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|“||Just an idiot fights when he knows he can't win. Having balls have nothing to do with it.||”|
Kensuke Aida (相田ケンスケ, "Aida Kensuke") is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He is an military otaku, Toji's best friend, and one of the "Other Children," Eva pilot candidates in the same class as Shinji Ikari, Toji Suzuhara, Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley Sohryu, and Hikari Horaki. Kensuke solidifies his friendship with Shinji after Shinji saves him and Toji during the fight against the fourth Angel, Shamshel. Kensuke dreams of becoming an Eva pilot and ceaselessly begs Shinji to pull strings in NERV so he can be selected as a pilot, despite Shinji telling him that he has no say in the matter. Like Toji, Kensuke has a crush on Misato Katsuragi. He is rarely seen without his camcorder at hand.
Kensuke's past is never explained, but some important facts of his life are revealed: he was born in Yokohama on September 12, 2001; his father works in one of NERV's bases, and his mother is deceased. He is first seen when Shinji comes to school for the first time. Here, Toji beats him, blaming him for his sister's wounds. Kensuke initially supported Toji, but after their first encounter with the Eva pilot and during Shamshel's attack in the city, he shares with his friend his crazy desire to witness the battle himself and tells him that maybe hitting Shinji was a mistake and is his obligation to be there supporting him. Besides Kensuke's manipulation, Toji agrees and thanks to this, the two children were nearly killed if it wasn't for Shinji, who brought them inside Unit-01. After this event, Toji seems to forgive Shinji, but the Third Child is not seen at school again.
Kensuke encounters Shinji in the mountains during a camping activity. The two start talking about how similar they are (both without mothers) and Kensuke tells Shinji about Toji's regrets, and later about how lucky he (Shinji) is for being an Eva pilot. Unfortunately, NERV's people tracked Shinji to Kensuke's tent and took him away.
Toji and Kensuke finally reached Shinji before he leaves Tokyo-3. Toji apologizes and asks the boy to hit him, so they can be in peace. After the meeting, Shinji realizes he now has two new friends in his new life.
Kensuke is usually seen with Toji and Shinji at school or coming for him at Misato's place, with the excuse of seeing the Major in the morning and often teasing Shinji at being such an idiot, living with such beauty and not taking a chance.
Kensuke is later invited with Toji to come aboard the Over the Rainbow to meet the Second Child, Asuka Langley Sohryu. He passed most of the time excited, and records in his video camera everything around him, such as airplanes, the other battleships and the intense battle between Unit-02 and the sea Angel Gaghiel.
Like Toji, he does not like Asuka in any form. However, he recognizes her good looks and thus takes pictures of her (even when changing clothes), selling them for money at school and making a huge business out of it. Kensuke is surprised and a little disturbed when he discovers that Shinji and Asuka are living together, getting concerned by the situation. After being around Asuka long enough, he realizes she is very self-conscious.
When the "New Yokosuka" arrives in Japan, Kensuke skips class to watch it in person. He later tells Shinji about Unit-04's incident and Unit-03's arrival to Tokyo-3. He begs Shinji to convince Misato to make him an Eva pilot, but Shinji tells him he doesn't have the final word on the matter. Despite this, he later goes to Misato's place to ask it to her personally, but he has no good answers from her.
After Unit-03's incident, Kensuke knows about Shinji leaving Tokyo-3 again and calls him, leaving a message in a recorder. Upset, he asks why Shinji is running again and still wonders why Toji got the chance to shine, and he didn't. The recorder turned off before he finished recording.
With the passing of time, all of Kensuke's classmates started to leave as well. Kensuke realizes how lonely he is now, him and Hikari Horaki being two of the few children left in the class.
After Unit-00's explosion, it's implied that Kensuke left the city, like Toji and Hikari. He is never seen again after this.
Kensuke has a quirky and self-dependent personality, being the opposite as Shinji, all confident and objective. This includes his passion and desire to pilot an EVA, and his family relationships which in this case, are pretty much the same as his friend´s. Even though Shinji seems distant as a consequence, Kensuke may have became a more mature boy thanks to this, understanding that he is the only one responsible for his dreams coming true. He also has some eccentric hobbies, like camping in the mountains surrounding Tokyo-3 and playing at simulated war re-enacting - by himself. He is like a very childish kid who refuses to grow up, but has some adult behaviors that make him unique.
