The Fanfiction portrayal of Gendo

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The Fanfiction portrayal of Gendo

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Postby GAP » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:36 am

Why is Gendo portrayed as an infallible chessmaster in fanfiction when he can barely keep his staff together?
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Postby pwhodges » Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:18 am

Baddies have to be apparently infallible to make their final defeat all the more impressive. Also, writing flawed characters is harder than writing perfect ones.
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Postby Vegeta 20XX » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:15 am

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:Baddies have to be apparently infallible to make their final defeat all the more impressive. Also, writing flawed characters is harder than writing perfect ones.


Much of the series generally obscures Gendo's personal issues and difficulty keeping NERV's staff in order (indeed, it takes until EoE for him to openly express his true feelings about Shinji and their incredibly damaged personal relationship...and not much else; Gendo's shortcomings as NERV's commander are shown through the words and actions of his subordinates, which seem to have little impact on him). We usually see him either seemingly keeping things under control or calmly assessing setbacks as either being objectively advantageous to his agenda at best or relatively easily amendable at worse, and most fanfiction - irrespective of franchise - tends to build its foundation out of what fans see at face value.

The only times Gendo seems to genuinely lose his shit and resort to desperation measures are when Rei is in life-threatening danger (episode 23's fight with Armisael; he sorties post-Zeruel Unit 01 to avoid this, knowing fully just how dangerous putting a completed Evangelion in a same area as an Angel seemingly born to merge with and contaminate Evas/other Angels) or she renders his agenda moot via defiance (EoE...just...all of EoE), and only because it screws his chances of being with Yui in some form. Bottom line is, the most plausible way to show Gendo as the fallible trainwreck of a human being he is (or rather, that we ALL are, really) is to present him with a scenario that may make reuniting with Yui an impossibility.
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Postby LordThaeon » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:56 pm

It's not so much that fanfic writers want Gendo to be a "perfect villain", it's more about how they (including myself) wonder how things would have been if Gendo were a more effective villain/antagonist.

Cause honestly, the only reason that Gendo or Seele got as far as they did with their plans was sheer luck and plot contrivance. Due to situations and events beyond their foresight and control, and yet the show treats these situations like they were actually "part of the plan" the whole time. But you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Plus, hyper-charging an aspect of a character and watching the butterfly effect unfold can be fun and even spice up the story if done well.

But I digress.
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Re: The Fanfiction portrayal of Gendo

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:58 pm

View Original PostGAP wrote:Why is Gendo portrayed as an infallible chessmaster in fanfiction when he can barely keep his staff together?

Because it's very easy to see him this way if you don't pay very good attention to the TV series (or alternatively, don't watch EoE and miss his giant "I'm afraid I'll fuck up with Shinji" speech.)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:17 am

The way Gendo alludes to his plans to make them mysterious, the very long-term planning he has in mind to bring back his wife, the way Gendo poses, the way nothing ever seems to "go against the scenario" for him makes him seem like an infallible chessmaster to those writing him in fiction. If you're paying close attention to him in the series, you'll realize that the aura around him is not because he's confident of his plans and their infallibility but because he's cold and often apathetic. He's very badly misinterpreted by fanfic writers, although I admit that "Gendo as the chessmaster" makes him cooler. I've written him as something like that myself.
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Postby Gob Hobblin » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:13 pm

^

Exactly. Most of the time, he's really not that clever: he's just driving straight ahead. The thing is, no one knows what his ultimate plans or goals are, which is what plays to his advantage over everyone he's plotting against. Further, it's not that he's out-thinking everyone, but that he's willing to do things others aren't (like using his son in an apocalyptic scenario for the possibility of getting his wife back).

Ruthlessness and ambition are often mistaken for being a chessmaster, but really all it is is just being ruthless and ambitious.
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Re: The Fanfiction portrayal of Gendo

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Postby Mr. Tines » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:52 pm

View Original PostGAP wrote:Why is Gendo portrayed as an infallible chessmaster in fanfiction when he can barely keep his staff together?
Because we never really see an unguarded moment; it's easy to take the mask as the reality. If you pay attention, most of what he does in the series is to omit salient data, mostly in his upwards reporting.

Really he is riding the SEELE tiger, and having to bluff like crazy, hoping his ace in the hole will pay off.
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Postby Iuvenal » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:18 pm

View Original PostLordThaeon wrote:Cause honestly, the only reason that Gendo or Seele got as far as they did with their plans was sheer luck and plot contrivance. Due to situations and events beyond their foresight and control, and yet the show treats these situations like they were actually "part of the plan" the whole time. But you can't have your cake and eat it too.
But I digress.


Imagine if Shinji made it to the shelter without incident when Zeruel attacked (or had simply taken the previous train). Rocks fall, everyone dies?
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Postby LordThaeon » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:37 pm

View Original PostIuvenal wrote:Imagine if Shinji made it to the shelter without incident when Zeruel attacked (or had simply taken the previous train). Rocks fall, everyone dies?


