Episode 16

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Episode Information
Episode #16
Title 1: 死に至る病、そして
Shi ni Itaru Yamai, Soshite
Sickness unto death [1], and...
Title 2: Splitting of the Breast
16 C221 hell-train.jpg
Written By Hideaki Anno, Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Directed By Kazuya Tsurumaki
First Aired 1-17-1996
Video Release Date 9-5-1996 (Japan-Video/LD), 3-27-2001 (US-DVD)
Angel Appearances Leliel
Eva Sorties Eva-00, Eva-01, Eva-02
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Episode 15" "Episode 17"

Overview

Shinji beats Asuka in a synch test, much to the latter's annoyance. Not too long after, the Evas are dispatched to deal with a mysterious apparition, and Eva-01 is sucked into a shadowlike blackness that materializes out of nothingness from under it. While an emergency operation to rescue the captured Eva is concocted, Shinji goes on a trip into the depths of his own consciousness...

Synopsis

In Misato's apartment, Asuka gets into a very one-sided argument with Shinji about his idiosyncrasies and how annoyed she is with them. When Misato tries to take Shinji in defense, Asuka accuses her of enabling his bad habits, and claims that she is only being so soft on Shinji because she is in a good mood after having gotten back together with Kaji. Misato tries to protest that there is nothing between her and Kaji, just as Kaji leaves a message on her answering machine, inviting her out for a drink. This only makes Asuka more irate, and she leaves in a huff.

The three pilots undergo a synch test, in which Shinji emerges the best-synchronized pilot, a fact that greatly raises Shinji's mood, but annoys and disturbs Asuka, who despite attempting to pretend that nothing is wrong, rants about it at length to an indifferent Rei.

In the early hours of the next morning, a bizarre shadow emerges from the street in the city, seemingly out of nowhere. An alert is declared at Nerv and personnel observe as a sphere with Zebra-like black and white stripes float over the city.

Eva-01 fires ineffectually at Leliel

The Magi is confused about whether or not this peculiar apparition is an Angel, and so the three Evangelions are dispatched to draw it out of the city airspace before engaging it. Asuka sarcastically goads Shinji to take the point position, referring to how he has the highest sync score now. Much to both her and Misato's surprise, Shinji responds to her challenge with uncharacteristic self-confidence and enthusiastically accepts the position, commenting that "Combat is a man's job!" Ritsuko is greatly amused by Shinji's newfound sense of boldness, but Misato is rather disgruntled with his attitude and says she'll need to have a serious talk with him later.

The Evas proceed to move closer to the target, with Shinji taking the lead. An overconfident Shinji attacks the sphere without waiting for the other two Evas to get into position, and the sphere simply disappears. The target is confirmed to be an Angel, and to everyone's horror, a dark shadow materializes under Eva-01 and sucks it in, with Eva-00 and 02 only narrowly avoiding the same fate. Though Shinji and Eva-01 struggle to get free, they are eventually completely swallowed by the shadow and Shinji's radio goes dead.

Misato takes charge of the rescue operation, but things are looking grim. Eva-01's umbilical cable was pulled in from the shadow, but the Eva was not on the other end of it, and there appears to be no immediate way of interacting with the shadow without getting sucked into it too. To make matters worse, Eva-01's batteries can only sustain life support for about sixteen hours. If Shinji is not out by that time, he will likely die.

Ritsuko soon explains that the Angel is the shadow on the ground, not the floating sphere, and that it exists in another dimension in a form that can only be explained by higher mathematics. She concocts a plan that involves dropping all 992 N2 mines in existence to destroy the Angel and recover Eva-01, even at the risk of killing the pilot. Misato is incensed at Ritsuko's suggestion that Shinji's health and safety is a secondary priority, and slaps her in her anger before demanding to know why she and Gendo are willing to risk so much to protect Eva-01, and what the Evangelions actually are. When Ritsuko tries telling her that she has been given all the information, Misato spits back at her that she knows she is lying, referring to what Kaji has recently revealed to her. Unable to come up with a reply, Ritsuko merely tells Misato to trust her, and that she will be taking over the command of the operation.

