How To Characterize Shinji As An Adult?

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How To Characterize Shinji As An Adult?

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Postby Ray » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:39 pm

Hey guys. . . Ray here, with a question relating to a Fanfic i'm working on. What I'm asking is, how do I characterize an Adult Shinji Ikari?

Image

I've seen quite a few fics that characterize Shinji, after the events of the Tv show/Movies. Quite a few of them are actually quite good, but for me quite a few of them also seem to be missing the mark. Some of them seem too optimistic for Shinji's future Post-Series/Post-NTE, others go too extreme in the other direction into darkness and PTSD while neglecting the inherent messages at the heart of both the series and the TV shows.

So I guess what I'm asking is, how can I avoid making mistakes other fanfic writers make when writing Shinji as an adult? Are there any valid comparisons with other characters, from other works of fiction I could look to when characterizing him?

I ask this, because I've decided to take a swing at writing my own post 3.0/Final fanfic. But I'm having trouble characterizing Shinji. My vision for a Final AU fanfic would take place several years after the events of Q (between 3-7 years). But. . .aside from characterizing him as a younger Gendo, I'm not really sure how to characterize Shinji as an adult.

I was going to be selfish and just post this on another wall discussing characterization. But then I realized. . .how many other authors have issues with characterizing an Adult Shinji?
This post is for discussing just that.
Last edited by Ray on Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Executive Washington » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:48 pm

In my honest opinion, if you want to make Shinji an optimistic person, go for it, but you must make a reason for Shinji to undergo such a major change that would get rid of his depression.

Same thing goes for making Shinji even more depressed, you must have a reason for it. No reasons for these out of character changes makes it...OOCWAR, or out of character without a reason. No one wants to read that.

And yes, I definitely do agree that it shouldn't be too optimistic or too depressing (also known as wangst). Otherwise, that's all I have to offer.

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Postby ChaddyManPrime » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:53 pm

Well I honestly believe that you have to look at him as young teen and then decide what events occurred as he became an adult,you're going to have to make the events up of course. Once you've done that then decide how the events affected him. It also depends on the route you want to see him go down, do you want to see him happy, angry, or sad?

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Postby xyz346 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:05 pm

Assuming Shinji has the Curse of EVA...wouldn't that mean he could never grow up? You could explore that as well.

In any case...I would write him as being a much more cynical person after everything he's been through up to that point, although I would keep some aspects of his original personality intact.
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Postby Ray » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:11 pm

Well. . .in my story its essentially been 3-7 years since the events of 3.0. He's been living alone on the outskirts of a Wille settlement in Germany under an assumed identity for a little less than that. He's been trying to live off the grid more or less to avoid persecution for the part he played in committing Gaiacide. He's older in mind, but still physically 14 due to the curse of Eva. He knows that it's only a matter of time until someone notices he isn't aging, and put two and two together, and off him.

But of course, for some reason Wille and Misato need for him to get in the robot again. Since Gendo is finally unleashing his master plan on the human race with his awakened Eva. But of course, he doesn't want anything to do with anyone from his past. . . knowing all he can do is fail. He outright lashes out at Misato and Asuka for daring to even show their faces to him again.

Of course, once he witnesses first hand what Gendo does, he decides to help Wille one more time. . .

SPOILER: Show


Shinji:
Fine, Misato you win. I'll do it. I'll pilot again. I'll even wear your stupid detonator just to give you and those hateful bastards peace of mind. But after it's all said and done, after fathers dead. I don't ever want to see you, or Asuka or that. thing pretending to be Rei, or anything having to do with Eva, or Wille, or anything ever again. I've done enough harm.

After this, I owe you and the rest of the world, nothing.


