The morality of Gendo in NTE

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition"). The final instalment made its debut in Japan on March 8, 2021.

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Postby Blockio » Fri Oct 20, 2023 6:47 pm

I admittedly dropped AoT long before it got there, but the relevant pieces of it that I saw very much read that way to me, and functionally everyone who has read the thing that I have ever talked to very much agrees that it does, so I am still pretty confident in making that call; and regardless if AoT is or isn't, taken Joseki's combined statements, I see little other way that the comment about AoT can be interpreted to mean, which is the real point here: Gendo's portrayal in Shin is not comparable to real world apologia.
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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Oct 20, 2023 7:14 pm

View Original Postdzzthink wrote:
I do kind of see Joseki's point of view. I find it difficult to sympathize with a character who has committed rather questionable acts throughout the entire movie series.


I really think Eva in general, but especially Rebuild, with how it exaggerates every element of what we've come to know as Eva, shouldn't be taken too literally. Yes Gendo is responsible for the death of probably millions, but it's really just symbolic of a man completely rejecting other people, hurting many in the process. And by the time of his redemption we're far into fourth wall breaking, meta referential hijinks in Shin Eva.

If anything, Gendo is someone who can't deal with certain ideologies existing to the point he rejects the world.
He describes Instrumentality as a world without war or discrimination in Shin Eva. That's really the only way I ciuld see Hitler being relevant to the film.
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Postby Blockio » Fri Oct 20, 2023 7:39 pm

Another factor to this is that the billions weren't dead in the conventional sense so much as being transmuted into something else; definitely bad, but really an act of genocide, especially since Gendo's intent at the end of the day still seemed to be a variation on the same old melting everyone into one plot with some extra steps.
NTE Gendo absolutely deserves shit for the Shiki series and the ruthless experiments he at bare minimum knowingly let happen, more likely playing an active role in their continued existence, but the red earth was not really any better or worse than EoE Instrumentality, it just took a lot longer and left some stragglers

For the record I also think he got off a bit too generously by just letting him go off into his happy God reality with Yui free of admitting any wrongdoing other than on a familial level, but that's another victim of shin being more about closure with Eva than about the world itself, which, while not removing the issue, does mitigate it in my books.

...I should probably split this off into its own thread, shouldn't I
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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Oct 20, 2023 7:47 pm

I think some people also actually died right? Like Kensuke's dad and such. But yeah doesn't change it.

(Maybe I'm wrong on this and all these dead parents they mention are floating somewhere as red Evas)
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Postby Konja7 » Fri Oct 20, 2023 8:25 pm

View Original Postkuribo-04 wrote:I think some people also actually died right? Like Kensuke's dad and such. But yeah doesn't change it.

(Maybe I'm wrong on this and all these dead parents they mention are floating somewhere as red Evas)


Kensuke's dad died in an accident. Kensuke said he didn't expect someone who survived the Near Third Impact would die in a simple accident.

This implies Kensuke's dad death isn't related to the Red Earth or Gendo/NERV manipulations. So, he definitely died.

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Postby Axx°N N. » Fri Oct 20, 2023 8:47 pm

Very glad this was split off into it's own thread, it's an interesting topic.

About genocide being a metaphor ... one has to ask if that's a good metaphor, though. Genocide is an active process, so it seems rather odd to me to be used as a metaphor for something passive like misanthropy.
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Postby The Killer of Heroes » Fri Oct 20, 2023 8:57 pm

I think Rebuild is like most sci-fi action anime where millions of casualties aren't treated with same seriousness as like, Holocaust documentary. In that sense I agree its more like metaphor- like I'm only taking Gendo's death count marginally more seriously than I do Majin Boo using the "Human Extinction Attack" in Dragon Ball Z and killing off the whole human race except for Mr. Satan.

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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Oct 20, 2023 10:07 pm

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:
Kensuke's dad died in an accident. Kensuke said he didn't expect someone who survived the Near Third Impact would die in a simple accident.

