Stuart wrote:SPOILER: Show
He had to learn to accept other people though. Being alone wouldn't have fulfilled that part of his character growth.
I've only just watched the film for the first time, but my immediate reaction is that Mari was created in NTE primarily for this very ending. It's an ending which no-one wanted and no-one expected. There are no Shinji x Mari shippers. It's the anti-Eva fan ending, the anti-otaku ending, the "it's time to grow up and move on beyond this cartoon" ending.
Pairing up Shinji with anyone else would have been pandering to one group of shippers at the exclusion of all the others, so Anno paired him off with the one character no-one ships him with.
He doesn't have to be paired off with Mari to accept others, though.
Folks, don't quote an entire post. Also, you don't have to quote if you are replying to the post that is just above. USE QUOTES PROPERLY! Placed inside a spoiler tag. - JoelcrNeto