Theory and Analysis:Angel Psychology
"There is no word for "I" in Japanese."
"Fortunately, the MAGI system can be transplanted. We can return to work tomorrow."
created as a placeholder to move the psych sections to, I don't think they're worth deleting, but are definitely out of place on the angel pages
The topic of the Angels' status as sentient beings is unclear. Each Angel displays different characteristics that seem too intelligent for an animal, yet at the same time, appear to function primarily on instinct. A few of the later Angels, such as Arael, Armisael, and of course, Tabris, appear to have intelligence comparable to that of humans.
The first Angel to be encountered in battle, Sachiel cannot be said to have much of a personality or psychology. Neither is the Angel particularly intelligent and it cannot be considered to display strong emotion. The Angel focuses on its single-minded goal of breaking into the GeoFront under Tokyo-3 to reach Nerv HQ, and only even acknowledges the existence of humans when it has to overcome direct hindrances to its advance, such as attacking military vehicles, and does not go on indiscriminate destructive rampages. Sachiel's first reaction to having missiles shot at it by human tanks and hoverjets seems to be of almost curiosity or puzzlement and it tries to avoid the human attackers as much as possible. It takes on an offensive stance only after being severely burned by an N2 weapon.
The freshly-hatched Sandalphon might have the mindset of an infant, hinted at by the slowed-down baby noises used as its vocalization and its initial act of "sucking" Eva-02. Whether or not it does have an infantile mindset, or if it deliberately severed the Eva's umbilical cables as a dying resort to kill it, are left ambiguous.
Zeruel's attack on Nerv HQ does not use a particularly large amount of intelligence, but it simply bludgeons its way into the base using raw brute force. However, unlike previous Angels, Zeruel actually shows direct antagonism towards human beings, breaking in and trying to kill the humans in the Command Center even though they were not a direct threat.
Zeruel also takes its time stabbing Eva-01 in the core when the Eva was completely out of battery power and immobile, instead of simply decapitating it or leaving it alone and moving on.
Armisael is confirmed within the show itself to be truly sentient. It's not certain how sentient previous Angels were, but Armisael clearly has human-level intelligence. The Angel was capable of communicating with Rei through her mind after merging with Eva-00, by appearing to her as an avatar of Rei herself.
Rei pointed out to Armisael that it felt the pain of loneliness, and Armisael seemed to imply that merging with other creatures was how it sought to end its loneliness: ultimately this may have been the reason behind its desire, indeed that of all Angels, to initiate Third Impact.