A Short Guide to Neon Genesis Evangelion

Evangelion is as inexhaustible as the atom
- Lenin
(an obligatory pun you should find in any serious writing about Evangelion)

At the first glance, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a yet another senseless sci-fi show. The second approach reveals that it is not as simple as it appears to be. However, the truth is that a complex, profound and beautiful story is hidden beneath the seemingly superfluous facade. It could not be revealed easily because of the extreme fragmentation and the tricks authors use to deliberately misguide you. In addition, the powerful psychological drama may draw your attention and move you to tears. Unfortunately, all this may extinguish the supernova hidden in your heart, which will undoubtedly ignite after you get the complete story. The only way to unveil it is to watch NGE more than once (and probably more than twice or even more) connecting scattered facts with the ones you already have in your memory. However, even in this case it is very hard to see all because of the way Evangelion is constructed and the availability of some details only through third-party materials. Below I will try to reconstruct the whole plot in a concise though complete manner. This is an ultimate spoiler, so please watch NGE at least once before reading this.

What to Watch
  • Renewal of Neon Genesis Evangelion (2003) with director’s cut and additional materials.
  • The End of Evangelion, theatrical edition (1999). 
Additional resources:
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 video game.
  • Evangelion TV animation design materials.

Why it is so hard to comprehend the whole story?

Because it is built not in a way, you could find in the most of other stories. Usually, you already have the most of causal connections when you have finished an ordinary story, and you may relatively easily find the remaining connections, facts or conclusions by using the almost complete picture you already got. However, the crucial causal connections of the underlying plot are left blank in NGE, and they are still missing after you has watched the show. Therefore, it is necessary to build a correct network of causal connections between the displayed facts to get all the truth and find the correct motivations you could then use over the various layers of narration. It is relatively tricky to accomplish this, because there are enough of other traps. For example, facts that could be treated more than one way, so chains of connections will branch and you may get an incorrect variant of the plot if you follow a wrong branch. You may get some facts (for example, the presence of Yui in the Unit 01) only from implicit connections. You can get some connections only from visual hints (for example, the pillars of salt at the South Pole and the similar ones at Terminal Dogma). You may also introduce some additional entities to connect existing facts if you do not see an easy way to do this, and this may lead you to a trap, so it is necessary to pay extra attention to such entities. Although, there is the only one way to get the base plot without contradictions at several essential points, and only in this case it is possible to find the actual message which the authors have put into the story.

So, what is going on?

There is actually a little bit more action happens besides the Angel battles:
  • The Second Impact and the consequent climate change devastated humanity. It is plagued by regional conflicts and faces gradual extinction. According to Shinji’s schoolteacher, birth rates are falling steadily.
  • Moreover, UN and the rest of the world think that the Earth is assaulted by powerful aliens - "Angels" (which actually a kind of native Earth species) who are invulnerable to conventional weaponry and that only Evangelions can defeat them.
  • NERV, the manufacturer of Evangelions, think that they are trying to prevent the contact of "Angels" with Adam - the alien progenitor of humanity, placed at the Terminal Dogma below Tokyo-3 - which will result in the possible Third Impact, as it was stated by Kaji in ep. 19.
    But Lilith - the true progenitor of humanity – actually inhabits the Terminal Dogma, since Adam, the progenitor of angels, was contained somewhere in Germany in an embryonic form until episode 8, and there is no reason for angels to attack Tokyo-3 before ep. 8 if the above is true.
  • Seele, a powerful ancient religious society, think that they are fulfilling God’s prophecy by literally following the Dead Sea scrolls in pursuit of the purification of humanity from the original sin (although, the scrolls actually contain references to alien science in the world of NGE). Under the veil of conspiracy, they hope to acquire the peace of mind through humanity’s mystical resurrection in a mystical pure original form, which is not plagued by human incompleteness.
  • A group of rogue scientists in the field of metaphysical biology headed by Gendo Ikari and Kozo Fuyutsuki think that they are inventing a way to promote humanity into a new level of evolution. They hope to save people from extinction through its transformation into a complete being similar to the creators of Adam and Lilith by using the alien manual found in the Dead Sea scrolls and Seele-provided resources.
  • In addition, a lot of people get psychologically traumatized or suffer from unrequited love over the entire course of action.
Sounds a little bit convoluted, and it is unclear, where all this come from, isn’t it? All this is buried under the heavy layers of symbolism and fragmentary references you may find in characters’ utterances or background scenery. A yet another Gainax creation - Otaku no Video may shed more light on the question, why the authors decided to design Evangelion in a such complicated way.

