Evangelion
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Evangelion

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The fate of man... The hope of man is written in sorrow.
—Kaworu Nagisa

Kaworu Nagisa (渚 カヲル[?], "Nagisa Kaworu"), also known as Tabris, is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He is the Fifth Child and the seventeenth Angel.

Sent to NERV by SEELE as a replacement pilot for Unit-02 after Asuka's synchronization ratio falls below usability, he breaks into Terminal Dogma in order to return to Adam, but after he discovers the being there is actually Lilith, he allows Shinji to destroy him.

He and Rei appear in The End of Evangelion during Third Impact, communicating with Shinji in regard to the future of humanity and the choice of whether to accept or reject Instrumentality.

Story

Kaworu stands before Lilith.

Kaworu is first seen in episode 24, sitting on a stone amongst wreckage due to the previous battle with Armisael, the Sixteenth Angel. Shinji is present, confused and frustrated about what to do since all of his friends have evacuated the city, Asuka is mentally distressed and in a ward, and Rei appears to not remember recent events. Kaworu abruptly tells Shinji that music is beautiful after he stops humming, and begins conversing with him in a kind manner, referring to him as "Mr. Ikari". After Shinji asks him how he knows who he is, Kaworu tells Shinji he is "rather ignorant of (his) own position".[1]

Following their initial meeting, Kaworu accompanies Shinji to a NERV bathing room. While sitting together in the bath, the boys display a degree of comfort around one another. At one point, Kaworu places his hand on Shinji's, who allows Kaworu's hand to linger on his own, Kaworu then proclaims he likes Shinji. At the end of the bathhouse scene, Shinji tells Kaworu that he needs to go to bed, to which Kaworu is confused and asks if they will go together, to which Shinji is quick to decline, though he does spend the night at Kaworu's apartment, sleeping on the floor beside Kaworu's bed, afraid of going to his own home and facing Misato, and with Asuka having disappeared.[2] Shinji feels comfortable talking about his past to Kaworu, who then asks him if Shinji dislikes other people. Shinji explains that he doesn’t care, but that he does hate his father. He internally reflects on why he shared this with Kaworu.

After the NERV staff become suspicious of Kaworu's high synchronization rates with Unit-02, and Misato and Hyuga learn that he can set his synch rate to anything he wants, an alert is issued that Unit-02 has activated without a pilot inside, and someone is descending towards Terminal Dogma; it is Kaworu, who is identified as the 17th and final Angel. Shinji is placed into Unit-01 and pursues Kaworu, who manipulates Unit-02 to slow down Shinji in Unit-01. Shinji apologizes to Asuka as he is fighting her by proxy.

Kaworu asks for Shinji to kill him.

Kaworu proceeds to Terminal Dogma, and after activating the door to open and entering, appears to reach an understanding that the giant crucified there is in fact not Adam, but rather Lilith. After Shinji defeats Unit-02, Kaworu allows Shinji to grasp him in Unit-01's hand. Shinji is hurt that Kaworu betrayed him just like (his) father did[3] and lied to him about his identity after befriending him, but is still resistant to killing him. However, Kaworu tells Shinji that his life is complete and had more meaning after meeting him, and requests to be killed, claiming that to choose how one dies is the only true freedom. Following an extended period of silence, Shinji grants his request.

In The End of Evangelion, the Mass Production Evangelion's Dummy Plugs are prominently marked "KAWORU", suggesting that SEELE was in possession of clones of Kaworu just as NERV was in possession of clones of Rei for the Dummy Plug system for the original Evas.

Kaworu first appears in The End of Evangelion as the Human Instrumentality Project is being initiated. At first, when the giant Lilith/Rei appears to Shinji, he is terrified by it. It then transforms into Kaworu, which calms Shinji down. Rei then turns back to her original self as Yui tells him that she represents his hopes and dreams. As Shinji is asked what he wishes for, he has visions of woman's breasts being clutched, and then initially enters Instrumentality. Kaworu reappears when Gendo is confronted by Yui while Instrumentality takes place, accusing Gendo of running away from the world before getting hurt, before Gendo is killed by an apparition of Unit-01.

Later, Kaworu and Rei appear to Shinji and ask him about the future of humanity and if he wants he wants to accept Instrumentality or not. Shinji, however, says that this is merely a pretense and that he wishes to return to reality, because at least there he will know his feelings are real.

Profile

Kaworu[4] (渚カヲル) is both the 17th Angel and the Fifth Child. Although classified as an Angel, Kaworu is similar to Rei Ayanami in being a Seed of Life that inhabits a human body. Despite his human form, Kaworu does not seem to consider himself to be human, referring to humans as "the Lilin" in differentiation from himself.

Kaworu appears humming the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, the same music that plays during his descent into Terminal Dogma and so serves as a leitmotif for his character. The Ninth Symphony itself incorporates an adaptation Friedrich Schiller's Ode to Joy (Ode an die Freude), a poem dedicated to the unity of all men under God. The moment Kaworu opens the doors to Terminal Dogma is in synch with the line "Und der Cherub steht vor Gott"- "And the Cherub (Angel) stands before God".

Kaworu's body appears to have been created as a result of the Contact Experiment with Adam, wherein DNA from an unknown human donor dove into and fused with Adam's flesh,[5] explaining Hyuga's discovery that Kaworu was "born" on the day of Second Impact.[6] SEELE salvaged Adam's disembodied soul into Kaworu,[7][8] whom they may have recovered in embryonic form in Antarctica.[9]

Kaworu's origin from Adam, only intimated in the anime, is flatly stated in Sadamoto's manga.[10] Since Kaworu was delivered to NERV by SEELE, it is believed that Kaworu has been living under SEELE's surveillance prior to his appearance in the series.

Kaworu is brought to NERV as the Fifth Child to replace Asuka,[11] who is no longer able to pilot Unit-02. He is only able to pilot Unit-02 whilst its soul is in hiding. In his first test, Kaworu immediately achieves impressive synchronization results. It later emerges that Kaworu is able to achieve whatever level of synchronization he chooses with Unit-02. Though he seems to have been sent to destroy it, Kaworu shows a marked interest in human culture, as well as human issues of pain and loneliness.

When Shinji first sees him sitting on top of an angel statue (a visual theme that binds together appearances of Kaworu[12]), Kaworu was humming part of the composer Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the fourth and final movement "Presto - Allegro assai", more popularly called the "Ode to Joy" after the poem by Friedrich Schiller, from which it is adapted. He then says that he considers singing to be the finest achievement of the Lilin (human) civilization.

Kaworu appears comfortable in his identity (far more than Rei), and also warmer and more emotionally open. However, he does show a detachment from human protocols and shares Rei's tendency to speak in universal rather than personal terms. As the vessel for Adam's soul, Kaworu's designation is "Tabris" (Arabic: تبريس). As revealed in Newtype publications such as ADAM and used by Keel Lorenz in the Manga. Tabris (タブリス), the 17th and final Angel. He is considered the Angel of free will, which is considered a gift of God; Although Kaworu was sent by SEELE for a specific purpose, he also has his own agenda.

Unlike the Angels who came before him, but like Rei, Kaworu has a Lilin body, with no visible physical difference from a regular human except for very pale skin, light grey hair and red irises. Although his body is presumably composed of the same "particle-wave matter" as Rei and the Angels, it is impossible to say if he possesses a core and S² Engine. Tabris is the only Angel to infiltrate Terminal Dogma.

