Shinji Ikari

Shinji Ikari

Infobox animanga character
name = Shinji Ikari
series = Neon Genesis Evangelion


caption =
first =
last =
creator = Hideaki Anno (series creator)
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (character designer)
voiced by = Megumi Ogata (Japanese)
Spike Spencer (English)
nickname =
alias =
age = 14
gender =
born = June 6, 2001
death =
title =
relatives = Father: Gendo Ikari
Mother: Yui Ikari
Guardian: Misato Katsuragi

nihongo|Shinji Ikari|碇 シンジ|Ikari Shinji is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He is the Third Child ("Third Children" in the Japanese versions) and pilots the . He is the son of Gendo and Yui Ikari.

Biography

Shinji becomes involved in Nerv's struggles against the Angels when he receives a letter from his father with an Nerv ID card and note saying "Come! -Ikari Gendo", and a cute (if somewhat erotic) postcard from Captain Misato Katsuragi, the commander of the Evangelion team. He is delivered to the GeoFront by Misato, and pilots Unit 01 against the Angel Sachiel out of pity for a badly injured Rei Ayanami. After the battle, Shinji is taken in by Misato, who acts as his guardian. Shinji manages to build a social life where he becomes friends with classmates Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida and something more than friends but not quite something else with Rei. His relationship with Asuka Langley Soryu is very complex, and the development of this relationship is a subtle but powerful driving force in the plot, extending into "The End of Evangelion". Despite his best efforts, his relationship with his father remains strained, and Shinji abandons his hopes of reconciliation after the battle with the Angel Bardiel (during which Toji was seriously injured). As the series progresses, Shinji makes strides toward overcoming his psychological and emotional problems, only to regress into an even more damaged state by the end of the series; this also extends into "The End of Evangelion".

hinji's character

After losing Yui, Gendo left Shinji with a teacher when he was a toddler so he could focus on "Project Evangelion." This abandonment has caused Shinji to have little to no self-esteem and to become very reclusive and avoidant of difficult or painful situations, using escape as a shield. He is often shown listening to his SDAT player with headphones, blocking out the world. He appears in some ways to be the opposite of the extroverted Asuka, though not as much as Rei does. In episode 1, Misato expresses to Ritsuko Akagi that he is "gruff and unfriendly" like his father. He also is shy, timid, and afraid of physical contact, especially from the women around him. Asuka tries to get Shinji to assert himself and even gets him to admit that he tried to kiss her when she was sleeping. In episode 15, Shinji kisses Asuka, at Asuka's insistence; Asuka pinched Shinji's nose so he wouldn't breathe on her and tickle her face, nearly suffocating him. In the original episode, Asuka washed her mouth out thoroughly afterwards; however, the director's cut shows that this was an act, and that the kiss and Shinji's reaction (or lack thereof) mattered a great deal more to Asuka than she let on. Shinji is also somewhat intimidated by Misato (who seems to enjoy teasing him good-naturedly), although her drunken behaviors and slobby housekeeping habits irritate him.

Shinji's relationship with his Evangelion and status as a pilot is very ambivalent; the entire series can be seen as a bildungsroman centered around Shinji ["The animation, 'Evangelion,' is a kind of bildungsroman about the soul-searching of a 14-year-old boy who has to fight mysterious enemies in a new Tokyo in the year 2015 by piloting a human-shaped robot named 'Eva.'" from Japan Economic Newswire, MAY 8, 1997, THURSDAY. "Cartoon 'Eva' captures sense of void among Japanese youth". by Yoichi Kosukegawa. TOKYO, May 8 Kyodo] . On the one hand, as an Eva pilot, Shinji is very reluctant to go to war, to cause deaths, and to enter battle or to actively do things; on the other hand, he is given strength by his mother (whose soul is contained in Unit 01) and he defines his self by piloting the Eva. Sometimes Unit 01 reaches "berserker" mode - a state in which the Eva is activated without an apparent energy source - helping Shinji in his times of need. During the battle with the Angel Zeruel, Shinji exceeded a 400% sync ratio; he was able to defeat the Angel but was physically absorbed within the Eva, where he briefly met his mother. Shinji himself is unclear why he pilots the Eva, but eventually he realizes he does it for the approval of others:

"Look at Shinji. Why does he continue to fight as an Eva pilot? The story keeps changing. He said it's because everyone tells him to. Because only he can do it. Because it has to be done to save humanity. Selfless and lofty sentiments for sure, and he believed those reasons to be genuine. Wrong; he wanted his father to approve of him. To say he was a good boy. How selfish of him, really, to be a human being." --Megumi Hayashibara [Quoted from "What I learned from meeting a girl who didn't know", a 1996 essay translated in Viz's English edition of "Neon Genesis Evangelion, volume 3"]

Shinji's estrangement from his father and his mother literally being inside Unit 01 is believed by some to represent the Freudian Oedipus complex. His apparent attraction to Rei, who is a partial clone of Shinji's mother and Lilith, could also be seen as proof of this psychological aspect of Shinji's character; however, his attempts to gain Gendo's acceptance and love and his attraction to Asuka could be seen by some to counteract this idea. He may also be seen as suffering from the culture-specific psychological disorder taijin kyofusho and, from a Western psychological perspective, generalized social phobia and developing Avoidant personality disorder.Fact|date=February 2007

