Second Impact

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Adam's "Wings of Light" extending into the stratosphere over the South Pole, scattering disembodied souls

Second Impact (セカンドインパクト) is a global cataclysm which occurred on September 13th, 2000, when a massive explosion occurred in Antarctica which melted the polar cap and even altered Earth's axis.[1] The explosion resulted in massive tsunamis, followed by a dramatic increase in global sea levels which flooded most coastal cities, and caused a catastrophic shift in global weather patterns.

Cataclysm

According to the official report on the disaster by the United Nations, the massive explosion was the result of a meteorite impact. Hence the event was dubbed "Second Impact" (as opposed to the "First Impact," the theorized massive meteorite collision 4 billion years ago that created the Moon. First Impact was actually caused by Lilith's arrival on Earth.[2]). The meteorite was supposedly too small to detect but was traveling at near the speed of light, resulting in it striking with tremendous force despite its size.

On the date of Second Impact, Gainax released the following homage/statement on its website gainax.jp (as translated by Bochan_bird):

Giant Meteorite Hits Antarctica? (2000.09.13)


According to a P.U. Communications report, a gigantic explosion occurred in Antarctica on this date. The cause has yet to be announced, but experts believe that it was caused my a meteorite impact.
Earthquakes and tidal waves of extreme magnitude are occurring all over the world. We are already receiving reports of damage in parts of South Africa and Australia. The force of the explosion is estimated to be upward of 18 billion megatons of TNT. Antarctica itself has been almost entirely pulverized, and it is estimated that most of the ice will turn into vapor, which will condense into massive rainfall, which will in turn swamp coastal areas as sea level rises. Evacuation orders are in effect for all such regions around the world.
The preceding was a story from the world of Evangelion. Today is when Second Impact happened in series chronology. It is also the birthdate of

Nagisa Kaworu.

Two billion people in the southern hemisphere were instantly killed by the gargantuan tsunamis which followed the explosion. Many more would die in world wide coastal flooding. As a result of the subsequent chaos, global wars soon broke out due to food and resource shortages and refugee crises. Civil wars and ethnic conflicts were also widespread. Two days after the disaster, a nuclear exchange broke out between India and Pakistan over refugee tensions. On September 20th, seven days after Second Impact, a nuclear bomb was detonated in Old Tokyo, killing half a million people. Fighting spread across the world, and only ended on February 14th, 2001 when the Valentine Treaty formally put an end to the fighting. By the end of these events, the global human population was halved. Thousands of plant and animal species had also been rendered extinct.

The aftermath of Second Impact, and the official cover-story

Aftermath

However, in a testament to the resilience and ingenuity of humanity and Man's mastery of science and technology, Second Impact was not the end of human civilization. Instead, the nations of the world struggled to rebuild from the disaster, ensuing environmental and economic collapse, and civil wars. Within 15 years human civilization more or less recovered from the cataclysm of Second Impact. But while humans were able to physically rebuild pre-Second Impact society, many are still left in the back of their minds with the lingering emotional and psychological scars of the chaos brought about by the disaster, and are left "going through the motions" of a return to normalcy. For more details on the condition of the individual countries and nations involved, see The Post-Second Impact World.

Hidden Agenda

Known only to a select few was that the meteorite impact story was simply a cover up: the true cause of Second Impact was when the First Angel, Adam, exploded as the result of a "Contact Experiment" carried out by the Katsuragi Expedition, which was itself secretly backed by the mysterious Seele organization.

Seele intentionally initiated Second Impact, knowing (possibly from the Dead Sea Scrolls) what would happen, because the damage would be more limited than that caused by a fully awakened Adam (the destruction of all Lilith-based life down to the bacterial level).[3]Thus they used the Spear of Longinus to reduce Adam to a controllable, embryonic state - knowing that this would result in a cataclysm which would cost billions of lives. Reducing Adam to an embryonic state made it more easy to conceal and protect it from the Angels, whom Seele knew from the Dead Sea Scrolls, would be appearing in about fifteen years.[4]

Some, at least, of the Angels would try to carry out their own version of "Third Impact," which involved reuniting with a Source of Life to reactivate it, which would then spread a worldwide Anti A.T. Field to eliminate all human life, thereby removing the Angels' evolutionary competitor for mastery of the planet.[5][6] What Adam did in Antarctica, briefly spreading an Anti A.T. Field which eliminated all Lilith-based life, is a microcosm of what would have happened on a global scale if the Angels had managed to reach Lilith -- who is misidentified as Adam for most of the series. Thus, Seele backed Gehirn and later Nerv to construct the Evangelions using Adam's cloned genetic material, to defeat the Angels so they could then carry out their own version of Third Impact.

