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Don't look away, but think about what you can do to atone for your sin.
—Misato Katsuragi

Misato Katsuragi (葛城 ミサト[?], "Katsuragi Misato") is one of the main characters from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. She is the operations director at NERV, initially with the rank of captain; she is later promoted to major. In Rebuild of Evangelion, Misato's initial rank is lieutenant colonel. Her duties at NERV include acting as a field commander for the Eva pilots, issuing orders and relaying battle strategies as well as processing input from Ritsuko Akagi and the technicians monitoring the Evas. She also handles many bureaucratic aspects of NERV's operations.

At the beginning of the series, Misato first brings Shinji Ikari to NERV and is able to convince him to pilot the Eva Unit-01. She then chooses to have Shinji move in with her rather than live alone, and later takes in Asuka Langley Soryu. As the series progresses, through her former lover Ryoji Kaji, Misato learns the truth behind the Human Instrumentality Project and the depths of deception that NERV and SEELE have gone to keep the Project secret, even from her.

Profile[edit | edit source]

As revealed in a flashback,[1] when Misato was 14, she accompanied Dr. Katsuragi (the leader of the Katsuragi Expedition and Misato's father) to Antarctica and she was badly injured as the Second Impact was beginning, but her father placed her in a protective capsule (resembling an Entry Plug) just before he was killed.[2] The capsule saved her life, but her injuries left a large scar on her chest.[3] Another flashback reveals that she was aboard the ship which brought Kōzō Fuyutsuki and Gendo Ikari to the ruins of Antarctica two years after Second Impact.[4] After seeing her in her room, Fuyutsuki was told that she had not spoken since the incident.[4] Her mutism went away when she began to attend college and she became more social and talkative, so much so that Ritsuko, while reminiscing about her friendship with Misato and Ryoji Kaji at that time, thought that Misato seemed to be attempting to "make up for lost time."[4]

Misato's job(s) before being employed at NERV are not specified, but in the manga, her last job involved genetic experimentation on animals, as Pen Pen was a result of one such experiment. She chose to keep Pen Pen as a pet rather than let him be euthanized and converted a refrigerator into a heated sleeping area for him.

The cross pendant that she always wears was put around her neck by her father just before sealing the protective capsule.[2] It is not revealed in the anime or manga if the pendant has significance to Misato beyond a link to her father, or was of any significance to her father.

According to Misato's ID card,[5] she is 1.63 meters tall (slightly over 5 feet 4 inches) and her blood type is AO (however the sections of the card listing her age and weight have been scribbled out). A copy of her ID card before vandalization appears in Episode 25, which lists her weight as 47 kg (approx. 103 pounds); the card also lists her bust-waist-hip measurements at 83-59-82 in the metric system (approx. 33-23-32 in inches).

Misato drives a blue Renault Alpine A310, a car which is at least fifteen years old. She is seen driving it in both Neon Genesis Evangelion and the Rebuild of Evangelion. Its design is remarkably accurate to the original A310, even going to far as to have the same number of bolts in the gearshift (though a few inlets aside the front storage compartment are misplaced). In the Rebuild of Evangelion series, Misato also drives a white Mazda Cosmo Sport 110.

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Misato is a young woman with long dark violet hair that is wavy with bangs parted to the sides and dark brown eyes. She wears a sleeveless black flapper dress with a cross necklace, a fancy red jacket with stylized accents, green socks, and black boots, but she wears more outfits throughout the series. Misato is known to be a very attractive woman, as she has been cited multiple times throughout the entire series to be a "babe", by Ikari's male classmates.