The Truth and Lie in NGE

As you can see, not everything you can hear from an NGE character is true, since it may contradict to what you actually observe. Although one’s words may reveal how he or she sees the world. There is also one layer of truth, which is hardly possible to obtain without the classified information from the NGE2 video game (referred below as "classified information"): the fact about extraterrestrial origin of the progenitors of humanity and Angels. Tough, there are some indications about this in the show: for example, the galaxy map at the ceiling of Terminal Dogma (an alien superstructure), or Kaworu’s monologue about the life "on this planet". This layer is hidden beneath the layer of the Judaist esotericism, and you may think that NGE is a mystical show about Kabbalah. However, Kabballah is actually an alien science in the world of NGE, and NGE version of the Dead Sea scrolls may be a message of the creators of Adam and Lilith to the humanity. According to the classified information, the scrolls may contain a manual for the Longinus lance - a device that is necessary to produce anti AT-field needed to unite the separated descendants of Lilith. But it is still true that for Selee (an ancient mystical cult) only the religious value of scrolls is important. Notably, NGE version of the scrolls imposes "God's" prohibition to not to create a being that is equal to itself, which allows to explain Seele's fear of blasphemy. Therefore, the final goals of Seele’s, and Fuyutsuki/Gendo’s versions of instrumentality may differ - in Seele’s version, the resulting being may not contain an S2 organ.

There is a common misconception about Angels seeking a way to initiate the Third Impact through the physical contact with Adam. Actually, some angels are probably just want to recover Adam according to the classified information; it is possible that the sea angel from ep. 8 actually intended to recover him. And what about Lilith? Some angels are definitely trying to exterminate Lilith, the progenitor of the opposing species, since angels and humans are designed to hate each other, according to Misato in EoE.

The statement about that an Adam or Lilith contact to an angel will cause an impact could not be proved without the exact knowledge of the impact mechanism and remains speculative. Many are trying to prove or disprove this statement using Kaworu’s words about humanity’s destiny at Terminal Dogma, but nothing prevents us to think that Kaworu speaks about the artificial third impact (there is no explicit connection in Kaworu's words between his possible contact with Lilith and the extermination of humanity).

Although the mechanism that may initiate a spontaneous impact definitely exists, it should involve something more than a progenitor-angel contact or should operate on an advanced microscopic level, since it is related to the release of energy and human DNA may be a key to it, as it stated during the contact experiment at the beginning of the ep. 21. Most likely, it also obligatory should involve an S^2 organ and a lance (one was used during the first contact experiment which resulted in the Second Impact), since neither the acquisition of S^2 organ by Lilith-based Unit 01, nor its contact with the angel at ep. 23, neither the contact of the Adam-based Unit 00 with Lilith through the lance, nor Adam’s embryo implanted into Gendo’s hand triggered an impact. During the retrieval of the lance at the ep. 22 Misato gives us a hint that the statement above is most likely a lie: "It's a lie? Second Impact wasn't caused by contact with an Angel."

But why Lilith was disguised as Adam? Such a cover may be necessary to motivate the humanity to defend Lilith by any means. Who would defend a tool of the deadly instrumentality? There was no information about Lilith before Kaworu's revelation, and everyone, except the scientists, falsely thought that Adam is the true progenitor of humans.

