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Evangelion Unit-02 (エヴァンゲリオン 弐号機) is the third Evangelion completed, the first Production Model Evangelion. The design of Unit-02 supposedly rectifies the mistakes made during the construction of Prototype Unit-00 and Test Type Unit-01, making it the first Evangelion built specifically for combat against the Angels. It is piloted by Asuka Langley Sohryu and briefly by Kaworu Nagisa.
Unit-02 is a Production Model Evangelion and uses the same armor arrangement as the succeeding Unit-03 and Unit-04, along with the upgraded Unit-00'. All Evangelion using this arrangement have the same shoulder pylon design and five V-shaped armor plates on their torso.
This Evangelion is unique in having bluish-purple blood, blue-gray skin, and four eyes. (All other Evangelion possess red blood, and, for all non-Mass Production Evangelion, including Unit-00, two eyes and brown skin are the standard.) The eyes are a uniform fiery orange in color.
Although Unit-02 has a jaw and mouth, when armored these cannot open to the same extent as those on Unit-01, Unit-03 and Unit-04, and so there is no hinged jaw piece in the helmet. Instead, the helmet has movable sections that can shift to cover or uncover the Evangelion's eyes. Four prominent nostril holes are located in the bulging forehead section of the helmet.
An altered Unit-02 design was adopted for The End of Evangelion. Although visually similar to the original, the new design has more human-like body proportions, drastically reduced pylon size, and a narrower, redesigned head shape. The blades of armor on the lower arms have also been eliminated. Some of these changes may have been made in order to ease the animation of Unit-02's final battle, although they sometimes add a jarring visual discontinuity with the rest of the series.
The "helmet-popping" mechanism is eliminated in the movie version. Although Unit-02 is never seen opening its jaws while the head is fully covered (despite the fact that it roars and makes other vocalizations), the jaw piece, when exposed later, visibly has "teeth" as per Unit-01 and others.
As a Production Model Evangelion, Unit-02 is shown to be capable of using different equipment fits, like the D-type Equipment seen in Episode 10. In addition, Unit-02 has a distinctive progressive knife, the PK-2, that resembles a box cutter. Seemingly unique to Unit-02 is the needle gun, a rack of spikes in its right shoulder pylon which can be fired like missiles.
Unit-02's soul is that of Kyoko Zeppelin Sohryu. For this reason her daughter, Asuka Langley Sohryu was chosen as her pilot. However, only the portion of Kyoko's soul containing her maternal aspects was absorbed into the Eva. As a result, while Kyoko physically survived the contact experiment with Unit-02, she was driven clinically insane and had to be institutionalized, profoundly affecting her young daughter Asuka.
Evidence suggests that the remainder of Kyoko's soul was salvaged into Unit-02 following Kyoko's suicide. During the scene in Episode 25' where Asuka learns her mother is inside Unit-02, Kyoko repeats, "You mustn't die! You must live! You're alive!", several times. However, the familiar "Please die with me!" (as heard in the Episode 22 and Episode 25 flashback sequences) is mixed in twice among her inspirational words, suggesting that the insane Kyoko and the maternal Kyoko were incorporated back together.
Unit-02 was first introduced in Episode 08 of the series, activated to fight Gaghiel even through it had no combat gear apart from standard equipment and its progressive knife (the spike launcher in the right pylon is not put to use in this episode). The Evangelion is severely hampered in underwater combat but succeeds in prying open the Angel's mouth and neutralizing its A.T. Field, allowing two scuttled Iowa-class battleships to explode inside and destroy its core.
The Evangelion takes part in several other battles, acting in concert with Unit-01 to defeat Israfel, and then being sent into a volcano in specialized diving equipment to capture the Angel Sandalphon. The capture of Sandalphon fails, resulting in a battle with the Angel. Unit-02 loses a leg due to an exploding blasting bolt, and must be recovered from the magma by Unit-01. Unit-02 also takes part in the Sahaquiel run, and stabs the Angel in the core with its progressive knife.
The Unit-02's successful combat record in the TV series virtually ends at this point. The Bardiel battle sees Unit-02 being incapacitated early on when Asuka is distracted and surprised, having done no damage to the infected Unit-03. The battle with Zeruel is even more disastrous, with all of Unit-02's gun and rocket fire proving utterly ineffectual and its head and arms being cut off by the Angel. The Unit-02 is repaired and sent into battle against the Angel Arael, where both pilot and resident soul inside suffer from the Angel's mental probing. The synch rate between Asuka and Unit-02 is so low that the Evangelion is incapable of motion in the battle against Armisael and has to be withdrawn from combat. Finally, in Episode 24, Kaworu Nagisa controls Unit-02 externally and uses it to break through barriers on the way to Terminal Dogma and fight Unit-01.
Unit-02's final combat operation happens in The End of Evangelion, when Asuka is sent in Unit-02 to the bottom of the GeoFront lake, where it is subject to depth charge attacks from JSSDF forces. Eventually, Asuka comes into contact with the soul of her mother, Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu, which was, unbeknownst to her, inside Unit-02 all along. The Evangelion enters an elevated power state somewhat similar to berserk mode, with Asuka seeming to achieve an unusually high synch ratio. The Eva easily destroys JSSDF tanks, VTOLs, and the frigate in the lake, but has its umbilical cable severed during the fight and is forced to switch to battery power.
In the subsequent battle against the Mass Production Evangelions, Unit-02 severely damages all nine of them in a little over three minutes, only to be struck down by a replica Spear of Longinus just as its battery runs out of power. The MP Evas reactivate and proceed to mutilate and disembowel Unit-02. Afterwards, Unit-02 goes into a strange variation of the unpowered berserk state for the first and final time before being struck by eight more Spears, the last of which strikes the core. The dismembered corpse of the Eva is later seen being carried by the Mass Production Evangelions, and is ultimately dropped onto the floor of the Geofront, where it stares with dead eyes up at the events unfolding in the sky.
In the manga, Unit-02 plays a similar role as its anime counterpart at furst, however its role in the story and fate greatly diverge later in the story.
Unit-02 is piloted by Kaworu Nagisa in the battle against Armisael, during which it wields the Dual Saw (a weapon that debuted in Neon Genesis Evangelion 2).
As in the anime, Asuka pilots Unit-02 against the Mass Production Evangelion. However, both Asuka and Unit-02 are spared from dismemberment when Unit-01 emerges from the Geofront to take on the Mass Production Evangelion and is last seen engulfed in an explosion as Unit-01 and the Mass Production Evangelion rise in the air to begin Third Impact.
Evangelion Unit-02 itself only appears during the battle against the Mass Production Evangelions where it struggles against them before Shinji and Rei arrive in their Evangelion Unit-01 Type F and Evangelion Unit-00 Type F respectively to destroy them. The Unit-02 will later be upgraded into its Stage 2 form, the Evangelion Unit-02 Type II.
More about the development of the Unit-02 is also revealed in Evangelion -ANIMA-. A testbed body was first used to test the Unit-02 specification before switching to its current body. This testbed body was used in the development of the Evangelion EUROII Heurtebize and apparently contains part of Asuka's mother's soul.
The Unit-02 seen in the Proposal is labelled "Test Type" and has two hornlike cheek extensions, along with many other design differences observable at this point. The red color scheme is already present.