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Evangelion
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Third Impact

The Black Moon absorbing the souls of all human beings.

Third Impact (サードインパクト, Sado Impacto?) is a cataclysmic event occurring during The End of Evangelion after being anticipated throughout Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Profile[]

As the term implies, the Third Impact is the third of three major events on Earth involving the intervention of the First Ancestral Race. The purpose of the Third Impact was to achieve Human Instrumentality, the merging of all of humanity into a single life form. While this goal is nearly achieved, it is ultimately rejected and reversed under the direction of Shinji Ikari.

First and Second Impact[]

First Impact occurred in prehistoric times when the Black Moon, a giant spherical object, collided with the Earth in what is now the Hakone region of Japan. The collision caused an explosion that launched a massive amount of material from Earth into orbit. This orbiting debris eventually coalesced into Earth's only Moon. The Black Moon was the vessel that carried Lilith, one of the Seeds of Life sent out into the universe by the First Ancestral Race.

However, Lilith's arrival on Earth was an accident. When Lilith landed on Earth, the Seed of Life intended for Earth, Adam, was already on the planet. Adam had landed in the White Moon in what is now Antarctica. Having two Seeds of Life on the same planet violated an ancient rule of the First Ancestral Race. Under that rule, only one Seed of Life was allowed to populate any one planet at a time. Spears of Longinus, which can disable a Seed of Life, were sent to accompany each seed in order to enforce this rule. However, Lilith's spear was seemingly lost during First Impact. This meant that Adam had to be placed into suspended animation by its Spear of Longinus in order to comply with the rule. With Adam incapacitated, the progeny of Lilith, including humans, flourished. This denied the children of Adam, the Angels, their rightful inheritance: the chance to populate the Earth.

Billions of years later, a group of human scientists led by Dr. Katsuragi discovered the White Moon, Adam, and its Lance of Longinus in Antarctica. The so-called "Katsuragi Expedition" then attempted an experiment to merge human DNA with Adam. This merger reawakened Adam, who generated a powerful Anti-A.T. Field. This caused a massive explosion, which eradicated all life in Antarctica and melted the polar ice caps. The scientists used the Spear of Longinus to subdue Adam and revert it to an embryonic state, but it was too late. The damage was done. The melting of the Antarctic ice caps caused sea levels to rise around the globe, immediately killing more than two billion people in the Southern Hemisphere.

The worldwide rise in sea levels had massive environmental and geopolitical effects. War and ethnic conflicts broke out across the planet, as the nations of Earth faced intense resource scarcity and massive refugee migrations. When all was said and done, Second Impact killed half of the human population on the planet.

The End of Evangelion History[]

With the Angels eliminated, SEELE proceeds to implement Human Instrumentality. Its original plan was to use Lilith as a medium to begin Third Impact with the help of the Spear of Longinus. However, the Lance was lost when Gendo ordered its use to defeat Arael, marooning it on the surface of the Moon. Without the Spear, Lilith could no longer be used to start Instrumentality.

As the only Evangelion born from Lilith, Unit-01 was the only remaining medium to begin Third Impact. However, Gendo refuses to surrender Unit-01 to SEELE. He had been secretly using NERV to pursue his own version of Instrumentality and reunite with his dead wife, Yui. After Gendo declines their ultimatum, SEELE resolves to kill Gendo and use whatever means necessary to recover Unit-01.

The Pieces Fall into Place[]

Using the Magi computer systems at five other NERV bases, SEELE attempts to hack into the Magi system in Tokyo-3. If they could control the computer system for NERV headquarters, they could capture Unit-01 remotely. However, Dr. Ritsuko Akagi erects a firewall to defeat the SEELE hacking attempt.

Resorting to the use of force, SEELE informs the Japanese government that NERV intends to render humanity extinct by beginning Third Impact. In response, the Japanese prime minister orders the Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force to attack and occupy NERV Headquarters. The priority for the JSSDF mission is to kill the three remaining Evangelion pilots and take possession of Unit-01. JSSDF forces ruthlessly kill many members of NERV, even executing non-combatants and individuals attempting to surrender. However, a reawakened Asuka, piloting Unit-02, is able to destroy most of the JSSDF attack force. Abandoning the JSSDF, SEELE deploys nine Mass Production Evangelions to eliminate Unit-02. After a protracted battle, the automated Evangelions use replicas of the Lance of Longinus to brutally kill Asuka and render Unit-02 useless.

Major Misato Katsuragi is killed delivering Shinji safely to Unit-01. When activated, the purple Evangelion generates an A.T. Field so powerful that it manifests into wings of light. Shinji screams in agony seeing the brutalized corpse of Unit-02 below, and his extreme emotional rejection within the plug of the empowered Unit-01 serves as a catalyst for the Instrumentality process, summoning the Spear of Longinus on the surface of the Moon, back to Earth. It stops just short of penetrating Unit-01's throat.

The Mass Production Evangelions take custody of Unit-01. The automated Evangelions use replica Spear of Longinus crucify the purple Evangelion and impose the stigmata on its hands. The Mass Production Evangelions then assume a formation around Unit-01, and begin to overload their S² engines to create a vast Anti-A.T. Field, causing an eye-shaped explosion that engulfs much of Japan, exposing the Black Moon.

