Spear of Longinus (ロンギヌスの槍, "Ronginusu no Yari") also called the Lance of Longinus is an extraterrestrial artifact with the power to penetrate any Absolute Terror Field and immobilize beings of god-like power.
The spear of Longinus resembles a long, red bident on an Evangelion scale. Its structure is twisted in double-helical shape (in its normal configuration). Most of its length is straight and composed of two strands which are tightly twisted all-together. At one end, the two strands unwind and form two massive tines. While the bident is the Spear's default shape, it also has metamorphic capabilities. When thrown at the Angel Arael in Episode:22, the tines wrap together to form a seamless piercing object. Upon encountering Arael's A.T. Field, the "flaps" of the Spear open up, revealing white, gill-like structures that seem to aid the Spear with self-propulsion under conditions of extreme resistance. Finally, the Spear's bident shape is perpetually altered by Unit-01 in Episode 26' when she separates the two helices, and the Spear takes on a form reminiscent of a horizontally elongated infinity symbol, ∞.
The Spear may be considered to be a weapon of "god-like" power. N² weapons have enough destructive potential to bring minor to moderate amounts of damage upon some of the weaker Angels; and Evas can use armaments against Angels after nullifying the Angels' A.T. Fields with their own. However, the Spear of Longinus is capable of piercing the active, unneutralized A.T. Field of any Angel or Evangelion, entirely by itself.
The Spear is not of Terran origin, having been created by the First Ancestral Race, an ancient extraterrestrial humanoid species. The one seen in the show is also not the only Spear of Longinus created: Every Seed of Life, including both Adam and Lilith, was sent with a counterpart Spear, meaning seven in all. At least one established function of the Spears is that of a "security device" capable of safeguarding the First Ancestral Race's plans should they somehow be compromised.
Spears of Longinus are technically alive and are even said to have wills of their own. The Spear featured in Evangelion belonged to Adam, whereas Lilith's is believed to have been lost or destroyed during First Impact.
Adam, contained within the White Moon, was the first Seed to land on Earth, at least 4 billion years ago. Before Adam-based life could be established, Lilith crash-landed on Earth within the Black Moon, the collision causing the event now known as the First Impact and apparently destroying Lilith's Spear in the process. Due to an unspecified law in the First Ancestral Race's plan, two Seeds are not meant to co-exist on the same planet, and it is strongly implied that Adam's Spear—as the only one remaining on Earth—took the initiative to subdue its own counterpart Seed. Adam remained in suspended animation for billions of years while Lilith-based life was allowed to develop and prosper.
In the year 2000, the Katsuragi Expedition unearthed Adam and the Spear in the Antarctic. The Spear was removed, briefly relocated to the Dead Sea region, and then shipped back to the South Pole in preparation for the Contact Experiment. After the experiment led to unforeseen consequences, the team attempted to wield the Spear against Adam to "reseal" it, but they failed. In classified video footage of the incident, scientists can be heard shouting off-screen that the Spear needs to be 'pulled back', and that it's "sinking in". Second Impact could not be averted, and, ultimately, the Spear appears to be responsible for causing Adam's retroversion to an embryonic state.
The Spear first appears in the series in Episode 12 under wraps as it is transported from the Antarctic to NERV on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. It reappears at the end of Episode 14 as Rei is ordered by Gendo Ikari to go into Terminal Dogma to insert it into Lilith, the result of which is seen in Episode 15. It remains there until the battle with Arael, upon which Rei once again descends to collect it from Lilith in order to destroy Arael, which was floating in outer space high above Earth's atmosphere.
Rei uses Evangelion Unit-00 to hurl the Spear of Longinus like a javelin into Earth orbit, and kill the Angel. The Spear exceeds escape velocity, and is lost from Earth's orbit, becoming trapped in lunar orbit, and eventually landing on the Moon. After being thrown at Arael by Unit-00, the Spear of Longinus issues a sound very similar to an Evangelion's roar.
It finally returns in Episode 26' after reacting to the awakened and freed Evangelion Unit-01. It proceeds to become an important tool for the Human Instrumentality Project and merges with the Eva, creating the Tree of Life. However, after Shinji Ikari rejects the process, the Spear is regurgitated, destroys the copies used by the Mass Production Evangelions and leaves Earth accompanied by Unit-01.
