List of Neon Genesis Evangelion characters

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The cast of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

The Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series features an extensive cast of characters created by Hideaki Anno and designed by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.

Shinji Ikari is the series' protagonist, a young child who is summoned to pilot the titular mecha. Throughout the series, he is joined by fellow pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu.

Creation and conception[edit]

According to director Hideaki Anno, Evangelion was an attempt to make all perspectives into one, creating characters that represent different things to different viewers to make it impossible for everyone to arrive at a single theory. To some viewers, the characters are psychological representations, while to others, they are philosophical, religious, historical, and even themselves.[1]

Anno was influenced by Ryu Murakami's political economy novel The Fascism of Love and Fantasy (愛と幻想のファシズム, Ai to Gensō no Fashizumu), and the names "Toji Suzuhara", "Kensuke Aida", and the surname "Horaki" and "Aida" come from this book. Many of the surnames of the characters in Evangelion are named after Japanese warships in World War II.

Most of Evangelion's characters' ages were plotted before broadcasting the TV series, but their birthdays were not settled.[2] After the TV series finished, GAINAX released birthdays which were similar to those of each character's voice actors, except Rei Ayanami, Toji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida and Kaworu Nagisa.[3] This time, the characters' birth years were still unrevealed.

Adult characters' birth years were simply calculated from their age, but there was an additional aspect in determining the children's ones. According to the Japanese educational system, in 2015 second graders of junior high school (eighth graders) are basically made up of children who were born from April 2, 2001 to April 1, 2002.[4] Children's birth years were set in proportion to this rule. However these birth years did not change the children's ages of 14 in year 2015. This is the reason why Asuka Langley Soryu and Toji Suzuhara were born in December 2001 and Hikari Horaki was born in February 2002, despite all children except Kaworu are 14 in 2015.

Main characters[edit]

In the Japanese dialogue for the original anime, the Eva pilots were always referred to as "Children", even when referring to an individual pilot. The English translation referred to the individual pilots as First Child, etc. In the Rebuild of Evangelion series, the expression "(n)th Children" is not used. Instead, the pilots are referred to as Ichibanme no tekikakusha (一番目の適格者, "The First Qualified Person/Candidate"), Dai Ichi no Shōjo (第一の少女, "First Girl"), Sanninme no kodomo (三人目の子供, "Third Child"), or Dai San no Shōnen (第三の少年, "Third Boy").

Shinji Ikari[edit]

Voiced by: Megumi Ogata (Japanese); Spike Spencer (TV, Movies and Rebuild), Casey Mongillo (Netflix)[5] (English)

Shinji Ikari (碇 シンジ, Ikari Shinji) is the Third Child and the pilot of Unit 01. He is the son of Gendo and the "late" Yui Ikari. Abandoned by his father when he was a toddler, Shinji has grown up to be reclusive and withdrawn, choosing to often run away from difficult situations.[6] He suffers from social anxiety at the beginning of the series, but is gradually freed from this as he socializes with his new classmates and fellow pilots. Shinji is emotionally hyper-sensitive and sometimes does as expected out of fear of rejection, but he has often rebelled and refused to pilot the Eva because of the extremely excruciating harm that has been done to him, or done to his friends. Over time and with encouragement from Misato, he learns to be less cowardly, more outspoken, and more confident, but his progress is nearly undone near the end of the series.[7] At some point in the series he begins to confront his inner self, forming arguments and questions about life and reality. He becomes friends with Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida, in addition to his complicated relationships with Rei, Asuka and Misato.

Misato Katsuragi[edit]

Voiced by: Kotono Mitsuishi (Japanese); Allison Keith (TV, Movies and Rebuild), Carrie Keranen (Netflix)[5] (English)

Misato Katsuragi (葛城 ミサト, Katsuragi Misato) is the chief operations officer at NERV. In the series, she initially holds the rank of captain, with a later promotion to major;[8] in the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie, she holds the rank of lieutenant colonel and then colonel in the second movie. She is the field commander for the Eva pilots, issuing orders and giving battle strategies as well as handling some bureaucratic matters. She is also Shinji and Asuka's guardian,[9] letting them live in her apartment rather than have them live alone. While she is professional and diligent in her duties, she is a slob and a drunkard while off-duty. She is the only survivor of the Katsuragi Expedition, the scientific study led by her father which triggered the Second Impact; the cross pendant she wears was given to her by her father just before his death.[10] She and Ryoji Kaji were lovers during college, and slowly rekindle their romance over the course of the TV series.[11] She mourns for Kaji after learning of his assassination.[10]

Rei Ayanami[edit]

Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese); Amanda Winn-Lee (TV and movies), Brina Palencia (Rebuild),[12] Ryan Bartley (Netflix)[5] (English)

Rei Ayanami (綾波 レイ, Ayanami Rei) is the First Child, and the pilot of Unit 00. At the start of the series, she is shown to be socially withdrawn, seemingly emotionless, and remote, with her only apparent relationship being with Gendo Ikari.[13] As the series progresses, she and Shinji grow closer.[14] It is eventually revealed that Rei is a vessel for the soul of Lilith,[7] and was created specifically by Gendo to be used as a tool for accomplishing instrumentality.[15] She is a clone made from the salvaged genes of Yui and is plagued by a sense of negative self-worth stemming from the realization that she is an expendable asset.[16] Soulless clones of her are kept hidden in the deepest levels of NERV headquarters to be used as the supposed "cores" of the Dummy Plugs and as replacement bodies for Rei if she should die.[17]

Asuka Langley Soryu[edit]

Voiced by: Yūko Miyamura (Japanese); Tiffany Grant (TV, Movies and Rebuild), Stephanie McKeon (Netflix)[5] (English)