While he is acknowledged later in the series to be a skilled Eva pilot, in the early episodes of the series he is never really shown to have any other notable skills besides his talent for cooking and his disposition to take care of himself. It is revealed in episode 15 that he is a cellist, something of which he had made no mention previously in the series. Thereon, the cello appears as a recurring motif in the series, possibly representing Shinji's "identity" - indeed, his musical talent seems to be the only way in which he feels that he can openly express himself. He claims to be untalented, but is shown both in episode 15 and in "Death and Rebirth" playing Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, a piece often regarded as demanding considerable skill.Fact|date=July 2007

Shinji has often been seen as a version or reflection of the creator of "Evangelion":

"Shinji does reflect my character, both the conscious and unconscious parts," Anno admits. As a pilot of Earth's most advanced weapon, Shinji is far from the archetypal hero. Abandoned by his father Gendo at a young age, he eschews human contact so that he cannot hurt others, or in turn be hurt by them. The comparison, however, isn't to be taken too literally.
"I wasn't thrown out by my father or anything" he laughs. Nevertheless, Anno has referred to the plot line as a metaphor of his life. [cite journal |last=Wong |first=Amos |year=1996 |month=January |title=Interview with Hideaki Anno, director of 'Neon Genesis Evangelion' |journal=Aerial Magazine |url=http://www.aoianime.hu/evangelion/index.php?page=interanno |accessdate=May 4, 2007]

hinji's interactions with Asuka

Throughout the series, Shinji carries out a deceptively straightforward love-hate relationship with Asuka. They are attracted to each other, but neither is able to properly express their feelings. For the most part, Shinji is friendly but also meek and submissive when around Asuka, especially when she is being abusive toward him. In the episodes just after their first meeting, he occasionally confronts her when her attitude becomes too much to bear, but by the end of the series he is almost completely withdrawn in her presence. Asuka's taunting is a front protecting her real desire for Shinji's affections, but for several reasons, mainly his own inferiority complex, Shinji fails to recognize Asuka's harassment for its true intent, and only thinks worse of himself for her criticisms; this, in turn, upsets Asuka even more, and confuses Shinji.

The fractured state of Asuka and Shinji's relationship becomes a key factor on events in "The End of Evangelion". At the start of the movie, Shinji is shown with Asuka in her hospital room, begging her for help and trying to rouse her from unconsciousness. He accidentally pulls loose her vital sign monitors, exposing her breasts; he masturbates to this sight, but is horrified and disgusted with himself for doing so. His guilt and increased self-loathing add to his previous traumas and cause him to become so uncaring of his own existence that he does not resist when the invading JSSDF soldiers try to kill him. This forces Misato to save him and to try to rouse him from this state so that he can escape the GeoFront in Unit 01. The beginning of Instrumentality and the trauma of seeing the mangled remains of Unit 02 in the hands of the MP Evas cause Shinji to enter a schizophrenic fugue state in which he and Asuka are back in Misato's apartment; interestingly, at the exact time where he and Asuka first kissed. Again, he begs Asuka for help, while also revealing his true feelings for Asuka ("I want to help you in some way... and to be with you forever....You're the only person who can help me.") Asuka denies his pleas, attacking (in her view) the selfish nature of his perceived motives. Overwhelmed with his own hopelessness, Shinji loses control and strangles her. Several indicators suggest that the depiction of Asuka in this scene is Shinji's perception of Asuka rather than Asuka herself.

However, in the aftermath of , Shinji appears on a beach with none other than Asuka. He tries to strangle her; she does not physically resist him, but instead lifts her hand to stroke his face - incidentally, as Yui had done just moments before. At this he collapses, weeping, onto her chest, and as the film ends she says, "気持ち悪い。" ("Kimochi warui", translated into English in the subtitles as "I feel sick", and as "How disgusting" in the dub). The exact meaning of the symbolism in this scene, as well as the intended meaning of Asuka's final words, are unclear and heavily debated. As the series ends there, the specifics of her and Shinji's subsequent lives are left up to the audience. One theory is that she and Shinji assume the roles of the new Adam and Eve, in spite of Yui's revelation to Shinji that all of humanity has the chance to return to physical form if they choose to do so. Official artwork seen on posters and DVD boxes for "The End of Evangelion" depicts Shinji and Asuka, side by side, looking out over the ruins of their world. It is implied that this occurs very soon after the final scene.

hinji in Evangelion manga

Adaptation by Sadamoto

The Shinji of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga adaptation 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 temperamental, and is more gloomy, bold, pessimisstic, and indifferent than nervous and withdrawn. 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 more willing to burst out angrily in protest and voice his opinion - in the manga, Shinji loudly protests when Misato announces her plans to take him home to live with her. Shinji in the manga is also much more smart-mouthed than in the anime. For example, after Toji and Kensuke witness Shinji fighting Shamshel, Toji asks Shinji to hit him as payback for having beat up Shinji earlier. In the anime Shinji obliges, but in the manga Shinji decides not to hit him at the last minute, cheerfully saying, "I'd rather have you owe me one. It's more fun that way." He later embarrasses Toji in front of their female classmates, and calls this Toji's payback. He is also less submissive around Asuka and tends to respond to her insults with sarcastic comments or retorts rather than apologizing. He also openly criticizes Asuka for acting innocent and bubbly around Kaji and Misato, only to revert to her arrogant personality once they leave. Another change is that Gendo left Shinji with one of his uncles instead of a teacher.

