Blaming Misato...

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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[SPOILERS] Blaming Misato...

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Postby Kendrix » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:31 pm

...for Third Impact?!

...Now, as you probably already know, I belong to the half of the fandom that doesn't think Shinji can be blamed for any of this shit, but it has come to my attention that there's this tendency of some people with similar opinion to say "...Misato has no right to do this because TI is her own fault!"

Now, I don't want to have the argument about Shinji's culpability or her actions in 3.0 itself, two whole other cans of worms, I want to talk about the impact from 2.0 and that weird notion some people have that she's somehow responsible for that.

Why?
Because, it wasn't Shinji so it must be someone else, preferably those filling their mouths to accuse him?
Really, does there HAVE to be a blame game? Because I see Qs emphasis more on "See how you can go on living" than on any blame game many here seem so obsessed with, rather telling us the danger of scapegoat mentality like many a good play.
In a way, I feel reminded of Max Frisch's Andorra, where a young man was pressured into a role by everyone around him (In that specific case, a Jewish stereotype) that he eventually started to comform to it because they wouldn't let him be anything else, and strove to amass cash to get away from the village (He also develops a crush on his half-sister, thinking they're only adoptive siblings, rather like Shinji and Rei...)
The movie itself seems to dismiss the blame game quickly ("But I didn't want/do this." "Yes"(and that's all they say to it), but this sucky situation still exists and there's a physical cause and effect relation, so think how you can atone."), and seems to treat Shinji's deliberations about his intentions as not the right solution,
instead, it seems to say, "Bad things happen to good people, but if you accidentally spill the milk on the dinner table, you mommy's still gonna want you to clean it up. Think future-oriented."
This whole blame-game is totally missing the point.
(as Shinji has top learn that bad things happen to bad people, YOU have to learn that bad results don't mean the person doing stuff was secretly uber selfish. Because, would any variation in his degree of sincerity really affect the outcomes very much?)
Singularly pining all the blame on Misato instead is doing the same thing as the anti-faction, playing a blame game where we should be thinking of "How can they all get out?" (Not that this outlook doesn't look similarly bleak. No one is gonna be satisfied with a purely philosophic victory á la Last B unless you think the characters in question schould suffer and be humilated.)

I propose the concept of a "tragedy", in the greek sense as a tragedy of impulsiveness, or that of "tragic heroes" who have good intentions but are held back by human flaws, with no one except SEELE being really despicable scum.

Or because "She encouraged him"? Really?
Any logic that would absolve Shinji (He had no clue) would also absolve her here - Misato knew just as little about WTF was happening as Shinji did, even Ritsuko did not know WTF even until the wings appeared. ("I have no idea what's happening to unit one right now")
She was encouraging him for his sake, in a way, to bring these words from 1.11 ("Do what YOU want") to full circle.
She was trying to uncover the conspiracy, but it's been around for so long... She was just as clueless as Shinji, and told him to go forward to help him, and she knew every bit as little as him about the possibility of an impact, so, tell me, by which logic can she be blamed for TI while he can't?

It may be that typical way of thinking that once someone is labeled as a "villain", people tend to assume that someone who'll do one evil action will do all actions you'd label as "evil", but that's not true in real life (extreme cases being murderers terrorizing rapists in prison, or people who wouldn't really attack a person seeing nothing wrong with ruining their lives by bankrupting them - it's that disconnect that makes these people really dangerous, that Gendo, for example, sees little correlation between wether he likes/ cares for a person and wether he'll use them like puppets. He should have a connection there, but he doesn't) - by a similar logic, ppl assume that Gendo set Rei I up with no evidence at all, and assume he wanted to use the dummy plug despite evidence to the contrary.
And while Misato's treatment of Shinji in 3.0 was, IMHO, both cruel and stupid, she's still a few magnitudes beneath Gendo - She looks damn evil compared to her past self, but she's one of the lightest shades of grey left in the post impact world.
Yeah, she used to be the one person who was concerned with human life, and now, by Asuka's words, her motto did a complete 180, but...
She's still trying to save the world in a way that means houses and people.
She's an inspiring leader to the WILLE staff.
Heck, she still has the same reckless "battle style".