Kaworu's human body is a vessel for the salvaged soul of Adam itself, and wields all of the power that comes with it. He is in effect Adam reborn as a human. His A.T. Field is described by the Magi as the strongest yet encountered (until it is surpassed by Rei's). Kaworu is observed using it for levitation, to control Unit-02, as a massive barrier that prevents the Command Center from receiving wave transmissions, and, (evidently) to bypass the LCL Plant's locking mechanism.

By being both the First Angel (Adam, whose body and soul were separated in Second Impact) and the Seventeenth and final Angel, he is in effect both the first and the last of his kind. Kaworu is "born from Adam", and describes Adam as being the "Mother of us all". As Kaworu is the vessel for Adam's soul, that paradoxically makes him his own mother as well as of all Angels.

Relationships

Relationship with Shinji

Though fans have speculated on the exact nature of Shinji's relationship with Kaworu, it is clear that Kaworu represents a sort of idealized figure to Shinji,[13][14] as he appears out of seemingly nowhere when Shinji is completely desperate for any sort of connection with anyone, as all of his friends are either dead, unreachable or alienated from him. Kaworu had premeditated encountering Shinji in the lake.[15][16][17] He immediately shows great interest in Shinji, making him initially uncomfortable.[18][19] However, Kaworu telling him he liked him surprised Shinji as he is afraid of talking to Asuka, Misato or Rei, as Shinji has internalized his belief that nobody cared about him thanks to his own partly self-imposed isolation - afterwards, feeling that Kaworu has simply used him further reinforces this, as he thinks everyone is lying to him, because Shinji is unwilling to recognize the ambiguity and insecurity in other people, and the risk and uncertainty involved in reaching out to them himself, something Kaworu temporarily allowed him to ignore. Kaworu uses the ambiguous "suki" form which includes intimacy or friendship or anything more and can simply mean "like" or "fond of", and that he is deserving of "koui" (好意), which means simply "good will" or "favor", not "koi", "love".[20] When he mentions this to Misato later, Shinji also used the ambiguous "suki" form. This line has necessary ambiguity in order to represent Kaworu's own lack of understanding regarding levels of intimacy and societal norms, part of what shocks Shinji and allows Kaworu to bypass his barriers of self-defense, as he isn't even aware those exist, as he himself has none. When Shinji is fighting Kaworu, he states Kaworu has betrayed him, just like his father did, indicating he might have been seeking a similar form of support from him, reinforcing his role as an idealization.[14][3][21][22] This metaphorical meaning of his presence is emphasized further with the reappearance of Kaworu in End of Evangelion, when Shinji is traumatized by experiencing Misato's death and seeing Asuka's dead Eva, Shinji becomes desperate, but Kaworu reveals himself to be part of Lilith to stop Shinji from going into a frenzy and allow Third Impact to begin, although Shinji only enters Instrumentality after Lilith reverts to Rei's form and melts by seeing a woman's breasts, when Yui asks him what he wishes for. Though the precise nature of their relationship is debatable and yet to be determined, Kaworu forms a strong connection with Shinji. His absence from Instrumentality and even the Congratulations scene when even characters like Aoba are present bring into question how much Kaworu affected him besides Shinji's own desperation. Shinji, in fact, seeking unconditional affection from everybody, unwilling to return their own needs, is a fact that has hindered Shinji's happiness throughout most of the series, and Kaworu, being a somewhat non-human character without his own emotional needs (whereas Rei had slowly developed those) is the only one that does that. Moreover, the way Kaworu treats Shinji as a sort of avatar for humanity also brings into question if his affection is directed towards humanity as a whole.[23][24][25][26]

This, paired with the fact that Shinji had killed what he saw as a human being and someone he cared about, was part of what drove him into his state of absolute despair in Episode 25, in which he declared that he felt unworthy even of the piloting which had consumed his identity, thinking that if all he did was hurt and kill others, it was better to do nothing. By that, though, he may have condemned Asuka, who was fighting against the Mass Production Evangelions, to death. Had this not been the case, it is very possible he and Asuka could have defeated the Evas and stopped Third Impact altogether, a fact that greatly benefits SEELE. Shinji depositing all of his hopes for self-worth onto Kaworu, and having that fail him, also reinforces Shinji's notions that if he can't rely unconditionally on people and never risk rejection then he is not actually loved by anyone at all and everyone should just die, part of what motivates him to start Third Impact. In End of Evangelion, Shinji desperately seeks this same sort of unconditional affection from Asuka, and is still certain that he is unloved and unworthy, as he demonstrates he has, in fact, returned to his own childish beliefs about himself, even after the way Kaworu (whom he does not even mention) treated him, and other characters respond to him that he is, in fact, liked and treated nicely by them, but Shinji refuses to believe it. In contrast to Kaworu, when Shinji, in a similar state of desperation, asks for Asuka's own unconditional affection, Asuka refuses as she does not want to be an emotional crutch and an escape for him, and demands he gives himself to her as well, but Shinji is unwilling to give back any affection himself. Asuka says he doesn't really like anyone, as he doesn't even love himself. When Kaworu and Rei as Adam and Lilith state they collectively represent the hope for understanding and love, Shinji replies it is just a pretense, but if he returns to the real world, at least there he will know his feelings are real.[18]

Relationship with SEELE

Kaworu was sent to NERV by SEELE in order to advance their goal of Instrumentality through a Third Impact that would occur under their direction. Before his final battle, Kaworu is seen talking with a phantasm of SEELE that apparently only he can see and it can be assumed that he has been in previous communication with SEELE (for example being briefed on his mission to enter NERV as a pilot). The conversation indicates that they have (falsely) told them that they favor the "true successor" Angels over their own kind.[27]

It is uncertain what exactly SEELE had in mind for Kaworu. Did they plan for him to attack Terminal Dogma, or was that his own plan? We do know that once the attack commenced they wanted Unit-01 to defeat him,[28] and presumably, him being killed by Shinji was a necessary part of their plan, allowing them to start their own version of Third Impact. It also begs into question if they needed Kaworu to contact Shinji, and while this seemed to have been his own initiative, they did benefit from Shinji's state of mind afterwards, as Kaworu proceeds to go after Adam even after meeting Shinji and getting to know him, and even uses Unit 02 in order to delay him. In fact, Kaworu only changes his mind when he realizes it is in fact Lilith in Terminal Dogma, as by that point he is unable to start any sort of Third Impact regardless.

Similarly, Kaworu's subsequent actions also greatly help SEELE: had Shinji not been in a state of mind that made him refuse to pilot for most of End of Evangelion, it is very possible he and Asuka could have defeated the MP Evas and stopped Third Impact altogether. He is also responsible for stopping Shinji from going into a frenzy after seeing Asuka's dead Eva, which allows Third Impact to begin, as the Seele councilmen start chanting ritualistically.

Other media

Manga

In this manga series, Kaworu is portrayed as being ignorant of human emotions and taboos regarding social interaction and personal space, creating some comic relief. Also, some events concerning him are changed, and he appears earlier as well. He appears briefly at the end of vol. 7 in the presence of SEELE. In his appearance in book 9 (when Shinji first meets him), Shinji finds him playing a piano in the ruins of a church. He asks Shinji if he knows the name of the song, to which Shinji replies "the Ode to Joy." (In the anime, he was sitting on a rock by the sea, humming the tune of the same song.)