Replica Spears of Longinus
SEELE is able to create nine copies of the Spear of Longinus for use by their Mass Production Model Evangelions. The copies have most of the original's properties, such as its size and dimensions, along with its ability to pierce A.T. Fields, although they are bluish grey in color rather than red. Also unlike the original, they cannot be used to initiate Instrumentality with Lilith herself. Even after the original Spear was lost, SEELE felt they still had a chance, albeit more difficult, of initiating Third Impact, by using the replica Spears and Unit-01 (itself created from Lilith), though it is possible that even SEELE wasn't entirely sure if this would be sufficient (this remains unknown as the original Spear then returned to Earth).
The metamorphic capabilities observed in the replicas exceed that of the original: When the Eva Series are first sortied in 25', their Spears are initially disguised as massive, double-edged blades that bear no resemblance to their native forms. The weapons' true nature is revealed when one comes in contact with Unit-02's A.T. Field and, within seconds, responds by morphing instantaneously into its Spear shape. When the Spear copies are destroyed, they initially bubble up into LCL-colored masses with little lower bodies projecting out of them (as per Lilith on the cross). According to the storyboards, this substance actually is LCL.
Officially, the "double-edged blade" variation of the Spear copies goes by two different names. The script refers to them as 重い槍 (omoi yari), or "Heavy Spear". However, this term is rarely observed elsewhere, and 大剣 (ooken), or "Giant Sword", is seen in its stead.
In other media
CR Neon Genesis Evangelion
In the pachinko games Shito, Futatabi and Saigo no Shisha, the Spear of Longinus can be used by Kaworu in Unit-04 to dispatch of Angels under certain conditions.
Rebuild of Evangelion
While not yet confirmed to be officially called "Spear of Longinus", both identical- and similar-looking weapons appear in the Rebuild continuity.
In Evangelion: 1.0, Second Angel Lilith is impaled on an object identical in appearance to NGE's Spear of Longinus. In Evangelion: 2.0, four Spears of Longinus-like objects are present at Second Impact. The one impaling Lilith may be one of these.
The weapon wielded by Unit-05 is referred to as "Anti-Angel Extermination Weapon Spear of Longinus Basic Type (Pseudo-Restoration)", so while not a Spear in form, does seem connected to the other iterations of this weapon.
In Evangelion: 3.0, Kaworu and Shinji head into Terminal Dogma in order to retrieve both the Spear of Longinus and the Spear of Cassius. Kaworu realized however that there were two versions of the Spear of Longinus in Lilith's corpse. Shinji pulling them out with Evangelion 13 causes Lilith's body to explode and are both held firmly by Evangelion 13 as it begins Fourth Impact. Kaworu attempts to stop Fourth Impact by impaling both Spears into Evangelion 13 just before his death.
- To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise, a crowd-funded project aiming to send a mini replica of the Spear to the moon was started in 2015.
- The Spear is named after the Speara Longini (a.k.a "Spear of Longinus", "Spear of Destiny", "Holy Spear", etc.) a weapon that, according to Christian tradition, was used by the Roman soldier Longinus to stab Jesus Christ in the side to confirm his death at his crucifixion. Bearing the blood of the Son of God was said to, consequently, bestow the spear with supernatural properties, making it a much-sought-after artifact (in a manner similar to the Holy Grail). Over the centuries there have been many reports of the Holy Spear being rediscovered, buried in the Earth, most notably when the Spear was supposedly discovered during the Siege of Antioch in the First Crusade, becoming a rallying point for the besieged Crusaders and leading them to miraculously break the siege against all odds ("Holy-Spear" on Encyclopedia Britannica Online).
- In Japanese, the Spear is called "Longinus no Yari", with "yari" being translatable as either "Spear" or "spear". The translation "Lance of Longinus" is utilized by ADV and Manga Entertainment's localizations and is, resultantly, in prominent use by the English-speaking fan community. However, a computer display in 25’ (see image) indicates that the official English rendition is, in fact, "Spear of Longinus".
- The Spear was created in real life by webseries Man At arms.
Notes and references
- Neon Genesis Evangelions: Another Cases. Kaworu's Scenario, "Good End".
- Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 21'.
- Evangelion Chronicle.
- It is unclear why the Spear was still in Antarctica 15 years after Second Impact rather than being secured by NERV or SEELE years earlier.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 22.
- The script refers to them only as yari (spear/lance).