Leliel's spherical shadow, as seen through binoculars

Meanwhile, Shinji, being trapped in the Eva, slips in and out of consciousness, and goes through a depressing introspective journey inside the Eva, when another entity - (The Angel Leliel) speaks about the shallowness of his own existence with him. [2] [3] The entity calls him out on what it sees as his complacency with his life as a pilot, telling him is merely grasping on to a false hope and pretending to happy when he is actually anything but. It also interrogates him on the details surrounding his mother's demise, namely the rumors that circulated in public that Gendo killed her. Shinji denies that the rumors are true; he remembers that his mother was smiling on the day she died.

As the life support starts to give out, however, Shinji, demoralized and tired, quietly accepts his incoming demise, before a luminous apparition of a woman appears before him and caresses his cheek. As the woman embraces him, a stunned Shinji realizes that she is his mother. Shinji then relives a half-forgotten memory of himself as a child on a sunny day, smiling as he holds a small red sphere up to his mother in his hands. His mother, whose face is obscured by shadows as she stands with her back to the sun, tells him: "Are you ready? Well, that is good for you."

Outside, both Evangelions are in position and a huge swarm of aircraft prepares for the mine drop, and the plan is just about to go into action when the shadow on the ground shakes and rips apart as though hit by an earthquake, and the sphere turns black and solid, before a gigantic hand punches through it, causing a fountain of blood to rain down. To everyone's utter horror, Eva-01 violently tears out of the sphere and bellows in a horrible parody of birth, killing the Angel. With Eva-01 now free again, Shinji briefly reawakens in an open entry plug with a crying Misato embracing him. Shinji quietly says that he "just wanted to see you again," before slipping back to unconsciousness.

After the operation, Ritsuko and Gendo meet to watch over the cleaning of Eva-01. Ritsuko warns him that Misato is growing suspicious of them and might be on to the truth. Gendo ponders this and tells her to let Misato be for now.

Shinji later wakes up in the hospital with Rei at his side, where she had spent the night sitting on a chair at his bedside. When she notices that Shinji is conscious, she moves to leave the room, telling Shinji that he can rest for now. When Shinji protests that he is feeling fine, Rei replies with: "Well, that's good for you." Remembering his mother saying those exact words in the same manner, Shinji is shocked and stares dumbfounded at Rei as she walks out the room. Shinji is, however, distracted when Rei opens the door, revealing Asuka lurking in the hallway outside his room, who quickly hides when she realizes that Shinji can see her. Shinji cannot help but laugh briefly at her antics, but he then catches himself, and turns morose, implying that his experiences inside Leliel has left a significant impact on him.

Notes

  • Shinji attacks Lelilel with a pistol which appears to be an Eva-sized version of an IMI Desert Eagle. This is the only time in the series this weapon is shown.
  • Asuka uses the Sonic Glaive axe to climb up a building and escape the shadow. An ax is never seen again for the remainder of the series.

Analysis

  • Shinji's interaction with Leliel is conducted in a strange vision in which both of them appear seated in a train car. For more on this motif (which recurs later), see Train Motif Symbolism.
  • Eva-01 is hosed down with high-pressure water to clean off the Angel's blood. The scene of the Eva bursting out of the Angel is evocative of birth; by extension, this scene evokes baptism, the symbolic washing away of sins after birth.
  • Rei is visibly concerned when Eva-01 and Shinji are sucked into Leliel, even questioning Misato's order to retreat. She is extremely annoyed with Asuka for berating Shinji, and even spends the night with him in the hospital when Asuka waits outside, too embarrassed to be with him.
  • Rei and Yui utter the same line, "Sou, yokatta wa ne." Whether or not Rei has any of Yui's personality traits, this line underlines, in Shinji's mind, the eerie similarity between Rei and Yui. Since Yui's face is either in shadow or glare (The long-haired female form that embraces Shinji does not look like Yui), it is hard to see that Rei and Yui look practically identical. Nevertheless, Shinji has come to sense the connection between the two, one that proves of vital significance later.