Asuka Langley Soryu (惣流・アスカ・ラングレー, Sōryū Asuka Rangurē) is the Second Child and the pilot of Unit 02. She is of mixed German and Japanese descent. Asuka is brash, egotistical and often verbally abusive (especially to Shinji), and has an exaggeratedly high opinion of her appearance and her skill as an Eva pilot.[18] Her attitude, however, is a front masking deep-seated insecurities stemming from her traumatic childhood.[19] Asuka is openly infatuated with Ryoji Kaji, but is also attracted to Shinji; however, she cannot properly express her affections.[11] After going against orders to fight the angel Arael, she is forced to confront traumatizing memories, ending in a mental collapse. She is then rendered incapable for the remainder of the series.[19] For her protection, NERV hides Asuka within Unit-02 in a lake in The End of Evangelion. When she awakens, she battles the Mass Production Evangelions. Though she defeats them, her triumph is short-lived as they later regenerate and dismember Unit-02 along with Asuka with the help of their replicas of The Lance of Longinus. After Shinji rejects Instrumentality, she is the second person to return from it, and is laying by his side on a beach. In the Rebuild of Evangelion series, her name is changed to Asuka Shikinami Langley (式波) and ranked as captain of the Euro airforce.[20]

Supporting characters[edit]

NERV staff[edit]

Gendo Ikari[edit]

Voiced by: Fumihiko Tachiki (Japanese); Tristan MacAvery (TV and films), John Swasey (Director's Cut and Rebuild), Ray Chase (Netflix) (English)

Gendo Ikari (碇 ゲンドウ, Ikari Gendō) is the commander of NERV (ネルフ, Nerufu) who is responsible for the research done on the Evas, Rei Ayanami, and the Human Instrumentality Project. He is the father of the Third Child, Shinji Ikari, and the guardian of Rei. His original surname was Rokubungi (六分儀), but he changed it to Ikari following his marriage to Yui.[10] At the start of the series, he is the only person having an effective connection to Rei.[13] As the series progresses, his unscrupulous past is revealed, as is the intensity with which he loved Yui. It is later revealed that he wished to use the Human Instrumentality Project as a means of reuniting with his wife inside Unit 01, where all human consciousness would be merged into one, with the initiator of the project becoming god-like.

Ritsuko Akagi[edit]

Voiced by: Yuriko Yamaguchi (Japanese); Sue Ulu (TV and films), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Rebuild), Erica Lindbeck (Netflix) (English)

Ritsuko Akagi (赤木 リツコ, Akagi Ritsuko) is NERV's head scientist and, along with Gendo and Fuyutsuki, is the only person at NERV fully aware of the Evas' true nature and the purpose of the Instrumentality Project. She is a workaholic and heavy smoker, and has been friends with both Misato and Kaji since college.[10] She is also sexually involved with Gendo,[7] but is eventually betrayed by Gendo when she realizes that he was using her in the same way that he used her mother. As revenge, she destroys the Dummy Plug system and is shot dead in The End of Evangelion, when she tries and fails to activate NERV's self-destruct mechanism to stop Gendo from initiating Third Impact.

Kozo Fuyutsuki[edit]

Voiced by: Motomu Kiyokawa (Japanese); Guil Lunde (TV), Michael Ross (films), Kent Williams (Rebuild), JP Karliak (Netflix) (English)

Kozo Fuyutsuki (冬月 コウゾウ, Fuyutsuki Kōzō) is NERV's Deputy Commander and Gendo Ikari's right-hand man. He does not especially like Gendo, but he is the closest thing to a confidant that Gendo has in the series.

Once a professor of metaphysical biology at Kyoto University, Fuyutsuki became interested in the research and theories undertaken by Yui Ikari, and became her sponsor and mentor. Shortly thereafter, he was directed by his superiors to initiate a similar arrangement with Gendo Rokubungi. Later, after the Second Impact, Fuyutsuki traveled with Gendo to the ruins of Antarctica, and began to suspect that Gendo and his associates in SEELE (ゼーレ, Zēre) were more powerful and dangerous than he originally realized. In 2003, Fuyutsuki discovered for himself the true nature of the events leading up to Second Impact and SEELE's involvement in initiating that catastrophe. Gendo led him into the GeoFront and Central Dogma, and asked Fuyutsuki to join him in "creating a new future for mankind."

During a flashback scene in Evangelion: Death and Rebirth, Fuyutsuki mentions that SEELE had threatened to make him "disappear," implying that his recruitment may have been extortionary.[10] Although Fuyutsuki was never more than a mentor and friend to Yui, it is implied that he was in love with her to some degree, as he was shocked to learn that she was marrying Gendo. In The End of Evangelion Lilith/Rei takes the form of Yui to achieve Fuyutsuki's Instrumentality.[21]

Ryoji Kaji[edit]

Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera (Japanese); Aaron Krohn (TV and films), J. Michael Tatum (Rebuild), Greg Chun (Netflix) (English)

Ryoji Kaji (加持 リョウジ, Kaji Ryōji) appears to be a triple agent, working as the chief inspection officer for NERV (Internal Affairs) while secretly investigating NERV for the Japanese government, and at times seemingly acting as a cat's-paw both for and against Gendo Ikari and SEELE - in addition, he appears to have his own personal agenda independent of any organization, searching for the "truth" behind NERV, SEELE and the Human Instrumentality Project. During college, he and Misato were lovers, but broke up at Misato's insistence. Years later, they are reunited on the UN fleet ferrying Unit 02 and Asuka to Japan.[18] After he returns to NERV headquarters, Kaji and Misato rekindle their romance following a period of teasing and insults, when Misato confesses that she broke up with him because she realized that he reminded her of her father. He is eventually shot and killed by an unnamed assailant after defying his employers one time too many,[22] but not before giving Misato information regarding the truth of the Instrumentality Project.

