Evangelion is a story the sprawls the length of multiple films, anime, manga, marketing campaigns (that include real-life trains, curry house location apps, colognes, and lingerie among other things), and video games. So even the most hardcore fans can be forgiven for missing a few things here and there.
Fans new and old may not get all of the answers they’re looking for in this article, but anyone looking for a deep-dive on the secret and deadly twin organizations of NERV & SEELE(pronounced zeh-lay, not seal. Don’t expect them to perform Kiss From A Rose), need look no further.
10 SEELE’s Logo
Throughout the course of the anime series and the Rebuild series of films SEELE has two logos, which seem very similar, but hold some crucial differences. In the anime, SEELE’s logo is a seven-eyed rainbow-colored upside triangle with a line directly bisecting it. The seven eyes, which fans might remember, SEELE took from the seven-eyed angel, Lilith, whom they have captured.
The Rebuild series, however, includes the addition of a serpent wrapped around an apple (obvious Judeo-Christian references) along with the German, “Überm Sternenzelt richtet Gott, wie wir gerichte” a quote from the German poet Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode To Joy”, which translates to “ As above the starry firmament God judges, as we judged.”
9 NERV’s MAGI Supercomputers
A vast and powerful agency like NERV doesn’t simply run on its own. It takes many dedicated people and systems to make something like NERV work. Very early in NERV’s history, before it was even called NERV, in fact, Dr. Naoki Akagi created a system of computers based on different aspects of her own personality.
MAGI-1, or Melchior as it would be called, took the aspects of Dr. Akagi as a scientist. MAGI-2 (or Balthasar) took on the aspects of Dr. Akagi as a mother. And lastly, MAGI-3 (or Casper) took on the attributes of Dr. Akagi as a mother. These three systems would control how NERV is run, the systems that make use of the EVAs possible and so much more.
8 SEELE’s Plan
While SEELE has fooled the United Nations along with the rest of the planet into thinking that NERV will bring salvation to a world devastated by the second impact and the subsequent angel onslaught, their true intentions are much more insidious than that.
With the help of the EVA, the angels and the seeds of life, SEELE plans to bring about the third impact and the human instrumentality. While the rest of the planet is dissolved into an egoless ocean of tang, the members of SEELE hope to implant their souls into an EVA shell and become a god-like being, leaving the rest of humanity in their wake.
Dick move, SEELE. Dick move.
7 NERV International
While much of Evangelion is focused on NERV HQ in Tokyo-03 where the angels focus many of their attacks, NERV actually has establishments all across the globe. NERV has branches across America, the first of which is located in Massachusetts. This is where EVA Unit-03 was created.
The second resides somewhere in Nevada, which is where EVA Unit-04 was created while the last branch is located in Germany, which is home to EVA Unit-02. This is also the same location where Asua was trained to use EVA Unit-02.
6 SEELE’s Mission Statement (Aka The Dead Sea Scrolls)
SEELE was originally founded as a religious group, which granted them large sums of money with which they hoped to discover artifacts that would unlock the secrets of the universe. Over time, many of these artifacts were released, having been proven more or less useless for their true purposes.
However, of the many artifacts that SEELE managed to recover, The Dead Sea Scrolls would prove the most important. These scrolls (or instructions, rather) would teach SEELE everything the needed to know about the seeds of life, the spear of Longinus, and even the times and locations which angels would appear.
5 Nerv Is Gehirn
While NERV eventually became a large international agency funded by the United Nations, it wasn’t always called NERV. Before the MAGI supercomputers, the Evangelion and the fancy HQ in Tokyo-03, NERV was an organization that went by another name: Gehirn.
Though there are many similarities between the eventual NERV and Gehirn, there are quite a few differences as well. For instance, while NERV is a semi-public organization funded by the UN, Gehirn was an organization that was kept entirely in the shadows.
4 The Powers Of SEELE
As previously stated, SEELE has been around for a long, long time. While they originally began as a religious sect, they quickly came to the realization that in order to amass the kind of control and power that they desired, they’d have to go much further than that. SEELE could be interchangeable with any number of secret organizations.
Organizations like the Freemasons and the Illuminati share the same covert quest for all-encompassing power that SEELE has undertaken since its inception. This is a group that controls the planet from the shadows. Wars, religions, and even the angel attacks are all part of SEELE’s master plan. And once they’re down with Earth they hope to make the galaxy their next target.
3 NERV’s Plan (Aka The Gendo Ikari Solution)
At this point, it’s pretty common knowledge that while NERV was meant to save the world from the angels on paper, there was something far more insidious going on behind the scenes. While SEELE and the members within plotting to bring about the Third Impact in order to make the human instrumentality in order to become the god-like being they so hope to be, Gendo Ikari had a very similar, yet very different idea.
Pretending to follow along with SEELE’s plan, Gendo actually hopes to reunite with his departed wife, Yui through the Third Impact while rejecting the instrumentality. He doesn’t want to destroy humanity, turn it into a puddle of tang or anything like that; he simply wishes to see reunite with the love of his life. In a very complex world, Gendo Ikari’s wish is perhaps the most simple and understandable aspect of the series.
Saying that SEELE is mysterious is almost as much of an understatement as saying that the whole of Evangelion is confusing. SEELE is so mysterious that it’s not even verified how many members of SEELE there are. At different times throughout the series, there have been as little as seven members and as many as twelve.
While most of the members’ identities may be little more than giant obelisks, fans are aware of the identity of SEELE-01, Keel Lorenz. Keel is both the leader of SEELE and the chairman of the Human Instrumentality project subgroup within SEELE. Through the UN he works to support NERV, and in turn, the human instrumentality project.
1 NERV Is Semi-Public & Semi-Controlled
While the United Nations may assume that their money buys them the loyalty of NERV, the organization meant to save the world, they would be mistaken. As mentioned previously (several times, in fact) NERV is not exactly on the side of life.
Though their original mission is one meant to protect humanity from the powerful and frightening angels, their purpose has been corrupted by SEELE and their quest to become the new god of their world. With the power of the EVA, the seeds of life, and the knowledge they received from the Dead Sea Scrolls, SEELE has managed to take full control of not only NERV but the world itself. Or so they think.