. Sound
familiar? Thats not all.
At one point in the series Bob is put over the edge. He commits treason against the organization much like Shinji did when he threatened to destroy NERV HQ. After this situation is settled, Bob is thrown in a cell, just like Shinji was. Despite that act, he is eventually brought back to good terms with everyone else. Like Shinji, Bob is unconfident in his abilities in the beginning, but slowly gets used to it and realizes he is better than he originally thought. There is a period when this puts him and trouble, and Bob becomes overconfident in his abilities. Luckily, this particular thought soon goes away. Bob has an odd relationship with his father, who happens to be the one that built the mech he pilots, just like Gendou built Unit 01, which Shinji pilots. Their relationship is so bad that his father cares more about the mecha than his own son. There is also a part in the series where Bob is removed as the pilot of the mecha and is replaced with a female pilot (just like when Shinji was replaced with Rei as the pilot of Unit 01). This doesn't work out, and things go back to normal. I'd say that pretty much makes Bob a Shinji ripoff, don't you think?
While the similarities between Bob and Shinji is the biggest thing that made me think this show was an Eva ripoff, there are other things out there as well. For example, in this show the 'good guys' base their survival on 3 mechas, just like in Evangelion. By the end of the series, all 3 of these mechas are rendered useless, just like in Evangelion where Units 00 and 02 were destroyed and Unit 01 drifted off into space. There are multitudes of scenes that just scream out "Eva ripoff!". One of the adversaries wears a mask that looks like its taken right from Keel Lorenz. Late in the series, our hero has a battle with a skull faced enemy that shoots beams out of its mouth. Reminds you of Zeruel, doesn't it? In one scene near the end of the show our hero's mecha is dismembered and decapitated, just like what happened to Unit 02. There's another scene that seems like its taken straight out of the movie. Enemy troopers burst into the headquarters of our heroes and kill many, but their mission ultimately ends up being a failure and they are unable to take the main part of the base. Another part that I can recall being reminded of from the movie is when a suicidial blond attempts to blow up our heroes HQ by sacrificing herself. She fails however, and is killed, just like what happened to Ritsuko in the end.
Alright, I think thats enough. I've cited enough examples to prove just how similar
these two animes are. I think its time I reveal just what this anime I've been talking
Mobile Suit Gundam
Yes, that Mobile Suit Gundam. The most famous mecha anime of all time. The Mobile Suit Gundam that just happened to have come out 16 years before Evangelion. I hope this little exercise has shown just how meaningless this 'Evangelion ripoff' discussion is. For a show can hardly be ripped off it isn't original, correct?