Kaworu Nagisa

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Kaworu Nagisa / Tabris
Kaworu Nagisa
渚カヲル / タブリス
Rank / Title NGE : Fifth Children & 17th Angel
Rebuild : 1st Angel & 13th
Manga : Fifth Children & 12th Angel
Affiliation(s) Nerv, Seele, Angels
Relations Adam (salvaged soul), Unknown donor
Age NGE : 15
Rebuild : Unknown
Manga : 15
Birthday 09/13/2000
Seiyū Akira Ishida
Voice Actor (English): Kyle Sturdivant (TV), Aaron Krohn (films),
Greg Ayres ("Director's Cut" episodes), Jerry Jewell (Rebuild),
Clifford Chapin (Netflix)
(Italian): Massimiliano Alto (TV),David Chevalier (films)
(Brazilian): Yuri Chesman
(French): Olivier Jankovic
(German): Robin Kahnmeyer (TV and Rebuild 1&2) , Markus Pfeiffer (Films)
Dirk Petrick (Rebuild 3.33) , Jeremias Koschorz (Netflix)

Kaworu[1] (渚カヲル) also known as Tabris (タブリス), is both the 17th Angel and the Fifth Children. Although classified as an Angel, Kaworu is similar to Rei Ayanami in being a Seed of Life inhabiting a human body. Despite his human form, Kaworu evidently does not consider himself to be human, as he refers to humans as "the Lilin."

Though his feature in the TV series was brief, lasting only one episode (Episode 24), his appearance made a disproportional impact on Evangelion fans, prompting his return in Evangelion: Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion, an increased, though still smaller importance in spin-off media, manga and video games, and an expanded role in the Rebuild of Evangelion series.


"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
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See also: Theory and Analysis:Identity of Kaworu's Donor

Kaworu's body appears to have been created as a result of the Contact Experiment with Adam, wherein DNA from an unknown human donor dove into and fused with Adam's flesh[2], explaining Hyuga's discovery that Kaworu was "born" on the day of Second Impact.[3] Seele salvaged Adam's disembodied soul into Kaworu[4][5], whom they may have recovered in embryonic form in Antarctica.[6]

Kaworu's origin from Adam, only intimated in the anime, is flatly stated in Sadamoto's manga.[7]

Since Kaworu was delivered to Nerv by Seele, it is believed that Kaworu has been living under Seele's surveillance prior to his appearance in the series.

As a Pilot

Kaworu is brought to Nerv as the Fifth Children to replace Asuka[8], who is no longer able to pilot Unit-02. He is only able to pilot Unit-02's soul is in hiding. In his first test, Kaworu immediately achieves impressive synchronization results. It later emerges that Kaworu is able to achieve whatever level of synchronization he chooses with Unit-02.

Though he seems to have been sent to destroy it, Kaworu shows a marked interest in human culture, as well as human issues of pain and loneliness.

When Shinji first sees him sitting on top of an angel statue (a visual theme that binds together appearances of Kaworu[9]), Kaworu was humming part of the composer Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the fourth and final movement "Presto - Allegro assai", more popularly called the "Ode to Joy" after the poem by Friedrich Schiller, from which it is adapted. He then says that he considers singing to be the finest achievement of the Lilin (human) civilization.

Kaworu appears comfortable in his identity (far more than Rei), and also warmer and more emotionally open. However, he does show a detachment from human protocols and shares Rei's tendency to speak in universal rather than personal terms.

Relationship with Shinji

Main article: Kaworu and Shinji (Relationship)

Though fans have speculated on the exact nature of Shinji's relationship with Kaworu, it is clear that Kaworu represents a sort of idealized figure to Shinji,[10][11] as he appears out of seemingly nowhere when Shinji is completely desperate for any sort of connection with anyone, as all of his friends are either dead, unreachable or alienated from him. Kaworu had premeditated encountering Shinji in the lake.[12][13][14] He immediately shows great interest in Shinji, making him initially uncomfortable.[15] However, Kaworu telling him he liked him surprised Shinji as he is afraid of talking to Asuka, Misato or Rei, as Shinji has internalized his belief that nobody cared about him thanks to his own partly self-imposed isolation - afterwards, feeling that Kaworu has simply used him further reinforces this, as he thinks everyone is lying to him, because Shinji is unwilling to recognize the ambiguity and insecurity in other people, and the risk and uncertainty involved in reaching out to them himself, something Kaworu temporarily allowed him to ignore. Kaworu uses the ambiguous "suki" form which includes intimacy or friendship or anything more and can simply mean "like" or "fond of", and that he is deserving of "koui" (好意), which means simply "good will" or "favor", not "koi", "love".[16] When he mentions this to Misato later, Shinji also used the ambiguous "suki" form. This line has necessary ambiguity in order to represent Kaworu's own lack of understanding regarding levels of intimacy and societal norms, part of what shocks Shinji and allows Kaworu to bypass his barriers of self-defense, as he isn't even aware those exist, as he himself has none. When Shinji is fighting Kaworu, he states Kaworu has betrayed him, just like his father did, indicating he might have been seeking a similar form of support from him, reinforcing his role as an idealization.[17][18][19][20] This metaphorical meaning of his presence is emphasized further with the reappearance of Kaworu in End of Evangelion, when Shinji is traumatized by experiencing Misato's death and seeing Asuka's dead Eva, Shinji becomes desperate, but Kaworu reveals himself to be part of Lilith to stop Shinji from going into a frenzy and allow Third Impact to begin, although Shinji only enters Instrumentality after Lilith reverts to Rei's form and melts by seeing a woman's breasts, when Yui asks him what he wishes for. Irregardless, Kaworu forms a strong connection with Shinji. His absence from Instrumentality and even the Congratulations scene when even characters like Aoba are present bring into question how much Kaworu affected him besides Shinji's own desperation. Shinji, in fact, seeking unconditional affection from everybody, unwilling to return their own needs, is a fact that has hindered Shinji's happiness throughout most of the series, and Kaworu, being a somewhat non-human character without his own emotional needs (whereas Rei had slowly developed those) is the only one that does that. Moreover, the way Kaworu treats Shinji as a sort of avatar for humanity also brings into question if his affection is directed towards humanity as a whole.[21][22][23][24] Official supplemental material also notes this angle, explaining that Kaworu evolved from his early role on Evangelion Proposal as an Angel disguised as cat possessing a human boy, as ultimately "This act of having his life ended by his friend Shinji was symbolic of Kaworu's desire for humanity to choose the path of life".[25][26][27]

This, paired with the fact that Shinji had killed what he saw as a human being and someone he cared about, was part of what drove him into his state of absolute despair in Episode 25, in which he declared that he felt unworthy even of the piloting which had consumed his identity, thinking that if all he did was hurt and kill others, it was better to do nothing. By that, though, he may have condemned Asuka, who was fighting against the Mass Production Evangelions, to death. Had this not been the case, it is very possible he and Asuka could have defeated the Evas and stopped Third Impact altogether, a fact that greatly benefits SEELE. Shinji depositing all of his hopes for self-worth onto Kaworu, and having that fail him, also reinforces Shinji's notions that if he can't rely unconditionally on people and never risk rejection then he is not actually loved by anyone at all and everyone should just die, part of what motivates him to start Third Impact. In End of Evangelion, Shinji desperately seeks this same sort of unconditional affection from Asuka, and is still certain that he is unloved and unworthy, as he demonstrates he has, in fact, returned to his own childish beliefs about himself, even after the way Kaworu (whom he does not even mention) treated him, and other characters respond to him that he is, in fact, liked and treated nicely by them, but Shinji refuses to believe it. In contrast to Kaworu, when Shinji, in a similar state of desperation, asks for Asuka's own unconditional affection, Asuka refuses as she does not want to be an emotional crutch and an escape for him, and demands he gives himself to her as well, but Shinji is unwilling to give back any affection himself. Asuka says he doesn't really like anyone, as he doesn't even love himself. When Kaworu and Rei as Adam and Lilith state they collectively represent the hope for understanding and love, Shinji replies it is just a pretense, but if he returns to the real world, at least there he will know his feelings are real.[15]

Relationship with Seele

Main article: Theory and Analysis:Kaworu's Agenda

Kaworu was sent to NERV by SEELE in order to advance their goal of Instrumentality through a Third Impact that would occur under their direction. Before his final battle, Kaworu is seen talking with a phantasm of SEELE that apparently only he can see and it can be assumed that he has been in previous communication with SEELE (for example being briefed on his mission to enter NERV as a pilot). The conversation indicates that they have (falsely) told them that they favor the "true successor" Angels over their own kind.[28]

It is uncertain what exactly SEELE had in mind for Kaworu. Did they plan for him to attack Terminal Dogma, or was that his own plan? We do know that once the attack commenced they wanted Unit-01 to defeat him.[29], and presumably him being killed by Shinji was a necessary part of their plan, allowing them to start their own version of Third Impact. It also begs into question if they needed Kaworu to contact Shinji, and while this seemed to have been his own initiative, they did benefit from Shinji's state of mind afterwards, as Kaworu proceeds to go after Adam even after meeting Shinji and getting to know him, and even uses Unit 02 in order to delay him. In fact, Kaworu only changes his mind when he realizes it is, in fact, Lilith in Terminal Dogma, as by that point he is unable to start any sort of Third Impact regardless.