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Shinji Ikari[edit | edit source]

Misato first meeting Shinji

Misato appears to have some sort of affinity for Shinji despite being over twice his age. She finds Shinji's presence to be a grounding and stabilizing influence. In the manga, when talking with Shinji at the train station after his first attempt to run away from NERV, Misato confesses to Shinji that she took him in not because she thought it was her duty to do so, but because she was lonely. It becomes apparent to Misato that many of Shinji's problems in dealing with people closely echo her own, although their coping mechanisms are opposites of each other, and that they seem to be caught in a "Hedgehog's dilemma," as Ritsuko calls it.[6] After Asuka Langley Sohryu moves in, Misato finds herself often acting as a mediator between Shinji and Asuka. There is also sexual tension between Shinji and Misato, but this aspect of their relationship is only hinted at (apart from the "adult kiss" scene in The End of Evangelion; however, the context of the scene gives this action multiple possible meanings). More prominently, she tries to be both a friend and a maternal influence for Shinji (which carries over to the other pilots), balancing this with her duties and responsibilities as his commanding officer at NERV. Near the end of the series, Misato and Shinji's shared and separate traumas put distance between them, and Shinji can neither let himself comfort her (see next paragraph) nor be comforted by her (in the wake of Rei Ayanami's death).[7] During her Instrumentality,[8] she expresses regret that she was not able to "be a mother for Shinji" in the end.[9] Still, Shinji is devastated upon losing her, and he carries her pendant from then on.

Ryoji Kaji[edit | edit source]

Kaji kissing Misato

Misato and Ryoji were lovers during college (it is implied in both the series and The End of Evangelion that not only did he take her virginity, but also that they once spent a whole week in bed doing nothing but having sex), but they had long since broken up. They do not see each other again until she flies out to the UN fleet ferrying Unit-02 and Asuka to Japan.[5] After he returns to NERV headquarters, Kaji flirts with Misato, who constantly insults him ("You're stupid", "I hate you", and "Dating you was the biggest blemish of my life.") She falsely stated that she broke up with Kaji because she felt that he was interested in her solely for sexual reasons, since he himself doubted whether he was capable of true love. Later, she confesses to Kaji that he reminded her too much of her father, and was afraid to lose him. After Kaji reveals that Misato has been kept in the dark by her superiors and Ritsuko about NERV's secrets, she begins to use Kaji to find out what Gendo Ikari's "true purpose" is. This culminates after Shinji is "reborn" from Unit-01's core after the battle with the Angel Zeruel, when Kaji gives Misato a data capsule containing information on what she requested on their last meeting. Before he begins his last assignment (which leads to his murder), Kaji leaves Misato a final phone message to seek the truth using the information he has given her, in which Misato is devastated and breaks down after hearing the message. After this point, however, she becomes more proactive in learning the truth of the Instrumentality Project for herself. In the manga, she reunites with Kaji after her death.

Ritsuko Akagi[edit | edit source]

Ritsuko and Misato in a baby shower

Misato and Ritsuko are close friends at the start of the series, and flashbacks reveal that Ritsuko was one of Misato's first friends in college. However, their friendship dissolves as Misato learns more about the Instrumentality Project and Ritsuko's role in its development, as well as her complicity in its secrecy. They also clash frequently (and sometimes violently) over the lives of the Eva pilots during combat, as Ritsuko is willing to sacrifice the pilots if the situation appears to warrant it while Misato is dedicated to their survival. Later, she snidely comments on the fractured relations between Misato, Shinji, and Asuka, which Misato angrily retorts by accusing Ritsuko of substituting her cats for human affection.[10]

It is perhaps Misato's understanding of human sacrifice that sets her apart from Ritsuko in the end: both lost parents (Dr. Katsuragi and Naoko Akagi, respectively), though for different reasons. Misato's father died to save her, and this sacrifice and loss informs much of her lifestyle and actions for the remainder of her life. Ritsuko, on the other hand, sees her mother's suicide as a selfish act, a petty attempt at self-redemption after what she did to Rei I and realizing that she had been cast aside. Misato's love for Kaji and ultimately Shinji leads her to want to protect the pilots' lives, whereas to Ritsuko, they are initially just a means to an end. The women end up emulating the parents they hated throughout their final year, with vastly differing results. The circle is completed in The End of Evangelion when, just before dying, Misato gives Shinji her cross pendant—just like her father did to her before he died during Second Impact—and pushes him to safety. In contrast to Misato's sacrifice, Ritsuko's final act is not so but an act of petty revenge against Gendo. It fails, thanks to her mother's perceived betrayal, rendering her death essentially in vain—just like Naoko's.