The light of the soul

There is also one core point in the celestial mechanics of Evangelion that should be discussed in greater details to make everything more clear.
According to Kaworu (ep. 24) every being, including Angels, have an AT-field - the light and boundary of soul. Human AT-field is very weak, though, but angels’ one is so powerful that it can "phase-shift space", making them virtually invulnerable. This field could be neutralized with anti AT-filed, so a soul (a personality in Ritsuko terms) can be transferred somewhere else. The use of anti AT-field on a regular living being results in its decomposition into LCL (a substance similar to a primordial soup) and appearance of the pillars of salt as they appear in a well-known biblical legend (ones could be seen at the South Pole or Terminal Dogma). Rei and Kaworu (who is born at the day of the second impact, ep. 24) possess the souls of Lilith and Adam separated from their original bodies by exactly this way. Their origin and the ability to emit powerful AT-field may explain some of their "supernatural" powers such as teleportation or levitation. This technology was probably used to transfer human personalities into Evangelion units for the synchronization with the pilots. The presence of a full-fledged soul inside a unit results in a "berserk mode" in which the pilot could surpass its synchronization abilities during near-death experiences. Anti AT-field is also the core tool in the final goal of the human instrumentality. During the Seele-orchestrated Third Impact, the souls of all the humanity should be separated from their bodies with its application.

However, the personality/soul cannot be copied, only transferred (as of Ritsuko ep. 23), so the MAGI bio-computer and Rei/Kaworu based dummy plug systems contain probably only some knowledge possessed by Naoko Akagi, Rei and Kaworu.

