Why I Don't Like Mari

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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Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Ray » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:32 pm

1) She hogs screentime that could be used developing other Characters that SHOULD be developed

With the exception of Shinji, none of the characters in Rebuild are as deep or psychologically complex as they are in the original NGE. But we could have gotten to know more about the characters beyond the bare minimum. So it's frustrating when I see Mari and her big bouncing melons hogging up the screen that belongs to the character I do like and do want to see develop and be fleshed out more? She's being forced upon us like the Spinosaurus was in Jurassic Park 3, I don't want to see Spinosaurus I want to see more T-Rex!

Couldn't have they used the screen time they used giving Mari fight scenes, on developing Shinji and Asuka's relationship, or explaining how the hell Impacts work so we'd be less in the dark when the time skip came in 3.0? Nope!

and that's probably

2) She has no redeeming flaws, compelling backstory, or deeper psychological complexity.

I wouldn't mind Mari so much if she had a decent backstory or was compelling in her own right or had a backstory that could stand on par with the other characters. Aside from her being a 'Badass Eva pilot with big tanks' we know absolutely NOTHING about her. We don't know her likes or dislikes otisde of the Eva, we don't know what her connection to Nerv or Seele was, and she's completely and utterly perfect at EVERYTHING. Almost to the point of being a Mary Sue.

Sachi wrote:Also, Mari isn't a Mary Sue.


She can speak multiple languages, she pilots Unit 02 better than Asuka, she doesn't appear to have any flaws or characteristics aside from some quirks (like getting turned on by LCL). She doesn't appear to exist for anything but marketing so they have another female eva pilot to sell figures. She's a MARY SUE! Give it up people!

The rebuild series is 3/4ths of the way over and we still have no clue about who she is, what her role in the story is supposed to be, and with only one movie left and all the other plotlines left to resolve and tie down. Mari's probably not going to get any development or fleshing out.

3) She hasn't had any meaningful (onscreen) interactions with any characters
Aside from the presumed decade long relationship between Asuka and Mari that 3.33 did bugger all fleshing out. There isn't a single thing Mari has done in the Rebuild series that couldn't have been done by another character, or that could have been improved by excluding entirely. Couldn't have Asuka been a lone wolf Eva pilot in 3.33? Anno could have had Shinji witness Rei getting eaten without Mari pulling him out of the shelter. Anno could have used Kaji or Misato for that.

4) MariAsu Shippers and Fanart

This is more my personal preference than anything else. I'm no homophobe. It's your own personal business with what you and your partner do in the privacy of your own bedroom regardless of your gender, or what you like in your doujin and Manga. But full disclosure I don't like Yuri, and after 3.33 there was a torrent of erotic Mari x Asuka 'stuff' flooding the internet. Pinterest, Tumblr, The Boorus (EVEN THE SFW ONES!), it's inescapable. I go on the internet to look up some Asuka fanart for reference or for inspiration, and even with the safe-filter on, I always manage to stumble upon at least one image of Mari sticking her tongue down Asukas throat.

I did ship Shinji and Asuka once upon a time. But after rebuild and the 14 year time skip it's pretty much an impossibility that they can be anything like they once were in 2.22. So whenever I see MariXAsuka fanart, erotic or otherwise I feel like it's a big middle finger to all the Shinji X Asuka shippers who were holding out hope for some kind of closure on that front.

Not to mention, I'm consistently worried about being called homophobic simply for saying I don't like the Idea of MarixAsuka. It seems pandering, and if Mari and Asuka are in a Lesbian relationship it seems to be more for fanservice than out of a desire to add anything compelling.

But the focus of Eva is the Tragedy, not the shipping. So this is more of a personal preference and annoyance on my part.

5) She's completely unneccessary and messes up the whole tone of the story

She's like a character from an entirely different anime in the Evaverse. Mari belongs in something like Diebuster, not Evangelion.

