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Evangelion

Kaji Ryoji (加持リョウジ[?], "Kaji Ryōji") is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He is employed by NERV as a special inspector. He wears a ponytail, has a constant chin stubble, and is always referred to by his surname. His given name is romanized as Ryoji in the English manga, English version and original, untranslated version of the TV Series, Ryouji on Madman Entertainment's website, and as Ryohji in the English version of the movie and on Gainax's English Evangelion website.

Biography

Kaji appears to be a triple agent, working as a special inspector for NERV, while secretly investigating the organization for the Japanese Ministry of the Interior, and at times seemingly acting as a cat's-paw both for and against Gendo Ikari and SEELE. In addition, he seems to maintain personal motivations beyond loyalty to any organization, and speaks frequently of his desire to "find the truth." Kaji can be said to have a green thumb, as he cultivates a watermelon patch close to NERV HQ (This is only seen in the anime; he is watering the watermelons while Zeruel is attacking the GeoFront.).

Kaji and Misato Katsuragi were lovers during college, but they had long since broken up by the start of the series and do not see each other again until she flies out to the UN fleet ferrying Unit-02 and Asuka Langley Sohryu to Japan. After he returns to NERV headquarters, Kaji and Misato flirt and fight, Kaji teasing Misato, and Misato constantly calling him "stupid."

Most of the time, Kaji is very easygoing and jovial, always remaining cool and composed and maintaining his detached sense of humor even during times of crisis. He also flirts unabashedly with his female peers and coworkers, which further draws Misato's ire. Despite his irresponsible public persona, Kaji demonstrates a great level of personal responsibility and worldly wisdom in his personal interactions. He acts as something of a father figure to both Asuka and Shinji Ikari, particularly the latter. Asuka is openly infatuated with him, something he coolly and repeatedly deflects. A common interpretation is to see Kaji as Shinji's positive adult mirror, with Gendo as a more negative model. Similarly, Misato and Ritsuko are mirrors for Asuka, as are their respective relationships. He offers Shinji contemplative advice and tries to help him understand the nature of social dynamics. Behind all of this, however, Kaji hints at being a very melancholic and lonely individual, plagued by doubts of his own sincerity and whether he is capable of true love. The only times during the series - including his death - in which Kaji seems to be truly sincere are during his philosophical discussions with Shinji and his dialogue with Misato in Episode 15.

Kaji's last moment

Kaji is ordered by SEELE to kidnap Deputy Commander Kōzō Fuyutsuki so that he can be interrogated. Kaji follows his orders, but disobeys SEELE by rescuing Fuyutsuki later and returning him to NERV. Prior to this, he remarks that his NERV I.D. card is the color of blood; also, during their last meeting, Kaji gives Misato a small capsule which contains the information for the Human Instrumentality Project, then says "This may be the last gift I give you." He then leaves Misato a farewell phone message, indicating that he knew he would likely be dead when she heard it. Fuyutsuki even remarks that his actions will cost him his life. Kaji is eventually shot and killed by an unknown assailant. In the anime, Kaji remarks to his killer, "You're a little late, aren't you?" which has led to debate among Evangelion fans as to the identity of the killer, who is described in the episode Film-book as "a third party working either for SEELE or for NERV's Intelligence Division".[1][2][3] The film-book also states that the killer was not a main character. This fan impression shocked Anno so much that it was directly addressed in the Director's Cut version of Episode 21, perhaps the single case of a clear-cut retcon in Eva.

In other Works

Manga adaptation

Kaji in the manga.

In Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga of the series, Kaji is given a back story which was not given in the anime and which relates to his behavior. In the aftermath of the Second Impact, Kaji and his brother were orphans and members of a group of children who united in order to survive the chaos. One day while stealing food from a JSDF facility, he was caught by soldiers, who threatened to kill him if he did not reveal the location of the gang's hideout. Kaji chose to betray his brother and friends, who were killed by the guards, and he has been plagued by guilt ever since. His role in the story is identical to that given in the anime, but there are a number of differences. He talks with Shinji and helps him to remember his mother's disappearance, and tells Shinji of his past to motivate Shinji to return to NERV after the fight against Bardiel (this takes place in a hidden supplies cellar rather than a watermelon patch). In the anime, Kaji is shot and killed by an unknown assailant; however, in the manga, it takes two shots, and Kaji chides the murderer for his poor aim. As he is dying, he sees the shadowy figures of his brother and friends and greets them.