Kaworu in the manga

Another important difference in this manga is that Shinji does not initially like or trust Kaworu, and in fact, actively avoids. Just after their first meeting, Kaworu calmly kills an abandoned kitten that had been following Shinji; his pragmatic reply to Shinji's question of "why" (it was kinder to kill the kitten rather than let it eventually starve to death) made Shinji feel that Kaworu was like Rei when Shinji first met her. Later, after seeing Shinji and Kaworu arguing, Kensuke thinks to himself, "Creepy...something inhuman..." After Shinji brings Kaworu to NERV, he tells Asuka that she needs to open her heart to her Eva in order to operate it; this line was delivered by Rei in the anime. In the aftermath of the battle with Arael, SEELE interrogates Kaworu, and he mentions that he finds human emotions and attachments fascinating.

In volumes 9 and 10, Kaworu pilots Unit-02 alongside Rei in the battle with the Angel Armisael. The Angel partially assimilates Unit-02, connecting the already-assimilated Rei to Kaworu and causing him to feel Rei's love for Shinji, which makes him cry. After the battle, Shinji nearly punches Kaworu after he calls Rei a fool. Despite this, Shinji stays in Kaworu's apartment rather than go home to Misato, believing that being around the emotionally distant Kaworu would be more tolerable than being around people who would also be sad about Rei's death. He reluctantly accepts Kaworu's offer to use one half of the bed. That night, Shinji begins to hyperventilate while having a nightmare, and Kaworu uses the chance to perform CPR on Shinji, using the lack of a handy paper bag as an excuse. Shinji becomes angered and repulsed when he wakes fully and realizes what Kaworu did, and is even more angered when Kaworu asks him if what he felt while connected to Rei was love and attempts to physically advance on Shinji. Shinji is repulsed by this, and quickly storms off as he finds out Rei is still alive, visibly upsetting Kaworu. Volume 11 plays out similarly to Episode 24. Shinji refuses to kill a non-resisting opponent, and Kaworu concludes Shinji hates him. Shinji says he has never said that, and then Kaworu decides to persuade Shinji to kill him as "proof of what (Shinji) really think(s) of (him)" instead of obsessing over his own guilt in the aftermath, comparing it to when he killed the stray cat. Shinji imagines himself choking Kaworu in the same place they initially met, after Kaworu killed the cat.[29]

In the following chapter (75), Shinji admits that he was drawn to Kaworu, even though he knew he shouldn't be because he feels guilty and that he does not need new friends after killing Touji. Shinji wonders why people get close to other people. Misato tells him it is because people are incomplete and seek each other in order to not live alone. He is not mentioned again.

The bonus materials in volume nine of the English adaptation of the manga contain an article written by the editor Carl Gustav Horn which compares Kaworu to the character Satan in Mark Twain's novella, The Mysterious Stranger, due to his indifference to human morality.[30]

Neon Genesis Evangelion Addition soundtrack

A scene in the parodical audio drama titled "After the End" (Shuukyoku no Tsudzuki), released on the official Neon Genesis Evangelion Addition soundtrack, features all of the original Japanese voice actors who return to voice their characters and break the fourth wall, talking about how they need to produce a 27th episode and increase the appeal of the series as well as playing comically exaggerated versions of themselves as actors playing the characters of the series, and at other times, playing the actual characters themselves. When Kaworu appears, (loosely translated) Asuka exclaims "oh great, it's that homo-boy", to which Kaworu replies "I really wish you wouldn't make statements like that, when you lack any evidence for them", reflecting the debate about the character. Asuka keeps bickering with him.

Shinji Ikari Raising Project

In the noncanonical Shinji Ikari Raising Project, Kaworu is an agent sent by SEELE to infiltrate Shinji's school (much like the original). Here, he is helped by Ritsuko Akagi. He teases Shinji frequently, drawing Asuka's (and eventually, Rei's) ire. He is also implied to be the cause of a blackout at NERV (in an homage to the original outage in the anime), and is also a potential romantic interest for Shinji alongside Rei and Asuka, though Shinji seems unaware of Kaworu's intentions. Kaworu is mostly used as comic relief, and is completely absent from the story after the early chapters as it returns to focusing on Rei and Asuka. Even in this lighter setting, however, Kaworu is still allied with Seele for mysterious - and possibly nefarious - reasons. Notably, he is completely absent from the remained of the 18 volumes after his appearances in Vol 2. and 3. Mana Kirishima later appears in a very similar role.

Neon Genesis Evangelion 2

Kaworu appears in Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 as a recurring side character, potential romantic interest and as a playable character once his route is unlocked. Unlike the other playable characters, certain locations are blocked from his access such as the main NERV location. That said, similarly to the other playable characters, he can still interact with all available characters in other locations normally, such as Gendo and Misato. He is heavily featured 09 of the PS2 version and 16 and 08 of the PSP version, in which he is seduced by Ritsuko.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days

In Angelic Days, Shinji met Kaworu in their childhood and this has gotten Shinji used to run away to him when he fights with Asuka, his first childhood friend, however Shinji always makes peace with her. Asuka is somewhat hostile to Kaworu as Shinji's attention is divided between Asuka, Rei and Kaworu, though she eventually mellows out. Eventually, Kaworu starts to understand Shinji's feelings for Asuka when he chooses to take care of her instead of going to a concert with him and Rei. Inside a Instrumentality of sorts, Kaworu offers Shinji a world that doesn't change in which they're children forever. Shinji refuses, realizing he needs to grow up, and Kaworu wills himself out of existence. This leads to Asuka and Shinji realizing their feelings for one another. Near the ending Kaworu, in fact, seems very happy for them and refers to Asuka as "your girlfriend" to Shinji. He also appears in a flashback with Gendo and Yui in their high school days, before disappearing again, similarly motivating Gendo to connect to Yui.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku

Kaworu in Gakuen Datenroku

In this spin-off, Kaworu is a transfer student who takes an interest in Shinji, who is suspicious of his relationship with Rei. With Rei, Kaworu secretly fights against Angels and has the ability to generate an AT Field to defend against attackers and his Eva manifests as a sword. He uses the name Tabris to play online games. He, as revealed in chapter eight, is an "artificially created child" and has spent all of his life until now in facilities. He is ignorant of many social customs, and considers himself to be close friends with Shinji. Later, however, Kaworu confides to Shinji that he is really the 17th Angel, Tabris. In the final volume, Kaworu sacrifices himself in order to save Shinji, taking Yui Ikari's place in the Tree of Y'ggdrasil. Before disappearing, he confides in Shinji that it was because of him that he rejected the destructive nature of the Angels and chose to embrace humanity.

Super Robot Wars

It's A Miraculous Win cover.

Kaworu appears in the Super Robot Wars games in the same role he had in Evangelion. However, his spirit appears in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. In the game's adaption of The End of Evangelion, Kaworu's spirit returns to take control of Unit-00 and aid Shinji in battle and help rescue Rei from inside Lilith. He also visits Neki Basara and voices his approval of his music. He makes his final appearance during the final battle with Kaiser Ephes where he encourages the Eva pilots not give up. In Super Robot Wars V, he helps Shinji with Eva-13.

Edge Of Spider-Verse

Kaworu makes a cameo appearance alongside Asuka, Rei, and Shinji in the fifth chapter of Marvel's Edge of Spider-Verse storyline.

