Beyond these common properties, the Angels take no common form. They range from gargantuan to nano-sized and from bizarre in shape to human in appearance. Their abilities similarly run the gamut, from rapid viral-scale evolution to powerful positron beam attacks.
The Angels appear at various times in various places. Often, several weeks pass between the appearance of one Angel and the next, although in at least one instance (e.g. the timespan between the thirteenth and fourteenth Angels) two Angels have appeared within one day of each other. The location of their initial appearance, and even their apparent destination, also varies. A number of them emerge from or appear over the ocean, others appear out of thin air directly over Tokyo-3, while still others appear high up in the atmosphere. Supposedly, their arrival is predicted by the Dead Sea Scrolls in the possession of Seele.
Exactly how the Angels are related to humans is unknown. At one point, it is stated that mankind ate of the "Fruit of Wisdom", hence their intelligence and technology, and Angels ate of the "Fruit of Life", hence their immortality and powers. At a different point, it is stated that the Angels are merely different (evolutionary) paths that mankind could have taken. It is explicitly stated in the series that, 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 humans.
Most of the Angels' names utilize the theophoric names of traditional angelology. It is not known whether these names are simply what Seele assigned to them or whether they are the Angels' "true" names. With the exception of Seele (and possibly Kaworu, as he identifies Lilith by name), most of the characters seem to be ignorant of the Angels' names, although Adam's name is known to a number of them. Also unknown are whether director Hideaki Anno or Angel designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto deliberately chose the Angels' names after researching the angelology behind the names or whether they were chosen regardless of their mythological connotations. For the sake of completion, this list of Angels does mention the traditional angelological interpretation where appropriate.
The Japanese word used to refer to the Angels is . The word usually used for "angel" is . The translation to "angel" was specified by Gainax. (Even in the original Japanese release, the English word "Angel" flashes onscreen in the opening sequence and appears on video screens in Nerv headquarters.) This is appropriate, given that the English word angel is derived from the Greek for "messenger" (ἄγγελος, angelos), which is also the source of the word "Evangelion".
The following is a list of the Angels in the series. Note that the Rebuild of Evangelion series numbers the Angels differently, with Sachiel, Shamshel and Ramiel identified as the 4th, 5th and 6th Angels respectively, instead of their original numbers of 3rd, 4th and 5th. The identity of the mystery Angel holding the position of 3rd has not been revealed yet.
Notes: There is debate among fans over the order and numbering of the Angels, and even over who qualifies as an Angel. However, official sources explicitly identify Adam as the "First Angel". Seele also identifies Sachiel as the "Third Angel", with succeeding Angels numbered accordingly. This unmistakably implicates Lilith as the second Angel.
The only legitimate controversy is the listing of Lilim (mankind) as the eighteenth Angel. Some lists identify Rei as the eighteenth, while others omit the eighteenth altogether. This list includes an eighteenth Angel for the sake of completion, and identifies Lilim as the eighteenth because they are explicitly identified as such.
Adam was discovered in the White Moon, buried under Antarctica. The Katsuragi Expedition attempted a "contact experiment" with Adam using the Lance of Longinus, which went out of control and triggered Second Impact. Adam's body was reduced to an embryonic form, and its soul was resurrected into Kaworu Nagisa (see below). Adam's body was later retrieved and used as the basis for the Evangelions, with the exception of Unit 01 (see Lilith).
Later, Ryoji Kaji delivered Adam, encased in dura-bakelite, to Nerv commander Gendo Ikari, who at an unspecified later time had Adam grafted to his right palm. The series did not reveal what purpose this served, but in End of Evangelion, Gendo tried to physically merge Rei with Adam by pushing his right hand into her body.
In First Impact, Lilith usurped Adam as the progenitor of life on Earth. All life on Earth is supposedly descended from this Angel, although it is never specified if this is in a biological sense or a metaphysical sense. Lilith's descendants possess the "Fruit of Wisdom," the source of human science and technology. The "Deleted Scenes" from episode 23 also reveal that Unit 01 is artificially derived from Lilith.
Lilith was discovered in the Black Moon, underneath Japan. The Black Moon was converted into the GeoFront, and the site of Lilith's body became Terminal Dogma. It is never stated whether Lilith was already crucified when it was found, or whether it was later crucified. At some point after Yui Ikari's contact experiment with Unit 01, Lilith's soul was placed into Rei Ayanami. Later, once it was retrieved, the Lance of Longinus was used to impale the Angel. When Kaji revealed Lilith to Misato Katsuragi, both assumed it was Adam. Tabris later properly identified it as Lilith. The series does not explicitly reveal Lilith's exact role in the plans for Instrumentality.
