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|“||I mustn't run away!||”|
Shinji Ikari is the Third Child, the main protagonist of the series and the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit-01. He is the son of "deceased" Gehirn bioengineer Yui Ikari and NERV Commander (formerly Chief of Gehirn) Gendo Ikari. After his mother's death, he was abandoned by his father and lived for 11 years with his sensei, until he was summoned to Tokyo-3 to pilot Unit-01 against the Angels. He lives initially just with Misato Katsuragi; they are later joined by Asuka Langley Soryu.
AppearanceEditShinji has medium-length straight brown hair and grey-blue eyes, two traits he inherited from his mother, Yui. Shinji is also very skinny, and often has his shirt tucked in, showing that he is a rather tidy person. When spending time at NERV or out in the city, he wears his uniform which is a white dress shirt, blue t-shirt, dark pants and white rubber shoes, though when in his apartment, he will often wear something more casual. Shinji's plug suit has a very light blue torso, complemented by the rest being a dark blue color with black portions as well.
Shinji initially shows a passive and laid-back personality, inheriting such traits from his relaxed life with his sensei. When he is told to pilot Unit-01, he does so without questioning it, choosing simply to go along with what everyone else says. Though Shinji denies it, he yearns for praise, and he eventually begins to pilot Unit-01 to gain the approval and praise of others, as well as the love of his father. He also continually tells himself "I mustn't run away!", further demonstrating his need to move forward and let go of the past.
Shinji shows a great fear of emotional pain and of being hated or left behind, likely due to his perception of being abandoned in his youth and, subsequently, blaming himself for not being good enough to make his father stick around. In general, Shinji is shown to be introverted and disconnected from physical reality due to having little to no meaningful contact with others. In social party situations, he is shown to be quite uncomfortable, and he often has difficulty controlling his emotions around others due to his hard time letting go of the past. He is shown to the extreme of this, forsaking many lives (even his own) to save one person.
Due to Shinji's high nostalgia and fragile emotional state, he chooses to shut out the world, as evidenced by the headphones he wears rather often, plugged into an SDAT music player. He usually plays tracks 25 ("You Are the Only One") and 26 ("Blue Legend"), though in episodes 02 and 23, the songs are varied to different background music and vocals.
Through all this, Shinji is also aware of his own faults, has a detailed memory of the past, and generally is outwardly gentle. He is the only one who tries to find a reason to fight the Angels, and sometimes his justification for fleeing from piloting is to avoid hurting others.
StoryEditAround the age of three, Shinji lost his mother to the Unit-01 Contact Experiment. As he witnessed this event, he was subjected to considerable trauma that had lingering effects upon him.
Shinji first appears in Episode 1 at age fourteen, where he has been summoned to Tokyo-3 by his father, Gendo Ikari, to pilot Evangelion Unit-01. After refusing to do so, Gendo brings in a backup pilot, Rei Ayanami, who is so badly injured that she falls while trying to get off a stretcher. Reluctantly, Shinji agrees to pilot the unit, and is able to defeat Sachiel after his Eva goes Berserk. Shortly after the Angel's defeat, Misato Katsuragi takes Shinji to live with her rather than letting him live on his own.
Several weeks later, Shinji begins to attend school, where he meets Tōji, Kensuke, and Hikari. When it is discovered that Shinji is the pilot of Eva Unit-01, Tōji beats him up, in retaliation for his little sister being injured in the Angel battle. Shortly thereafter, Shamshel attacks, and Shinji pilots Unit-01 once again. However, before defeating the Angel, Shinji's battle puts two of his classmates in serious danger. Because of this, Shinji spends several days wandering the town, until he sees Kensuke and spends the night with him. The next day, agents from NERV come and take Shinji back to NERV HQ. After being reprimanded by Misato, Shinji overcomes his own weakness, stays with NERV, and goes back to live with Misato.
Later, at NERV HQ, Shinji sees Rei happily chatting with Gendo, who has burns on his hands. After asking Ritsuko about them, she describes an incident where Gendo put his hands on scalding metal to save Rei, to which Shinji is skeptical. Shinji begins to eye Rei, though he brushes it off as curiosity about why she is always alone. Soon thereafter, Ritsuko has Shinji return Rei's ID card to her; Shinji accidentally walks in on Rei as she is getting dressed, and clumsily knocks her to the floor, touching her naked body. A bit shook up, Shinji follows Rei to NERV, returns her ID card, and asks her about his father; when he tells her that he has no faith in Gendo, she slaps him.
With Rei still unable to enter battle, Ramiel approaches, and Gendo sorties Unit-01 with Shinji as the pilot. Shinji is immediately hit by one of Ramiel's attacks and is forced into retreat by Misato. As Shinji wakes up and begins to recover from his injuries, he helps defeat Ramiel with a positron beam. During the battle, Shinji's first shot fails to destroy Ramiel. When Ramiel fights back, Rei, in Unit-00, steps between them, taking heavy damage. Shinji then destroys Ramiel with another blast. Shinji quickly escapes Unit-01, and opens Unit-00's hatch, burning his hands as Gendo did in the past, to see Rei. He expresses a deep sadness for her but tells her to smile nonetheless.
We soon learn that Shinji is embarrassed by Misato and her unhealthy lifestyle. After she visits his school, however, a new robotic unit called Jet Alone appears in a demonstration but goes out of control. Shinji must use Unit-01 to get Misato into Jet Alone so she can shut down its reactor. Then, after Tōji and Kensuke point out that Misato's personality is only shown to Shinji because she considers him family, he happily accepts her.