It's a Miraculous Win

In this this spin-off manga, a character that looks just Kaworu works in an Eva pachinko parlour, and dates the protagonist, a female obsessed Eva fan called Sakura Mogami.

Notes and references

In early designs, Kaworu was depicted as a schoolboy with a pet cat who could switch to an "Angel form". The Angel would not be Kaworu himself, but rther the cat, controlling the boy, who'd also be much younger. He was also considered to appear for two episodes rather than one, but Anno ultimately cut him down to one. He also was described as blonde.[31][32][33][34] In vol. 9 of the manga, one of Sadamoto's artworks is a portrayal of Kaworu dressed in black and holding a black cat.[30] This is sardonically referenced in the manga as Kaworu kills a stray cat when he meets Shinji. There is also an official figure of him holding a cat. Kaworu was named by screenplay writer Akio Satsukawa.[35] Kaworu's surname "Nagisa" comes from the Japanese word nagisa (渚), meaning "waterside" or "shore", concerned with the sea. It also comes from Japanese movie director Nagisa Oshima.[35] Adding to these, the character "渚", when divided, can be read as "shi-sha" (シ者). The title of episode 24 is "The Last Shisha" (最後のシ者[?], "Saigo no Shisha"). "シ者" includes two Japanese words read as "shisha" (the character "シ" only represents the sound "shi"). The first is "messenger" or "apostle" (使者[?], "shisha"), while the other is "dead (person)" (死者[?]).[35] This is one of the ways in which he is likened to Rei.[36][22][37] Kaworu seems to be the only character not named by Anno, and in fact Satsukawa's expansion on Anno's initial outline came as a shock to staff, before eventually being overulled by Anno.[38] Episode director and animator Masayuki even refused to work on him at first, threatening to resign.[39]

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto conceived his design to be "more elegant and more refined" than Shinji, compared to which he should have been "taller, thinner and with a smaller face". For the features of his face, he decided to blend those of Rei, Shinji himself, and Asuka Langley Soryu. Following a personal request from the director, his eyes were dyed red by the colorist Harumi Takaboshi, to draw an analogy with Rei's and give him "a distinct impression". Although he was conceived to appear only in the final episodes, during the making of the opening theme the main staff decided to depict him with a sketch by Sadamoto; in the editing phase, the sketch was inserted just before a frame depicting Rei Ayanami and the caption "Angels". Official material also describes him as forming a triad with Arael and Armisael in exploring the pilots' psychology.[26][40][23]

Gainax renders his name in Romaji as "Kaworu," not "Kaoru" as would be given by most romanization schemes. The reasons for the difference in the naming have not been explicitly detailed by the series' creators; one theory is that the name is based on the original kana of the name Kaoru Genji, from The Tale of Genji.[35] Some fans have long speculated on Kaworu being modeled on a real person or experience, but this has been denied long ago by both Anno and Sadamoto.[41][42], neither this is ever even alluded to in multiple Sadamoto interviews detailing his design.[43]

As a promotion for its 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Evangelion, ADV Films published a humorous bumper sticker which reads "KAWORU DIED FOR YOUR SINS" (カヲルはあなたの罪のために死んだ[?], "Kaoru wa anata no tsumi no tame ni shinda")).[44] Mania Entertainment's Chris Beveridge described Kaworu's death in the anime as an "extremely powerful moment" due to the fact that after a minute without dialogue, his head's shadow appears touching the water.[45] Kaworu has had the most English voice actors out of all the characters in the entire franchise.

Kaworu Nagisa was the second most popular male character in the 1997 Animage poll.[46] In a Newtype poll from March 2010, Kaworu was voted as the second most popular male anime character from the 1990s.

Sadamoto claims he wrote his relationship with Shinji on the manga as similar to a primary school student to an older, middle school one that would leave a strong impression on the former, prompting him to seek his admiration, not romance.[47] Sadamoto has also explained he wished to make the relationship less ambiguous in the manga. Sadamoto says Kaworu feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. The choking scene in the manga is inspired from a film called Betty Blue, by Jean-Jacques Beineix. This is contrast to the scene in End of Evangelion, which according to Megumi Ogata was based on an experience of a female acquaintance of Anno's.[48] Anno says it does not have the same meaning as the film's. He also says he does not understand the success of his character.[49]

In an interview for JUNE, Hideaki Anno claimed that Kaworu was intended to be Shinji's idealised version of himself, something which allows Shinji to easily drop his defense mechanisms as he does not feel he is not exactly dealing with an "Other". Anno goes on to give examples from psychology and the process of realising the good and bad in other people and coming to terms with this duality as part of growing up and maturing in Episode 25, something which he does not do with Kaworu.[14][50] Like other characters, Anno described Kaworu as being based on himself, though he likened him to Rei as part of his Jungian shadow, in contrast to Shinji, Asuka and Misato as his conscious parts.[22] This comparison was also made with Gendo.[21][51]

Much like many other characters, Kaworu's interactions with Shinji have been a topic of debate among fans of Evangelion since the series' first run as discussed in the Patrick Drazen's book Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! Of Japanese Animation Anime Explosion!.[52] Patrick Drazen's view is that Kaworu's offer of unconditional, one-way love for Shinji is a tactic that Kaworu as the last Angel used to disarm Shinji.[53] In 1998 reviewer Kenneth Lee criticized Kaworu, saying: "Ultimately, the homosexuality issue seems nothing more than cheap shock value tactics to stun generation X"; he considered the entire Shinji-Kaworu relationship "ludicrous", as he thought Shinji receptiveness to Kaworu was implausible and "irrational".[54] It should be noted however that Japan had a long history of very overt homosexual relationships in media and even in anime, and that Eva would not have any need of hiding any for fear of censorship like a Western work might need to, even in 1995. Staff also seems to have not been expecting Kaworu to provoke such a strong impression of that in the first place,[55][39] and attribute their lack of attention to this to the lack of time when making the latter episodes, and mention Kaworu was not supposed to hold Shinji's hand in the bath scene, as this was an animation error and he was instead supposed to touch it, indicating Kaworu as a breakout character of sorts,[56][14] and the usage of the bath scene as a casual, often public occurance in Japan, specially the countryside that he is from.[51] Shinji's voice actress Megumi Ogata also agrees with the translation for the Netflix/Khara release, saying she originally interpreted Kaworu's lines as "like", and says she's glad that the new version is closer to the Japanese original,[57] as she interprets her relationship as friends.[58] Ogata also rejects the idea that Kaworu is his lover, or that he is someone he can depend on, but instead sees him as a friend that's his equal.[59] Hideaki Anno has also denied "carnal feelings" on Shinji's part. [60]

Regardless, Gainax is clearly aware that the audience associates Kaworu with bishounen tropes, and have produced artworks such as splash pages for their website in reference to Kaworu's ambiguity and the audience's reaction to the character.[53] This is not exclusive to Kaworu, however, as Gainax has produced official material covering virtually all possible relationships regardless of canonicity, including ones between Rei and Asuka or Kaworu himself and Rei, and he tends to have less space than material depicting Shinji with Asuka or Rei. Some videogames allow him to be a possible romantic option for Shinji as well as multiple female characters as in Shinji Ikari Raising Project though he sometimes has less scenes or no ending route like in Girlfriend of Steel 2. Spinoffs such as Angelic Days put him in a more comedic or romantic light though he still tends to have less space than other side characters, particularly Asuka or Rei, who receive the same treatment. Evangelion ANIMA also features a "Dark Kaworu" who hates humans and hates music. Additionally, some believe that whether Kaworu, an Angel, actually has any concept of sexuality as he is presented in the series is unclear.[53] Mamerto Adam sees their relationship as "as a sign of self-hate and lack of confidence", as Kaworu's role as an idealized self means Shinji is "drawn to a better Shinji rather than this depressed soul". He considers that "He represents an idealized world, an escape or a fantasy that we must awaken from. Killing Kaworu is an act of rejecting this fantasy and embracing the real, but darker world."[61] Mike Crandol of ANN regards Kaworu as being "representative of blind, total and unconditional love and acceptance, but like those things Kaworu turns out to not be real at all".[62]