We see this from Shinji's pov, and it's important for the comprehension of the movie/it's emotional torque to immerse yourself in that PoV, but he's still just one boy. One innocent boy whose life went from "finally on the way up" to "utterly FUBAR/worse than death" from one moments to the next, but... in a way, Shinji and Misato are, as always, not that diffirent.

The thing is, they're both trying to save the planet, and they're both far past the Godzilla Threshold.
No, that's what you call the situation they had at the beginning of the show, Q is a whole different level...

You know Junjo Ito's "Hellstar Remina"? It has a scene where half the population of the earth charged to murder a girl for the sole reason that she has the same name as the giant abomination that's out to eat their planet, because some cultist say that may kill the monster, without any proof/further indication at all.
And then her companion says "I don't think the cultists are rousing that mob anymore, what we're witnessing is the human drive to survive no matter what"/Use every chance however slim it is.
This is what the cast of Q is operating on - This is why Shinji pulled the spears. This is why Misato acts the way she does.
It's ugly, but it's human nature, much like the spears incident, the difference, of course, being that between a clueless kid and a grown woman. I'm NOT, in ANY WAY, trying to say Shinji's to blame or to defend Misato's treatment of him, which was, utterly dehumanizing and too specific not to be deliberate... but... Mistreat Shinji is not all she does in the post impact world.

Whatever inexcusable things she may have done in Q, and what she did in 2.0, 14 years earlier when she was a whole different person, are completely separate.
So can anyone tell me how 2.0!Misato is to blame for TI, by any logic that wouldn't damn Shinji as well?

And why having sympathy for both seems to be mutually exclusive?
They're both humans, with, I dare say, more noble traits than most ppl present here have, even if they are flawed. Yeah, they could be like Kaworu, Sakura or Mari, but they're very exceptional (and Sakura's the only one who's fully affected by the circumstances, being human and having lost family - Mari, as much as she deserves to be praised for her actions in the finale, seems to be right in her element... ), and you can't demand it from every random normal person to suddenly become exceptional when they're thrust into a fucked-up situation - both Misato and Shinji did more than many of us would be capable of - certainly more than me.

I mean, I can understand polarization/mutually-exclusive-ness with fans of Asuka and Shinji or Asuka and Rei, and maybe even Asuka and Mari (even though this has thankfully lessened since the two became friends) as these are very different/ almost opposite characters, but Misato and Shinji were always very similar characters at heart...
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Postby bladerj » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:42 pm

Shinji was thinking he was saving Rei, Misato was warned by ritsuko who also warned Shinji to stop, Misato keeps on, all blame lies in whoever is the bigger in the chain of command, pure and simple.
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Postby Kendrix » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:58 pm

View Original Postbladerj wrote:Shinji was thinking he was saving Rei, Misato was warned by ritsuko who also warned Shinji to stop, Misato keeps on, all blame lies in whoever is the bigger in the chain of command, pure and simple.


Same argument as with Shinji - All Ritsuko told them before Shinji's conciousness stopped being a factor in the equation (and with it, Misato's ability to give him orders he'll understand) was that Shinji himself is danger, NO mention of third impact (Because even Ritsuko had no clue in the beginning)

Sure, she was his superior, but... supposing she knew shit, told him "Stop, or else TI" and he disobeyed her/continued (Not that I think he would do that - Just a thought-experiment), would she be to blame then?
She would still be his superior in that scenario, but I hope you see the problem.
and wasn't pushing off all responsibility to his superiors what the entire plot of 1.11 was telling Shinji NOT to do?
Either he did shit, and then it's his fault, not his superior's, or you accept that they both didn't know shit.
Misato wouldn't have done that if she had known the result (and judging by his reaction in Q, neither would Shinji himself)

She didn't know any more than him. As far as he knew, his goals were "Destroy angel and grab Rei, no matter if he dies in the process." Misato supported his attempt to do that, and nothing else. Nothing beyond what he was planning. (With the apocalypse NOT being any part of his plans. )
It was a feeling of "It's his butt to risk, not ours, he's no longer a baby, he's a young man who should be able to make this descision" and I think that's an indication of great respect.