Evangelion is a story about loss and depression and unhappiness, so when you follow that up with bouncing boobies and peppy attitude, it seems dishonest. not to mention confusing. Her inclusion just clashes with the serious tone the series has. Not even the fanservice moments in the original series really messed up the semiserious tone the series goes for, but Mari and her huge cabbages really do.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:41 pm

So, Mari is successfully destroying Eva for you? That's what she's there for.

If you aren't liking the Rebuilds, you can just drop them.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:13 pm

Yes, Mari has large breasts. Developing such an anatomical characteristic is known to occasionally happen in young women. I'm sure some similarly burdened female viewers appreciate the representation. The repetitive disparaging comments are in rather poor taste.

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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Sachi » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:36 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:2) She has no redeeming flaws, compelling backstory, or deeper psychological complexity.

I wouldn't mind Mari so much if she had a decent backstory or was compelling in her own right or had a backstory that could stand on par with the other characters. Aside from her being a 'Badass Eva pilot with big tanks' we know absolutely NOTHING about her. We don't know her likes or dislikes otisde of the Eva, we don't know what her connection to Nerv or Seele was, and she's completely and utterly perfect at EVERYTHING. Almost to the point of being a Mary Sue.

She can speak multiple languages, she pilots Unit 02 better than Asuka, she doesn't appear to have any flaws or characteristics aside from some quirks (like getting turned on by LCL). She doesn't appear to exist for anything but marketing so they have another female eva pilot to sell figures. She's a MARY SUE! Give it up people!

She gets her ass handed to her in the fight against Zeruel; isn't that a major mark against any supposed perfection? She is literally ineffectual against the Angel, despite the prowess she showed as a pilot. Rei was more of a threat to the Angel, until it covered its core. As for multiple languages, we know of two, which is not in any way outlandish. Any notion that Mari pilots Unit-02 better than Asuka is simply an opinion.

And it's not that we know absolutely nothing about her. We know she is an associate of Kaji, and that she's working a particular angle in 2.0 against both Nerv and Seele. Her and Kaji are likely associated with an unknown third part that would later become Wille by the time of Q. We can infer that she was raised to be an Eva pilot, similarly to Asuka.

There is a theme in 1.0 and 2.0 concerning the relationship between the pilots and their Evas, and Mari is unique among the four pilots in that she isn't existentially tied to her Eva. Shinji does so for validation from others without regard for what he wants, Asuka does so for self-validation and to be elite, and Rei does so out of duty and bond without regard for herself. Mari pilots because she apparently enjoys it, and she does so with greater purpose and informed intent, which would make her the one character doing it right. If piloting Eva is a metaphor for engaging with life, then Mari is the one healthy example.

3) She hasn't had any meaningful (onscreen) interactions with any characters
Aside from the presumed decade long relationship between Asuka and Mari that 3.33 did bugger all fleshing out. There isn't a single thing Mari has done in the Rebuild series that couldn't have been done by another character, or that could have been improved by excluding entirely. Couldn't have Asuka been a lone wolf Eva pilot in 3.33? Anno could have had Shinji witness Rei getting eaten without Mari pulling him out of the shelter. Anno could have used Kaji or Misato for that.

But the point is that that Mari was the one that had the meaningful onscreen interaction with Shinji in 2.0, rather than Kaji or any other character.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby TheFriskyIan » Tue Mar 29, 2016 6:59 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Yes, Mari has large breasts. Developing such an anatomical characteristic is known to occasionally happen in young women. I'm sure some similarly burdened female viewers appreciate the representation. The repetitive disparaging comments are in rather poor taste.

It's one thing to let the viewer know "Hey, these are BOOBIES!" during scenes when there isn't anything important going on, but it's not necessarily something that needs to be hogging the screen literally seconds after the death of a major character.