Oh right, how did I forget. Thats the whole point of the scene too...
Shinji: "Sooner or later I'll be betrayed... And they'll leave me. Still... I want to meet them again, because I believe my feelings at that time were real."
Ryuko: "I'm gonna knock ya on your asses!"
-Asuka: THINK IN GERMAN!!! -Shinji: Öh... Baumkuchen...
Hayashida: "As game developers, our work is special. All of us here can put smiles on very many people's faces with our work."
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Postby Blockio » Fri Oct 20, 2023 11:03 pm

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:About genocide being a metaphor ... one has to ask if that's a good metaphor, though. Genocide is an active process, so it seems rather odd to me to be used as a metaphor for something passive like misanthropy.

I don't think I quite agree that it's genocide as a metaphor so much as for lack of a better term soft genocide as a setpiece. I agree that the execution wobbles a bit, but I do feel the core notion that generational trauma can only be broken through forgiveness and wishing to do better is a fairly good take; the fact that the people who were coreified were able to return does make that one go down a little easier, too
I can see why Gendo hired Misato to do the actual commanding. He tried it once and did an appalling job. ~ AWinters
Your point of view is horny, and biased. ~ glitz2hard
What about titty-ten? ~ Reichu
The movies function on their own terms. If people can't accept them on those terms, and keep expecting them to be NGE, then they probably should have realized a while ago that they weren't going to have a good time. ~ Words of wisdom courtesy of Reichu

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Postby MsenjaKagami » Sat Oct 21, 2023 12:35 am

I think this is a big crux of the issue: calling it "genocide" I think is an incorrect description of what Gendo is doing, and calling it that communicates the wrong idea. He's not enacting a systemic annihilation of a group or groups of people out of discrimination or prejudice the same way genocide is carried out in real life, he's enacting the destruction of ALL life on earth, for reasons listed already by others. It's misanthropy taken to its logical extreme. Now yes, obviously mass murder/omnicide is still a bad thing, but it's a bad thing in a different way from genocide. It also differs in that genocide is, unfortunately, a very real thing that occurs in real life, enacted against very real people. Omnicide on the other hand is more of a distant 'bad idea' that, while technically possible, isn't something that has ever actually happened and likely won't for awhile...hopefully anyways.
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Postby ChrisTamv » Sat Oct 21, 2023 2:07 am

The act of dying is not a retribution nor a reward in itself. Everyone will eventually die, it's natural.


Absolutely, that statement was solely in response to you claiming Gendo got his wish in the end, which he didn't because he died.

What is morally charged is how he dies. And he dies a proud, noble death as he sacrifices himself for Shinji while reuniting with Yui. And that's wrong.

He should not have been given that chance in the first place, he did absolutely nothing to deserve it. EoE gave him a big middle finger


This point specifically is understandable, but I don't think bad people should be prohibited from selfishly committing some actions with a positive impact on the world just because they're bad. That's just counter-productive and an idea solely based on wanting to take revenge from them, assuming of course that said actions had a selfless incentive behind them.

You could maybe argue that Gendo deciding to take Shinji's place in the sacrifice wasn't a completely selfless choice because it also meant he got to take his own life and that therefore this part specifically is problematic, but that's pretty much it.

I do not, there is a limit to what fiction can redeem. I wouldn't weep for Hitler in a bio-pic of him. I do not care about him being redeemed, I wanted him to go off uncerimoniously getting what he, as a character, deserved as a pay-off for his actions.


I will repeat that Gendo isn't redeemed, just explored. 3.0+1.0's themes don't include messages specifically targeted at real life mass murderers. The thematic meaning of Gendo's genuine turn-around at the end is, if anything, that communication is powerful, so powerful that it can change even people like Gendo, and therefore result in a practical net positive for everyone involved.