*sigh* Such potential, lost...

"She was his superior and the adult in charge!" would be a justification for blaming here if there was something about the situation than she as an adult should have seen that he as a kid could not expected to have seen, but that was not the case.

Maybe you could blame her (by that logic) if, say, he couldn't be retrieved from the EVA, because she condoned him going beyond the contamination line, not to mention keeping on fighting despite being presumably mortally wounded (Zeruel's skewering and the following blood fountain), but she wasn't told anything about impacts, and knew graciously little about what the EVAs actually are. Even Ritsuko, the resident science expert, was clueless. Because Gendo wanted them clueless.
She knew as little as him.
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Postby ElMariachi » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:16 pm

You could say that it the end it wasn't really anyone's fault, but it's in human nature to want a responsible to blame, a simple target to all our problems.

And Shinji the double misfortune to be the one from which N3I started and out of the picture for a decade and half, obliterating any chance to defend himself before his reputation of "Impact boy" definitively settles.

As of Misato's treatment of him, I think it's in fact pretty understandable :
- on one hand she still has some affection for him, and seems to take pity on how utterly lost he is, the biggest evidence being when she could bring herself to activate the DSS Choker and when she seemed worried for Shinji when 4I started.
- but on the other hand she has responsibilities toward her men : when they retrieved Shinji they weren't even sure it was actually him, they didn't even if he was still human! The last thing WILLE needed was Shinji to grows eyeballs on the palm of his hands, start AT-Fielding everyone aboard and use EVA-01 to finish Zeruel's job! Another thing is that by some reason Ritsuko and Misato thinks that Shinji has(or is) something "special" that can trigger Impacts; Ristuko even call him a "Trigger" when Mark.06 came to abduct Shinji. And finally there is a very important thing Misato must keep in control : her public image along the crew. As cynical as it looks, we mustn't forget that WILLE is a ragtag group composed of military and civilians, that's bound to create problems. Misato has the responsibility of a whole organization on her shoulders, it's vital that everyone respect her authority and trust her decisions, if not dysfunctions or worst mutinies will start very quickly. Even in the battle against the Angel when the Wunder flew for the first time there was already some of the civilian technicians who were complaining that Misato's actions of using the untested main canon was completely crazy.
She needs to impose her autority, but at the same time take in account what the crew think of her, she can't allow herself to be an uncaring asshole like Gendo(not that's in her character anyway...). And the view of 99% of the WILLE members is that Shinji is a sick bastard who doomed them all for his own selfish needs : Asuka seemed to have to retains herself from tearing his head off, Ristuko treated him even more coldly than with her other subjects(and she's the one who called an almost dead Asuka "specimen"), the whole throw him big Death Glares everytime they see him... If Misato acted all motherly and forgiving toward Shinji(in the theory that she still feel enough empathy for him at this point), the crew would launch an huge tantrum, and that's just asking for a catastrophe, specially with neo-NERV on the move again. So she had to think of her crew first, hence the DSS Choker and the cold shoulder.

Another point I would want to raise : I read more than once people accusing Misato for not explaining to Shinji what was happening, why they waited 14 years to get him, why they are now part of an anti-NERV organization, why Rei II disappeared, what happened for everyone to hate him... but for the look of the translated script, she didn't have many moments to make an info dump :
- first they had put him out of his coma(or give him back his "solid" form I don't know what exactly happened)
- after that it was the interview and first tests to see if he was actually Shinji Ikari, and not a mutant, an Angel or a Terminator on disguise
- just after that they get attacked by the Nemesis Series, Misato had to leave to lead the operations
- once the MS is destroyed and the WILLE fleet took to the skies, we have Shinji passing further tests about his synch-rate with EVA-01, Ristuko starts to explains him what happened, that 14 years has passed, that his collar is a bomb and that he's "punished"...
- Misato come back, and almost immediately after, Mark.06 appears and abduct Shinji.

