Sandalphon

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Sandalphon
Sandalphon
サンダルフォン
Number 8th
Symbol Embryo
Appearance(s) Episode 10
Defeated by Eva-02
Design Hideaki Anno[1]

Sandalphon (Hebrew: סנדלפון) is the 8th Angel, discovered in an embryonic state, and annihilated, within the magma of Mount Asama.

Profile

Sandalphon during its battle with Unit-02.

Sandalphon's "adult" form is flattened, finned, and overall fish-like. The Cambrian Era (540-490 million years ago) aquatic predator Anomalocaris has been cited as conceptual inspiration, and a couple of features carry over directly: the ring-shaped, ventrally-positioned mouth and the large eyes situated atop stalks. Sandalphon has long, sinuous arms that terminate in human-like hands, each with four fingers and a thumb; the spines on the digits mimic those of Anomalocaris' feeding appendages. When it moves the arms are extended outward perpendicular to its body, like wings or fins. What appear to be a pair of mock eyes lie on the left side of the head, evoking the unusual optical arrangement of a flatfish. The Angel's core potentially lies beneath the left-hand "eye" (in battle, it is the target of two separate attacks by Asuka).

Sandalphon's physical constitution is specialized for the intense conditions within the volcano, to the point that even internal structures are uncompromised (indicated when it opens its mouth without adverse effect). As a result, a weapon such as the Progressive Knife is, normally, incapable of afflicting damage. Sandalphon is somewhat larger than an Evangelion, but still of close enough size to an Eva that they can engage in a fairly even melee combat.

Sandalphon's embryonic state.

The Angel is initially discovered in a embryonic state, vaguely resembling a human embryo and encased within a dark, elliptical cocoon-like object. When Sandalphon prepares to hatch, it vocalizes in the same manner as a human baby (however distorted) and proceeds to rearrange its mass into a new form. (The transformation is obscured by a blurry distortion, a convention in the show typically used to indicate the employment of an A.T. Field.)

According to Ritsuko, Sandalphon's emergence occurs "much earlier than ... predicted", although no further elaboration is provided. To deepen the mystery, even in a subadult state, the Angel exceeds its own mother in size (in being larger than Eva-02). Ritsuko also comments on the ovular object, "It's something like a chrysalis prior to reaching the adult stage". A chrysalis, or pupa, is a stage in the developmental cycle of some insects, which proceeds from egg to larva, to pupa, to adult.

For the comparison to be meaningful, Sandalphon would have needed to be in a free-roaming "larval" state (independent of the "chrysalis") at some point before it was first encountered. However, what is known about Adam's offspring (however sparse) makes this concept difficult to justify and leaves no evidence that they follow an insect's life cycle like this. Accordingly, the casing is should probably be equated more with an egg than with a chrysalis.

For more in-depth analysis, see "Theory and Analysis: Angels' Origins"

Battle

After the Mt. Asama Earthquake Research Laboratory discovers the embryonic Sandalphon, Nerv undertakes an operation with the intention of capturing a live Angel. Eva-02 is deployed in D-Type Equipment -- specialized for protection against extreme heat, pressure, and radiation -- with a "catcher" capable of generating an electromagnetic cage. Eva-01 remains at the surface of the volcano as backup.

Although Eva-02 needs to be lowered further than the predicted depth to find the Angel, and loses her utility belt (together with the Progressive Knife) along the way, Sandalphon is successfully intercepted and captured. However, it soon rouses, transforms, and breaks free of the cage. With Sandalphon designated a target for annihilation, Shinji throws Eva-01's knife down to Asuka to replace the one she had lost. After briefly breaking away, the Angel engages Eva-02.

Sandalphon plants its mouth over Eva-02's helmet, blocks her knife with its right hand, and clutches her left leg with the other, eventually damaging the suit and causing the leg to be detached below the knee. Due to the Angel's heavily reinforced physical constitution, the Progressive Knife is completely ineffective. At length, Asuka -- recalling an earlier interchange with Shinji about thermal expansion -- severs one of the suit's coolant tubes and forces it into Sandalphon's mouth. This, together with a renewed knife assault, eventually kills Sandalphon. No more than a couple of minutes after hatching, it dissolves into the magma without a trace.

Notes

  • Whether Sandalphon's actions are belligerent in nature is unknown: Although it appears to tear off Eva-02's left leg at one point, the script ascribes this to a blasting bolt; and whether or not it intentionally damages Eva-02's support line before dying is ambiguous. The "baby sounds" the Angel makes before hatching may imply that Sandalphon's mindset is actually that of an infant, and that its behavior might be interpreted accordingly.
For more in-depth analysis, see Angel Psychology.
  • Sandalphon is named for the angel who, according to Kabbalism, plays a major role in determining the sex of a human embryo.

References



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