In Episode 08, Asuka makes her series debut and immediately regards Shinji as "dull". Despite this, Asuka displays an interest in Shinji (after learning of his innate ability to synch with Unit-01); as Gaghiel attacks, she seizes her chance to impress Shinji, and tells him to get into the cockpit of Evangelion Unit-02 with her. Eventually, as the two cooperate, they can open Gaghiel's mouth underwater, and the armada of Navy ships present are able to destroy it.
As the Angel Israfel arrives, Shinji and Asuka are both deployed in their Evas to destroy it. After Asuka hits it and divides it in two, it revives as two separate Angels, which defeat both Evas; Shinji and Asuka proceed to argue about whose fault it was. Kaji and Misato devise a plan to take down the Angel after it heals and returns in a few days time; however, the plan requires the cooperation of both Evangelion units. Shinji and Asuka, during their next several days living together, undergo numerous tests and training exercises to synchronize themselves to better attack Israfel. When the battle day comes, the two defeat Israfel seamlessly through a synchronized dance routine.
Shinji and Asuka hang out at a pool after their friends go on a field trip, where Shinji is having trouble with schoolwork. Showing off a bit, Asuka solves his problem with relative ease, then compares his topic of thermal expansion to that of her breasts, much to Shinji's embarrassment. Meanwhile, Sandalphon has been active in a nearby volcano, and Asuka takes the call. Trying to show off to Shinji, she takes a dive into the volcano, where she loses her Eva's knife, but eventually encounters the Angel. Shinji throws his knife to Asuka, and after a short struggle, Asuka defeats Sandalphon. A few days later, the power to NERV HQ goes out, and Shinji, Asuka, and Rei must make their way to NERV together in order to defeat the Angel Matarael. Though they come into conflict many times, they are all able to deploy their Evas and defeat Matarael before it can attack NERV HQ.
In Episode 12, it is discovered that Shinji is rapidly increasing his synch rate with his Eva, much to Asuka's dismay. As Sahaquiel approaches in the fashion of a meteor destined for NERV HQ, Misato hatches a plan in which Shinji, Asuka, and Rei must all cooperate to stop the Angel by catching it with their A.T. Fields at maximum. As it nears the ground, Shinji is the first to get under it. He struggles to last long enough for Rei to expose the core for Asuka to destroy, killing Sahaquiel. Later, Shinji does a test in Evangelion Unit-00, but when the nerve connections go bad, the Eva goes Berserk just as it had previously, though Shinji escapes virtually unharmed.Shinji is next seen visiting his mother's grave with Gendo, who reveals that there is nobody there, nor does he have any pictures of Yui. Though Shinji attempts to make a connection with Gendo, the latter dismisses him completely. Shinji returns home and begins playing the cello, with which Asuka notes he has great talent. He says he started playing at age five, and still plays now and again because, "No one told [him] to stop." She then says she's bored and wants to practice kissing and though Shinji is nervous, they share a kiss, though Asuka is upset by his lack of emotion.
During Episode 16, Shinji's synch test gives the highest results among his, Rei's and Asuka's, an event that inspires confidence in him. Due to this and the arrival of the unusual 12th Angel, Shinji ventures to face it alone, resulting in Unit-01 being captured in the Angel's shadow, trapping him in a Sea of Dirac. As the Eva's life support starts to turn off, Shinji begins to lose hope, and the Angel tries to communicate with him, talking about the psychology and understanding of others, and revives the memories of his abandonment, alongside his imperfections. However, once the life support cuts out entirely, Unit-01 goes Berserk, and frees itself from the Angel's grasp, killing it in a shower of blood.
Soon after, Unit-04 vanishes, and Unit-03 is transferred to Japan. Shinji and Asuka are left at the care of Kaji while Misato goes to supervise the test activation of Unit-03. During the night, Shinji asks Kaji about Gendo, thinking he has started to understand his father, to which Kaji replies he just believes he understands.
Following the failed activation test of Unit-03, and its abandonment and re-classification as the 13th Angel, Shinji is sortied to defeat it alongside Rei and Asuka. Even after Rei and Asuka are dispatched by the unit, Shinji still shows reluctance to fight it, claiming that he'd rather die than kill the pilot inside. Seeing this, Gendo cuts the synchronization between Shinji and Unit-01, giving control of the Eva to the Dummy Plug that proceeds to slaughter the Angel. When Shinji finds out that the pilot was Tōji, he refuses to abandon the Eva, claiming he will destroy half of NERV HQ in pure revenge against his father. With Shinji unable to reason, Gendo orders the technicians to raise the LCL pressure to force him out of his rampage. As a result, Shinji is taken to Gendo, and abandons NERV and his duties as an Eva pilot, right as the 14th Angel starts its assault, destroying the GeoFront defense and defeating Unit-02 and Unit-00 without difficulties. As Shinji hides in a nearby shelter, he sees the disembodied head of Unit-02 crash against the building, then hurries outside, only to witness the devastation caused by the Angel. He encounters Kaji watering his garden, and he explains to Shinji that while that is all he can do, Shinji can do much more, and convinces him to pilot Unit-01 once more. Shinji engages the Angel as it is about to destroy Central Dogma, and guides it outside before the Eva runs out of energy.
Zeruel mercilessly proceeds to try and destroy Unit-01 core. However, the Eva reactivates and goes Berserk, easily overpowering the Angel, and proceeding to devour its S² Engine into itself. After the incident, Shinji was absorbed inside the Eva's core, which caused him to go through a series of mental journeys that guided him to realize he pilots the Eva to receive the kindness of others, and remembers that he saw Unit-01 years before his arrival at Tokyo-3. On the outside, Misato and Ritsuko try to salvage Shinji's soul back to his body, but the experiment goes awry, and Shinji initially decides not to come back. However, after recognizing the scent of the Eva as his mother's, Shinji finally comes back through the core of the Eva.
