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Here is what many people who dont have the time to download or rent/buy all the episodes, the Episode Synopsis.  I must admit though, I dont give away all information, I dont like completely spoiling everything.

Full 26 Episode Summary

Episode 01 - Angel Attack

The Angels have returned with their third messenger of death, Sachiel, who is laying waste to Tokyo-3, home to NERV HQ, and the feeble resistance put up by the entire UN force present. All of which, however, proves to be of no avail, even the devastating power of the UN's latest addition to their arsenal, the N2 non-nuclear mine, proves to be laughable when faced with the wraith of the Angels. As a result of the UN's ineffectiveness, command of the defence operation is transferred to NERV.

NERV respond to the dire situation by preparing the launch of mankind's last hope for survival; Evangelion, a bio-mechanical giant specialising in close combat and capable of generating its own AT, Absolute Terror, field. EVA-01 is ready, all that NERV require now is a pilot. Only children born in the aftermath of the second impact, exactly nine months after the massacre, have the ability to synchronise with an Evangelion and thus pilot it. The first child was found and underwent the process of synchronising with her Eva, however, the doomed test pilot, Rei Ayanami, lost control of her prototype Eva, EVA-00, in a mysterious accident which left her seriously injured.

All is not lost, however, as a potential new pilot is found, the third child Shinji Ikari, estranged son of Gendo Ikari; Commander and head scientist at NERV. Shinji is picked up by Captain Misato Katsuragi on the day of Sachiel's attack, however, both are caught up in the cross fire between the Angel and the UN whilst enroute to NERV HQ. Fortunately though both Shinji and Misato make it through with only a few scratches and Shinji is brought before his father for the first time in three years.

Despite his reluctance to pilot EVA-01, Shinji finds himself being railroaded into synchronising with the Eva having been alerted to backup pilot Rei's critical condition. The synchronisation process between Shinji and EVA-01 goes surprisingly well, Unit 01 is activated and the battle for Tokyo-3 is set.

Episode 02 - The Beast

Shinji finally awakens, only to find himself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling from a hospital bed, but with no idea as to how he came to be there. He has no recollection of the recent past events, including that of his battle with the third Angel.

Whilst Shinji recovers from his ordeal, Misato and Ritsuko Akagi, one of NERV's leading scientists, head up the salvage operation for the battle of Tokyo-3 in which Unit 01 sustained moderate damage. Meanwhile Gendo defends himself and the existence of NERV against extensive criticism from the UN committee who believe that Eva was used inefficiently, and that certain top secret projects associated with NERV are falling behind schedule.

With emotions still running high between Shinji and his father due to past events, Shinji chooses instead to accept the sisterly Misato's invitation to stay with her, despite Ritsuko's dim view of the whole idea. Misato takes Shinji to get his first real glimpse of Tokyo-3, mankind's fortress against the Angels, the city he saved, after which she takes the third child to his new home. It soon turns out, however, that Misato isn't quite the ideal roommate Shinji had in mind.

Later that evening, having drowned his sorrows in the bathtub, Shinji starts to reflect on his stressful first day at NERV. In doing so he abruptly starts to recall the memories of his first sortie in Unit 01; the battle that took place in Tokyo-3, the heavy damage sustained to Unit 01's arm and head component and how it eventually went berserk killing Sachiel in an all out killing frenzy. Now his only comfort are those few words from Misato, telling him to hang in there, as she turns in for the night.

Episode 03 - A Transfer - The Phone That Never Rings

In order to improve his combat skills, Ritsuko's having Shinji participate in simulated training exercises in Unit 01. It would seem though, that Shinji isn't really interest in piloting Unit 01, he simply does as he is told, it seams to be his way of dealing with what life has to offer. This kind of attitude towards life and people in particular is starting to worry Misato.

Shinji turns up for his first day at his new school, however, it appears that most of his classmates have either transferred schools or remained at home due to the latest attack on the city. Toji Suzuhara isn't one of them though, despite having been away for several days caring for his little sister who was injured during the attack and hospitalised as a result. Toji is by far from being impressed with NERV's efforts to protect the city; he blames the pilot of Unit 01 for his sister's current condition.

Word of Shinji piloting Unit 01 soon gets out, which puts Shinji in the spotlight having to deal with all kinds of awkward questions from his classmates, something that he's not accustomed to and finds hard to deal with. Meanwhile war enthusiast Kensuke Aida takes note of Shinji's every word in an attempt to learn more about NERV. Later that day Toji catches up with Shinji, now knowing him to be the pilot of Unit 01, and expresses his anger towards Shinji, but not just in a verbal way.

Last time humanity had fifteen years to prepare for the return of the Angels, now only three weeks since the third Angel's attack the fourth Angel, Shamshel, is headed towards Tokyo-3 resuming the Angels' attack on the city. Knowing this, NERV once again launch Unit 01 to engage the enemy and evacuate the city's inhabitants to the designated underground shelters. They are not, however, prepared for the intervention of Toji and Kensuke, who intend on getting a little closer to the action, and that of the awesome new power displayed by the latest Angel.

Episode 04 - Rain, Escape & Afterwards - The Hedgehog's Dilemma

Misato lectures Shinji after ignoring and going against a direct order issued by her during his last encounter with an Angel. Rather than dealing with the situation though, Shinji chooses instead to escape his problems by running away from them. Having taken the Tokyo-3 loop line, he wanders aimlessly around the city and then up into the foot hills surrounding Tokyo-3 where he unintentionally meets up with Kensuke who's out camping alone. Shinji accepts Kensuke's hospitality and the two talk for quite some time before turning in for the night.

The following morning NERV intelligence agents arrive to pick up Shinji and escort him back to NERV HQ. There he finds himself again having to answer to Misato, however, this time it would seam that she's more or less given up on him. Misato feels that she is unable to help a child who is unwilling to adapt to new situations, if Shinji is unwilling to continue to pilot Unit 01 then forcing him to do so would be a waste of time.