Anyways, I still stand by what I say in every thread involving Mari and that's you can literally remove her entirely from NTE, switch some of the characters around and no one would be none the wiser.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby BlueBasilisk » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:40 pm

View Original PostSachi wrote:She gets her ass handed to her in the fight against Zeruel; isn't that a major mark against any supposed perfection? She is literally ineffectual against the Angel, despite the prowess she showed as a pilot. Rei was more of a threat to the Angel, until it covered its core. As for multiple languages, we know of two, which is not in any way outlandish. Any notion that Mari pilots Unit-02 better than Asuka is simply an opinion.


Mari is flashy and aggressive but she's not very effective as a pilot. Her strategy in both fights is to rush in with brute force. She barely scraped out a win with Unit 05's help and got completely blown out by Zeruel even with The Beast. She's an excellent sniper but she kinda sucks when she tries to fight like Asuka does.

On the subject of languages, Shinji appears to be the only one of the four main Children who isn't at least bilingual. Mari and Asuka can both speak English and Japanese, and possibly more since they're both from Europe. Rei can at least read English and Kaworu is totally unknown.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:57 pm

View Original PostTheFriskyIan wrote:It's one thing to let the viewer know "Hey, these are BOOBIES!" during scenes when there isn't anything important going on, but it's not necessarily something that needs to be hogging the screen literally seconds after the death of a major character.

Yeah, I don't think all the fan service works, either. Better to blame that on a particular directorial choice, though, than Mari as a character. It'd be like holding Asuka personally responsible for the on-screen victimization of her groin and ass crack. It's silly.

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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:24 pm

She's perfectly fine as a character. She's not as compelling as the core cast - which I'd argue is Shinji, Rei, Asuka, Misato & maybe Kaworu - nor does she need to be. She's a bit role in the films who adds flavor to the overall universe so the "she steals vital screen time from important characters" argument has never held sway with me. If that's the case then we can lump everyone in the cast but the three main pilots & Misato into that category too. "They spent an entire 10 seconds on that closeup of Sakura that could have totally gone to Asuka!"

Not every character needs to be the star or have a tragic haunting background to work in a narrative. I can get why she doesn't work for people but I don't feel the writing has been an issue with her at all. Now had 2.0 or 3.0 spent half of it's running time on giving her a backstory & she still wasn't multi-faceted THAT would be a problem. But, they haven't. Instead she's been in all of about 30 minutes spread over 3 + hours & has added a dose of flavor to this universe.

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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby IronEvangelion » Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:28 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:1) She hogs screentime that could be used developing other Characters that SHOULD be developed

Ok, so you want her to have even less screentime than she already has, but you also want her to to get a full backstory and character development? That doesn't exactly add up. I prefer to look at it this way: the other characters hog screentime that could be used to develop her instead. I already know who everyone else is. What I want is for Mari to have more screentime so she can actually get... "redeeming flaws, compelling backstory, or deeper psychological complexity."

She can speak multiple languages, she pilots Unit 02 better than Asuka, she doesn't appear to have any flaws or characteristics aside from some quirks (like getting turned on by LCL). She doesn't appear to exist for anything but marketing so they have another female eva pilot to sell figures. She's a MARY SUE! Give it up people!

She's the worst human Eva pilot in the entire franchise. She killed one angel (Tunniel), ate a few of Zeruel's AT fields, killed a couple of Mark 04s and Mark 09's head, and pulled an entry plug out of Eva 13. In the process, she destroyed one of her own Evas, nearly destroyed her second and severely damaged her third. The only pilots that suck more than her are SEELE's dummy plugs in EoE. She's a walking disaster as a pilot and is frequently done in by her own over-aggressive piloting.

This is more my personal preference than anything else. I'm no homophobe. It's your own personal business with what you and your partner do in the privacy of your own bedroom regardless of your gender, or what you like in your doujin and Manga. But full disclosure I don't like Yuri, and after 3.33 there was a torrent of erotic Mari x Asuka 'stuff' flooding the internet.

