The Salty Anime Challenge Day 7: A character that ruined (or almost ruined) a show for you

Shinji Ikari

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most successful and influential anime series ever. The main protagonists in this series is Shinji Ikari. He’s the young son of Gendo Ikari, the commander of NERV. Gendo is a terrible father and is abusive towards well everyone. He abandons Shiji at one point.

This is important only because it explains why Shinji is so messed up. Shinji is described by the director of Evangelion as “as a boy who shrinks from human contact, and has “convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.” Simply put, he’s pathetic and he becomes grating. He has a “libido-destrudo conflict,” and several complexes.

Mainly he’s has a Oedipus complex which refer’s to a “child’s unconscious sexual desire for the opposite-sex parent and hatred for the same-sex parent.” He also suffers from what is called the “Hedgehog’s dilemma,” which is “is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy.”

I understand that Shinji is one of the most complex characters in anime, his father is an amoral human being, but I couldn’t help tire of his personality. I often found his voice to be annoying and wanted him to just shut up. Ultimately, the series was too good to be ruined by him and he does become less annoying as the series goes on.

10 thoughts on “The Salty Anime Challenge Day 7: A character that ruined (or almost ruined) a show for you

  1. That is a very understandable pick. My opinions of EVA aside, I do agree that Shinji is such an overrated character. I don’t mind a character who has some self-loathing issues or self-doubts, but they went overboard with Shinji.

  2. I’m glad that the show was too good to be ruined by him. I’ve never seen the series, but when I do eventually check it out I’ll remember to not have high hopes for Shinji.

  3. Shinji is like that because Shinji is seriously screwed up, and constantly screwed over by everyone around him. (Except Rei. God, I love her so much.) He is being used as a tool, and has no control over his life; there’s no wonder that he can do little except cringe.

    I have a theory of Shinji that says part of the reason people dislike him is that they think if they were in his shoes, instead of being psychologically torn, they think they would say, “Oh, yeah, give me an EVA! Bring on the angels!” If there’s anything we have learned about training soldiers, it’s not that simple.

    He’s annoying, but he’s important. He is the conscience of the series.

    1. I think Shinji is the most important character in the series. However, the amount of abuses inflicted on him and complexes he developed, that influenced his state of mind felt like overkill.

      1. Yes, I had that sense, too. But I think the story, in the manga version at least, required that he suffer so much that he would be forced into his own mind. Ultimately the story is resolved inside his head, not at the controls of an EVA, and that’s one of the things I thought was so cool about it. You’re watching and saying, “Yeah, yeah, mecha mecha mecha, seen in,” and then all of a sudden it’s a complete psychodrama. *mind*blown*

      2. I never read the manga version so I can only speak to how Shinji is presented in the anime. My understanding is that he’s somewhat different. I do think Evangelion can exist as a simple mecha anime and a more sophisticated psychological anime.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.