Honestly, she never had the time to fully explain him what happened, and take in account that it was very sensible information, because Shinji's actions have doomed the planet and the main enemy is his father. It's the kind of information you have to deliver very carefully and little by little, if not that would drive him insane from the sheer horror of the situation. Kaworu took the time to bond with Shinji, to become his friend and bring him some happiness with the Quatre Main before showing him the consequences of his actions, and even then it drove him on the brink of madness on the spot. Had Misato just dropped the info that his father was a madman who tries to destroy the world, and that his son managed to almost do that 14 years ago, Shinji would have a mental breakdown right on the spot in the middle of the med-bay of the Wunder!
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Postby Hyper Shinchan » Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:47 pm

Who has been blaming Misato for 3I? Did I miss some drama or is Kendrix fighting against windmills? What has happened in Q (she ended up putting a huge psychological pressure on Shinji which caused a good part of his idiocies, Shinji kept thinking about what Misato said for the whole film) is a different issue but Misato's position in Ha is really no different from Shinji's, you really can't justify one while blaming the other.
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Postby Eva 04 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:38 pm

Who would blame her? The only thing she can be blamed for is for cheering him on despite Ritsuko's warning of what will happen if Shinji kept going. That's it. She cant be blamed for Third Impact starting. That's just stupid.

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Postby Warren Peace » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:02 pm

^ Yeah, I don't get it either. To me, she's an audience surrogate at that point. At first, you're all "go Shinji, this awesome!" But Ritsuko reminds her/us to step back and consider the larger issue. Something Shinji rarely does.

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Postby bladerj » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:06 pm

OP question was not if Misato was guilty, but is she is to blame,as a superior office she is RESPONSIBLE for the actions of those under her command. if a fighter pilot drops a bomb on a school, he is guilty but his superior is RESPOSIBLE as well.a trial is then made to see how each part is guilty.
was the superior aware, did he try to cover it up ? did he gave bad orders, etc etc.
so YES,Misato is to blame, less so then gendo anyway.
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Postby Guy Nacks » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:40 pm

View Original Postbladerj wrote:but is she is to blame,as a superior office she is RESPONSIBLE for the actions of those under her command. if a fighter pilot drops a bomb on a school, he is guilty but his superior is RESPOSIBLE as well.a trial is then made to see how each part is guilty.
was the superior aware, did he try to cover it up ? did he gave bad orders, etc etc.
so YES,Misato is to blame, less so then gendo anyway.


This. Perhaps Shinji's sheer presence, reminding her that she does shoulder some of that blame, explains why she acts like such an cold c-nt towards him in 3.0.
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Postby CJD » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:36 am

Honestly I think Misato bears nothing for 3I, though it's possible she feels like she does. On the other hand, I think Ritsuko does have to take a small part of the blame. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Ritsuko's a horrible person or that 3I is her fault, but the fact is she did know Eva 01 going Super Saiyan was a possibility, she just thought it was extremely statistically unlikely. The thing is... when you're dealing with something as big as, oh I don't know, the end of the freaking human race, you don't hold information back because it's a fucking improbability, no matter how unlikely it is. Why, oh god why, were Shinji and Misato not briefed on this? Why was Shinji not told this could happen and trained to recognize it when/if it does, and how to stop it from completing?

I suppose we could probably go all the way to the top and assume Gendo/SEELE gave direct orders that this was confidential information, so confidential that even the pilot wasn't "need to know," but someone has to take the blame for that.

Again, though, I'm not saying 3I is Rits's fault.

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Postby Hyper Shinchan » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:31 am

View Original PostGuy Nacks wrote:This. Perhaps Shinji's sheer presence, reminding her that she does shoulder some of that blame, explains why she acts like such an cold c-nt towards him in 3.0.

That's what I think as well, she's playing the role of the dark heroine who's fighting a personal batte in order to redeem her sins; Misato failed as both Shinji's tutor and his superior, it's quite possible that she considers herself responsible for it but she doesn't say anything about it because of her position.
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Postby Kendrix » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:44 am

View Original PostHyper Shinchan wrote:Who has been blaming Misato for 3I?


I saw that opinion frequently expressed here or on youtube.

