The Candidate for Goddess (女神候補生, Megami Kōhosei) is a manga series written and illustrated by Yukiru Sugisaki. It was serialized in the monthly Wani Books magazine Comic Gum. A total of 26 chapters were collected in five tankōbon and released between 1997 and 2001. The manga was later translated into English and published in North America by Tokyopop and in Australian and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. The series was later adapted into a 12-episode anime series directed by Mitsuru Hongo and produced by Xebec, a subsidiary of Production I.G.
The plot of The Candidate for Goddess primarily focuses on Zero Enna, a brash trainee who has recently left colony homelife with his mother in order to pursue his dream of becoming an Ingrid pilot. Shortly after arriving at the G.O.A., Zero becomes lost and is subconsciously called to a hangar by a mysterious voice, suddenly finding himself within the cockpit of one of the Ingrids just before a Victim attack. As each Ingrid is specifically calibrated for their pilot, this would normally mean death. However, the Goddess instead links with Zero's nervous system and physically shows itself to him in a vision. After a few moments, the Ingrid ends the link with Zero, and he is pulled free by the Ingrid's pilot, who then takes it into battle with the Victim. Zero is rushed unconscious to the academy's sick bay.