This is the same movie that places suicide-bombs on kids to atone for something they didn't commit.
The moral compass in this movie is beyond fucked.


It's not fucked, and that's completely irrelevant. Even in Shinji's case when fitting him with a DSS choker was actually a personal form of punishment for something he did actually commit, the movies never painted that action in a positive light, or any of WILLE's actions in 3.0 really, hence why an important part of 3.0+1.0 is spent on confronting them as well.
Last edited by ChrisTamv on Mon Oct 23, 2023 5:23 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Axx°N N. » Sat Oct 21, 2023 2:08 am

Well, but genocide isn't just carried out as some exercise in a diligent adherence to prejudice, prejudice itself (and its attendant genocide) can be a politically expedient means to an end. In the same way, Gendo's cleansing of humanity can be said to have an aim different from that of genocide, but the killing in itself is likewise not the main goal, but more an excuse to reach Yui's restoration.
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Postby Joseki » Sat Oct 21, 2023 4:58 am

View Original PostBlockio wrote:Let's all calm down a bit here. Invocations of Hitler and genuinely fascist plot points like in AoT are completely out of proportion to the topic discussed and neither called for, nor helpful to the debate.


FYI I was referring to this absolute insane line in AoT, not the actual real-life comparison with holocaust

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Postby Konja7 » Sat Oct 21, 2023 5:03 am

It has been mentioned Gendo's change of mind by Shinji's words is too easy. However, we shouldn't ignore the fact that Gendo not being able to find Yui with the Instrumentality is an important trigger for him to listen Shinji.



View Original PostChrisTamv wrote:I will repeat that Gendo isn't redeemed, just explored. 3.0+1.0's themes don't include messages specifically targeted at real life mass murderers. The thematic meaning of Gendo's genuine turn-around at the end is, if anything, that communication is powerful, so powerful that it can change even people like Gendo, and therefore result in a practical net positive for everyone involved.

This is totally true. We explore Gendo, but he isn't redeemed.

Gendo just understands his feelings for Shinji and the absurdity of his quest, but he does not appear particularly remorseful for his actions against humanity (just about Shinji). In fact, Gendo's death isn't reedeming at all, he isn't even a sacrificing to save Shinji (Yui was already doing that). He just follows his goal of staying with Yui.

Thematically, NTE Gendo being able to understand the absurdity of his quest and giving up at the end allows him a better death than EoE Gendo (who was only stopped by outside forces).

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Postby nerv bae » Sat Oct 21, 2023 8:45 am

View Original PostMsenjaKagami wrote:I think this is a big crux of the issue: calling it "genocide" I think is an incorrect description of what Gendo is doing, and calling it that communicates the wrong idea. He's not enacting a systemic annihilation of a group or groups of people out of discrimination or prejudice the same way genocide is carried out in real life, he's enacting the destruction of ALL life on earth, for reasons listed already by others. It's misanthropy taken to its logical extreme. Now yes, obviously mass murder/omnicide is still a bad thing, but it's a bad thing in a different way from genocide. It also differs in that genocide is, unfortunately, a very real thing that occurs in real life, enacted against very real people. Omnicide on the other hand is more of a distant 'bad idea' that, while technically possible, isn't something that has ever actually happened and likely won't for awhile...hopefully anyways.

I agree with you that Gendo isn't committing genocide (or omnicide) "out of discrimination or prejudice" but I think this truth obscures another one: that bad actors don't need negative motivations like discrimination or prejudice to actually commit genocide! Notably, the post-WW2 framework established at the UN doesn't include "discrimination or prejudice" in its definitions of genocide. In this sense, the act itself is evil even if carried out for ostensibly good motives (e.g., utopianism)—no discrimination or prejudice is required on the part of the genocider.