Due to his reluctance to pilot Unit 01, Shinji chooses to leave NERV and is formally dismissed from the organisation. But before heading off to the train station intent on taking the next train out of Tokyo-3, Shinji is caught up by Toji and Kensuke who wish to see him off. Toji regrets his earlier behaviour towards Shinji and apologises.

Now preparing to leave Tokyo-3, Shinji finds himself running away from reality yet again. Misato realises that letting Shinji leave is a mistake and so heads off to the station hoping to catch up with him, but arrives too late only to see the train pull away from the platform. To her delight, however, the train pulls away leaving Shinji standing opposite her on the station's departing platform. They stand opposite each other for quite some time before Shinji breaks the silence with a couple of well chosen words, 'I'm home'. Misato welcomes Shinji back with a smile and the two head back home.

Episode 05 - Rei, Beyond Her Heart

It's been twenty two days now since the pilot of the Eva prototype, EVA-00, mysteriously lost control of her Eva during her first attempt to synchronise with the Unit. Twenty two days since Rei was seriously injured, despite having been rescued by commander Ikari who opened the super heated hatch on Rei's entry plug with his bare hands, a courageous action which left his hands permanently scared. Now Rei is preparing herself to re-undergo the synchronisation process with Unit 00.

Ritsuko heads up the salvage operation for the fourth Angel which, due to the manner in which the Angel was disabled, NERV have been fortunate enough to obtain as it's a near perfect specimen for which to study. Analysis of the Angel reveals its structural composition, although being composed of different matter, to be almost identical to that of humans. Whilst Ritsuko and Misato analyse the data, Shinji notices the scaring on his father's hands whilst he examines the Angel's corpse. Misato arrived at NERV after the incident with the prototype Eva, however, Ritsuko knows all to well the events in question and agrees to fill Shinji and Misato in on the details.

Later that evening, having agreed to join Misato and Shinji for dinner, Ritsuko gives Shinji Rei's new security card to pass on. Apparently Ritsuko's forgotten to pass on the card in person, at least that's the story, and so Shinji gets the job, along with an excuse to go over to Rei's place. The following day Shinji takes the card over to Rei's, however, it doesn't quite go as planed when the third child manages to elegantly end up on top of a naked Rei on her bedroom floor. Matter aside though, the two of them proceed together to NERV HQ where Shinji discovers that Rei appears to have the kind of relationship with his father that he has always longed for.

The fifth Angel, Ramiel, arrives in Tokyo-3. As the successful synchronisation between Rei and Unit 00 has only just been completed, it's decided that Rei is still unfit to fight and so Shinji in Unit 01 is launched. With little or no data on the new Angel, however, this soon proves to be a huge mistake.

Episode 06 - Showdown In Tokyo-3

The fifth Angel fires upon Unit 01 immediately after having surfaced. The attack is made using an extremely high powered energy discharge which, due to Misato's quick thinking to retrieve the Eva, manages to only burn through Unit 01's front defensive armour melting it down to the third layer. Given three more seconds though, would have resulted in the Angel shooting right through the Eva, fortunately, however, the rest of Unit 01 remains undamaged and Shinji looks set for a quick recovery.

To learn more about the new Angel's offensive and defensive capabilities, Misato has UN forces move an inflatable to scale sized Unit 01 decoy into the Angel's estimated firing range. She also has the Angel attacked with a German type 12 self-propelled mortar, both of which are vaporised instantly. The results show the Angel to be equipped with a large firing radius and an exceptional AT field. It's also learned that the Angel is positioned directly above the geo front, home to NERV HQ, and is boring towards the instillation intent on attacking NERV directly.

Due to the Angel's remarkable offensive and defensive capabilities, Misato comes up with a plan to attack the Angel with a sniper. Commander Ikari approves the plan and Misato is put in charge of the operation. As NERV's positron rifle is unable to handle the massive output required to penetrate the Angel's AT field, Misato requisitions the SSDF's new prototype self-propelled positron cannon, meanwhile Ritsuko comes up with a novel form of temporary shielding against the Angel's fire.

Besides the poor estimated success rate for the mission, there is also another drawback to Misato's plan. With so much electricity being required to power the positron cannon, at half past eleven that night the whole of Japan is scheduled for a large scale power blackout so that NERV can get enough power to the cannon.

With Shinji now ready as the sniper and Rei providing the defensive backup, the plan is set and put into operation, but in a war against the Angels, even a predicted eight point seven percent success rate isn't guaranteed.

Episode 07 - The Human Creation

Spending so much time around the sisterly Misato is starting to have an influence on Shinji's behaviour, he's now become accustomed to her ways, is starting to express his feelings more freely and has even gained a little self confidence. Again Toji and Kensuke arrive that morning with the hope of catching a glimpse of Misato before they and Shinji, who can't understand their love towards Misato, head of to school.

Whilst sitting in the cockpit within Unit 01's entry plug during routine tests, Shinji becomes distracted with his past experiences with Eva and finds himself questioning Eva's existence. Later Ritsuko reveals the truth behind the second impact, in that a mere meteorite striking Antarctica wasn't the cause. She states that man discovered the first Angel in Antarctica and that this discovery lead to the second impact caused by the Angel. After the disaster NERV was established to prevent a probable third impact and knowledge of the Angel's existence was covered up, Misato still, however, isn't convinced that NERV's definition of the truth is to be trusted.

On behalf of NERV, Misato and Ritsuko attend the initial activation of the Jet Alone project, an intended low budget replacement for project Eva. The creators of the potential Eva substitute boast its one hundred and fifty days of continuous power supplied by an on board nuclear reactor, however, Ritsuko is far from being impressed with the idea of a walking nuclear bomb.

