Shinji: Hero or Anti-Hero?

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Shinji: Hero or Anti-Hero?

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Postby DatDude » Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:21 pm

Until recently I never really though much about calling Shinji a hero. I knew Anno was looking to make Eva the a complete refraction of your normal mecha show. I stumbled one day on to a sight with anime reviews and took a peek at the eva section. It refered to Shinji as an "Anti-hero". Now this Is somthing I notmaly use to describe guys like Dardevil, not Shinji. I took a peek at an online dectionary just to get the meaning of the trem streight and well it seems to fit.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
In literature and film, an anti-hero is a central or supporting character that has some of the personality flaws and ultimate fortune traditionally assigned to villains but nonetheless also have enough heroic qualities or intentions to gain the sympathy of readers or viewers. Anti-heroes can be awkward, obnoxious, passive, pitiful, or obtuse—but they are always, in some fundamental way, flawed or failed heroes. In this use, the term tragic hero is sometimes used. Comic books also feature anti-heroes, also known as "dark heroes", who are characters fighting for the side of good, but either with some tragic flaw (such as a tormented past) or by using questionable means to reach their goals. A good working definition of Anti-hero is a character who is, within the context of a story, is a hero but in another context could as easily be seen as a villain or simply as unlikeable.


note the red text.

What do you people think?
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Postby Shin-seiki » Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:27 pm

Considering that, while Shinji's putative role is to save the world, he is, in fact, the one who destroys the world, I would say that "Anti-hero" is one of the more polite things you could call him...

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:04 pm

What one defines an Anti-Hero as is purely subjective, and I once again wouldn't put too much stock in a Wiki of any sort.

All you need to know is that Anno wanted to create a character who was the antithesis of the stereotypical hero of the mechas that came before Evangelion. He says say so, and compared to characters like Kabuto Kouji from Mazinger, he is definitely on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Anti-hero. Hands down.
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Postby DatDude » Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:35 pm

I don't know why this just never dawned on me. :oops:
To many years reading american comic i guss.
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Postby Tabris » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:09 pm

Personally, I'm inclined to think of Shinji more as a hero, but that's because I also tend to think of traditional 'heroic' qualities in storytelling as being somewhat unrealistic, and most people I know acquainted with Eva agree Shinji is one of the more realistic and 'human' characters in anime. If you can overlook EoE, and his complaining throughout the series... he does actually do as he's told most of the time, gets into the Eva more times than he'd like, and in the end does prove to care more about humanity and the people around him than he wants to admit. What's unheroic about that? 'Course, anyone willing to jump into a giant robot and battle giant assailiants at the risk of their own person without a moment's thought to "why am I doing this?" I'm more likely to think an idiot than a hero, but that's just me.
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Postby DatDude » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:57 pm

I'm of the school of though that EoE was not a plot for vengence by Anno, so i realy can't over look EoE.

Their we do see Shinji IMHO broken mentaly, and haveing " lost " every one that cared about him again. I don't think he was being selfish or spolied by going half-catatonic for most of EoE.

I really think that Shinji acted they way anyone would have after that kind of truma, but im getting of topic and with a sig like mine I can't allow that. :lol:

Mabe Shinji isn't and anti-hero mabe he's not a hero. Mabe Anno just made characters that were as human as he could make them.

I know i'm answering C to my own A or B question, but hell its just crazy enough to make sence.
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Postby Reichu » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:46 pm

Tabris wrote:'Course, anyone willing to jump into a giant robot and battle giant assailiants at the risk of their own person without a moment's thought to "why am I doing this?" I'm more likely to think an idiot than a hero, but that's just me.


Without a moment's thought?