I bring this up not to argue with the point you're making, but to argue with Axx°N N. instead:

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:It's not really just whether he deserves it or not--my bigger issue is I don't believe he himself would arrive at that redemptive motivation given what happens leading up to that point. It doesn't make sense for what the character has had to do for the plot to be what it is; the complexities of his psychology read like an absent father, not someone who has decided to extinguish humanity, has nearly done so, has lived with it and hung on to that decision for two decades. I don't buy that confronting him with his own past and Shinji sharing his feelings would be revelations, the kind that you unpack with a therapist and go "huh." It's another order of magnitude thing--Gendo has had nearly two decades to introspect, and even the most suppressed person in the world would read as more multi-dimensional than Gendo, who comes across as if he's never raked the coals of anything relating to his actions. He's a complete blank of a character, ultra ruthless, significantly evil--and then human without really rationalizing or synthesizing the two beyond attributing it to grief and being asocial. The dots to connect that to the psyche of a genocider are pretty absent.

EoE!Gendo being already aware of his wrongs and how Shinji might feel is sad in a human way, and it's a more believable set-up--realistically there's no way he could persist in what he does without realizing its possible effect on others. Not if he's supposed to be such a brilliant thinker. The comparison makes NTE!Gendo seem oblivious, and like he hasn't thought for a second about even his own feelings, and this is supposed to be a version of the character that is way, way more omniscient, not only post-godhood, but having always been literally shaping the plot according to his whims, even accounting for every deviation. He's simultaneously the most cunning character ever wrought and the least inquisitive and self-aware. Perhaps the irony could be something interesting but the contradiction to me only reads as a case of confused characterization. That I have to take his genocide as mostly metaphorical for it to get close to working is pretty problematic, and it makes it impossible to seriously consider it as an ethical dilemma. But that kind of ties in to the easy undoing of all the deaths--the fact of it being a genocide is unimportant, to the point of being mere adornment.

Genocide is pervasive across human history, probably starting with the extinction of the Neanderthals. It has been attempted and even completed frequently by all kinds of people, in both primitive and advanced societies. In a sense it's as common as murder in the human condition.

All this to say: I think you're overestimating the requirements of a psyche necessary to commit genocide. Consistent with the UN's definitions linked above, genocide doesn't require negative motivations such as discrimination or prejudice: it can be committed unemotionally. You write that Gendo "has decided to extinguish humanity, has nearly done so, has lived with it and hung on to that decision for two decades," but I don't think this is really so. I don't think his decision has weighed on him at all despite having "had nearly two decades to introspect." Why not? Because he is "simultaneously the most cunning character ever wrought and the least inquisitive and self-aware;" and this is believable to me and plainly consistent with historical psyches of genociders. Take banal Eichmann as an example. Eichmann was no genius, but I still think his case stands for the principle that no matter their intelligence, these mass-murderers can totally compartmentalize their crimes away from other aspects of their inner lives, forever.

During instrumentality Gendo does become "human without really rationalizing or synthesizing" his genocide and his inner life. But his crime against humanity was never emotionally-laden to him and thus a subject of instrumental realization; instead it was just an administrative massacre mechanically necessary to accomplish his actual emotional goals related to Yui and, unbeknownst to him until the end, Shinji.

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Postby AlphaZero » Sat Oct 21, 2023 12:16 pm

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:Well, the DSS Choker as atonment is for Shinji. He is blamed for the N3I, which seems to have responsibility in the corification of the planet (I suspect it is related to the creation of the FOI). However, it was also a way to control him.

In Asuka and Mari's case, the DSS Choker is mainly to prevent the Awakening of an Eva.

The main point is humans don't trust Eva pilots anymore.

In Shin, Asuka mentions that Wille put more explosives(meaning there were already some) in her and Mari's room. I think after any Impact related missions happen, they treat them worse. So I do think in Wille's eyes they have to 'atone' as well even if they're not really responsible for Fourth Impact in the previous movie.

View Original PostJoseki wrote:FYI I was referring to this absolute insane line in AoT, not the actual real-life comparison with holocaust

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You'll probably won't believe me and disagree, but I honestly think that ending is a joke on purpose that was never meant to be taken seriously. The real ending will be shown later.