Makoto Hyuga[edit]

Voiced by: Hiro Yūki (Japanese); Brian Granveldt (TV), Keith Burgess (films), Mike McFarland (Rebuild), Daniel MK Cohen (Netflix) (English)

Makoto Hyuga (日向 マコト, Hyūga Makoto) is a first lieutenant at NERV and one of the three main computer technicians directly serving under Commanders Ikari and Fuyutsuki in the command post of Central Dogma, the others being Aoba and Ibuki. Hyuga at first gives the impression of being something of a nerd, reading manga while on his break time, but is a highly skilled technician. His quick thinking and bravery help save NERV headquarters from the attack by Matariel, and he acts as a spy for Misato, helping her obtain information regarding NERV's machinations. The true extent of his feelings for Misato is shown in The End of Evangelion as Rei/Lilith takes the form of Misato during Instrumentality and passionately kisses him; he gets reverted to LCL.[21]

Maya Ibuki[edit]

Voiced by: Miki Nagasawa (Japanese); Kendra Benham (TV), Amy Seeley (films), Monica Rial (Director's Cut), Caitlin Glass (Rebuild), Christine Marie Cabanos (Netflix) (English)

Maya Ibuki (伊吹 マヤ, Ibuki Maya) is a first lieutenant at NERV and a computer technician who works primarily with Ritsuko Akagi. Her main role during the battles against the Angels is to constantly monitor the Eva pilots’ synchronization ratios and send various emergency commands to the Evas as ordered by Misato or Gendo. In spite of her profession, Maya despises violence of any sort, and is frequently shown becoming nauseated and averting her eyes during battles with the Angels. In The End of Evangelion, Maya is the only NERV officer who is shown refusing to fight back against the JSSDF invaders. Maya holds Ritsuko in very high regard, and always refers to her as "senpai" in the original anime; The End of Evangelion implies that Maya is actually in love with Ritsuko, though Ritsuko herself seems indifferent and is instead obsessed with Gendo. Rei/Lilith penetrates Maya's AT field by assuming the form of Ritsuko. Maya exclaims "Ritsuko!/Senpai!", eagerly returns "Ritsuko"'s embrace, and immediately gets reverted to LCL.[21]

Shigeru Aoba[edit]

Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu (Japanese); Jason C. Lee (TV and films), Vic Mignogna (Director's Cut), Phil Parsons (Rebuild), Billy Kametz (Netflix) (English)

Shigeru Aoba (青葉 シゲル, Aoba Shigeru) is a first lieutenant at NERV and a computer technician. At times a stereotypical metalhead, he is a cynical nihilist and plays guitar (he can also sometimes be seen playing air guitar). Of the three technicians seen regularly in Central Dogma, his character is explored the least in the series. In The End of Evangelion, during Instrumentality, Rei/Lilith appears to him not as any loved one but rather as a bombardment of Reis which forces their way through his AT Field while he cowers and screams in horror under his desk.[21]

Kaworu Nagisa[edit]

Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese); Kyle Sturdivant (TV), Aaron Krohn (films), Greg Ayres (Director's Cut), Jerry Jewell (Rebuild), Clifford Chapin (Netflix) (English)

Kaworu Nagisa (渚 カヲル, Nagisa Kaoru) is the Fifth Child, and the seventeenth Angel, Tabris. He is sent to NERV by SEELE as a replacement pilot for Unit 02 after Asuka's synchronization ratio falls below viability; however, his true purpose is to hasten the Human Instrumentality Project's implementation. He briefly interacts with Shinji, forming a close bond between the two. He breaks into Terminal Dogma with the intention to return to Adam and initiate the Third Impact. Upon discovering that the being there is actually Lilith and eventually deciding that humanity's existence is more worthy of preservation, he implores Shinji to destroy him.[7] After his death, Kaworu appears in the beginning and middle of Third Impact in The End of Evangelion.


Toji Suzuhara[edit]

Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese); Joe Pisano (TV, episodes 3-18), Michael O'Connor (TV, episodes 19 and 20), Brett Weaver (TV, episode 26, and films), Justin Cook (Rebuild), Johnny Yong Bosch (Netflix) (English)

Toji Suzuhara (鈴原 トウジ, Suzuhara Tōji) is the Fourth Child. Toji is a tough boy, the stereotypical "jock," and is in constant conflict with Asuka. His younger sister was injured in the battle between the third Angel, Sachiel, and Unit 01, and he beats Shinji up soon after for being indirectly responsible. However, after witnessing firsthand the suffering Shinji experiences piloting Unit 01 in the battle against Shamshel, Toji comes to respect Shinji, apologizes to Shinji for beating him up (his sister was angry at him for beating him up and demanded he apologize), and the two eventually become friends.[6] When the Tokyo branch of NERV gains custody of Unit-03, Toji is identified as the Fourth Child and approached to become an EVA pilot; he agrees in order for his sister to receive better medical treatment. During the activation test for Unit-03, the EVA is possessed by the Angel Bardiel and the unit is destroyed by Unit-01 under the control of the Dummy Plug system when Shinji refuses to fight against the possessed EVA out of concern for the pilot. Unit-01 savagely destroys the possessed Evangelion under extreme protest of Shinji, and crushes the pilot's cockpit capsule, causing Toji to lose his leg. In the manga, the incident results in Toji's death. In Rebuild of Evangelion, Toji does not become a pilot; instead, Asuka pilots Unit-03. His sister's name is also revealed as Sakura.

Kensuke Aida[edit]

Voiced by: Tetsuya Iwanaga (Japanese); Kurt Stoll (TV and films), Greg Ayres (Rebuild), Benjamin Diskin (Netflix) (English)

Kensuke Aida (相田 ケンスケ, Aida Kensuke) is a military buff, Toji's best friend, and one of the "Other Children," Eva pilot candidates in the same class as Shinji, Toji, Rei, Asuka, and Hikari. His hobbies include camping in the mountains surrounding Tokyo-3 and playing at simulated war reenacting - by himself. Kensuke solidifies his friendship with Shinji after Shinji saves him and Toji during the fight against the fourth Angel, Shamshel.[6] Kensuke dreams of becoming an Eva pilot and ceaselessly begs Shinji to pull strings in NERV so he can be selected as a pilot, despite Shinji telling him that he has no say in the matter. He also seems oblivious to the intense physical and psychological distress endured by Eva pilots. Nevertheless, Kensuke enjoys the privileges of being the friend of an Eva pilot.[18] Like Toji, Kensuke has a crush on Misato Katsuragi. He is rarely seen without his camcorder at hand. In the PS2 Battle Orchestra game, Kensuke is the appointed pilot to the EVA Unit 04, wearing a green plugsuit.[23]