Basically he's a bitter jaded, angry, self centered, guilt ridden person, who blames himself for everyone suffering. I was thinking of characterizing him as a younger Gendo. . . But thats why this thread came around.
Last edited by Ray on Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I’ll escape now from this world, from the world of Jean Valjean, Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!
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Postby Gob Hobblin » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:13 pm

To determine what Shinji is like as an adult, take a look at the background that led to his becoming an adult. Essentially, if you have an idea of how Shinji is supposed to be in your story, try to figure what it is that leads him to that point. Doing so can also help you determine whether or not his characterization is correct, and if adjustments need to be made.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Postby Ray » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:55 pm

Well the background as far as my fic Is concerned is 1.0 -3.0 with a few things I added in for the sake of getting him to where the story begins.

So basically. . .I imagine him to at least be a very bitter person, but just bitterness doesn't make Shinji. . . Shinji.
I’ll escape now from this world, from the world of Jean Valjean, Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!
Avatar: "There's a Starman, waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet me, but he thinks he'd blow my mind."
Phew, I’m not tense anymore… now I’m just miserable.
People say "be yourself" but that's bad advice, if we were all to "be ourselves" many of us would stop wearing clothes. -Chuckman

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Postby Gob Hobblin » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:04 pm

Well, he could be bitter. I mean, bitterness is something Shinji could arrive to after having failed time and time again after giving so much and losing so much. In the wake of 3.0, what circmustances are there for him to deal with? Is he even more isolated by Wille? Does Asuka do something? Does ReiQ show any improvement, or simply withdraw or disappear in Wille's labs or prisons?

Is the world a worse place? Did more people get hurt in the wake of 3.0?

I mean, if you want a bitter Shinji...sure. He can be bitter.

By that same token, if it doesn't fit, don't force it. Maybe he's not bitter, but 'checked out.' He's isolated himself mentally and emotionally, and has become catatonic.

That's probably not helpful, and I'm sorry. Basically, I'd say start writing the character, and see where he goes. There'd probably be plenty of people on the boards who'd be happy to beta-read, and tell you if it works or not.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Postby ElMariachi » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:12 pm

^
The problem is that a catatonic Shinji is not really interesting to work with, since there isn't any interactions.

As Ray said, he wants to make Shinji a "young Gendo bis", but slightly lighter : someone who was so much worn out by the emotional traumas during the last three movies (especially the third one), that he closed his heart to everyone, living his life without caring the least about the situation and people around him and unable to bring himself to get close to anyone not just because he fear that they'll hurt each other, but because he's so worn out emotionally that he don't even want to make the effort anymore.

Of course, the trick will be to make him act again, and eventually open his heart little by little.
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Postby Stillborn » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:24 pm

Maybe not bitter, but detached. Living by the force of momentum, without something to actually live for. No particular goal, and unwilling to find someone to live for, or form any form of attachment since it apparently never works for him.
There is also one point you could use. From detachment, there is just a step towards heartlessness. Shinji once couldn't bring himself to harm other pilot. But once he beging losing attachment to people, he may start to objectify them and himself and may no longer be afraid to "get his hands dirty" and off someone if he find it necessary or convinient.
The point would be for someone to notice that he is slipping into that territory and and drag him out before he desensitzes himself completly into a monster.
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Postby ElMariachi » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:44 pm

^
You put it in better words than me!
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Postby Ray » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:40 pm

Anyway, there just seems to be two extremes the writers tend to go when writing Shinji as an Adult, at least as far as some of the fics I've looked up.

The Happy Family Man:
SPOILER: Show
Image


Or This (I know its not Shinji but it makes my point):
SPOILER: Show
Image


I'm guess I just felt both were being dishonest. Are there any other fics I can look to that can characterize an Adult Shinji WELL?

Here's a sample of what I'm going for. . . .
SPOILER: Show

Scene: Shinji's Bunker outside Neo-Berlin

"I've had a lot of time to think about it Misato, out here all you have is time. . . and I realize now that you were right all along. It would've been better if I had just done nothing at all."

