Shinji Ikari

Evangelion ScreenshotName: Shinji Ikari
Age: 14
Birthday: June 6, 2001
Sex: Male
Classification: The Third Child
Piloting: Evangelion Unit-01

Shinji Ikari is the Third Child and the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit-01. He is the son of NERV Commander Gendo Ikari and Project E lead scientist Yui Ikari. Like Rei Ayanami, the First Child and pilot of Evangelion Unit-00, Shinji is a rather reclusive and socially withdrawn child. Although he has since suppressed his memory of the event, when he was but a toddler he witnessed the death of his own mother during an experiment involving Evangelion Unit-01. Shortly after, he was abandoned by his father. This has forced Shinji to be self-reliant, but has also left him socially inept and isolated from others of his age group.

Evangelion ScreenshotWhile Asuka Langley Sohryu, the Second Child and pilot of Evangelion Unit-02, hides her unresolved emotional problems behind an aggressive and arrogant demeanor, Shinji instead uses escape as his shield, often running away from difficult situations. Though both are plagued by essentially the same emotional disorder, they have very contrasting ways of dealing with it.

At the age of fourteen Shinji is summoned to NERV by his estranged father Gendo, and told to pilot Evangelion Unit-01. After initially refusing, he agrees when faced with an injured Rei Ayanami who was to replace him as the pilot. While Shinji reluctantly becomes the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit-01, his relationship with his father remains turbulent and at times downright hostile for much of the series.

Evangelion ScreenshotWhile Shinji's Sync Ratio is for a long time below that of the highly trained Asuka, his battle potential is the greatest. This is primarily due to Evangelion Unit-01's effectiveness while berserk, a state during which the unpowered construct takes control, often with savage and disturbing consequences. The unit's tendency to function in such a state is often attributed to Shinji's mother, whose Soul resides within its Core.

Social Interaction

Shinji eventually manages to build a social circle by befriending his classmates Touji Suzuhara, Kensuke Aida, Rei Ayanami, and later even Asuka Langley Sohryu (though their friendship is often a competitive one).

Evangelion ScreenshotShinji's relationship with Rei Ayanami is particularly complex due to the fact that her body is a genetic clone of his mother, Yui Ikari. While he is initially drawn to her and they develop a friendship that irritates Asuka (who beneath her aggression actually sees Rei as competition for Shinji's attention), Rei's subsequent self-sacrifice to save him leaves Shinji numb and broken. Worse yet, once he finds out that Rei is a cloned human manufactured by Gehirn, he becomes frightened of her, and does not know how to approach her.

Shinji's emotional state deteriorates sharply towards the end of the series, when the small circle of friends he built begins to unravel. Starting with Touji Suzuhara, who is nearly killed by Shinji's Evangelion Unit-01 while under the control of the Dummy System, followed by the death of Rei Ayanami (Rei-II), Asuka Langley Sohryu's complete mental collapse, and finally the death of Kaworu Nagisa, the Fifth Child and the Seventeenth Angel, who befriended Shinji and was later killed by his hand. These events weighted heavily upon him, resulting in a paralyzing metal state of isolation and helplessness as seen in The End of Evangelion.

Analysis

  • Origin of the name Shinji Ikari

    Shinji Ikari was named after Gainax co-founder Shinji Higuchi. The surname Ikari literally means 'Anchor' in Japanese, as in the anchor of a naval vessel. The anchor is a heavy object that is cast overboard to keep a vessel in place, and is considered a source of security and stability.
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder (Cluster C)

    Shinji Ikari's behavior is consistent with Avoidant Personality Disorder, a psychological condition characterized by a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation. People with avoidant personality disorder often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing, and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed or humiliated.
  • The Ego of Freudian Psychology Theory

    The first three Children (Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley Sohryu, Shinji Ikari), are thought to represent the three divisions of the human psyche according to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Shinji Ikari is often associated with the Ego (a first person personal pronoun in Latin translated as 'I myself'). The Ego mediates between the primitive desires of the Id, and the socially-imposed norms of the Super-Ego. The Ego is therefore tasked with finding a balance between primitive drives, morals, and the reality of the external world, defining a sense of self in the process.
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Last Updated
February 28, 2009
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