Similarly, Kaworu's subsequent actions also greatly help SEELE: had Shinji not been in a state of mind that made him refuse to pilot for most of End of Evangelion, it is very possible he and Asuka could have defeated the MP Evas and stopped Third Impact altogether. He is also responsible for stopping Shinji from going into a frenzy after seeing Asuka's dead Eva, which allows Third Impact to begin, as the Seele councilmen start chanting ritualistically.

As an Angel

As the vessel for Adam's soul, Kaworu's designation is "Tabris" (Arabic: تبريس). As revealed in Newtype publications such as ADAM and used by Keel Lorenz in the manga, Tabris (タブリス), is the 17th and final Angel. He is considered the Angel of free will, which is considered a gift of God; Bochan_bird expands:

The Newtype Evangelion Filmbook Remix Vol. II states that while Tabrith is the name of the Angel of Free Will, Kaworu/Kaoru is also that of the Angel of Betrayal.

Although Kaworu was sent by Seele for a specific purpose, he also has his own agenda. See Theory and Analysis:Kaworu's Agenda for an in-depth discussion.

Unlike the Angels who came before him, but like Rei, Kaworu has a Lilin body, with no visible physical difference from a regular human except for very pale skin, light grey hair and red irises. Although his body is presumably composed of the same "particle-wave matter" as Rei and the Angels, it is impossible to say if he possesses a core and S² Engine. Tabris is the only Angel to infiltrate Terminal Dogma.

Kaworu's human body is a vessel for the salvaged soul of Adam itself, and wields all of the power that comes with it. He is in effect Adam reborn as a human. His A.T. Field is described by the Magi as the strongest yet encountered (until it is surpassed by Rei's). Kaworu is observed using it for levitation, to control Eva-02, as a massive barrier that prevents the Command Center from receiving wave transmissions, and, (evidently) to bypass the LCL Plant's locking mechanism.

By being both the First Angel (Adam, whose body and soul were separated in Second Impact) and the Seventeenth and final Angel, he is in effect both the first and the last of his kind. Kaworu is "born from Adam," and describes Adam as "our (the Angels') Mother." As Kaworu is the vessel for Adam's soul, that paradoxically makes him his own mother.


During the battle while descending to Terminal Dogma, Kaworu is manipulating Eva-02, but the manipulated Eva doesn't seem to put up as much of a fight as it possibly could under his control. While Shinji aimed for Eva-02's head and neck to incapacitate it, both of Eva-02's knife strikes were in the pectoral region where damage was limited. Kaworu might simply have wanted to delay Eva-01 as far as possible, so that he could use the Eva to realize his own death if necessary.

Indeed, Kaworu decides to willingly let Shinji kill him to let Lilin live and Angels remain dead shows. As the human incarnate of Adam, a fact disclosed by the Seele monoliths, the sheer strangeness of the sacrifice is that Kaworu allowed Adam's (and by extension, his own) children to remain dead while letting the children of Lilith live on.

The same music that Kaworu hummed in his introduction plays during his descent into Terminal Dogma, and so serves as a leitmotif for his character. The poem was written to be dedicated to the unity of all men under God. The moment Kaworu opens the doors to Terminal Dogma is in synch with the line "Und der Cherub steht vor Gott"---"And the Cherub (Angel) stands before God."

End of Evangelion

Kaworu makes several appearances in End of Evangelion, and is often alluded to.

The first instance is at the very beginning, as Shinji stands by the lake and the (headless) bloody angel statue; the sound of the dropping debris recycles the sound effect used for Kaworu's head splashing into LCL in Death & Rebirth[30]. In addition, "KAWORU" is written on the side of the dummy plugs for the Mass Production Evangelions, suggesting that his thought processes were used instead of Rei's. A multitude of his appearances involve him appearing simultaneously in two places at once, which Yui and most notably, Rei/Lilith demonstrate. Kaworu is present within the massive Rei/Lilith/Adam being and has control of the being for a brief period of time in order to bring down Shinji's A.T. Field, but otherwise remains passive. Whether or not Kaworu's identity survived at the very end remains unanswered.

In Rebuild of Evangelion

"We've seen it. The proof of its construction was very useful."
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Kaworu Nagisa (First Angel)
First Angel
渚カヲル (第1の使徒)
Number First (later, Thirteenth)
Appearance(s) Evangelion 1.0, Evangelion 2.0,

Evangelion 3.0

Defeated by Voluntary death by DSS Choker

Kaworu Nagisa is the First and Thirteenth Angel in the Rebuild continuity. No angelic name has been revealed for him.

Kaworu appears in Evangelion 1.0, rising from a coffin on the moon in sight of an Eva-sized giant in a white covering (Eva-06 under construction). He speaks to Keel Lorenz (via his monolith), agreeing that "the child" is progressing as predicted in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and saying that "The Third is still the same." (Referring to Shinji, not the Third Angel) He ends the conversation saying that he hopes to meet Shinji Ikari. Bizarrely, Kaworu appears to be capable of breathing and even speaking in the absence of air.

In Evangelion 2.0, Kaworu is seen on the moon base (Tabgha base), when Fuyutsuki and Gendo approach it on an SSTO to inspect the construction of the new, Seele-built Eva-06. Fuyutsuki, looking out of the spacecraft window, observes Kaworu sitting on Eva-06's finger, clad only in his trousers, and wonders whether Kaworu is human or not. Kaworu greets Gendo as "Father"[31], although the circumstances render it impossible to determine whether he used the word in a literal or metaphorical sense. Kaworu is seen putting on a plugsuit immediately before the battle with Zeruel, standing on top of the now-complete Eva-06, confirming that he is the new Evangelion's pilot. He reappears at the end of the movie and stops Eva-01 from transforming with a staff-like weapon thrown from his Eva, addressing Shinji and saying, "This time, I'll be sure to bring you happiness."

Kaworu appears in a more major role in Evangelion 3.0. As Asuka and Eva-02 to Earth with the recovered Eva-01, he states he has been waiting for Shinji. Kaworu appears once more when Shinji arrives at the now derelict Nerv Headquaters playing piano, and when Gendo tells Shinji he will pilot Eva-13 along with him. As Shinji spends time with Kaworu at Nerv, Kaworu teaches Shinji how to play the piano. Both form a deep friendship to the point of Kaworu declaring "I was born to meet you." He also shows Shinji the devastation caused by the Near Third Impact. Shinji is devastated by this and says he only wanted to save Rei, but Kaworu replies that humanity does not see it that way. Later, Kaworu gives him an offer: he tells him they can alter the world again, by pulling the Spears of Longinus and Cassius. Before they pilot Eva-13, Kaworu takes away Shinji's choker, telling him that he would shoulder the burden of Shinji's punishment.

As Kaworu and Shinji descend into Terminal Dogma with Rei in Mark.09, he explains to Shinji about what has happened to Lilith and Mark.06, and finally explains what they were sent here by Gendo to do: remove the Spears of Longinus and Cassius from Lilith's now headless, gigantic corpse. However, Kaworu becomes confused, wondering why both Longinus and Cassius now have the same shape. He appears to be physically unwell during Shinji's battle against Asuka in Eva-02 and Mari in Eva-08, and when Shinji grabs the Spears and begins to pull them out, Kaworu begs Shinji not to do so. Shinji does not listen to Kaworu, and once the Spears are pulled, Lilith's body disintegrates, the Twelfth Angel is revealed to be inside Mark.06, and a chain of events begin as Eva-13 goes out of Shinji's control. Kaworu states that he who was First Angel is now the Thirteenth Angel, and implies that Gendo, whom he refers to as "The King of Lilin", is responsible for setting up the events.

