Ritsuko -- Hod, the ultimate illusion of order
Essay by Stephen Chung
Akagi Ritsuko is not a person liked by many -- she is constantly behind only Gendo in unpopularity polls. Perhaps this is due to her dark appearance and perhaps, like someone would point out, "anybody who wants to destroy Rei deserves to be hated."
Ultimately, however, Ritsuko was a tragedy. Not only was she stuck in a hopeless affair with Gendo, she was destined to repeat her mother's actions and mistakes almost verbatim -- even though she tried desperately to avoid being like her mother, to the extent of dying her hair.
Truth and untruth (lies), the virtue and vice of Hod, practically define her. Not only was Ritsuko intimately involved with the "truth" of NERV, EVA and the Human Completion Project, she was also intimately involved with propagating the numerous "untruths" and deceptions throughout the show. Ironically, truth and untruth also formed the foundation of her ultimate belief -- that of science which is based on logic, a system of exclusively truths and falsehoods. So much so, that she showed signs of rigidity, the qlippah of Hod.
Ritsuko's personal illusion is the illusion of Hod -- that there is a fundamental order in the world, and that this order can be described and understood neatly with science and logic. Her achievements as a distinguished scientist was the manifestation of this deep belief of hers, while she obediently following the obligation of Hod -- learning. This fundamental believe in science and logic, however, also caused her to constantly stumble upon issues that were not "logical," such as the feelings between a man and a woman.
At the end, Ritsuko would realize that the illusion of order and logic was what it was -- merely an illusion. She would realize that a "logical" computer would choose her lover over her, and that her relationship with Gendo was based on a pack of lies (untruths). But it was too late for her. She certainly did not achieve the vision of Hod, which is splendor, although she aspired to it: "I fear no insults on my own self when I have him in my mind, but to know that he considers these empty vessels more important than me -- is the ultimate insult." She constantly aspired the splendor of walking together with Gendo as lovers in human's most important project at human's most important moment.