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Postby Axx°N N. » Sun Oct 22, 2023 4:45 am

View Original Postnerv bae wrote:I think you're overestimating the requirements of a psyche necessary to commit genocide. Consistent with the UN's definitions linked above, genocide doesn't require negative motivations such as discrimination or prejudice: it can be committed unemotionally. You write that Gendo "has decided to extinguish humanity, has nearly done so, has lived with it and hung on to that decision for two decades," but I don't think this is really so. I don't think his decision has weighed on him at all despite having "had nearly two decades to introspect." Why not? Because he is "simultaneously the most cunning character ever wrought and the least inquisitive and self-aware;" and this is believable to me and plainly consistent with historical psyches of genociders. Take banal Eichmann as an example. Eichmann was no genius, but I still think his case stands for the principle that no matter their intelligence, these mass-murderers can totally compartmentalize their crimes away from other aspects of their inner lives, forever..

I'm not sure requirements is the right word. Or maybe flip it; the requirements of redemption don't square with those of one capable of having carried out this mechanical sloughing off of humanity, which is why it only occurs in Gendo's case, and not any real-world comparison. If anything, redemption is least available to genociders in reality. To get to the point they have the power to commit that act means they've gained an ultimate authority, and so they can only be similarly brutally deposed by someone else with enough authority. I don't think those that aspire the things that lead to genocide believe in redemption or take it seriously. Or more like, in their eyes there's nothing to redeem. That's something abandoned (or more like not thought to be an issue) long before they would get to the point of genocide, and from all evidence, permanently. In fact, to be totally cynical, I'd suggest that redemption is a romantic concept only those on the lower end of the power totem pole have any use for; religion is the product (the hopes and dreams) of the oppressed and long-suffering.

It's not that Gendo doesn't introspect on his genocide that's the problem--you're right, to do so wouldn't make sense because someone that would have done so wouldn't thus end up in the situation where that introspection is possible in the first place--there's a different set of values and goals at play in each action--but that's kind of my point. Or in other words, to do a treatment of a genocider where you arrive at them even caring about redemption in an ordinary emotional way, would be a having your cake and eating it too kind of situation, and would at some point require that you're basically writing two different characters--the capacities here are just totally alien and mutually exclusive. And this is what happens in NTE, because you could completely sever the fact of the genocide from Gendo's character and still have his instrumentality revelations work on their own as being logical conclusions to a more common, universal misanthropy, social withdrawal, co-dependency, obsession, absent fatherhood, etc. The protracted metaphor about headphones fits an angsty young adult, not so much anyone who would have had to climb a social ladder to amass influence and confidants. It's like his instrumentality jumps back in time to resolve the issues of his 20s and 30s, not indicating how the conflicts there would organically or naturally lead to taking life. The steps are missing.

I'm not saying there's no possible redemption for a genocider. It's just that I don't think it would look like what happens with Gendo. I'd imagine their relationship with the idea (and relevance) of redemption, and what that redemption might look like, wouldn't look at all like how Gendo's sacrifice is rather Christ-like in nature. And now that I say it, I think I realize why it's always somewhat perturbed me. To treat a murderer with the gravitas usually reserved for a martyr is ... I don't know what word to use. Crass? Maybe: ethical language at odds with its poetic expression.
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Postby Gendo's Glasses » Mon Oct 23, 2023 3:45 am

I think in order to discuss Gendo's morality, you need to nail down the particulars of SEELE's scenario. SEELE were the shot callers, and it appears the Angels were going to come regardless as some sort of cosmic test. Where does Gendo's agency play into things? I'm unfamiliar with the specifics of the Shikinami series, but Gendo saying that they were created to be consumed as part of an Impact process doesn't mean he himself created them and abused them (unless I'm missing something.) I want to say they were created by the European branch of NERV, which would be outside Gendo's control.