Eva-13 awakens and ascends into the sky, beginning Fourth Impact, which Kaworu confirms to a horrified Shinji. As the Impact begins, the choker begins to activate. Despite everything, Kaworu tells Shinji that the Fourth Impact was his fault, due to him becoming the Thirteenth Angel, becoming the trigger. He tells Shinji he is sorry, as this was not the happiness he desired. He declares he will close the Doors of Guf, telling him that "We'll meet again," before the choker explodes and decapitates him. After Kaworu's death, Fourth Impact is finally stopped by Mari ejecting Shinji from Eva-13, during which there is a momentary shot of Kaworu in his school uniform. Shinji is thrown into a catatonic state by Kaworu's death.

In Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Kaworu appears as a vision to Shinji just after Asuka leaves after she expresses her feelings for him. Kaworu tells him that he can find peace on his own and that fate will guide him, and once more that they will meet again. When Asuka is absorbed, Kaworu's remains can be briefly seen inside Evangelion 13.[32]

When the Additional Impact starts, Shinji confronts Gendo, and Kaworu appears, explains to Shinji that Gendo is the center of Instrumentality, "the origin of the cycle". During Instrumentality, Kaworu's memories are revisited, including farming with Ryoji Kaji, the elder, during the timeskip. When Shinji tells him he wants to help Asuka and everyone else, Kaworu recognizes Shinji is getting used to reality. After Shinji returns Asuka's feelings, Kaworu asks if Shinji won't be lonely, to which he says it will be alright.

In a visual callback to their encounter in the original series, Shinji affirms having met him before. Kaworu explains that he has written ShInji's name in the Book of Life, which allows him to meet him in the cycles the cast is trapped in. In a version as a small child, Shinji says it is a way for them to become friends.

Shinji says that Kaworu is just his father Gendo Ikari in his single-mindedness over Yui Ikari. Shinji replies that he won't cry anymore, as it won't help the people he cares about. Kaworu says he'll be lonely, but it's alright. Shinji destroys Kaworu's Eva-13. Afterwards, Kaworu talks to Kaji and reminisces on the inevitability of his fate and how he is unable to die. Kaji tells him that he wanted to make himself happy through Shinji. Kaworu apologizes for mistaking Shinji's happiness. Shinji breaks the cycle, and he thanks Kaji, who calls him "Commander Nagisa", for saving him. Kaworu thus seeks to find out happiness on his own, and moves on from using Shinji to find his own happiness.

At Kaji's suggestion, Kaworu agrees to become a farmer with Misato Katsuragi and her son with Kaji in the survivor's village. In the rebuilt world, the Children are present as adults, and Kaworu is seen as an adult talking with Rei Ayanami, also an adult in the other side of the train station.

In Other Media

Sadamoto's Manga

Kaworu's introduction comes much earlier: he is first seen waking up in an LCL tube with Keel Lorenz talking to him, and then he speaks to Seele, who call him by his Angel name "Tabris" and refer to an agreement made between them. Shinji does not initially like or trust Kaworu, and in fact actively avoids him. His arrival in Tokyo-3 is shortly before the battle with Arael. Shinji first finds Kaworu playing Ode to Joy on a piano in a ruined church, and Kaworu immediately earns Shinji's immense dislike when he breaks a starving kitten's neck as an act of mercy[33]. At school, Kensuke thinks of him as "creepy...something inhuman." When Arael attacks, Kaworu is a spectator in Central Dogma, and is disturbed by Gendo's use of the Spear of Longinus. After Asuka enters a vegetative state from the mental attack, Kaworu takes her place in the battle with Armisael, proving himself a spectacular Eva pilot, but refusing to reveal his true nature to the invasive Angel. Despite momentarily feeling Rei's love for Shinji, he tells him that Rei was stupid in sacrificing herself, drawing an intense outburst of violence from Shinji.

In volumes 9 and 10, Kaworu pilots Unit-02 alongside Rei in the battle with the Angel Armisael. The Angel partially assimilates Unit-02, connecting the already-assimilated Rei to Kaworu and causing him to feel Rei's love for Shinji, which makes him cry. After the battle, Shinji nearly punches Kaworu after he calls Rei a fool. Despite this, Shinji stays in Kaworu's apartment rather than go home to Misato, believing that being around the emotionally distant Kaworu would be more tolerable than being around people who would also be sad about Rei's death. He reluctantly accepts Kaworu's offer to use one half of the bed. That night, Shinji begins to hyperventilate while having a nightmare, and Kaworu uses the chance to perform CPR on Shinji, using the lack of a handy paper bag as an excuse. Shinji becomes angered and repulsed when he wakes fully and realizes what Kaworu did, and is even more angered when Kaworu asks him if what he felt while connected to Rei was love and attempts to physically advance on Shinji. Shinji is repulsed by this, and quickly storms off as he finds out Rei is still alive, visibly upsetting Kaworu.

Kaworu allows Shinji to kill him in the end, although he displays none of the self-sacrifice portrayed in the anime.Shinji refuses to kill a non-resisting opponent, and Kaworu concludes Shinji hates him. Shinji says he has never said that, and then Kaworu decides to persuade Shinji to kill him as "proof of what (Shinji) really think(s) of (him)" instead of obsessing over his own guilt in the aftermath, comparing it to when he kiled the stray cat. Shinji imagines himself choking Kaworu in the same place they initially met, after Kaworu killed the cat. In the following chapter (75), Shinji admits that he was drawn to Kaworu, even though he knew he shouldn't be because he feels guilty and unworthy after killing Toji. Shinji wonders why people get close to other people. Misato tells him it is because people are incomplete and seek each other in order to not live alone. He is not mentioned again.

The bonus materials in volume nine of the English adaptation of the manga contain an article written by the editor Carl Gustav Horn which compares Kaworu to the character Satan in Mark Twain's novella, Mysterious Stranger.. Sadamoto has stated that his relationship with Shinji in the manga is like that of a younger primary school student seeking admiration from an older, middle school one, not romance.[34] Sadamoto has also explained he wished to make the relationship less ambiguous in the manga. Sadamoto says Kaworu feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. The choking scene in the manga is inspired from a film called Betty Blue, by Jean-Jacques Beineix. This is contrast to the scene in End of Evangelion, which according to Megumi Ogata was based on an experience of a female acquiantance of Anno's. He says it does not have the same meaning as the film's. He also says he does not understand the success of his character. [35] In an interview Sadamoto compared his death to a "contradictory fumi-e", an ancient Japanese ritual consisting of the trampling of Christian icons, asking Shinji to kill him if he cared about him at all. Through this Shinji would have to confront the situation of caring for and being close to other people, as later referenced in the following chapter. [36]

Shinji Ikari Raising Project

In the noncanonical Shinji Ikari Raising Project, Kaworu is an agent sent by SEELE to infiltrate Shinji's school (much like the original). Here, he is helped by Ritsuko Akagi. He teases Shinji frequently, drawing Asuka's (and eventually, Rei's) ire. He is also implied to be the cause of a blackout at NERV (in an homage to the original outage in the anime), and is also a potential romantic interest for Shinji alongside Rei and Asuka, though Shinji seems unaware of Kaworu's intentions. Kaworu is mostly used as comic relief, and is completely absent from the story after the early chapters as it returns to focusing on Rei and Asuka.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days

Cover for It's A Miraculous Win

In Angelic Days, Shinji met Kaworu in their childhood and this has gotten Shinji used to run away to him when he fights with Asuka, his first childhood friend, however Shinji always makes peace with her. Asuka is somewhat hostile to Kaworu as Shinji's attention is divided between Asuka, Rei and Kaworu, though she eventually mellows out. Eventually, Kaworu starts to understand Shinji's feelings for Asuka when he chooses to take care of her instead of going to a concert with him and Rei. Inside a Instrumentality of sorts, Kaworu offers Shinji a world that doesn't change in which they're children forever. Shinji refuses, realizing he needs to grow up, and Kaworu wills himself out of existence. This leads to Asuka and Shinji realizing their feelings for one another. Near the ending Kaworu, in fact, seems very happy for them and refers to Asuka as "your girlfriend" to Shinji. He also appears in a flashback with Gendo and Yui in their high school days, before disappearing again, similarly motivating Gendo to connect to Yui.

