What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Gob Hobblin » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:43 am

Besides, none of the characters (Shinji included) work as 'centralized protagonists.' Shinji is this, because he happens to be the one we follow. Functionally, the show is an ensemble piece, and Shinji is more or less thrust into the role through no choice of his own. It was a role created for him by the actions of his mother and father, and he was left to pick up the pieces. And we can all see what a horrible fit that was for him (being a depressed and socially/emotionally damaged fourteen year old boy in desperate need of a hug).

We could follow a show with Asuka as the main protagonist, but, speaking as a massive Asuka fanboy...that would be a dull story. Well...not a dull story, but certainly not a fulfilling one. Asuka requires the kind of friction created by Shinji and Rei to develop as a character. She needs those conflicts. Further, she THINKS she's the protagonist of a story, but she is out of her depth, and it's not due to anything she did or failed to do. The actions her mother took were not enough to position her, and her Evangelion, in a place where they could make a huge impact on things (especially as they were cut out of the loop in terms of the cosmic conspiracy of Seele).

Rei would just be a dull character, simply because she also needed the other characters to prod and drive her character development. She is a reactive character in the beginning, existing because it's her purpose, and doing what she does because she is told. The interactions with Shinji, and Asuka, are the things that encourage her to take more agency over herself, sometimes with tragic results. Bear in mind these are not necessarily constructive interactions, either: recall the time she slapped Shinji when he said unkind things about his father. That was an action of agency she normally did not display, but she would not have displayed it if Shinji had not made a statement that compelled her sense of outrage enough to act on it.

Don't think of Shinji, Rei, and Asuka as separate protagonists, and which one would be better as a solo engine for a series: think of them as three characters who make a Super Protagonist, like three parts of a personality that work in kind and unison to form an individual. If one of them is removed, it feels incomplete.
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Basisunterbeschuss » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:45 pm

It would still be an anime with interesting characters, humanoid robots, Invasion of Angels, Nerv, Seele, Tokyo-3, Instrumentality and all those cool things.

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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:49 pm

View Original PostGob Hobblin wrote:Don't think of Shinji, Rei, and Asuka as separate protagonists, and which one would be better as a solo engine for a series: think of them as three characters who make a Super Protagonist, like three parts of a personality that work in kind and unison to form an individual. If one of them is removed, it feels incomplete.

Are you saying that those three are connected in some sense?
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby fukuda » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:29 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Are you saying that those three are connected in some sense?


If Lain and childhood analysis of shows taught me anything, it is that everyone is connected.
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby kuribo-04 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:34 pm

everyone is connected


Their voices do sound in unison at the end of NGE 26.
Shinji: "Sooner or later I'll be betrayed... And they'll leave me. Still... I want to meet them again, because I believe my feelings at that time were real."
Ryuko: "I'm gonna knock ya on your asses!"
-Asuka: THINK IN GERMAN!!! -Shinji: Öh... Baumkuchen...
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Gob Hobblin » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:36 am

The...emphasis on the connection between the three Pilots is kind of a cornerstone of Evangelion. Their failures to connect are what usually lead to their defeats.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby ReiIsTopTierWaifu » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:28 pm

Actually there is a cut sequence from Eoe which showed a world without Shinji, it's live action and is 11:17 minutes long, to sum it up Asuka dates Toji, she doesn't feel any connection between them, and her (best) friend is Rei in that world, who seems more open, and there are no angels, at least from what it shows in the scene, so I guess the only world without Shinji is a world without Angels, Adam, Lilith, Nerv, and seele
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby ShonHam » Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:03 pm

As little credit as some would like to give to Shinji, Eva wouldn't be Eva without him. It'd resemble something much more hollow without Shinji at it's core as he embodies a lot of the key themes of the show and makes everything so much easier to swallow, having him as the vantage point who experiences many of these things alongside us - wouldn't make it much less insane in the end though.
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Alienlifeform » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:20 am

I don't know.

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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Kendrix » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:42 am

I do think the rest of the characters and the setting itself have enough 'juice' to work.

You could probably have Asuka, Misato or even Rei as a MC though in each case it would subtly change the flavor. Rei would have all the exposition from the beginning so she'd have to be 'opaque' to the viewers at first, but examples like Ghost In The Shell and Serial Experiments Lain make me think that someone like that could very much work as a MC.
The exposition curve would be somewhat different with Asuka or Misato would it would still be fairly standard, but instead from entering the psychedelic SciFi mess from the ordinary world, we would be entering it from a more classical type of heroic narrative, somewhat like Madoka starts out like a classic Magical Girl show with a bit extra reflection and then gradually goes full horror, we'd start with Asuka thinking she's in Gundam. She'd need more involvement with the central instrumentality plot, though perhaps she could end up as the instrumentality medium if Shinji's not there.

