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Seven Questions the "Neon Genesis Evangelion" Series Didn't Answer

Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.

Although "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is unique in terms of story, it was also oftentimes a mess. Still, this series is a classic.

Although "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is unique in terms of story, it was also oftentimes a mess. Still, this series is a classic.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: A Classic Mess

I keep saying that I have a love-hate relationship with Neon Genesis Evangelion. There were times I thought I loved it. I mean, it is different, unique and a break from the traditional anime. There are also times that I thought it was a huge mess. I mean, how could an anime like this get so much attention? Love it or hate it, Evangelion is a classic. I liken it to an overly spicy meal, which is so good that it hurts. Yet there are several questions in the series that I’m really itching to explore.

Maybe someone out there has better knowledge on the series than me. Maybe they could answer why this enigmatic anime has some ambiguous twists. The ending is hard to comprehend, but the creators of the show apparently forgot to resolve several issues.

To be fair, unanswered questions are common in novels and films. They could strengthen a series by creating fuel for discussions or make them incomprehensible. In the case of the Evangelion series, it does both. These unexplained issues gave the story depth, yet it also made the series oddly confusing. Below are some of the questions the Evangelion series failed to resolve.

Adam, seen as the giant of light.

Adam, seen as the giant of light.

1. What Happened to Adam After the Third Impact?

What I didn't like about The End of Evangelion is its blurry ending. I loved the visuals and story, though it could have used a better climax. I did wonder what became of Adam after the Third Impact. He came to Nerv as an embryo before Gendo Ikari fused him in his hand. He meant to use Adam to initiate his own Third Impact and reunite with his wife Yui, only to fail after Rei refused to help him. Adam then manifested himself as a gigantic form of Kaworu, but this form died after Shinji rejected instrumentality. His fate is unknown afterwards. Did he die with the Kaworu avatar or continue to exist as an alternate form? I tried to scan the net for answers, but it’s clear that few cared about his existence.

Angel Ramiel trying to bore through Nerv HQ.

Angel Ramiel trying to bore through Nerv HQ.

2. Why Did the Angels Always Attack Tokyo 3?

This issue is quite intriguing. I never gave the matter much thought since I got to see giant monsters slugging it out. But then I realized that the world is vast and the Angels have other, probably better, places to terrorize. Why are they wasting their time forcing their way into a heavily fortified city only to perish in the hands of the EVA units? Kaji did state that they wanted to reunite with Adam, who was locked somewhere in Nerv’s bunker. But Adam arrived at Gendo’s desk halfway in the show, and the Angels were already keen on wrecking Nerv since episode one. The NGE2 game did offer a valid reason.

"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."

If that’s the case, they should have moved elsewhere. There is even a theory saying that the Angels mistook Lilith for Adam.

The Fourth Angel Sachiel.

The Fourth Angel Sachiel.

3. How Did Adam Generate the Angels?

Again, this is a part of the show that I never gave much thought. I did hope that there would be some resolution by the end of the series, but that turned out to be a big disappointment. At one point, I even wondered what the Angels actually were. I had to do some research to come up with answers. The Angels are basically Adam’s 15 children. How Adam exactly fathered them is another mystery. The show never made it clear; some theories suggested that the Angels are pieces of him that were blown off during the Second Impact. In the end, no clear answers were given.

Ikari Meeting with Seele.

Ikari Meeting with Seele.

4. The Motives of Seele

Nerv was meant to be the Earth’s protector, but what the heck was Seele doing in the show? Fighting the Angels and carrying out the Human Instrumentality Project were already being done by Nerv; all Seele did was stay in the shadows and shout orders. I found Seele to be creepy, with only disembodied voices and stone monoliths speaking for them. According to the show, they were Illuminati figures that controlled the United Nations. They intended to complete the Human Instrumentality Project, but what for? What would they gain from of it? It was a good thing that the NGE2 game offered a valid explanation. Seele aimed to merge with an EVA unit to form an immortal being.

Toji in the closing scene of the original Evangelion series.

Toji in the closing scene of the original Evangelion series.

5. The Fate of Toji Suzuhara in Rebuild

I loved it when they made Toji an EVA pilot back in the original Evangelion series. I thought he was more qualified than Shinji. Sadly, his luck ran out when his unit got infected with the Angel Bardiel and Shinji’s rampaging EVA had to tear it apart. Toji lost a leg in the process, yet he survived the incident. His fate in the Rebuild series is more ambiguous. He basically disappeared in 3.0. It's implied that he may have died since his fate was left unknown.

Shinji, Asuka and Rei.

Shinji, Asuka and Rei.