References

  1. A phrase that Ryoji Kaji says to Shinji when they first met
  2. Episode 24
  3. 3.0 3.1 See Anno's comments from Schizo/Parano: Much like Rei is likened to Kaworu as parts of Anno's unconscious, in contrast to Asuka, Misato and Shinji, he's also linked to Gendo as his "Jungian shadow".
  4. The name "Nagisa" is a pun. The Kanji character "Nagisa" consists of the Katakana "shi" and the Kanji "sha", forming the word "Shi"sha", or "messenger". Kaworu, after all, is the final messenger, and the word used for "Angel" in the original Japanese dub is "Shito", or "Apostle" (messenger of God). See Character Name Origins for more information.
  5. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 21'.
    Man E: "The contact experiment with the donor is scheduled for the 13th of next month. There will be time for any adjustments."
    (later) Woman B: "The genes that dived into Adam have already undergone physical fusion!"
  6. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 24. Platinum subtitles.
    HYUGA: But the one thing we do know [about Kaworu Nagisa] is that his birthday coincides with the Second Impact."
  7. Neon Genesis Evangelion. Episode 24'. Platinum subtitles.
    SEELE A (speaking to Kaworu): [Adam's] salvaged soul exists only within you.
  8. Neon Genesis Evangelion 2. Classified Information: Adam. "At the time of Second Impact, [Adam's] body was torn apart, and its soul flew off somewhere as a result. Adam's soul was later recovered by SEELE and incarnated."
  9. End of Evangelion Theatrical Booklet. Glossary: Kaworu Nagisa. "It is likely that he was an Angel which had been captured by SEELE in the embryo stage." (Translation by bochan_bird.)
  10. Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga). Volume 11, Stage 72.
    Ritsuko: Kaworu Nagisa... His date of birth is the same as Second Impact. Probably because, on that day, in that place, he was the final Angel to be born.
    Misato: You can’t mean... Are you saying that all the Angels were born from Adam? What did humans do to Adam on that day?
    Ritsuko: Humans tried to return Adam to an egg before the other Angels awoke. The result was Second Impact. Among the data from your father’s research team that was retrieved just before it happened, I have heard that there were indications of an attempt to use human genes in some way. If that was actually done in secret, if the Angel born at that time took human form, and if the Committee got their hands on it, then according to MAGI everything adds up.
  11. Kaworu's Plug Suit has an inverted, divided triangle symbol on its chest rather than a proper number, though he was sent to be the replacement pilot for Unit-02.
  12. See Reichu's analysis (archive) of all the visual allusions and connections to the angel statute.
  13. "Anno: But that is a boy. It's as if there was no womanly feel at all. That's because it's Shinji and one more Shinji. Because ideal Shinji appears it's no good to make him a female. - Ahh, I see. Anno: [He is ideal Shinji] Because he is a character who has been cleared of all of Shinji's complexes." - JUNE Interview
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Jinken: You only look at the superficial aspects of the story, and towards the end, the character Kaworu Nagisa appears. I was watching the movie as a regular person, and I was wondering why this character appeared at the end of the movie. Did you think about the fans who came in for the yaoi?
    Anno: Not really, I didn't think that much about it.
    Jinken: I thought that Kaworu Nagisa was a character for commercialization, like Saint Seiya. Is that not the case?
    Anno: Actually, I had planned for him to appear a little earlier. I didn't have any intentions to go that far, but I did intend on having a bishounen [the little boy controlled by the cat].
    Jinken: On the contrary, it made him a very memorable character, though.
    Anno: If the planned relations had worked out - the plan was that the ‘unconscious Shinji-kun’ would be Ayanami Rei, the Shinji-kun who appears on the surface would be Ikari Shinji, and the ‘ideal Shinji-kun’ would be Nagisa Kaworu-kun. [Kaworu was] supposed to be an ideal male but when I tried putting him together he was just a strange fellow (laughs). That was something of a lack of capability on my part. - 2000 December Anno: Interview ‘with a mem­ber of Waseda Uni­ver­sity for the pur­pose of “char­ac­ter study.
  15. Evangelion Chronicle explicitates that Kaworu expected to meet Shinji there, and it wasn't an accident
  16. Death & Rebith program book "He sought active contact with Shinji as a friend, but his true identity was that of the final Angel."
  17. End of Evangelion program book "He made contact with the Third Children -- Shinji Ikari-- as a human, and although he became friends with Shinji, he was ultimately crushed to death by Eva-01 piloted by Shinji."
  18. 18.0 18.1 Shinji/Asuka: Colleague-Complicated Feelings;Colleague-Love/Hate
    Rei/Shinji: Colleague-Favorable;
    Kaworu/Shinji: Colleague-Favorable - The Essential Evangelion Chronicle, Side B
  19. The Essential Evangelion Chronicle: Side B
  20. Some early fansubbers misheard this as "koi", but the scripts for this episode make it clear it is "koui". As for "suki", the original ADV VHS subtitle translation gives the word as "like," while Platinum and the English dub use "love." The Netflix release, translated by Khara, chose to use "like" again. Khara's own official translator has publicly defended this change, and the ambiguity it retains from the original text.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Takekuma: You are projected into every one of the characters in your work, but you were in Gendo's position, right? The staff had to follow you anyway, even though [they] didn't know what [you were] thinking.
    Anno: I'm in that position as far as my standing is concerned. As to whether I'm projecting that much [into him], I don't really think so. But he is certainly my shadow." - Schizo/Parano
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Eva Special Talk with Anno Hideaki and Toshiya Ueno (Newtype 11/1996)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Just as it holds true for the Fifteenth Angel that appears in this episode, none of the Angels that appear in the fourth part [Episodes 21-26] launch brute force attacks, but instead, try to shake the Eva pilots psychologically. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  24. Humans constantly feel emotional pain and feel that living is suffering. And Kaworu himself, who speaks eloquently about the human heart to that effect, draws Shinji to him emotionally and then deeply hurts him. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  25. He is the last apostle written in the Dead Sea Scrolls of Seele. The twelfth, fourteenth, and fifteenth Angels were interested in the human mind and probed into it. He may be the completed form of the apostle born from the end of that information gathering.[...] For Shinji, Kaworu is the one who he thinks can help him. Also, for him at this point, a woman would have felt unreachable [after Kaji's death]. How ironic that the person with the best communication skills in this film, which is based on the theme of communication between people, is a non-human. At the end of this episode, Shinji laments the fact that he killed Kaworu, but Misato tells him that he died because he didn't have the will to survive. Shinji responds, "That's cold, Misato." The relationship between Shinji and Misato here is in contrast to the relationship between Shinji and Kaworu. In contrast to Kaworu, Misato is firm and realistic. [...] Maybe Misato wanted to say something kind here, but Misato has her own feelings and her own reasons. We can't always act in accordance with others. Because Kaworu is not human, he is not coiled up inside himself, and he has little desire for others. Perhaps this is why he is able to be so carefree with others. It's ironic, after all. [...] "That's cold, Misato." is a line that shows the harshness of the world and the loneliness of people. As of Kaworu, the dialogue at the end of the episode is also excellent:SHINJI: "An AT Field!" KAWORU: "That's right. That's what you Lilin call it. The sacred domain where none may trespass. The light of the soul. Lilin, you know, don't you? That the AT Field is the wall that everyone has in their heart?" SHINJI: I don't understand that! Kaoru-kun!Or, "Life and death are of equal value to me. Dying of your own will. That is the one and only absolute freedom there is." SHINJI: "What? Kaworu, I don't understand what you're saying! Kaworu..." The narcissistic phrasing of Kaworu and the fragmented mysteries of the story make for a very good match. The fact that Shinji says "I don't know" in response to Kaworu's incomprehensible comments is also very kind to the audience. It is easy to understand that what Kaworu is saying is a mystery. Not only in this scene, but throughout the series of "Eva", there are many cases where the point is clearly presented as "this is a mystery". This is the difference between "Eva" and other works that only have complicated settings and do not allow viewers to be interested in the contents. In episode 21, Kaji died, and in episodes 22 and 23, the characters were damaged and their minds were torn apart. For that reason, Kaworu's approach to Shinji in episode 24 must have spoken to him. Both in Shinji's mind and in the minds of the viewers. Having killed Kaworu, the one who he thought could help him, Shinji is now trapped inside himself, and the story is heading towards destruction. At the same time, the narrative also destroys the framework of so-called story anime. - Oguro Staff Commentary #57
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Just as the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Angels attempted to make direct contect with Asuka and Rei's minds, respectively, Kaworu Nagisa also aggressively pursues Shinji's inner thoughts. This Angel conducted this, not in the form of an "attack," but in the form of the extremely peaceable method of "a human exchange." In other words, by using words and expressions to demonstrate his friendly sentiments. And he does a brilliant job of eliminating the wall around Shinji's heart. If "the AT field is the wall of the heart" as he says, then this could also be called the neutralizing of the AT field." - Platinum Commentaries - Angel Profiles
  27. One section of this conversation concerns the "Lilins' hope" The word hope, "kibou" appears several times, once, when used by Kaworu, in katakana instead of kanji:
    "SEELE 04: "There is a man trying to close the box before the hope at the bottom appears."
    Kaworu: "Hope? You're saying that is the Lilin's hope?"
    SEELE ??: "Hope exists in as many forms as there are people."
    SEELE ??: "And that is because hope only exists in the hearts of people."
    Keel: "However, our hope is becoming substantiated."
    It is likely that it is spelled this way just for emphasis, but it has been suggested that there is some wordplay going on here; spelled with a different kanji, kibou means "trick". This might be a subtle clue that Kaworu is being deceived.
  28. SEELE 02: "Humans forget their foolishness and repeat their mistakes."
    SEELE ??: "If humans do not redeem themselves willingly, they will not change."
    SEELE ??: "We will not rely on the powers of Adam or the Angels."
    KEEL: "Our only choice is to make changes with our own hands for the future. I will be praying that Unit-01 will accomplish its task."