NERV's scepticism is soon proved well justified as the activation of the Jet Alone unit goes horribly wrong. It fails to respond to the commands of its creators, which leads to the monster walking through the observation building intent on heading towards the centre of Tokyo. With nuclear melt down imminent, the unit out of control and failing to respond, Misato soon finds herself heading up an operation to prevent the destruction of the city. As ordered by Misato, Shinji piloting Unit 01 is flown in to carry out her plan, that is Shinji will place Misato on the Jet Alone and attempt to restrain it whilst she dissables the machine manually from within. Misato is soon in for a surprise, however, as Jet Alone's on board computer rejects its password meaning only one thing, sabotage!

Episode 08 - Asuka Strikes!

Misato's put in charge of over seeing the safe arrival of EVA-02, along with its new pilot Asuka Langley Soryu, to NERV HQ in Tokyo-3. The new cargo is being transported aboard a UN destroyer, which in turn is being escorted by a massive UN fleet. Shinji has also been assigned to the escort as a backup pilot and Misato kindly agrees to let Toji and Kensuke tag along for the voyage.

Having exchanged reluctant pleasantries with the fleet's admiral, Misato has the misfortune of running into old flame Kaji Ryoji, who's also along for the ride on urgent business, but when he starts bringing up the past in his own charismatic way, Misato's day can only go from good to bad. This is true also for Asuka who has her eyes set firmly on Kaji. To make matters even worse, the sixth Angel, Gaghiel, shows up, or rather under as it's an aquatic type, in search of Adam.

Despite the wishes of the fleet's admiral, Asuka, along with Shinji, engage the new Angel in EVA-02, although all does not go quite according to Asuka's plan when Unit 02 is knocked off of its transport's flight deck and sinks into the ocean. Submerged and equipped only with B-type equipment, Unit 02 becomes unresponsive and is subsequently eaten by the Angel leaving the Eva's umbilical cable trailing out of the Angel's mouth up to the flight deck.

This bizarre situation gives Misato a novel idea as to defeating the Angel. She plans to force open the Angel's mouth with Unit 02 whilst sinking the two remaining battle ships in line with the Eva's umbilical cable and reeling in the Angel. Once inside the Angel's body the battle ships will then fire all barrels before detonating. Unusual is an understatement, but the plan is put into operation with the successful sinking of the two ships, now all Misato needs is for Unit 02 to prise open the Angel's mouth.

Episode 09 - With One Accord In A Flash

It would seam that Asuka is proving to be quite popular amongst Shinji's classmates, however, he, Toji and Kensuke know better having had to put up with her constant arrogance during their last Angel encounter, but it's not a complete loss. Fortunately for them Asuka's photos don't reveal her personality, meaning a further source of income for the three. Whilst Asuka attends her first day at a Japanese school, Kaji is shamelessly attending to his own personal interests. Having given up the doomed battle to rekindle the flame between himself and Misato, he's now taken a shine to Ritsuko much to Misato's annoyance.

The seventh Angel, Israfel, is making its way towards Tokyo-3, however, due to recent damage incurred to the city's intercept system, NERV are forced to engage the Angel at the water's edge just before it reaches land. It is also decided to launch Units 01 and 02, much to Asuka's dislike, to limit further damage to the city. Both pilots are soon in for a shock, however, when they discover the Angel's ability to duplicate its self. Consequently both pilots, unprepared, confused and unwilling to co-operate together, loose the confrontation in an embarrassing manor and so NERV are forced to withdraw and rethink their plan of attack.

Fortunately the damage caused by Unit 02 and the N2 mine detonated on the Angel by the UN buys NERV some time whilst it regenerates. NERV have six days until the Angel fully regenerates and resumes its attack on Tokyo-3. Misato therefore has Asuka stay with her and Shinji in order to get them to co-operate before NERV implement their second attack on the Angel, however, the process of getting Asuka to work with Shinji turns out to be a tricky one, not to mention embarrassing.

Day six finally arives and as predicted the Angel resumes its attack on the city, now Asuka and Shinji must put aside their differences and work together for NERV to stand any hope of defeating the Angel.

Episode 10 - Magma Diver

Asuka's hopes of attending a school trip are dashed when she learns that herself, Shinji and Rei are on permanent standby as ordered by Misato, matters are also made worse when she learns that Misato has got hold of hers and Shinji's report cards. Due to their poor academic records, Misato has them both use the free time to catch up on their studies, obviously Asuka objects.

NERV learn of the possible existence of the eighth Angel, Sandalphon, an unborn Angel deep within the crater of mount Asama, it is therefore decided to descend a probe into the crater to verify the chrysalis's existence. NERV's speculation is soon proved correct and so preparations are made for the Angel's capture. This time NERV plan to take on the offensive as opposed to their usual defensive role, however, the events leading up to the second impact are all to familiar for certain NERV personnel, should they fail a possible third impact could be imminent. Commander Ikari's intentions to capture a living specimen for which to study also has the UN committee concerned; the last thing they need is a replay of the second impact.

Despite the controversy surrounding the plan, Ikari is given the go ahead to carry out the operation, though should any complications arise, NERV are under strict orders from the UN committee to terminate the Angel immediately. Much to Shinji's surprise, Asuka is chosen to carry out the operation in Unit 02. With Kaji still lurking around NERV HQ, Asuka is more than happy to take on the task, though her enthusiasm is soon lost when she gets her first glimpse of her new embarrassingly heat resistant entry plug suit. Unit 02's D type equipment is also laughable, designed to cope with extreme conditions rather than the latest fashion, which leads to Asuka coming close to aborting the mission, however, her pride forces her onwards.

Due to the extreme pressures encountered during the descent, Unit 02's progressive knife is lost, but this is the least of NERV's problems when, having captured the chrysalis, the Angel hatches prematurely attacking Unit 02. With no weaponry with which to take on the Angel and submerged within molten lava, Asuka soon finds herself in dire trouble.