It's a Miraculous Win

In this this spin-off manga, a character that looks just Kaworu works in an Eva pachinko parler, and dates the protagonist, a female obssesed Eva fan called Sakura Mogami.


Settei and Early Design

In early designs, Kaworu was depicted as a schoolboy with a pet cat who could switch to an "Angel form". The Angel would not be Kaworu himself, but rather the cat, controlling the boy, who'd also be much younger. He was also considered to appear for two episodes rather than one, but Anno ultimately cut him down to one. He also was described as blonde.[37][38][39][40] In vol. 9 of the manga, one of Sadamoto's artworks is a portrayal of Kaworu dressed in black and holding a black cat. This is sardonically referenced in the manga as Kaworu kills a stray cat when he meets Shinji. There is also an official figure of him holding a cat. Kaworu was named by screenplay writer Akio Satsukawa.[41] Kaworu's surname "Nagisa" comes from the Japanese word nagisa (渚), meaning "waterside" or "shore", concerned with the sea. It also comes from Japanese movie director Nagisa Oshima.[41] Adding to these, the character "渚", when divided, can be read as "shi-sha" (シ者). The title of episode 24 is "The Last Shisha"|最後のシ者|Saigo no Shisha. "シ者" includes two Japanese words read as "shisha" (the character "シ" only represents the sound "shi"). The first is "messenger" or "apostle"|使者|shisha. while the other is "dead (person)"|死者.[41] This is one of the ways in which he is likened to Rei, as his "shore" reading parallels with the Aya-nami "wave".[42][20][43] His name was decided relatively late in production, beyond the initial Proposal stage, and many details from his episode were shuffled around, with Kaworu's appearance being cut down from two to one episode.[38][44] Kaworu seems to be the only character not named by Anno, and in fact Satsukawa's expansion on Anno's initial outline came as a shock to staff, before eventually being overruled by Anno.[45] Episode director and animator Masayuki even refused to work on him at first, threatening to resign.[46] Shinji Higuchi, one of the chief animators and Shinji's namesake, couldn't stand being called "Shinji-kun" by Kaworu in the script. He was relieved he didn't have to animate his scenes and that he was instead handed to Masayuki.[47] Satsukawa was not only not picked exclusively for this episode, Anno had not even watched his previous work on Watcher on the Attic, as is sometimes speculated. In fact, Satsukawa had previously served as an editor for Anno's earlier work Nadia The Secret of Blue Water. Satsukawa declared he had put his all, in fact, in Episode 15.[48]

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto conceived his design to be "more elegant and more refined" than Shinji, compared to which he should have been "taller, thinner and with a smaller face". For the features of his face, he decided to blend those of Rei, Shinji himself, and Asuka Langley Soryu. Following a personal request from the director, his eyes were dyed red by the colorist Harumi Takaboshi, to draw an analogy with Rei's and give him "a distinct impression". Although he was conceived to appear only in the final episodes, during the making of the opening theme the main staff decided to depict him with a sketch by Sadamoto; in the editing phase, the sketch was inserted just before a frame depicting Rei Ayanami and the caption "Angels". Official material also describes him as forming a triad with Arael and Armisael in exploring the pilots' psychology.[24][49][21]

Gainax renders his name in Romaji as "Kaworu," not "Kaoru" as would be given by most romanization schemes. The reasons for the difference in the naming have not been explicitly detailed by the series' creators; one theory is that the name is based on the original kana of the name Kaoru Genji, from The Tale of Genji.[41] Some fans have long speculated on Kaworu being modeled on a real person or experience, but this has been denied long ago by both Anno and Sadamoto,[50][51] neither this is ever even alluded to in multiple Sadamoto interviews detailing his design.[52]

As a promotion for its 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Evangelion, ADV Films published a humorous bumper sticker which reads "KAWORU DIED FOR YOUR SINS"|カヲルはあなたの罪のために死んだ|Kaoru wa anata no tsumi no tame ni shinda.[53] Mania Entertainment's Chris Beveridge described Kaworu's death in the anime as an "extremely powerful moment" due to the fact that after a minute without dialogue, his head's shadow appears touching the water.[54] Kaworu has had the most English voice actors out of all the characters in the entire franchise.

Kaworu Nagisa was the second most popular male character in the 1997 Animage poll.[55] In a Newtype poll from March 2010, Kaworu was voted as the second most popular male anime character from the 1990s.

Sadamoto claims he wrote his relationship with Shinji on the manga as similar to a primary school student to an older, middle school one that would leave a strong impression on the former, prompting him to seek his admiration, not romance.[56] Sadamoto complimented this by comparing Shinji's perspective to how he himself felt towards superheroes and other role models as a child and teenager. Conversely, "In Kaworu's case, through Rei's heart flowing into his own, he is held captive by feelings that would get him nowhere—because he was still unable to even comprehend the feelings."[57] Sadamoto has also explained he wished to make the relationship less ambiguous in the manga. Sadamoto says Kaworu feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. The choking scene in the manga is inspired from a film called Betty Blue, by Jean-Jacques Beineix. Sadamoto explained that the scene is not meant to parallel Shinji's scene with Asuka from EoE, and has a different meaning altogether.[58] Anno's inspiration from EoE's scene came from a female friend of his and her boyfriend.[59] Sadamoto also says he does not understand the success of his character.[60]

In an interview for JUNE, Hideaki Anno claimed that Kaworu was intended to be Shinji's idealised version of himself, something which allows Shinji to easily drop his defense mechanisms as he does not feel he is not exactly dealing with an "Other". Anno goes on to give examples from psychology and the process of realising the good and bad in other people and coming to terms with this duality as part of growing up and maturing in Episode 25, something which he does not do with Kaworu.[11][61] Like other characters, Anno described Kaworu as being based on himself, though he likened him to Rei as part of his Jungian shadow, in contrast to Shinji, Asuka and Misato as his conscious parts.[20] This comparison was also made with Gendo.[19][62]

Much like many other characters, Kaworu's interactions with Shinji have been a topic of debate among fans of Evangelion since the series' first run as discussed in the Patrick Drazen's book Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! Of Japanese Animation Anime Explosion!.[63] Patrick Drazen's view is that Kaworu's offer of unconditional, one-way love for Shinji is a tactic that Kaworu as the last Angel used to disarm Shinji.[64] In 1998 reviewer Kenneth Lee criticized Kaworu, saying: "Ultimately, the homosexuality issue seems nothing more than cheap shock value tactics to stun generation X"; he considered the entire Shinji-Kaworu relationship "ludicrous", as he thought Shinji receptiveness to Kaworu was implausible and "irrational".[65] It should be noted however that Japan had a long history of very overt homosexual relationships in media and even in anime, and that Eva would not have any need of hiding any for fear of censorship like a Western work might need to, even in 1995. Staff also seems to have not been expecting Kaworu to provoke such a strong impression of that in the first place,[66] and attribute their lack of attention to this to the lack of time and rushed production when making the latter episodes,[67] and mention Kaworu was not supposed to hold Shinji's hand in the bath scene, as this was an animation error and he was instead supposed to touch it,[46] nor was Shinji supposed to blush,[68] indicating Kaworu as a breakout character of sorts,[69][11][70] and the usage of the bath scene as a casual, often public occurrence in Japan, specially the countryside that he is from.[62] Shinji's voice actress Megumi Ogata also agrees with the translation for the Netflix/Khara release, saying she originally interpreted Kaworu's lines as "like", and says she's glad that the new version is closer to the Japanese original,[71] as she interprets her relationship as friends.[72] Ogata also rejects the idea that Kaworu is his lover, or that he is someone he can depend on, but instead sees him as a friend that's his equal.[73] Hideaki Anno has also denied "carnal feelings" on Shinji's part or having yaoi elements in mind.[74][11]

In an interview, Anno was asked about expanding Ep 24 for the then-unreleased home video versions. He however, decided against it om the expanded Director's Cut episodes and chose to focus on Misato and her relationship with Kaworu instead, despite his considerable expansions to other relationships Shinji had as in Episode 22. [75] Doujinshi author Nobi Nobita provided June magazine with non-official illustrations. She even participates in the longer and often-omitted second half of the June interview. Nobita made a doujin expanding Asuka's mind attack sequence.[76] Anno also took inspiration from her doujinshi for Episode 22's DC, but chose instead to use it for Asuka's relationship with Shinji, removing the ambiguity over it possibly referring to Kaji present in the original doujinshi.[77] Rumours of censorship are also unsubstantiated - the network had not even seen the episode before airing it, due to its rushed production. Afterwards, they demanded to see Episodes 25 and 26 because of a single contention point - Kaworu's death being too graphic.[67] Another material describes him as a "symbol of escapism".[78]