Shinji "Why am I piloting this thing again, even though my father's not here?" (episode #03)

The answer is really because it gives Shinji a sense of approval and being needed -- something that validates his existence. As far as dying in battle goes, that was never really much of a concern for him, being as until the end, Shinji doesn't believe his life is worth anything to begin with.
What if... Kaworu bonded with Misato instead of Shinji, and the two of them were siblings?
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Postby thewayneiac » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:33 pm

Shinji doesn't really seem to fit the "anti-hero" mold very well. The anti-hero needs to have some heroic qualities that cause him to come through at the end. The typical anti-hero is someong like Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. He participates in a reward-collection scam; he abandons his partner to die in the desert; he guns people down without mercy, but the other characters are even worse than him, so he's the hero.
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Postby Tabris » Thu Jan 13, 2005 2:06 am

Reichu wrote:
Tabris wrote:'Course, anyone willing to jump into a giant robot and battle giant assailiants at the risk of their own person without a moment's thought to "why am I doing this?" I'm more likely to think an idiot than a hero, but that's just me.


Without a moment's thought?

Shinji "Why am I piloting this thing again, even though my father's not here?" (episode #03)


I didn't mean Shinji was the idiot; the archetypal 'hero' that some seem to think Shinji is not would probably act without much thought - they would just go 'pilot the damn Eva'. Shinji acts in the way I think most fourteen year olds (or anyone, in fact) would if faced with the prospect of Eva piloting/getting pummelled by Angels: 1# he's scared shitless; 2# wonders why on earth he's doing any of it, especially when it usually involves lots of physical pain/risk for seemingly little personal reward, and 3# is actually a thinker, and since he finds it difficult to justify the existence of himself or other people, it's no wonder he's not all that keen on getting out there and start siccing those Angels. I'd like to think bravery isn't a lack of fear, it's an acknowledgement of fear but standing one's ground in the face of it; Shinji does this. Since bravery is often associated with such typical heroism, I'd say Shinji is a hero, just a misconstrued one. He's a hero... a whiny hero, but a hero nonetheless.

Actually, now that I think about it again, no... I'm apt to call him neither hero nor anti-hero... I would simply call him 'human'.
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Postby Karma Burn » Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:16 pm

Though, the definitions of Hero and Anti-Hero are subjective there are some stereotypical traits of a hero that one must look at

Hero: Courageous, Respectful, Caring, Has a strong moral compass
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Postby DatDude » Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:30 pm

Karma Burn wrote:Though, the definitions of Hero and Anti-Hero are subjective there are some stereotypical traits of a hero that one must look at

Hero: Courageous, Respectful, Caring, Has a strong moral compass


Shinji has shown more then one of these traits also shown the reverse as well.

>Im not changing my opnion just trying to keep the debate going<
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Postby thewayneiac » Thu Jan 13, 2005 2:37 pm

I checked Encarta, and here is their definition:
Antihero

Antihero, protagonist in motion pictures or literature who is conspicuously lacking in those qualities usually associated with heroism, but who often possesses a strength of character that others admire.

For information on:

antiheroes created by Hollywood, see Warren Beatty; Humphrey Bogart; Marlon Brando; James Dean; Robert De Niro; Clint Eastwood; Jack Nicholson; Al Pacino
authors and literary sources, see Fyodor Dostoyevsky; Existentialism: Existentialism and Literature; Herman Melville


Well, Shinji certainly lacks the normal heroic qualities, but I don't see any admirable strength of character in him.
Rejoice, glory is ours. Our young men have not died in vain. Their graves need no flowers. The tapes have recorded their names.
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Postby Hexon.Arq » Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:58 pm

I feel that something to take into consideration is Shinji's age. He's no Clint Eastwood because Clint Eastwood is a man's man. Shinji's flaws are his evil, unappealing as they might be for most, and while he's in no measure the fearless dark warrior often qualifying the title of anti-hero, ll that needs to be considered is the proportion of strengths to flaws, in which time often plays a big role. If Clint wanted to cower, he would have, and if he were fourteen, he almost definitely would have. One could always assume that Shinji will grow into the ultimate anti-hero, as that would seem the natural continuation given the events within and without.
One particular "strength" that comes to mind is his regard for human life; you'll recall that it's not until the end that he loses it, and even then it becomes the subject of a kind of re-education. The events toward the middle of the story, including his resolve to finally leave the fate of the world behind, only to be redeem it later, have the definite ring of the anti-hero; his strength - compassion - is violated in principle, and he then becomes the "crazy cop" who turns in his badge. It's kind of ironic that in acting out against such brutaility, he is ready to unleash the same on the whole of mankind, but that's what happens when they drop a straw like that.

