While the dense and mysterious overall plot of Neon Genesis Evangelion attracted viewers, it was the Angels’ weekly threats that made each episode interesting. Every time they logged on, viewers eagerly awaited to see what cool new designs the creative team had come up with.
So what makes a good Angel design? In addition to the overall effectiveness, there were some designs that really brought something particularly unique to the canon of enemies in the mecha anime, while others have thrilled audiences. Taking a look at some of these unique designs, it’s no surprise that Shinji was reluctant to step into the robot.
ten Viewers don’t see Sandalphon’s design clearly
Official art reveals that Sandalphon the 8th Angel has a stunning design with a lamprey-like mouth and spiky “hands” that add a truly frightening and alien quality to a relatively recognizable fish body.
Sadly, viewers of the original show were never able to appreciate these details. Sandalphon spends most of the episode in an embryonic state, and even when he “hatches” he is fought and defeated while still immersed in lava. It was a unique fight that helped strengthen Asuka and Shinji’s bond, but it certainly wasn’t the clearest one to watch.
9 Gaghiel’s design is a bit sketchy
There are certainly great design cues in the design of Gaghiel, the aquatic angel who attacks battleships carrying Unit 02 and Asuka to Tokyo-3. The elegance of her body, along with her two-tone color palette, suggests a manta ray, which is an interesting direction to take the design.
However, once in the water, Gaghiel’s design just isn’t that unique. With its huge shark jaws, it’s a good sea monster design, but not as odd as something like Sahaquiel, Armisael, or Ramiel. It is more suitable for Jaws than evangelization.
8 Arael is a literal interpretation of an angel
Appearing in Episode 22, Arael is one of the most unique angels in the series. Not only is he the only Angel to never enter Earth’s atmosphere, his attack is purely psychological, attacking the spirits of pilots rather than their mechs.
Despite – or perhaps because of – this, Arael’s design is far less surprising. With its bright, outstretched wings, it is perhaps the closest enemy to what an average person would imagine an “angel” to look like. It’s certainly effective, but doesn’t show the creativity of some of the other models in the series.
7 Sahaquiel’s design plays with color and shape
There is almost something cartoonish about the 10th angel, Sahaquiel, with his huge eyes, garish color palette, and protrusions that look like a cross between flower petals and a sticky hand.
It is exactly this weirdly brilliant design, however, that makes Sahaquiel so effective as an enemy. This contrasts brilliantly with the tension of the episode, as the characters wait for him to fall to Earth and plan a desperate, seemingly impossible mission. The Angel’s Scale also helps shift the design from absurd to terrifying, as seen by the sight of this huge eye looking at Earth.
6 Armisael’s design is truly heavenly
The effectiveness of Armisael’s design lies in its simplicity – it is a single shining ring of light. And yet, even this incredibly minimalist design is, in fact, a combination of two ideas: the halo image, which fits perfectly with the religious motif of the show and the idea of ”Angels”, and the duplicate structure. DNA helix, which alludes to this Angel’s ability to enter and modify the bodies of humans and Evas.
There’s no denying that the design is a bit weaker when Armisael unveils himself in his attack form, which is just a single glowing thread, and thus loses those two layers of images. The design team did their homework, however, and left the audience with a bold, multi-layered image that remained on their minds throughout the battle.
5 Ramiel has a very sharp design
Like Armisael, Ramiel proves that sometimes the simplest designs can be the best. It’s a huge, angular, geometric shape, completely without features that doesn’t even look like anything organic. This makes him even more alien than most of the other Angels, and therefore all the more threatening. It’s impossible to know what to expect from something that doesn’t even appear to be alive.
But what is perhaps most disturbing about Ramiel is that he is living. After his defeat, there is a shot of NERV dismantling his body, where viewers can see red blood under the other shell. Sinister.
4 Matarael’s design has viewers looking for bug spray
With his massive, slender legs and relatively small body, the 9th Angel, Matarael, looks a lot like a reaper or similar arachnid. This scaling of an already spooky creature works flawlessly, thrilling viewers as this angel scrambles through Tokyo-3.
And then Matarael’s “face” is revealed. His enormous eye, which seems even more human because it secretes its corrosive acid by “crying”, contrasts sharply with the insectoid aspect of the body. Human emotion and a terribly inhuman form seem to combine to create something truly strange.
3 Sachiel starts the series on a terrifying note
As the first Angel to appear in the series, it’s important that Sachiel makes a strong impression. So it’s no surprise that the creators of the series obviously put a lot of work into producing a fantastic and iconic design.
Sachiel’s design is one of the most humanoid of all of the Angels, which is a wise choice for the first episode – too abstract a design might have turned off some viewers. But details like the disproportionate arms and blank, soulless mask of a face plunge this design straight into the eerie valley. Add to that the creative way Sachiel’s blades are propelled through his arms, and the result is a surprisingly spooky design that provided great action for the first episode.
2 Leliel has two designs in one
What’s fantastic about Leliel’s design is that it consists of not one, but two concepts that are both well executed and complement each other perfectly. The huge, sweeping shadow is classically creepy, speaking of viewers’ natural fear of the dark, while the garish optical illusion-style patterns on the floaters provide an element of surreal horror.
This body is in fact only a shadow cast on the dimension of the real world by the Angel, who has created a dimension of his own. The public can truly believe that this is an interdimensional being. The intricacies of the black and white patterns create shapes that almost resemble eyes and a fanged mouth that have been warped as if being pulled through a wormhole.
1 Tabris, aka Kaworu, is as pretty as it is scary
Yes, the best Angel design goes to one that doesn’t look like an Angel at all – Tabris, the 17th Angel, given human form and the name Kaworu Nagisa in order to infiltrate NERV .
Kaworu’s design may be considerably less alien than his fellow Angels, but his success cannot be denied. His classic Bishonen looks are subtly rendered otherworldly by his silver hair and red eyes, giving him a mysterious beauty that would make him one of the most popular characters in the franchise.
NEXT: Evangelion: The Strongest Angels, Ranked
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