Quotes

  • Asuka: "Maybe you and Mr. Kaji have hooked up again, but don't project your happiness on other people!"
    Misato: "There's nothing between Kaji and me."
    Kaji (On the phone): "Hey, Katsuragi, I've found a bar that serves a decent drink. How about tonight? Bye!"
    Asuka: "Sure, I've never been involved in an indecent adult relationship! And here you're acting like a proper guardian?! You hypocrite! You make me puke!"
  • Misato Katsuragi: "You are number one!"
  • Asuka: "Oh, man! He beat us so easily. To be honest, getting beat that easily is a little frustrating, don't you think? He's amazing, wonderful, awesome, too awesome! The great invincible Shinji! This just means we get to take it easy now, right? But I guess we should at least do our best not to be left behind."
    Rei (leaving the locker room): "Goodbye."
    (Asuka punches her fist into a locker, looking angry.)
  • (After Unit-01 and Shinji are captured by the Angel)
    Misato: "Asuka, Rei, pull back."
    Asuka: "Bu..."
    Rei: "Wait! Unit 01 and Ikari are still in there."
    Misato: "This is an order. Retreat."
  • Asuka: "Good grief! Taking matters into his own hands, ignoring the plan. Honestly, talk about getting what he deserved. Just because he got a little better score on yesterday's tests, he was going to show me how it's done?! What a big-headed idiot!"
    (Rei silently stares at Asuka.)
    Asuka: "What? Is my bad-mouthing of Shinji that much of a problem for you?!"
    Rei: "Do you pilot Eva just for the praise of others?"
    Asuka: "No! Not of others! I do it because I want to be able to praise myself!"
  • Ritsuko: "This operation's top priority is to recover Unit 01 itself. Heavy damage to the body is irrelevant."
    Misato: "Now wait a second!"
    Ritsuko: "In this case, the pilot's life is not our concern. If Shinji's lost, it's your fault. Don't forget that!"
    Misato: "Why are you and Commander Ikari so worried about Unit 01? What in the hell is an Eva?"
    Ritsuko: "I've given you all the information."
    Misato: "You're lying!"
  • Shinji: "I hate this place. I don't want to be alone... anymore. The heating and the oxygen circulation are already out. I'm cold. It's useless, the suit is giving out too. So this is the end. I'm tired... Of it all."
    Shinji: "Mother?"
    Yui: "Are you ready? Well, that's good for you."
  • Shinji: "I feel just fine."
    Rei: "Well, that's good for you."
  • Ritsuko: "I have never thought these Evas were as frightening as I did today. Are the Evas really on our side? They may hate us. I think that Major Katsuragi may have noticed something."
    Gendo: "I see. Let her be for now."
    Ritsuko: "If Rei or Shinji were to find out the Eva's secrets, they'd never forgive us, would they?"

References

  1. This title is a reference to the novel Sickness Unto Death written by Kierkegaard. See here for more details.
  2. It appears as if Shinji is in contact with his own subconscious during his introspection, however, it is actually the Angel, Leliel, who is making contact. Similar to how Arael and Armisael's contact with Asuka and Rei, the communication is seen as Shinji talking to a younger version of himself. In Tsurumaki's interview printed in the End of Evangelion Theatrical Program, he states the following about episode 16:
    However, amidst the flow of the mysteries surrounding the Angels gradually being resolved, we decided to insert an episode where an Angel appeared to take an interest in humans. The first draft of the scenario was actually a dialog between Shinji and the Angel. However, we felt it would be too anti-climactic to have an Angel start talking like some pulp fiction alien (speaks while tapping his Adam's apple with his hand) "Your analog mode of thought is incorrect." So we came up with the idea actually used in this episode, which was to have Shinji converse with himself.
    Also note that in the next episode, Seele interrogated Misato and considered the possibility of the Angel making contact with the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01.
  3. Leliel's own striped appearance corresponds to little Shinji's striped shirt, very likely a hint at who Shinji is really speaking to.




Episodes & Films
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The End of Evangelion: Episode 25' | Episode 26'

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