Short Answer: Shinji is hated because fans expect him to be heroic and brave, but instead, he acts cowardly and always runs away from his responsibilities. At the beginning of the show, when Gendo tells Shinji to get into the EVA, Shinji doesn’t want to because he is afraid. Although normal people would also be scared, in anime, the audiences expect him to be a hero. That’s why Shinji is hated so much because he acts the opposite.
He can’t get over his depression
Most of the time, we enjoy anime because it is relatable. We enjoy relating to their happy moments or bubbly or quirky personalities. But in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji’s personality and his mental health issue are considered to be negative. Some people get tired of watching Shinji having so little faith and strength in himself that they end up hating him for it. Moreover, Shinji in the whole anime series remains depressed and doesn’t get the courage to beat his depression up until the finale of the anime. I mean come on man, you have to try to at least be brave. Instead he keeps calling himself a coward.
And although Shinji was able to heal, it happened in the span of one episode that it felt like a sudden 180 degree turn from where the anime was headed. It’s no surprise that there would be a number of fans that hated how Shinji suddenly changed at the very end of the anime.
He’s a coward
As we mentioned before, people’s expected him to be brave and heroic. However, Shinji acts the opposite, instead, he’s a coward and too scared most of the time. To be fair, it’s much easier said than done. If normal people were in his shoes and have to fight giant alien-like creatures, they’d also be scared. But in the anime world, people always expected the main protagonist to rise up to the challenge sooner or later. People want to be inspired by what they watch. They want to be excited with spectacular fighting scenes but Shinji, being the coward that he is, refuses to fight.
There is some good sides for Shinji though. He does pilot the EVA unit 01 even though he keeps telling Misato and the others that he hates it and it causes him nothing but pain and suffering. So at least there’s that going for him. But other than that, he flees from fights and responsibilities as much as he can. You could just say that he’s a 14 year old boy who just wants to live a normal life of a 14 year old boy but society is forcing him to do otherwise.
He hates himself
Shinji’s self–hatred is also a problem for a people. If the main protagonist is always whining and doesn’t have any spirit, viewers will also be frustrated just watching the main protagonist hating himself. Shinji’s problem is quite complex, he craves affection but doesn’t have any self-acceptance. However, we can’t fully blame Shinji on how he’s having a hard time getting over his issues because he was abandoned by his father when he was a child.
Sometimes the viewers want to see the main protagonist have a little bit of pride in himself. Shinji just doesn’t have that, He only acts if other characters in the film push him to do so.
His problems are too real for some people to enjoy
In anime, we expected a world with various fantasies and other stuff that are quite different from reality. However, Shinji’s problems are TOO real and some people see their reflection on Shinji. Therefore, people who watch Neon Genesis Evangelion to refresh their minds for a moment will only be reminded of their own problems rather than obtaining feelings of relief. Although not only Shinji’s problems are too real, the side characters also have problems that aren’t quite different from what Shinji has. What makes it different is that Shinji’s problem is very prominent in the series.
Shinji doesn’t change a lot
It pretty obvious that in any story, character development is really important. Small changes are nice every now and then but what a story needs a major change for the main characters. Without it, not that much really changes. When it comes to Shinji, his only big change comes at the end of the show. This just slaps the viewers in the face with a sudden change. It was too quick of a change and there was nothing in the previous episodes that hinted that Shinji was going to change at all.
As such, people ended up hating him even more. If you want to see Shinji’s significant changes, then you should watch the rebuilt version. still, the changes are only at the end of the show. In the ending, Shinji still made the worst decision, he doesn’t make everything normal again.
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Ichigo from the anime Darling in the Franxx is also suffers from hate. If you already watched Darling in the Franxx then you should know who Ichigo is. Ichigo really loves Hiro and she wanted to become a partners with him. But She wasn’t able to because of compatibility issues. You might be wondering, why people don’t empathize with her and instead hate her. If you want to find out more click here to check out our article “Why is Ichigo so hated?“
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Our final thoughts:
Overall, Shinji Ikari is hated because he doesn’t act as fans expect him to. Shinji is being relied on to save the Earth, but he acts cowardly and always tries escapes from his problems. His character development isn’t good. He only changes a little and it really took a lot of time for him to change. Also, a lot of people that watch anime in the mecha genre expected the main protagonist to be brave, heroic, and full of spirit but instead, Shinji acts the opposite the way.
Thank you for reading!
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