Japanese Title: せめて、人間らしく (Semete, Ningenrashiku) (At Least Be Humane)
English Sub-Title: Don't Be
Airdate: February 28, 1996
Note: This article is based on the Director's Cut version of the episode, which contains several minutes of additional footage not found in the original on-air version.
The Night Before Episode 8...
Asuka Langley Sohryu and Ryoji Kaji are lying on the deck of one of the naval vessels transporting Evangelion Unit-02 from Germany to Japan. Asuka comments that by this time tomorrow they will be in Japan. She mentions that before he came along, Misato Katsuragi was stationed in Germany, but she did not like her very much. Kaji, who is lost in thought, assures her not to worry, and that she will have plenty of time to find a boyfriend. Asuka confesses she loves him and no one else, but Kaji does not take her seriously, commenting that she is still a child.
10 Years Ago (2005) Germany...
A young Asuka watches her insane mother Kyouko Zeppelin Sohryu speak to a doll, believing the doll to be her daughter, and ignoring Asuka altogether. Asuka stares emotionless, clutching the severed head of a doll in her hand. Upon her mother's death, Asuka declares that she will not cry, that she must be strong.
Present Time (2015) NERV Headquarters...
Ritsuko Akagi tells Asuka that her Sync Ratio is down by another 8 points, instructing her to stop thinking about anything else and concentrate. Asuka cries out that she is trying. As the test continues, Maya Ibuki quietly says that Asuka's Sync Ratio is going down, asking what that means. Ritsuko replies that it means trouble, because they do not have a spare. She then suggests they focus on repairing Evangelion Unit-00, for they cannot afford to waste time on a unit they may not be able to use.
NERV Operations Director Misato Katsuragi stands facing Evangelion Unit-01, thinking to herself that the Evangelion Units were made from an Angel to fight the Angels, and that only mankind would be so foolish as to attempt to harness the engine of their own destruction. She then comments that she hates the Evas. As she ponders if their revenge is worth this, she is interrupted by First Lieutenant Makoto Hyuga.
On the surface of the Geo Front, on a bench overlooking the NERV Headquarters pyramid, Makoto secretly informs Misato that construction has begun on Evangelion Units
At a local train station, Asuka attempts to call Kaji on her cell phone, but the number had been disconnected. She then spots Shinji Ikari with Rei Ayanami in the crowd. Visibly upset at Shinji's casual behavior after being stuck inside Evangelion Unit-01 for a month, she curses him, saying she will not lose to him again.
Back at the apartment, Asuka, Shinji, and Misato are having dinner. The gloomy silence is interrupted when he phone rings, a call from Germany for Asuka. After the conversation, Asuka explains that it is only a routine communication with her step-mother, just for show. She begins to explain that she does not hate her, but quickly realizes that she does not want Shinji's sympathy, and instead insults him.
Later that night, alone in the bathroom a nude Asuka watches the water flow from the tub. She thinks to herself that she does not want to use the same tub Shinji or Misato have used, that she does not want to use the same toilet, or even breathe the same air as those two breathe. As she continues down this line of thought, she begins yelling that she hates stupid Shinji, that she hates her father, and most of all, she hates herself. She breaks down emotionally, screaming why she has to do this. Meanwhile Misato sits quietly in her room, with a disturbingly calm yet worried expression on her face.
The next day another test shows Asuka's Sync Ratio to have dropped yet again. Ritsuko Akagi says her score is pathetic, to which Misato explains Asuka is not feeling well today, and is having her period. But Ritsuko is not fooled, commenting that Sync Ratios are not affected by such physical conditions. She then explains that it must be something deeper, something in her sub-conscious. Ritsuko thinks to herself that they may have to replace the pilot of Evangelion Unit-02.
Later that day Ritsuko and Misato discuss Asuka. Ritsuko explains that Asuka's pride had been badly damaged in the incident with Zeruel. Misato adds that even worse, Asuka feels she was beaten by Shinji. She then wonders if they should stop living together. Ritsuko sarcastically asks if her perfect little family is falling apart, to which an annoyed Misato snaps back that she does not have to take that from someone who fills the holes in her life with cats. She quickly apologizes, noting that she is just upset.
Meanwhile Asuka is in the washroom holding her stomach. She cries out why she has to suffer like this just because she is a girl, and it is not as if she wants to have children (she is referring to her period). Shortly afterwards she finds herself in an elevator with Rei Ayanami. After a long, uncomfortable silence, Rei tells Asuka that if she does not open her mind, her Evangelion Unit will not move. An already irritated Asuka becomes defensive, to which Rei says that the Evas have their own minds. Asuka dismisses the comment, saying that now she knows something is up when wonder girl starts giving her advice. She then bursts out that NERV does not need them anymore, now that they have invincible Shinji. Asuka then accuses Rei of being an emotionless doll, saying that she would kill herself if the Commander told her to. Rei simply replies of course, after which Asuka slaps her.