"I could've just burned fathers letter and stayed with my teacher, I could've said no and let Rei pilot Unit 01, I could've just killed the angel instead of saving Rei and spared everyone the suffering, I could've just hung myself from a rafter at Nerv headquarters when found out the truth about Rei, I could've just jumped off the edge of a building when I found out about what I did to You, Asuka, Sakura, and everyone else. . .but I didn't, and everyone is worse off and hates me even more for it, if that's even possible."

"If all I can do is fail. . . then whats the point of even bothering? Everyone would be better off if I had done nothing at all, or at least it would be someone else's fault for the world's misery and not mine. I tried making it better, and all I did was make it worse. . . I tried making it better. . . and all I did was make it worse. . ."

"Shinji. . . "

"Why was she so important everyone else had to die? She wasn't even real. She was just a doll, a piece of flesh father grew in a vat to trick me. She wasn't worth it. . . she wasn't real"


I'm only on the first chapter so It's rather unpolished. . .
I’ll escape now from this world, from the world of Jean Valjean, Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!
Avatar: "There's a Starman, waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet me, but he thinks he'd blow my mind."
Phew, I’m not tense anymore… now I’m just miserable.
People say "be yourself" but that's bad advice, if we were all to "be ourselves" many of us would stop wearing clothes. -Chuckman

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Postby ElMariachi » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:18 am

View Original PostRay wrote:Here's a sample of what I'm going for. . . .
SPOILER: Show

Scene: Shinji's Bunker outside Neo-Berlin

"I've had a lot of time to think about it Misato, out here all you have is time. . . and I realize now that you were right all along. It would've been better if I had just done nothing at all."

"I could've just burned fathers letter and stayed with my teacher, I could've said no and let Rei pilot Unit 01, I could've just killed the angel instead of saving Rei and spared everyone the suffering, I could've just hung myself from a rafter at Nerv headquarters when found out the truth about Rei, I could've just jumped off the edge of a building when I found out about what I did to You, Asuka, Sakura, and everyone else. . .but I didn't, and everyone is worse off and hates me even more for it, if that's even possible."

"If all I can do is fail. . . then whats the point of even bothering? Everyone would be better off if I had done nothing at all, or at least it would be someone else's fault for the world's misery and not mine. I tried making it better, and all I did was make it worse. . . I tried making it better. . . and all I did was make it worse. . ."

"Shinji. . . "

"Why was she so important everyone else had to die? She wasn't even real. She was just a doll, a piece of flesh father grew in a vat to trick me. She wasn't worth it. . . she wasn't real"


I'm only on the first chapter so It's rather unpolished. . .

Okay, if I can give my thoughts (warning, I'm not taking gloves) :
SPOILER: Show
It's too much melodramatic : your story is supposed to happen between 3 and 7 years after 3.0, I'm right? So Shinji had the time to mule over what happened, and if his level of "it's all my fault" mentality is still as hight as what you portray, he would had killed himself since then.

In short, and sorry if I sound like a caricature here : too much whines, not enough cynicism.

Something that ofter get overlooked (both in NGE and Rebuild) is that Shinji is a very cynical person, it's especially prevalent in his conversations with Misato in 1.0 and 2.0 (see at their talk in her car when she saved him from Sachiel, the post-Shamshell confrontation, in the hospital after being almost killed by Ramiel, or when she shows him Lilith, or in the car ride after he visited Yui's tomb in 2.0)

So while I can perfectly see him beating himself for Kaworu's death and N3I (since you seems to go for the route where it's the cause for the world's destruction), he would also come to the conclusion that he's also used as a scapegoat because Gendo and SEELE are out of reach, you should balance his self-loathing with some cynical comments about how the situation in N3I was completely out of his grasp unlike what the people might think, and how WILLE didn't made anything to incite him to stay in 3.0, that kind of comments : "Strange, you all say that I should had never been an Eva pilot due to my profile, and it's true that I keep destroying everything and hurting everyone when I pilot an Eva, yet here you are asking me for me to pilot again. Am I such a convenient disposable mass destroyer Misato?"