Episode 11 - In The Still Darkness

Having picked up their laundry, Ritsuko and Maya Ibuki, one NERV's scientists, unintentionally meet up with Commander Kouzou Fuyutsuki on their way home via the Tokyo-3 loop line. Fuyutsuki's on important business due to represent Commander Ikari in a city council meeting. Ritsuko makes small talk by casually mentioning the city's up coming election, but soon learns from the Commander that the election is effectively irrelevant. Apparently the MAGI, the same three super computers that NERV use, are now responsible for most of the city's decision making.

Without any warning all power to the geo front and NERV HQ is suddenly cut and the three backup power supply systems fail to respond leaving NERV crippled. For all three systems to fail is unheard of and a near impossibility implying one thing; they didn't go on their own accord. This leaves NERV defenceless and vulnerable to an Angel attack, the situation is even worse for Misato who's trapped inside an elevator along with Kaji as her only source of company. Asuka, Rei and Shinji, however, are stranded out side NERV HQ struggling to gain access to the complex, fortunately Asuka's leadership skills, based heavily on Rei's guidance, sees the party headed in the right direction.

The ninth Angel, Matariel, is headed towards Tokyo-3. With NERV unaware of the Angel's presence and all communications with them lost, the JASDF fly directly over the city informing the inhabitants of the imminent Angel attack. NERV eventually learn of the situation and so Commander Ikari has Units 00, now having finished being upgraded, 01 and 02 prepared for manual launch, the pilots also finally arrive in their usual argumentative manor.

All three Units are launched and engage the Angel, which is positioned directly above them and NERV HQ. It's attacking using some kind of extremely corrosive acid, which is melting through the geo front's defensive armour and also that of the Evas'.

With the Angel's strange offensive capabilities, an all out frontal assault is out of the question, however, Asuka has a half descent plan of her own for a change, one which might actually work.

Episode 12 - The Value Of A Miracle Is

Misato has a flashback to 2000 AD, 15 years ago, and the exact point in time when the second impact struck Earth. She recalls how her fatally injured father hurriedly secured her within an escape pod before contact with the impact's shock wave, and then looking out from sea back on the horrific devastation caused by the first Angel.

The latest harmonics test reveals Shinji to be somewhat of a talented Eva pilot, his harmonics and synchronisation ratios are rapidly catching up with Asuka's much to her disgust, however, Misato knows that this isn't really what Shinji wants. Later whilst being driven home after the test, Shinji congratulates Misato on her promotion to the rank of Major, but it would seem that Misato isn't to thrilled about the idea. Nevertheless the celebrations go ahead, as ordered by Kensuke, and even Kaji manages to turn up, although accompanied by Ritsuko.

Whilst Commanders Ikari and Fuyutsuki attend business in Antarctica, home now to the true dead sea, Misato's left in charge of NERV for the very first time. Unfortunately though, her debut as head of NERV's operations isn't going to be an easy one as the tenth Angel, Sahaqiel, shows up, this time in space directly above the Indian ocean. The Angel's effectively a huge living bomb and is targeting NERV HQ by dropping small fragments of its self on to the Earth whilst steadily correcting its error ratio. Once the Angel has acquired its target, NERV suspect that the Angel its self will descend on to NERV HQ effectively wiping it off the map, therefore Misato is now faced with the near impossible task of preventing such an event from taking place.

By expanding their AT fields, Misato intends for all three Evas to catch the Angel before it strikes the ground. To describe the plan as futile would be an understatement, but with the only other option being to sit back and watch the third branch of NERV being destroyed, Misato is willing to risk all three Evas. Prior to the operation, Misato confides in Shinji revealing her true feelings towards her father and her reasons for joining NERV, this in turn reveals her hatred towards the Angels and why she's willing to risk sacrificing the Evas.

Episode 13 - Angel Invasion

With the advance of time comes the need for Eva technology to advance as well, therefore Ritsuko is running a new harmonics test, however, this time the pilots must undergo the test naked to avoid their entry plug suits from interfering with the results. Ritsuko needs the data to create an emergency auto pilot system for the Evas, but this still doesn't change the awkward situation that the pilots find themselves in.

The test starts successfully according to plan, but concern is soon raised when corrosion is detected in the protein wall above the test room. Unwilling to abort the test due to a minor technicality, Ritsuko allows the test to continue, however, this soon turns out to be a mistake when contamination within the test room is suddenly detected. Analysis of the corrosion reveals that it is in fact a living organism, blood type blue; the eleventh Angel, Ireul. Having infiltrated NERV HQ, the Angel starts rapidly expanding contaminating everything within its path, including the Eva simulation test bodies. To this end the pilots' entry plugs are ejected and all three Evas launched to prevent them from being contaminated and taken over by the Angel.

NERV soon discover that the Angel has the ability to evolve at an astounding rate, its defence mechanism is that of achieving total adaptability. To make matters even worse, the Angel's effectively an organic computer and hacks into NERV's computer system with ease, it then goes on to hacking into the MAGI but succeeds only in gaining control of Melchior and partly Balthasar before Ritsuko devises a plan temporarily halting the Angel's progress.

Ritsuko buys NERV around two hours before the Angel continues its infiltration of the MAGI, fortunately Casper, the third MAGI, remains uncontaminated which gives Ritsuko her starting point in defeating the Angel. She plans to hack into the Angel using Casper followed by uploading an auto self-destruct program leading the Angel to an evolutionary dead end. For the plan to succeed, however, NERV must first reprogram Casper in time to carry out the task and Ritsuko must place all her faith in her late mother, creator of the MAGI, and Casper's ability to work faster than the Angel.