6. Only Children Could Pilot the EVA

If only kids can be pilots, then the world is damned from the beginning. There’s not much of a choice outside of forcing a wimpy emo teen inside an EVA unit. The show never made it clear why it had to be this way. But then again, this is a mecha anime. It all comes down on how well young pilots can sell to the audience. It has been a proven formula since the birth of big robot anime. There could be deeper reasons why only teens could be pilots, but those are all just fan theories. Just save yourself from the headaches and enjoy the show.

Who knows what this one meant.

Who knows what this one meant.

7. The Final Scene of The End of Evangelion

To anyone who has yet to see The End of Evangelion, there are spoilers ahead. In the closing scene, we see Shinji and Asuka as the only remaining humans after everyone melted into a sea of LCL. Strangely, Shinji is on top of Asuka trying to strangle her, only to loosen his hold after she touches his face. Asuka then utters the highly ambiguous line of “how disgusting” before the scene ends.

There are many unresolved issues in this confusing anime.

Similar to the fate of Adam, we never know what becomes of Shinji and Asuka after the finale. The same could be said for the rest of humanity. How Asuka did not become a part of the LCL goo is anyone’s guess. We never even know what Asuka means when she says “how disgusting,” or “I feel sick” depending on the translation. I tried to surf the net for answers, but all I found were fan theories. Some even say that people never understood the ending because it is just too deep for them, though I bet they never understood it themselves. I came to my own conclusion that the ambiguity was always intended and that the show really is extremely confusing!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Moon River on August 30, 2019:

Hello, I can answer all seven of your questions.

1. Adam's body went "nuclear" after the human contact experiment in Antarctica, which had a similar reaction to Rei joining with Lilith in End of Evangelion. Adam's body seems to have blown up during Second Impact, though his physical body is later cloned to produce all of the Eva units besides Eva-01. His soul was launched elsewhere, and both his physical DNA and soul are used to later create Kaworu Nagisa.

2. The angels always attack Tokyo-3, because they are trying to come in contact with Lilith, which is within the Black Moon, deep below Tokyo-3.

3. I am not aware of the *exact* way angels were formed, but it is obvious that they were born after Adam's 'destruction' in Antarctica. Similar to how Lilith inseminated life across the planet through LCL, Adam likely did this as well during Second Impact. After all, angels are Adam's offspring, just as humans and animals are Lilith's offspring.

4. The motives of SEELE are straight out of Kabbalistic cosmology. Their end goal is to fulfill the Dead Sea Scrolls and to force humanity to rejoin into a unified entity similar to that of Adam Kadmon (look it up, because it will also make Lilith-Rei make a lot more sense). They are Jewish mysticists, and they wish to make humanity whole again (as this is how they believe humanity once was, as per the beliefs of Kabbalah), so they can have a personal connection with God. SEELE wins in End of Evangelion (temporarily), because Shinji causes their plans to go into motion. However, ultimately, Shinji rejects Instrumentality and undoes their plans.

5. Toji is implied to be dead (that is at least my interpretation). As Rebuild of Evangelion is not over, I cannot say one way or another, so I am not even sure why it is on this list.

6. Not children, but young adolescents (around 14 years of age). Not any child can pilot it, though. Specifically adolescents that would have an innate connection to the soul of the Eva (Eva-01 has Shinji's mother's soul, Eva-02 has Asuka's mother's maternal half of her soul, Eva-00 arguably has Rei I's "soul", etc).

7. The final scene of End of Evangelion is largely up to interpretation and it is designed in such a way. However, the movie itself ends in an obviously conclusive way. In simple terms, EoE ends with Instrumentality being rejected by Shinji, which means anyone can come back to individual existence if they so desire. Then Asuka shows up, which implies that either she willed herself to come back, Shinji willed her to come back, or both. Either way, Asuka is back alive, because Rei retroactively inducted anyone into the macrocosm body of Lilith-Rei, even if they died (this is confirmed, because a visage of Rei shows up to both Misato and Ritsuko just as they are dying). As for Shinji's interaction with Asuka at the end, that is, as I said, open to interpretation. My own personal interpretation is that it simultaneously represents Shinji making sure he is no longer in Instrumentality, while also showing that Shinji and Asuka have, in that moment, switched dynamic. In other words, it is to show that Shinji has grown to be assertive and aggressive just as Asuka is, and Asuka has grown to show compassion and empathy, just as Shinji can. This is to show that they have both grown as individuals and have self-actualized.

Aleksa on December 27, 2018:

Only kids can pilot the evas because souls of their mothers are in each unit , for example yui's soul is in unit 01 and thats why only shinji can synchronize with it

Mamerto Adan (author) from Cabuyao on December 25, 2017:

Thanks! At least that made some things clear.

Bottleoff on December 25, 2017:

In Rebuild 3.33 we can see Shinji getting a Shirt that's too large for him, discovering it once belonged to Toji

In the original Manga and the Iron Maiden 2nd Manga it's said that an EVA would not accept any pilot born before the Second Impact