Why is Shinji hated?

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Why is Shinji hated?

Postby honsou » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:29 pm

I decided to post this on Chit-Chat because this really deals with fans instead of the actual series. I've found that outside of eva fandom, and even inside of eva fandom, Shinji tends to be one of the most hated main characters in all of Anime. I've wondered why this is for a long time (there are answers that obviously come to mind but i wanted to look at the situation deeper). Within the past few days I've come to a few conclusions. Many people watch Anime (fiction in general for that matter) to escape. Sure people like to identify with characters, but they tend to be larger then life figures, people we aspire to be. Shinji is clearly not this kind of character, Shinji acts more like a mirror to our world. Everyone knows someone who acts like Shinji, some of us even act like Shinji (i happen to be included in both) and many people don't like to deal with reality in their fiction. I think added to this, is that while Shinji does grow, it doesn't seem to really affect Shinji till that last moment, so many people get extremely frustrated with how Shinji reacts to things later in the series. Anyone have thoughts on this?

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Postby Kaysow » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:18 pm

Reading the topic I had an answer. Reading your post, you had the same. I don't think anyone hates Shinji per se, just maybe some of his aspects and actions. And even then it might be because he is too much alike us, and won't be the hero and do the things we want to imagine we ourselves would have.
That's just it; he's something uncomfy to watch. Extremely so, even. Only things that would be more daring to have in an anime would be ugly female leads.
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Postby V » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:41 pm

The entire concept behind Shinji is that for once, for ONCE, a TV show has a main character who is not "us as we'd like to be" but "us as we ARE".

He's got all sorts of faults and is weak. But it's hyper-realistic that way. Thus people hate Shinji because he represents problems and faults we hate about ourselves.
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Postby BrikHaus » Tue Jan 29, 2008 7:46 pm

Part of the problem is that he had multiple opportunities to get it on with Asuka, and he never took advantage of them. Come on, you're supposed to sleep with the hot foreign girl! It frustrates otaku, because they can't get laid. So when they see someone else passing up opportunities like that, they get pissed off. If we can't have sex lives vicariously through Shinji, then we might as well hate him, right?
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Postby honsou » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:03 pm

Kaysow wrote: Only things that would be more daring to have in an anime would be ugly female leads.


I often thought what would happen to Eva if, say Asuka or Rei were unattractive. How would it affect the story? Would Asuka be more sympathized with as a ugly girl? (this isn't to say she isn't, just putting it out there) Rei certainly wouldn't of gotten the cult following she has right now. I think unattractive (or hell average) looking female leads would be very interesting and bring a whole new dynamic in Anime. We will never see this though, because Anime is utterly dominated by appearance and that probably will never change.

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Postby Themaninblack » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:29 pm

BrikHaus wrote:If we can't have sex lives vicariously through Shinji, then we might as well hate him, right?



Brick solves yet another Eva related riddel. Good job man
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Postby V » Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:41 pm

Yes, he's hated because he physically lives with Asuka Langley Soryu. Lucky B****Tard. What guy doesn't envy this wimp?
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I'm pleased to meet you and I hope you guessed my name, but what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game...so catch me if you can!! (0:50)
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Postby jenova7 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:40 pm

I really Identify with Shinji because I see myself in many of his' doubts and fears, I guess that can be offputting to see your problems in someone else.

Yes, he's hated because he physically lives with Asuka Langley Soryu. Lucky B***Tard. What guy doesn't envy this wimp?


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Postby Mr. Tines » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:14 am

TV Shinji was a nice if often ineffectual chap. I had no problem there. I just despised the rag doll in EoE.


BrikHaus wrote:If we can't have sex lives vicariously through Shinji, then we might as well hate him, right?


The viewer can fap to Asuka just as well as Shinji did -- so who needs the vicarious element.
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Postby shito » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:57 am

I've been noticing lately more and more people hate Shinji because he's considered "emo". I think Shinji's "realism" is a bit ridiculous sometimes, but well the reality in Evangelion is not exactly what most people live everyday. I personally never really minded Shinji much, he's not a hero but we have Misato.

But for 99% of the reasons why people hate Shinji read BrikHaus's post.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:21 am

The OP and follow-up reply summed a lot of it up. This is what I said on the matter a long while back, in response to "His personality is disgusting":

Why is his personality disgusting? I'm quite sane, and I love him. Not because of who he is or what he does, but because of how honest of a portrayal he is. I was Shinji for the longest time. Atleast in how I hid myself away from the world for fear of being hurt. Without Shinji's inner dialogues, Shinji would merely be the quiet kid that sits in the corner that most people don't look twice at. He'd be the kid in school that nobody knows, and doesn't have any friends. IOW, he's actually a quite common teenager.

The thing that most people hate about Shinji in the series is how Anno - through usage of inner dialogue - goes about revealing all of the flaws in the character that he's worked so carefully to conceal. I think that's why most dislike Shinji, because he represents all of the flawed nature of our existence. All the pain, the selfishness, the distrust, the self trepidation and sometimes self-hatred within us.

It reminds me of what Ebert said of Apocalypse Now, "It's not so much a war film as it is a film about how war reveals truths in us we'd rather forget."

In Apocalypse Now we can focus our hatred on the war. In Evangelion, we can only focus our hatred on Shinji. But I'd say in doing so we're merely projecting that hatred onto ourselves. Because there's a Shinji in us all, no matter how hard we try to bury him, he represents all the parts of us we'd rather forget exist at all.

