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Evangelion Unit-00 (零号機, "Zerogōki") is the first functional Evangelion unit created, serving as the prototype for the rest of the Evangelion series. Although never confirmed, the soul housed in Unit-00 is implied to belong to Rei I. See Unit-00's Soul.
Unit-00 is the Prototype, the first successful Evangelion, and is piloted by the First Child, Rei Ayanami. The head design is similar to that of the previous failed attempts, but with only one camera. There are two domes on the top of the head, one white and one transparent green; their function (if any) is never revealed. Unit-00 is the only one of the original Evangelions that is never seen without its armor (Unit-02 was revealed in The End of Evangelion, and Unit-01 on multiple occasions) or opening its mouth; thus the appearance of its organic body is unknown.
Unit-00 was initially colored orange like the previous prototypes, but its armor was damaged beyond repair by the Angel Ramiel's particle beam. The subsequent repairs and upgrades included blue armor plating in addition to other alterations made in order to make it more suitable for combat conditions (it retains parts of the orange armor in the manga).
The upgrades to Unit-00's armor make it look more like the subsequent Evangelions, but there are still several differences or actual limitations. Shoulder pylons are added to the Unit's armor; though similar in appearance to the ones on Units 01 and 02, they are used to hold retro-rockets, as seen in the fight with the ninth Angel, Matarael. Because it is only the prototype, Unit-00 cannot be fitted with D-Type Equipment. The true nature of the soul inside Unit-00 is never specified, but it is implied to be directly connected to Rei in some fashion. Unit-00 was self-destructed by Rei in order to destroy the sixteenth Angel, Armisael.
It was damaged during the battle with the fifth Angel, Ramiel, and later repaired and upgraded to the Evangelion Unit-00' (零号機改, "Zerogōki Kai"). It was destroyed during the battle with the sixteenth Angel, Armisael, when Rei activated Unit-00's self-destruct.
In the Neon Genesis Evangelion: ANIMA continuity, after the self-destruction of the unit during the battle against Armisael, its core was preserved and stored in Central Dogma. It was rebuilt using leftover parts from the original Unit-00 and F-Type parts and then repurposed as a specialized sniper unit: the Evangelion Unit-00 Type F.
- "Zerogōki" does not follow the naming system used for the succeeding Evas. Under that system Unit-00 would have been enunciated as "Reigōki" in the series, giving both mecha and pilot (Rei Ayanami) practically the same name.