The Story Major Points

This section lists the major points necessary to reassemble the core story in a chronological order. The basement layer of Evangelion, which is discussed here, is a story about two groups of people - Seele and Gehirn, who tried to create an artificial "messiah", each for their own agenda, by using the Dead Sea scrolls and metaphysical biology. Thus why the story is called "Neon Genesis Evangelion" ("evangelion" means "gospel" in Greek). But there is a little bit more than that. My intentions are to show that NGE is a story about solitude and the people who are trying to make their dreams real at the conditions of trauma, depression and a dying world.
  • The first progenitor entity (Adam, the progenitor of Angels) has landed at the Earth [classified information].
  • The second progenitor entity (Lilith, the mother of humanity and all other life) has been captured by the Sun System gravity and landed near the South Pole of the Earth (presumably producing the first impact), but later the seed was moved to the location of Japan by tectonic shifts [classified information].
  • The species were intentionally separated by the "God" to not to allow the creation of a being equal to itself and should not coexist at the same planet, so they are designed to hate and confront each other. Each progenitor entity is paired with a helix-shaped device - the Longinus lance - a form of life close to the creators of the entities (the "God"). It could behave by itself, and it is necessary to put an entity to a hibernated state if it awakens. Lilith's spear had been lost during the landing [classified information]. The Dead Sea - the biblical place of God's punishment - may be the result of a huge anti AT-field emission produced by the landing of the spear, just as the South Pole, compared to it by Fuiyutsuki in ep 12. Thus, the presence of pillars of salt allows to determine a fact of anti AT-field exposure. It was prescribed in the Dead Sea scrolls that the confrontation of the species may happen. According to the classified information, the scrolls contain the list of the angels and the times of their appearance; this indicates that the scrolls may be a message of the creators of Adam and Lilith to humanity.
  • It is known that Adam and his off springs possess the fruit of life in their DNA which results in a S^2 infinity energy source, the weakest part of angels. Lilith and her off springs possess the fruit of wisdom in their DNA which results in science. The combination of these fruits produces a being, who has the power equivalent to the power of God. The power of God allows to create something out of nothing (humans are always obliged to begin with something). [UN video/Seele/Fuyutsuki,ep. 21, 24, EoE]. The species use the different ways to live: beings of the first use an infinite energy source, fully complete and do not need a society; beings of the second are separated and need science and society to live.
  • The analysis of the second impact allows to conclude that an additional security mechanism is embedded by the "God" into the species: Adam has anti AT-field explosive system linked to his S^2 source. The system may produce a strong anti AT-field impact [metaphorically a symbol of God's punishment, Fuyutsuki, ep. 12] which may erase or seriously harm all Lilith-based life, thus preventing a forbidden reunion of the fruits. Lilith along with her descendants may possess a key to this system in her DNA, which is necessary to actuate it [UN video, ep. 21]. Although it is principally possible to create such a being through the forbidden reunion, (a "messiah" bestowed with the power of god), it will exist only for a short time and then it will decay. Probably, human ability to create Evangelions and oppose virtually invulnerable angels (which may lead to the acquisition of an S^2 organ) was not foreseen by this mechanism.
  • Sometimes a powerful organization - Seele (according to the classified information this may be an ancient esoteric secret society) revealed all the truth about angels through the Dead Sea scrolls (a relic of their religious doctrine). The scrolls must contain the data on the origin of the Angels and humanity accompanied by various technical information of the metaphysical mechanics of existence in allegorical form, so Seele can still firmly believe in their divine nature.
  • Finally, Seele realize that the Dead Sea scrolls are true; they discover Adam and Lilith at the huge underground cavities in Japan and the South Pole. To achieve the pinnacle of their doctrine (according to the classified information, this is "the path to Adam Kadmon") Seele starts a global conspiracy. It implies the transformation of humanity into a true descendant of Lilith - a complete angel-like being. The names of Tokyo-3 NERV facilities: Terminal Dogma, Central Dogma (which also may be a reference to the central dogma of biology) and Heaven's Door, along with the reference to Christ, clearly designate a path to divinity. Seele uses the war against angels as a convenient cover for their true final goal. There are no other ways to reach it, because they would never be able to offer the rest of humanity a motivation to complement, although the main performers - Gendo and Shinji have it with excess because of their psychological problems.
