Sunday, March 2, 2014

Neon Genesis Evangelion - A Psychoanalytical Trip (The Children)

     Hey everyone, pretty long post today. It ended up being much longer than I had anticipated, and I ended up talking about lots of the things I was going to talk about in the conclusion post, so the last post will probably be quite a bit shorter. It'll just be summarizing my final thoughts on the show. Enjoy~

The Children

Shinji Ikari (The 3rd child)
     Born one year after the 2nd impact; dubbed the "third child" meaning he is the third child to pilot an Evangelion (Eva-01 to be exact). The other two are Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami whom pilot the Eva-02 and Eva-00 respectively. His parents are Gendo and Yui Ikari.
Gendo and Yui Ikari

     Raised as an only child, Shinji is abandoned by his father at an early age. Because of this, he faces extreme trauma which causes him to base his entire life around being useful to people, making everyone except himself happy.
Gendo leaves his son: Shinji Ikari
     He had no one to congratulate him or help him along for a good 11 years. I can imagine how that would probably make most people vie for some attention. Shinji, when the show begins, is asked to help out his father and thus put into the opportunity of his dreams. He also has the chance to become a hero in his generation: to save everyone from the Angels whom threaten humanity's very existence; as if being a hormonal teenager wasn't trouble enough.
     Shinji's personality throughout the show (up until the final scene) is very meek, submissive and quiet. He has a tough time coming to terms with himself, coming to terms with who he has grown to be since his father left him. Because of who he has become, he hates himself. As an Eva pilot he feels trapped that there isn't any other possibility for his life.
     This is a topic I have always felt very strongly about, feeling trapped in your current way of life. Ever since I was a kid, my parents had switched jobs (my dad especially) so I was constantly told that you're never tied down to your life, you never have to feel like you're trapped in your old ways. "If you pursue your passion" my parents would always say "the money will come eventually". I can't even begin to express how much those words formed my mind into what it is today. You see these people who spend 50-some years doing a job they hate - you hear about it all the time. They spend their time doing it because it's a stable job, consistent money. But one problem: they're not happy. They're content, yeah, but not happy. It seems like Shinji has fallen down the same path, despite this being a very futuristic/supernatural show, the concept still applies. Only occurring on the final scene does Shinji finally realize that there are more possibilities for his life than he ever had dreamed of.
Shinji is congratulated for finally recognizing that
he can change
He doesn't have to live this life, he can change.

Rei Ayanami (The 1st child)
     Rei Ayanami is a mystery throughout most of the show. She is already a part of Nerv when we see her in episode 1 and as a result we don't learn much about her until quite a bit later. She is the same age as Asuka and Shinji, whom all are in the same classroom during school hours. She is very quiet and reserved, much like Shinji, but somehow more so.
     Episode 25 brings up an interesting topic when Rei's monologue begins. She says she is scared of having no proof that her current self, that was shaped by the people around her, was alive after having died. There would be no proof in her own mind, and thus it would slowly disappear from others' minds. She doesn't want that to happen, so she becomes frightened of losing that which she has gained over the time in her current body. This sort of mindset seems pretty unique. The only example I can think of in our current world, would maybe be the military. You, as a soldier, are disposable. There are thousands of others waiting in reserves to replace you. Yet that doesn't mean your existence is pointless. I think the same should be said for Rei. Even if she does not like being used by Gendo, even if she doesn't like being disposable, it does not mean her existence is, all in all, pointless. There are the memories that remain in peoples' minds of who you were, or who you once were, that will stay there forever.
Rei's clones
     Later on in the show we figure out that the "original" Rei does not exist, she is merely a clone created by Gendo. Her entire existence is forced upon her. Never dying, always being reborn into a different clone...forever and ever, never being able to rest, never being able to get out of Gendo's grip — his control over her life. An eternal slave, basically. Rei's problems coincides with the other characters'; being her self-image and perception of her own worth as a human being. The fact that she knows she is disposable is a major catalyst as you could imagine. Even if she dies, she is always replaceable because of Gendo's cloning system. This begs the question "Does Rei have anybody to look up to?" A parent, teacher, anybody. A very plausible question. Having a mentor of some kind in your life can be extremely helpful at times when self-esteem is low among many other things. They're always there to talk you through situations and guide you when you need guiding. Rei seems to have nobody like that. At all. This seems like a huge problem to her psychological health, and it shows. She is very reserved, doesn't talk much to anybody and never truly lets herself express what she wants to express, aside from episode 25, where we delve into her mind. Not having any place to call home, not having anybody to tell about your day to. Seems like a lonely existence to me.This also explains why she is afraid of losing the only people (Shinji and Asuka) whom she has grown to enjoy the company of in recent times.

Asuka Langley Soryu (The 2nd child)
     Asuka Langley Soryu of Germany. Pilot of Evangelion-02. Fronting a spunky attitude, she commands her Eva as she does her life, brutal and offensive, in charge. The complete opposite of Shinji. We first meet Asuka along with Kaji Ryoji in episode 8. She seems to have an interesting relationship with Kaji, almost like a lover. However, Kaji is much much older than she and previously was involved with Katsuragi Misato a couple years back. Normalcy dwelling on the surface of Asuka, when we take a closer look, we see that more to her lies under the surface.
     Looking into her past, we stumble upon her family situation, much like Shinji, Asuka lost her family and had to look to other guardians to raise her. Her mother killed herself by suicide and her father remarried a German doctor whom she did not get along with very well.
What a complex
     Why is anybody easily irritable? Dissatisfaction, emotionally stressed, jealousy, being scared. All these things can contribute to being angry. Everything that makes Asuka, Asuka, is all external. Everything that makes everybody, everybody, is external. She is dissatisfied and jealous of Shinji, scared of not being able to pilot the Eva anymore. She expresses this through her harsh, loud words and strong demeanor. Nature versus nurture is a large aspect of psychology. From my understanding it's heavily debated if it's the environment that the child is raised in, or the people that they grow up around which makes each person unique and grow how they do. Some say it leans more one way, while others say it leans the other. I like to think of these characters in aspect of these terms. Is it really only the past that makes these characters who they are? Or is it simply who they are? But is a character really someone who has their own nature? I don't know, it's a very surreal subject when I think about it. The way the characters are developed though, seem to play a big part. Depending on who the person it is who developed such a character, the characters can have certain qualities about them that other developers could not create. If someone tries to push themselves to create a show like Evangelion, but doesn't have Hideaki's same background/nature, I believe it is impossible that they would be able to create the same show. It wouldn't be authentic if they tried. So what does creating characters like these in Evangelion really say about the producers of the show? What does it say about people in general? Is Hideaki scared of being alone? Jealous of his peers? Aren't these characters simply ways for people to project their own life into something mystical and magical? Personally, I think so. Writing is too, drawing is too, any creative self expression projects the creator's life onto it. There's that term: "self expression". Self expression is done in many ways, through body language, through words you say, words you don't say, how you carry yourself, your likes, dislikes, goals, aspirations, who you're jealous of. All of these things are forms of self expression, although we may not notice it at first. So as this show goes on, it follows the path of the creator's self expression, how they themselves change. How nothing is tied down, nothing is forever. You can, and will change.
     That's all for now, hope you guys enjoyed. I'll finish up the last post, which is expected to be a lot shorter. Laterrr.

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