In The End of Evangelion, Gendo Ikari tried to initiate his version of Instrumentality by pushing his right hand (to which had been grafted the embryonic body of the Angel Adam) into Rei's body. Rei, however, absorbed Adam (along with most of Gendo's arm) into herself, rejected Gendo's control of her, and merged with Lilith on her own. Though Rei merged with Lilith, she took Lilith into the form of Rei for most of The End of Evangelion. The merged Rei/Lilith freed itself from its bonds and transformed into a colossal winged version of Rei. It then generated an anti-AT field which covered the entire planet, nullifying the AT fields of every human and reverting humanity back into the primordial soup. Rei/Lilith died when Shinji rejected Instrumentality.
After easily defeating the UN military forces sent to attack it, Sachiel was briefly stopped by an N² bomb, which it quickly regenerated from. It then fought Unit 01, in Shinji Ikari's first battle against an Angel. Initially, Sachiel defeated Unit 01. However, the Eva went "berserk", re-engaged Sachiel, and inflicted massive damage to the Angel's core. The Angel then attached itself to Unit 01 and self-destructed, but failed to destroy Unit 01.
Sachiel demonstrates impressive regenerative abilities, recovering from an N² bomb in a matter of hours. The Angel also seems to have a limited ability to alter its own body structure, as demonstrated when it bulges its arm muscles to stop a missile, when it snaps Unit 01’s arm, and when it partly envelops Unit 01 and self-destructs.
Sachiel literally means Covering of God or Price of God. It is named for the .
Shamshel was engaged by Shinji in Unit 01. During the battle, Unit 01's umbilical cable was severed by Shamshel's energy whips, and Shinji had to fight the Angel on battery power. Ignoring orders to retreat, Shinji inflicted a fatal wound to the Angel’s core using Unit 01’s progressive knife, killing it seconds before Unit 01's batteries expired. The minimal damage to Shamshel allowed Nerv to obtain a near-complete Angel specimen, although no report was ever submitted or published. Nerv was able to recover the Angel's S² engine, which the Third Branch would later attempt to install in Unit 04.
Shamshel literally means Lonely Conqueror of God. It is named for the , charged with guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden.
Ramiel was defeated by Rei and Shinji in a coordinated assault (the two pilots' first operation together). Shinji used a positron cannon appropriated from the JSSDF and powered with the entire Japanese power grid, and Rei protected Shinji using a special shield constructed from the heat shield of an SSTO spacecraft. The overall plan was named Yashima (ヤシマ作戦). Ramiel reacted and fired at the same time as Shinji. The two beams met each other, warping each other and causing both to miss. Ramiel fired a second shot before the positron cannon could fully recharge; Rei blocked the beam, first with the shield and then with Unit 00 itself after the shield was destroyed. This bought Shinji enough time to fire a second shot after the cannon recharged, which passed through Ramiel's center and killed it. Like Shamshel, Ramiel's corpse remained intact and was shown over the next several episodes being gradually deconstructed.
Ramiel literally means Thunder of God. It is named for the and divine visions, who guides the souls of the faithful to Heaven..
Gaghiel attacked the UN Pacific fleet as it was delivering Unit 02 and (secretly) the preserved embryonic Adam to Nerv. Gaghiel was searching for the Adam embryo, but because the presence of the embryo was secret (apparently even from Seele), Nerv officially reported that Gaghiel was drawn by Unit 02. It managed to damage or destroy almost one third of the UN's combined fleet.
Gaghiel fought with Unit 02, piloted jointly by Asuka Langley Soryu and Shinji Ikari in their first battle together. Asuka brashly challenges Gaghiel in Unit 02 wearing only B-type equipment (unsuited for marine combat). Gaghiel knocks Unit 02 into the ocean, where Asuka and Shinji find themselves immobilized by the water. The Angel bites down on them, trapping them in its jaws. Misato hatches a plan, and Unit 02 forces the Angel's mouth open, allowing a pair of scuttled Iowa-class battleships (the Illinois and Kentucky) to lodge in its mouth (knocking out most of its teeth in the process) and fire (via remote control) at the Angel's core, then self-destruct inside the Angel, killing it.