  • Seele's first move was an attempt to place Adam into a hibernated embryonic state and to separate his soul with anti AT-field. According to Misato in EoE, this was done before the appearance of Angels to prevent "a greater tragedy". This may imply the awakening of Adam by Angels and the possibility of the conscious use of the impact system by him. They had achieved this using Dr. Katsuragi (Misato's father), who intended to test his super-solenoid (S^2) theory. Most likely, this is an allusion to tokamaks or stellarators, although the engine may obtain energy directly from the Dirac Ocean as it suggested by the explosion of the engine in the ep. 18. The test or the contact experiment is a controlled injection of human DNA into Adam [according to the classified information, the S^2 energy source is based on a helical biotechnology and the test may somehow be related to this]. Gendo, a Seele agent, knows the true meaning of the experiment and leaves the South Pole a day before it [UN video/Fuyutsuki, ep. 21], this indicates that the Second Impact probably wasn't an accident. Replicas of Adam's S^2 organs were used in the mass-produced Evangelions to generate the field for the artificial third impact. The final ritual must be performed at the times when the chamber of Guf at the basement of the Tree of Life is empty (i.e. all the remaining souls are available), which may explain Seele’s tight schedule.
  • To complement the humanity, Seele need to produce a global anti AT-field impact and collect peoples’ souls (with the help of an artificial messiah) into an egg, from which a being with a complete soul should evolve. Although Seele may think that, their true intention is just to bring the Heaven to humanity, as the reference to messiah suggest. But Yui and Seele treat their final goals from the scientific and religious points of view, and Yui understands that instead of the Heaven, complemented humanity will get eternal solitude. In a contrary to heaven-seeking Seele, Yui believes that people could be happy even at the devastated world because they live not only for themselves but also for other people, and therefore such an intelligent singular being would not have the meaning of life.
  • Gendo meets and marries Yui, a student of the biotechnology dept. and member of Seele, to get closer to Seele's money and resources [ep. 21]. Gendo probably is just an appropriate candidate for Nerv's secret plan and Yui's true agenda (to leave humanity as is) because of his psychical problems. Most likely there is no true love from Yui to Gendo (but not vice versa) since latter she says that all she is doing is only for Shinji's sake.
  • Fuyutsuki participates in Seele's second impact investigation as a UN inspector and finds out that Yui and Gendo have a child. The second impact is explained as a meteorite explosion to the general public, and Fuyutsuki conducts his own investigation on Seele's business treating to blackmail Gendo with the information about his enormous estate and the true cause of the second impact. But Gendo tells him about the "Project E", and Fuyutsuki accepts the invitation to join the Gehirn organization (lit. brain). Gendo becomes the head of the artificial evolution laboratory [ep. 21].
  • The official goal of the "Project E" is to create a clone of Adam - EVA [ep. 21] as the only weapon capable to generate strong AT-field and overcome angels. According to Seele, only the children born just after the second impact could pilot EVAs, but actually only the children who have the personality of a relative in an EVA could synchronize with it. The Marduk institute was founded to "select" the children all over the world, but actually, it's a dummy organization ruled by Nerv needed only to delude UN. All Evas except 01 were the clones of Adam.
  • Unit 01 is "the only true child of Lilith" [Seele, EoE] made from the lower part of Lilith's body. There are no explicit facts to confirm this except the design materials, but it was possible to create angel-like being by using Unit 01 equipped with an S^2 organ in Seele's scenario [Seele, EoE]  or to create a god-like being to use it as an ark in Gendo/Fuyutsuki's scenario [Fuyutsuki, EoE]. This requires the both fruits, so the unit should be Lilith-based. The true final goal of the "Project E" is to build mass production Evas for the complementation ritual, which means that their anti-angel capabilities is just a useful side effect. Seele even considered Gendo's units as a possible waste in the ep. 2, and there were other anti-angel weapons such as the molecular knives or the positron cannon.
  • Fuyutsuki and Yui have a talk at the lake during which Kozo makes it clear that intentions of Seele and Yui are different [Fuyutsuki/Yui, ep. 21, EoE]. There are also statements about some data Fuyutsuki has passed to Gendo. This may be the data from the Second Impact necessary to generate anti AT-field needed to separate Lilith's soul and place it into Ayanami - the juvenile clone of Yui. Fuyutsuki tells that they will not repeat again what happened the last time - this may mean that they intend to use this data wisely to not to produce an impact. The mentioned third impact predicted in Seele's secret Dead Sea scrolls is most likely the artificial impact orchestrated by Seele, they may perceive it as a prophecy, but actually, it may be just an instruction from the manual to the lance.
  • Yui's soul is completely absorbed into Unit 01 during the second contact experiment (this makes Shinji the only person who could pilot the unit); her body is dissolved in LCL [Link Connection Liquid - an oxygenated synchronization mediator which actually is the primordial soup produced by bleeding Lilith's body]. The accident was definitely set up by Naoko Akagi torn by jealousy. The separation from the mother traumatizes Shinji and bestows him with solitude. Because of that wall between him and the world, he believes that he is pitiful and hates himself, so he thinks that the rest of the people also hate him. Gendo is depressed and intends to use the instrumentality project as a way to reunite with Yui.