In Episode 23, when Armisael attacks and Asuka is too mentally fragile to control her Eva, Shinji is launched to attack it. As he touches it, however, it fuses with his hands, and forces him to see hundreds of Rei faces telling him, "it hurts." Through this, the real Rei discovers that her desire is to be with Shinji, and contains the Angel and self-destructs, killing both Armisael and herself. Shinji is devastated, though he soon arrives at the hospital to see Rei, alive. Shortly after, Ritsuko shows Misato and Shinji the Eva graveyard, as well as the many clones of Rei.
After being too scared to go home, Shinji finds himself at the edge of a crater at the beginning of Episode 24, where he meets Kaworu Nagisa, sitting amongst the wreckage from the battle with Armisael. Since Shinji is desperate for any sort of affection, they quickly connect. After Shinji returns to NERV, he, Kaworu, and Rei undergo synch tests, after which Shinji is greeted by Kaworu while loitering at NERV's HQ, seemingly reluctant to return home. Kaworu accompanies Shinji to a NERV public bathing room and, at one point, Kaworu places his hand on Shinji's, who doesn't react. Kaworu also declares that Shinji deserves to be treated well, and that he likes him. When their bath is done, Shinji tells Kaworu that he needs to go to bed, to which Kaworu is confused and asks if they will go together. Shinji is quick to decline the offer, though he does spend the night at Kaworu's apartment, sleeping on the floor beside his bed, as he is afraid to go home.
The next day, Kaworu is identified as the 17th Angel as he descends into Terminal Dogma. Shinji is placed into Unit-01 and pursues Kaworu, who manipulates Unit-02 to slow down Shinji. After Kaworu activates the door and enters, he appears to reach an understanding that the giant crucified there is not in fact Adam, but rather Lilith, and after Shinji defeats Unit-02, he allows Shinji to grasp him in Unit-01's hand. Shinji is hurt that Kaworu betrayed him, "just like his father did," and lied to him about his identity after befriending him. However, Kaworu tells Shinji that his life is complete and had more meaning after meeting him, and requests to be killed, claiming that the only freedom there is, is to choose how one dies. Following a prolonged period of silence, Shinji grants his request.
Episodes 25 and 26 have Shinji feeling lost and hopeless after killing Kaworu, who he saw as human, as Shinji again feels alone and that nobody cares about him. Tormented by guilt, he falls into despair and begs for others to help him. Much of the TV ending is devoted to Shinji being taught by the other characters about the ability of individuals to make their own destiny by reshaping their viewpoint. At the end of their discourse, Shinji comes to terms with his self-loathing and how much it distorts his perception of reality. Finally, he learns that he has value as an individual, and accepts his own will to live. In Episode 26', Shinji chooses to reject Instrumentality for individual existence, even though it will mean running the risk of experiencing more pain. Shinji eventually learns that he needs other people to exist in order to experience happiness; and realizes that he wants real feelings of his own even if it means once again exposing himself to betrayal and pain. Despite their differences, both endings suggest that buried deep within Shinji, is the capacity for redemption and change.
Nonetheless, Shinji still longs for words of praise from Gendo. He never understood his father's motives (neither did anyone else, except perhaps Fuyutsuki) until the very end of the series—at the same time as Gendo realizes Yui's. Gendo, in Episode 21, resembles Shinji even more strongly and reveals he is used to being hated and alone. He can be seen as a kind of negative adult mirror of Shinji, in contrast to Kaji, as Gendo reveals in End of Evangelion that he resents not being able to connect with Shinji and was afraid of hurting him, so he chose to shut himself away from Shinji, as he believed that when he was close to Shinji he only hurt him, so Gendo thought it was better to do nothing at all, just like Shinji shut himself away from other people, as Gendo believed he wasn't worthy of love. He apologizes to Shinji as he accepts his "punishment".
After moving to Tokyo-3, Shinji lives with Misato in her small apartment with her pet penguin Pen Pen. He disapproves of her lifestyle of beer, snacks, and instant meals. He also shows an obvious fright toward Misato's perceived attraction to him. However, Misato shows that she has deep respect and regard for Shinji, breaking to tears after she thought he was lost to the Angel Leliel.Despite a rocky start, Shinji's relationship with Misato becomes one of his strongest connections. Though they are slow to admit it, they understand each other well due to each being aware of the insecurities of the other. Their interpersonal problems stem from their fear of losing those they love, and though Misato tries to help Shinji understand that life involves both joy and pain, she herself struggles with the same fear. Shinji's fraught relationship with his father mirrors Misato's with her own, and each understands the feelings of abandonment and isolation that plague them, albeit with differing outcomes. When Toji and Kensuke point out that Misato allows Shinji to see that side of her because she considers him family, their connection becomes even stronger. He is comfortable enough around her to answer Kaji's prying questions about her personal life without embarrassment. He often comically scoffs at Toji and Kensuke's infatuation with Misato. Misato, however, has difficulty in reaching out to Shinji in later episodes and Shinji is horrified when she offers her body to him, seeing her as a mother figure. As his "boss"/NERV Chief Tactical Officer, Misato can be quite intense, causing Shinji to not come home at night more than once, though they always reconcile. Shinji comes to admire Misato's resolve in combat situations—something which often serves to fuel his own dire confidence, leading him to disobey her orders on certain occasions. He compares her calm yet bossy demeanor when they first meet Asuka to Ritsuko's own stoicism. Shinji, for much of the earlier parts of the story, wants Misato to always praise him, and while she is quick to do so when Shinji shows prowess and courage, she also criticizes him when he acts recklessly and goes against orders. Initially, this frustrates Shinji, but it is through Misato's prodding over the length of the series that Shinji comes to realize why he pilots the Eva, as she has much influence in helping him develop a greater sense of responsibility and maturity. Losing Misato in The End of Evangelion and in the manga devastates him. In the manga adaptation, it is unclear how much of the story Shinji remembers (if any at all) after he rejects Instrumentality, but in the very last panel, he is shown going off confidently into the future with Misato's cross pendant (which she gave to him just before she died saving him) tied to his suitcase.
