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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Postby Sgt. Griff » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:59 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:I maintain that a lot of bells should have been ringing soon as the Eva mysteriously reactivated and Shinji suddenly had access to previously unheard of powers...


Well there is a difference between the damage that Shinji thought the Evangelion could be capable of and the entirely catastrophic result of near third impact. Unit 01 had never been established as Angelic or connected to Lilith/Adam before that point (and still really hasn't), and the greatest disaster revolving around it had either been A) destroying a city block or two against Sachiel or B) mangling another Unit. Nothing up until that point had even remotely indicated that what was still apparently just a giant robot cyborg was capable of sprouting wings and destroying the planet, after all in Shinji's mind they were fighting the angels, not creating them.

Shinji would have had no idea that his purple bot could cause destruction on the immense scale that it did, the worst he would have thought of was that it destroys a bit of the city again and maybe some of the Geofront.
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Postby Reichu » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:07 pm

Sgt. Griff: He doesn't have to know that the Eva is a WMD to have the minimal observational skills required to notice that reactivating with zero battery power and suddenly having psychokinetic abilities (aside from the forcefield he was explicitly trained in the usage of) is alarmingly divergent from the norm. There was absolutely no questioning this, just running full speed ahead. How about, I don't know, asking the people who know more about the Eva than him, "Ummm, is it supposed to be doing that...? Is anything about the current situation remotely normal or safe?" We didn't see him so much as try. So poo on him. :p

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Postby Bagheera » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:13 pm

Yeah! I mean, it's not like he was fighting the most powerful Angel encountered to date or anything--

Oh, wait.
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Postby Ray » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:28 pm

The argument here shouldn't be 'is Shinji evil' the bigger question is 'does the world he destroyed see him as evil?"
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Postby pwhodges » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:33 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:He doesn't have to know that the Eva is a WMD to have the minimal observational skills required to notice that reactivating with zero battery power and suddenly having psychokinetic abilities (aside from the forcefield he was explicitly trained in the usage of) is alarmingly divergent from the norm.

You mean, apart from the times it had done such things before?

View Original PostRay wrote:The argument here shouldn't be 'is Shinji evil' the bigger question is 'does the world he destroyed see him as evil?"

Well, Kaworu told him so, but we have evidence that he is an unreliable narrator. Oh, yes, and the crew of the Wunder glared at him. Did Misato have the collar put round his neck because he was evil, or because he was considered dangerous? Certainly only the second is stated in the film.
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Postby Lennik » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:00 pm

I feel like the question "Why didn't Shinji stop to wonder why his Eva had eye beams" is a pointless one. He knew it had eye beams because he was using them. It happens in the genre all the time. His Eva developed these powers because of his willpower. He's also fighting the most powerful Angel ever. He's not gonna stop to wonder, "Wait, when did I become a badass?"

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Postby Reichu » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:06 pm

Lennik: Since when was Eva a typical example of the genre? It's because of its deconstructionist tendencies that we should be wondering precisely why Shinji isn't remotely alarmed by any of the overwhelming bizarreness that's happening.

It's probably a bit too early to say "his Eva developed powers because WILLPOWER", too. That might fly in another anime, but there's probably more to the story here.

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:You mean, apart from the times it had done such things before?

Which were...?
Last edited by Reichu on Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby BlueBasilisk » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:11 pm

pwhodges:
SPOILER: Show
Image


Kaworu deftly avoids talking about this and it throws his entire character into doubt. Whether he's just ignorant or has ill intent, I don't know.

Edit: Reichu, why isn't anyone concerned when Unit 01 suddenly turns into Sonic the Hedgehog and rockets halfway across Tokyo-3 to catch Sahaquiel? That happens in both timelines and it's like nobody even notices it happened.
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Postby Reichu » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:18 pm

View Original PostBlueBasilisk wrote:Reichu, why isn't anyone concerned when Unit 01 suddenly turns into Sonic the Hedgehog and rockets halfway across Tokyo-3 to catch Sahaquiel? That happens in both timelines and it's like nobody even notices it happened.

