Is Shinji evil?

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition").
The third installment debuted in Japan on November 17, 2012.

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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby Sachi » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:57 pm

View Original Postzlink64 wrote:1) It's actually great example. If it wasn't a good example Shinji wouldn't be so depressed about it. Him killing Kaworu is literally the worst case scenario in the problem I'm trying to describe about him going in autopilot mode.

Shinji killing an Angel is the worst case scenario?

The situation with Kaworu is a bad example because it's a true dilemma: kill your best friend and save humanity but live with the guilt, or let your best friend live (against his request) and condemn all of humanity. Kaworu isn't a victim of Shinji's autonomy, as you claim, and this isn't an example of the bad things Shinji is capable of doing because of Eva. If anything, it is an example of the bad things Shinji has to go through because of Eva, like an analogy for life. "I musn't run away", "Why do you pilot Eva?" etc.

Anyways, this seems to be going in circles and we're beginning to focus too much on the original series. If this isn't going anywhere, perhaps we should shift our focus to other points more relevant to NTE?
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby zlink64 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:46 pm

View Original Postxtr00kvltcorex wrote:Unsure if it's been discussed but in reading these last few responses, has Shinji's actions ever been viewed through Nietzsche lens, specifically the Will to power. Much of Shinji's actions seem to back up and rail against that concept, additionally Rebuild's sequel possibility in the form of eternal recurrence. Given the general nature and tone of NGE and NTE, it seems Anno may incorporate such themes.


I actually had the same thought today like I wondered if Nietzsche is in eva while walking and then I went "Nah" lol. This whole time the argument I've been trying to make in this forum is from a Jean-Paul Satre point of view but just haven't named dropped because most people haven't read him so it's not really helpful. Was trying to use narrative alone. I think I'll make a post about eva/sartre eventually. Anno definitely is an existentialism fan. Like it's too obvious to ignore in some episodes. But I don't think there's Nietzsche but you never know maybe ur right; he is arguably an existentialist. I'm not really familiar enough with Nietzsche's work to argue for or against the case anyway. The only philosophers I do feel confident enough to say that Anno is definitely directly using for his characters/Eotv story are Sartre, and Kiekagaard and Hegel. And he uses them a significantly. I've tried to not to over think rebuild so not sure if that is still true there. If they managed to work in eternal recurrence into Rebuild that would be so very cool.

I did make post about what I think is Hegel in Evangelion. If you are into philosophy you might like it and find it interesting even if you disagree.http://forum.evageeks.org/thread/17500/EoE-Final-scene-explained-and-connected-to-EoTV-GWF-Hegel/?hilit=hegel
And a lot of what Nietzche says ended up being super similar to Hegel Ironically since Nietzche was super anti Hegelian...so I've heard anyway.


@bags I'll definitely keep that interview in mind for future stuff. I have one question though was it specifically about rebuild or where they talking about Shinji in general. It was kind of ambiguous to me.

@Sachi All that stuff u said is why I said it was perfect. When Shinji shuts down it is directly because of the problem I describe. If he didn't have it I imagine his reaction would be like this: sad about killing Kaworu but over time he deals with emotionally mature way and moves on instead of shutting down. And yeah I do feel like I'm focusing too much on original and after reading that interview thing I honestly don't even feel comfortable about making any claims about rebuild anymore So yeah if you disagree in general with my main point then agree to disagree.
Last edited by zlink64 on Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby pwhodges » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:10 pm

A lifetime of exposure has convinced me that philosophy is a study that bears no useful relationship to the real world. So I doubt I can contribute to the turn this discussion is taking.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby xtr00kvltcorex » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:52 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:A lifetime of exposure has convinced me that philosophy is a study that bears no useful relationship to the real world. So I doubt I can contribute to the turn this discussion is taking.


I can agree with that since at the end of the day we're all ultimately subject to our own personal philosophies, but it's still fun to dabble and discuss the greats, especially in relation to their influence on another art form. Granted the discussing can over saturate the overall experience.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby Sachi » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:53 pm

View Original Postzlink64 wrote:@Sachi All that stuff u said is why I said it was perfect. When Shinji shuts down it is directly because of the problem I describe. If he didn't have it I imagine his reaction would be like this: sad about killing Kaworu but over time he deals with emotionally mature way and moves on instead of shutting down.

Was that not his reaction? Over time he did deal with it and he did move on.
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Postby Arcadia's legacy » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:12 pm

Hell, was that not the reason he was able to break Instrumentality?
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby NemZ » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:01 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:A lifetime of exposure has convinced me that philosophy is a study that bears no useful relationship to the real world. So I doubt I can contribute to the turn this discussion is taking.