Shinji is attracted to Asuka, though the reasoning is not explicitly stated. It might be that her bullying sometimes causes Shinji to bite back at her, as Asuka wants his attention, and he views Asuka, in a strange fashion, as a source of strength, one that he misses when Asuka is laid low by her encounter with Arael. However, Shinji directly expresses his feelings for Asuka by trying to kiss her as she sleeps, when he masturbated at the accidental exposure of the then-comatose girl's breasts, and in the Episode 26 Instrumentality sequence when he says "I want to help you somehow and be with you forever.", and Asuka states she wants Shinji all to herself and that she is not only aware of his masturbation at the hospital, but also implies that it is, in fact, a habit of his. In Episode 22, Asuka laments that Shinji "won't do anything, won't help me, won't even hold me.", revealing Asuka's frustrations at Shinji not picking up on her advances, particularly earlier in Episode 9 and their kiss in Episode 15, despite him barely understanding them. Asuka also seems very jealous of Shinji's interactions with Rei, which furthers her antipathy at her.
This is also paired with Asuka eventually letting go of seeking Kaji to validate her as an adult, as she starts to begrudgingly accept Shinji's piloting prowess and to find an equal in him, something she is unwilling to do with Rei. After Episode 16 however when Shinji surpasses her synch scores, she starts resenting his success as in her view, Shinji hasn't worked for it whereas Asuka spent her whole life training for piloting Eva and she is unsure of how to deal with not being the best. Asuka's expectations for Shinji as a strong male, that she used to project on Kaji, clash with the reality of him as a "housebroken male", despite him being much more than that: Asuka believes Shinji is unwilling to help her, in combat or otherwise, despite him showing bravery even without request - like when he rescued her from the volcano in Episode 10. Additionally, Asuka interprets Shinji's inaction during their kiss in Episode 15 not as lack of understanding, fear or insecurity, but as conscious rejection, which she greatly resents.
Despite Asuka's own abrasiveness toward Shinji, she develops a rather skewed mentorship with him. It is her constant battling, coupled with her seemingly unquenchable energy, that often gives Shinji strength and confidence he didn't know he had. During the days that they lived in a furnished room at NERV HQ practicing their dance routine, Shinji began to understand where Asuka was coming from and allowed himself to confide a little in her. In the end, it was her perfectionism which awakened Shinji's confidence, allowing them to synchronize and defeat Israfel. Asuka's ambivalence regarding their mutual feelings often confuses Shinji, leaving him unsure as to what he feels for her, as Asuka, in order to avoid intimacy forming between them, sometimes reverts to her self-defense mechanisms, and pushes Shinji away, even if Shinji seems barely affected by those, as per his passive nature he seems content to merely have her attention.
Her frustration with Shinji often leads to her recounting her own insecurities to him, much to her surprise. Their occasional public bickering often comically leads to annoyance on the part of the NERV staff—particularly Fuyutsuki, who feels that they are constantly embarrassing the organization, and Misato, who has to live with them. Due to this constant bickering, their classmates often tease them by referring to them as "newlyweds", which results in them blushing and getting embarrassed. These instances give subtle clues that their friends and others around them see a relationship between them that even Shinji and Asuka aren't yet aware of.Asuka forms less of a connection to Shinji in the manga but they still show interest in each other. They meet under slightly different circumstances, as Asuka has already defeated Gaghiel by herself. Her more childish personality turns Shinji off at first, but they quickly grow closer. They almost kiss in an elevator, but are interrupted by Misato and Kaji. Shinji demonstrates feelings for Asuka in the manga's hospital scene, and states he wants to protect her. Unlike in EoE, they fight together against the MP Evas, and they do not kill her. They meet again in the ending of the manga, when Asuka is stuck in a crowd and Shinji pulls her hand, and they seem to have a faint memory of each other and some sort of lingering feelings. Asuka is present as his childhood friend in the alternative world in Episode 26 and Rei seems to think they are an item. In End of Evangelion, Shinji spends much of the movie seeking Asuka and has multiple fantasies and exchanges with her, including of a clear sexual nature. Shinji says he is just like her, but Asuka says Shinji can't understand her. Shinji replies that Asuka never tells him anything, and thus it is impossible to do so. He is certain nobody cares about him. Asuka comments on his masturbation earlier in the hospital, and implies it is in fact a habit of his. Asuka gives him an ultimatum, demanding him give herself to her, but Shinji is unwilling to give back any affection himself, much like Asuka herself is, and believes nobody is nice to him, which Asuka and other characters disagree, but Shinji doesn't believe it. Shinji desperately asks for Asuka's affection and even proclaims he wants to be with her forever, but Asuka refuses, as she is unwilling to serve as just an emotional crutch and escape to him. This causes him to lash out at her, and he begins choking Asuka. However, Asuka is the second person to come back after he rejects Instrumentality, and Shinji finds her laying by his side. Shinji starts choking her again, but instead of reacting with aggression or hostility, Asuka caresses Shinji gently (similarly to how Yui had done a few minutes earlier in the movie) which stops him as this first open act of compassion demonstrates to Shinji that he might be accepted after all. Overwhelmed, Shinji begins to cry. It is left open where their relationship will go from there. Episode 1, after being summoned by his father regarding the oncoming Angel attack. Despite being heavily injured, Rei insists on piloting the Eva when Shinji protests against getting in the robot, eventually forcing him to face his responsibility. She is shown as a practical and mysterious figure, acting solely on commands and refusing all social contact. Through the persistent efforts of Shinji to befriend Rei, she ends up opening up somewhat to him and realizing more about herself and her role in the Human Instrumentality Project. The extent of Shinji's attraction to Rei is unclear even to him; certainly, it is of a different sort than his sexual and seemingly romantic attraction to Asuka. It is implied that he is drawn to the vestiges of his mother that lie within Rei. As they grow closer, their relationship is a source of both joy and pain for both of them. It should be noted though, due to being genetically related to Rei's ultimate fate, the two may never have a romantic relationship, or even wish for one. Rei also seems to associate Shinji with Gendo with some level, implying she might also feel a form of familial connection with him. Shinji relates to Rei's sense of isolation and loneliness; it is not until Shinji is absent that Rei begins to understand that she was in fact feeling these things. She comes to realize that she wants to protect him, and in the battle with Armisael, she self-destructs to save Shinji. After Rei comes back as another clone, Shinji becomes alienated from her, however, in End of Evangelion she decides to hand control of Instrumentality to Shinji instead of Gendo, and gives him the choice to accept or reject it. She is last seen in her Quantum form briefly watching Shinji just before he notices Asuka on the beach.