The next day an annoyed Asuka stands facing Evangelion Unit-02. She proceeds to tell it that it is her doll, and that she (Evangelion Unit-02) will do as she tells her to. She then asks why a weapon needs a mind anyway. After the conversation, Asuka declares this whole thing to be stupid. Just then, alarms fill the air.
Arael, the Fifteenth Angel, is discovered in orbit. The NERV Command Center, while able to track the Angel, realize it is out of their range, and there is nothing they can do at this distance. Misato Katsuragi comments that the Evangelion Units are not designed for combat in orbit. She then orders Evangelion Unit-00 to prepare for a long-range sniper attack similar to the one used against Ramiel, the Fifth Angel.
Asuka however, becomes upset and irrational when told to backup Rei Ayanami, and instead launches in Evangelion Unit-02 without authorization. While the Command Center attempts to recall her, Misato says not to bother, and to let her do it. Ritsuko says that if Asuka screws this up, she will never pilot again. Makoto Hyuga asks why not use Evangelion Unit-01, to which Misato replies that it is still under lockdown as per Commander Gendo Ikari's orders.
On the surface of New Tokyo-3, Evangelion Unit-02 and Asuka take aim at the Angel in high orbit. Just as she mocks it for being too slow, beckoning it to come and fight, a beam of light erupts from the Angel. The beam engulfs Evangelion Unit-02, and while similar to a particle beam cannon, no thermal emissions are detected.
Ritsuko realizes it must be a new way of projecting an AT Field; while not causing physical harm, it is nonetheless penetrating Asuka's ego border and causing mental contamination. In a panic Asuka discharges her weapon wildly until it runs out of ammunition. She screams in pain as the Angel invades her mind.
Rei Ayanami inside Evangelion Unit-00 takes position on the surface, aiming her own beam cannon at Arael. Within moments, the beam cuts through the sky, but just as it nears the Angel, it is dispersed by its powerful AT Field. Ritsuko orders to prioritize the life support system to prevent further damage to Asuka. She then theorizes the Angel is trying to learn about the human mind.
The next several minutes show an in-depth view into Asuka's mind, focusing on her traumatic childhood, including her mother's suicide and Asuka's reaction. Asuka is heard screaming for the Angel not to show her these things, that these are memories she worked hard to forget. Eventually her mind enters into an unstable loop. Back inside Evangelion Unit-02, Asuka cries out for Kaji, saying that her mind is being defiled. Moments later Evangelion Unit-02 ceases activation, and its life support system crashes.
Misato considers airlifting Evangelion Unit-00 closer to the Angel, but realizes it would not work. As she attempts to find options, Shinji inside Evangelion Unit-01 asks to be allowed to sortie, and that Asuka may die otherwise. Kouzou Fuyutsuki is quick to deny the request, saying the Angel's ability to invade a pilot's mind is too dangerous to allow Evangelion Unit-01 to launch.
Gendo agrees, and says Evangelion Unit-01 must not come in contact with the Angel. Instead, he orders Rei to enter Terminal Dogma and retrieve the Lance of Longinus. Both Misato and Kouzou protest for their own reasons, but Gendo explains there is no other way to destroy an Angel from this distance. Misato realizes that if this will not cause the Third Impact, the cause of the Second Impact must also have been a lie.
Evangelion Unit-00 descends into Terminal Dogma, and proceeds to pull the Lance of Longinus from the chest of the crucified white giant (Lilith). Meanwhile Kouzou pleads for Gendo to reconsider, as SEELE will not stand for this. Gendo explains that the need is his justification, to which Kouzou replies that he is just looking for a convenient excuse.
Evangelion Unit-00 with the Lance of Longinus arrives on the surface of New Tokyo-3. With Arael still holding position in high orbit, Rei launches the Lance of Longinus at it.
In an instant, the lance converges into a single tip, splitting the sky. As it arrives in orbit, Arael attempts to stop it using its AT Field. It fails, and the lance impales Arael, destroying it. While Evangelion Unit-02 is released, the Lance of Longinus reaches escape velocity and moves into lunar orbit. Kouzou is informed there are no methods available for retrieving an object of such mass.
As Evangelion Unit-02 is retrieved, Asuka is placed in quarantine. A concerned Shinji attempts to comfort her, but the emotionally unstable Asuka lashes out, crying that she would have rather died than be rescued by that doll Rei. She then calls out that she hates her, and that she hates him too.