Posted in Inspired By Anime

Neon Genesis Evangelion – First Impressions of Shinji

Disclaimer: All of this is based on everything I’ve watched which is episode 1-13. Not sure if you can consider stuff I say to be spoilers cause I feel they are pretty minor but, you may read at your own risk (of getting spoiled). Also, not very important but I’m sorry for the lack of images in this post. I’m afraid to google for images in case I get spoiled.

Okay, I know I’m very late to the party but hey, at least I started.

Based on what goes around the Internet, my general idea of Neon Genesis Evangelion was that the main character was a whiny little kid who has depression and an existential crisis but needs to save the world by piloting a giant robot.

Honestly, when I heard that he was gonna be a cowardly sort of main character, I was not high. I love myself some overpowered protagonists who are strong and cool. However, be it due to my mood at the time or how well they managed to sympathise with Shinji, I really couldn’t get mad at his character at all. (Also, he is pretty decent at piloting the Eva.)

Think about it, getting called by your dad who you haven’t seen or talked to in 3 years just to be told the fate of humanity rests on your shoulders. Who wouldn’t feel annoyed at getting thrown this sudden responsibility by someone who you’ve been out of touch with for years? Heck, who wouldn’t feel annoyed at getting thrown such a HUGE responsibility in the middle of your peaceful everyday life?

Who wouldn’t want to run away from it all?

Before all this happened, it would seem that Shinji lived most of his life quietly, listening to others just so he could stay out of trouble. A simple life, one that I can relate to. While he didn’t exactly have many friends, he got by day by day doing what he was told. Afraid to express himself, or rather, unable to express himself.

The way he had lived his life till that point, is something I can definitely see turning into a reason for an existential crisis. Just going along with the flow, doing whatever he needed to, staying out of trouble. While I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to such a peaceful life and have tried to live such a life, I must say that it makes one start to question the meaning of our existence.

After all, if we are just going to blend into the surroundings and merge together with the mob of people, what true value are we bringing to society?

In a sense, despite the fact that being thrown such a huge responsibility could be considered a huge pain, it also gives his life some meaning. Some purpose. As the series goes on, Shinji finally managed to get a compliment from his father after 10 or so episodes if I remember correctly.

That compliment from his father alone, made him realise his true feelings. All this time, he was simply sad that his father never paid him any attention. Receiving praise from his father was something that he had always longed for.

Before getting to the point where his father complimented him, Shinji had always been adverse to the idea of getting compliments. It never made him happy. After all, compliments feel different depending on who says them. Personally, the only compliments that matter to me are those that come from people who’s opinion I care about. This may sound harsh but, let’s be real, we don’t trust everyone to know us well and those that don’t can only give compliments that seem hollow. Think about it, a compliment only carries weight if the other person truly understands the effort you have put in and sincerely respects that.

Or well, in Shinji’s case, I think it is more of the fact that he wanted to be acknowledged by his father and thus, getting a compliment from him was something amazing.

Getting validation from someone you look up to is really something that anyone would want, isn’t it?

So far, I’m really enjoying the series. While I’m watching it with my dad and he just says “it’s just about him fighting angels over and over again huh?”, I kind of enjoy watching it.

Even though it has a lot of still shots and long drawn out moments of silence, there’s this soothing effect that makes me not want to take my eyes off the screen. I’m not sure if “soothing effect” is the right term to describe it, but I just can’t take my eyes off the screen.

At the same time, I just really find it relaxing to watch. I know this sounds weird but that’s the best way I can describe it. Watching as Shinji struggles to force himself to pilot the Eva despite his personal desire not to, he searches for reasons to pilot it and asks those who are in the same position as him.

Honestly, this feels so much like many of us today. Despite the large difference in the scale of responsibility, the simple fact that he knows it’s something he has to do and does it despite his personal opinion, is something I’m sure many of us can relate to.

Many of us don’t particularly want to study or work, however, we have to ensure we have a future where we can live comfortably. We have to work to earn money to survive so we do as we are told and do our best. We seek out meaning in our work so that we can feel more determined to carry out our work well. Isn’t it like that for many of us?

What exactly are the angels? Is there an end to this or are the angels going to keep coming till humanity goes extinct?

Anyways, these are just things I felt I needed to talk about after watching this far. I’m only 13 episodes in so please no spoilers haha XD

Will likely finish it this weekend.

– K.A.L.T

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My thoughts are always fleeting. Writing is the only way I can remember all the things that once crossed my mind.

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