|Model Type||Test Type|
|First Sortie||Episode 01|
Evangelion Unit-01 (エヴァンゲリオン初号機, Evangerion Shogouki, or Eva-01 for short) is the flagship mecha of the Evangelion saga. Eva-01 is piloted by the series' protagonist Shinji Ikari and inhabited by the soul of his mother, Yui Ikari.
Eva-01 was produced by the Hakone branch of Gehirn as the Evangelion Test Type model. Unlike the other Evas, its body was generated directly from the body of Lilith, and is consequently referred to as Lilith's "offspring" or "clone." On a physical level, Eva-01 has the same characteristics as an Adam-based (i.e., any other) Evangelion, so the exact nature of its relationship to Lilith remains a subject of debate. Eva-01 received its soul as a result of the Contact Experiment with Yui Ikari in 2004, but was not "finished" until 2014. In Episode 01 Ritsuko tells Misato that the odds of Eva Unit 01 activating are "0.000000009%. "O9 System" seems like a fitting thing to call it". This is a pun in Japanese, so the English dub inserted an extra line clarifying this, with Ritsuko explaining that "O-Nine" is a pun on "Oni", the Japanese word for "demon". Eva-01 is also designed with a traditional "Oni" as an inspiration.
As with the rest of the Eva Series, it was ostensibly created as a weapon to be used against the Angels, and was the first Evangelion to face actual combat (against the Third Angel Sachiel). Eva-01 is infamous for going berserk and moving without any power supply (prior to the acquisition of the S² Engine from the Angel Zeruel). While Eva-00 has gone out of control before and Eva-02 goes berserk immediately before being destroyed, Eva-01 is the only Eva that has gone berserk in direct combat, to deadly effect.
Eva-01 is treated by the higher-ups at Nerv HQ, namely Gendo Ikari, with suspicious favoritism. Once all of the Angels are destroyed, Eva-01 becomes the key to both Gendo and Seele's scenarios for Third Impact, in which the former intends to use it as an "ark to save humanity from the nothingness of Third Impact," and the latter as a "medium" to Lilith, who has been rendered unusable by the loss of the original Spear of Longinus. The implication is that, by its unique creation, Eva-01 was intended as a "backup" for Lilith all along.
Eva-01 has a distinctive chest plate that resembles pectoral muscles, as opposed to the V-shaped chest plate seen on other Evangelions, and its pylons have a unique configuration as well. The reason for the differences in design has never been explained. The Eva's distinctive helmet visually evokes the horn and frill of a ceratopsian dinosaur.
Biologically, Eva-01 possesses two completely green eyes, with four nostrils situated between them. Its skin is dark brown (although much lighter on the arm regenerated from Zeruel's). Its forehead possesses an "Angel face" marking, from which concentric patches of gradually darkening color emanate. Its neck is depicted with rows of curious slits evocative of gills.
At the end of End of Evangelion, Eva-01 is seen to have hair, though Evas don't seem to have any to start with.
Eva-01's operational history is the longest of any Evangelion. It is the first Eva to see combat, deployed when the Third Angel, Sachiel, attacks. It exhibits the infamous tendency to go berserk from the very beginning, first when it moves its arm to shield its pilot, Shinji Ikari, from falling ceiling lights, and again in battle with Sachiel, attacking the Angel until it dies. It sustains moderate damage during Sachiel's suicide explosion.
Eva-01 suffers damage again at the hands of the Fourth Angel, Shamshel, which it defeats, and it takes down the Angel Ramiel with a shot from a positron rifle while being shielded by Evangelion Unit-00. The Eva takes part in stopping the out of control robot Jet Alone and in the defeat of Matarael and Sahaquiel.
In the same vein, Eva-01 brutally puts the Angels Leliel, Bardiel, and Zeruel to death. Then, after being sucked into Leliel for over sixteen hours, the resident soul of the Eva, Yui, makes contact with the pilot and the Eva goes berserk, moving without a power source and ripping open the Angel from the inside. Under the control of the Dummy Plug, Eva-01 rips apart the Angel Bardiel-infected Eva-03, and goes berserk again in the battle against Zeruel, killing it and eating the Angel's S² organ. Eva-01 remains grounded during the battle against Arael and sorties against Armisael to rescue Eva-00, but to no avail.
In End of Evangelion, Eva-01 sets off a cruciform explosion and is completely under the control of its resident soul from that point forward. It plays a critical role in Third Impact and Instrumentality, eventually floating off into space as a memorial for all mankind.
See also: Theory and Analysis:Yui's Agenda
Eva-01's soul is that of Yui Ikari. For this reason, her son, Shinji Ikari, was chosen as Eva-01's pilot. Yui's exact motivations for becoming the resident soul of Eva-01 are not completely understood, but it is known that she was against Seele's interests, and may have been in danger of being eliminated by them. Being inside the Evangelion allowed her to influence events far more than she ever could have as a normal person. Another possibility is that Yui may have foreseen the importance of Eva-01's role to combat the Angels, and chose to become the resident soul of the Eva in order to protect Shinji.
- Evangelion is from Greek, roughly tranlating to "Good News". Although this doesn't make sense with regards to the Evangelion Units, it is of thematic importance.
- Ririsu no bunshin (リリスの分身) is the original Japanese phrase used to describe Eva's relationship with Lilith.
- For more, see: Theory and Analysis: Eva-01 and Lilith
- It is unknown whether this is because it had not been successfully activated prior to Shinji's arrival, or if its physical body was incomplete until this time.
- Interview with Hideaki Anno, Aerial Magazine
- Ikuto Yamashita, The design concept is "Enormous Power Restained"
|Failed Evangelion Prototypes | Simulation Bodies|
|Eva-00 | Eva-01 | Eva-02 | Eva-03 | Eva-04 | Mass Production Evangelions (Evas 05~13)|
|Rebuild of Evangelion: Mark.04 | Eva-05 | Mark.06 | Eva-08 | Mark.09 | Eva-13|
|Eva 8+2 | Mass Production Evangelions | Failures of Infinity|
|Other: Extracanonical Evas|