"A Man's Battle" is the nineteenth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Shinji, horrified and emotionally devastated by the battle between Unit-01 and Bardiel and witnessing Toji's near-death, as well as Gendo's cold indifference to the situation, quits NERV for a second time. However, as he is leaving Tokyo-3, the Angel Zeruel appears, and easily defeats the other Evangelions. After speaking with Kaji, Shinji returns to NERV just before the Angel penetrates NERV Headquarters, and engages the Angel in Unit-01. The Angel succeeds in overpowering Unit-01 as its batteries expire, and blasts away the Evangelion's chest armor, revealing a Core identical to those of the Angels. As the Angel attacks Unit-01's core, Shinji pleads with the Evangelion to start working again. Unit-01 goes "berserk", re-engages and defeats the Angel, then tears apart and eats the Angel's corpse, absorbing its S² Engine in the process.
The episode opens with Shinji infuriated for his father's use of him to destroy the Bardiel-possessed Evangelion Unit-03 using the Dummy System on Evangelion Unit-01, and threatening to use the remaining battery limit of Unit-01 to destroy NERV Headquarters after he refuses to leave it. Gendo orders Maya to increase the LCL pressure to its maximum in order to take him out of the Entry Plug and Shinji fell unconscious.
After that, Toji wakes up in the hospital with Shinji next to him, and returns to sleep, and has a vision about Rei and Shinji talking about Gendo's behaviors towards Unit-03's situation. He then wakes up with Hikari next to him and Shinji has gone, and she tells him that he was asleep for three days after he woke up last time. From the shot, Toji's leg seems to be amputated.
Shinji is then taken to his father held with handcuffs. Gendo lists his crimes against NERV: disobedience, selfish possession on Unit-01 and using the Eva as threat to the organization. Shinji decides he doesn't want to be at NERV anymore. Gendo then orders to delete everything about Shinji and to replace him with the Dummy plug for piloting Unit-01. Meanwhile, Kensuke calls Shinji and asks why he left NERV and tells him about his envy towards him for piloting an Eva. The line then cuts because of the restriction that was put on Shinji. Shinji then goes to the train station to leave Tokyo-3 and meets with Misato, who tries to convince him not to leave NERV and tells him that she won't change his NERV password or throw away stuff in his room, Shinji tells her, in a very clear way, that he won't pilot the Eva anymore. Just as he is about to leave Tokyo-3, an emergency state is declared: A new Angel is attacking the city.
The Angel Zeruel is approaching the city from the air, the air-intercept system attacks Zeruel with no effect, to which Zeruel counter-attacks with a powerful energy cross that penetrates 18 of 22 armor layers before GeoFront. This aggressive and extremely destructive new enemy gives NERV very little time to prepare a counterattack. Rei is sent to pilot Unit-01, but the Eva rejects her immediately. Attempts to activate it with the dummy system also fail. Meanwhile, Shinji watches as Zeruel sets off multiple cross-shaped explosions, and questions his decision not to pilot again.
Zeruel breaks the last armor layers, and Asuka prepares to fight it with Rifles and Rockets to no effect. Zeruel unfolds his arms and slices Unit-02's arms, to Asuka's surprise. Asuka then charges at Zeruel armless, and Zeruel prepares to attack. Misato orders to cut the connections between Asuka and Unit-02 just before Zeruel cuts Unit-02's head and sends it flying, incapacitating Unit-02. Unit-02's head lands on the shelter that Shinji evacuated to, to Shinji's horror.
Shinji leaves the shelter and encounters Kaji in the GeoFront, who is watering watermelons, and motivates him to return and pilot Unit-01. Rei tries a suicidal attack with an N² Bomb in an attempt to destroy the Angel's Core, which results in failure. Zeruel cuts off Unit-00's head, incapacitating it as well. This angers Shinji and he returns to NERV. Meanwhile, Zeruel blasts the pyramid-shaped building, exposing the Main Shaft and descending to Central Dogma. Misato orders to evacuate. Just when Zeruel is about to fire, Unit-01 surprises it with a punch, and takes it out. Zeruel -during the fight, fires at Unit-01's left arm and cuts it off. Shinji returns the fight to the GeoFront with Misato's help, and when he’s about to remove the Angel's head, Unit-01's battery reaches its limit. Zeruel grabs Unit-01 by the head and throws it and fires on its torso, revealing its Core, and begins to attack it. Shinji's will to not let anyone die anymore, activates "Berserk Mode" after passing the synchronization ratio of 400% and awakening. After ripping off the Angel's left arm and using it to regenerate its own, Unit-01 mutilates the Angel with an A.T. Field attack of its own and proceeds to devour the crippled Angel, consuming its S² Engine and becoming the first “complete” Evangelion, supposedly an equal to God. After breaking off its restraints, Unit-01 begins to howl into the night as Gendo and Fuyutsuki confirm that Unit-01’s awakening is part of Gendo's plan.
- When ordering reinstallation of the Dummy Plug, Gendou states that it should be restarted from stage 108. The number 108 has significant meaning in many eastern religions including Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, adding to Evangelions wide spanning range of religious symbolism.
- As Shinji waits for his train, the electronic board above him switches from train information to emergency shelter information. On the Platinum Edition, there is Japanese above English. The English word 'emergency' is spelled as 'emargency'.
- As the last episode's English title, Introjection is also a reference to a psychoanalytical theory, in which the subject replicates in itself behaviors, attributes or other fragments of the surrounding world, especially of other subjects. Cognate concepts are identification, incorporation, and internalization. At the end of the episode, Shinji's soul became trapped inside Unit-01 with his mother's soul
- Toji's left leg has been amputated, although whether or not he lost his left arm as well is not clear from the shot, although his left arm is visible when he is hauled out of the entry plug.
- Shinji is more aggressive and decisive during the beginning of this episode than ever seen previously, showing that his concern for others is indeed much stronger than before.
- We learn about Rei's replacements in this episode, which will be shown in Episode 23 deep inside Terminal Dogma.