Hikari Horaki[edit]

Voiced by: Junko Iwao (Japanese); Carol Amerson (TV), Kimberly Yates (films), Leah Clark (Rebuild), Abby Trott (Netflix) (English)

Hikari Horaki (洞木 ヒカリ, Horaki Hikari) is the class representative of the class that Shinji and the other Eva pilots attend. She has a by-the-book demeanor and takes her responsibilities as "class rep" seriously. Although she frequently bickers with Toji, she reveals to Asuka that she has an enormous crush on Toji but is unable to openly express her feelings to him. She also appears to be Asuka's only friend. Hikari is an accomplished cook who appears to take care of her two sisters. Like presumably every one of Shinji's classmates, Hikari's mother is dead. However, no references were ever made as to whether her father is, either. Her given name, and that of her unseen younger sister, Nozomi, and elder sister, Kodama, is also in reference to the names of the trains of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line. In a Gainax artwork picture she is shown in an orange plugsuit as the pilot for EVA Unit-05.[23] She is also featured in a live action deleted scene in The End of Evangelion.

Other characters[edit]

Pen Pen[edit]

Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese); Amanda Winn-Lee (TV and films), Mandy Clark (Director's Cut), Monica Rial (Rebuild), Cherami Leigh (Netflix) (English)

Pen Pen, or Pen² (ペンペン, Penpen), is a "hot spring penguin" and Misato's pet. He appears to be modelled after a crested penguin with some minor coloration change. He lives in a custom refrigerator in Misato's apartment, enjoys taking warm baths, eating whatever food he can get, and going to hot springs. He also appears to have a relatively high degree of intelligence, as he is also shown watching TV and reading newspapers. In the manga, he is the result of a genetics experiment at Misato's former workplace, and she adopted him after the experiment's conclusion rather than let him be euthanised. His wingtips have retractable claws, which modern birds do not have.

Naoko Akagi[edit]

Voiced by: Mika Doi (Japanese); Laura Chapman (TV and films) (English)

Naoko Akagi (赤木 ナオコ, Akagi Naoko) was Ritsuko's mother. She was the creator of the MAGI system[24] and the former GEHIRN (ゲへリン, Geherin) head technician. Naoko was involved in a romantic relationship with the recently widowed Gendo Ikari while working at GEHIRN. However, after Rei I called her an "old hag" and said that Gendo himself called Naoko that frequently, she realized that he had merely been using her affections to ensure her performance for him. In a fit of rage, Naoko strangled Rei I to death and then committed suicide.[10] Soon afterward, GEHIRN was disbanded and the organization NERV was formed in its place. In vol. 10 of the manga, Naoko is shown to commit suicide after killing Rei I. Ritsuko witnesses both Rei's murder and Naoko's suicide.

Yui Ikari[edit]

Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese); Kim Sevier (TV), Amanda Winn-Lee (films), Stephanie Young (Rebuild) (English)

Yui Ikari (碇 ユイ, Ikari Yui) was a student of genetic engineering at Kyoto University, where she met her future husband Gendo and her mentor and trusted friend Kozo Fuyutsuki. Afterwards, she joined the UN Artificial Evolution Laboratory (the future GEHIRN) in Hakone, Japan, and played an integral role in the E Project. She served as the test subject for the Contact Experiment of Unit 01 in 2004, but "disappeared" during testing.[10] Though proclaimed dead, a part of her (her "soul") lives on within Unit 01.[25]

The final volume of the Evangelion manga reveals that Yui had made a conscious choice to remain with EVA unit 01 during the test that caused her disappearance. She confided her choice only to Fuyutsuki days prior to the test happening and made him promise never to reveal it to Gendo.

Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu[edit]

Voiced by: Maria Kawamura (Japanese); Yvonne Aguirre (TV), Kimberly Yates (films) (English)

Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu (惣流・キョウコ・ツェッペリン, Sōryū Kyōko Tsepperin), Asuka's mother, was a key scientist in the German division of GEHIRN (what would later become NERV's Third Branch) and the development of Unit 02, the first Production Type (the second and third of which were later produced by the two American branches of NERV). She was the subject of the Contact Experiment with Unit 02, but during the experiment her soul bonded with the EVA, causing severe mental damage to Kyoko. She became mentally unstable, believing that one of Asuka's dolls was her daughter.[19] She was admitted to a mental institution shortly after the experiment. Her husband had an affair with Kyoko's own doctor, which eventually prompted Kyoko's suicide in 2005.

In the manga version, Kyoko and her husband were unable to conceive a child, and divorced after he had an affair. He remarried and had a daughter, while Kyoko visited a sperm bank and became pregnant. She tried to poison Asuka to spite her ex-husband and his other child, referring to Asuka coldly as "that girl." At one point, Kyoko tried to strangle Asuka. After the failed contact experiment, her violence was instead transferred to Asuka's doll, as she was clearly in a dissociative state from the trauma. In the Rebuild of Evangelion films, however, her story is omitted.

According to Anno's notes on the origins of his characters' names, "Soryu" is from the same Japanese warship as Asuka, "Kyoko" is also from a character in Shinji Wada's manga (Chou-Shoujo Asuka), and "Zeppelin" is from a warship of the German navy, an aircraft carrier that was begun but never completed (named after Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German general and aircraft manufacturer).

Keel Lorenz[edit]

Voiced by: Mugihito (Japanese); Rick Peeples (TV), Tom Booker (films), Bill Jenkins (Rebuild), D. C. Douglas (Netflix) (English)

Keel Lorenz (キール・ローレンツ, Kīru Rōrentsu) is the leader of SEELE, represented as SEELE 01 in the monoliths and the main antagonist of the series. Among his most defining characteristics are his ancient appearance and the futuristic visor that he wears throughout the series. Little is revealed about him in the series, but he is believed to hold great political power in the UN. At some time between Second Impact and 2015, most of his body below the neck was replaced with cybernetic implants. Although he uses his visor to see, production drawings show that he still has eyes. The inspiration for his name (and, arguably, his character) originates from Konrad Lorenz, a zoologist known especially for his research on animal psychology. In the manga, his name is given as Lorenz Kiel.