In Rebuild of Evangelion

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"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
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In the New Theatrical Version continuity, Second Impact was a global cataclysm resulting from mysterious events at the South Pole. These involved four radiant giants known only as "Adams," who generated wings of light extending toward a "black hole" in the skies above as the entire region was swallowed by a rainbow-colored vortex. The sum result was Antarctica becoming a lifeless wasteland "purged of the original sin," and the world's oceans becoming saturated with "blood," intimated to be the same fluid that Angels dissolve into upon death. (An excised scene from Misato's flashback montage would have shown the "blood" squirting from the South Pole at 2I and creating the stain on the Moon.) Fifteen years later, the red crosses and rainbow vortex generated by the Adams are still present, and Antarctica is reduced to a crater quartered by a cross-shaped incision.

The Eva-04 incident possibly replicated some of the conditions of Second Impact, as the region around the epicenter is shown turning red.

When Third Impact is initiated by the pseudo-evolved Eva-01, Ritsuko refers to it as a continuation of Second Impact. (Compare below the impact craters and wings of light leading up toward a "black hole.")

Second Impact in New Theatrical Version
Second Impact occurring (click for animation)
South Pole, 15 years later. (Close-up)
Eva-04 incident
Eva-01 at Near 3I.
Third Impact vortex from the air


Notes

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  • Second Impact is stated to have directly killed two billion people with massive tsunamis, and when this figure was combined with deaths from the ensuing chaos of rising sea levels/climate change, refugee crises, economic collapse, war, etc., the human population of Earth was "halved." Given that the world population was roughly 6 billion in the year 2000, that would mean that an additional one billion humans were killed indirectly due to the chaos of Second Impact's aftermath.
  • The size and speed of the meteor which supposedly struck Earth according to the UN's official cover story, resulting in Second Impact, varies between different sources within the show itself. In Death & Rebirth, it is mentioned as a massive meteor at ten percent the speed of light, while in the textbook page flashed in Episode 07, it is supposed to be a very small meteor moving at speeds varying between ninety to ninety-nine percent that of light. The "Second Impact" movie that Shinji watches in Episode 04 combines the two; it is a very small meteor moving at "over ten percent" of the speed of light.[7] Note, however, that even though the speeds are contradictory, the sizes aren't necessarily so. A meteor very small in diameter could still be quite "massive" if it were made out of some very dense material, akin to a black hole for instance. In any case, the subject is moot as the meteor story is a fabrication.

References

  1. This is implied at least twice: 1) In a news broadcast in Episode 02: Natsuko Shinohara (weather girl): "We have hot days all year now, but Japan once had four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter."
    2) In the "Hakone conversation" in Episode 21:
    Fuyutsuki: "The same weather day after day... The disappearance of autumn from this country is sad beyond words."
  2. See the Classified Information for more details.
  3. See the CI for more details.
  4. From the 2003 "Hakone" scene from Episode 21:
    Fuyutsuki: "According to the scenario in Seele's Secret Dead Sea Scrolls, Third Impact will definitely occur in a little over ten years."
  5. From Episode 19: Kaji: "They say that when an Angel comes into contact with Adam, which is sleeping underground here, all humanity will be annihilated. That will be Third Impact. It can only be stopped by Evangelion, which has the same power as an Angel."
  6. According to the CI: "Some of them were trying to access Lilith and reset all life, some of them had nothing in mind, and some were trying to recover their progenitor Adam. The Angels — Adam-based life — became active under their respective tactics for survival and success."
  7. Man: "You really couldn't detect it?"
    Doctor: "Correct. An object tens of millimeters in diameter crashed into Antarctica at more than ten percent of the speed of light!"