Regardless, Gainax is clearly aware that the audience associates Kaworu with bishounen tropes, and have produced artworks such as splash pages for their website in reference to Kaworu's ambiguity and the audience's reaction to the character.[64] This is not exclusive to Kaworu, however, as Gainax has produced official material covering virtually all possible relationships regardless of canonicity, including ones between Rei and Asuka or Kaworu himself and Rei, and he tends to have less space than material depicting Shinji with Asuka or Rei. Some videogames allow him to be a possible romantic option for Shinji as well as multiple female characters as in Shinji Ikari Raising Project though he sometimes has less scenes or no ending route like in Girlfriend of Steel 2. Spinoffs such as Angelic Days put him in a more comedic or romantic light though he still tends to have less space than other side characters, particularly Asuka or Rei, who receive the same treatment. [Evangelion ANIMA]] also features a "Dark Kaworu" who hates humans and hates music. Additionally, some believe that whether Kaworu, an Angel, actually has any concept of sexuality as he is presented in the series is unclear.[64] Mamerto Adam sees their relationship as "as a sign of self-hate and lack of confidence", as Kaworu's role as an idealized self means Shinji is "drawn to a better Shinji rather than this depressed soul". He considers that "He represents an idealized world, an escape or a fantasy that we must awaken from. Killing Kaworu is an act of rejecting this fantasy and embracing the real, but darker world."[79] Mike Crandol of ANN regards Kaworu as being "representative of blind, total and unconditional love and acceptance, but like those things Kaworu turns out to not be real at all".[80]


