Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives, and has a martial arts background.
I did a piece months ago on how horrible it is to die as a mobile suit pilot. The series never missed a chance to remind the audience that piloting a giant robot is nothing glamorous. Inside the confines of the cockpit, you will be flying into the battle facing the morbid possibility that anytime soon, you could be blown to pieces, burned to death, crushed, impaled, vaporized or get peppered by shrapnel. Sometimes you could consider yourself lucky if all you got is a missing limb. Fortunate still if you die a quick death, though your friends had to risk their sanity looking at your burned and unrecognizable corpse.
And how about being an EVA pilot?
People admit that Shinji had the rights to cower at the prospect of piloting an EVA. Intense training sometimes failed to protect the mobile suit pilots from a grim fate. And Shinji wasn’t even an elite pilot to begin with. He was just a school boy being forced inside the confines of the entry plug. And throughout the show he only received basic pilot training, and no mental and emotional health check. Is it just me or his father is trying to kill him?
Anyway, I always thought that Shinji was unqualified as a pilot, thought I tried to put my feet into his shoes. Hence, I list down some of the worst way someone will perish inside the bowels of the EVA unit.
Firstly, EVA Pilots Deaths are Lower
In terms of pilot casualties, the Evangelion series boasts the lowest. I still remember the relatively graphic deaths of Gundam SEED/SEED Destiny, while the recent IBO series included the unfortunate lead character as the victim. Even in Macross, someone must die to add drama to the show. Aside from the many nameless Veritech pilots getting blown to bits, Roy Focker was the one in Death’s list.
Yet the depressing EVA series had low pilot casualties.
In the original NGE, the only true “casualty” was the cloned girl Rei Ayanami (the second cloned formed) when she blew herself to save Shinji. Nevertheless, she was an artificial likeness of his mom and a new clone was on the way. Toji received a good beating in his first piloting attempt, but he only lost a leg. And during the notorious End of Evangelion, the loud Asuka survived the brutal end of her EVA, and yes, she lost an eye but still pretty much alive.
And most of the deaths came from the Special Forces massacre and the orange juice apocalypse.
If what happened in the EVA pilots happened in other mecha shows, the pilots are screwed. Yes, EVA units boasts safety features that other mechas lack.
As frightening as it is to get stuck inside the entry plug to face the horrors of the rampaging angels, being an EVA pilot is a relatively a safer occupation. The vast size of the unit itself serves as a protection in its own. A pilot is armored within layers of binders and flesh, and there is the entry plug that could be ejected it times of emergency. The pilots are also supported by an army of staffs who will monitor everything, including your health. And since they will be facing Angels and not armed mechas, the risk of getting blown and shrapnel injuries are greatly reduced.
But again, no safety measures are pool proof. People will eventually die regardless of protection, as what some not so pleasant incident had shown.
With that said let’s move on to the many forms of deaths Shinji and the rest faced.
1. Being boiled alive
Because the EVA units immersed its pilots in LCL, there are strange ways to perish inside its fleshy bowels.
We saw it, when Shinji first faced that floating abstract figure Ramiel. As his Unit 01 made it to the surface, the oversized ornament shot a high-powered particle beam that went straight through the building and nearly melted the EVA’s chest. Inside the entry plug, the intense heat of the beam basically boiled Shinji in his vat of LCL. Thankfully he survived and he was taken out of his potential entry plug coffin in time.
Being boiled alive is a nasty way to go. Burning a finger in the gas stove hurts a lot. Imagine that happening to your whole body in a cramped confine of an entry plug.
2. Ripped to Pieces
It almost happened to the loud mouth Asuka, and Toji lost a leg. The Angels come in odd shapes, and chances are one will come across a humanoid or beastly form. And if that’s the case, expect them to fight like an MMA fighter for a humanoid type, and a predatory animal for the beast type. We all knew how cage gladiators dispose their opponents with kicks and punches and submissions. Just look how Sachiel and the Unit 01 slug it out in the episode 2. The EVA almost lost an arm, but it went into berserk mode and gave Sachiel a good beating. Attempting to rip a unit apart had been the preferred way if the Angel presents a bestial form. And being in pieces was the fate of Asuka’s unit (in the hands of mass produced EVAs).
Thankfully despite having close calls, no one died in such horrific manner. It seems that the entry plug protected its pilots well, while the EVA units’ use of weapons minimized the chances of a closed quarter wrestling match.
3. Blown to Bits
I’m not sure how the second clone of Rei met her end. When she self-destructed her unit, it was either the explosion or the intense heat that finished her. What remained of her was charred corpse, that Ritsuko destroyed. The sure thing is, the LCL fluid will prevent someone from being barbecued inside their entry plug. They will just boil and perish. But when you are inside any working machines, be it mechanical and flesh and blood, when it explodes you will be blown with it. Just look what had become of Rei II.
4. Intense Pain
This is perhaps the shortcomings of the EVA technology. Why did the developers let the pilots experienced the pain if their units? Honestly, I see no practical application on the battlefield aside from extreme masochism. Yes, it meant to happen in the case of the EVA pilots, but feeling unnecessary pain is a potential handicap. It will debilitate, thus affecting a pilot’s ability to operate, and it could kill.
Again, Asuka was almost ripped to shreds when her unit was devoured by the mass-produced EVAs, but all I knew was that as her unit got dismembered, she just curled in agony in her cockpit. Nevertheless, she almost died.
5. Psychological Torment
One of those deaths unique to EVA aside from being boiled in LCL. Some Angels had this unique ability to mess your mind, as if they are Anno’s anime reincarnation. Arael almost drove Asuka mad when it rained her unit with beams of light, which was its way of probing deep into one’s mind. And before Rei II blew herself up, the Angel Armisael managed to connect with her mind.
Again, the direct attack on one’s mind is not lethal but could lead to death on some other ways. Asuka could have turned suicidal out of depression, and thankfully she was found naked in an empty bathtub just in time
Special Mention: Other Grim Possibilities
Again, no one got shrapnel injuries, but the possibilities are still there. Yes, EVAs are flesh and blood, but the pilots are still confined inside a steel entry plug.
Rei Ayanami got creamed during the testing of Unit 01. Her unit just went berserk but she was already in bad shaped when Gendo extracted her from her entry plug. Probably the impact of the crashing entry plug gave her all those injuries.
And again, this is an over-sized mecha we are talking about. People could get crushed during a brawl with the Angel, sometimes you could get impaled.
Did we miss anything here? If you know more EVA pilot tragic deaths, just comment below.
Happy Lee Chillin' on August 03, 2020:
Falling of the platform before entering your Eva.