  • Fuyutsuki and Gendo create a series of engineered Yui clones to use as a stuffing for the dummy plug system. It's interesting that Rei's room at the Geofront is inscribed with quark names (a connection to the first contact experiment at the South Pole, which may be necessary to show that Rei and Kaworu have the same origin), and that Rei eats primarily condensed food in pills which may be a sign of alien or artificial biochemistry of her body. One of her clones always bears the soul of Lilith which is split from her original body [Rei calls it "home", EoE] at Terminal Dogma as the appearance of the place suggests. Eventually Gendo deserts Shinji because he believes that he can only inflict pain to him (but this actually may be necessary to form Ayanami's personality as he wishes), and Rei becomes his only "beloved" "daughter". [Ritsuko/Naoko/Gendo/Fuyutsuki/Kaworu, ep. 16, 21, 23,24, EoE]
  • A portion of Asuka's mother's personality has been absorbed into Unit 02 during the third contact experiment. This leads to her mental breakdown and suicide. Thus, Asuka has been chosen as an EVA pilot, but she believes that all it is because of her talents, which plants the seeds of her enormous pride. Misato (now a member of Gehirn) has been transferred to Germany as Asuka's supervisor. Just before this she had met Kaji, but soon she breaks up with him, and Kaji becomes the only Asuka's supervisor and a loved one (later a triple agent who works on Seele, Nerv and Japanese government) [ep. 20, 21, 22]. In Asuka's case, the separation from the mother has resulted in the belief that she can only account only to herself. Because of her trauma, she have the complex of superiority and believes that she is perfect. This also creates the wall between her and the world; she thinks that other people are unworthy of her.
  • Naoko finishes the MAGI system and commits suicide as she feels herself useless and betrayed. Naoko's suicide has been provoked by Rei's unpleasant confessions, which revealed Gendo's true attitude towards her (Rei probably was intentionally left alone at the control center maze). Naoko had strangled Rei I before she threw herself down and said that this would change nothing, because substitutes are available [ep. 21]. Her death may be necessary to accomplish Nerv's secret plan, because only science is important for Naoko, and she has no motives to step back from Seele's orders. Moreover, Naoko would prevent Gendo's reunion with Yui, so Gendo needs a more loyal person (Ritsuko) for his plot.
  • After the necessary theoretical research had been completed, Gehirn was disbanded and Nerv (lit. nerve, per se a military organization) is founded to fight angels and to finish the instrumentality project. There is an obvious connection between the Seele, Gehirn and Nerv organization names at the NGE symbolical layer; the names could be interpreted, for example, as "intention", "research" and "action" respectively. This may be a projection of the will of the humanity as a separated angel-like being. Nerv's slogan: "God's in his heaven|All's right with the world!" obviously designates Seele's intentions to not to allow a blasphemy - the creation of a being which is equal to the creators of the humanity [Nerv's logo also contains an apple (the fruit of wisdom) besides the fig leaf in the Rebuild].
  • To accomplish his secret scenario and reunite with Yui inside Unit 01, Gendo must defeat all the angels and become the controller of instrumentality. He hopes to do this by manipulating Rei (actually a being born after the "forbidden reunion of Adam and Lilith") with the emotional "ties" he intends to make with her. He makes the ties by always being cheerful to her, and Shinji always envies this (Gendo is obviously always cold to him). Gendo is the only person who is able to freely interact with Ayanami - he raised her in solitude as a pet, (this probably was the reason to desert Shinji), and thus he is able to form her personality as he wishes [Ayanami, ep. 25].
  • Ten years has passed. Ritsuko conducts a scheduled Unit 00 synchronization test, but it's out of control because the personality contained in the unit tries to kill Ritsuko. After the plug ejection, Gendo saves Ayanami by opening the overheated entry plug hatch with bare hands, and this firmly imprints him in Ayanami's mind [ep. 5]. Rei probably synchronizes with her copied mental image in Unit 00 as she talks with her own image during the contact with the angel in the ep. 23. During a similar synchronization accident with Shinji [ep. 14] Ritsuko claims that she's sure, that only she was the target of 00 (only Rei has motivation to compete for Gendo's love, and Ritsuko is the other [alive] woman who loves Gendo). Main storyline begins several days after the accident. Shinji returns to Tokyo-3 and fights angels.
  • Gendo forces Shinji to pilot Eva by asking Ayanami, who was injured during the synchronization accident, to also pilot it. Unit 01 spontaneously moves its hand to protect Shinji from the falling debris; it is the first indication of Shinji's mother's soul presence inside the unit [ep. 1].
  • Jet Alone nuclear powered unit is out of control. The control system of the unit was actually hacked by Ritsuko to sustain Nerv leadership under Gendo's order; Misato knew nothing about that [ep. 7].
  • Kaji delivers Adam's embryo to Gendo using Unit 02 as a cover [ep. 8]. Gendo starts his plan to seize Nerv and perform his scenario of the complementation.