Others[edit | edit source]

Makoto Hyuga[edit | edit source]

Hyuga, one of the three technicians working in Central Dogma with Misato and Ritsuko and under Gendo Ikari and Kozo Fuyutsuki, is Misato's close ally in investigating NERV, particularly after Kaji's death and Kaworu Nagisa's arrival. It is implied that he harbours more than just admiration, but is actually in love with her. Despite his complaints, Hyuga seems okay with doing Misato's laundry for her, as in episode 11. In episode 24, when Misato asks him to prepare the self-destruct code for NERV HQ, he tells her he would be honoured to die with her. In The End of Evangelion, Rei/Lilith turns into an image of Misato and kisses him before he is reverted to LCL.

Gendo Ikari[edit | edit source]

Though relatively new to NERV at the start of the series, Misato is already well aware of Gendo's cold demeanor and of his disdain for his son. Though she appears to take orders directly from the Commander and Deputy Commander, she is not afraid to stand up for herself or for Shinji before them when she feels the situation merits another path. In The End of Evangelion, she tries to steer Shinji clear of Gendo's persuasions. She appears unabashed when Gendo sends her to be interrogated by SEELE after the incident between Unit 01 and Leliel.

The other pilots[edit | edit source]

Asuka Langley Sohryu does not particularly like Misato and this dislike transfers to hostility when Misato rekindles her relationship with Ryoji Kaji (with whom Asuka is infatuated). However, Misato always tries to act in a motherly way with Asuka, being aware of her history and of the high price she has paid for her current status as Unit 02's pilot; this is perhaps a strong reason why she invited Asuka to live with her and Shinji. She usually responds to Asuka's abrasive attitude with calm, patience, and sincere care.

Misato is particularly disturbed when Toji Suzuhara is chosen as the Fourth Child, much to her surprise. Not only does she care for the boy, but she is aware of Shinji's close friendship with him and how much that friendship means to Shinji. She seems genuinely saddened by the news and equally intrigued; it is then that she discovers that everyone in Class 2-A (Shinji's class) is an Eva pilot candidate. Misato tries to protect Toji as best she can, perhaps more for Shinji's sake than anything else, and she is heartbroken after Toji is severely injured (or killed, as in the case of the manga version of the series) in the battle with Bardiel. She enjoyed the attention Toji and Kensuke Aida bestowed upon her with their crushes, and even invited them and Shinji to the Pacific Fleet to meet Asuka and check in on the transport of Unit 02. She seemed amused though unperturbed by Toji's attempts to flirt with her.

Her relationships with Rei Ayanami and Kaworu Nagisa are not explored in depth. She knows of Rei's value as a pilot and as a good complement to Shinji (particularly when they have to work together). Rei in turn respects and obeys Misato as her commanding officer and trusts her judgment. Misato is aware of the animosity Asuka bears for Rei, first noticing from the reaction when she suggested that Rei be paired with Shinji against Israfel instead of Asuka due to their higher interpersonal synchronization. However, she dismisses it as a natural colliding of personalities and does not act until later (perhaps too late), letting Asuka go first against Arael. The plan, although of Asuka's doing and not Misato's, backfired and eventually cost Asuka her sanity and role as a pilot. Misato is suspicious when SEELE personally sends Kaworu to NERV, sending Hyuga digging for answers. She discovers his identity from Ritsuko Akagi too late to stop Kaworu from diving down to Terminal Dogma. In the manga, Kaworu arrives earlier on than in the anime, before the battle with Armisael, and Misato exchanges a few lines with him. Her reaction to Kaworu, like Kensuke's, is one of suspicion and disturbance—something does not seem right about him.

Co-workers[edit | edit source]

Misato and the Command Center team during the battle against Israfel

Misato is respected at NERV for her tactical skill, drive, and ability to fight the Angels by means of commanding the Evas. Despite her occasional disagreements with various members of the staff, her skill and position is never doubted during combat, enough so to earn her a promotion to Major. The other two technicians (apart from Hyuga) do not appear to interact with her beyond day-to-day operations at NERV: while Maya Ibuki bonds with Ritsuko, Shigeru Aoba is something of a loner, and this is reflected in their visions of Rei/Lilith during Instrumentality.