Episode 14 - SEELE, Throne Of Souls

This episode commences with a brief recap on most of the Angels encountered to date starting with the third Angel and the first battle of Tokyo-3. The recap also includes excerpts from characters' personal diaries and the manor in which each Angel was destroyed.

Commander Ikari is summoned to the UN committee which is alarmed at the rumoured Angel invasion of NERV and central Dogma. As the incident was not in accordance with the committee's predictions, based on the dead sea scrolls discovered in Antarctica, they are understandably panicked by the rumour that they know to be true, despite Ikari's denial of such events claming that the committee was misinformed. With no real evidence to throw at Ikari, however, the committee drops the issue.

Whilst sitting within the cockpit of Unit 01, Rei experiences several surreal dreamlike ramblings mainly concerned with her existence and purpose in life. The reason for Rei's presence in Unit 01 is due to a series of new tests being carried out by Ritsuko who is experimenting with pilot/Eva compatibility. Rei's test proceeds nicely, however, Shinji's goes horribly wrong for unknown reasons leading to a repeat of Rei's failed first attempt to synchronise with Unit 00. Fortunately this time, however, the pilot isn't harmed physically by a malfunctioning auto ejection system, though Shinji does mentally relive some of Rei's past memories.

Again Shinji awakens in hospital, this time to find himself staring at a now familiar ceiling. With no mental contamination he'll be fine, but he doesn't remember the events which took place during the test. The last time this kind of incident occured it was suspected that the cause was due to mental instability within the pilot, however, this latest incident reveals that the instability came infact from the Eva!

Episode 15 - Lies And Silence

Kaji, whilst investigating yet another company supposedly affiliated with the Marduk institute, an advisory body established under the control of the human instrumentality comity for the purpose of selecting Eva pilots, meets up with one of his informants. His informant reveals that all the companies investigated to date have so far turned out to be dummies, and that Kaji's latest assignment is likely to be no different. Kaji's actually a spy secretly investigating NERV on behalf of the Japanese government, however, he also works for NERV special inspections as part of his cover.

Tomorrow's Shinji's big day, he's arranged to visit his mother's grave along with his father, however, he's not sure as to how to handle the situation or what to say. It's been a while since Shinji last spoke to his father properly, and the two haven't exactly been on speaking terms since the day Shinji ran away. On several occasions now Gendo's been seen talking happily with Rei, they have the kind of relationship that Shinji has always sought after, but why this relationship exists between them is unknown to Shinji, with this in mind he seeks advice from Rei.

Kaji, Misato and Ritsuko go out for the night to relax and relive old memories. In Misato's temporary absence, Kaji learns from Ritsuko that there is still hope for him and Misato yet, he's also given a friendly piece of advice cautioning him to keep his nose out of NERV's more delicate matters. Ritsuko claims to have important work to complete and so leaves the others to finish off the night, however, Misato ends up finishing off a little too much drink instead. Kaji escorts a drunken Misato home, actually he carries her. On the way she confides in her exlover revealing her true feelings towards her father and generally drowning her sorrows, but when she starts putting herself down Kaji intervenes with a kiss. It would seem that Misato still cares a great deal about him and that Ritsuko might just be right after all.

The following morning Misato catches Kaji breaking into the very heart of NERV, terminal Dogma. With a gun pointed to his head, Kaji has few options, though Misato's soon left stunned when he reveals one of the many truths kept hidden from her, the first Angel; Adam.

Episode 16 - Sickness Unto Death, And...

The latest set of results from NERV's now routine harmonics tests reveal that Shinji's synchronisation ratio has now surpassed that of Asuka's, obviously this pisses her off to no end. Knowing this gives Shinji a lot more confidence in himself, so much so that when the twelfth Angel, Leliel, shows up, Shinji gladly accepts the option to take up the point position for the mission.

Unfortunately Shinji's new found self confidence leads to him taking on the Angel alone, however, this is a huge mistake with an outcome which no one could have predicted. Shinji's volley of fire at the Angel suspended above the city has no effect, the Angel merely vanishes, after which a large shadow forms under Unit 01 which pulls Unit 01 in completely engulfing it whilst Shinji can only scream in terror. Currently unable to defeat such an adversary and with the loss of Unit 01, Misato, with extreme reluctance, orders Units 00 and 02 to fall back.

Based on what little data NERV are able to establish from the Angel, Ritsuko concludes that the object seen above the city is in fact the Angel's shadow, and that the expanding void on the city floor is the actual Angel. The Angel's only three nano meters in depth, but contained within the ultra thin space in an inverted AT field containing the Angel's body. Ritsuko takes control of the operation with a plan to drop all nine hundred and ninety two existing N2 mines into the Angel's body with the hope of completely destroying it, but this is hardly a rescue plan. So much explosive power would also be likely to destroy Unit 01 along with Shinji, but Ritsuko would rather see the Eva destroyed as opposed to loosing it to the Angel. Misato's discusted with the fact that the Evas take priority over the pilots, however, she has no say in the matter. Again Misato is left in the dark, what's so special about the Evas?

With Shinji capable of surviving for only sixteen hours, in minimal life support mode, without external power and his time nearing the end, Ritsuko decides to advance the operation with the slim chance of rescuing him in mind. But as the order is issued to drop all N2 mines something extraordinary, and yet also horrifying, occurs inside the Angel's body.

Episode 17 - The 4th Child

Misato is summoned before the UN committee where she is questioned directly on the events that took place during the last mission and whether she believes the pilot of Unit 01 to be fit to resume active duty. Meanwhile, whilst this is all happening within NERV HQ, Toji makes his daily visit to the hospital to check on the progress of his little sister who was injured during the first battle of Tokyo-3.