Rei has a much stronger bond to Shinji in the manga and their relationship has far more development, as Rei is greatly impacted by touching Shinji's hands and as Armisael attacks her, she realizes she has feelings for him she cannot understand. She also realizes she is jealous of Asuka dividing Shinji's attention. However, she is absent from the ending.Kaji as a sort of mentor, and accepts behavior in him that he would disapprove of in other characters. For instance, in Episode 08 when Kaji asks him about Misato's sleeping habits, implying that Shinji and Misato might be in a sexual relationship and simultaneously implying that he is intimately familiar with these habits as well, Shinji just laughs rather than being overwhelmed with embarrassment. After the Israfel fiasco, it was Kaji who came up with the idea of the dance routine to help Shinji and Asuka synchronize with each other. His relationship with Misato is constantly paralleled with Shinji's own relationship with Asuka, as he is a sort of role model and relatively positive adult version of Shinji, in contrast to Gendo. Kaji gives advice to Shinji multiple times on many matters though Shinji has difficulty understanding him, as Kaji has his own insecurities. He motivates Shinji to pilot again in Episode 19.
In the manga, Kaji's mentorship of Shinji is more developed, and after the accident with Toji and Unit 03, Kaji makes Shinji realize the true power of his actions (and inactions), as Kaji is considerably more critical of Shinji in the manga. After the battle with Bardiel, Shinji says Touji's death was Gendo's fault alone, but Kaji replies that Shinji had a chance to save him but decided to just sit back. He tells Shinji he is no different from him, and needs to stop pretending nothing has happened. Shinji asks him what he can do, and Kaji tells him he must fight and not look away from the truth. This helps him to accept his role as Unit 01's pilot. Shinji is the first (after Misato) to realize that Kaji had been killed.
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, 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 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 friendship or intimacy 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". 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. 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.
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 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.
In volume 10 of the manga Shinji is repulsed when Kaworu does CPR on him while he is hyperventilating, and insistently questions Shinji on human feelings, which he rebuffs and then angrily storms off. Shinji in the manga constantly avoids Kaworu as when he met him Kaworu killed a stray cat, which upsets Shinji. He recalls this just before Shinji kills him and says Shinji can no longer be indifferent to him if he decides to kill him, and Shinji imagines himself strangling him personally when they met. Shinji admits to Misato that he was indeed drawn to him and his mysterious nature, because he thought he did need new friends after killing Tōji, but asks Misato why people are drawn to others, and Misato tells him it is because man was made incomplete and needs to seek out others in order not to feel alone. Sadamoto has stated that their relationship in the manga is like that of a younger primary school student seeking admiration from an older, middle school one, not romance.
Ritsuko's relationship with Shinji is different from the ones she shares with the other pilots. She acts in a more motherly, kindly, less intense sort of way than Misato does, perhaps because she is aware of the sufferings a pilot undergoes and of Gendo's own indifference toward his son. Shinji's cynical attitude mirrors her own detached stoicism; in a scene from the manga, when Misato notes Shinji's rather glum mood, Ritsuko responds, "A cheerful, confident Shinji would be all the more disconcerting." Initially, in the series, Ritsuko is on friendly terms with Shinji and colludes with him in chiding Misato on her disastrous approach to instant food, preferring to be invited over for dinner "when Shinji's cooking". In the anime, it is Ritsuko, not Misato, who asks Shinji to take Rei's ID card to her apartment. Shinji's closeness with Rei disturbs Ritsuko; in the manga, it is implied that her jealousy toward Rei also stems from Rei's friendliness with Shinji, since he is Gendo's son. (Moments before attempting to strangle Rei, Ritsuko notes how the girl has "both the Commander and his son wrapped around her little finger.") Ritsuko notes Shinji's complacency and trusts him to do as he's told, making him an ideal pilot in her view. Nonetheless, she seems to resent having to use child soldiers, though she believes this is acceptable as a necessary part of a greater goal. In episode 23, in retaliation for SEELE's interrogation and Gendo's indifference, she takes Shinji (with Misato in tow) to Terminal Dogma, reveals some of NERV's deepest secrets, and destroys the Dummy Plug system before their eyes.