That's the reality and yet, Gendo and by extension, the show acts like it was all part of the plan anyway. Whether Shinji returned or not was pretty much out of SEELE and Gendo's control, so the fact that Shinji did return would be sheer luck as far as their plans were concerned.

That also goes for the very first episode and it's background. Gendo risked WAY TOO much without a contingency to be considered competent. Hence why he'd likely lose his post in a non-contrived world since he literally gambled the fate of mankind on manipulating his 14 year old son that he personally abused/neglected both emotionally and psychologically into piloting a machine that he has no training with using or had no prior knowledge of.

Especially with the heavy implication that Gendo and SEELE foresaw the likely time-frame of when the Angels would start showing up. But despite this prior knowledge, he literally only had one severely wounded pilot on hand with the other trained pilot halfway across the world?

Even the idea that Gendo meant to have Rei as the pilot falls flat since he knew that Yui was in Unit 01 and knows how Eva connections work. But even then, why did he almost kill Rei to test out a practically expendable prototype Eva instead of recruiting some poor schoolboy/schoolgirl to act as a guinea pig?

Longer of a rant than I intended, but it's one aspect of Eva that's kind of bothered me. Plus, I just had a big internal debate about casuality vs determinism vs agency (free will and choice) and how they apply/don't apply to the situations in Evangelion.
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Postby GAP » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:33 am

Gendo seems to be portrayed as this infallible chessmaster even contrived coincidences such as the aformentioned Rei as a pilot thing. Gendo wasn't really that good of a chessmaster as most of the time he was only lucky that things fell into place.
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Postby LeoXiao » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:08 pm

The issue isn't that Gendo is portrayed as a chessmaster (he clearly is meant to be one in canon), but that his thought processes are usually depicted in an overly mechanical way. People who are really good at things, especially psychological skills, usually don't think about them consciously.

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Postby GAP » Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:53 am

View Original PostLeoXiao wrote:The issue isn't that Gendo is portrayed as a chessmaster (he clearly is meant to be one in canon), but that his thought processes are usually depicted in an overly mechanical way. People who are really good at things, especially psychological skills, usually don't think about them consciously.


Is that so? I always thought that Gendo was just portrayed as semi omniscient.
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Postby Hexon.Arq » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:39 pm

Gendo is a robot. Was that not clear in the series?

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Postby Arcadia's legacy » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:12 am

Of course. his body met the same fate as the major from Hellsing Ultimate
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That spot is taken by one other. BP

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Postby Alaska Slim » Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:50 am

View Original PostHexon.Arq wrote:Gendo is a robot. Was that not clear in the series?

You're thinking of Keel. :wink:
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Postby NemZ » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:55 pm

What's really up is that Gendo is one of a very small number of people who have effectively read a shorthand version of the script, and that gives him a pretty significant edge. He's actually pretty terrible at reading people, but his ruthless no-fucks-given attitude makes him an effective leader anyway through intimidation and sheer balls. His obviously damaged, brooding, mysterious nature is like catnip to the sort of women who want a 'fixer-upper' to save, which he also exploits to the fullest. On top of that he just doesn't even consider not playing dirty in pretty much any conflict, no matter how petty, and he's not a genius or anything but he's pretty sharp and he's spent enough time around really smart people to fake it.
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Re: That spot is taken by one other. BP

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Postby Hexon.Arq » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:38 am

View Original PostAlaska Slim wrote:You're thinking of Keel. :wink:


Gendo says "Beep boop" right at the beginning of episode 8.

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Postby GAP » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:48 am

View Original PostHexon.Arq wrote:Gendo says "Beep boop" right at the beginning of episode 8.


It isn't as though Gendo is Spock, he is logical but he isn't completely stoic.
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Postby UrsusArctos » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:36 am

View Original PostHexon.Arq wrote:Gendo is a robot. Was that not clear in the series?


Hisashiburi, Hex.

And no, he's not a robot - he's a cyborg. Way cooler! :tongue:

Gendo is anything but Spock. I was thinking about Ritsuko's dialogue with Naoko about how the relations between women and men have no logic to them, and that applies entirely to Gendo's relationship to Yui. Rather than understanding that his wife had a reason to be dissolved into the Eva - and hence did not want to return to human form - he came up with a decade-long plan to pull her out and bring her back to him, his life and his son's be damned. If that's not illogical to the extreme, I don't know what is.

Spock and the Vulcans have emotions but choose to set them aside entirely in favor of pure logic. Gendo has emotions but chooses not to express them. When Gendo starts to show emotion, his facade starts cracking. Take a look at his reaction to Shinji calling him "father" in Episode 19. He can't bear to think that Shinji would still think of him as a father after all the crap he put him through.
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