And I don't particularly care for KawoShin or yaoi in general, but I'm not about to complain about it or condemn people for liking it. There are people out there who like that kind of stuff, and I'm just not the target audience for all the KawoShin artwork out there. Whenever I come across some lewd KawoShin art, I don't get upset. I just dismiss it and move on, because there is tons of other artwork that I do like on the internet and I'd rather be looking at it instead of stewing over stuff I don't like.

And Mari's breasts aren't huge, they're a completely reasonable size for a young woman. She stands out because the other young women she's frequently seen with have B and C cups. Misato is actually roughly the same size as her, but we never hear anyone bashing Misato for being well-endowed. Also I think it's hilarious that you're complaining about Mari's bust size given how against breast-shaming you usually are in the video game threads.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby user-02 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 8:33 am

View Original PostReichu wrote:Yeah, I don't think all the fan service works, either. Better to blame that on a particular directorial choice, though, than Mari as a character. It'd be like holding Asuka personally responsible for the on-screen victimization of her groin and ass crack. It's silly.


Exactly, though I suspect this is precisely what all of the Mari boob-bashing is trying (albeit hamfistedly) to accomplish. When people knock Mari for her knockers (sorry, couldn't resist!), what they're really trying to say is that they resent Anno's introduction of a character who seems primarily involved for the purposes of fanservice.

While I don't agree that Mari is a simple fanservice bot, I can certainly see how people can arrive at that conclusion based solely on her appearance in 2.0. We don't get all that much character development or depth to her in 2.0, and we do get ample screentime devoted to her chest and the physics of its movement.

I do agree overall, though: Mari isn't to blame for the way the camera gazes at her, anymore than Asuka is to blame for the frequent butt shots, or Rei is to blame for the fact that Shinji keeps walking in on her in the nude. Nor is Mari's chest size somehow a flaw or fault of hers, nor is it abnormal. She's a young woman who's developed early. That happens. Implying that her precocious development is some sort of personal shortcoming is no better than when 7th graders single out the early bloomer in the class as a "slut."

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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:04 am

Most of these complaints don't make a lot of sense. She hogs screen time? She barely has any. She speaks multiple languages? So do most people who aren't Americans (literally -- being monolingual is the rare exception around the world, not the norm, to the point where it would be noteworthy if someone only spoke one language. And, btw, Asuka speaks three languages at least). AsuMari art? Get over it, some of it's really good and you don't have to look at it if you don't want to (and it's easy to avoid if you learn how to search competently). No backstory? Welcome to any character in the NTE who isn't Shinji. Fanservice? That's nothing to do with her as a character, as Misato and Asuka can attest.

This is just using Mari as a scapegoat for general kvetching about the new movies, not anything indicative of a genuine problem with her character. I do agree that it's frustrating that her role in the story hasn't been fully explained, but again, that's true for many characters (Kaji, Asuka, Rei, etc). Apart from that she's no more problematic than anyone else.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby user-02 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:41 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Most of these complaints don't make a lot of sense. She hogs screen time? She barely has any. She speaks multiple languages? So do most people who aren't Americans (literally -- being monolingual is the rare exception around the world, not the norm, to the point where it would be noteworthy if someone only spoke one language. And, btw, Asuka speaks three languages at least). AsuMari art? Get over it, some of it's really good and you don't have to look at it if you don't want to (and it's easy to avoid if you learn how to search competently). No backstory? Welcome to any character in the NTE who isn't Shinji. Fanservice? That's nothing to do with her as a character, as Misato and Asuka can attest.

This is just using Mari as a scapegoat for general kvetching about the new movies, not anything indicative of a genuine problem with her character. I do agree that it's frustrating that her role in the story hasn't been fully explained, but again, that's true for many characters (Kaji, Asuka, Rei, etc). Apart from that she's no more problematic than anyone else.