Shinji is friends with Tōji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida and Hikari Horaki. He is sometimes confused by Toji and Kensuke's more typical teenage male behavior and by Kensuke's burning desire to be an Evangelion pilot. After befriending them after Episode 3, they start teasing Shinji often about his attraction towards Asuka and Rei and seem to want to motivate him to become more secure. They seem to be somewhat unaware of Shinji's anxiety at piloting Eva, particularly Kensuke who envies him for it. When Toji is chosen to pilot Unit 03 in Episode 17 however, he seems to want to confide this to Shinji but is unable to reach out to him. Shinji refuses to fight Unit 03 when he is informed another child is inside it, and when he finds out the pilot was Toji by the end of Episode 18, this disturbs Shinji greatly, motivating him to retaliate at Nerv and Gendo, and later to temporarily quit piloting. Though it is unclear as to whether or not he knew of Hikari's feelings for Toji, he preemptively discounted her from his friends after the incident with Unit 03.
In Rebuild 3.0, it is not Ritsuko but Fuyutsuki who reveals NERV's secrets regarding the Dummy Plug system and the Human Instrumentality Project to Shinji over a game of shogi. The consequences of this revelation, other than causing Shinji's mental breakdown, are still unknown. In all the continuities, Fuyutsuki has a soft spot (albeit not always visible) for Shinji, presumably because he reminds the Deputy Commander of Yui Ikari; unlike Gendo, Fuyutsuki shows concern for Shinji's well-being.
Rebuild of EvangelionEditShinji in Rebuild of Evangelion, while mostly the same as his anime counterpart, comes across as somewhat more angry about his situation (although he isn't outwardly angry like his manga counterpart with Sadamoto's take on the series). For instance, he calls out Misato and other members of NERV as being selfish and bemoans the fact that he's "left feeling scared" when he and Rei have to pilot during the Operation Yashima battle. Somewhat similar to his feelings in The End of Evangelion, Shinji realizes that he "has no freedom" and "has no choice but to pilot Eva" when he attempts to run away from NERV after the fifth Angel battle. Although he decides to stay in Tokyo-3 instead of leaving like in Episode 04 of the series, Shinji can't help but feel that he's only needed for piloting Eva and that nobody truly cares for him.
These feelings are dissolved to an extent when Misato shows Shinji the Angel identified as Lilith in Terminal Dogma, explaining to him why he and the rest of NERV have to do what they can to prevent Third Impact from happening. He agrees to pilot Evangelion Unit-01 once more, and together with Rei Ayanami in Evangelion Unit-00, the sixth Angel is eventually defeated during the Operation Yashima battle.
Shinji's relationships with the other characters in Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone are similar to those in the series. A difference with his relationships towards Misato Katsuragi and Rei Ayanami, however, is that he is somewhat physically close to them as the film progresses. When Misato shows Shinji Lilith, Shinji lets Misato hold his hand. Also, when Shinji checks on Rei in her entry plug after the Sixth Angel's defeat, the two hold hands as Rei smiles at him.
As the story advances into Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, Shinji is somewhat more accustomed to living in Tokyo-3. His friendship with Toji and Kensuke is a solid one (due to them becoming friends in the first film) and he has occasional conversations (as well as smiling around) Rei. Shinji also becomes friends (and additionally roommates) with Asuka, but so far shows no romantic interest in either pilot. Shinji briefly meets Mari Illustrious Makinami twice during the film, but he knows nothing of her, save for a few verbal exchanges. During lunch with his friends at a marine preservation institute, Shinji mentions that he learned to cook meals because Misato didn't know how to. He makes lunches for Misato, Asuka, as well as Rei during the film. Shinji hopes to get along with his father and is happy when Gendo praises him after the eighth Angel attack. Shinji is unaware that Rei tried to surprise him by inviting Gendo to a dinner party. The plans for the party were cut short, however, by the ninth Angel's attack.
After Shinji's inability to fight the Ninth Angel-possessed Unit-03 which carried Asuka, Gendo activates the Dummy System, which tears the Eva to pieces and prompts Shinji to leave NERV. He only returns after encountering Mari and seeing the tenth Angel devour Unit-00. Shinji pilots Unit-01 to save Rei from the Angel's core. He embraces Rei and thanks her for her efforts of trying to get Gendo and Shinji on good terms. Shinji's decision to save Rei awakens Unit-01's pseudo-evolution and causes Near Third Impact, only to be halted by Kaworu's intervention, spearing Unit-01's core.
By the start of Evangelion 3.0, fourteen years have passed since Near Third Impact. Shinji has spent that time inside the core of Unit-01, which was sealed inside a Tesseract orbiting Earth. After Asuka retrieves Unit-01, Shinji is salvaged from its core and is welcomed with rejection by Asuka, Misato, and the crew of Misato's hovercraft, AAA Wunder. Shinji is fitted with an explosive "choker" to his neck that will kill him if he attempts to pilot an Evangelion; he learns that Misato and the Wunder's crew now belong to an organization called WILLE, which is devoted to destroying NERV and its Evas. Evangelion Mark.09, seemingly piloted by Rei, attacks the Wunder and retrieves Shinji. Misato contemplates activating the choker, but holds off until Shinji is out of range.
Shinji is taken to the ruins of NERV Headquarters. He meets and befriends Kaworu, who fixes his broken SDAT player and teaches him to perform a piano duet. Answering Shinji's queries about why people are hostile to him, Kaworu shows him the ruins of Tokyo-3 and explains how his awakening of Unit-01 was "the catalyst" for Near Third Impact and further ravaged the world and its remaining human population. Shinji replies he only wanted to save Rei, but Kaworu tells him humanity does not see it that way. Shinji also meets Fuyutsuki, who reveals that he didn't save Rei after all and that "Rei Q," who rescued him, belongs to a series of clones of his mother, who exists within Unit-01 as its "control system." After suffering a nervous breakdown, Shinji agrees to Gendo's plan of reversing the Near Third Impact by piloting Evangelion Unit-13 with Kaworu and removing the Spears of Longinus and Cassius from Lilith's corpse inside Terminal Dogma. Before the mission, Kaworu removes the choker from Shinji and places it on himself as a sign of trust.
