Widely hailed as one of the greatest anime series of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion will soon be finding a whole new audience when it hits Netflix. From creator, Hideaki Anno, the series follows a group of teenagers tasked with defending Earth from extraterrestrial ("Angel") attacks.
The cult series from the mid-'90s reconstituted and redefined what a mecha series is with its twisted take on giant robots -- making them more like wild animals than unfeeling suits of armor. No two Evangelion Units are the same, which means there's some significant power differences between them. But which Eva is the strongest of all?
Poor Toji never stood a chance. This Eva Unit was the third of its kind, as the name suggests, and never saw battle until the arrival of the 13th Angel, Bardiel. Bardiel was able to infiltrate the Unit, wrangling control away from the inexperienced pilot.
Equipped with the Angel's infectious capabilities, the rogue Unit attacked Eva Unit-01, eventually forcing its pilot, Shinji Ikari, to rip it to pieces. Unfortunately, this means we never really get to see much of what the Unit can do on its own.
9 PROVISIONAL UNIT-05
We saw this Eva Unit briefly in Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. Piloted by Mari Illustrious, the Eva began as a normal, bipedal Unit before being converted into an unusual, multi-legged creature.
Its primary job is acting as watch dog for the imprisoned third Angel, and as such, it's not equipped with as many weapons or combat features as other Units, though it can go into partial "berserk" mode. Its battle with the escaped third Angel leads to their mutual destruction.
Unit-00 is where the Eva line begins, so it's understandable that it doesn't sit too high in the power rankings. It effectively serves as the cloth from which each proceeding Eva is cut, with each proceeding Unit trying to improve on the original.
It's unique in that it only has one eye and, being an older model, is incompatible with D-Type equipment. It can still pack a punch with its rockets, though. Unfortunately, it meets its end during a clash with the Angel, Armisael, when pilot Rei initiates its self-destruct function.
An Eva is more than just metal and LCL fluid, it's also the human sat inside of it. In the case of Unit-02, having a sheer force of nature like Asuka as your pilot makes overcoming technical limits a breeze, though both also suffer the consequences of Asuka's failings.
This thing is one of the deadliest of the Evas: specifically designed to seek and destroy. It's also perhaps the most versatile weapons user, able to wield a Progressive Knife, missiles and a needle gun.
Another of Mari's Evas, Unit-08 appears in the third Rebuild movie, attempting to prevent the Mark.0.9 from carrying out its covert mission. Not too much is known about the extent of the Unit's abilities but its chunkier exterior suggests greater physical strength.
Proving this, it manages to separate Mark.09's body from its head during their fight with just a pistol, a blow that should have been a killing one had its target not be packing some extra angelic powers.
Another Rebuild series exclusive, Mark.0.9 is famous for its intense battle with Asuka Langley in Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo, one which forces Asuka to abandon ship in the end once she realizes that self-destruction is the only way to win.
The Unit can rock the whole Headless Horseman look along with a giant Grim Reaper-style scythe. Just to show off even more, it can regenerate its missing head, mimicking Angel abilities. Referred to as "Adam's vessel," it's implied to be a close genetic match to him.
4 MASS PRODUCTION EVANGELIONS
In the original anime series and manga, these were the last Eva Units ever made, produced by SEELE in secret locations hidden all around the world. Nine in total were created, with the goal of initiating another Impact once the last Angel fell.
The winged, flying monsters are self-sufficient and extremely hard to kill, as Units-01 and 02 discovered. Only taking out the core can ground one of these birds for good. If that wasn't enough, they're each armed with copies of the Spear of Longinus.
The Mark.0.6, featured in the Rebuild films, is one of the most enigmatic Units. Constructed on the Tagbha Moon Base, it was piloted by the equally enigmatic, Kaworu Nagisa, and observed by Gendo Ikari to be an "unusual" Eva model with incredible potential.
Visually, its strength is signified by its halo and masked face, supposedly an allegory for God -- whose face is not meant to be seen. It plays a key role when the Third Impact begins, stalling the event by spearing the core of Unit-01.
Co-piloted by Shinji and Kaworu in Evangelion: 3.0, Unit-13 is also nicknamed the "Final Executor" by Gendo. (Its number has significant biblical meaning, too, referring to Judas.) This Eva manages to get the better of both Unit-02 and Unit-08; its near-impenetrable nature requiring more self-sacrifice.
It's very similar in look to Unit-01, except when it grows an extra pair of arms -- enabling it to use two spears at once. Sticking to this pattern, it also has two halos; hinting at its true nature as an Adam clone.
It's hard not to make the main protagonist's Eva Unit the strongest of the pack. While Unit-01 might not be the flashiest of the bunch, it does have truly unique features. It's the only Eva to have been created from Lilith and one of few to act without an umbilical cord.
It's perhaps more infamous for its berserk mode, which draws strength from the unholy nature of its source: the spirit of Shinji's own mother. Until it went up against the near-indestructible Mass Production Evas, it had an impeccable combat record, a feat that far surpasses what it should be capable of.