The Angels (使徒, Shito) are the fictional supernatural beings that serve as the series' antagonists, attacking Tokyo-3 throughout the story in both the anime and manga.

Though they all have very different forms and abilities, Angels are often depicted with several common elements, such as the ability to project AT fields and an internal power source called an S² (super solenoid) engine, the destruction of which is often the only way an Angel can be exterminated. Even though they are composed of an altogether different form of matter ("characterized by both particulate and wave properties, like light"), the Angels' genetic code bears a 99.89% similarity to that of humans.[26]

The first two Angels, Adam and Lilith, are the progenitors of the other sixteen.[27] While the first fifteen Angels are descendants of Adam, humans themselves descended from Lilith. Using the Biblical story of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Angels are described as having eaten the "Fruit of Life", giving them immortality.[28] At another point, it is stated that the Angels are merely different evolutionary paths that mankind could have taken.

While the original Japanese word used in the series to refer to the Angels is shito (使徒, apostle or disciple), as opposed to the typical translation of "angel" as tenshi (天使, messenger of heaven), the English translation was one specified by Gainax. The word "angel" itself is derived from the Greek for "messenger" (ἄγγελος, angelos), which is also the source of the word "Evangelion".


The first Angel is Adam (アダム, Adamu),[29] named for the first human created by God in the Book of Genesis in the Abrahamic religious beliefs. All Angels, except for Lilith and the Lilin, are descended from Adam and possess the "Fruit of Life", the source of the Angels' power and immortality (also known as an S² Engine). In the spin off video game Neon Genesis Evangelion 2, it is stated that Adam and the White Moon were planted by an unknown "First Ancestral Race" as the intended progenitor of life on Earth.[30]

Adam is discovered within the White Moon buried under Antarctica and, during the Katsuragi Expedition, is subjected to a "contact experiment" with the Spear of Longinus. The failure of the experiment results in the brief appearance of a "giant of light" (resembling an Evangelion), the occurrence of Second Impact, and Adam being reduced to an embryonic form while its soul is reincarnated in Kaworu Nagisa. Ryoji Kaji later delivers the embryonic Adam to NERV commander Gendo Ikari, who later grafts it to his right palm and, in The End of Evangelion, tries to physically merge Rei with Adam by pushing his right hand into her body.

Cells cultivated from Adam serve as the basis for all Evangelion units except for Unit-01, which is grown from cells cultivated from Lilith.[31] In Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's official manga of Evangelion, Gendo swallows the embryonic Adam and gains the ability to manifest an AT field.


The second Angel is Lilith (リリス, Ririsu),[32] named for the first wife of Adam created in Jewish-oriented mythologies. Lilith is discovered in the Black Moon underneath Japan, which is converted into the GeoFront, with Lilith's resting place being called the Terminal Dogma. After Yui Ikari's contact experiment with Unit-01, Lilith's soul was placed into Rei Ayanami.

Lilith initially appears in the series as a white legless giant with the waists and legs of small humanoid bodies emerging from the stump of its waist. It is crucified onto a giant cross and wearing a mask with three eyes on the right side and four eyes on the left, the same motif as the Seele logo. Lilith's torso constantly leaks LCL, an amber-colored, translucent liquid, which allows an Eva pilot to mentally link with their Evangelion Unit, from an unseen wound, forming a vast reservoir used to supply its use in the Evangelion entry plugs. In the video game Neon Genesis Evangelion 2, it is stated that the Spear of Longinus used to hold Lilith was originally created for Adam, Lilith's own assigned Spear presumably having been lost during First Impact. When Kaji revealed Lilith to Misato Katsuragi, both assume they are in fact looking at Adam (Kaworu first correctly identifies Lilith).

In The End of Evangelion, after Rei rejects Gendo's attempt to initiate his version of Instrumentality using the grafted embryonic Adam, Rei and the absorbed embryo merge with Lilith. The resultant being, taking the form of a giant winged Rei, generates a massive anti-AT field that nullifies the AT fields of all humans, reverting them to a primordial soup.


Tabris (タブリス, Taburisu),[33] the seventeenth and final Angel, holds the form of a human, Kaworu Nagisa. Like the other Angels, he is "born of Adam", although it is implied that he was created by Seele. He contains the soul of Adam, similar to how Rei contains the soul of Lilith. Tabris' AT field is the most powerful ever detected, strong enough to block out "light, magnetism, subatomic particles, everything". He may control any Evangelion unit he wishes, even from outside the entry plug, so long as the soul inhabiting the Eva is dormant. Within the entry plug, he can set his synchronization ratio at any level he wishes. The nature or even the very existence of his core is not revealed.

Tabris, as Kaworu, infiltrated NERV under the pretense of being sent to replace Asuka as Unit 02's pilot. During his stay in Tokyo-3, he formed a close friendship with Shinji. Kaworu later revealed himself as an Angel, seizing control of Unit 02 and descending with it towards Terminal Dogma. Shinji, in Unit 01, was sent to stop him, but was forced to battle Unit 02 while Tabris proceeded to Terminal Dogma. Tabris' AT field manifested during the battle, effectively cutting both of them off from all contact with anyone outside. After he reached Terminal Dogma, Tabris was surprised to discover that the Angel held there was not Adam, but Lilith. Shinji incapacitated Unit 02 and proceeded to try to stop the Angel. Shinji angrily lashed out at Kaworu, telling him he had betrayed him just like his father did. Tabris, gripped in Unit 01's hand, stated his unwillingness to destroy mankind by causing Third Impact, and asked Shinji to kill him. Shinji, after a long period of hesitation, crushed the Angel in his Eva's hand.

