On this third collection of Evangelion (episodes 9 through 11), Asuka commands most of the attention. Which is no surprise, considering that the young woman from Germany is still looking to prove she is the best of the three pilots. Her interplay with Shinji and Rei shows that her overweening pride is simply a mask to hide deeper insecurities, yet her fierce bravery is undeniable in these episodes.
The first of the three tales finds Asuka and Shinji pitted against an Angel (Israphel) who can magically duplicate itself when it is under attack. After a failed first effort, the two EVA pilots must learn to coordinate their efforts perfectly. Considering how little they like each other this may be harder than destroying the Angel. It certainly is funnier.
Next, NERV scientists discover an Angel embryo (Sandalphon) deep in the lava of an active volcano. Asuka, deprived of a chance to go on a class trip, is determined to destroy it on her own... If she can just get over the embarrassment of her special heat-resistant suit. Misato's determination puts Asuka in severe danger and the outcome is in doubt to the very end.
The final episode finds NERV headquarters in darkness due to human sabotage. Without power, Shinji, Asuka, and Rei must break into NERV to get to the EVAs before they can face an acid wielding Angel (Matriel) determined to liquefy Tokyo-3.
These episodes show the EVA pilots at their best and their worst. We do get a tiny glimpse of whatever it is that motivates Asuka's abrasive bravado, and how this balances and contrasts with Rei's calm acceptance and willingness to do whatever is needed. Poor Shinji, cursed with a brilliant but cold and distant father finds himself attracted and bewildered by both. Writer/director Hidako Anno again uses short glimpses, rather than long exposition to build interest. This enables him to accomplish a great deal of layering of story, development and symbol in the sparse context of the Anime medium.