Though it is not known whether they ever met, Naoko Akagi encouraged Ritsuko's (Naoko's daughter) friendship with Misato. Ritsuko, in a rare unloading of personal detail, reveals Naoko's plan of the Magi system to Misato after a long day at work. In the anime, Ritsuko had left Gehirn HQ to meet Misato when the events leading up to Naoko's death occurred; in the manga, Ritsuko was on her way out to meet Misato, realized that she had forgotten something, and returned to witness these events.

The End of Evangelion[edit | edit source]

Misato's last kiss.

In the events of The End of Evangelion, Misato saves Shinji's life by killing three soldiers under the command of the Japanese Strategic Self Defense Force with her gun. She drags him into her car and drives toward Unit-01's launch bay and is eventually shot in the back while rushing Shinji through the launch bay's door. She shrugs off the wound, then has an intense and emotional conversation with Shinji to get him out of the suicidally defeatist emotional state he is in. She gives Shinji her now bloodstained pendant (just like her father had given it to her), as well as a French kiss, with a promise to "do the rest" when he gets back. She then shoves Shinji into the elevator to the launch bay, and collapses once the doors close. She asks (the now dead) Kaji if she did "the right thing", and remembers Asuka and Pen-Pen. Misato then closed her eyes as JSSDF demolition crews blow up the area, tearing her apart.[11] Just moments before the explosion, an image of Rei is shown above her body. Her remains are then transformed into LCL, which presents the possibility that Misato was complemented and could return to physical form if she had the will to.

Manga adaptation[edit | edit source]

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga essentially maintains Misato's character and story from the anime series, with very slight alterations along the way. The manga explains the advent of Pen Pen, whom Misato saved from euthanasia after the experiment he was the subject of was over. Also, her talk with Ryoji Kaji, in which she confesses to him that he reminded her of her father years ago, happens following not a wedding reception but her promotion party after she (along with everyone present, including Shinji, Toji, and Kensuke) got quite drunk; Kaji took her for a stroll outside (albeit on his back) to help her sober up. At this point, Asuka, who had been following Kaji, walks in on them and expresses her extreme displeasure of the situation. Additionally, instead of bleeding out as in The End of Evangelion, Misato detonates a grenade she had been carrying just as some JSSDF forces break down the barrier, winking at them before taking them out along with her in a murder-suicide. She is then reunited with Kaji, suggesting she did not make it to Instrumentality after all.

The final stage of the manga depicts Shinji's world after he rejected Instrumentality. In this world, he was never an Evangelion pilot, had a few friends who cheered him on, and meets Asuka and Kensuke for the first time on his way to a boarding school in Tokyo (in mid-winter, a season Japan hadn't had since Second Impact). It is unknown how much of the pre-Instrumentality world carries over into this one, although the déjà-vu Shinji experiences suggest that some trace of it has. The most striking aspect occurs in the very last panel, as Shinji leaves the train station to meet the future head on—with Misato's cross pendant tied to his suitcase, fulfilling the promise he made to her in her final moments.

Personality and psychological health[edit | edit source]

Misato drinking her favorite beer.

While on the job, Misato is very professional and capable, in stark contrast to her life at home. Until Shinji Ikari's arrival, her living space was a complete mess. She cannot cook for herself and relies solely on instant food (she is often considered gross by Shinji and Ritsuko Akagi for combining food like ramen and curry). She also drinks copious quantities of beer, and drinks one first thing in the morning to get her day started (later in the series she apparently switches to canned coffee as a supplement). She also smokes, though only occasionally and only during chaotic events.

For most of the series, Misato has no apparent issues with displaying and emphasizing her femininity, and enjoys the attention this gains her. She enclosed a picture of herself in the NERV materials sent to Shinji when he was summoned to Tokyo-3. In the picture, she is wearing a skimpy outfit with an arrow pointing to her breasts and a caption which is translated in English as "Pay attention" in the Platinum Edition subtitles and "note the cleavage" in the manga. In volume 2 of the manga, Shinji returns home from school to find the apartment unlocked and Misato in the shower; he thinks to himself, "That's not safe...anyone could walk in!" Kensuke Aida and Toji Suzuhara (Shinji's friend) develop crushes on Misato with the attention she appears to enjoy. First Lieutenant Makoto Hyuga (Misato's subordinate) also falls in love with her (though as opposed to Toji and Kensuke, his feelings are sincere, as shown in The End of Evangelion). He often risks his life and job by providing sensitive information to Misato, and agrees to set NERV HQ to self-destruct when Tabris attacks.

