Armisael initially appears as a rapidly revolving, double-helical ring of light. Its pattern cycles between blue and orange, from which Ritsuko Akagi concludes that the Angel does not have a fixed form. The two helices eventually fuse together, and the ring cleaves at a single point to take on a thread-like form, several times longer than an Eva is tall.
The Angel's second form is capable of moving extremely quickly, and it effortlessly penetrates the A.T. Field of Eva-00. Point-blank fire from the Eva's sniper rifle is completely ineffective. A progressive knife attack makes Armisael bleed (red, as per nearly all Angels) and causes it visible pain, although it doesn't seem to have any lasting effect.
Upon contacting another being, Armisael begins to undertake biofusion, that is, physically invading the foreign body with its own biomass. The invasion is externally visible as venous protrusions that spread and thicken as fusion continues. Eventually, psychological contact becomes possible. Whether or not this methodology technically constitutes an "attack" from Armisael's perspective is ambiguous.
Armisael's brief interchange with Rei establishes it as possessing a child-like naivete and unable to describe its loneliness as anything other than "pain". Immediately upon the mutual epiphanies of Armisael and Rei that they are both lonely, a giant growth combining the forms of the dead Angels emerges from Eva-00's back. (See more below.) Armisael generates a Rei (from the waist up) on its "free" end and attempts to fuse with Eva-01, as well.
The Angel Tower
After Armisael achieves psychological contact with Rei, a massive growth amalgamating the forms of the dead Angels manifests from Eva-00's back. The nature of this "Angel Tower" (as it is sometimes unofficially called) is steeped in mystery. The Renewal Vol. 6 DVD Booklet says this much:
- In the process of eroding Unit-00, a heteromorphous object grows out of the unit's back. It enlarges and expands into a form that is a confused combination of the Angels that have previously appeared, from the Third Angel to the Fifteenth Angel. It can be deduced that the genetic information of all the Angels from the Third onwards is included in either this Angel or Unit-00, and that this object was reconstructed and deployed based on that material.
However, this assessment seems somewhat dubious -- despite the plasmid correlation (see below) --, as all evidence in the show indicates that the Angels' individualized forms are not determined genetically, but by their A.T. Fields. One alternative theory forwards that Armisael had assembled the souls of its dead siblings and is attempting to use Eva-00's body -- a copy of their progenitor Adam's -- to resurrect them. This is supported by the fact that the growth develops almost immediately after Armisael learns of its loneliness.
|The Angel Tower|
(left) Animation indicating which parts come from which Angel.
Armisael's initial form is a reference to the double-helical DNA molecule, and its circular configuration recalls a bacterial chromosome or plasmid. (The latter is a supplemental ring of DNA containing only a few genes, capable of being replicated and being transferred horizontally -- that is, from one bacterium to another -- and either maintained as a separate plasmid or integrated into the receiving bacterium's chromosome.) It may also be an allusion to the angels called ophanim, which have been described as "wheels of fire"
Armisael is named for the angel governing the womb, and its encounter with Eva-00 contains reproductively-charged imagery. When Armisael initially penetrates Eva-00 in the abdomen, it resembles an umbilical cord. The monitors at Nerv repeatedly show the word "Penetration", and Rei blushes and convulses in a sexual manner. Later, when Eva-00 absorbs Armisael into its core, the organ is expanded and distended such that it evokes a pregnant belly. This imagery is juxtaposed with Rei's realization that she wants Shinji.
"Armisael", in a direct translation, means "Mountain of Judgment of God", which, if true, might be referenced by the monstrous growth that contains the forms of all the dead Angels. In religion, Armisael is the "Angel of the Womb", another possible reference to the angels growing out of the angel.
Armisael suddenly appeared hovering in the air on the outskirts of Tokyo-3. Eva-00 was launched to investigate it, but the Angel appeared dormant. Just as Eva-00 was about to withdraw so the Angel could be observed more, it transformed from its ring-shape into its thread-shaped combat form, pierced Eva-00's core with one of its thread's "ends", and began merging with Eva-00. Eva-00 shot the body of Armisael several times, to no effect.
The mind of Armisael itself then contacted the mind of Rei, and engaged in a brief conversation remarking on their mutual loneliness. Eva-02 was launched, but failed to even start because Asuka's synchronization level had fallen below critical lows. In desperation, the order freezing the use of Eva-01 was suspended, but as soon as Eva-01 was launched Armisael tried to merge with it as well, with Eva-01 narrowly avoiding it.