  1. The name "Nagisa" is a pun. The kanji character "Nagisa" consists of the katakana "shi" and the kanji "sha," forming the word "Shisha," or "messenger." Kaworu, after all, is the final messenger, and the word used for "Angel" in the original Japanese is "shito," or "Apostle" (messenger of God). See Character Name Origins for more information.
  2. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 21'.
    Man E: "The contact experiment with the donor is scheduled for the 13th of next month. There will be time for any adjustments."
    (later) Woman B: "The genes that dived into Adam have already undergone physical fusion!"
  3. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 24. Platinum subtitles.
    HYUGA: But the one thing we do know [about Kaworu Nagisa] is that his birthday coincides with the Second Impact."
  4. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 24'. Platinum subtitles.
    SEELE A (speaking to Kaworu): [Adam's] salvaged soul exists only within you.
  5. Neon Genesis Evangelion 2. Classified Information: Adam. "At the time of Second Impact, [Adam's] body was torn apart, and its soul flew off somewhere as a result. Adam's soul was later recovered by Seele and incarnated."
  6. End of Evangelion Theatrical Booklet. Glossary: Kaworu Nagisa. "It is likely that he was an Angel which had been captured by SEELE in the embryo stage." (Translation by bochan_bird.)
  7. Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga). Volume 9, Stage 72.
    Ritsuko: Kaworu Nagisa... His date of birth is the same as Second Impact. Probably because, on that day, in that place, he was the final Angel to be born.
    Misato: You can’t mean... Are you saying that all the Angels were born from Adam? What did humans do to Adam on that day?
    Ritsuko: Humans tried to return Adam to an egg before the other Angels awoke. The result was Second Impact. Among the data from your father’s research team that was retrieved just before it happened, I have heard that there were indications of an attempt to use human genes in some way. If that was actually done in secret, if the Angel born at that time took human form, and if the Committee got their hands on it, then according to MAGI everything adds up.
  8. Kaworu's Plug Suit has an inverted, divided triangle symbol on its chest rather than a proper number, though he was sent to be the replacement pilot for Eva-02.
  9. See Reichu's analysis (archive) of all the visual allusions and connections to the angel statute.
  10. "Anno: But that is a boy. It's as if there was no womanly feel at all. That's because it's Shinji and one more Shinji. Because ideal Shinji appears it's no good to make him a female. - Ahh, I see. Anno: [He is ideal Shinji] Because he is a character who has been cleared of all of Shinji's complexes." - JUNE Interview
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Jinken: You only look at the superficial aspects of the story, and towards the end, the character Kaworu Nagisa appears. I was watching the movie as a regular person, and I was wondering why this character appeared at the end of the movie. Did you think about the fans who came in for the yaoi?
    Anno: Not really, I didn't think that much about it.
    Jinken: I thought that Kaworu Nagisa was a character for commercialization, like Saint Seiya. Is that not the case?
    Anno: Actually, I had planned for him to appear a little earlier. I didn't have any intentions to go that far, but I did intend on having a bishounen [the little boy controlled by the cat].
    Jinken: On the contrary, it made him a very memorable character, though.
    Anno: If the planned relations had worked out - the plan was that the ‘unconscious Shinji-kun’ would be Ayanami Rei, the Shinji-kun who appears on the surface would be Ikari Shinji, and the ‘ideal Shinji-kun’ would be Nagisa Kaworu-kun. [Kaworu was] supposed to be an ideal male but when I tried putting him together he was just a strange fellow (laughs). That was something of a lack of capability on my part. - 2000 December Anno: Interview ‘with a mem­ber of Waseda Uni­ver­sity for the pur­pose of “char­ac­ter study.
  12. Evangelion Chronicle explicitates that Kaworu expected to meet Shinji there, and it wasn't an accident
  13. Death & Rebith program book "He sought active contact with Shinji as a friend, but his true identity was that of the final Angel."
  14. End of Evangelion program book "He made contact with the Third Children -- Shinji Ikari-- as a human, and although he became friends with Shinji, he was ultimately crushed to death by Eva-01 piloted by Shinji."
  15. 15.0 15.1 Shinji/Asuka: Colleague-Complicated Feelings;Colleague-Love/Hate
    Rei/Shinji: Colleague-Favorable;
    Kaworu/Shinji: Colleague-Favorable - The Essential Evangelion Chronicle, Side B
  16. Some early fansubbers misheard this as "koi", but the scripts for this episode make it clear it is "koui". As for "suki", the original ADV VHS subtitle translation gives the word as "like," while Platinum and the English dub use "love." The Netflix release, translated by Khara, chose to use "like" again. Khara's own official translator has publicly defended this change, and the ambiguity it retains from the original text.
  17. See Anno's comments from Schizo/Parano: Much like Rei is likened to Kaworu as parts of Anno's unconscious, in contrast to Asuka, Misato and Shinji, he's also linked to Gendo as his "Jungian shadow".
  18. See Anno's comments from Schizo/Parano: Much like Rei is likened to Kaworu as parts of Anno's unconscious, in contrast to Asuka, Misato and Shinji, he's also linked to Gendo as his "Jungian shadow".
  19. 19.0 19.1 Takekuma: You are projected into every one of the characters in your work, but you were in Gendo's position, right? The staff had to follow you anyway, even though [they] didn't know what [you were] thinking.
    Anno: I'm in that position as far as my standing is concerned. As to whether I'm projecting that much [into him], I don't really think so. But he is certainly my shadow." - Schizo/Parano
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Eva Special Talk with Anno Hideaki and Toshiya Ueno (Newtype 11/1996)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Just as it holds true for the Fifteenth Angel that appears in this episode, none of the Angels that appear in the fourth part [Episodes 21-26] launch brute force attacks, but instead, try to shake the Eva pilots psychologically. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  22. Humans constantly feel emotional pain and feel that living is suffering. And Kaworu himself, who speaks eloquently about the human heart to that effect, draws Shinji to him emotionally and then deeply hurts him. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  23. He is the last apostle written in the Dead Sea Scrolls of Seele. The twelfth, fourteenth, and fifteenth Angels were interested in the human mind and probed into it. He may be the completed form of the apostle born from the end of that information gathering.[...] For Shinji, Kaworu is the one who he thinks can help him. Also, for him at this point, a woman would have felt unreachable [after Kaji's death]. How ironic that the person with the best communication skills in this film, which is based on the theme of communication between people, is a non-human. At the end of this episode, Shinji laments the fact that he killed Kaworu, but Misato tells him that he died because he didn't have the will to survive. Shinji responds, "That's cold, Misato." The relationship between Shinji and Misato here is in contrast to the relationship between Shinji and Kaworu. In contrast to Kaworu, Misato is firm and realistic. [...] Maybe Misato wanted to say something kind here, but Misato has her own feelings and her own reasons. We can't always act in accordance with others. Because Kaworu is not human, he is not coiled up inside himself, and he has little desire for others. Perhaps this is why he is able to be so carefree with others. It's ironic, after all. [...] "That's cold, Misato." is a line that shows the harshness of the world and the loneliness of people. As of Kaworu, the dialogue at the end of the episode is also excellent:SHINJI: "An AT Field!" KAWORU: "That's right. That's what you Lilin call it. The sacred domain where none may trespass. The light of the soul. Lilin, you know, don't you? That the AT Field is the wall that everyone has in their heart?" SHINJI: I don't understand that! Kaoru-kun!Or, "Life and death are of equal value to me. Dying of your own will. That is the one and only absolute freedom there is." SHINJI: "What? Kaworu, I don't understand what you're saying! Kaworu..." The narcissistic phrasing of Kaworu and the fragmented mysteries of the story make for a very good match. The fact that Shinji says "I don't know" in response to Kaworu's incomprehensible comments is also very kind to the audience. It is easy to understand that what Kaworu is saying is a mystery. Not only in this scene, but throughout the series of "Eva", there are many cases where the point is clearly presented as "this is a mystery". This is the difference between "Eva" and other works that only have complicated settings and do not allow viewers to be interested in the contents. In episode 21, Kaji dies, and in episodes 22 and 23, the characters are damaged, and their minds are torn apart. For that reason, Kaworu's approach to Shinji in episode 24 must have spoken to him. Both in Shinji's mind and in the minds of the viewers. Having killed Kaworu, the one who he thought could help him, Shinji is now trapped inside himself, and the story is heading toward destruction. At the same time, the narrative also destroys the framework of so-called story anime. - Oguro Staff Commentary #57
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Just as the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Angels attempted to make direct contect with Asuka and Rei's minds, respectively, Kaworu Nagisa also aggressively pursues Shinji's inner thoughts. This Angel conducted this, not in the form of an "attack," but in the form of the extremely peaceable method of "a human exchange." In other words, by using words and expressions to demonstrate his friendly sentiments. And he does a brilliant job of eliminating the wall around Shinji's heart. If "the AT field is the wall of the heart" as he says, then this could also be called the neutralizing of the AT field." - Platinum Commentaries - Angel Profiles
  25. "Kaworu Nagisa was sent to NERV headquarters by the Human Instrumentality Committee, specifically by SEELE. The unusual circumstances surrounding Kaworu's assignment were met with more than a little reservation by a portion of NERV personnel, including Misato Katsuragi. Despite their misgivings, Kaworu became a cherished friend to the first NERV employee he met, Shinji Ikari. Kaworu deemed Shinji to be "favorable," an almost peculiar and straightforward appraisal that Shinji had never experienced before. Perhaps as a result of this unusual approach, Kaworu managed to quickly secure a special place in Shinji's heart, especially because Shinji had only recently lost most of the people he had considered close friends. Tragically, Kaworu would later be revealed as an Angel, an enemy that Shinji was fated to destroy. When he saw the pain and inner struggle in Shinji's eyes upon discovering the truth, Kaworu willingly offered up his life to Shinji. This act of having his life ended by his friend Shinji was symbolic of Kaworu's desire for humanity to choose the path of life. In those last moments, it seemed to be Kaworu's sincere wish that humans continue to exist. Kaworu also briefly interacted with Rei Ayanami, and the two confessed to sharing a sense of empathy for one another. This exchange demonstrated that both individuals were aware on some level that they were different from everyone else. Kaworu took an instant liking to Shinji Ikari and was quite assertive in his efforts to forge a friendship with him. The actions Kaworu took as a "human" moved Shinji on a relatively deep level and encouraged him to open up. However, this also resulted in a devastating sense of hopelessness when things ended tragically between them." - The Essential Evangelion Chronicle Side B
  26. "After bathing together, Shinji spent the night in Kaworu's room and expressed a fondness for his new friend. The next morning, Misato felt uneasy about the fact that she had not been able to uncover any definitive information about Kaworu's identity and went to visit Ritsuko, who had been imprisoned. In response to Misato's inquiry, Ritsuko responded that Kaworu was the final messenger. These words proved to be true when Kaworu revealed himself to be an Angel by taking control of EVA-02 and infiltrating Terminal Dogma. Shinji was dumbfounded and had a hard time comprehending this unexpected truth. Kaworu made it all the way to "Adam" only to discover that the giant was not Adam at all, but rather Lilith. EVA-01 showed up shortly thereafter, and Kaworu was captured willingly. Kaworu begged for Shinji to kill him, and after some hesitation, Shinji conceded. Shinji raged over his own actions and declared that Kaworu, if anyone, deserved to live. Misato replied that only those who actually desire life deserve that privilege." - The Essential Evangelion Chronicle Side B
  27. "Kaworu Nagisa, the mysterious boy who had been popping up in the opening sequence for so long, finally made his debut in this episode. The proposal for the series structure clearly indicated that Kaworu was an Angel disguised as a human boy who would first appear toward the end of the series, so it is clear that Kaworu was specifically designed to fill this vital role. When Shinji and Kaworu are sharing a conversation before falling asleep, the situation somewhat mirrors the episode 8 scene in which Shinji sleeps near Kaji. The significant difference between the two situations is that Shinji speaks while looking directly at Kaworu's face, which suggests that he felt comfortable enough with Kaworu to truly open up to him." - The Essential Evangelion Chronicle Side B
  28. One section of this conversation concerns the "Lilins' hope" The word hope, "kibou" appears several times, once, when used by Kaworu, in katakana instead of kanji:
    "SEELE 04: "There is a man trying to close the box before the hope at the bottom appears."
    Kaworu: "Hope? You're saying that is the Lilin's hope?"
    SEELE ??: "Hope exists in as many forms as there are people."
    SEELE ??: "And that is because hope only exists in the hearts of people."
    Keel: "However, our hope is becoming substantiated."
    It is likely that it is spelled this way just for emphasis, but it has been suggested that there is some wordplay going on here; spelled with a different kanji, kibou means "trick". This might be a subtle clue that Kaworu is being deceived.
  29. SEELE 02: "Humans forget their foolishness and repeat their mistakes."
    SEELE ??: "If humans do not redeem themselves willingly, they will not change."
    SEELE ??: "We will not rely on the powers of Adam or the Angels."
    KEEL: "Our only choice is to make changes with our own hands for the future. I will be praying that Unit-01 will accomplish its task."
  30. Bochan_bird: "Incidentally, it has been noted that the splash made by Kaworu's head was redone for "Death & Rebirth" to exactly match the splash of the falling electrical part at the start of Air (EoE). IIRC the actual splash in TV episode 24 was different, and since "Death" can be considered not only a recap of the series but also a psychological sequence, the similarity in the splashes may represent Shinji tormenting himself (over Kaworu's death) by transposing the splash made by the electrical part as the splash made by Kaworu's head."
  31. Evageeks.org: Kaworu calling Gendo "father." Retrieved 2011/02/19.