Series director Hideaki Anno described Misato as "...a woman, twenty-nine, who lives life so lightly as to barely allow the possibility of human touch. She protects herself by keeping relationships on the surface, and by running away." The disparity between her professionalism on the job and her slovenliness at home, as well as her issues in her relationships with Dr. Katsuragi (Misato's father) and Ryoji Kaji and the ambiguous nature of her relationship with Shinji, ties into her psychological issues. While grateful to her father for saving her life, she also admits to hating him, as he devoted his life to his work and neglected her and her mother. Her reason for joining NERV (and later, her drive to fight the Angels) is related to her issues with her father. Kaji implies in one discussion that Misato suffers from nightmares about her past, as he describes her as "sleeping uncomfortably." Also, Misato admits "seeking her father in Kaji's embrace."[12]

Character notes[edit | edit source]

Like many characters in Evangelion, Misato was named for a ship: the Katsuragi, an Unryū class WWII Japanese aircraft carrier. Her given name is from a heroine in Minako Narita's manga Aitsu.[13]

Misato has a bit of an affinity for European cars in the original series. She drives a bright blue Renault Alpine A310, and is a devotee of this particular marque of car, as on her bedroom wall she has a poster of an Alpine A110 shot from the back during a race. She has also been seen driving a red Ferrari 328 GTS when arriving at Tokyo-3's school. In Rebuild of Evangelion, however, she forgoes the Alpine for a white Mazda Cosmo Sport 110, with a red racing stripe. She carries a Heckler & Koch USP as her personal sidearm, compared to the Glock 17 that the other NERV personnel are seen wielding. It is only seen a few times in the series, but she demonstrates great skill with it.

In the Super Robot Wars games featuring Evangelion and Gundam (UC timeline), Misato gets a crush on ace pilot Amuro Ray, alluding to their seiyuus' other famous anime roles as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Kamen respectively. She also makes some Sailor Moon comments when admiring the Nobel Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam on Super Robot Wars MX, and points out similarities in voice with Vega from Gear Fighter Dendoh and Murrue Ramius from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (two other characters voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi).

In Rebuild of Evangelion her hair has been darkened so as to appear black rather than purple. Also in Rebuild, from what can be gleaned from Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, she is more involved in what's going on at NERV and her rank is Lieutenant-Colonel. Because of that, she actually knows about their possession of Lilith.

In other media[edit | edit source]

Rebuild of Evangelion[edit | edit source]

In the first two films, Misato has a similar role to the one in the original series. However, Misato carries the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and has a greater knowledge of NERV's operations and secrets.

In Evangelion 1.0, Misato's role is much the same as it is in the original series: she picks Shinji Ikari up and takes him to NERV in order for him to pilot Unit-01, and later on takes him in as a roommate. In this film, prior to "Operation Yashima", she takes Shinji to Lilith's chamber, correctly identifying Lilith as the second Angel and explaining to Shinji that NERV's goal is to prevent Third Impact happening by preventing the Angels from coming into contact with Lilith.

In Evangelion 2.0, Misato is promoted off-screen to the rank of Colonel. She takes in Asuka Shikinami Langley and shows the same level of animosity towards Ryoji Kaji that she displayed in the original series, for instance getting angry when Kaji flirts with Ritsuko Akagi and Misato later softens up to Kaji. She spurs Shinji on to pilot Unit-01 for himself, not others, and is a witness to Near Third Impact.