That's not to say he's a good person, nor not culpable in many things. The treatment of Gendo in EoE was always odd, and the true ending of the series was always going to involve reconciliation between father and son. Fans love that Gendo gets his 'just desserts' by being judged and found wanting by Yui -- but Yui herself left him out of her plan.

Axx°N N. wrote:The protracted metaphor about headphones fits an angsty young adult, not so much anyone who would have had to climb a social ladder to amass influence and confidants.


Did he? Gendo doesn't seem to have much in the way of influence excepting NERV itself and a few key agents, and he seems to have exactly one confidant: Fuyutsuki. Gendo strikes me as someone whose misanthropy was an asset. I imagine SEELE put him in the head of NERV as their executor, thinking he'll happily work along to their scheduled plan (which is basically what we see in both NGE and the Rebuilds.) Gendo is just SEELE's hatchetman -- or so they think.

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Postby Axx°N N. » Mon Oct 23, 2023 4:32 am

I had a whole tangent on Seele I ended up cutting out, because I was struggling to get it out without it reading like circuitous reasoning... I'm still struggling a bit, maybe because Seele strikes me as rendered pretty unimportant and thoroughly nebulous in the grand scheme.

Gendo's psychology fits exactly his specific scenario, which has no parallel in reality in anyone who has gotten to the point of killing nearly as many people. If the humanity slaking is a metaphor, the 'arcane group of ancients getting shut down without knowing their plan is being appropriated' part doesn't really correlate with anything with a same metaphorical quality. It's a byproduct of the setting being what it is, but even within the setting there's still that missing middle section--the reconciliation, or evolution, between the persona on one end of a misanthrope and recluse, and an obsessive schmoozer of arcane cult members on the other. Gendo had to start somewhere, to go from student to figurehead, normal person to the privileges of a secret order, and it would have required some kind of talent for diplomacy or ass-kissing. But with what NTE gives me I can't imagine him terribly well in any situation that isn't talking about (and yet esoterically not talking about) his plans at Fuyutsuki the same way one might into a mirror. All the details of what Seele is to him and vice verse should be important, but they don't weigh on the script at all after they're deposed, Gendo merely assumes all functions of antagonism as if Seele as a driving force never existed--Gendo is just The Bad Guy. He's not really a character weighed down by the pragmatics of his subservience, and all along he came off as totally invincible, until he wasn't. The one exception I can think of is NTI, but it's couched by so much dialogue about how he's come up with and successfully incorporated backup plans and contingencies, elaborate and based on predictions of how several simultaneous moving aspects would naturally (apparently) fall in line. There's no drama to it and nothing really apparently happening on his side but a mechanical going through the motions ... until his weak point gets summarily exposed decades later, but it doesn't relate in a holistic way to all the building blocks of his character and what he's been doing to arrive at that point.

All that to say, the characterization seems a case of multiple identities, which conflicts with what's supposed to be a defining uniformity of temperament.

Or maybe my issue is that, by the logic of instrumentality, more layers of his mind should have been opened up, and yet only the ones that convincingly segue into portraying him as a martyr are chosen, when it's supposed to be this overflowing rush of the totality of a person.
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Re: The morality of Gendo in NTE

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Postby Gendo's Glasses » Thu Oct 26, 2023 7:29 am

I don't like doing the line-by-line response thing, but I'm going to do it because I have a lot of little points.

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:I had a whole tangent on Seele I ended up cutting out, because I was struggling to get it out without it reading like circuitous reasoning... I'm still struggling a bit, maybe because Seele strikes me as rendered pretty unimportant and thoroughly nebulous in the grand scheme.


It's a bit of a bother. Where did SEELE come from, where do they hang out, how did they get tied up with Gendo, and why do they move into NERV HQ after Near Third Impact, and why are they vulnerable to Gendo just flipping their switches? I feel these are pretty important questions.