I would submit that Mari is problematic to a specific set of people, viz., the people who can't get over the fact that Rebuild is not NGE the TV series, and that it is not meant to be a shot-for-shot retelling of that story. People are bringing their own baggage and expectations to their viewership of the films, and when those preconceived ideas about what Rebuild "should" be clash with what Rebuild turns out to be, they experience cognitive dissonance. Mari is a convenient outlet for expressing frustration over that dissonance.

Maybe this is an overly reductive and uncharitable view to take on certain fans, but I can't help feeling it's a significant factor in 99% of the gripes I've read. (It certainly accounts for, inter alia, the complaints about how much screentime Mari gets, and by association, to whom that screentime "should" have been allocated instead. No. There is no "should" here, unless you're limiting your critique to the text itself. But most of the time, people are not; their "should" carries the weight of the previous NGE corpus.)

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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby user-02 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:16 am

To clarify what I just said:

- I am not saying that disliking Mari necessarily means you can't get over NGE.
- I am not saying that there are no valid reasons for disliking Mari.
- I am not dismissing all complaints about Mari as simple butthurt over the differences between NGE and NTE.

What I am saying is that, when I read many (if not most) of the critiques leveled at Mari within the general fandom, this is what I read between the lines.

Now, what would I consider to be a valid way to critique Mari? Simple. Critique Mari as Mari, i.e., as she appears within the specific text of NTE and how that appearance impacts the overall quality of NTE in and of itself. For instance: "Mari is at best extraneous. She's a prop. She adds nothing to the storyline in 2.0 and 3.0; she receives no character development to speak of, and thus her net contribution is fanservice and action scenes." Or what have you. (I don't agree with the foregoing example; I'm just tossing it out there as an example of how to critique a character without bringing outside baggage into the critique.)

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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Glor » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:21 am

I've talked a lot of shit about Mari. Pretty inane, baseless stuff in retrospect, but I can only peg it down to being frustrated. I can say now that I'm not frustrated with her character so much as I'm frustrated with her handling as a character.

It was a mistake for them to have Unit-05 blow up at the start of 2.0, because then they sent Mari off to NERV and... she had nothing to do or contribute. There was no reason for her to be there if there was no Eva for her to pilot. I feel like they realized this half way through 2.0 and in an attempt to mitigate this error and have Mari play a more significant role, threw in the Vatican Treaty so they had an excuse to stick her in Unit-02 for the battle with Big-Z. All it accomplished was a couple of character exchanges that didn't do much to change the events that unfolded, aside from cosmetic things in the fights with Bardiel and Zeruel.

I would have loved for there to be more interaction between Mari and the other pilots, which would have made that pep talk Mari gives Shinji during the battle so much more meaningful. Instead we got that stupid sequence at the science aquarium, which had some decent scenes but was largely a waste of time.

I honestly believe Mari's poor reception as a character is because of poor handling. I liked her at first and quickly began to resent her and the changes she represented in the Rebuilds because she never did anything significant beyond her introduction. They rectified this in 3.0 by giving her an Eva she doesn't blow up in the first 5 minutes of the movie. This made her an active participant in the events unfolding instead of being a swap out.

She could have been a really fantastic character and a marvelous addition to the Eva pilot roster. She still is, in some ways, but her introduction in 2.0 will always be Rebuild's blackest mark.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:55 am

All of this thread just appears to me as the result of an Evangelion fan-base not being used to an Evangelion pilot as a side-character, and not one of the main characters. We have this expectation that all Eva pilots should also have full backstories or character development. This is misguided. Ritsuko has more on-screen time than Mari and even less character development. She takes more screen time away from the main characters than Mari does, but she isn't complained about. This is because she's not an Eva pilot. We're used to non-Eva pilots having minor roles.

Mari breaks that trend for us. Here's an Eva pilot that also has a minor role. She'll even have less screen time than Ritsuko! And suddenly everyone complains about Mari over Ritsuko, simply because Ritusko's a scientist and Mari's an Eva pilot.