Sutre she obviously has a weird guilt complex about it, this is why I fear for his ass in the next movie - because regardless of her resurging feelings, Misato's gonna have that idea in her head that 4I happened because she let him live - She may see personally dirtying her hands with his blood as "taking responsibility" (which is probably also why she had the bomb set to detonate on her password) but her complexes and actual culpability are two pairs of shoes.


...Also, dudes, I find certain aspects of her behavior as disgusting as you, but there's nothing filthy or immoral about female genitals that would merit using references to them as cuss words. Please, drop the c-word.

A funny thing is that from the script alone, I got the impression that Asuka's the conflicted one and Misato the completely hateful one, but, come the images and their combination with the BGM, it seems to be the other way around.


...They DID have time to explain to him - In between the Nemesis battle and Ritsuko's lackluster explanations, he spent some time in a cell behind bars, we're treated to a shot of him lying on his bed when Sakura comes to get him...

Really, the last... situation was the result of him not knowing things, you'd think they'd make sure he's perfectly aware of his situation.
I don't buy that they didn't tell him out of consideration/fear for his reaction, first, you could say that this wouldn't really do them a favor. Second... look, they were NOT being considerate, not with the way they talked to him, the way they "cut him off" by turning the glass opaque/ severing the bridge room etc.
If that were the case, they'd also restrain their animosity the way, say, Sakura did, curling her firsst and looking away - I'm not expecting them to be nice, but... a "Asuka, that is enough.". I mean, they just ...tolerate that "display" of hers.
I don't mean anything like "Asuka, consider him", or that she doesn't have the right to be pissed - but something like "A time and a place, Miss Shikinami.".
They exposed him to that bridge of people turning their backs to him, Misato does the settings on her little boom device without warning him... (Again, a little "Don't freak out now" might have done the trick - they had to do nasty things to him before, to spill his blood over the altar of the fate of the world, but it was always apparent that they didn't want to. They tried to mitigate. In WILLE, only Sakura does this - in the end, she could even understand his dcision to leave, and may have asked for his forgiveness... Note that she still tells him to stay away from the doomsday machines, that's not mutually exclusive.)
You could say that they did not have the time and energy to consider one kid, and you'd probably be right, but if they would at least have tried to... hold back the anger, if not for his sake, then to keep him under control.

I know, you should never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidness or human weakness... but this is Misato. If it were anyone else, say, Asuka, I'd chalk it up to ignorance, but if anyone knew what exactly that treatment would do to him, it's her.
It's not their feelings of frustration and anger, it's the way they're making him FEEL it... which is childish, petty and simply impractical for preventing impacts.

...But in any case, something I want to leave clear is that while I think that Misato did something that was not only wrong, but cruel, I think that it's fully understandable/sadly human nature that she became this way... I feel much more sadness over the irony/tragedy of the situation than frustration at her actions, and, as I detailed before, am fully aware that she's still a mostly overall heroic figure - We just see the story from the PoV of someone who is not your average post-TI-world citizen.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:45 pm

Why should there even be a blame game for this? I've been running with "Hey, it happened, get over it". If we really had to choose, I'd go with the classical Blame Shinji opinion, purely because he happened to be the one inside the Eva. There's really no grounds for blaming Misato, because I find any claims that he could actually hear her when he was inside of a giant mecha-esque creation to be incredibly dubious.

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Postby Seele00TextOnly » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:04 pm

I think Misato has taken up much of the responsibility for what happened and for the clean up of the mess onto herself. She's put her life on the line to do the right thing now and to atone, she's making the gut wrenching decisions and commitments like putting the collar on Shinji. I doubt she even blames Shinji at all, I still think her coldness to him is her way of dealing with what she has to do both in regards to him and with regards to cleaning up the loose ends and killing the others who were the ringleader decision makers that set all this into motion.

She absolutely bears responsibility as superior officer to the pilots. And she has continued to act accordingly. I'm sure some would say 'well then what business does she have putting a collar on Shinji or keeping a position of power' and I'd say she's not keeping a position of power for her sake, or for power's sake. She's doing what she feels only she can do, and I'm pretty sure she knows she's going to die doing it. And as I've argued a dozen times now the collar is a pragmatic necessity and just about the only way for the survivors to deal with Shinji realistically.