...but even within the setting there's still that missing middle section--the reconciliation, or evolution, between the persona on one end of a misanthrope and recluse, and an obsessive schmoozer of arcane cult members on the other. Gendo had to start somewhere, to go from student to figurehead, normal person to the privileges of a secret order, and it would have required some kind of talent for diplomacy or ass-kissing.


Did he? I did a bit of a big post about Gendo recently, but I feel like this is something of a crossed wire situation. I think the original series definitely gives off the vibe of Gendo potentially schmoozing with SEELE, and perhaps being groomed by Keel to take on the role of NERV Commander, but I feel like NTE gives a very different vibe where SEELE just dropped him in the role. I think NTE Gendo is just the caretaker of NERV, the guy who sits in the big chair and makes sure that the Angels get their butts kicked. SEELE appear to have no real interest in him, and don't even seem too worried about flat out telling him 'We're not repairing Unit 02, or replacing Unit 03, just await the arrival of the True Evangelion.' In that sense, a reclusive misanthrope is probably exactly who you want. You don't want someone who can work diplomatic ties, because he might disrupt your plans, and if he seems like he hates the world and everyone in it, then he probably won't try to stop your plan to do... whatever it is SEELE wanted to do.

But with what NTE gives me I can't imagine him terribly well in any situation that isn't talking about (and yet esoterically not talking about) his plans at Fuyutsuki the same way one might into a mirror. All the details of what Seele is to him and vice verse should be important, but they don't weigh on the script at all after they're deposed, Gendo merely assumes all functions of antagonism as if Seele as a driving force never existed--Gendo is just The Bad Guy. He's not really a character weighed down by the pragmatics of his subservience, and all along he came off as totally invincible, until he wasn't. The one exception I can think of is NTI, but it's couched by so much dialogue about how he's come up with and successfully incorporated backup plans and contingencies, elaborate and based on predictions of how several simultaneous moving aspects would naturally (apparently) fall in line. There's no drama to it and nothing really apparently happening on his side but a mechanical going through the motions ... until his weak point gets summarily exposed decades later, but it doesn't relate in a holistic way to all the building blocks of his character and what he's been doing to arrive at that point.


I agree. I think a big weakness of the final Rebuild film is how Gendo just slots into the antagonist position and pulls off these startling if not improbable steps along the road to the Additional Impact. In both NGE and NTE, Gendo isn't much of a long-term mastermind -- he has a long-term goal, yes, but he gets there by seizing opportunities as they come (and, like most would-be masterminds, his scheming his vulnerable to just shooting everything to death.) In 2.22, he is outright accelerating his plan to awaken Unit 01 in response to the Mark 6 (something he didn't know existed.) In 3.0, he shows a bit more foresight, but a lot of that film is unclear (and I really do think the 'good Commander Kaworu' thing was retcon for the final film.)

Or maybe my issue is that, by the logic of instrumentality, more layers of his mind should have been opened up, and yet only the ones that convincingly segue into portraying him as a martyr are chosen, when it's supposed to be this overflowing rush of the totality of a person.


Is he a martyr, or is he a very broken man who happened to get handed the keys to Heaven? But it's part of the maddening aspect of the final film in where it's suddenly in dialogue with Evangelion as a franchise, rather than the previous three films. It isn't concerned with, say, the particulars of Gendo, Yui, and SEELE, but instead about delivering the final closure of the series: the reconciliation between father and son.

The other thing is I'm not sure Gendo is a total person by the time of Instrumentality. I feel like the loss of Yui broke Gendo worse in NTE than it did in NGE, and he's stewed on it for so long that there is nothing but horrific sadness and a belief that he can see Yui again if he outfoxes SEELE. Well, he did -- and then Yui isn't there. The other thing is that there's some powerful visual symbolism in Gendo's bizarre facial fracture: he is a hollow shell of a man, ominous but empty.


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