Episode 20

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Episode Information
Episode #20
Title 1: 心のかたち,人のかたち
Kokoro no katachi, hito no katachi
Form of the Mind, Form of the Man
Title 2: Weaving a story 2: Oral Stage[1]
20 C023 being-watched.jpg
Written By Hideaki Anno,
Directed By Masahiko Otsuka
First Aired 2-14-1996
Video Release Date 12-5-1996 (Japan-Video/LD), 4-17-2001 (US-DVD)
Angel Appearances None
Eva Sorties None
Episode chronology
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"Episode 19" "Episode 21"


Shinji achieved an unprecedented 400% synchronization ratio with Eva-01 during the battle with Zeruel, to horrible effect. With the Eva having ascended to the status of a living God and Shinji absorbed inside it, Ritsuko unsuccessfully attempts to recover him. In the meantime, Shinji makes contact with the resident soul of the Eva- his mother, Yui Ikari.


The Episode begins with Eva-01 eating the mangled corpse of the Angel Zeruel, consuming the Angel's S² Engine.

The following day, Nerv, under Ritsuko's supervision, accesses the aftermath of Zeruel's disastrous attack. Both Eva-00 and Eva-02 suffered heavy damage in the ensuing battle, more than enough to put them beyond the Hayflick Limit. As a result they need extensive repairs, which will take a lot of time and resources. Meanwhile, the Angel also did substantial damage to Central Dogma, necessitating a temporary move of the Magi to the Secondary Control Center. Meanwhile, Misato and Hyuga are in the Evangelion Cage, inspecting the now restrained Eva-01, after it broke loose of its armor. The giant stares back at them with one exposed eye, apparently inert and covered in bandages.[2] Misato questions whether the Evangelion has been properly contained, and Hyuga assures her that it has, but she points out that, nevertheless, Eva-01 has been able to move without external power on three separate occasions.

The Human Instrumentality Committee is dismayed over the turn of events, the members complaining about the time and money lost because of all of Zeruel's destruction, and even worse, Eva-01 breaking free and acquiring God status[3], something they were completely blindsided by. They expresses worry about their inside man failing to give them any forewarning about what Gendo Ikari's moves, and plan to give him a warning that further such incidents cannot be tolerated. Kaji is with Gendo and Fuyutsuki, talking about how Seele's reaction to the Eva, and Gendo's planned scenario. Gendo plans to explain the event away as an unexpected accident, and hopes to placate the Committee for the time being by putting Eva-01 on freeze. Kaji's last line is one of concern - he knows that Shinji is still trapped inside the Eva.

Meanwhile, Ritsuko and the bridge crew, under Misato's oversight, struggle to re-establish remote control over Eva-01. The Evangelion rejects their attempts to access the dummy plug, or the entry plug itself, but they are eventually able to reconnect the internal camera feed inside the plug. Much to everyone's alarm, Shinji is entirely gone, with no way to account for his disappearance.[4] Ritsuko believes it to be a result of the 400% sync rate Shinji achieved in the previous battle, and as a result he has been taken into the Eva. This draws Misato's ire, and she demands proper explanations of what happened to Shinji, and what the Evas actually are, as there is obviously more to them than just being copies of the Giant of Light from the South Pole. Ritsuko attempts to remain vague as she reluctantly explains that the Evas are imbued with "a human will", and suggests that it is possible that this "will" is responsible for Shinji's disappearance. This further angers Misato, who loses her temper and slaps Ritsuko as she accuses her of relinquishing responsibility for what happened to Shinji. She angrily demands that Ritsuko, as the resident expert on the Evas, find some way to fix what has happened as quickly as possible.

The following day, Ritsuko presents her findings and a plan to salvage Shinji. She explains that when Shinji reached the 400% sync rate, his body lost its ego border, as a result Shinji shifted into a sort of quantum state. The chemical components that make up Shinji's physical body are still in the entry plug, but in a dissolved state, judging from how the LCL in the plug has been altered into a liquid closely resembling primordial soup. Shinji's mind should also be there in a disembodied state, even if it cannot be detected through conventional means. Ritsuko believes that if they can somehow reconstruct his body and then anchor his psyche within it, it would be possible to bring him back. Misato is skeptical towards how theoretical it all sounds, but resolves to give Ritsuko the benefit of the doubt.