  • Gendo delivers Adam's lance from Antarctica on the aircraft carrier [ep. 12, classified information] and inserts it into Lilith [direct symbolical reference to Christ - a messiah, ep. 14], this is necessary to hibernate Lilith's growth and her transition to the active state. Misato and Kaji find Lilith at the Terminal Dogma, which they identify as Adam [ep.15].
  • After being overpraised, Shinji falls into the Dirac Ocean and participates in the first mental contact with an angel. Each angel contact is followed by a "psychoanalysis" session, so, angels act as psychoanalysts for the pilots. This indicates that they probably were not an absolute evil as it was presented by Seele, but just the confronting species who were exploring humans. During this session Shinji realizes that he always runs away from hardships instead of trying to solve them at first, understands his reasons for the piloting of EVA (to be useful, so he can compensate the lack of care) and meets his mother dissolved in LCL [ep. 16].
  • A mysterious explosion has occurred at the US Nerv base during the installation of a new S^2 engine. As the result, the facility has disappeared along with Unit 04 and the S^2 engine itself. Gendo states that this accident was not prescribed in the scrolls, which means that the scrolls have no absolute prophetic value, but Seele thinks differently, which once more points to their orthodox nature. Unit 03 turns to be an angel that had eventually been destroyed by the dummy plug in Unit 01, and the pilot (Toji) had been seriously injured. Probably Toji's sister mental image or personality was on the other side of the synchronization system – Ritsuko has mentioned that Toji's sister was transferred to the HQ medical facilities. This could not be Toji's mother because she wasn't alive by the moment and the unit transportation to Japan wasn't planned, although according to the classified information pilot only could synchronize with the soul of his own mother. Being heavily depressed, Shinj resigns the Nerv service the second time; he already did this because he felt himself useless in the ep. 4 (the key to Shinji's motivation) [ep. 18].
  • The instrumentality project management is transferred to the direct Seele supervision from the instrumentality committee. Fuyutsuki is kidnapped by Seele for an interrogation under the cover of Kaji. After the interrogation during which Nerv's past is revealed, Kaji frees Fuyutsuki (this actually was planned by Seele who wished to dismiss Gendo and to use Fuyutsuki in place of him [ep. 23]). But eventually Kaji has been murdered by an unknown person which could not be reliably identified (although, there is Anno's statement, that this wasn't any of the main characters) [ep. 21].
  • Asuka experiences a psychoanalysis session from the angel orbiting the Earth at the height not accessible with regular weapon. During the session she reveals that she tries to compensate for absence of the mother by acting as an "adult" and through her enormous pride (the key to Asuka's motivation). Ayanami destroys the angel with the Longinus lance, but the lance is captured by the lunar gravity and thus becomes lost, "ruining" Seele plans. Asuka finds that she is not such an ideal person as she wishes to see herself and that she could not account only to herself. Eventually she falls into depression losing the ability to synchronize with Eva [ep. 22].
  • A helix-shaped angel fuses with Unit 00 and invades Ayanami's mind through her mental image contained in the unit. Her mind fuses with angel's mind. With the help of the angel, Ayanami finds that she is full of grief and solitude. However, the angel does not know what solitude is. Angels could not know that because they have no idea of society, they just do not need it since they are already complete beings. By pressuring on Rei's grief, the angel almost forces her to fuse with Shinji's unit, but Rei understands that she has no choice but to trigger self-destruction mechanism of her EVA. The resulting blast destroys Tokyo-3 almost completely. Nerv conceals all traces of Ayanami's death, and Rei's archived personality is transferred into Rei III clone. After that, Ritsuko reveals almost all secrets of Nerv to Shinji and destroys the remaining Rei clones, because she thinks that she has lost to Rei in the fight for Gendo, who only manipulated her. As the result, Seele detains Ritsuko. [ep. 23] During the talk by the substitute tank Ritsuko acknowledges that the tragedy of the people possessed by Eva is actually this chain of mutual manipulations, which brings only pain but no actual true love.
  • Shinji suspects that Ayanami is somehow related to his mother (Gendo threw out all things related to Yui, so he do not know what she looks like) and fears her. Asuka is put out of service due to her inability to synchronize and ends up in a hospital; Kaworu is assigned as her replacement. Kaworu encounters Rei and tells her that she is also an angel disguised as a human. This revelation probably makes her to visit Terminal Dogma during the final fight, where she understands that the giant is her original body. At the bath, Kaworu speaks Shinji about solitude and mentions that it is not possible to overcome solitude by always running away. At the petrified remnants of Unit 00 fused with Armisael, Kaworu gets information about his origin and the origin of humans. There is also a remark that Kaworu may be equivalent to Gendo with the implanted embryo. Because Adams's soul is contained inside Kaworu, he easily could synchronize with Adam-based