Kensuke is keen, friendly and talented (Having prepared a dinner at Misato's place to give Asuka a "Welcome" party.), but he can sometimes be intense, manipulative, and a little selfish. He also seems oblivious to the intense physical and psychological distress endured by Eva pilots, and usually seems to ignore others' feelings thanks to his own fantasies. Besides being a headache most of the time, Kensuke has proved himself to be a good friend, supporting his pals. He can be even wise when the occasion needs to and somebody who understands loneliness, just like Shinji needs to.
Curiously, despite being seen as a weirdo by other people, Kensuke is one of the few characters in the series that that does not show any serious psychological issues.
In other Media
- Main article: Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga)
His role in the manga is the same as the anime, with just some little changes. In this adaptation, Kensuke has a crush on Asuka. His hair color has also changed, just like Toji's, but this time from brown to blond.
Like in the series, Kensuke ignores the fact that Toji has been chosen to pilot the Evangelion Unit-03. After this, he and Hikari stay in school all by themselves without understanding why Shinji is not coming anymore.
Later on, Kensuke meets Kaworu Nagisa, seeing him from his classroom window, realizing how strange Kaworu is by thinking: "Creepy...something inhuman..."
After Toji's death, Kensuke understands that his friendship with Shinji is over and that things will never be the same. He says goodbye to him leaving a message on his cellphone, wishing him good luck on his life.
In the new world Shinji chose, Kensuke appears in the train station, talking to Shinji when he first meets him after seeing Asuka with him. They both discover they're going to the same high-school and Kensuke wishes him luck, stating they're now rivals. This shows that maybe there's a chance of the two children to be friends again in this reality.
In Kensuke Aida story mode, after Tōji Suzuhara becomes the pilot of Evangelion Unit-03, SEELE selects Kensuke to become the pilot of Evangelion Unit-04 in a full-on battle with NERV. Initially he only fights in simulations against NERV EVA units, asking Keel Lorenz why should he fight EVA units instead of angels. Keel dismisses him, saying that they don't have the data for angels. He is concerned about it, but he is happy to pilot the Evangelion. He fights against Unit-00, Unit-02 and Unit-01 in these simulations.
After these simulations, Keel says that NERV Evas were defeated by an Angel and Kensuke must fight it. There he fights against Leliel. After this fight, he is told by Keel that NERV has betrayed SEELE and he must attack the NERV HQ. There he finally fights against the 3 NERV EVAs near the Geofront. Kensuke ponders about what they did, but Keel says that he shouldn't worry about it and just complete the mission.
After this battle, Kensuke meets Kaworu Nagisa piloting the Evangelion Type β, he informs Kensuke that he is also a pilot of SEELE. Kaworu asks for Kensuke to fight against Evangelion Unit-03 and runs to his objective. Kensuke asks who is the pilot of Unit-03 but receives no answer from the group, only saying it was a former pilot sent by SEELE. He wonders who is the pilot but still leaves his doubts behind and get ready to fight it.
After the battle, when Kensuke wins, Keel orders the final blow and before Kensuke delivers it, he hears Tōji's voice, but is informed by Keel that the pilot no longer lives. The story mode end with the Kensuke's gasp.
In Tōji Suzuhara story mode, Kensuke is the final boss, but instead of defeating Toji, he is defeated and surrenders. After they realize who is the other pilot, Toji explains that they are being deceived by SEELE in helping the Human Instrumentality Project. Both of them ally against SEELE, going after them.
Neon Genesis Evangelion -ANIMA-
Kensuke and Toji's names both come from the novel Ai to Gensou no Fascism. Character designer Sadamoto has mentioned he identified with Kensuke the most out of all characters, as Shinji himself is instead modelled on Anno, and for the the manga he preferred to have an alternate intepretation of him, but not one based on himself. He is the only staff member to have associated himself with Kensuke.
- "I think I was pretty sociable. But I didn't like to stand out. In terms of characters, I was probably more like Kensuke. I wasn't that straightforward, honor student type, and I was often told that I was calm. It seems that I give up quickly, but in fact I am persistent. I wasn't what you'd call a delinquent, but I did a lot of bad things and reflected on them. I think that part of me is similar to Shinji in the manga." -Yoshiyuki Sadamoto: The Other Side of the Story (Newtype 12/1997)
- "Among the characters of Evangelion, Sadamoto sees himself a lot in Kensuke Aida, a military otaku who really likes girls, but he also empathized a lot with Gendo Ikari, as, being both fathers of families, he saw himself in his dilemmas, in his parental anxieties and difficulties in establishing relationships with children. He doesn't feel like Shinji in the least." Milan Manga Festival 2014