Gaghiel literally means Roaring Beast of God. It is named after the .
Israfel’s most notable weapon is its ability to split itself into separate, twin Angels, referred to as "Alpha" and "Beta" in the English translation and "Kou" and "Otsu" in the original Japanese. The twin Angels are almost identical in appearance and properties to the original (except in color scheme). Both have faces/masks with three eye holes and possess their own cores, though they lack the rib structures in their chest(s). They (apparently) use synchronized tactics to fight enemies. Both cores must be destroyed at the same time, or they will heal each other.
After emerging from the ocean, Israfel was engaged by Asuka and Shinji. Defying orders to attack in synch with Shinji, Asuka assaulted the Angel alone, cleaving it in two. Shocking everyone, Israfel split into its twins, and decisively defeated Asuka and Shinji. To Nerv’s embarrassment, the UN Secondary Command was allowed to take over the battle, and an N² bomb was dropped on the Angel, vaporizing 28% of its mass. The Angel was incapacitated for roughly six days, during which time it recovered from its injuries.
Israfel was defeated through a synchronized attack by Shinji and Asuka, concerted via a musical score and with the memorization of numerous dance moves, first forcing the Angel to split into its twins, then back into its singular mode, this time with the two cores exposed which were destroyed simultaneously.
Israfel is named for the twin .
Sandalphon was discovered in an embryonic state deep inside the Mount Asama volcano. Nerv was determined to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to strike first against an Angel. Asuka, in Unit 02, was sent to capture the Angel using a special electromagnetic cage. The Eva’s normal B-type equipment was not designed for extreme environments, so Unit 02 was equipped with the D-type Equipment, specifically designed for extreme conditions like magma. During the operation the Angel awoke, rapidly developed into its adult form, and attacked Unit 02, damaging it, however Unit 02 could not take any countermeasure due to the fact that it had lost its progressive knife earlier from the pressure of the lava (It was sent over the depth limit of the D-type equipment). Sandalphon was defeated by Asuka using the D-type equipment's coolant (inspired by an earlier conversation with Shinji regarding thermal expansion) and Unit 01's progressive knife.
Sandalphon is named for the angel of tears and the master of heavenly song, whose duty is to deliver prayers to God, and is also the .
Matariel emerged from the ocean during a near-total power outage in Tokyo-3 (caused by an unnamed individual or party). It was defeated through the coordinated efforts of Units 00, 01, and 02, in the first simultaneous deployment of all three Evas. Due to the power outage, the Evas ran on their internal batteries, supplemented by large additional batteries mounted to the shoulder boxes, and had to be launched manually. The Angel was killed using standard-issue Eva firearms, the only successful attempt at doing so.
Matariel literally means Premonition of God. It is named for the .
Sahaquiel first appeared in low-earth orbit. The Angel's jamming ability prevented Nerv HQ from contacting Commander Ikari or Sub-Commander Fuyutsuki in Antarctica. When Nerv attempted to analyze the Angel, it crushed the scanning satellites with its AT field. Attempts to destroy the Angel using N² bombs utterly failed. The Angel began dropping pieces of itself onto Earth. Its first hit landed in the middle of the Pacific Ocean (far from Tokyo-3) but successive hits grew continuously closer. For the final blow, the attack that would land on Nerv proper, Sahaquiel intended to drop its entire body onto Tokyo-3. The resulting blast would have been so powerful that Tokyo-3 would have been transformed into an extension of the Pacific Ocean.
Sahaquiel was intercepted and killed through the combined efforts of all three Evas. They first stopped the Angel's physical descent and canceled out its AT field, negating both of its main means of attack, then killed the Angel by stabbing its core with a prog knife.
Sahaquiel literally means Ingenuity of God. It is named for the .
It appears in the Pribnow Box deep in the GeoFront, where it is initially mistaken for corrosion before spreading to where the pilots are taking part in tests. Ritsuko and Misato, prior to understanding what they were up against, attempted to destroy the "corrosion" with lasers, only to have an AT field materialize to block their efforts. They soon discovered that the Angel is vulnerable to ozone and so pumped large amounts of it into the area of infection. The tactic temporarily stopped the Angel's spread, but after only a few seconds, it adapted to the ozone, and even absorbed it to increase its strength before suddenly mutating into a form resembling electronic circuitry. Linked into the Pribnow box computer systems, the Angel electronically hacked into the MAGI computer systems, protecting the hard connections with an AT field on the cables to prevent it from being cut off. While inside, it read many critical files and initiated a self-destruct sequence before being slowed down long enough by Ritsuko to allow her in turn to initiate the Angel's destruction by using the last "free" MAGI to set the Angel on an evolutionary path to its own annihilation.