Evas, so he descends to Terminal Dogma using Unit 02 and tries to reunite with the "Adam" placed there, but "finds" that there actually is Lilith's body. He knows from the briefing with Seele that Adam's body is implanted by Gendo, so he just plays a fool here, probably to find out Shinji's hope. Most likely, his reunion with Lilith will actually create a messiah, which then could be used for the complementation ritual under Seele supervision. Kaworu understands that Seele’s hope contradicts Shinji’s one (to not to be alone) and allows Shinji to define his own fate because "angels have no will to live", so there are not so many differences between death and life for them. However, humans have the will, and they probably need life more than angels do. Eventually Kaworu dies, and Ayanami collects Adam’s soul - only this implication could explain Kaworu's appearance during the complementation in EoE.
  • Seele tries to hack MAGI to restore control over NERV, but Ritsuko deals with this attack, so they send all remaining mass-produced Evangelions to seize the HQ. Along with that, the government starts a military operation to exterminate Nerv as the enemy of the whole humanity (this is suggested by an officer’s notion about failure after the complementation has begun, EoE), since they have information about Seele's conspiracy from Kaji. Ritsuko tries to revenge Gendo, but no luck, she is betrayed again and killed, although Lilith in the form of Ayanami collects all the souls of murdered Nerv staff. After being placed at the bottom of the lake, Asuka reveals that her unit contains a portion of her mother's personality; this gives her the will to fight. She fights JSSDF back, but Seele turns all EVA-series controlled by Kaworu-based dummy plugs against her. Eventually they demolish her unit, injuring her arm and eye, and finally killing her, but Ayanami is here again for rescue. Depressed by the fact that he will never overcome solitude by killing his friends and other people (so it is easier to die himself) Shinji gets to the Unit 01 by the price of Misato's death, which deepens his depression. It turns out that the unit is buried in Bakelite by the military and Shinji cannot get into it. Suddenly the unit spontaneously moves its hand again, allowing Shinji to get in, and Eva finally awakes. [EoE: "Air"].
  • Gendo asks Aanami to start the complementation and transfer him to Yui, but she says that she is not his doll anymore and will fulfill Shinji's wishes, so Shinji eventually becomes the controller of the complementation. A dive into the vessel with the remnants of her clones probably had broken her heart completely. EVA-series start the ritual, which ascends Geofront along with the survived Nerv staff into the Space. Meantime, Rei severs Gendo's hand with implanted Adam’s embryo and joins Lilith's body, which grows to the dimensions comparable with the Earth size. Longinus lance returns, and Sinji gets a yet another psychoanalysis session. He finds himself miserable, and that he thrives for care because he had the lack of care as a deserted child. He understands that can get care only being useful, but he is no use for Asuka, a yet another traumatized person, who, in contrary, thinks that everyone is miserable except herself. Being rejected, he turns his frustration into aggression, realizing that there is no sense for society, so he allows the complementation to proceed by Seele's scenario. Ayanami deploys earth-wide anti AT-field (earlier she obtained control on Eva-series) which destroys AT-field of the entire humanity, except Gendo's who has been killed by Unit 01 before that. Finally Shinji have a dream of being fused with Ayanami in the ocean of LCL, probably as an allegory for a complemented result of the instrumentality. He decides that this world of eternal solitude is not what he wished for, that he has escaped again and it is necessary to reject the complementation. After that, the Black Moon releases all the collected souls back into the ocean, although Rei says that only those people who have dreams which shape their future could form AT-field again in their hearts and materialize. Yui orbits the Earth in Unit 01 along with Longinus lance as the eternal memorial to the humanity [EoE: "True heart for you"].
  • Shinji finds himself lying at the shore along with Asuka and starts to strangle her, continuing his frustration. However, Asuka accepts (i.e. cares about) him breaking hedgehog's dilemma, probably because she has also understood that she cannot account only to herself. Although Lilith had collected Misato’s soul, Misato has not materialized, most likely because she has completed her revenge to angels and found herself completely unneeded for this world, lacking the will to live. Her pendant, nailed to the pole as a sort of improvised tombstone, has not helped to resurrect her as Shinji's suit did in the ep. 20. Stains of rust on it along with the fact that Asuka has a eyepatch and the bandaged but functioning right arm indicate that Asuka and Shinji are not alone in this world for some time, and are just walking ashore at night. [EoE: "I need you"].

The final words

I hope that I have done enough to help you to clear the cognitive dissonance produced by NGE, and you may say: "Oh, now I understand why they did what they did!" Nevertheless, I just barely scratched a huge layer of advanced psychology of the character interactions, references to which you may find, for example, in the composition names of Evangelion soundtrack. This is a topic for a yet another large text, or perhaps, even a book, so let us do it at some another time.