Short Answer: Out of all the characters that Shinji got close to, the one that he loves is Rei Ayanami. However, he does care for Asuka Sohryu Langley, Misato Katsuragi and Kaworu Nagisa because we often see him fight his fears to protect these people. This of course includes piloting an EVA and fighting angels which he absolutely hates doing.
Who is Shinji Ikari?
Shinji Ikari is the main protagonist of the series and the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01. He is the son of the late Gehirn bioengineer Yui Ikari and NERV Commander Gendo Ikari. After his mom’s passing, he was deserted by his dad and lived for a considerable length of time with his master, until he was called to Tokyo-3 to pilot Unit-01 against the Angels.
Shinji is a very damaged yet kindhearted individual. The demise of his mother and particularly his father’s abandonment has left Shinji with struggles in his relationship with others, and with himself.
What is Shinji’s relationship with Rei?
Let’s start with Rei, being a teenage boy, Shinji of course took a good notice at Rei Ayanami and although she is a cute girl, we don’t see much development between then at the start. This is mostly because Rei has a reserved personality. In fact, when they first meet, Shinji actually sees her naked, but she remains unfazed about the situation. However, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for this ship, there are plenty of times as the show progresses where we can see them getting closer.
Well sure, Shinji does sometimes take notice of her but his feelings for her are undeniably questionable at first. It might be due to his feelings that are tied to the recollections he had as a child of his mom’s face that remained with him on a subconscious level. It is similar to like when you gaze at somebody that you could have seen previously however you cannot pinpoint when or where, so you continue to attempt to sort it out. At the start, Shinji and Rei are connected by shared bonds to Gendo, Yui, and the Evangelions, which he is just faintly aware of but later on, they form a bond between themselves.
One proof that Shinji feels love for Rei is that at the end of evangelion, during the third impact, he sees himself joined with Rei Ayanami. He sees himself making love with her and as he asks her what’s happening, she tells him that what’s happening is happening because it is what his heart desires and that they could stay like that forever if he wanted.
Though the two may have built companionship, Although Shinji later declares that he is terrified of Rei right after learning her real nature, it isn’t enough for him to stop caring about her. Gradually, his feelings for her become stronger and stronger to a point where you can call it love.
What is Shinji’s relationship with Misato?
Misato is Shinji’s guardian during his time in Tokyo-3, as well as his superior at NERV. Her status as a new parent or guardian is consistently in a struggle with different parts of their relationship.
Misato was never truly depicted as a love interest for Shinji. Yes, there was some handholding and kissing yet it was always initiated by Misato because of her mental issues. However, it can still be seen that Shinji does care for Misato, you might even call it familial love. was a lonesome lady who felt an utmost lack of emotional attachment to men. Misato appeared to consider physical contact as proof of warmth whether it’s platonic or romantic, because of her absence of love from her dad which was affirmed when they were talking about her and Kaji’s relationship. Both Misato and Kaji show their affection through physical acts.
With Shinji, Misato conveys her affection the same way but it is never met with a positive response. The first time she got dismissed and the second time she was met with genuine shock. Misato in general is over-attached.
What is Shinji’s relationship with Asuka?
The confident, proud and ambitious Asuka is Shinji’s total opposite in numerous ways, however, the two Eva pilots share a lot of similarities than what appears. Shinji comes to depend on Asuka for something beyond her piloting abilities, as their uncertain mutual affections for one another very much influence both.
Asuka, on the other hand, is emotionally detached. Asuka had the same mental problems as Misato where they confuse emotional and physical affection. Their difference is that she does not have a father issue but a mommy issue. Her mom attempted to kill her which causes her to feel sickened to become a parent or a lady. Additionally, like Misato, Asuka wanted to feel loved and attempted to initiate sexual acts with men she was close to. In any case, Asuka’s efforts were only met with either complete rejection or lack of response from both. These both aided her ruin and assist her recuperation.
Asuka is the opposite of Shinji which is the reason he felt so captivated by her. He doesn’t simply view her as “hot”, to him, she is appealing in every sense. Does he love her romantically? No. He simply finds her charming, similar to an insect that can’t resist the urge to run towards a light.
What is Shinji’s relationship with Kaworu?
Kaworu’s existence gets things more complicated than Shinji’s situation. Shinji’s going through a series of misfortune and loss. He lost his companions, his opportunity, and his freedom. He complies and that causes him to feel alone, perhaps useless since he could never really save his friends. Touji passed away, Kensuke and Hikari left town, Asuka was in a coma, Rei was “severely injured”, Kaji passing, and Misato shut herself out and lost her desire to live. Then, when Shinji had nobody to depend on, an angel appears and shows him there’s life past the endless hardships he’s going through.
At the point when Kaworu meets Shinji, he sees a piece of humanity that he never knew ever existed. He finds Shinji exceptionally genuine, and pretty much like an open book. So Kaworu, somebody who cannot comprehend people can see a side of mankind he has never seen. He sees the suffering and fights to find happiness. He saw how much the people in Shinji’s life are important to him. He sympathizes with Shinji because Shinji has experienced a lot of torment in his life, despite every attempt to make the best decision. Through Shinji, he finds that humankind has the right to live and that everybody has the privilege to find happiness. Kaworu loves him for this, which is the reason why he sacrifices himself so humanity can live on. Kaworu fills the holes in Asuka, Rei, and every other person that is left in him. This leads to Shinji loving Kaworu with all his heart, and that is the reason why he winds up so depressed when he killed Kaworu.
Kaworu may have entered Shinji’s life for the briefest of periods. However, in that time his life, and death, have the most significant effect.
Our Final Thoughts:
The entire message from the series was that romance isn’t always rainbow and sunshine as people portray it. Shinji loves anyone who loves him. The main issue he had was that he felt that everyone could not stand him. When Kaworu appeared in his life you can see how much he cherishes Kaworu because he was the only person that respected him.
Shinji’s story tells us that sometimes to see the rainbow, you might have to get through a storm first. In Shinji’s case, his storm was his traumatic past, chaos of the present, and his cowardice making him feel weak. However, with help from those close to him, Shinji was able to find strength in himself and later on, find love.
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