Shinji and Kaworu arrive in Terminal Dogma, escorted by Rei Q inside Mark.09. Kaworu expresses reluctance to remove the Spears after noticing they are an unusual shape. They are attacked by Asuka and Mari, who have followed them into Terminal Dogma. Shinji initially refuses to attack Asuka, and says he wants to save the world by pulling the Spears, but Asuka is flabbergast, and asks him if he is trying to start another Impact. He eventually strikes back, to Asuka's outrage. Despite their efforts and Asuka and Kaworu's pleas, Shinji uses Unit-13 to successfully remove the Spears. However, doing so releases the Twelfth Angel from Evangelion Mark.06, which is eaten by Unit-13 and triggers the Eva's awakening. Unit-13 flies out of Terminal Dogma and begins Fourth Impact. As Unit-13 and Mark.09 battle with the Wunder, Kaworu tries to stop Fourth Impact by allowing the choker to detonate and kill him. The Fourth Impact is only stopped after Shinji's entry plug is forcibly ejected from Unit-13. Afterwards, a catatonic Shinji is found inside by Asuka, who drags him out and derides him as a "brat", criticizing Shinji for always running away from his problems. Upon meeting Rei Q, the three walk through a red desert to where Asuka says "the Lilin are."
Neon Genesis Evangelion mangaEditThe Shinji of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga is considerably different from his animated counterpart. Although Shinji still has issues with his father and his past, and is plagued by self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness, he is considerably more apathetic, depressive, and he is also prone to being angry, snide and sarcastic rather than being fearful and cringing. Shinji in the manga is also much more violent than he is in the anime. For example, one of the first things he does after being forced to attack Toji (who is severely injured and crippled in the anime, but actually dies of his injuries in the manga) is to try to punch his father. He is also something of a know-it-all and slightly more audacious and cynical when it comes to dealing with others, for instance mentally thinking of Asuka as a "bitch" and displaying a dislike for her, though they get closer over time. Fan opinion of this characterization is mixed, with some preferring the manga Shinji because he has more of a "backbone", more like a typical hero. However, other fans feel that removing Shinji's neurotic anti-hero aspects makes him less human and harder to relate to.
Throughout the majority of the manga, Shinji appears to be attracted to Rei Ayanami, and their relationship is far more developed than in the anime. After the battle against Ramiel, Shinji offers support to an injured Rei to walk to the rescue team, in a similar way it is implied at the end of Evangelion 1.0. He openly encourages Rei to fight for her life for she would be glad to have survived eventually. One day she invited him into her home to drink tea, even though she never made tea before. She gets burned in the process, leading Shinji to aid her against the burn and to prepare the tea for both of them. She also encourages him to speak to his father. At one point, she says a monologue about her feelings towards touching his hand in multiple occasions, ending with her asking to hold his hand again. He is also more visibly upset over her death after Unit-00's explosion. They share a final conversation before Shinji leaves to the new world, in which Rei thanks him for teaching her many things, which ends with her smiling at him and asking if it was the right expression.
However, after the death of Kaworu, Shinji visits Asuka in the hospital, similar to how he does in The End of Evangelion. He confesses his love to her in a way, claiming, "The Asuka I want to protect isn't this empty shell!" However, instead of shaking her and revealing her body, Asuka wakes up and chokes Shinji until she is subdued by the nurses. This suggests that Shinji's manga adaptation has feelings for Asuka as well.
Shinji's reason for refusing to pilot Unit-01 is also different in the manga. Unlike in The End of Evangelion, where he refuses to pilot out of fear, in the manga he does not wish to pilot simply because he is unsure about what to fight for anymore. He is then convinced by Misato that he will pilot to become stronger, to no longer be afraid and rely on others, and he reluctantly agrees, since he knows Misato is dying. Shinji's relationship with Misato is a little more fleshed out; he shows a great level of sadness when Misato pushes him into the elevator after kissing him as unlike in The End of Evangelion where he merely sobs, he cries out her name many times once it closes and then succumbs to tears.
The final stage of the manga depicts Shinji's world after he rejects 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 unclear how much of the pre-Instrumentality world carries over into this one, although the déjà-vu Shinji experiences on seeing Asuka and Kensuke, as well as "relics" resembling Angels, suggests that some significant portion of it has. Shinji is different in this world: although he is still plagued by self-doubt, he is much more confident and open, and is ready to meet change head-on. In the very last panel, as Shinji leaves the train station in Tokyo, Misato's cross pendant is seen tied to his suitcase. He thus fulfills the promise he made to her in her final moments, though it is unknown how much of Misato's memory carries over into this reality.
In the manga, Shinji lived with an aunt and uncle instead of with his sensei before going to NERV. One of them is the older sibling of Yui Ikari though the dialogue does not make it clear whether it is Shinji's aunt or uncle.
Evangelion spinoff mangaEdit
The Shinji Ikari Raising Project manga portrays Shinji as acting more like his manga counterpart since he's more confident about himself. Shinji here also is something of a pervert, which goes along with Shinji's personality in the possible world sequence of Episode 26 as well as Girlfriend of Steel 2 video game Shinji. In Angelic Days, however, Shinji acts like his anime self, to the point where he doesn't have the perverted side of his personality that the video game shows. He also still acts shy and introverted around others, although he's friendly. In these adaptations, Shinji is childhood friends with Asuka, who tends to get jealous of Shinj's dividing his attentions with other characters, particularly Rei. In Angelic Days, he eventually reconciles with his feelings for Asuka and they are implied to get together.