In addition to the changes to his personality, the manga places a stronger emphasis on Shinji's relationship with Rei. Their initial interactions and Shinji's first impressions of Rei closely follow events in the anime, but as the story progresses, Shinji's kindness toward Rei and concern for her well-being make an enormous impression on her. Shinji, for his part, is determined to get as close to Rei as he can, but is unsure of where their relationship is going, or even exactly what he feels toward her. After being asked by Asuka in vol. 5 if they are dating, he thinks to himself:

What I feel for Ayanami...it doesn't go with words...like "like" and "want to go out with." It's as if...she's a part of me that was torn away a long time ago...
After Rei sacrifices herself to kill the Angel Armisael, Shinji breaks down and cries in front of Kaworu, saying "Ayanami...I don't want to lose you..."

The manga also makes enormous changes to Shinji's relationship with Kaworu. Kaworu reminds Shinji of how he felt about Rei the first time he met her, and he is disturbed by Kaworu's apparent lack of human feelings and tendency to invade his personal space. In vol. 9, Shinji says that he doesn't think he could ever like Kaworu. In vol. 10, Kaworu uses a kiss to stop Shinji from hyperventilating during a nightmare, and makes advances toward Shinji which he flatly refuses. He later leaves Kaworu's apartment with very little in the way of a good-bye, which upsets Kaworu, although after Kaworu's death, he admits to himself that despite the way he acted, he was attracted to him.

Sadamoto initially follows the plot of "The End of Evangelion"'s version of Episode 25', beginning with the infamous hospital scene between Asuka and Shinji. However, it diverges considerably from the script, ending with Shinji shouting that the Asuka he wants to protect isn't the girl lying before him and Asuka apparently temporarily awakening from her coma to strangle him; Nerv hospital staff separate the two and Shinji is led out while Asuka angrily screams that she hates everyone. Shinji breaks down crying outside soon after seeing his father and Rei pass by him almost unnoticed.

hinji Ikari Raising Project

In this manga version, Shinji is also shown to be more confident than he was in the anime, butting heads with Asuka (a childhood friend as opposed to the anime). Also, he gets into somewhat comical situations with girls, much like the lead male character in harem anime. The story shows him in a probable love triangle with Rei (the newcomer in his life) and Asuka (the childhood friend). Here, Rei is a distant relative, from Yui's side of the family.

To complicate matters, Kaworu (a Seele agent here) was seen to be very friendly towards him, which Asuka finds irritating. Although Asuka sees Rei as a rival, they both work decide to work together against Kaworu, for Shinji's sake.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku

This version of Shinji, while still shy, has far more resolve than other versions and is not as troubled. He discovers Rei and Kaworu fighting an Angel one night and ends up awakening powers of his own. He is attracted to Rei and appears to have a strong desire to protect her. His power manifests itself as a gun and he has a strong friendship with Kaworu.

Character notes

"Ikari" means "anchor" in Japanese, and can also mean "rage" or "anger." Shinji was named for Gainax co-founder " (also directed by Hideaki Anno):

Speaking in concrete terms, his eyes are a girl's eyes. I drew them exactly as I drew those of Nadia. He's a male Nadia, just as if I had given Nadia a masculine makeover. Lengthen Shinji's eyelashes and change the hair style, and you have her. ["Neon Genesis Evangelion", vol. 2, bonus materials]

Trivia

* One of the more memorable moments of "Super Robot Wars Alpha 3" is when Shinji tells off Kira Yamato of "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED", presenting both a side to Shinji that the themes of "Evangelion" couldn't allow for and a source of humor for Eva and Gundam fans alike. Adding to the humor of this scene is the derogatory title "Jesus Yamato" that Kira gained during "Gundam SEED" and maintained during its sequel, "Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny"- ironically parallel to religious themes explored in "Evangelion".
*Hoshi Soichiro (Kira Yamato's seiyu) and Megumi Ogata (Shinji's seiyu) have both voiced Sanada Yukimura, a famous general of the Sengoku period.
*Both Shinji's seiyuu (Megumi Ogata) and Misato's seiyuu (Kotono Mitsuishi) play Sailor Senshi in the anime "Sailor Moon". Ogata plays Sailor Uranus, while Mitsuishi plays the title character. Additionally, Akira Ishida, Kaworu Nagisa's seiyu in Evangelion, also voiced the villain Fish Eye in Sailor Moon.
*The band Fightstar released a track titled "Shinji Ikari" as a B-side on their single "Deathcar". A second B-side that was featured on the single was titled "Nerv/Seele".

References


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