Knowing that his time to begin Third Impact on his own terms is limited, Gendo takes Rei to Terminal Dogma. He plans to merge the embryonic Adam, which he embedded in his own hand, with Rei, the vessel for Lilith's soul. Rei absorbs Adam into her body. However, Rei rejects Gendo's bid to dictate the terms of Instrumentality when she senses Shinji's screams, her bond with him superseding her loyalty to Gendo. After absorbing Rei, Lilith transforms into a gigantic white being bearing Rei's visage.

The giant Lilith/Rei ascends into the sky. The nine Mass Production Evangelions assume a new formation centered around Lilith/Rei. The automated Evangelions merge with her, each of them mutating to possess Rei's face, further disturbing the already fragile Shinji. The entity takes the form of Kaworu instead, which Shinji receives more eagerly. The Spear of Longinus penetrates Unit-01's core and Fuyutsuki observes that because Unit-01 possesses both the Fruit of Life in the form of its stolen S² Engine and the Fruit of Knowledge in the form of its pilot, it has become an equivalent to God. He declares the future of mankind now rests in Shinji's hands. Lilith takes the form of Rei again, and she asks Shinji what he desires. Overwhelmed by insecurities surrounding his relationships Rei, Misato and Asuka, the latter whom rejects him for being unable to care for others beyond his desire for validation, Shinji in his distraught state comments that both he and humanity would be better dead, rejecting individuality and humanity.

Third Impact Begins[]

Responding to Shinji's wish, the Lilith entity takes Unit-01 into itself, causing Shinji's rejection to manifest as an Anti-A.T. Field so powerful that humans are unable to maintain their physical form. Humans begin to disperse into LCL, while their soul is liberated. Every human soul is collected within the Black Moon by the Lilith entity and returns to the Chamber of Guf. There, the collected souls merge into a single life form, which completes Human Instrumentality. Earth is covered in an array of cruciform explosions of light, and is left red from the flood of LCL, barren of life. Gendo seems to fail to meet Yui in this liberated state, confronted only by Rei before his form is destroyed.

Though theoretically one with all of humanity, Shinji finds that while all humanity completes one another in this form, it is a fundamentally hollow existence. With that realisation, Shinji finds the resolve to accept the difficulties of life, and the risk of being hurt, for the chance to connect with people, separated even by the A.T. Fields as they once were. Rei notes that if others likewise find a determination to reject this mode of existence, they too can regain individual form.

Shinji's new determination causes the Anti-A.T.-Field to vanish, Lilith/Rei's body begins to decay into fountains of LCL as it falls to pieces. Unit-01, in its original form, bursts out of one of the entities' eyes and removes the Lance of Longinus from its core. Unit-01 petrifies, apparently to drift into deep space with the Lance for the rest of time.

The Black Moon deteriorates, eventually exploding. All of the souls contained within the Chamber of Guf are released and return to the planet's surface. The Mass Production Evangelions whither away and fall to the Earth. Pieces of the entity, including her head and hands, crash upon the surface.

The return of A.T. Fields allows Shinji to regain his physical form. He finds himself wading in a sea of LCL, in a barren red landscape.

The Post-Third Impact World[]

See also: Theory and Analysis: Final Scene in End of Evangelion

The area around what seems to be Tokyo-3 resembles Antartica after the Second Impact. Waves from a sea of LCL crash upon the nearby shore. Scattered ruins and the entities' decomposing body parts litter the landscape. A stream of LCL is seen throughout the sky, bisecting the full moon. The state of the world is unclear.

Shinji and a bandaged Asuka are the only humans to be seen, leaving it in question how many souls will reject the state of Instrumentality.

Rebuild of Evangelion': History[]

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance[]

The Near Third Impact is a variation of the Third Impact seen in the Rebuild of Evangelion caused by the awakening of Evangelion Unit-01. In the post credit scene, Evangelion Mark.06 descends from the Moon wielding the Spear of Cassius, stabbing Unit-01 setting it dormant and ending the near third impact.

Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time[]

Rebuild3rd2a

Evangelion Mark.06 holding the decapitated head of Lilith

The Third Impact seems to be what caused the world to become coreized and at some point Mark.06 and Lilith fused were involved with the Third Impact, but the trigger was the Near Third Impact (which is the reason why humans blame Shinji). It was stopped by the sacrifice of Ryoji Kaji, but most life on Earth was still ended leaving it in the state seen in Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo.

Rebuild3rd1a

Evangelion Mark.06 placing itself into the body of Lilith.

References[]

  • In English, Instrumentality is a reference to Instrumentality of Mankind, from Cordwainer Smith's sci-fi novels. In the original Japanese, however, it is referred to as 補完 (Hokan). "Ho" translates literally to "supplement, supply, make good, offset, compensate, assistant, learner" and "kan" to "perfect, completion, end". translate literally to "complete" or "completion". In many early fan translations, it is referred to as "Complementation". This nuance can be understood as the separate, individual egos of humankind being complemented by others. Alternatively, it can also have a nuance of "perfecting" humanity into a superior being. The "tuning" metaphor present in Death & Rebirth is also appropriate.
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