In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku, Shinji is again portrayed similarly to his anime counterpart. He joins with Rei, Kaworu and Asuka to defeat the Angels, and manifests his EVA as a stylized handgun. He later learns that his father has been replaced by an alternate Gendo from an alternate universe, who plans on trapping Rei in the Tree of Y'ggdrasil in order to free Yui. Gendo instead tries to trap Shinji within the tree after Rei rebels, prompting Kaworu to sacrifice himself in order to save him. With his last words, Kaworu thanks Shinji for his friendship, which helped him embrace humanity. At the end of the story (with Gendo having been killed), Shinji is shown attending another school alongside Rei and Asuka, with the three children now adjusting to normal lives.
Neon Genesis Evangelion-ANIMA-EditIn Evangelion ANIMA, Shinji is now 17 years old. He apparently lets his hair grow, making him look like Kaji. He also inherited the watermelon field of the latter and is now very good friends with Asuka and Rei.
Super Robot Wars Edit
In Super Robot Wars V, Eva Unit-01 goes berserk after fighting the fourth angel and fight Koji Kabuto and Mazinger Z. After regaining his sanity, he and Rei rejoin the battle against the Angels.
Edge Of Spider-VerseEdit
Shinji makes a cameo appearance alongside Asuka, Rei, and Kaworu in the fifth issue of Marvel's Edge of Spider-Verse miniseries.
Shinji appears in episode 31 of kids train mecha TV anime Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion THE ANIMATION. In this series, Shinji pilots the 500 TYPE EVA train mech. This is a tribute to the real 500 TYPE EVA bullet train that ran on the Sanyo Shinaksen line from November 2015 to May 2018. The 500 TYPE EVA mech differs from Evangelion Unit-01 in that it's an actual transforming giant robot instead of an ADAM-derived cybernetic organic lifeform. Megumi Ogata reprises her role as Shinji in the episode.
- According to an interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto featured in volume 2 of the manga, Shinji's design is a male version of Sadamoto's design for Nadia, the title character from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, which Hideaki Anno also directed. He also initially designed the protagonist as an "Asuka-type girl" but this was eventually changed in favor of a boy. He also described his belief that the relationship between Asuka and Shinji would be similar to the relationship between Jean, Nadia's love interest and eventual husband in the earlier Nadia.
- Shinji's birthday is the same day as his seiyu Megumi Ogata. This is a trait that can be found in several of the Evangelion characters, Rei Ayanami being an exception.
- It could be seen that Shinji's preferred weapon in battle is the progressive knife seeing as he will usually go for that first in a battle.
- Shinji has never learned to swim.
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ "Ikari" means "anchor" in Japanese, but written in different Kanji, it can also mean "anger".
- ↑ "I mustn't run away!", or "Nigecha dameda!" in Japanese, which is one of Shinji's trademark lines, starting in Episode 01. According to Hideaki Anno, this phrase inspired him to keep working on and finish Evangelion.
- ↑ Despite him downplaying his talent in Episode 15, he can play Bach's Suite No. 1 Prelude in G major, BWV 1007, which is not a beginner level piece. "They represent an enormous body of work, taking over three hours to play in one sitting. They also represent a huge and never ending challenge for any cellist. Like so much of Bach's solo works for any instrument, the easier movements can be begun at an early stage, but some movements will be a source of stress for the rest of your life." (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1372154)
- ↑ Episode 15
- ↑ Episode 12
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Episode 16
- ↑ Episode 09
- ↑ Episode 26
- ↑ 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.
- ↑ "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." - Interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto from All About Kaworu Nagisa book, pages 148-152
- ↑ https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2018-07-02/kids-anime-shinkalion-goes-full-eva-megumi-ogata-reprises-shinji-role/.133698
- ↑ https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2015-10-23/reports-on-upcoming-eva-train-surface-on-twitter-video-shows-off-interior/.94390
- ↑ https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2018-02-05/evangelion-bullet-train-goes-out-with-an-anime-bang/.127299
- ↑ EVA If it weren't for Sadamoto – Redux". Translation of interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto about designing the series. An easily recognizable silhouette is also important, but I designed the characters so that their personalities could be more or less understood at a glance. For example, even the color and length of the hair expresses personality. I thought that Asuka would occupy the position of an "idol" in the Eva world, and that [Asuka and] Shinji should be just like the relationship between Nadia and Jean.
|Primary Characters||Shinji Ikari • Misato Katsuragi • Rei Ayanami • Asuka Langley Sohryu • Gendo Ikari • Ritsuko Akagi • Ryoji Kaji • Yui Ikari • Kaworu Nagisa|
|Secondary Characters||Tōji Suzuhara • Kensuke Aida • Hikari Horaki • Kōzō Fuyutsuki • Keel Lorenz • Maya Ibuki • Makoto Hyuga • Shigeru Aoba|
|Tertiary Characters||Naoko Akagi • Kyoko Zeppelin Sohryu • Dr. Katsuragi • Pen Pen|
|Rebuild Characters||Asuka Shikinami Langley • Mari Makinami Illustrious • Sakura Suzuhara • Koji Takao • Sumire Nagara • Hideki Tama • Midori Kitakami|
|ANIMA Characters||Rei Quatre • Rei Cinq • Rei Six • Mari • Crimson A1|
|Other Characters||Maria Vincennes • Mayumi Yamagishi • Mana Kirishima|