Neon Genesis Evangelion: Why Shinji is as strong as Rei and Asuka and …What would Asuka do?
I was reading the NGE manga and in volume six Toji discovers he’s the fourth child. His Eva unit is taken over by an Angel and Rei, Shinji, and Asuka are sent to destroy it. This happens in episode 18 of the anime. Shinji has no idea Toji is in the Eva/Angel in the anime, but still refuses to destroy it. In the manga he recognizes that it is Toji. Shinji refuses to shoot, Rei only follows orders and doesn’t think twice about shooting, and Asuka was already shot down and help was sent for her.
I don’t remember if Rei and Asuka are present during this scene in the anime, but to the best of my memory they aren’t. Anyway, in both versions Shinji is now faced with a choice and promptly refuses to follow orders. This to me is the most defining moment for his character and proof that he is far more than a coward.
Take that Shinji bashers.
Shinji gets far too much dislike. Is he a heroic, admirable, amazing hero? No. But hello, that’s the entire point of the series. My opinion, if someone hates Shinji, they hate NGE; which is fine everyone is entitled to an opinion. But if someone still loves NGE I can’t understand why they would love a show centered on a character they hate. Also, I think they failed to see the point of the show.
So now I have developed a list I like to call…
Reasons Why Shinji is as Good as Asuka and Rei
Reason 1: Shinji refuses to shoot because it goes against his moral reasoning
Simply, Shinji sticks to his guts. Whether or not you agree with Shinji’s choice is a whole different debate. That issue of whether it’s okay to sacrifice one person to benefit another can be analyzed for you in 50 very complicated episodes of the Code Geass series. The point is Shinji did what he thought was right. He didn’t shoot because he was terrified of getting in trouble or afraid to die, he simply said he was not going to shoot. It would have been very easy for Shinji to have just saved his own skin. In the manga, he knew it was his friend. That also shows loyalty. In the anime he has no idea it’s Toji. That shows that he thinks of others, of children his own age.
Reason 2: He doesn’t shoot against his father’s will
Shinji pilots Eva to win over his father, behaves to win over his father, and constantly mentions his desire for Gendo’s approval. Yet in a moment that would have been so easy to finally have his father’s approval, he refuses. Shinji’s choice was a hard one. I think going against his father was the most difficult thing for Shinji to do in this situation.
Reason 3: Shinji was willing to die for someone
Shinji was willing to give his life for another human being, in both versions. It’s hard enough to stand by your morals in a life or death situation, harder still to shame your father, but now throw his own life into the mix and you have quite a character. Depression and suicidal thoughts aside, I think it’s safe to say Shinji was not ready to go at that moment, yet he would’ve before letting someone else take his place.
…So do you see Shinji haters??? DO YOU SEE?
Now for part 2 of this entry…Asuka. Returning back to the situation we have in the manga. Rei was following orders because to her that’s the most important thing of all, Shinji refuses to follow orders and then we have Asuka.
In the manga right before she’s shot she seems to be hinting at helping the Angel because she knows there’s a pilot in there. But under the same extreme pressure and life or death scenario, would she be as strong as Shinji? Let me establish that if Asuka truly and honestly thought that killing this Angel for the benefit of society as a whole was the right thing to do I believe that she is just as strong as Shinji. But this question made me put the manga down and immediately type up this entry.
So now I ask you, dear reader, what would Asuka have done?? Shoot because she thought it was right? Shoot because she was afraid to disobey orders? Not shoot like Shinji because it was against her morals?
Personally, I do think Asuka is just as strong as Shinji and I don’t think she would run away or shoot just because she was told to, but I honestly don’t know what she thinks was right. I suppose we can only assume she was on Shinji’s side because she mentions it right before getting shot down. But in the next volume one of her first lines was commenting on how wimpy Shinji’s behavior was through the whole thing so who knows?