Beats me! What does that have to do with the topic? It's like you're implying that nobody noticed anything wrong in 2.0's finale, which is absolutely not true. Shinji and Misato were idiots, but everyone else seemed appropriately shocked.

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Postby pwhodges » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:18 pm

Um, Sachiel - well, perhaps not no battery power, though it had "shut down", but certainly acting beyond Shinji's expectations and control. Leliel - right, not part of NTE, so perhaps I'd better not rely on that. None the less, there's nothing from Shinji's perspective that is so outside his experience that he could reasonably be expected to stop fighting while he thinks about it.
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Postby Reichu » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:28 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:None the less, there's nothing from Shinji's perspective that is so outside his experience that he could reasonably be expected to stop fighting while he thinks about it.

I feel like we're talking past each other here. How in any reasonable assessment do

1) reactivating with NO POWER
2) eye lasers
3) exploding shit with a thought
4) ATF limbs
5) tearing the entry plug's interior apart with bare hands
6) going straight through the bottom of the entry plug into an Angel's core
7) saving a dead person
8) levitation

line up with whatever model of experience and reality Shinji possessed prior to this unfortunate debacle? I'd like to know.

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Postby BlueBasilisk » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:00 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Beats me! What does that have to do with the topic? It's like you're implying that nobody noticed anything wrong in 2.0's finale, which is absolutely not true. Shinji and Misato were idiots, but everyone else seemed appropriately shocked.


It's relevant because it's one of two other instances where Unit 01 has pulled a new power out of its ass to meet the demands of the situation, and both of those other two more or less worked to Nerv's benefit sans the property damage involved. The staff were completely right to be shocked (and Misato was too), because Unit 01 was doing some freaky crap, but it's a pretty huge leap to go from "uh oh, it's doing strange things again" to "holy shit, it's going to kill everyone!"

Not commenting isn't especially relevant I'll admit, but the point is that Unit 01 has a history of saying "screw the rules" and there's nothing in anyone's experience there to suggest that THIS time the Eva was going to trigger an Impact instead of saving their collective hides.
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Postby pwhodges » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:06 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:I feel like we're talking past each other here. How in any reasonable assessment do [things] line up with whatever model of experience and reality Shinji possessed prior to this unfortunate debacle? I'd like to know.

I think it's as simple as his mind being very different from yours (mine too, but I feel I can get some idea of how it works). Maybe in his situation you would have had such thoughts as you outline, but as I've tried to illustrate, he doesn't - that's just how it is, the explanation is simply that he is not you or me. Add to that the extent to which the universe he's operating in is substantially different from ours and it becomes clear that an explanation that works in the story is not necessarily one that is rational in our world.
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Postby BlueBasilisk » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:16 pm

^Add to that the fact that we see his eyes glowing red in the entry plug. The only other place we've seen the eyelight is Unit 02's Beast Modes, and both of those trigger a state of heightened aggression, physical changes, and it seems like this is accompanied by a knowledge of the Eva's unlocked powers. It's entirely possible Unit 01 was driving him on and feeding him that information directly.

When Eva 13 goes through the change, it just shuts him out completely and doesn't effect him at all.
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Postby Bagheera » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:21 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:I think it's as simple as his mind being very different from yours (mine too, but I feel I can get some idea of how it works). Maybe in his situation you would have had such thoughts as you outline, but as I've tried to illustrate, he doesn't - that's just how it is, the explanation is simply that he is not you or me. Add to that the extent to which the universe he's operating in is substantially different from ours and it becomes clear that an explanation that works in the story is not necessarily one that is rational in our world.


And of course, Shinji has no idea how Evas work. He's seen them activate on their own, break the sound barrier, project all manner of force fields and such, and make him hurt when they take damage. How is the Eva reactivating weird in light of that? How are eye lasers? How are ATF limbs? And how is that even going to register with him when he's fighting for his life?