  32. "We only said so much at the discussion today. In Shin Evangelion, this is what's actually inside the reactivated Unit 13's entry plug. Inside the LCL, the remains of what used to be him are floating about. Even with his soul gone, his body was reconstructed to allow Unit 13 to move, and his fingers sometimes flutter on the control keys." - Ikuto Yamashita
  33. In the anime's original plan, Kaworu was a boy who had a pet cat and who could switch from "human form" to "Angel form" at will. As in the manga, he was to appear earlier in the series (although unlike the manga, he was to attack far earlier as well). Sadamoto seems to have made an ironic reference to Kaworu's initial concept with the kitten-killing scene.
  34. "Speaking about Kaworu and Shinji’s relationship, I want to write it like what often happen between primary school boys and middle school boys. For the boys, instead a girl’s admire, they actually want to have admire from the other boys. That is why they imitate other boy’s behavior. The same thing happened to me. When I was a primary five student, a transfer student came to my class from Tokyo. Even though I thought “Tokyo is not great” in my mind, but I still felt that he looks handsome. He liked to say “だからさー”, though I said “it make me sick”, but secretly I thought it was very cool.(laugh) It is this kind of feeling. It is not romance……It is a delicate feeling in a delicate age." - Interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto from All About Kaworu Nagisa book, pages 148-152
  35. "First, Sadamoto claims that he does not understand the success of Kaworu's character. Personally, he loved the voice of the character, thus finding himself in difficulty in making it on paper and therefore deciding to modify it compared to the anime. If in the anime he had remained deliberately ambiguous about the true nature of his relationship with Shinji, leaving the viewer free to create their own interpretation, in the manga Sadamoto decided to better define everything leaving less freedom to the reader. In the manga, Kaworu, whom Sadamoto remembers being an angel while Shinji is a human, feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. [...] Speaking instead of the scene in which Shinji strangles Kaworu, it is a quote from a film that the master adores: Betty Blue" Milano Manga Festival: Reportage dei Sadamoto Days
  36. CUT Magazine, December 2014
  37. Evangelion Proposal
  38. 38.0 38.1 "He wasn’t the last Angel from the baginning. At first, the information they gave me only said that Kaworu was a humanoid Angel who appeared at the finale stage of the Anime. But at that time, I had already worked out something similar—since the gradually appeared Angel all had different shapes and characteristics, they should become more closer to human. Then there also came with the subtitle “Cat and Transfer Student” when they were planing it. If I have to figure out Anno’s intention, I think he may awared the “Monster Messenger and Boy” (Ep.33) in The Return of Ultraman. It is where a monster named Muruchi appeared.
    [...] There is one thing that doesn’t need to cover up: they wrote EVA’s script as long as possible. In other words, the script they gave Anno had two Eps length, then Anno modified it into a story. So I think he probably cut off a lot of Kaworu’s story." - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  39. "In the initial stages, he was a pretty boy who carried around a cat. The very first plot title was “The cat and the transfer student.” It was a story about transfer student carrying a cat coming to the school and so forth. As we went on with it, in episode 24, it had already moved away from the school."
    [...]A transfer student opens the door with a clatter, clatter, clatter, and he’s hugging a cat—I think it’d make for a good picture. If he made the cat walk by his side, it would be really tough to draw, so if he were holding it here, under his arms… *laughs*
    [...]Interviewer: Well then, if it you had kept it, had you intended on making the cat come along into the EVA? Or would the cat have been left behind to survive alone or something, as a memento?
    Anno: No. As an image…and as an idea, the cat was more an original Angel and the humans were more like—would you call them puppets? It was as though you couldn’t tell which was the real thing. - June interview
  40. NEWTYPE 100% COLLECTION: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. 1997 Kadokawashoten. ISBN 4-04-852700-2. Partial translation.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Evangelion character names; Translation of essay by Hideaki Anno about character name origins; includes a link to the original essay in Japanese.
  42. When you disassemble the character for his last name, “Nagisa”, it becomes “shi” and “sha”. Thus, it is a play on the sub-title, “The Final Messenger (saigo no shisha)”. The “Nagisa (shore)” also forms a pair with Rei Ayanami's “nami (wave)”. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  43. "I: And Rei and Kaworu is the same type of existence right? The “you are like me”.
    Z: Both possessing the genetic code of Angels. - Schizo/Prano interview collection, "judging Hideaki Anno in his absence"
  44. This episode number was later produced as episode 24, “The Final Messenger”. [From Iso:] “At this point in time, the name ‘Kaworu’ wasn’t decided yet, so in memos we called him things like ‘the transfer student’ and ‘bishounen’. The Proposal had a humanoid Angel accompanied by a cat, but he was changed to an Angel that could transform from a boy into a cat. Setting him against the human-sized Eva-05, we created a story with a showdown on a human scale. The Proposal also called for the laboratory’s secrets to be revealed, and in my own version of the screenplay I proposed a climatic scene wherein Eva-05 dropped down before the eyes of the boy Angel (who had invaded ever deeper into Central Dogma) and blocked the way forward.” - Mitsuo Iso Animation Works: Preproduction
  45. ——Who named Kaworu?
    I asked the same question to Tsurumaki yesterday(laugh). The conclusion is that it probably was Akio Satsukawa. Nagisa can also be read as Messenger, perhaps he came up with the name when he was writing the script. We all think it fits Akio’s taste. What struck me most was how Akio expanded the world. - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  46. 46.0 46.1 "H: Why hand-holding though?
    M: Because thats what the script said.
    H: (flips to the relevant page of the script) it says “touched his hand”. Isn’t it touched, but you drew “hold” (laughs).
    [...]M: Because thats what the artist drew and I wasn’t really too concerned and ok-ed it. (laughs) there was basically no time.
    M: [..] I didn’t want to draw that, like to a “If thats how it is I’ll quit” extent. - NGE Storyboard Collection, vol 3-4, interview with Masayuki and Shinji Higuchi"
  47. "I was worried that Kaworu would be entrusted to me, but fortunately, they entrusted him to Mahiro Maeda.
    To be honest, I don't have the confidence to draw Kaworu properly. As I say now, the thing I hated the most because the main character had my name on it was the scene in which Kaworu appeared. Whenever Kaworu said 'Shinji-kun', I couldn't stand it (laughs)"
    - GameFocus interview with Higuchi
  48. Interviewer: So, your first meeting with Mr. Anno was when you participated in "Nadia: the secret of Blue Water" as an editor, right?
    Satsukawa: That's right. The editing of Nadia was originally planned to be done by [...] But there was trouble between Mr. Anno and the said editor. That's how the office I worked in got the job after the 10th episode.
    [...] you made your screenplay debut as a scriptwriter with Mr. Jissoji's "The Watcher in the Attic," Did Mr. Anno saw it?
    Satsukawa: No, he didn't watch "Attic".
    Interviewer: So he asked you (to be his writer) out of the blue?
    Satsukawa: Right. He probably never read what I wrote.
    [...]Funnily enough, personally, I am not like that. In Eva, for example, I think the part where my personality was truly projected wasn't this Kaworu part, but episode 15.
    - & Pop Theatrical Booklet (1998)
  49. "Anno: As far as that goes, I thought it was fine, but then when [the angel] speaks Japanese that was the end of it. Kaworu-kun had been prepared as a "human type" [angel] from the start, and I wanted to hold on to the idea of [an angel] conversing in human language until then. When I wondered, well, what will [Shinji] do after he gets taken into the angel, I wondered if this might be [his] chance for self-reflection. Episode 16's "inner space"-like environment was the first [of that sort]. That went relatively smoothly." - 2nd June interview
  50. "What about whatever research you’d done?
    Anno:There was none."
    [...]"Telling someone or being told by someone, “Your heart is like glass,”—did anything like that actually happen to you?
    Anno: Nope, nothing like that." - JUNE interview
  51. —When you designed Kaworu, did you base his looks on someone?
    Huh? No. But, as the last Angel, if I make his profile a combined form the of people that the past Angels made a contact with——what about something like this——I have this concept. That is why some parts of Kaworu look like Shinji, some parts look like Rei, some parts look like Asuka. - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  52. Neon Genesis Evangelion Film Book 9.
  53. EVA 10th Limited Edition
  54. Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:8 from Mania Entertainment.
  55. 第19回アニメグランプリ [1997年6月号] from Animage.jp.
  56. "Speaking about Kaworu and Shinji’s relationship, I want to write it like what often happen between primary school boys and middle school boys. For the boys, instead a girl’s admire, they actually want to have admire from the other boys. That is why they imitate other boy’s behavior. The same thing happened to me. When I was a primary five student, a transfer student came to my class from Tokyo. Even though I thought “Tokyo is not great” in my mind, but I still felt that he looks handsome. He liked to say “だからさー”, though I said “it make me sick”, but secretly I thought it was very cool.(laugh) It is this kind of feeling. It is not romance……It is a delicate feeling in a delicate age." - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  57. Sadamoto's Manga Commentary, Volume 9
  58. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto: Milan Manga Festival (2013)
  59. Koji Ide's Evangelion Forever
  60. First, Sadamoto claims that he does not understand the success of Kaworu's character. Personally, he loved the voice of the character, thus finding himself in difficulty in making it on paper and therefore deciding to modify it compared to the anime. If in the anime he had remained deliberately ambiguous about the true nature of his relationship with Shinji, leaving the viewer free to create their own interpretation, in the manga Sadamoto decided to better define everything leaving less freedom to the reader. In the manga, Kaworu, whom Sadamoto remembers being an angel while Shinji is a human, feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. [...] Speaking instead of the scene in which Shinji strangles Kaworu, it is a quote from a film that the master adores: Betty Blue Milano Manga Festival: Reportage dei Sadamoto Days
  61. Hideaki Anno JUNE Interview discussion thread
  62. 62.0 62.1 "Anno: Around the time when you’re a middle school student, you often go with friends to public bath-houses and stuff, right? On the way home from school and so forth. Also, going there right after you go play at the beach, just as you are. There are more public baths in the boonies, you see. So it almost feels like a watering hole for men. Well, people don’t go washing each other’s backs or any skinship things like that. In any case, it’s a sort of place that you can all go to together, play there, and head home." - June interview
  63. Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). '"A Very Pure Thing": Gay and Pseudo-Gay Themes' in Anime Explosion! The What, Why & Wow of Japanese Animation Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press p.95 ISBN 1-880656-72-8.
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). "Evangelion" in Anime Explosion! The What, Why & Wow of Japanese Animation Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press p.308 ISBN 1-880656-72-8.
  65. "The fact that within a span of 14 minutes we are expected to believe that Shinji and Kaworu have transcended all boundaries and inhibitions to achieve an unearthly 'Love' and openness for each other is completely ludicrous and pathetically humorous...Yet, along comes Kaworu, who he's known for about 10 minutes and is a boy, no less, and Shinji seems completely accepting of Kaworu's open touches and fondles." "The Thin Veneer Known as "Evangelion"", ANN
  66. I: But it caused female audiences in front of their televisions to shriek with joy. M: We never thought it will turn out like that. T: Was it not planned? M: We really only realised it afterwards and never thought of much at that time, after all we were going berserk. - Schizo/Prano interview collection, "judging Hideaki Anno in his absence".
  67. 67.0 67.1 Anno and the rest of the Gainax team had been pushing production of the various episodes up closer and closer to the deadlines issued by their TV station, to the extent that they were actually biking episodes over to the broadcast center on Beta tape only minutes before the broadcast time77. This was tolerated, because Eva had some of the highest ratings of any show ever - until Episode 24. Episode 24 arrived at the station so late that it couldn’t even be watched before being broadcast - it was slapped in a Beta drive and transmitted directly, without being reviewed by any staff at the station. Episode 24, you’ll recall, is the Kaworu episode, which aside from the homosexual overtones (probably not actually an issue), ends with, er, a pop. Bear in mind that this was broadcast in a 6.30pm weekday slot on Japanese national television. The network went apeshit - it may have been in silhouette, and he may have been technically non-human, but you can’t show a 14 year old popping his 14 year old friend’s head off at 6.30pm on TV, even in Japan. Gainax, and Anno specifically, were accused of deliberately holding back the episode to prevent the network from seeing it before broadcast - and the network staff demanded to see the storyboards for the next two episodes. - Rob Fahey
  68. As per the storyboard for the beach encounter scene, which did not feature Shinji blushing.
  69. Platinum Booklets - Episode Commentaries 21-26
  70. It was an experiment of mine, let's say. In the anime one of the most fascinating things about Kaworu is his voice, which is amazing, and it made this character so famous and beloved. In the manga this wasn't there, and I tried to find a way to make this character just as charming, so I tried to change some things. However, I never understood why Kaworu is liked so much.... - Dummy System: Sadamoto Days - fan meet and interview|Sadamoto, Milan Manga Days
  71. Ogata July 17 2019
  72. Megumi Ogata (Shinji) Q&A Revolution 2014
  73. Interviewer: [...] But once Kaworu-kun shows up, he immediately goes to him.
    "Ogata: I don't think "goes to" is the right word for it. I always have people asking me, even at conventions overseas, "Kaworu-kun and Shinji-kun are lovers, right?" and when I say no they're always like, "What!?" and totally disappointed (lol). He's been abandoned by everyone, he has no friends or parents to trust in, and no longer has a place where he belongs. And at this point, a single person comes to him and tells him he understands him. Wouldn't anyone act the same way if they were in Shinji's position? He has no one but Kaworu-kun at that point. In that way, he's still just a child."
    "Ogata: He comes to meet Kaworu not as someone he can depend on, but as a friend that's his equal."