All hell breaks out at NERV as they learn that the second branch of NERV in the Nevada desert, America, has just vanished from the face of the Earth along with EVA-04, its newly installed experimental S2 engine and thousands of people. Ritsuko believes the disappearances to be related to the manor in which Unit 01 was engulfed by the twelfth Angel, but without any clues as to what caused the disaster, Ritsuko can only speculate at best what happened. Therefore the US government, unwilling to risk NERV's first branch, force EVA-03 onto the third branch of NERV in Tokyo-3, of course the decision to unload all their problems on to branch three is proving very unpopular with Misato.

With the arrival of Unit 03, NERV find themselves with the prospect of having to activate the Eva for the first time. Ritsuko believes the use of the prototype dummy plug autopilot system would be ill advised, and so a fourth Eva pilot is found, but the speed at which the fourth child is found causes Misato to become extremely suspicious. Unable to get any answers from Ritsuko, Misato decides to seek help from Kaji who later reveals to her that the Marduk institute doesn't even exist, and that NERV its self is responsible for Eva pilot selection.

Knowing the fourth child to be another of Shinji's classmates, Toji Suzuhara, makes Misato's task of informing Shinji of the new pilot very difficult indeed. Shinji's been through some tough stages recently, even depression, therefore Misato is understandably weary of exposing him to any more stress, but with Shinji bound to find out sooner as opposed to later, Misato figures she'll have no choice but to tell him regardless. Asuka's also not looking forward to the arrival of the new pilot, the last thing she needs is more competition.

Episode 18 - The Judgement Of Life

Misato, who reveals the rumours to be true, finally confirms Shinji's suspicions concerning the second branch of NERV and EVA-04 along with its experimental S2 engine. Apparently Unit 03's scheduled for arrival at the Matsushiro test facility today and so Misato's off to over see the initial activation of the Eva, however, she assures Shinji that all will be ok, and that she'll be back in the afternoon. Again she can't bring herself to reveal the identity of the fourth child who will pilot the Eva during its first activation test.

Toji reluctantly accepts the responsibility of becoming the pilot for Unit 03, however, he only does so on the condition that his little sister be transferred to one of NERV's private hospitals where she'll receive specialist care and treatment. Although Toji attends school as usual, he spends most of the day out of class contemplating what he's let himself in for, his new behaviour also arouses suspicion in both Shinji and Kensuke who's desperate to be chosen as a future Eva pilot.

Unit 03 finally arrives at Matsushiro and the test gets immediately under way despite Misato's lack of enthusiasm, but what would normally be a routine test by now, turns into a nightmarish disaster when the thirteenth Angel, Bardiel, is detected within the Eva's body! With Unit 03 out of control and running amok Commander Ikari classifies the Eva as the thirteenth Angel and orders its destruction. Asuka takes a severe beating failing to stop the Eva, Rei also aborts the mission when the Angel merges with Unit 00's arm forcing NERV to cut it off, however, Shinji just can't bring himself to attack the Eva, he doesn't want to risk harming the pilot whoever he or she may be.

With Units 00 and 02 out of action and Shinji at the mercy of the Angel, Commander Ikari orders the activation of Unit 01's dummy plug. Despite having carried out no prior testing of the dummy plug system and vigorous objections from Maya, the order to initiate the system is carried out. With the dummy plug active Shinji can only scream and look on in horror as he is unable to prevent Unit 01 from literally ripping Unit 03 apart.

Episode 19 - A Man's Fight

Seeing the wounded pilot being pulled from the Unit 03 wreckage to be Toji is too much for Shinji to cope with, as a result Shinji's mind finally lets go and almost snaps. He refuses to leave the cockpit of Unit 01, starts threatening to level NERV with the remaining battery power he has available to him and almost goes so far as to telling his father face to face that he hates him. In the end Shinji is forcedly removed from the cockpit as ordered by an impatient Commander Ikari who Shinji later finds himself answering to. Though instead of confronting his father and letting go of his anger, Shinji chooses again to run away and resigns as the pilot of Unit 01.

Fortunately Toji recovers and is visited by Hikari Horaki, supposedly the concerned class representative of class 2-A, but there's more to her visit than mere concern. Hikari has recently become extremely fond of Toji, however, she still can't seem to find the right time to express her feelings towards him.

The fourteenth Angel, Zeruel, arrives along with all its destructive power intent on reaching Adam in terminal Dogma. With one shot it's able to penetrate eighteen layers of the defensive armour plating surrounding the geo front. Due to the Angels awesome power, Misato has Asuka intercept the Angel directly in front of NERV HQ, however, despite Asuka's valiant effort in trying to stop the Angel, Unit 02 is completely ripped apart and its head sent crashing into the nearest shelter. Unable to synchronise with Unit 01, Rei goes out in Unit 00 minus one arm. She takes with her an N2 mine and attempts to penetrate the Angel's AT field blowing it to hell and back. Unfortunately Rei fails.

Having not yet left, Shinji witnesses the whole horrific battle. Unable to sit back and watch as his friends are mercilessly butchered, coupled with a few words from Kaji, who for some reason is out watering melons whilst everyone else is busy evacuating, Shinji races back to NERV demanding to pilot Unit 01. As the dummy plug fails to respond, NERV send out Shinji in Unit 01, but they couldn't have predicted the events to come as Shinji achieves a synchronisation ratio of four hundred percent finally awakening the savage Eva beast.

Episode 20 - Form Of The Mind, Form Of The Man

With the savage Eva beast of Unit 01 now fully aware, it starts to mercilessly devour its fallen opponent; the fourteenth Angel, and in doing so takes the Angel's S2 engine into itself. It then starts tearing off its armour, which was installed by NERV purely to contain the Eva binding it to their will thus allowing them to control it. With these restraints now partially removed, NERV find themselves facing the possibility of their own creation, or rather their adapted copy, running wild in side the geo front.