In Evangelion 3.0, Misato, aged 43 has become the leader of WILLE, an organization that exists to destroy NERV and its Evangelion Units and prevent Fourth Impact. Here, she exhibits a personality similar to Gendo's as she is more unsympathetic and bitter unlike previous chapters in the series. She acts coldly towards Shinji after she has him reawakened, ordering the placement of the DSS Choker on him as a sign that she no longer trusts him. Misato's displayed behavior at this point implies that she may either perceive him as her enemy or has a terrible grudge against him for the Third Impact that he unintentionally caused. However, she seems to fail to acknowledge that she herself bears a good amount of the blame due to her egging Shinji on as he tried to save Rei Ayanami, and appears to be using him as a scapegoat to avoid her own responsibility. Despite her misguided disdain towards Shinji, Misato seemingly still has some of her old feelings and care for him as she hesitates to activate the DSS Choker when the Evangelion Mark.09 takes Shinji to NERV Headquarters.

Reasons for Misato's change into such a bitter character was because she, along with most of Nerv’s other staff have learned that Gendo Ikari's ambitions were never to prevent Third Impact, but rather to provoke it. This of course, drove Misato and the others to rebel against him. Gathering the rest of the survivors of humanity, they formed the WILLE organization with her and Dr. Akagi as its leaders that dedicated exclusively to destroy Nerv and SEELE to prevent future Impacts and ensure the future of the dying human race. Although Misato's motives and goals are just, the 14 years of constant war and struggle have hardened and deteriorated Misato's better qualities as a person and has resulted in her becoming ironically similar to Gendo. Even with shades of her former self, it's likely the Misato that Shinji knew is gone forever.

Neon Genesis EVANGELION -ANIMA-[edit | edit source]

Misato in Evangelion ANIMA.

In Evangelion ANIMA, Misato is part of the NERV JAPAN (the original NERV had to be dissolved and reformed under pressure from SEELE, United Nations and Japan government, due to the use of new equipment such as the Super Evangelion or the fearsome Sword of Damocles).

She is now at rank Major General, as well as Commander of NERV JAPAN. She seeks to stop any attempt of restarting the Human Instrumentality Project.

Transformers x Evangelion[edit | edit source]

While heading NERV efforts against an Angel, Misato witnessed the arrival of the Autobots and was perplexed by their presence. Mode "Eva" chapter 1 When Starscream possessed the Angel, Misato called for Eva-01 to be activated. Mode "Eva" chapter 2 However, she was in for another surprise when Optimus Prime scanned Eva-01 and became like it in both color and size! Mode "Eva" chapter 3 Misato watched the ensuing battle between Optimus and Starscream, noting that the Decepticon had access to the Angels' A.T. Field ability and radioing the Autobot Wheeljack to let him know NERV was relying on them, having no other Evas ready for deployment. When the Autobots worked to catch Starscream off balance, she helped out by having Tokyo-3 transform around the Decepticon, causing him to stumble and allowing Prime to defeat him. After the battle, the Autobots joined NERV in defending Earth against Angels and Decepticons alike, something Misato viewed with mixed anxiety and expectation. Mode "Eva" chapter 4[14]

Petit Eva[edit | edit source]

In the Petit Eva: Evangelion@School series, Misato is the homeroom teacher of Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Sohryu at NERV Academy. Here, Misato is shown throwing chalk at anyone she catches falling asleep, including Shinji.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The name Misato means "beauty" (mi) and "village" (sato).
    • However, various parents may choose to write it as "Optical village" or "Truth village". In addition, instead of the more common kanji for "village", a version meaning "home village" with the same pronunciation can be used, making the name Misato mean "beautiful home village".
  • Misato's surname Katsuragi means "victory" (katsu) and "to flow" (ragi).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Evangelion, Episode 12; also in the manga
  2. 2.0 2.1 Evangelion, episode 12
  3. Evangelion, episodes 10, 12, and the manga
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Evangelion, episode 21
  5. 5.0 5.1 Evangelion, Episode 08
  6. Evangelion, Episode 04
  7. Evangelion, Episode 23
  8. '"Evangelion, Episode 25
  9. In the ADV DVD commentary for The End of Evangelion, Amanda Winn-Lee (Rei Ayanami's VA) jokingly states to Misato that " cleaned his tonsils with your tongue! That's not a very 'motherly' thing to do!!"
  10. Evangelion, Episode 22
  11. DVD commentary for The End of Evangelion.
  12. Evangelion, Episode 26
  13. Evangelion character names; Translation of the essay by Hideaki Anno about character name origins; includes a link to the original essay in Japanese.
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