Ireul

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Ireul
Ireul
イロウル
Number 11th
Symbol Fear
Appearance(s) Episode 13
Defeated by Dr. Ritsuko Akagi

Ireul is the Eleventh Angel.

Biology

Ireul is actually a collection of microscopic-sized organisms which act in concert to form a living biological computer circuit. Ireul is capable of spreading as a physical infestation, essentially a single ever-expanding colony formed of the microscopic organisms. It can take over and control systems which it has infected, such as the simulation Eva bodies. The Angel's A.T. Field isn't a single polygonal barrier, but a moving, pulsating grid of hexagons.


The Angel is capable of rapidly adapting in response to any external threat. While the ability to alter or enhance abilities to meet with new challenges had previously been seen to a limited degree with Angels such as Sachiel, this is Ireul's primary skill: it will "evolve" to meet literally any challenge. For example, originally Ireul was harmed by Ozone (O3), so Nerv HQ's command team tried to defeat it by pumping large amounts of Ozone into the region of Nerv HQ which it had infected. While this momentarily harmed Ireul, within a matter of seconds it responded by evolving itself to adapt to these conditions, to the point that it actually thrived on Ozone.

Ireul seems to be incredibly intelligent; upon forming itself into a biological computer circuit connected to Nerv's computer network through the infected systems in the Pribnow box control room, it was capable of hacking and reprogramming two out of three Magi supercomputers within only a few minutes. It it not clear if this should be taken to mean that the Angel was truly "sapient", but it certainly seemed to know exactly what it was doing and to be capable of performing extremely complex goal-oriented tasks.

Battle

Ireul's initial infection under attack with lasers

Ireul appeared in a newly-installed piece of equipment in Nerv HQ itself, in the "87th protein barrier", from which it spread by infecting surrounding material including the simulation Evangelion Unit bodies. The infected simulation Eva body closest to the command box reached up its hand to attack the personnel inside, but at the last moment Ritsuko remotely blew the arm off using implanted emergency detonators. Nerv personnel tried to stop the infection using several Polysome robot drones armed with lasers, but the attack was shown to be useless when Ireul easily blocked it with its A.T. Field. Realizing that the infection was an Angel, all personnel abandoned the Pribnow box, just as the glass windows shattered and flooded with water.

The entire Sigma Unit was quarantined, and Nerv's command staff had to decide how to defeat the Angel: the Evangelions were evacuated from the base by launching them without pilots on Gendo Ikari's orders, as if the Angel were to succeed in infecting the Evas, it would mean disaster for mankind. Thus, they had to somehow defeat the Angel without using the Evas. From the main Command Center, the Nerv command staff noticed that Ireul did not spread to areas of the Pribnow box that contained heavy water with Ozone in it. Realizing that Ireul was harmed by ozone, they remotely flooded the chamber with just that. The attempt briefly succeeded, but within a few moments Ireul rapidly adapted its own biology so that it now thrived on Ozone, and began to spread even faster.

Although the Sigma Unit of the base was evacuated, Ireul spread to infect the computers in the Pribnow box, and formed a living computer circuit. Ireul then began infiltrating Nerv HQ's Magi supercomputer system, hacking into and reprogramming them, trying to initiate the base's self-destruct mechanism. However, a simultaneous vote by all three Magi supercomputers was needed to self-destruct, and Ritsuko was briefly able to halt its advance after it compromises 2 out of 3 Magi.

Ritsuko then developed a plan to defeat Ireul: the Angel constantly evolved to overcome any threat to itself, but as a result it could be tricked into "evolving" into a dead-end, effectively programming it to kill itself. In a race to see if Ritsuko's program would work faster than Ireul's infiltration of the final Magi supercomputer, Ritsuko's kill-program prevailed and the Angel was defeated.

Notes

  • Ireul was the first and only Angel to be defeated without using an Evangelion at all; Ritsuko Akagi defeated it with her self-destruct program.
  • This was the first Angel to actually penetrate into Nerv HQ itself, albeit by "hitching a ride" on some newly installed components into the base. Still, it managed to advance further than any previous Angel.
  • Ireul seems to be primarily based on the Andromeda organism from Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain. A direct visual comparison can be found here.
    • Ireul's A.T. Field is unique, being shaped as a pattern of hexagons that fluctuate in size and pop in and out of existence, while all other A.T. Fields seen in the series are octagonal. This is in reference to the Andromeda Organism, and not a mistake like another hexagonal depiction of Ramiel's A.T. Field in Episode 06.
  • The Angel Ireul takes over Rei's simulation body first; this might be the first example of an Angel trying to merge with Rei's Eva (the later ones are Bardiel and Armisael). When Rei's simulation body is infected, it reaches its hand out to the control box as if to attack it. Then again, Rei's simulation body just happens to be the closest to the control box, and as the simulation bodies have no legs, with all three infected it is possible that Rei's attacked simply because it was the only one that could reach.
  • Angels cannot reproduce, each one only has one soul, so it's not clear exactly how Ireul, apparently a colony-based collection of microorganisms, operates. It would seem that one "soul" is shared across the entire collective (just as the entire collective seems to be guided by one intelligence, instead of many microorganisms acting independently).
  • From the image seen, Ireul was extremely rapid in its evolution to electronic circuitry, and Fuyutsuki commented that it was searching for something within the files. Ireul then reprogrammed the Magi to initiate self-destruct, possibly at the risk of destroying itself. Since it already had broken into the computers and read all the files inside, it might have found out that the Angel in Terminal Dogma was Lilith, although its reaction(trying to destroy Nerv headquarters) was very different from that of Tabris, who let himself be killed.
    • Another possibility is that Ireul intended to merge with Lilith (It may or may not have mistaken Lilith for Adam). Like Sahaquiel in the previous episode, Ireul could have been trying to blow up all threats in its way while using its A.T. Field to survive the explosion and contact Lilith hassle-free.
  • In the sole magnified image of Ireul that we see, it displays the same rainbow-like pattern of colors seen in Seele's logo, before changing to a tangle of lines (Similar to one briefly seen in Episode 23), and then to a form that visibly resembles electronics before the screen cuts to static.


Angels
Angels (general)
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