  29. In an interview Sadamoto compared his death to a "contradictory fumi-e", an ancient Japanese ritual consisting of the trampling of Christian icons, asking Shinji to kill him if he cared about him at all. Through this Shinji would have to confront the situation of caring for and being close to other people, as later referenced in the following chapter. - CUT Magazine, December 2014
  30. 30.0 30.1 ISBN 1-59116-707-8
  31. Evangelion Proposal
  32. "He wasn’t the last Angel from the baginning. At first, the information they gave me only said that Kaworu was a humanoid Angel who appeared at the finale stage of the Anime. But at that time, I had already worked out something similar—since the gradually appeared Angel all had different shapes and characteristics, they should become more closer to human. Then there also came with the subtitle “Cat and Transfer Student” when they were planing it. If I have to figure out Anno’s intention, I think he may awared the “Monster Messenger and Boy” (Ep.33) in The Return of Ultraman. It is where a monster named Muruchi appeared.
    [...] There is one thing that doesn’t need to cover up: they wrote EVA’s script as long as possible. In other words, the script they gave Anno had two Eps length, then Anno modified it into a story. So I think he probably cut off a lot of Kaworu’s story." - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  33. "In the initial stages, he was a pretty boy who carried around a cat. The very first plot title was “The cat and the transfer student.” It was a story about transfer student carrying a cat coming to the school and so forth. As we went on with it, in episode 24, it had already moved away from the school."
    [...]A transfer student opens the door with a clatter, clatter, clatter, and he’s hugging a cat—I think it’d make for a good picture. If he made the cat walk by his side, it would be really tough to draw, so if he were holding it here, under his arms… *laughs*
    [...]Interviewer: Well then, if it you had kept it, had you intended on making the cat come along into the EVA? Or would the cat have been left behind to survive alone or something, as a memento?
    Anno: No. As an image…and as an idea, the cat was more an original Angel and the humans were more like—would you call them puppets? It was as though you couldn’t tell which was the real thing. - June interview
  34. NEWTYPE 100% COLLECTION: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. 1997 Kadokawashoten. ISBN 4-04-852700-2. Partial translation.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 Evangelion character names; Translation of essay by Hideaki Anno about character name origins; includes a link to the original essay in Japanese.
  36. When you disassemble the character for his last name, “Nagisa”, it becomes “shi” and “sha”. Thus, it is a play on the sub-title, “The Final Messenger (saigo no shisha)”. The “Nagisa (shore)” also forms a pair with Rei Ayanami's “nami (wave)”. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  37. "I: And Rei and Kaworu is the same type of existence right? The “you are like me”.
    Z: Both possessing the genetic code of Angels. - Schizo/Prano interview collection, "judging Hideaki Anno in his absence"
  38. ——Who named Kaworu?
    I asked the same question to Tsurumaki yesterday(laugh). The conclusion is that it probably was Akio Satsukawa. Nagisa can also be read as Messenger, perhaps he came up with the name when he was writing the script. We all think it fits Akio’s taste. What struck me most was how Akio expanded the world. - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  39. 39.0 39.1 "H: Why hand-holding though?
    M: Because thats what the script said.
    H: (flips to the relevant page of the script) it says “touched his hand”. Isn’t it touched, but you drew “hold” (laughs).
    M: [..] I didn’t want to draw that, like to a “If thats how it is I’ll quit” extent.
    [...]M: Because thats what the artist drew and I wasn’t really too concerned and ok-ed it. (laughs) there was basically no time. - NGE Storyboard Collection, vol 3-4, interview with Masayuki and Shinji Higuchi"
  40. "Anno: As far as that goes, I thought it was fine, but then when [the angel] speaks Japanese that was the end of it. Kaworu-kun had been prepared as a "human type" [angel] from the start, and I wanted to hold on to the idea of [an angel] conversing in human language until then. When I wondered, well, what will [Shinji] do after he gets taken into the angel, I wondered if this might be [his] chance for self-reflection. Episode 16's "inner space"-like environment was the first [of that sort]. That went relatively smoothly." - 2nd June interview
  41. "What about whatever research you’d done?
    Anno:There was none."
    [...]"Telling someone or being told by someone, “Your heart is like glass,”—did anything like that actually happen to you?
    Anno: Nope, nothing like that." - JUNE interview
  42. —When you designed Kaworu, did you base his looks on someone?
    Huh? No. But, as the last Angel, if I make his profile a combined form the of people that the past Angels made a contact with——what about something like this——I have this concept. That is why some parts of Kaworu look like Shinji, some parts look like Rei, some parts look like Asuka. - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  43. Neon Genesis Evangelion Film Book 9.
  44. EVA 10th Limited Edition
  45. Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:8 from Mania Entertainment.
  46. 第19回アニメグランプリ [1997年6月号] from Animage.jp.
  47. "Speaking about Kaworu and Shinji’s relationship, I want to write it like what often happen between primary school boys and middle school boys. For the boys, instead a girl’s admire, they actually want to have admire from the other boys. That is why they imitate other boy’s behavior. The same thing happened to me. When I was a primary five student, a transfer student came to my class from Tokyo. Even though I thought “Tokyo is not great” in my mind, but I still felt that he looks handsome. He liked to say “だからさー”, though I said “it make me sick”, but secretly I thought it was very cool.(laugh) It is this kind of feeling. It is not romance……It is a delicate feeling in a delicate age." - All About Kaworu Nagisa fanbook interview with Sadamoto
  48. According to Megumi Ogata, Shinji's voice actress, the scene itself was modeled on a experience of a female friend of Anno's. This friend got into an argument with her boyfriend, and at some point he choker her in rage. Instead of reacting violently, this friend felt no fear, hatred or even a need for survivl, but rather a desire to caress him tenderly. In response, her boyfriend lost her grip. However, Anno's friend instead grew cold, and muttered Asuka's line from the EoE draft almost verbatim. Ogata believes this scene was how Anno wanted to "convey different ways how to bring feelings of love to a conclusion that exist in reality. You are you, I am I". Naturally, this reflects on the films f individuality and the duality of reaching out to others present in Eva.
    Anno also guided Ogata to treat OMF partly as a separate story: "as something that just exists. As if everything that happened before in the movie is merely a dream that never happened. It is its own narrative unity, something that can fundamentally be taken away from its context in the movie and still be interpreted as a dramatic whole. It is and is not the final scene of EoE."
    Furthermore, Ogata asked Anno to help her understand what Anno wanted to convey through the scene and how Shinji is supposed to act. Hearing this, Anno first stands silent and confused for a moment. Then he firmly wraps his arms around himself and hugs himself. This is on the "purpose" of what he is trying to express. As for how Ogata should play Shinji Anno asks her to not play Shinji: " "For this scene alone, I want Ogata to take on and express my feelings rather than Shinji's" - Koji Ide's Evangelion Forever
  49. First, Sadamoto claims that he does not understand the success of Kaworu's character. Personally, he loved the voice of the character, thus finding himself in difficulty in making it on paper and therefore deciding to modify it compared to the anime. If in the anime he had remained deliberately ambiguous about the true nature of his relationship with Shinji, leaving the viewer free to create their own interpretation, in the manga Sadamoto decided to better define everything leaving less freedom to the reader. In the manga, Kaworu, whom Sadamoto remembers being an angel while Shinji is a human, feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. [...] Speaking instead of the scene in which Shinji strangles Kaworu, it is a quote from a film that the master adores: Betty Blue Milano Manga Festival: Reportage dei Sadamoto Days
  50. Hideaki Anno JUNE Interview discussion thread
  51. 51.0 51.1 "Anno: Around the time when you’re a middle school student, you often go with friends to public bath-houses and stuff, right? On the way home from school and so forth. Also, going there right after you go play at the beach, just as you are. There are more public baths in the boonies, you see. So it almost feels like a watering hole for men. Well, people don’t go washing each other’s backs or any skinship things like that. In any case, it’s a sort of place that you can all go to together, play there, and head home." - June interview
  52. Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). '"A Very Pure Thing": Gay and Pseudo-Gay Themes' in Anime Explosion! The What, Why & Wow of Japanese Animation Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press p.95 ISBN 1-880656-72-8.
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). "Evangelion" in Anime Explosion! The What, Why & Wow of Japanese Animation Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press p.308 ISBN 1-880656-72-8.
  54. "The fact that within a span of 14 minutes we are expected to believe that Shinji and Kaworu have transcended all boundaries and inhibitions to achieve an unearthly 'Love' and openness for each other is completely ludicrous and pathetically humorous...Yet, along comes Kaworu, who he's known for about 10 minutes and is a boy, no less, and Shinji seems completely accepting of Kaworu's open touches and fondles." "The Thin Veneer Known as "Evangelion"", ANN
  55. I: But it caused female audiences in front of their televisions to shriek with joy. M: We never thought it will turn out like that. T: Was it not planned? M: We really only realised it afterwards and never thought of much at that time, after all we were going berserk. - Schizo/Prano interview collection, "judging Hideaki Anno in his absence".
  56. Platinum Booklets - Episode Commentaries 21-26
  57. https://comicbook.com/anime/amp/news/neon-genesis-evangelion-original-actor-interpretation-controversial-scene-anime/
  58. Megumi Ogata (Shinji) Q&A Revolution 2014
  59. Interviewer: [...] But once Kaworu-kun shows up, he immediately goes to him.
    "Ogata: I don't think "goes to" is the right word for it. I always have people asking me, even at conventions overseas, "Kaworu-kun and Shinji-kun are lovers, right?" and when I say no they're always like, "What!?" and totally disappointed (lol). He's been abandoned by everyone, he has no friends or parents to trust in, and no longer has a place where he belongs. And at this point, a single person comes to him and tells him he understands him. Wouldn't anyone act the same way if they were in Shinji's position? He has no one but Kaworu-kun at that point. In that way, he's still just a child."
    "Ogata: He comes to meet Kaworu not as someone he can depend on, but as a friend that's his equal."