(I don't understand why this isn't just the Misato thread but I guess people just want more threads)
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Postby CJD » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:22 pm

View Original PostSeele00TextOnly wrote:She absolutely bears responsibility as superior officer to the pilots


Even that, though.... in universe it makes sense that people would blame her, but as a viewer we know there's nothing she could have done to prevent it, nor was she even aware it was a possibility. Holding her accountable for 3I is just unreasonable as far as I'm concerned.

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:22 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:There's really no grounds for blaming Misato, because I find any claims that he could actually hear her when he was inside of a giant mecha-esque creation to be incredibly dubious.

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Postby ElMariachi » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:49 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:Why should there even be a blame game for this? I've been running with "Hey, it happened, get over it". If we really had to choose, I'd go with the classical Blame Shinji opinion, purely because he happened to be the one inside the Eva. There's really no grounds for blaming Misato, because I find any claims that he could actually hear her when he was inside of a giant mecha-esque creation to be incredibly dubious.
It's very heavily implied that everyone's life is a living hell since N3I? So when a catastrophe happens that completely change their lives, people tends to search for a responsible, someone to blame for their misfortune, pure human nature at play here.

WILLE probably take as foremost responsible Gendo and his "neo-NERV" and SEELE(if WILLE know of SEELE existence), but it's kinda hard to go take their revenge on him with his army of Nemesis Series and two Mark-class EVA protecting him. And coincidently, another actor of N3I just reappear, after 14 years of frustration for not being able to reach Gendo... so yeah, Shinji's responsibility may be minimal, almost non-existent if you take into account that he too didn't have any clue of what was happening and didn't wanted to doom the world... but did it anyway, was not here to defend his case, unlike Misato, which is surely how she was able to make people understand she couldn't do anything to prevent N3I and is now WILLE's leader and not tried for critical incompetence leading to crime against mankind... and as the icing on the cake Shinji is the son of the main responsible of all this madness... he was the perfect scapegoat for everyone's hatred : easy to blame, unable to defend his case and tied by blood to the main responsible of their misery.

What I would like to know is if Misato, Mari or anyone else actually tried to take Shinji's defense soon after N3I, or did they all just rolled with everyone else's feeling that Shinji is to blame because anyway there was next to no chance that he would come back one day and is pretty much considered KIA.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:40 pm

View Original PostElMariachi wrote:It's very heavily implied that everyone's life is a living hell since N3I? So when a catastrophe happens that completely change their lives, people tends to search for a responsible, someone to blame for their misfortune, pure human nature at play here.

I'm talking about Misato blame coming from IRL, from the perspective of those of us that are outside the 4th wall. Nobody inside the Evaverse is blaming Misato for this crap.

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Postby Guy Nacks » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:43 pm

View Original PostKendrix wrote:...Also, dudes, I find certain aspects of her behavior as disgusting as you, but there's nothing filthy or immoral about female genitals that would merit using references to them as cuss words. Please, drop the c-word.


Then perhaps we all should cease using the words "dick" and "cock" as well, which both mean virtually the same kind of person....only in a male form. I hate the word too, which is why I partially censored it. But it's the only word that encapsulates the intense reactionary emotion that I feel against her character in 3.0. Please point me to another word that has that same amount of thrust behind it and I'll gladly use that instead. If you're that dead set against anyone using that word in any instance, than I have no qualms with that....as I said, I don't like the word either. But I hope I don't see you referring to any guy as a dick or a cock, or any amalgamation of those words...like calling Gendo a dickhead for example......cause that would just scream hypocrisy.

Let it be known, I don't find female or male genitalia inherently disgusting (although both of them can be if they're not taken care of and cleaned, etc). But that's not the context in which I was using that particular word.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:49 pm

View Original PostGuy Nacks wrote:Please point me to another word that has that same amount of thrust behind it and I'll gladly use that instead.

Try referring to her as, "A woman that acts in a callous, rude, unforgiving manner and infuriates those that are forced to deal with her both foolish and idiotic decisions as well as her insufferable attitude." Much better than the C word, and has a lot more impact.


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