Iruel literally means Fear of God. It is named for the .
Leliel appeared (literally out of thin air) over Tokyo-3, and all three Evas were sortied against it. Shinji, in Unit 01, impulsively fired upon the Angel’s spherical “body”, which vanished before his shots hit it. Immediately after the "body" disappeared, a shadow appeared under Unit 01’s feet, absorbing both the Eva and a substantial portion of Tokyo-3. Unit 01 was cut off from all power and communication. Once Nerv realized the properties of the Angel, in order to kill it they planned to drop the 992 remaining N² bombs into the Angel while Units 00 and 02 negated its AT field, in spite of the possibility of losing Shinji in process. Within the Angel, Shinji experienced a bizarre sort of self-psychoanalysis (speculated by Seele to be an attempt by the Angel to establish contact with a human). Moments before dropping the N² mines into Leliel, Unit 01, out of battery power at this point, activated berserker mode and tore its way out of the spherical shadow, shattering its 2-dimensional body. The spherical shadow released torrents of blood as Unit 01 emerged.
Leliel literally means Jaws of God. It is named for the .
Bardiel initially appeared in a cloud, infecting Unit 03 as it passed through in the process of being transported from the USA to Japan. The Angel revealed itself during the activation test at the Matsushiro facility, at the instant the "Absolute Borderline" (the point in startup where a pilot interfaces with an Eva) was reached. Despite a quick cutoff of the external power cable, the Angel apparently had generated an S² engine capable of powering Unit 03, completely taking over the Eva and destroying the base in a huge detonation detected back at Nerv HQ. Responding to the explosion and detection of an unidentified object, Nerv sortied all three Evas against it. Seeing that the Angel was an Eva, the pilots hesitated. Bardiel defeated Asuka in Unit 02 almost immediately. Rei, considering the pilot inside the possessed Eva, did not respond to orders to attack fast enough, and was attacked and disabled by the Angel, which attempted to "fuse" with Unit 00. Commander Ikari ordered the infected portion of her Eva cut off, throwing Bardiel away in the explosion and paralyzing Rei's left arm. The Angel then focused on Shinji. During the assault, Shinji was able to see that the Eva's entry plug was still inside the Angel. Even as Bardiel attacked Unit 01, using its extendable arms for the first time, Shinji refused to fight back, refusing to harm the trapped Eva pilot. Commander Ikari ordered Shinji cut off from Unit 01 and the Dummy Plug system to be activated. Under the Dummy Plug's control, Unit 01 broke Bardiel's neck and literally tore the Eva to shreds, only stopping once Unit 03's entry plug—with Toji Suzuhara inside it—was crushed.
Seele specifically mentions the thirteenth Angel during their interrogation of Misato regarding the twelfth Angel. No reasons are given in the series for this mention. However, the twelfth, thirteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth angels all contacted an EVA.
Bardiel literally means Humiliated Son of God. It is named for the .
Zeruel initially appeared and proceeded to the GeoFront, and, in a demonstration of power, blasted through 18 layers of the GeoFront’s armor with a single shot of its beam attack. Inside the GeoFront, the Angel was confronted first by Asuka in Unit 02. Unit 02’s artillery attacks were completely ineffective, and, using its foil-like arms, Zeruel cut off the Eva's arms and decapitated it. Rei in Unit 00 (which was still damaged from the battle with Bardiel) attempted to stop Zeruel in a kamikaze attack with an N² bomb, but after Unit 00 successfully pushed through the Angel’s AT field, Zeruel covered its core with a protective membrane which the mine failed to penetrate. Zeruel disabled Unit 00 and proceeded to blast through and enter Central Dogma proper (the first and only Angel to do so from outside the GeoFront by force). Seconds before wiping out the bridge (and everyone in it), the Angel was confronted by Shinji in Unit 01.