He is named after the Angel of Free Will and Alternatives (自由の天使, Jiyū no Tenshi).[34] (This naming convention breaks from most of the other Angels in that it uses a Yah theophory, rather than an El theophory.) The back of the DVD containing episodes 24–26 spells his name as "Kaoru". However, in The End of Evangelion, his name is written as "Kaworu" on the Dummy Plugs for the mass-production Evas. Kaworu Nagisa's first appearance in the Rebuild of Evangelion series is shortly after the battle with Ramiel. Unlike in the anime, Kaworu and Shinji do not battle. In the third movie, Kaworu, referred to as "Seele's Boy" by Gendo, tells Shinji that he was the "catalyst" of Third Impact, but he can change it by pulling the spears on Lilith's corpse. When Shinji does so, Fourth Impact is started by Shinji pulling both Spears of Longinus, Kaworu reveals himself as an Angel and subsequently killed.


The eighteenth Angel, Lilin (リリン, Ririn), is said by Misato in The End of Evangelion to be mankind itself.[35] It is also the name used by Tabris to describe mankind, in reference to their progenitor, Lilith. As Lilith's descendants, the Lilin are endowed with the "Fruit of Wisdom", which is the source of their intelligence and technology. Like the Angels, Lilin also have AT fields, but unlike the Angels who can physically manifest theirs, the AT fields of Lilin are merely what separates each human from all others, creating individual identity.[36] Misato tells Shinji that humans are the eighteenth Angel born from Lilith, not on Earth.

Appearances in other media[edit]

Rebuild of Evangelion[edit]

In the Rebuild of Evangelion film series, many of the Angels return along with some differences and new original designs. The order of the Angels have been changed and some Angels that were originally in the anime do not appear in the remake. Most of the angels die differently from in the original version.

Two new unnamed Angels are introduced in Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance. The first is the new Third Angel, designed by illustrator Mohiro Kitoh, which appears as a skeleton's spinal column atop a small body with miniature legs and had a bird-like head which contained the Angel's core. The Angel is being studied at NERV's Bethany Base in Russia when it escapes, and is ultimately destroyed by Mari Illustrious Makinami in the Provisional Evangelion Unit 05. Kaji claims that it appears as a skeleton because the NERV scientists performed such extensive tests that what was shown is all that is left of the Angel's body. The second unnamed Angel is the new Seventh Angel, designed by Kazuya Tsurumaki, which appears as a drinking bird-like body made out of floating metal shapes with a large pendulum that holds the Angel's core and two stilt-like double helix legs that freeze water to allow it to walk on the ocean. Its head also has two clock hand-like appendages that can spin to unleash an attack. The Angel is ultimately destroyed by Asuka Langley Shikinami in Evangelion Unit 02. A third unnamed Angel is introduced in Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo as the new Twelfth Angel. It was sealed within Mark.06 and was released when Mark.09 decapitates Mark.06, after which the Angel gets absorbed by Unit-13.


Gainax has several other Angels appearing in other Neon Genesis Evangelion titles. In the game Evangelion 2nd Impression, Mayumi Yamagishi is an Angel known as the Insubstantial Angel. Gainax has released a number of tenth-anniversary figurines under the Angel Chromosome XX label. The figurines are designed by Keroro Gunso artist Mine Yoshizaki and are female anthropomorphized versions of several Angels. The packaging for the figurines gives the appearance of being a NERV lab sample, and is marked with a biohazard symbol.[37] Lilith, Sachiel, Zeruel, Armisael, and Tabris are featured under the "Angel-XX" line, as well as a figure called "Code:BE", which is virtually identical to the Lilith figure.[38] Shamshel, Sahaquiel, and Arael are featured under the "Angel-XX: Next" line.[39] Another line, "Angel-XX: nano!", features moe versions of the Lilith, Sachiel, Zeruel, and Tabris figurines, plus a Leliel figure unique to the 'nano' range.[40] Two additional Angels also appear in the Evangelion tabletop roleplaying game. Both are named after figures from the Qur'an, these being Iblis which appears as a turtle-like creature and Baraqijal, a coral-like being with a single enormous eye encased in a gelatinous orb that uses electricity-based attacks. In the Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse (Gakuen Datenroku) manga, the Angels are souls made up into a red spherical object called "Core". They can take over the body of a creature but it also kills the soul of the original host.

In Transformers x Evangelion, an Angel was controlled by the ghost of Starscream and he morphed it to look like Starscream and he was going to use it against Galvatron but was defeated by Ava-1 and the Autobots.[41][41][42]

Other media[edit]

Rebuild of Evangelion[edit]

Mari Illustrious Makinami[edit]

Voiced by: Maaya Sakamoto (Japanese); Trina Nishimura (English)

Mari Illustrious Makinami[43] (真希波・マリ・イラストリアス, Makinami Mari Irasutoriasu) is an enigmatic Evangelion pilot introduced in Rebuild of Evangelion's second installment Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.

She is the confident and eccentric pilot of the Provisional Evangelion Unit-05, which differs drastically from previous incarnations, featuring four mechanical "legs" that end in wheels and a lack of hands which have been replaced with a jousting lance and "claw". It also is worth noting she appears several years older than the other Children. Because of its unique design, Mari pilots her Eva wearing a helmet-like contraption, and the wrists of her plugsuit have several attachments that connect to tubing that apparently helps her in moving the EVA. Even while piloting Unit-02, her pink plugsuit features a symbolized 5 on the back. She has poor vision, wearing glasses at all times and having difficulty finding them when dropped after colliding with Shinji while parachuting. Mari's designation amongst the other Children is mysterious, though she is once referred to as "Problem Child". She self-destructs Unit-05 to defeat one of the Angels in the film's opening, but manages to escape unharmed. During the film's climax, she uses Unit-02 to battle the 10th Angel but is unable to, she sees Shinji who, after seeing the destruction, runs to NERV HQ. She has a fondness for LCL, telling Shinji, "You smell good... Smell of LCL." She also differs from the other pilots as she takes things in great strides as a pilot, even the immense pains of being attacked while synced with an EVA, falling on Shinji while using a parachute, smiling when the 3rd impact seems inevitable, and even singing a song in Unit-05 when about to fight an Angel. Since Toji did not pilot an Eva in the Rebuild series, Mari is sometimes referred to as the "Fourth Child" of the series by fans, but this has not been referenced in official material.