Inside the Eva, Shinji goes on a mental trip, talking to Rei in various locations - on an escalator, inside a train at dusk, and so on. He begins to question whether or not his father abandoned him or if he ran away, and why he piloted Eva in the first place. He eventually comes to the realization that his belief that he had never seen Eva-01 before when he came to Tokyo-3 was mistaken; he had indeed encountered the creature before then, recalling unclear images from his early childhood. Images of Misato, Asuka and Rei appear to him, asking him to be one with them[5].

Outside the Eva, it has been 30 days since Shinji's disappearance, and Nerv is about have everything ready for the salvage operation. As they go over the final preparations, Maya marvels at how Ritsuko was able to set all of this up in just a month. Ritsuko admits that she far from did it all by herself; her plan is primarily based on old data from a previous salvage operation attempted by her mother several years ago. Ritsuko forebodingly notes that back then, the plan failed.

Ritsuko finally starts the operation. Inside the plug, the disembodied Shinji notices it, hearing several voices coming from outside, but he cannot make sense of them. He remains stuck inside the entry plug, refusing to come out. Finally, the entry plug bursts open and Shinji's plugsuit spills out, empty. Misato runs to the Eva, and picks up Shinji's plugsuit as she with a broken voice wonders what science is even good for if it cannot save a single life. She looks up at the Eva and demand for it give her Shinji back.

Shinji becomes aware of a familiar smell inside the Eva. He eventually recognizes it as the smell of his mother. In the end, Shinji passes through an "Inner Universe" starfield and as the light turns from blue to red, and he recognizes his mother's voice. He hears two conversations between Yui and Gendo, one taking place shortly after his birth in the wake of Second Impact, and one taking place before.[6] In the former, Gendo is heard worrying about what kind of future there will even be for his newborn son after all the destruction caused by Second Impact, to which Yui gently assures him that as long as someone has the will to live, they will always have the chance to find happiness. In the latter, Yui asks Gendo what to name their child. Gendo replies that if the child is a boy, they should call him Shinji, and if it turns out to be a girl, they should call her Rei. Guided by his mother's voice, he passes out of the Evangelion. Outside Misato is crying as she cradles Shinji's plugsuit, when there is a sudden splash and a naked and unconscious Shinji is seen lying on the floor, the Eva's core glowing.

That evening, Misato goes on a drive with Ritsuko. Misato is happy and relieved that Shinji is back, and Ritsuko admits that she isn't sure how much her plan actually did to make it happen, believing that Misato might have played a bigger role in saving him in the end. After a conversation about Eva, and listening to a background radio conversation of interesting importance to Shinji's situation, she drops off Ritsuko saying that she has a man to meet. Ritsuko takes a dim view of Misato going to sleep with Kaji straight after Shinji came out of the Eva, and Misato and Kaji discuss other matters while inside. Misato eventually tries directly questioning Kaji on what he knows about the Human Instrumentality Project and Gendo's plans, but Kaji dodges the questions by pleasuring her. In the afterglow, Kaji hands her a capsule, telling her that it might be his last gift for her.


  1. This title refers to the first stage of Freud's psychosexual theory
  2. The face of Evangelion Unit-01 as seen in this episode is noticeably different from its appearance in Episode 02.
  3. What powers berserk Eva-01 is still a mystery, because Hyuga mentions that no physical, chemical, nuclear or biological processes have been detected inside. Eva-02 similarly goes berserk in Episode 25', so Eva-01 is not the only Eva that can move without a power source.
  4. In a straightforward continuity error, Shinji's plugsuit is seen floating inside the Entry Plug, when Shinji remained in his school uniform in the previous episode. Ritsuko's line, "His mental self-image is pseudo-substantiating his plugsuit" is present neither in the screenplay nor the storyboard, meaning it was probably added in a later stage when the continuity error was noticed. The Netflix subtitle translation renders this non-literally as the more sensible sounding "His mental self-image is manifesting a facsimile of his plug suit". Thanks to Captain Crooks for bringing attention to this here
  5. Shinji seems to be experiencing a "prelude" to instrumentality when the images of Misato, Asuka and Rei invite him to become one with them
  6. This is, incidentally, one of the first serious hints that it is not just Shinji's own memory at play here. It already stretches belief that he would remember something taking place when he was an infant, but it is impossible that he can remember something taking place before he was born.

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The End of Evangelion: Episode 25' | Episode 26'

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