    Q: Looking from an outsider's perspective, I feel so bad for him. Just how is he going to become happy?
    Ogata: Perhaps he's not in high spirits, but I think Shinji has plenty of happiness. He has a place that he belongs, isn't that in itself an amazing thing? I've never once thought of Shinji as being unhappy. Perhaps there are times where Shinji himself thinks so though, especially in the TV Series.
    [...] It's not as if he isn't loved, it's just that he's forgotten his memories of when his mom loved him when he was little. He grew up without knowing the love of a parent, and so he hungered for love so much he would have been satisfied with the tiniest bit of love from another. And I think Shinji wanted someone to talk about his feelings to. He has the type of personality where it's hard to talk to others. He wants someone to talk to, and even though there are people who care about him, none of them really can listen/be there for him to the extent he wants.
    - Evangelion Special Talk with Megumi Ogata and Detective Tanaka (Translation by Luuki)
  60. "—— Speaking about the blushing, is it because Shinji was happy that someone said they like him?
    Anno: Yes, Shinji-kun didn’t experience carnal desire there"
    - June Interview
  61. https://reelrundown.com/animation/Yes-Kaworu-is-an-Idealized-Version-of-Shinji
  62. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2002-06-11

Rebuild of Evangelion

Kaworu in Rebuild

Kaworu appears in Evangelion 1.0, rising from a coffin on the moon insight of an Eva-sized giant in a white covering (Evangelion Mark.06 under construction). He speaks to Keel Lorenz (via his monolith), agreeing that "the child" is progressing as predicted in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and saying that "The Third is still the same." He ends the conversation saying that he hopes to meet Shinji Ikari. Bizarrely, Kaworu appears to be capable of breathing and even speaking in the absence of air.