Sadamoto designed her to look British, and added glasses as a 'simple yet effective way to set her apart from the other characters'[44] The June 2010 issue of Newtype magazine ranked Mari #1 in its monthly top-10-character survey.

In the last volume of the Evangelion Manga, an extra chapter titled "Eden in Summer" introduces her as a 16-year-old student in 1998. She knew Yui Ikari and Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu as a fellow student under Professor Fuyutsuki. It appears she's a genius, having arrived at Kyoto University at an early age. However, she is no match for Yui Ikari's brilliance and is very jealous of her. In a fit of jealousy, she steals Yui's glasses. Later on, while helping Yui clean up a mess caused by her impaired vision, her purse falls to the floor revealing the missing glasses. At first Mari tells Yui she hates her, but once she calms down she actually admits she likes Yui. She allows Yui to fix her hair and tells her that she will leave to study abroad in England. Yui then gives her the glasses as a gift and finishes fixing Mari's hair, which is how she continues to wear it through the Eva movies.

Based on her age in 1998, she would be in her mid-thirties during the events prior to Third Impact.

WILLE staff[edit]

WILLE (ヴィレ, Vire) is an organization introduced with five new characters in Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, as a successor to NERV and with the goal to destroy NERV's EVA units. The organization is led by Misato Katsuragi and executive officer Ritsuko Akagi, and includes most of NERV's adult staff, with the notable exclusions of Gendo and Fuyutsuki.

  • Sakura Suzuhara (鈴原 サクラ, Suzuhara Sakura) Voiced by: Miyuki Sawashiro (Japanese); Felecia Angelle (English). The Second Lieutenant of WILLE and Toji's younger sister. She serves as a medical officer. She has brown hair and typically wears a beret.
  • Kōji Takao (高雄 コウジ, Takao Kōji) Voiced by: Akio Otsuka (Japanese); Greg Dulcie (English)
  • Sumire Nagara (長良 スミレ, Nagara Sumire) Voiced by: Sayaka Ohara (Japanese); Krishna Smitha (English)
  • Hideki Tama (多摩 ヒデキ, Tama Hideki) Voiced by: Anri Katsu (Japanese); Aaron Roberts (English)
  • Midori Kitakami (北上 ミドリ, Kitakami Midori) Voiced by: Mariya Ise (Japanese); Tia Ballard (English) She has short pink hair.

Transformers x Evangelion[edit]

Video games[edit]

Mana Kirishima[edit]

Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara

Mana Kirishima (霧島 マナ, Kirishima Mana)[46] is the main focus of Girlfriend of Steel, a game that is like an episode of the series. She appears as a transfer student at the Children's school, and becomes the focus of Shinji's interest and Asuka's jealous ire. She is the pilot of another man-made replacement for the Evas, the Trident, whose combat skills are somewhat more on par with the Evangelions', to whom they bear a resemblance in design compared to the Jet Alone robot. She also appears in Shinji Ikari Raising Project. Like many Evangelion characters, Mana's family name, Kirishima, is taken from a World War II battleship.[47]

A shy female character, Mana Kirishima, starts at Shinji Ikari's school and immediately admits to finding him cute. Gradually, a relationship unfolds and they end up going on a date where they kiss. It turns out, however, that she is one of three test pilots of TRIDENT, a new competitor to the Evangelions, similar to Jet Alone (thus the name "Girlfriend of Steel"). Eventually, the other robot goes berserk and the Evas have to destroy it. Throughout the game, Asuka is constantly jealous of Shinji and Mana's relationship, consistent with her romantic feelings for Shinji. Rei is present but plays a rather background role in the story.

Mayumi Yamagishi[edit]

Voiced by: Kyoko Hikami

Mayumi Yamagishi (山岸 マユミ, Yamagishi Mayumi)[48] is the new character introduced in the Sega Saturn game Evangelion 2nd Impression. In the game, Mayumi is a bespectacled bookworm who somehow has the core of an Angel inside her body. She joins Shinji's class and befriends him, and like many of the Evangelion cast, has a dark history (her mother apparently committed suicide while Mayumi was a girl, like Kyoko).


The character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto have also contributed to the popularity of Evangelion. Sadamoto's attractive designs of the three main female leads, Asuka, Rei and Misato, led to extremely high sales of merchandise[49] (especially of Rei, the "Premium Girl"[50]), and they have been immortalized in the dōjinshi community.[51]

Animage: Anime Grand Prix awards[edit]

The various characters of Neon Genesis Evangelion have been occasionally awarded placement in the Anime Grand Prix, an annual reader's choice award contest hosted by Animage magazine.

19th Annual Anime Grand Prix (1996)[edit]

The following results were published in Animage (June, 1996), volume 228, shortly after the conclusion of the original broadcast.

Best Loved Male Character
No. Character Vote count Voice actor
1 Shinji Ikari 1,217 Megumi Ogata
2 Kaworu Nagisa 562 Akira Ishida
10 Ryoji Kaji 194 Kōichi Yamadera
14 Gendo Ikari 120 Fumihiko Tachiki
44 Toji Suzuhara 42 Tomokazu Seki
57 Kozo Fuyutsuki 25 Motomu Kiyokawa
Best Loved Female Character
No. Character Vote count Voice actor
1 Rei Ayanami 1,419 Megumi Hayashibara
4 Asuka Langley Soryu 573 Yūko Miyamura
8 Misato Katsuragi 207 Kotono Mitsuishi
19 Maya Ibuki 96 Miki Nagasawa
27 Ritsuko Akagi 44 Yuriko Yamaguchi
47 Hikari Horaki 21 Junko Iwao

Note: Hikari Horaki tied for 47th place with another character.