Also, even more important, Shinji would never, ever talk about Rei like that : remember that in 3.0 even after learning that Rei was a clone of his mother and that the Rei that he followed to neo-NERV wasn't the same one, the only thing he was thinking about was that he didn't saved Rei and that he was tricked.
Shinji is one of the most open-minded person on the world, he cared deeply and was ready to die for a girl with blue hair and red eyes without mentioning these odd traits even once, and befriended a mysterious guy with silver hair and red eyes that could walk unprotected in a toxic environment with gale force winds, and he didn't gave a shit about it! Hell even when Kaworu revealed that he was an Angel, Shinji didn't cared (well, here it was probably also because there was more important things happening around, like EVA-13's freakin' awakening!)
Last edited by ElMariachi on Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Avatar: THE HIGHEST OF ALL HIGHS WE AAAAAAAAAARE!!!
Kensuke is a military otaku who, at one point, is shown creepily taking pictures of girls to sell. He would clearly fit right in as an animator at Studio Gainax. -- Compiling_Autumn
EoTV is a therapist, EoE is a drill instructor. -- Chuckman
Seriously, that is the most fananked theory I've ever heard, more than Mari being Marty McFly travelling through time to keep her parents (Asushin) together. -- Jäeger

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Postby Ray » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:09 pm

Again. . .EXTREMELY unpolished. Apparently have no Idea what I'm doing. Hence why I created this thread. I need advice!

Again. . .I was trying to emphasize how much he had alienated himself from others. I guess it backfired.

Also this excerpt is a small part of a much larger narrative, so there is some more context to it.

thanks for the advice!
Last edited by Ray on Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I’ll escape now from this world, from the world of Jean Valjean, Jean Valjean is nothing now! Another story must begin!
Avatar: "There's a Starman, waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet me, but he thinks he'd blow my mind."
Phew, I’m not tense anymore… now I’m just miserable.
People say "be yourself" but that's bad advice, if we were all to "be ourselves" many of us would stop wearing clothes. -Chuckman

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Postby Stillborn » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:55 pm

Damn. Another bundle of toughts coming to me at night and denying me sleep if I don't exorcise them. Sorry for what I'm about to commit.

Ok, this is pretty much expansion of my idea from Villians thread, so few people will know what's this about. Basically its what would happen if Shinji was succesfully on the run, for a few years till adulthood.

SPOILER: Show
Shortly after leaving Lethe, Shinji would have to learn to fend for himself. How he does that is mostly covered in Villians thread. But the first few time he would try to be sneaky and steal some supplies without an Eva, just sneaking into farms, he would end up discovered and forced to retreat, while leaving his pursuers wounded (or maybe dead) from gunshots, but would end up pretty banged himself. Thanks to Nomad's lessons he would have enough common sense to get some clothes as disguise and even if spotted he would be considered just a petty thief instead of Impact Boy. Eventually he would become efficent enough in sneaking in and out with few necessary suplies small enough to carry on foot, but till then he would accuire some scars on his body directly, not just by Eva's feedback.

With years passing on the run, his intent to avoid capture, will slowly start to change from a "way to live" into "point of life". He will start to desire confrontation with WILLE just so he could escape them. The same part that in original show, drove him into overconfidence and charge against Leliel, will here give him the desire to show off to WILLE, his new skills and intelligence. But the rational part, the one carefully fostered in him by Nomad, will scream at him how stupid this idea is, and will keep him from actually engaging WILLE. But the two combating sides, as well as the constant stress of a fugitive, will slowly start to drive him insane, and will make him keep the cat and mouse game going, for the very sake of the game itself. His strikes will subconsciously become bolder, and he will eventually capture WILLE's attention, finally causing him to come into contact with WILLE's VTOL patrols... Which he then promptly strike down, before they can report on him (I leave wheter VTOL crew survived or not, in the hypotetical author's hands). With few more run ins like this, stretched in the time span of few months, WILLE eventually dispatch Evas on the unknown white boogeyman (Assuming that they rebuild two of them and Franken Eva was a joke). This would be the first time in years, Asuka and Shinji once again engage in combat. But this time Shinji no longer have uber powerfull Mark 13, and while whatever mutation he have that make him awake Unit 01, actually improves his Harpy in combat, beyond its calculated capacity, he can't defeat both Asuka and Mari with it, even when he fights with cold fury and intent to kill, utilizing everything Nomad taught him.
So he is backed to a corner and then Asuka and Mari would have to tear his plug out of Harpy. Fast. Absolutely refusing to be captured, Shinji would initiate self destruct, with full intent to take his assailants along with him... One can leave Lethe, but Lethe won't leave them so easily.