Kaji later appears during Third Impact as Asuka's transition guide.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: ANIMA

In Neon Genesis Evangelion: ANIMA, Kaji has a major role in the stopping of the Human Instrumentality Project. Indeed, he leaked the attack plan of the Mass Production Evangelions from SEELE to NERV. For this he suffers a far more complex fate for betraying SEELE than in the original anime or Rebuild: Kaji later tracks SEELE for Misato after the failed assault on the GeoFront but ultimately falls into a trap, resulting in his capture.

He is then brainwashed by Keel Lorenz for his successful attempt to steal information from the organization (as happened in the original anime) and of their plan to deceive the JSSDF into attacking NERV, quickly providing it to Misato; on one hand this ultimately gives Misato exactly what she needs to make a plan to counter the JSSDF assault and provide Shinji the motivation to repel the Mass Produced EVA attack but Kaji's open love and loyalty for Misato and friends is sacrificed when he is tortured and forced to wear Keel's Visor, allowing Keel to control and brainwash him; he is then shown to become a hand picked successor to NERV JAPAN by SEELE in light of Misato's apparent capture by Rei Quatre with Ritsuko, Shinji, Asuka, Toji, Hikari, and much of the original NERV staff fleeing, along with SEELE wanting to 'correct' Gendo's deception and failed take over of Third Impact.

By 2018 Kaji succeeds Keel himself as SEELE 01 and is considered the latter's puppet, he pilots the EVA0.0 [Quatre] after Rei Quatre's defection to his NERV JAPAN.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku

In this manga, Kaji is Shinji's guardian, a journalist, and photographer who was once a subordinate of Shinji's father. He appears to recognize Kaworu Nagisa upon their first meeting and he also has ties to Misato Katsuragi. He disapproves of Shinji's nightly walks, particularly in light of recent disappearances.

Trivia

  • His family name, "Kaji" is written with the characters for 'increase' (加) and 'hold' (持) in Japanese. Kaji is named from the Japanese word for "rudder", forming a triad with Gendo and Shinji, whose surnames come from the words of other ship components, "anchor" (Ikari) and "sextant" (Rokubungi). His first name comes from the hero Ryoji Sawada from Minako Narita's manga Aitsu.[4] Interestingly, he is never refered to by his first name, not even by Misato. His design, like that of Gendo and Fuyutsuki, comes from the TV series UFO, specifically Captain Foster.[5]
  • It is also the Japanese term for Adhiṣṭhāna, a form of divine guidance or assistance in Buddhism [6], possibly referring to his role as a supportive figure to both Shinji and Asuka. It is also somewhat of a departure from the Christianity / Judaism themes of the anime.
  • Interestingly, Kaji in ANIMA combines aspects of Gendo from Rebuild (he wears Keel's visor whilst commander of NERV JPN, a step further extreme even from that incarnation of Gendo) and Keel Lorenz (he becomes deeply immersed in the secrets of SEELE and their true objectives with the planned Fourth Impact)
  • In the game Secret of Evangelion, Ryoji Kaji was killed by Kyoya Kenzaki, his old friend.
  • Misato's implied sex scene with Kaji in Episode:20 was said by Anno to actually be a massage scene to TV Tokyo in order to get permission to air it.[7] Misato had no line in the script, so Anno left it up to her voice actress Kotono Mitsuishi. The script simply gave her a note by Anno: Mitsuishi-sama, I look forward to working with you. Respectfully yours, Anno.[8]

References

  1. This was addressed by Newtype at the time: "While a lot of fans think that it was done by Misato, Director Anno raised the possibility that it could have been done by Japan government or Seele agent".
  2. …Who killed Kaji? What’s your version of it?
    This is a question that many Japanese fans also wonder about. Kaji wanted to investigate a deeper part of NERV (SEELE) and learn of its secrets. He was tricked by one of his informants and then killed. It wasn’t Misato or Ritsuko. Tsurumaki, FUNime March 2002 interview
  3. When it was first aired on TV, it seems no few fans suspected that it was Misato that shot Kaji in this episode. In the "video version," dialogue explaining that SEELE has discovered that Kaji has delivered a sample of Adam to Gendo and has made his position precarious has been added and the way the scene where Kaji is shot conects to the next scene has been changed. It leads the audience to think that the culprit is someone on SEELE's side. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
  4. Character Name Origins
  5. Filmbook Vol. 6
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adhi%E1%B9%A3%E1%B9%ADh%C4%81na
  7. 3.0+1.0 July 12th stage greeting
  8. "What astonished viewers when it aired was not the main plot of Shinji's cosmic struggle, but rather the final love scene of Misato and Kaji. The scene was showing a bedside stand the whole time, and only the audio of the off-screen dialogue was describing it, but it was a wet (sexual) scene in and of itself. In particular, the line "Ew... don't put anything weird in there." had the same destructive power as the Second Impact. The scene with the opened contraceptive device on the bedside table is really graphic. Misato's panting voice was not specified in the dubbing script, but was left up to Kotono Mitsuishi. The script had the words "Mitsuishi-sama, I look forward to working with you. Respectfully yours, Anno." The text of the dubbing script of each story is recorded on the DVD. If you want to enjoy the details of Eva more, you might want to read it. - Oguro commentary #53, translation

Ryoji Kaji (加持リョウジ[?], "Kaji Ryōji") is a fictional character from the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series. He is employed by NERV as a special inspector.