Gotta say I strongly disagree, Paul. The many sub-domains of philosophy are extremely important in establishing how we think about what we think, and even if we aren't aware of the source of these influences they still exist and permeate culture. Ultimately everything is at it's core philosophy... government, religion, economics, ethics, aesthetics, relationship dynamics, science... there's really no escaping it. Sticking to the surface of such areas is more practically useful, to be sure, but it's in questioning the underpinning assumptions of the various domains that revolutionary advancements become possible.

As for the series itself, Gendo radiates a Nietzschean viewpoint pretty clearly in his willingness to risk the entire world for the sake of his own desires. Shinji seems more like a failed Kierkegaardian figure, a knight of faith who keeps losing his faith, probably because he keeps looking for it in others rather than himself.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby zlink64 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:38 pm

@Sachi and Arcadi. Definitely I Totally agree. I never wanted to say he was like that forever. Only for a majority of the series . Like the end is a totally victory Imo. Like by that point I would definitely say that what I was saying earlier wouldn't be true any more.

@pwhodges Also speaking from personal experience philosophy is very good teaching tool. Like prior to my first experience with like philosophy 101 crap I was very passive reader and I was completely unaware of it. By passive I meant I wasn't really thinking when I read and if a person was good enough writer they could've probably convinced of anything really. Like it was an eye opening experience for me to realize just how passive I was when ideas where thrown at me. The scary part was how unaware of it I was. Like personally I think it should be taught in highschool as a requirement but that will never happen cause of parents.

And also something unique to it I think is that its get you used to using logic and apply to all the sort of stuff Nemz mentioned. Like it's actually a skill to practice. Like imagine if you get two kids and you teach one computer programming and the other philosophy they'll both be learning logic but most likely the philosophy kid will be better at apply the logic to actual real world issues since he will have practice of thinking of logic in ways that relate people since that what a lot the philosophers do in their books.

All that being said I don't think people should major in philosophy cause that is just stupid and not practical at all lol.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby Jasopan » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:26 pm

Hey people have any of you read up on criminal law or anything close to that? Accidental manslaughter is still manslaughter and an executable offense. What Shunji did goes beyond simple manslaughter, so he should be held accountable whether he is truly evil or not. Would you let the person who killed your whole family walk away simply because they didn’t mean to or didn’t know what they were doing? And he killed millions of families.

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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby ACGT-Samael » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:07 pm

View Original PostJasopan wrote:Hey people have any of you read up on criminal law or anything close to that? Accidental manslaughter is still manslaughter and an executable offense. What Shunji did goes beyond simple manslaughter, so he should be held accountable whether he is truly evil or not. Would you let the person who killed your whole family walk away simply because they didn’t mean to or didn’t know what they were doing? And he killed millions of families.


Not sure where you live that manslaughter is an offence people can be executed for, but in most countries with rule of law the concept of mens rea says Shinji didn't commit a crime because he didn't have a mental state that led to those events. I don't know if anybody knew what would happen when Unit-01 yanked out Zeruel's core, and it's debatable how in control Shinji is.

As for Shinji being evil, it's really tricky to pin down a definition for evil, but I don't think he is. I wouldn't call him a good person, but he's not some sociopathic murderer. He clearly regrets Third Impact and he's so desperate to fix his mistake he accidentally repeats it.

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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby Blockio » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:41 am

View Original PostACGT-Samael wrote:As for Shinji being evil, it's really tricky to pin down a definition for evil, but I don't think he is. I wouldn't call him a good person, but he's not some sociopathic murderer. He clearly regrets Third Impact and he's so desperate to fix his mistake he accidentally repeats it.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
I wouldnt call him evil either, but the point stands
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Postby BlueBasilisk » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:54 am

There's also that whole problem of the movie not actually showing that he did cause Third Impact while simultaneously showing Mark.06 and #12 at the crime scene holding a smoking gun. The Punished Shinji narrative always ignores those two for some reason. :???:

If he was evil he wouldn't feel so bad thinking that he did mess up. He is painfully ignorant, self-aborbed, and naive though.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby kuribo-04 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:49 am

I think Shinji represents the common person, and most common people make mistakes, but I wouldn't say they are evil.
He cares too much about what happens to others, and is actually trying to fix things in 3.0 (or wants to believe so).
A lot of darkness surrounds him (even the suit like you point out) but it's imo more metaphorical of him veing at a dark place.
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Re: Is Shinji evil?