If he had nothing to admire, everyone would hate him, which is not the case except for in his mind.
Last edited by Hexon.Arq on Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Tsukasa » Fri Jan 14, 2005 6:51 pm

From what I understand, an anti-hero is someone or something in a story (as a main character) who desires not to save the world or anything of that nature, but ends up doing so because of things he/she/it is involved in.

There are a few instances where we hear Shinji talking about saving mankind and what not, but that is not the reason he pilots the Eva.

I say that Shinji, although isn't a complete loser, is a classic anti-hero.
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Postby max3000 » Fri Jan 14, 2005 7:09 pm

Anti-heros are usually badasses. And Shinji is... not.
He can't be a hero either cuz he doesn't wanna do whats right.

Let's just call him a protagonist ^^
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Postby Tsukasa » Fri Jan 14, 2005 9:20 pm

Anti-heros are usually badasses. And Shinji is... not.


I totally agree with you. Most anti-heroes (one of my favorites is Spike from Cowboy Bebop) are of the bad-ass genre. Spike doesn't care about what happens to the world nor is he out to save it. He just wants his woman...and decent food.

Shinji is a pansy-anti-hero. :lol:

If anyone in the series serves as a hero, I would have to say that Misato (in EoE when she was trying to get Shinji to snap out of his 'funk' of depression) did a very good job...before she blew up.
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Postby Titus » Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:55 pm

Tsukasa wrote:From what I understand, an anti-hero is someone or something in a story (as a main character) who desires not to save the world or anything of that nature, but ends up doing so because of things he/she/it is involved in.


I got to agree here, but up to a point. The most heroic (classic hero, such john mclane in Die Hard and Lando Calrissian in Episodes 5-6 of star wars)of the pilots in EoE would have to be Asuka(although stupid and suicidal taking on an army and 9 eva series units, - same as Lando - the death star and the whole Imperial fleet).

But then again, Shinji did come through in the end. So I can definitely say hes no hero , but because he did save the world, labeling him as a anti-hero doesn't sit right with me!

He is however bordering the line between hero(saves the world) and anti-hero(doesn't want to), I think DatDude was on to something when he decided to answer with a C! That, or I can't make up my mind......
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Postby DatDude » Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:22 pm

Seems like C it the way to go here.
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Postby Incisivis » Fri Jan 21, 2005 12:17 pm

What's interesting is that I was always taught that "anti-hero" didn't refer to stoic badass Han Solo types. It was applied more often to characters like Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the Rye, in which case Shinji would fit the mould.

Maybe one needs to distinguish between the "literary" and the "cinematic" anti-hero?

Though personally, I'd go with Holden types as anti-heroes. The "stoic baddass" is a lot closer to a "hero" than that.

Also, I think the definition of "hero" gets more complex if you start looking into academic texts on mythology. People like Joseph Campell who get more philosophical about certain themes in hero myths unintentionally drew up some parallels to Shinji. Unfortunately, I don't have my book at the moment, so I can't clarify.

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Postby Titus » Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:41 pm

Incisivis wrote:What's interesting is that I was always taught that "anti-hero" didn't refer to stoic badass Han Solo types. It was applied more often to characters like Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the Rye, in which case Shinji would fit the mould.


Why don't you think it aplies to Han Solo types? :?

Tsukasa wrote:Most anti-heroes (one of my favorites is Spike from Cowboy Bebop) are of the bad-ass genre. Spike doesn't care about what happens to the world nor is he out to save it. He just wants his woman...and decent food.
-

Han Solo -Smugler/Mercenary - wants money!
Lando - retired/thief/smugler - wants money! 8)

- same problem as Shinji, Doesn't want to save the world/galaxy but does eventualy only by shooting 1 imperial fighter during an all out battle, ok, so he does turn into a full hero at the end of the first trilogy, but for the better half of that trilogy, he does nothing except looking out for his own interests. :wink:

Why am I using Star Wars on an Eva forum :? - I must be drunk! :shock:

And I take it that "The Catcher in the Rye" is a book, is it a online document or a html and if so, where can i get it?
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