But since Harpy's body is less armored than that of typical Eva, they manage to cut him out in time and finally bting back to Wunder. Once again put into a cell, this time Shinji will hold as much cold disdain and hate for WILLE as they hold (or he is convinced they hold) for him. But even more worrying would be, that under that, there would be sparks of malicious pride, that this time they put him in cage not only because he is a clumsy puppy that causes problems... But also because this time he intentionally made them mad and forced them to work for his head.

And yes, this will be the Shinji at the end of this scenario

http://static.fjcdn.com/pictures/Epic+Evangelion+Poster.+Dammit+Shinji+Stop+looking+badass+and+get_efa940_4848913.jpg

The same scarred face, the same utilitary equpment attached to plug suit... The same very, very creepy smile of self satisfaction born from madness.

How WILLE will deal with this troublesome passanger is once again up to author. That's all I got for now. I'm going to sleep at last.


Sorry for bringing this shit in your thread Ray. I had nowhere else to fit it. :facepalm:

Feel free to ignore it since it won't fit your fic concept anyway, and proceed with more productive posts.
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Postby Squigsquasher » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:52 pm

My approach to an adult Shinji would be kind and caring, but extremely shy. He'd probably spend most of his time indoors on his own, only going out when he needed to. However, he'd be pleasant to anybody he did talk to, and I feel he'd try at least try and help people out if they were struggling. However, he'd keep to himself a lot, and I don't think he'd be likely to actively look to socialize.

TL;DR: shy and reclusive, but sweet once you got to know him.
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Postby Oxopoha » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:42 pm

I think ElMariachi pretty much covered everything I wanted to say. It brings up something that Irks me though.

In all of the post 3.0 fiction I've read it seems like there's always an "Everything is Shinji's fault" mentality, not just in the characters but in the naritive as well. I thought it had been pretty well established that while Shinji was the catalyst of N3I, Gendo is the most at fault for it. The knowing NERV employees (Ritsuko, Fuyutski) after Gendo, and the unwitting NERV employees (Bridge bunnies, Misato) after them with the EVA pilots (minus Rei) the least to blame.

It seems to me like most EVA writers these days think Shinji knew that trying to save Rei would cause the near-apocolypse.

Does anyone know where people are getting that Idea?
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Postby ElMariachi » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:11 pm

^
That's probably because in 3.0 WILLE are carrying a punishment on Shinji (Ritsuko explicitly said that the DSS Choker is a symbol of both his punishment and their mistrust on him), and that when Kaworu explains to Shinji what happened to Tokyo-3 and why people hate him, he more or less says that everything was his fault :
00:51:48 {Kaworu} Ikari Shinji-kun,
00:51:50 {Kaworu} once Awakened, Eva-01 opened the Door of Guf
00:51:55 {Kaworu} and became the trigger for Third Impact.
00:51:58 {Kaworu} Lilin call it Near Third Impact.
00:52:02 {Kaworu} It was all initiated by you.
00:52:09 {Shinji} You're wrong!
00:52:10 {Shinji} All I wanted to do was save Ayanami!
00:52:16 {Kaworu} True, but that was the catalyst.
[...]
00:52:35 {Kaworu} This is the truth you desired to know.
00:52:38 {Kaworu} As a result, the Lilin are letting you pay for your sin.
00:52:43 {Kaworu} That's what the thing on your neck is, no?

