Also known as the AT Field, this is a forcefield first seen to be generated by the Angels and Evas in the anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion". According to NERV's explanations to the Japanese government, it is because normal weapons cannot penetrate the AT Field that the Evangelions are necessary to repel the Angels.

Later in the series -- and particularly in End of Evangelion -- the AT Field is revealed to have more universal importance.

Kaoru Nagisa explains it in Evangelion Episode 24.

"It is the holy region that must not be invaded by anyone. It is the light of the soul! You are aware of that, aware that the AT Field is the wall of the mind that everyone has."

We all (in Neon Genesis Evangelion) possess an A. T. Field, it is what keeps us separate from others and allows us to exist in a physical form.

A. T. Field

Abbreviation of "Absolute Terror Field". An absolute domain deployed by the Angels and Eva that forms a physical barrier. This field boasts enormous defensive power, and is able to greatly diminish the power of all weapons. The Evas' ability to neutralize A.T.Fields is a major reason why they were viewed as the only weapon capable of countering the Angels. However, not only Angels and Eva, but also humans possess A.T.Fields, and it is these A.T.Fields that separate humans from each other and give them their physical forms. Kaoru Nagisa described A.T.Fields as "the barrier of the heart that everybody has."

Source: The End of Evangelion : Glossary contained within The End of Evangelion - Theatrical Program.

What is an A.T. Field?

There are things we do not wish to admit to ourselves.

There are lies that we tell ourselves to keep our sanity.

There is knowledge so horrifying that our own subconscious suppresses it to keep ourselves from knowing it.

This is the Absolute Terror Field - the border of the mind that we dare not cross.

In the series Evangelion, the physical manifestation of the A.T. Field made the Angels undefeatable by conventional means. Only by breaking apart their own A.T. Fields and revealing to themselves the truth that lies within can the pilot of an Eva unit sunder an opposing A.T. Field.

And you wonder why Shinji is so terrified of that cockpit...

The Absolute Terror Field is a theme in what could be called the three modes of action in Neon Genesis Evangelion: the psychological, the metaphysical and the scientific. That the AT Field works in all of these spheres is not revealed until the final episodes of the series, and the fact that it is being used in such an expanded role may be missed by people distracted by classical music and explosions.

For the first 23 episodes of the series, the AT Field is mostly given as an excuse as to why the Evangelion units are needed at all, since the angel can only be destroyed by an Eva cutting through its AT Field. That the Absolute Terror is related to either the emotional difficulties of the characters or in what is hidden underneath Central Dogma is not revealed, although perhaps it is hinted at.

The first time the AT Field is mentioned as something to do specifically with humanity or with the human condition is when in Episode 24, Nagisu Kaoru reveals that the AT Field is "the light of the soul, sacred territory where no one should intrude" and that "everybody has an AT field". Over Episodes 25, 26 and the redone '25 and '26, a great deal of information is revealed about the AT Field, although again it is concealed amongst a great deal of explosions and classical music.

In short, the AT Field is the physical force that keeps a human physical together. Without it, they dissolve back into LCL, or amniotic fluid. This comes at a price: keeping together as a coherent biological individual with an ego border means that it is necessary to shut others off from your mind. And it makes the person incomplete, leaving a hole in their mind that must be filled. Which leads to the metaphysical (or perhaps simply magical) nature of the AT Field, the heritage of incompleteness that people have due to some catastrophic event in the past. The AT Field can only be broken, killing the body and freeing the mind, by using a arcane ritual involving all sorts of religious symbolism.

The consensus is that NGE grew in the telling, so that what was at the beginning of the series only a piece of jargon to be thrown around during battles with gigantic D8 shaped monsters became a complicated explanation of what makes human nature what it is. Again, Hideaki Anno is a very smart man.

The concept of the Absolute Terror Field is also not new to Western Magic, although they were a little confused about its exact form and function.

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