Fortunately NERV are able to freeze the Eva allowing them to work on repairing it whilst in stasis. Also both Units 00 and 02 sustained serious damage during the Angel's onslaught and as for the pilots, whilst Asuka and Rei survived the incident, Shinji still remains trapped inside Unit 01. With NERV HQ partially destroyed and part of central Dogma exposed, NERV decide to temporarily move location to their secondary control centre where they can continue to operate. Of course none of this was in accordance with SEELE's, otherwise known as the UN committee, predictions and the committee becomes somewhat disturbed by the recent events.

Unable to get Shinji out of Unit 01's entry plug, Ritsuko's staff engage the plug's internal monitors allowing then to check on Shinji's status. But when the monitors reveal the plug to be empty, Ritsuko finds herself admitting to the truth behind the four hundred percent synchronisation ratio, and the fact that it's not the first time that an accident like this has occurred. She reveals that the first time this exact incident occurred was during her mother's era, and that the pilot underwent some form of change due to the LCL, Link Connection Liquid, in the plug.

Although the late Naoko Akagi, Ritsuko's mother, came up with a way to recompose the pilot with the MAGI's support, their rescue attempt was unsuccessful and the pilot's soul lost within the Eva, however, Misato isn't just about to give up on Shinji and so the operation goes ahead. But when all's said and done, Shinji can only return to his material existence if he wants to. Though considering what he's been through recently, this may well not be the case.

Episode 21 - The Birth Of NERV

It would appear that Gendo has almost pushed NERV's fragile relationship with SEELE to the limit. The committee becomes outraged with NERV's latest unauthorised creation, a God, that is Unit 01 equipped with an S2 engine. In response to this the committee kidnap Kouzou in an attempt to learn of Gendo's true intentions. Meanwhile NERV's second intelligence section begins a thorough investigation into the vice commander's disappearance. With Kaji kicked off the combat roster after his true occupation became somewhat public knowledge and his present where a bouts unknown, Misato finds herself the prime target of NERV's investigation.

With the relationship between SEELE and their implementation organisation, NERV, now breaking down, the committee forcefully insist that Kouzou drag up the past thus allowing them to attempt to build a profile of the man they mistakenly put in charge of NERV, and the human instrumentality project.

Kaji manages to track down Kouzou and sets the vice commander free from SEELE's hold. This kind of action is not without its drastic consequences, but all that Kaji is interested in is uncovering the mysteries behind the second impact, Adam and the arrival of the Angels. He realises that distinguishing between the lies and the truths surrounding NERV is far too overwhelming for one man, and an almost impossibility in the little time remaining in SEELE's scenario. He therefore risks seeking information from Kouzou first hand. NERV intelligence finally catch up with Kaji, though not before he is able to pass on his knowledge. Kaji is killed.

With her artificial family falling apart around her and her lover dead, Misato breaks down in tears. Shinji is unable to comfort her, he still finds it hard to open up to others and to confront his emotions, all he can do is bury his feelings and run away from them, again.

Episode 22 - At Least, Be Humane

Asuka's self confidence takes yet another beating as she comes under pressure from Ritsuko following her latest set of poor synchronisation results. What with yet another defeat under her belt, the latest being from the fifteenth Angel, and being saved again by Shinji, Asuka's mind sinks into a state of depression dragging up her troubled past, in particular her mother's, Kyoko Zeppelin Souryu, suicide.

Misato learns that the go ahead for the construction of Units 05 to 13 has just been approved by the committee, and that the immediate construction of the Evas is taking place at seven different locations around the world. Considering the committee's past reluctance in increasing the existing budget for the construction of Evas, Misato suspects SEELE's up to something without consulting NERV first.

Asuka's synchronisation ratio hits rock bottom and at the worst possible moment as the fifteenth Angel, Arael, shows up, that is in orbit. Despite Misato's orders Asuka takes up the point position in Unit 02, with Unit 00 as backup, determined not to fail yet again. Unit 01, however, is held back as ordered by Gendo without given reason. NERV's plan it to snipe the Angel with a positron rifle as soon as it enters Unit 02's range, but this is quickly amended as the Angel psychically attacks Asuka's mind crippling Unit 02. Direct hits from Unit 00 on the Angel's AT field have no effect from such long distance, therefore Gendo orders the use of the lance of Longinus held within NERV's LCL manufacturing plant.

Despite objections from both Kouzou and Misato, and without prior approval from the committee, Gendo's order stands and so Rei heads down to terminal Dogma in Unit 00 where she pulls the lance from the chest of, the so called, Adam. NERV claim the third impact to be the result of an Angel coming into contact with Adam, but then why risk the outcome of what NERV apparently were setup to avoid in obtaining the lance, and why risk setting Adam free along with the probable loss of the lance? These unanswered questions arouse Misato's suspicions further, but with Unit 00 now in possession of the most powerful projectile known to man, time is finally up for the sixteenth Angel.

Episode 23 - Tear

With the latest Angel confrontation adding further to the extent of damage to Tokyo-3, all of Shinji's classmates leave, along with most of the city's inhabitants, for the fear of loosing their lives. To add to Shinji's loneliness, Asuka goes missing, and Misato continues to shut her self off from the outside world. The only person that Shinji can still talk to is Rei, but this soon changes as the sixteenth Angel, Armisael, arrives.

NERV send in both Units 00 and 02, now having tracked down Asuka, again Unit 01 is held back as ordered by Gendo. The latest Angel has the ability to change its form at will, and as a result of this is able to outmanoeuvre and come into direct contact with Unit 00, where upon it starts to merge with the Eva. The Angel's invasion of Unit 00 proceeds at a frightening rate, and when NERV learn of Asuka's inability to synchronise with her Eva due to her current mental state, Gendo is left with no other choice but to sortie Unit 01, however, this action doesn't help at all as the Angel is just too agile for any Eva to combat. Unwilling to allow the Angel to merge with Unit 01, Rei initialises Unit 00's self destruct sequence whilst remaining in the Eva maintaining its AT field, that is its grasp on the Angel. The Angel is destroyed, the mission completed though at a price, Unit 00 is lost and Rei is killed.

