Model: Test Type
Developer: NERV Headquarters
Pilot: Shinji Ikari
Evangelion Unit-01, also commonly referred to as Eva-01, is the Test Type Model and the second Evangelion construct to be produced by NERV Headquarters.
Evangelion Unit-01 is very special in the sense that it was created specifically for the purposes of the Human Instrumentality Project, and unlike the other Evangelion Units, it was created from genetic material extracted from Lilith as opposed to Adam. Although still made in the image of Adam (similar physical attributes), its internal composition is rather unique. It has in fact been referred to by SEELE as Lilith's only true offspring.
Until the arrival of Shinji Ikari, the Third Child, the MAGI Super-Computer System calculated only a 0.000000001% chance of Evangelion Unit-01 ever activating. As a result, NERV personnel dubbed it the 09 (oh-nine) system, which is a play on words for the Japanese term 'Oni' which means devil or demon (see Analysis: The Devil).
Despite the odds, Shinji Ikari manages to synchronize and activate Evangelion Unit-01 on his first try, attaining a remarkable 41% Sync Ratio. He is able to do so because inside the Core of Evangelion Unit-01 resides the Soul of his late mother, Yui Ikari. She is believed to have been absorbed into the construct during a contact experiment in 2004 A.D. Since then all attempts to recover her by her husband NERV Commander Gendo Ikari have failed.
Evangelion Unit-01 is considered to be the most powerful yet unstable of the Evangelion Units, often moving unpowered and entering into what is referred to as a Berserk state. This autonomous activity always follows a situation of extreme duress of the pilot, Shinji Ikari, such as when his life is in danger. Due to this, it is believed that this Berserk state is actually induced by his mother's will to protect him.
Evangelion Unit-01's tendency to enter a Berserk state (often with vicious and disturbing consequences), is also seen as an allusion to Shinji Ikari's repressed emotions of anger and frustration, which he represses in every-day life. His answer to confrontation is to avoid it by systematically apologizing, even if the fault is not his. Combat inside Evangelion Unit-01 is on a subconscious level at least, Shinji's outlet for those aggressive emotions.
Evangelion Unit-01 becomes the first complete Evangelion Unit when it consumes the remains of Zeruel, the Fourteenth Angel, during which it is believed to have ingested the Angel's Sē Engine.
As a result, Evangelion Unit-01 is no longer dependant on external power supplied via an Umbilical Cable, and is later referred to by SEELE as a God, one whose creation they did not authorize. Following the incident NERV and SEELE become afraid of it, and as a precaution the use of Evangelion Unit-01 is suspended by NERV Commander Gendo Ikari. The unit is not re-activated again until the desperate battle with Armisael, the Sixteenth Angel.
Following its participation in the Human Instrumentality Project as seen in The End of Evangelion, Evangelion Unit-01 drifts off into space along with Yui Ikari's Soul and the Lance of Longinus. It is believed to be the only surviving Evangelion Unit following the incident, and is referred to by Kouzou Fuyutsuki as eternal proof that mankind ever existed.