Profile

In his first appearance, he is seen wearing a NERV administrator's uniform similar to Fuyutsuki, with olive jacket, pants over a red shirt. Unlike Fuyutsuki, the color of the triangle decorations are not the same in all pieces, being the top one red and the sleeves blue. He has long brown hair that is tied at the back of his head in a ponytail. He usually does have a very casual look. This can be seen first of all in his outfit: a blue shirt with a loose collar, a red tie which is also loose, and black pants. He doesn't practice a clean shave, having a few stubbles in his face. He is also able to speak fluent English at the beginning of 2.0.

Most of the time Kaji is very laid back and jovial, he always remains calm and maintains his sense of humor during crisis. He also shamelessly flirts with the other women in NERV, which angers Misato. Despite his irresponsible public appearance, Ryoji is very responsible and shows a lot of wisdom in his interactions especially with Shinji Ikari.

The relationship between Kaji and Misato is different from that in the NGE series. They are not ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends in the Rebuild continuity, rather than a developing romantic relationship. Prominent examples include Misato blushing in front of Kaji during one of their conversations; and Misato worrying about Kaji's whereabouts after the Ninth Angel incident. It is later revealed that Misato and Kaji have a son.

Story

In Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, Kaji is introduced in the story. Little is known about Kaji's childhood. He returns to the University where he meets Ritsuko Akagi and Misato Katsuragi. They were good friends and evnentually, Ryoji had a romantic relationship with Misato. Even when their relationship was going well, Misato decides to break up because she recognizzed too much of her father in Kaji's personality.

Meanwhile the Third Angel is active in the Bethany Base, he organizes his escape as Mari Makinami Illustrious fights against the angel. This escape serves as an alibi for him to leave from the base with the Nebuchadnezzar's Key, which he later gives to Gendo.

Kaji then joins the NERV HQ. There he meets Ritsuko and Misato again and sets up a watermelon field in the GeoFront. He invites the Evangelion pilots and their friends to an ocean restoration center, where the effects of the Second Impact can be reversed and animals can swim again in the blue ocean, instead of the red ocean that covers the world. He talks with Shinji about Second Impact and how it affected Misato.

Despite his work for NERV, he remains suspicious and investigates some of their actions. The disappearance of Evangelion Unit-04 is very suspicious and he shares certain information with Misato. During Near Third Impact, Ryoji seems to understand the implications of the event and anticipates issues with SEELE .

In Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, Kaji is only briefly mentioned by one of the WILLE's crew members, Koji Takao. There is one hint at his possible demise. When Shinji asks Asuka on Rei's whereabouts, she responds negatively by saying, "There is no time to worry about such things anymore." and turns to Misato for agreement, to which Misato answers with silence.

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

Kaji is revealed to be deceased in Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon A Time, however he had a child with Misato, named after him. Kensuke explains that "someone had to be sacrificed to stop Third Impact, and Kaji volunteered, with Misato's consent. During the Instrumentality sequence, it is shown he spent time with Kaworu Nagisa. Kaworu has memories of having spent time with Kaji, and he criticizes Kaworu for his single-mindedness with Shinji, saying Kaworu was only looking for his own happiness, to which he agrees. When Shinji frees him, Kaji proposes to Kaworu that he go to farm with his son and Misato.

Spoilers end here.

Trivia

  • His family name, "Kaji" is written with the characters for 'increase' (加) and 'hold' (持) in Japanese. "Ryoji" was the name of a hero in Minako Narita's manga Aitsu.[1]
  • It is also the Japanese term for Adhiṣṭhāna, a form of divine guidance or assistance in Buddhism [2], possibly referring to his role as a supportive figure to both Shinji and Asuka. It is also somewhat of a departure from the Christianity / Judaism themes of the anime.

References

  1. Evangelion character names; Translation of essay by Hideaki Anno about character name origins; includes a link to the original essay in Japanese.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adhi%E1%B9%A3%E1%B9%ADh%C4%81na

==Neon Genesis Evangelion==

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Neon Genesis Evangelion -ANIMA-

Rebuild of Evangelion

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