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Postby DarkBluePhoenix » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:21 am

View Original Postkuribo-04 wrote:I think Shinji represents the common person, and most common people make mistakes, but I wouldn't say they are evil.
He cares too much about what happens to others, and is actually trying to fix things in 3.0 (or wants to believe so).
A lot of darkness surrounds him (even the suit like you point out) but it's imo more metaphorical of him veing at a dark place.

As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
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Postby ACGT-Samael » Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:10 pm

I feel it's also important to point out that Evangelion tends to go for really nuanced characterization that feels like it's trying very hard to make them seem like real people. This is why you get such high grey levels of morality, where everybody is operating on their own definition of right and wrong. This means that if we want to identify Shinji as evil, we'd have to rely on how we'd use that term in real life.

So why is that a problem? As typically used in real life, Evil is most commonly used as an assigned label meant to mark something or someone as an Other and an Enemy. Almost nobody self-identifies as evil unless they're a heel or being extremely self-critical, and since the label gets used in such varying ways, it effectively has no real meaning. The only people who are near-universally referred to as evil are genocidal dictators and serial killers, people who take many lives in brutal fashion for personal reasons, and even then many of them are driven by mental illness, dogmatic ideology, or both.

Does Shinji fit that mould? No. Again, Shinji didn't intentionally trigger Third Impact; it's entirely a product of the interaction of Unit-01 and the Tenth Angel, an interaction even Ritsuko doesn't seem to have realized would happen or she probably would have given Shinji some warning. If anything, Gendo is the one behind this interaction since he set up the emotional bond between Shinji and Rei to make these circumstances happen, which implies he DID know it would. And even then, until Gendo finally tells us what he's actually trying to accomplish, it's premature to label him as such.

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Postby Blockio » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:11 pm

View Original PostACGT-Samael wrote:And even then, until Gendo finally tells us what he's actually trying to accomplish, it's premature to label him as such.

Good point. Even with how much I hated him throughout the series on my first watch, I kinda felt sympathy for him during his final scene, so basically the second his real intentions were revealed - although Rebuild Gendo does seem to be even "worse" than NGE Gendo
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Postby ACGT-Samael » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:18 pm

View Original PostBlockio wrote:Good point. Even with how much I hated him throughout the series on my first watch, I kinda felt sympathy for him during his final scene, so basically the second his real intentions were revealed - although Rebuild Gendo does seem to be even "worse" than NGE Gendo


Gendo in general is really hard to pin down in Rebuild because his apparent declaration he manipulated Rei and Shinji into getting close is at odds with the suggestion he listened to Rei because he knew it was what Yui would want. Then there's his apparent belief that he's somehow saving the world which gets into really morally ambiguous For The Greater Good territory. Best I can figure he thinks his goals are for the best but he's so depraved he's willing to do to horrifying lengths to achieve them.

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Postby BlueBasilisk » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:18 pm

View Original PostACGT-Samael wrote:Gendo in general is really hard to pin down in Rebuild because his apparent declaration he manipulated Rei and Shinji into getting close is at odds with the suggestion he listened to Rei because he knew it was what Yui would want. Then there's his apparent belief that he's somehow saving the world which gets into really morally ambiguous For The Greater Good territory. Best I can figure he thinks his goals are for the best but he's so depraved he's willing to do to horrifying lengths to achieve them.

I think this is best highlighted in his and Fuyutsuki's exchange in 3.0 after Kaworu shows Shinji the aftermath of Third Impact. Gendo says that all things are simply tools to aid in the rewriting of Seele's designs and Fuyutsuki almost chides him for not opening up to Shinji, which to me suggests that Gendo/Fuyutsuki/Yui's ultimate goal is something that would win Shinji over to their side if Gendo wasn't such an asshole. Or at least Fuyutsuki thinks that it is. And unlike his TV counterpart, Gendo is apparently acting in accordance with Yui's designs since their plan was laid out 14 years prior to 1.0.

Gendo and Shinji are a lot alike, which is probably why it's so easy for Gendo to predict and manipulate Shinji the way he does. He's pushing ahead with his agenda regardless of the consequences it will have for anyone else or how they feel about it, which isn't at all dissimilar from what Shinji did in 2.0 and 3.0, so Gendo comes across as The Enemy even though he and Wille were both working toward the common goal of stopping Seele and the Human Instrumentality Project. Kaji and Misato both spoke about respecting the wishes of others and considering them before your own desires. Gendo does dabble in it a bit like when his vision of Yui convinced him to attend Rei's dinner party even though he didn't want to but he's still a very callous man. Shinji is kind of getting there but he frames almost everything in terms of what he wants, which is most evident during the events of Central Dogma. It's visible in other small ways though.
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