00:52:48 {Shinji} What sin?
00:52:50 {Shinji} I didn't do anything!
00:52:52 {Shinji} I had nothing to do with it!
00:52:54 {Kaworu} You may deny it, but humanity thinks otherwise.

Shinji does raise the point that he didn't had any idea of what was happening (or that it could happen) and that he only wanted to save Rei, and Kaworu's answer is basically that mankind don't give a shit about it, they want a culprit and Shinji is the one conveniently at reach.

Of course, Shinji never had the opportunity to defend himself in front of Misato (so at least we could see what they think they know about Shinji's level of participation in N3I), and doesn't know that N3I was initially stopped by Kaworu himself, which with what we see in Lilith's Chamber means that something else after 2.0 happened that wrecked the world, so he think that everything is really all his fault and that he directly destroyed the planet during his stunt at the end of 2.0.
Hell, we didn't even got to hear WILLE formally stating the charges against Shinji, so we aren't even sure of what they are exactly punishing Shinji for, as Kaworu has proven to be very unreliable.

Still, the point is that the narrative in 3.0 tell us that everything it's Shinji's fault (and Shinji himself believes it), and that the clues that it's not the case are hidden in the details. And as not everyone are as obsessively nitpicking as in EGF, most people probably thinks that it's Shinji's entire fault too.

I don't think that WILLE are stupid enough to not understand that the ultimate responsible is Gendo, but so far he's hidden in his fortress, and they happened to have the trigger of N3I almost handed on a silver plater (who, on top of that, is also the son of Gendo)


But it's true that I've yet to see a fic where the hints scattered in Q are explored and it's revealed that Shinji isn't directly what destroyed the world (if it's even really destroyed) and that WILLE want to punish him "only" for N3I and the destructions it caused on Tokyo-3, making the events of Q a dramatic case of misunderstanding born from manipulations.
Last edited by ElMariachi on Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Gob Hobblin
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Postby Gob Hobblin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:31 pm

Generally, when looking for closure, a group will use a strawman or fall-man in order to simply put people's minds at ease.

Assume that Gendo is defeated, and Shinji survives. There'll still be people baying for blood. So, what if an adult Shinji is not seeking isolation on his own? Supposing he has spent the last so many years in isolation, imprisoned or 'put on ice' in a secure location until people can figure out what to do with him?

Think about what kind of a man would grow out of that experience: being blamed for everything, limited in his contact with people, possibly imprisoned for crimes he still may not fully believe he committed (indeed, may be innocent of).

He could be bitter...then again, he may not be. I keep thinking on the Man in the Iron Mask (film versions), a person who was imprisoned for no reason for years, but used the time for self-reflection. He goes from misery, to despair, to acceptance, to bitterness, and on to enlightenment: a sort of moral Hannibal Lecter. Someone who has grown intelligent, perceptive, and thoughtful (and maybe a bit vindictive), while the world thinks of him as this evil in a can. Imagine the shock some people would have when meeting him ("That's the Impact Child? I thought he'd be more...callous.").

Of course, it could also go in the opposite direction: like, Edmund Dantes direction. A man who has grown increasingly infuriated and bitter at the world (thinking on that villain topic), and chooses to bring 'justice' to those he thinks wronged him...and when actually given that opportunity, finds it harder and harder to stay the course. Because at the end...he's still Shinji. He is moral, he is kind, and he would have to subvert those to bring pain to people he probably still cares about. A conflict between his desire for vindication, and his desire for things to be as they were.
Though, Gob still might look good in a cocktail dress.
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Postby Rommel » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:40 pm

View Original PostOxopoha wrote:I think ElMariachi pretty much covered everything I wanted to say. It brings up something that Irks me though.

In all of the post 3.0 fiction I've read it seems like there's always an "Everything is Shinji's fault" mentality, not just in the characters but in the naritive as well.


Um, because it is?


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