If Misato was the MC a lot would be the same since she's already one of the main POV characters, but we'd see more of her and Ritsuko's friends and no highschool drama. At most we'd meet Hikari due to her being Asuka's friend.

One wonders if Gendo would be any different if he never had a kid. Would he be less attached to Rei if he'd never been a parent, or would he be more inclined to see her as the daughter he and Yui wanted but never got to have? Then again even if the original timeline, Shinji's presence didn't wind up impacting his plans too much. If Rei had never been injured in that one contact experiment, neither she nor Asuka might ever have found out that Gendo even has a son.

Of course as the MC a lot of the character dynamics are set up to be tied around Shinji, so if he wasn't there we might be missing some connection lines - For one thing we'd be much less likely to get Asuka and Rei in the same room, they'd just be mildly unpleasant tangential peripheral preferences in each other's stories. I can't really see them interacting much on their own accord apart from the occasional mean comment by Asuka, and even those may be far less without the jealousy and an extra rival driving her to prove her superiority. Heck, would Misato even end up 'adopting' Asuka if it wasn't to make her get along with Shinji? Probably not, she seemed to have completely bought Asuka's self-sufficient facade untill it was way too late.

But there's nothing there that could not be fixed with a little plot contrievance, for example we could have Asuka and Rei doing the Israphael thing, bring in an extra rival by having Touji selected earlier, or give his part to Hikari.

If anything Shinji's absence would be felt on the thematic level since he encounters some conflicts and difficulties that the others don't to the same extent. It might be a more orthodox show; In some ways it might differ in the impact it has, it might not evoke as much frustration or dramatic irony on the viewer. The whole cast has iot but this flavor of raw, vulnerable humanity and the conflict of wresting with overwhelming responsiility is most pronounced with Shinji - Though they all come to doubt and deconstruct it later, Misato Asuka and Rei all start out somewhat certain of their duties and purposes and determined to carry it out nd in that sense he adds a lot that would otherwise be missing, none of the other characters are really that hesitant.
Shinji tries to build and then discards multiple ideas of meaning and role and purpose multiple times (see the various iterations of the "why do you pilot" dialogue), and is faced with this question from the very beginning whereas the others only come to doubt their goals and place in the world with time, so the dramatic arc (and therefore the emotional torque) would be markedly different.

I think it would still be a good show, but at the same time I do think that Shinji adds a lot of what could be considered the show's characteristic flavor.
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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby one-eyed » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:48 pm

ReiIsTopTierWaifu wrote: So I guess the only world without Shinji is a world without Angels, Adam, Lilith, Nerv, and Seele


That would depend more on Gendo and Seele than on Shinji. They are the cause of the Second Impact, the War of the Angels, and the Third Impact to achieve Instrumentality. That scenario with Asuka, Rei Touji and Misato was very dream-like because Rei, due to her artificial nature, could not exist in a world without Seele and Lilith. Shinji's existence was largely irrelevant to the plans of both factions (Gendo and Seele).

The story of the wish granted by Rei/Lilith was a Deus ex Machina by Anno to transfer all the guilt and responsibility of the Instrumentality to Shinji. It does not is supported by anything that was mentioned before or during the movie or the series.

Kendrix: I found his/her ideas very interesting and I agreed with almost everyone, except that the changes would have to be more drastic in the fights: without Shinji to pilot Eva 01 against Sachiel, Gendo would have to kill Rei II and activate Rei III to pilot Eva 00 already that Eva 01 was on ice, in the manga Asuka easily won Gaghiel in the anime would have been impossible so just use the manga version and the fight with Zeruel will have to be totally rewritten, but I think they could add Mari as reinforcement and everything would be solved.

I'm sure that in a few years they will redo the series without Shinji. It is just one question of time.

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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Rei IV » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:12 am

It wouldn't be Evangelion without Shinji. Much of the narrative IS about him.

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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby one-eyed » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:35 am

Shinji has always been a punching bag and a sin-eater for the stories of Hideaki Anno. For me, there are many kinds of suffering in life: there is the suffering you seek, there is the suffering that seeks you, there is the suffering that makes you stronger and the suffering that is just useless misery. Shinji's life is like watching a person dying of cancer: he despairs, he writhes, but everyone knows it's useless. It's all a horrible sight of useless and pointless suffering because Anno wants to play with the emotions of the audience.

When this franchise is redone, Anno probably will not participate and then the reason for Shinji's existence will be unnecessary. Most people have no interest in kicking a corpse like Hideaki Anno have.

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Re: What would Evangelion be without Shinji?

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Postby Microsoft_Sam » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:56 am

one-eyed

My god you're depressing to read...

I don't really know how to respond to the question. Haven't really thought about it.

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