Eva-01 grabbed Armisael's other end in its hands, and stabbed it with its prog knife, causing it to howl in pain like Rei. Fearful for Shinji's survival, Rei set her AT Field to maximum to draw Armisael to herself and try to contain it temporarily, and then activated Eva-00's self-destruct. This resulted in a massive explosion that destroyed Armisael, but also destroyed a large portion of Tokyo-3 as well, resulting in the creating of a new artificial lake.
Director's Cut version
In the Director's Cut version, the fight against Armisael is expanded. In it, Armisael tries to merge with Eva-01 and Shinji is able to catch its "end" in his hands before it can reach Eva-01's core, but it then begins to merge with Eva-01's hands as Shinji stabs it, resulting in apparently physical "heads" of Rei popping up out of Shinji's own hands. Each head says "You're hurting me", leaving Shinji in a state of horror.
Armisael then changes its end to form an Eva-sized glowing white Rei torso, which hugs Eva-01 and threatens to merge with it. Rei realizes that her desire is to be with Shinji, and reversing her A.T. Field, succeeds in containing Armisael in Eva-00's core, which initially bulges like a pregnant belly before imploding in chunks until it lies flat against Eva-00's chest. Rei activates Eva-00's self-destruct. She sees a vision of Gendo smiling down upon her and reaches out to him. Eva-00 transforms into a glowing white giant Rei (nearly identical to the Adam/Lilith/Rei hybrid in appearance, only smaller) with a halo and reaches up towards the sky. A moment later, it explodes, wrecking most of Tokyo-3.
In Other Media
"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
The manga version of Armisael splits into multiple finger-like strands when fusing into Eva-00.
The battle incorporates Eva-02 piloted by Kaworu Nagisa and wielding the dual saw. The Angel is capable of fusing into the weapon and in turn wielding it against the Eva, severing one of its legs. Eva-02 and Kaworu are then subjected to bio- and psychological contamination, in addition to Rei and Eva-00.
The introspective sequence between Rei and the Angel is extended, and delves more into Rei's feelings for Shinji. In this scene, Armisael does not replicate Rei's form precisely, and has a grotesque face (reminiscent of Lilith in End of Evangelion immediately after taking on Rei's form). The Rei body that Armisael forms afterward to interface with Eva-01 is more emotive than the one in the series. Shinji slashes it down the front of the torso with the Eva's prog knife, but this doesn't hinder the Angel's advance.
The "Angel Tower" omits the Angels excluded from the manga adaptation. The sequence wherein Eva-00 absorbs the Angel and its core implodes is present, but not depicted completely enough to make the chain of events clear without having seen episode 23 first.
Rebuild of Evangelion
As a result of the decision during the production of Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance to incorporate events up through episode 23, the role of Armisael was collapsed into the Zeruel-based 10th Angel. In the final film, the 10th Angel devours Eva-00, absorbing both it and Rei, and reconfiguring its main body into a distorted "giant naked Rei" -- similar to Armisael fusing with Eva-00 and Rei, assuming Rei's form, and playing a role in Eva-00's destruction and Rei's "death".
Earlier in the film's production, the staff considered emphasizing the Armisael angle much more heavily. One idea storyboarded by Shinji Higuchi was to have -- after Eva-01 is skewered and lifted into the air -- a Rei torso extend from the Angel and make erotic overtures toward the Eva, telling Shinji that they should become one. Also, before the idea to have Shinji save Rei was proposed by Yoji Enokido and seized by Anno, Rei was to self-destruct Eva-00 to destroy the Angel, as in episode 23.
Notes & References
- This action on Armisael's part may have been a response to Rei's latent emotions: When the Angel embraces Eva-01's face, Rei realizes that her innermost desire is to be with Shinji.
- Ezekiel 1:15-21
- Also contains many of the other angels featured in Evangelion
- Also contains many of the other angels featured in Evangelion
- Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection
|First and Second Angels (Seeds of Life): Adam | Lilith|
|Third to Seventeenth Angels (Adam's Children):|
|Sachiel | Shamshel | Ramiel | Gaghiel | Israfel | Sandalphon | Matarael | Sahaquiel|
|Ireul | Leliel | Bardiel | Zeruel | Arael | Armisael | Tabris|
|Eighteenth Angel: Lilin|
|Rebuild of Evangelion: ?Adams? | 3rd Angel | 7th Angel | 12th Angel|
|Other: Extracanonical Angels|