Asking why he thought he could get Rei back is legit. As far as he knew she was eaten, so getting her back shouldn't even be on his radar. But asking why he didn't question the Eva's abilities? It's a fucking Eva, man. They do crazy shit.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Reichu » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:31 pm

Blue Basilisk: Misato wasn't appropriately shocked until later, when her PTSD started to set in. She was being a reckless moron before that.

I don't think the staff could have done anything even if they wanted to, since the Eva was beyond their control ("bousou?" was one of the first guesses about what was happening) and it's unclear whether they had any ability to reach Shinji in the plug (the editing may have just yielded such an illusion). Any which way, this thread is about Shinji's stupidity, not theirs.

The weird shit that was happening went above and beyond anything previous, and Shinji was being negligently reckless. Not only did he not question these powers that appeared out of nowhere and had absolutely no precedent (unless you're going to argue that Shinji is "genre savvy", which I seriously doubt...), he uses them in selfish pursuit of a miracle. Since when was using magic to ferry the souls of the dead part of his job description? He should have just killed the Angel and left it at that.

Of course, that wouldn't assuage his guilt for abandoning Nerv and leaving Rei to get killed by the Angel, but there are better ways to deal with guilt than playing recklessly with the fabric of reality using a giant top-secret biomechanical weapon. Hasn't he ever heard anything about not fucking with shit he doesn't understand? Just because you can do it, it doesn't mean you should. Doing whatever you want without consideration for the consequences could be considered a form of evil. So maybe Shinji is evil after all. :devil:

We avoid a lot of problems by going with the idea that the Eva is accountable in large part for this mess. I mentioned earlier that I personally abide by this, but good luck getting everyone to accept it. My impression that a lot of people are smitten with the notion that Shinji is simultaneously 100% in charge of everything and totally not responsible for what happens. Which is a whole lot of "lolwut".
Last edited by Reichu on Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Stillborn » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:33 pm

@Bagheera

She was swallowed whole along with her Eva. She wasn't chewed. Remember Jonah? Or actual real life example - a snake swallowed a giant centipede. The cetipede chewed it's way outside of the snake. It is possible to recover something that has not been killed pror to being eaten. Shinji may very well try to dissect Zeruel just for the chance of finding Rei. I don't see this as questionable motive.
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Postby Reichu » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:42 pm

View Original PostStillborn wrote:She was swallowed whole along with her Eva. She wasn't chewed.

Watch that scene again. There's a lot of audible, visible chewing going on. Not to mention that the Eva is dramatically compacted the moment it's eaten, which seems to imply that some fierce crushing action happened.

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Postby Stillborn » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:48 pm

On the other hand, angel biology is as absurd as their powers. The "I won't believe X is dead till I see the corpse" rule, may still apply, even if Shinji was just clinging to desperation, it's STILL plausible.
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Postby Bagheera » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:54 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:We avoid a lot of problems by going with the idea that the Eva is accountable in large part for this mess. I mentioned earlier that I personally abide by this, but good luck getting everyone to accept it. My impression that a lot of people are smitten with the notion that Shinji is simultaneously 100% in charge of everything and totally not responsible for what happens. Which is a whole lot of "lolwut".


Wait, who says that? My impression is that most people think Shinji didn't have a fucking clue, which is pretty much spot on. I've never seen anyone claim he was in charge of anything.

View Original PostStillborn wrote:On the other hand, angel biology is as absurd as their powers. The "I won't believe X is dead till I see the corpse" rule, may still apply, even if Shinji was just clinging to desperation, it's STILL plausible.


Not really. She was eaten, man. Shinji's conviction that he could somehow get her back just plain wasn't rational, and even now I'd like to know where he got it.

And yeah, she was chewed. Zeruel even spit out her Eva's head.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.


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