It is later revealed that Rei was in fact not killed, however, she now seems like a completely different person. What with the loss of Unit 00 as well as the lance of Longinus and Gendo's newly found God, Unit 01, SEELE mark the beginning of the end of their fragile relationship with NERV by demanding the pilot of Unit 00 delivered to them, presumably to replace the loss of their last catspaw, Kouzou. Instead though, Gendo sends Ritsuko to be indecently interrogated by SEELE.

Like mother like daughter, Ritsuko learns of Gendo's betrayal of love towards her in that her secret lover saw fit to recreate Rei ultimately proving his ongoing love for Yui. Out of vengeance Ritsuko reveals the truth about Rei to Misato and Shinji, that Rei is in fact the core of the dummy plug system, that Gendo has created multiple copies of her body and how all of which are no more than empty husks. Revenge driven, Ritsuko destroys the entire dummy plug system.

Episode 24 - The Final Messenger

Due to Asuka's inability to pilot Unit 02, NERV plan for the arrival of a new pilot, the fifth child, Kaoru Nagisa. Whilst at the same time Ritsuko finds her self subjected to interrogation whilst being detained for her actions by NERV.

The fifth child arrives and immediately takes a liking to Shinji, however, NERV, in particular Misato, are more than a little suspicious concerning the boy's arrival. Like Rei, all of his past records have been erased, except for one detailing his date of birth, and furthermore NERV determine the fact that he is capable of achieving any synchronisation ratio with Unit 02, even before they reconfigured the Eva for the child.

With Asuka now being treated for depression in NERV's hospital, and the third copy of Rei busy contemplating the reason for her existence, Shinji is now utterly alone. He can't even talk to Misato who has now emmersed herself in investigating NERV aided by information from her late lover, and Ritsuko has disappeared too. Though his loneliness isn't to last as he becomes very close with Kaoru; Shinji inexplicably finds him self talking to Kaoru about his past and what he's been through. In fact Shinji takes an extreme risk, for him that is, in that he places his trust in Kaoru, however, his trust soon turns out to have been well and truely misplaced.

Unit 02 mysteriously activates and starts descending towards terminal Dogma. Asuka is still in hospital though, and the Eva unmanned! NERV soon identify the person in remote control of Unit 02 to be Kaoru, the seventeenth Angel! SEELE have sent the final messenger directly to NERV! Unit 01 is immediately rolled out to prevent the Angel from reaching terminal Dogma, but it's too late as Kaoru breaches the final security seal, thus opening heavens door.

Finally, an Angel reaches Adam, or so it would have been the case were the giant in terminal Dogma actually Adam, not in fact Lilith, that is humanity's mother. Realising this distracts Kaoru, giving Shinji enough time to defeat Unit 02 and restrain Kaoru. Now Shinji must carry out the last wish of his newest friend, an end to life eternal, else let humanity suffer the consequences.

Episode 25 - The End Of The World

With the third Angel through to the sixteenth destroyed, SEELE took it upon themselves to instigate the third impact using the seventeenth Angel, Kaoru, created in humanity's image by the secret organisation its self, thus allowing it to realise and manipulate the outcome of the instrumentality of man. With the death of Kaoru, crushed to death at the hands of Unit 01 piloted by Shinji, however, came the death of SEELE's attempt to bring about their goal.

Now that the seventeenth Angel has been eliminated, there's no longer anything to prevent Gendo form achieving his own secret agenda. When Yui died whilst attempting to synchronise with Unit 01, Gendo made use of NERV's resourses to contain his wife's soul within a body created in part from an Angel. That body and soul became what is known as Rei. Rei was not created solely for the purpose of acting as a dummy plug for the Eva series, or indeed to fill the emptiness in Gendo's life after his wife's death, Rei was in fact created primarily for the sole purpose of instigating the third impact.

Having created both the key elements required to initiate the artificial instrumentality of man, that is both Rei and Unit 01, Gendo intends to bring about his own vision of the third impact, that is the creation of a single perfect entity formed from the unity of all human souls. In this way Gendo intends to be reunited with his wife, Yui.

And thus the instrumentality of man begins...

Episode 26 - The Beast That Shouted "I" At The Heart Of The World

To successfully summarise what goes on in this particular episode, and to a large extent the previous one as well, without writting an essay is almost impossible. Both episodes 25 and 26 comprise of a selection of brief animated sequences, static images and text which are mostly pulled from the other previous episodes.

GAINAX has managed to successfully take a firm grasp of its audience's attention from the very beginning of the series, subjecting them to the experiences of each of the series' characters in great detail, in particular those of Shinji, and ultimately promise an ending to end all endings. But is this what you get? Well...sort of.

Writer/director Hideaki Anno twists and turns the plot around completely in the series' final hour delivering a finale with a chronic difference to anything you or I have likely to have seen before. To quote part of an interpretation of the series' finale from an article written by Jonathan Clements in Manga Max ( formally known as Manga Mania to us Brits ) issue 3 on page 30, because I'm stuck for words on this one,

'And the evil, invading Angels? Oh, they've gone. This was never about them, it was about Shinji, the pilot sent to fight them. These episodes take place inside his head, as he thinks through his place in the universe. And there you go. I can't really sum up the goings on in this final installment of such a fantastic series, you'll just have to take a risk and go out and buy/rent it and make up your own mind as to whether or not it was worth waiting/paying for. What I can say though, is that if you are expecting all the loose endings to be delt with and neatly tied up, along with a fight sequence to end all Anime giant robot genre fight sequences, a little romance, as well as the vital odd bit of death and destruction, ain't gonna get it. That's what 'End of Evangelion' is for.