During the fight, Zeruel blew off Unit 01’s left arm, but Shinji still managed to force the Angel onto an Eva launch platform and launch both of them outside of Central Dogma. Unit 01 battered the Angel before attempting to rip off its head but Unit 01's battery power ran out before Shinji could defeat the Angel. Zeruel, now unhindered, destroyed the Eva's chest armor, revealing Unit 01's core, which the Angel tried to break with its arms. Before it could land the final blow, Unit 01 went berserk. The Eva stopped Zeruel's right arm as it attempted to strike again, splitting it apart, then forcefully pulled Zeruel toward it, impaling the angels right eye on Units 01's distinctive forehead protrusion. Unit 01 then kicked the angel away, tearing the arm off and converting it into a new left arm for itself. The Angel then attacked Unit 01 with its remaining arm, which was destroyed by Unit 01's AT-Field, causing the sharp fragments to rebound and severely wound the Angel. Unit 01 then smashed its "face" into the ground when it attempted to fire a final beam at it. Unit 01 finished off the crippled Angel and devoured it, ingesting the Angel's S² engine.
After the battle, it was the discovered that Shinji, having achieved a synchronization ratio of over 400%, had reverted to LCL in the entry plug and merged with Unit 01.
Zeruel's physical substance seems to change during the fight: early on, its face is hard and durable enough to strike sparks when forced against the Eva lift by Shinji, but following its demise even the apparently rock solid 'skull' on its face becomes limp and pliable.
Zeruel literally means Arm of God. It is named for the .
Arael initially appeared in low-earth orbit, outside of the range of both conventional weapons and the Evangelions. Ignoring orders to serve as Rei's backup, Asuka confronted the Angel alone in Unit 02. Once she targeted the Angel, it used its weapon on her. The psychic attack forced Asuka to relive the horrors of her childhood and deconstruct her social and emotional facade, resulting in mental trauma sufficient to cause her to completely lose synchronization with Unit 02, which became inactive. After a particle beam weapon proved unable to penetrate Arael's AT field at such an extreme range, Gendo ordered Rei, in Unit 00, to use the Lance of Longinus against it (an order that both Misato and Dept. Commander Fuyutsuki took issue with, albeit for different reasons). Rei descended to Terminal Dogma, removed the Lance from Lilith's chest, and, once back at the surface, hurled the Lance at the Angel. The Lance broke through the Angel's AT field and destroyed the Angel, but it drifted out to orbit (eventually landing on the moon) and Nerv was unable to retrieve it.
Arael literally means Light of God or Vision of God. It is named for the .
Armisael appeared, seemingly out of thin air, over the outskirts of Tokyo-3, and Rei in Unit 00 and Asuka in Unit 02 were sortied against it. Once the Evas approached it, Armisael assumed its "combat form." It pierced Unit 00's AT field and core and began to fuse with the Eva. While it was in contact with Unit 00, the Angel also merged with Rei and mentally contacted her, expressing a desire to merge with her and forcing her to feel its pain, which Rei realized was actually loneliness. When ordered to assist Rei, Asuka proved unable to even move her Eva, and was consequently pulled out of the battle. Gendo, apparently desperate to save Rei, ordered Unit 01 out of quarantine (which it had been kept in since the battle with Zeruel) to battle the Angel (an order he had declined to give while Asuka was attacked by Arael). When Unit 01 approached the Angel, it tried to fend him off, and, when that proved only a mixed success, it began to fuse with Unit 01 as well. To keep the Angel from fusing with Shinji, Rei reversed her Eva's AT field, pulling the Angel into Unit 00's core. She then self-destructed her Eva, killing herself and destroying Unit 00, the Angel, and a sizable portion of the Tokyo-3 area.
Armisael literally means Mountain of Judgment of God. It is named for the .
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 an extremely close relationship 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. 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.
"Tabris" is a corruption of Tabbris, which loosely means Good of God in Hebrew ('Tov' טוב means 'good', and 'Yah' יה is a short for Yahweh יהוה). He is named for the . (This naming convention breaks from most of the other Angels in that it uses a Yah theophory, rather than an El theophory.)
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. 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. Shamshel, Sahaquiel, and Arael are featured under the "Angel-XX: Next" line. 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.
Two additional Angels also appear in the Evangelion tabletop roleplaying game. Both are named after figures from the Qu'ran, 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 Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku, the actual Angels are just souls; instead, they have to infect/take over the body of a creature, which also kills the soul of the host. Example of this includes a Raven, as well as the body of a human, first done by Ramiel. Even when in human form, they are able to grow wings from the back of their body.