People like Shinji have merely taken the path of least resistance to avoid being hurt; that is, just doing what people say. But when all of it becomes too much, that exterior cracks, just like ours do on occasion. Just like they must. And it's at these moments, when we're at our weakest, that we hate. And with NGE, Anno continuously puts Shinji in situations where he's forced to reveal his own weaknesses. So why do we hate a character who has been almost forced to reveal his flawed nature to us? Perhaps because we've all been brainwashed to despise weakness? To hide our own?

So yes, I love Shinji, because he was me. He is us all, to some extent, even on the smallest of abstract levels. He reminds me of a quote from a recent film I saw that said "You are the only one I can reveal myself to in all my unsightly nakedness." and in NGE the audience is the one that gets to view these characters in that manner. He was an audacious risk for Anno that goes more towards proving how determined he was to burn his feelings into film through these characters. And to love - or atleast sympathize with Shinji is to accept the flawed nature of our existence and all that entails."
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Postby Anonymous_Evafan » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:06 am

Mr. Tines wrote:I just despised the rag doll in EoE.

You ever killed a friend? Shinji's reaction was perfectly understandable.
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Postby AsukaChan » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:54 am

Eh. I can see where a lot of people might relate to Shinji. But I relate to Asuka myself, so I find it hard to see myself in Shinji.

But the main reason I CAN'T dislike Shinji 100% is that I think his behaviour was perfectly acceptable for what he's being asked to do.

Of course, next to your Heero-types and your Goku-types or other such characters who are fighting for something/someone/or the world in general and are basically thrust into the situation, he seems like a whiney-bitchey crybaby. But as a fourteen year old kid who's quite average, stuck in that situation pretty much against his will and told that the fate of humanity is on the line, I think I would be offended as a viewer if he was perfectly content with the situation. Because it wouldn't be REALISTIC.

So in my own, strange, redundant way, I've come around to basically say what everyone else has -- and that is that he's almost too realistic to allow the viewer to "escape" or live vicariously through the super-awesome-kawaii-hero. Yes. XD

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Postby Reichu » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:55 am

This thread feels strangely familiar...

And now for something completely different.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:20 am

Anonymous_Evafan wrote:You ever killed a friend? Shinji's reaction was perfectly understandable.
Kaworu was far more than just a friend - and by that, I don't mean anything romantic. Kaworu became like a emotional crutch for Shinji at an extremely desperate time and killing him was like killing a part of himself no doubt.
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Postby UrsusArctos » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:27 am



Started by CitizenGeek, no less. :)
(Edit: Ah, speaking of CitizenGeek, take a look at the first and last posts of this thread http://www.animenation.net/forums/showthread.php?t=209958&page=53>]
He has reaped the whirlwind yet again! )


What Jimbo says is spot-on, both about Shinji and Kaworu's relation to Shinji. Had Kaworu come earlier in the TV series, don't you think Shinji would have reacted differently? Or that others would have reacted to him, and Shinji would start to wonder about him? Or that Shinji wouldn't be as completely devastated with Kaworu's loss? Kaworu came in when Shinji needed someone like him the most and Shinji himself had no choice but to kill him. It was as bad as it could be.
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Postby Incisivis » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:50 pm

Maybe I'm like Shinji because I'm spinelessly fair: as aggravating as I find the level of dislike blasted at Shinji, I can believe that it's sometimes for a general moral reasoning that transcends age, gender, and the need for wish-fulfillment. A notion that even if you are in a bad situation, if people are counting on you, you owe it to them to perform regardless of how you feel. If you don't, you are terrible, a waste.

There's also people who just believe that the point of stories are growth and transcendence, some kind of payoff for anything which initially disgusts the consumer. I believe Shinji *does* eventually decide to make the right choice (to live as a free and independent human with the chance to find self-aware happiness), but it's buried under a lot of complex material that takes a while to "get"...and his "payoff" (finger quotes) is a devastated world and someone whom he's had a stormy (to say the least) relationship with. People will come back, but still...

Of course, I don't believe stories have to follow that trend; the existence of a story justifies itself.

I believe, though, that there's a lot of people for whom the basic issue with Shinji is that he doesn't act out a powef fantasy, that he's not what a male should act like, that he hits too close to home, etc.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:56 pm

Incisivis wrote:There's also people who just believe that the point of stories are growth and transcendence,
Some people have never heard of character studies and portraits. I usually ask if they've seen Taxi Driver or Raging Bull.
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Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby Mr. Tines » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:07 pm

Incisivis wrote:A notion that even if you are in a bad situation, if people are counting on you, you owe it to them to perform regardless of how you feel. If you don't, you are terrible, a waste.


Precisely. The world would not function without people who get up every day, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically) because of their obligations -- including the children, Shinji's age and younger, who have to care for invalid parents and younger siblings. And people do it and keep on doing it because we are adaptable enough to recalibrate normality.

Shinji's inaction in EoE rubs up against something that is a bedrock of the "social contract", something that got wired in to our social primate ancestors. Something made worse by the fact that all he needed to do was put up with things for another 24-48 hours and it would all be definitively over and he could give up the burden, rather than being a "'til death us do part" deal.
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:28 pm

@ Reichu: That's not the only Shinji topic here. There was another one I started, this one: http://evageeks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2340

I already gave my thoughts in both threads so I really don't feel like repeating 'em. :(
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