In Evangelion 2.0, Kaworu is seen on the moon base (Tabgha base), when Fuyutsuki and Gendo approach it on an SSTO to inspect the construction of the new, SEELE-built Unit-06. Fuyutsuki, looking out of the spacecraft window, observes Kaworu sitting on Unit-06's finger, clad only in his trousers, and wonders whether Kaworu is human or not. Kaworu greets Gendo as "Father",[1] although the circumstances render it impossible to determine whether he used the word in a literal or metaphorical sense. Kaworu is seen putting on a plugsuit immediately before the battle with Zeruel, standing on top of the now-complete Unit-06, confirming that he is the new Evangelion's pilot. He reappears at the end of the movie and stops Unit-01 from transforming with a staff-like weapon thrown from his Eva as Kaji states that "Seele won't stand for this", addressing Shinji and saying "This time, you will find true happiness".

The preview of the third film shows Kaworu confronting the other pilots in an unknown location. It should be noted that in his appearance while piloting Mark 06 at the end of "You Can (Not) Advance" when referring to Shinji about bringing him "happiness" his expression is defiant instead of his usual smiling face.

In Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, Kaworu has a role similar to the one of the original series, wherein he gains the trust of Shinji. After initially meeting Gendo again, Shinji is told he is going to pilot with him. His actions (playing a piano duet with him) allow the latter to sync with him, similar to how Asuka did in Episode 9, unconsciously preparing the two pilots for the piloting of Evangelion 13. Shinji slowly starts to trust and confide in Kaworu. When Shinji receives Touji's school shirt, Shinji is disturbed and Kaworu is there waiting for him. Gendo and Fuyutsuki observe their exchanges, and they keep calling him "Seele's boy". Shinji expresses his distress and wonders what happened to his friends and to Tokyo-3. Kaworu takes him to see the ruins of the city, and tells him he served as the catalyst for Third Impact. Shinji says he was only trying to save Rei, but Kaworu replies by saying that humanity does not see it that way. He explains that Nerv's Instrumentality Project can be averted by pulling the Spear of Longinus and Spear of Cassius. Later, Shinji is approached by Fuyutsuki who tells him of Shinji's mother inside Unit 01. This disturbs Shinji further and when Kaworu tells him it is time to pilot, Shinji refuses again. In order to gain Shinji's trust, he takes his DSS Choker from him and puts it on himself. Kaworu says the choker was originally meant for him.

After reaching Terminal Dogma, however, Kaworu is shocked that one of the spears have been changed. This puts him into deep thought. Asuka and Mari arrive and Asuka is shocked to find Shinji piloting again. She questions him this, and he responds that he is going to pull the spears and change the world. Asuka is flabbergast to hear this, and asks him if he is trying to start an Impact. Kaworu only returns from his stupor as Shinji is just about to pull the two Longinus spears only for his own controls to shut off, leaving him incapable of stopping Shinji. After Evangelion 13 devours and kills the Twelfth Angel he is cast down from the 1st Angel to the 13th. He then decides to stop the Fourth Impact by piercing the core of Evangelion 13 with the two spears before being killed by the DSS Choker, however, this is only accomplished by Mari forcibly ejecting Shinji as she realizes Seele are still using Shinji as a backup. Kaworu's image can be seen after the ejection of the entry plug. Before the choker detonates, Kaworu also tells Shinji not to be upset, as he claims "we will meet again."

These sections contain spoilers pertaining to new or unreleased content. Read ahead at your own risk!

In Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time, Kaworu appears as a vision to Shinji just after Asuka leaves after confesses her feelings for him. Kaworu tells him that he can find peace on his own and that fate will guide him, and once more that they will meet again. When Asuka is absorbed, Kaworu's remains can be briefly seen inside Evangelion 13.[2]

When the Additional Impact starts, Shinji confronts Gendo, and Kaworu appears, explains to Shinji that Gendo is the center of Instrumentality, "the origin of the cycle". During Instrumentality, Kaworu's memories are revisited, including farming with Ryoji Kaji, the elder, during the timeskip.[3] When Shinji tells him he wants to help Asuka and everyone else, Kaworu recognizes Shinji is getting used to reality. After Shinji returns Asuka's feelings, Kaworu asks if Shinji won't be lonely, to which he says it will be alright.

In a visual callback to their encounter in the original series, Shinji affirms having met him before. Kaworu explains that he has written Shinji's name in the Book of Life, which allows him to meet him in the cycles the cast is trapped in. In a version as a small child, Shinji says it is a way for them to become friends.

Shinji says that Kaworu is just his father Gendo Ikari in his single-mindedness over Yui Ikari. Shinji replies that he won't cry anymore, as it won't help the people he cares about. Kaworu says he'll be lonely, but it's alright. Shinji destroys Kaworu's Eva-13. Afterwards, Kaworu talks to Kaji and reminisces on the inevitability of his fate and how he is unable to die. Kaji tells him that he wanted to make himself happy through Shinji. Kaworu apologizes for mistaking Shinji's happiness. Shinji breaks the cycle, and he thanks Kaji, who calls him "Commander Nagisa", for saving him. Kaworu thus seeks to find out happiness on his own, and moves on from Shinji.[4]

At Kaji's suggestion, Kaworu agrees to become a farmer with Misato Katsuragi and her son with Kaji in Village-3 In the rebuilt world, the Children are present, and Kaworu is seen as an adult talking with Rei Ayanami, also an adult in the other side of the train station.
Spoilers end here.

References

  1. Evageeks.org: Kaworu calling Gendo "father". Retrieved 2011/02/19.
  2. "We only said so much at the discussion today. In Shin Evangelion, this is what's actually inside the reactivated Unit 13's entry plug. Inside the LCL, the remains of what used to be him are floating about. Even with his soul gone, his body was reconstructed to allow Unit 13 to move, and his fingers sometimes flutter on the control keys." - Ikuto Yamashita
  3. "When Director Anno spoke about the 14-year timeskip at the final stage greeting, he addressed why Kaworu was wearing a commander's uniform. Fuyutsuki and Gendo were removed from power at Nerv, following the end of Ha. Kaworu became commander, and Kaji became Vice-Commander. Anno said Q was originally supposed to be a film about how this happened.
    Q [[[Evangelion 3.0]]] was originally meant to be about the 14-year timeskip, and Anno planned to not have Shinji in the entire film. Shinji's voice actor, Ogata Megumi, was surprised at this. In the end, that idea was set aside, and Q became the film we got.
    There are no details for the lost 14 years but a scenario for them exists. Preview at the end of Ha is from that story. - July 11 stage greeting for 3.0+1.0
    Later, Anno detailed he might come back to the franchise to work on that scenario or others: 'Evangelion' Creator Hideaki Anno Reveals 'Evangelion 3.0+1.0' Might Not be the End
  4. Ishida (Kaworu): "In order to make Shinji happy, Kaworu did this and that... but none of those things were things Shinji actually wanted. In the end Shinji ended up finding his own meaning of happiness by himself so Kaworu was finally relieved of his post. I'm glad Kaworu realized his misunderstanding. The last scene of the backshot with Kaji and Kaworu and the shutter sound implies it's the closing of their story." - Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Assorted Translations#March 28 cast greeting

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