It's just... totally weird, man.

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Postby zlink64 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:17 pm

I don't wanna say I dislike Mari but I do think her role in the movie is weird. She is like too happy go lucky/goofy for the movies, like it feels out of place a tiny bit. I say a tiny bit because I'm like used to her now. But I don't really mind, it's just a bit weird sometimes. Like there's parts that are all life and death and epic situation and this girl is like singing and cracking jokes. Lols.

So I get your number 5. It just doesn't bother me I guess cause I kinda expect those moment in anime just in general.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby BC Baron » Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:41 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Mari breaks that trend for us. Here's an Eva pilot that also has a minor role. She'll even have less screen time than Ritsuko! And suddenly everyone complains about Mari over Ritsuko, simply because Ritusko's a scientist and Mari's an Eva pilot.

It's just... totally weird, man.

Not sure I can agree. I mean, since Ritsuko is a scientist and in charge of the entire E project (at least during the first two Rebuild movies), I expect her to have some screentime when the scenes take place at NERV. She's supposed to be heavily involved with running sync tests, maintaining the MAGI, and conducting repairs on the Eva's after each battle. IMO her amount of screentime felt appropriate given her professional responsibilities and how it helps to establish details of how the story is told.

Then again, if she spent the overwhelming majority of that time discussing her secondary sexual characteristics or randomly breaking into song at every opportunity, I think I'd probably have some valid criticisms regarding whether she actually adds or subtracts anything from the overall viewing experience.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby BlueBasilisk » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:09 pm

View Original PostGlor wrote: It was a mistake for them to have Unit-05 blow up at the start of 2.0, because then they sent Mari off to NERV and... she had nothing to do or contribute. There was no reason for her to be there if there was no Eva for her to pilot.


Mari and Kaji deliberately sabotaged Unit 05 as part of their secret plan. I think the mistake was not showing more of that plan so that their scenes had a little more meaning. Their Eva sabotage probably ties in with Wille's goal of destroying all of Nerv's Evas, but the movies certainly don't help you make that connection.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:46 pm

View Original PostGlor wrote:It was a mistake for them to have Unit-05 blow up at the start of 2.0, because then they sent Mari off to NERV and... she had nothing to do or contribute.


I can't agree. If she showed up with an Eva she'd be doing the exact same thing Asuka's doing, and that would make her role both boring and redundant. She was meant to be a curve ball in the narrative of Ha, and she fulfilled that role well by being an Eva pilot who's also a sort of secret agent working for a third agency. And since she's never formally introduced to Nerv she's never considered for the test pilot of Unit 03, which lets Asuka resolve her arc in the movie unimpeded. If they went your route the whole story would be messed up start to finish.
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Re: Why I Don't Like Mari

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Postby Glor » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:53 pm

View Original PostBlueBasilisk wrote:Mari and Kaji deliberately sabotaged Unit 05 as part of their secret plan. I think the mistake was not showing more of that plan so that their scenes had a little more meaning. Their Eva sabotage probably ties in with Wille's goal of destroying all of Nerv's Evas, but the movies certainly don't help you make that connection.


This is the first I'm hearing about any secret plan to destroy Unit-05. Is there a source for that or is it just speculation? It has been a while since I've watched 2.0...

Bagheera wrote:
I can't agree. If she showed up with an Eva she'd be doing the exact same thing Asuka's doing, and that would make her role both boring and redundant. She was meant to be a curve ball in the narrative of Ha, and she fulfilled that role well by being an Eva pilot who's also a sort of secret agent working for a third agency. And since she's never formally introduced to Nerv she's never considered for the test pilot of Unit 03, which lets Asuka resolve her arc in the movie unimpeded. If they went your route the whole story would be messed up start to finish.


Well, she ended up doing the exact same thing Asuka was doing in her Eva anyway. Totally not boring or redundant though.
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