    Q: Looking from an outsider's perspective, I feel so bad for him. Just how is he going to become happy?
    Ogata: Perhaps he's not in high spirits, but I think Shinji has plenty of happiness. He has a place that he belongs, isn't that in itself an amazing thing? I've never once thought of Shinji as being unhappy. Perhaps there are times where Shinji himself thinks so though, especially in the TV Series.
    [...] It's not as if he isn't loved, it's just that he's forgotten his memories of when his mom loved him when he was little. He grew up without knowing the love of a parent, and so he hungered for love so much he would have been satisfied with the tiniest bit of love from another. And I think Shinji wanted someone to talk about his feelings to. He has the type of personality where it's hard to talk to others. He wants someone to talk to, and even though there are people who care about him, none of them really can listen/be there for him to the extent he wants.[...]But in the end he's pulled back on his feet by a girl and dragged along, and that's something in itself. At least that's far better than being alone.
    - Evangelion Special Talk with Megumi Ogata and Detective Tanaka (Translation by Luuki)
  74. "—— Speaking about the blushing, is it because Shinji was happy that someone said they like him?
    Anno: Yes, Shinji-kun didn’t experience carnal desire there"
    - June Interview
  75. Interviewer: In the video edition, is there nothing like getting a power up from that sort of thing? + + Anno: I’m thinking of adding a few scenes. I had the feeling that it’d be good to focus on Shinji and Kaworu-kun’s story. However, I also think that, if I have the extra time, I have to make Kaworu-kun with just Misato. The truth is that Kaworu-kun just greeted Rei by chance and he’s only spoken with Shinji, hasn’t he? There’s no need for him to meet other people, but if the only one that I haven’t made him meet up with is Misato, I kind of wonder whether that’s awkward.
  76. Nobi is not sure that female manga writers will be able to match the imagination of the male authors. Anno wanted to do a longer story involving Asuka's menstruation, but because he felt it was impossible for a man to write, he abandoned it. Only a single scene remained. He feels he can't match the way Nobi portrayed Asuka in the doujinshi "Absolute Safety Razor" (or "Absolutely Safe Razor" - "Zettai Anzen Kamisori"). - Second Interview
  77. Bridal Veil, full scanlation
  78. Shinji: A human of flesh and blood, who enjoys sweet solitude and petty pleasures in the closed-off world of his own, all the while suffering between the thesis that is a breakaway from relative happiness and establishing oneself Kaworu: A vulnerable yet at the same time proud, pseudo-human from an idealized world that could be a target of self-insertion. The symbol of escapism that must be broken. (Then was it the predetermined necessity that Shinji had to kill him?) - Neon Genesis Evangelion Genesis0:0' the light from the darkness, minute 14:40
  79. Yes, Kaworu is an Idealized Version of Shinji
  80. ANN - Understanding Evangelion

Main characters: Shinji Ikari | Rei Ayanami | Asuka Langley Soryu
Nerv staff: Misato Katsuragi | Gendo Ikari | Ritsuko Akagi | Kozo Fuyutsuki | Ryoji Kaji | Maya Ibuki | Makoto Hyuga | Shigeru Aoba
Classmates: Toji Suzuhara | Kensuke Aida | Hikari Horaki
Other characters: Kaworu Nagisa | Yui Ikari | Naoko Akagi | Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu | Dr. Katsuragi | Mr. Langley | Keel Lorenz | Pen Pen
Rebuild of Evangelion: Asuka Shikinami Langley | Mari Makinami Illustrious | Sakura Suzuhara | Ryoji Kaji (Jr)
Miscellaneous: Minor Characters | Minor Characters (Rebuild) | Extracanonical Characters
Theory and Analysis: Name Origins (Warships) | Designs | Relationships | Profiles
Resources: 2015: The Last Year of Ryohji Kaji

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? | Lilith | 3rd Angel | 4th Angel | 5th Angel | 6th Angel | 7th Angel | 8th Angel | 9th Angel | 10th Angel | 11th Angel | 12th Angel | 1st/13th Angel
Other: Extracanonical Angels