  1. ^ Evangelion: Death and Rebirth; End of Evangelion (DVD commentary track). Manga Entertainment.
  2. ^ plan reports of Neon Genesis Evangelion(Newtype 100% Collection vol.29 Neon Genesis Evangelion pp85-88, 1997, Kadokawa Shoten, ISBN 978-4-04-852700-2)
  3. ^ Eva Tomo no Kai (lit.Eva Fan Club) vol.8, the liner notes bundled with Neon Genesis Evangelion Genesis0:8(VHS and LD, Sep.5,1996)
  4. ^ Japanese School Education Law Article 22 and 39, Japanese Law of Age Calculating, Japanese civil Law Article 143
  5. ^ a b c d "Netflix's Neon Genesis Evangelion debuts English re-dub". Polygon. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  6. ^ a b c Director: Akio Satsukawa (25 October 1995). "Hedgehog's Dilemma". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 4. TV Tokyo.
  7. ^ a b c d Director: Hideaki Anno (13 March 1996). "The Beginning and the End, or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 24. TV Tokyo.
  8. ^ Director: Hideaki Anno (20 December 1995). "She said, "Don't make others suffer for your personal hatred."". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 12. TV Tokyo.
  9. ^ Director: Hideaki Anno (29 November 1995). "Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 9. TV Tokyo.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Director: Hideaki Anno (21 February 1996). "He was aware that he was still a child.". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 21. TV Tokyo.
  11. ^ a b Director: Hideaki Anno (10 January 1996). "Those women longed for the touch of others' lips, and thus invited their kisses". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 15. TV Tokyo.
  12. ^ "Evangelion: 1.0's English Dub Cast Announced (Updated) - News". Anime News Network. 2009-05-23. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  13. ^ a b Director: Hideaki Anno (1 November 1995). "Rei I". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 5. TV Tokyo.
  14. ^ Director: Hideaki Anno (8 November 1995). "Rei II". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 6. TV Tokyo.
  15. ^ Director: Hideaki Anno (20 March 1996). "Do you love me?". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 25. TV Tokyo.
  16. ^ Lee, Roderick. "Meet the voice of AD Vision: Amanda Winn". Volume 2, Issue 5. EX Magazine. Archived from the original on March 29, 2005. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  17. ^ Director: Hideaki Anno (13 March 1996). "Rei III". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 23. TV Tokyo.
  18. ^ a b c Director: Hideaki Anno (22 November 1995). "Asuka Strikes!". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 8. TV Tokyo.
  19. ^ a b c Director: Hideaki Anno (28 February 1996). "Don't Be". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 22. TV Tokyo.
  20. ^ "エヴァンゲリオン 公式サイト". Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  21. ^ a b c d "Episode #26', Scene 8 (Part 2): The NGE Fan-Geeks Commentary Project". Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  22. ^ Director: Hideaki Anno (7 February 1996). "Introjection". Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 19. TV Tokyo.
  23. ^ a b Orange and Green plugsuits
  24. ^ Evangelion, episode 13
  25. ^ Evangelion, episode 20
  26. ^ Neon Genesis Evangelion, episode 5: Ritsuko: "Although they [the Angels] are composed of a different form of matter, their actual composition, in terms of the arrangement and spacing of the pattern, falls within a 99.89% match of human genes."
  27. ^ "Extras: Eva Glossary". Neon Genesis Evangelion official ADV site Archived 2007-06-30 at the Wayback Machine
  28. '^ 'Neon Genesis Evangelion, episode 24: Tabris: "As an Angel I am destined to live forever..."
  29. ^ Adam information and image
  30. ^ Newtype November, 2003 issue, Neon Genesis Evangelion 2, Evangelions
  31. ^ The End of Evangelion, episode 25, about 3:38, Seele's leader: "The appointed time has come. We've lost the Longinus Lance. We cannot use Lilith to complete the project any more. Hopefully, we will use Lilith's only clone, EVA 01, to complete the mission."
  32. ^ Lilith information and image
  33. ^ ADV Evangelion site Archived 2007-06-30 at the Wayback Machine Official ADV site for Neon Genesis Evangelion; Angel images and information are under the Artwork section (requires Adobe Flash)
  34. ^ これを読めば、エヴァが百倍楽しくなる! 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Archived 2009-01-08 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ Misato: "Mankind is the eighteenth Angel", from The End of Evangelion, episode 25': Air / Love is Destructive
  36. ^ Neon Genesis Evangelion, episode 24: Kaworu: "Aren't you Lilin even aware yet, that your so-called AT field is merely that wall that encloses every mind that exists?!"
  37. ^ Packaging for Angel Chromosome XX figurines
  38. ^ Angel-XX figurines
  39. ^ Angel-XX: Next figurines
  40. ^ Angel-XX: nano! figurines
  41. ^ a b
  42. ^×_Evangelion
  43. ^ Her family name Makinami seems to continue the Japanese maritime vessel naming convention, following Ayanami (Rei) and Shikinami (Asuka).
  44. ^ "Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Young Ace interview". Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  45. ^
  46. ^ Gainax Internet Section. "GAINAX NET|Works|Software & Goods|鋼鉄のガールフレンド". Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  47. ^ Mana Shinseiki Ebangerion kōtetsu no gārufurendo memoriaru bukku. Tōkyō: Asukī. 1998. p. 102. ISBN 978-4-7572-0114-9.
  48. ^ "{gameTitle} ({gameYear}) {gamePlatform} box cover art". MobyGames. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  49. ^ "The release in October 1995 of Neon Genesis Evangelion on Japanese TV ignited a boom in merchandise unprecedented in a country already awash with such goods. As if overnight, well over 600 different items were made to commemorate the event. Figures were the most popular, with the inimitable bandaged Rei outselling all else. The Eva girls, kitted out in swimwear and striking suggestive poses, were, overall, a huge success, and things went a bit too far…" pg 126 of Fujie 2004. See also: "Arguably, it is because of Anno's dictates on design that few Evangelion toys were initially made. But figures of Rei, in all her bandaged beauty, sold like wild fire. This is probably the first and only example of an animated [mecha] series where reproductions of the human characters outsold those of the robots." pg 98.
  50. ^ "Rei's popularity soared in Japan, with books featuring her image on the cover selling like hot cakes. She was christened by the media, "The girl who manipulates magazine sales at will", "The fastest route to the sold-out sign!" And even, "The Premium Girl."" pg 39 of Fujie 2004
  51. ^ "Evangelion". <nettime. Retrieved 2015-02-22.

See also[edit]