Fanfic: Once More with Feeling
This is a fic I had been working on since...hell, around half to a decade ago now after having my mind destroyed by 'The End of Evangelion'.Once More With Feeling is a Neon Genesis Evangelion Peggy Sue Fan Fic.During Instrumentality, Shinji chooses to "go back". However, Lilith takes an entirely different meaning to his words and, rather than simply undoing Instrumentality, inserts a steel I-beam into Shinji's spine and sends him back to the very beginning of the canon story. Once Shinji realizes what has happened, he becomes determined to prevent all his past mistakes and avert the horrors he'd previously experienced. The writer devotes a lot of time to describing and developing the world (including a bunch of background details), the characters, their emotions and conflicts, to degrees not done in the canon story and greatly influenced by Shinji.Once More With Feeling can be found in FF.net, SpaceBattles forum and StarDestroyer forums.The fic was in a very long hiatus (due to a severe Writer's Block), making people fearing that it was a Dead Fic. However, in late 2011 the author posted a tiny tidbit of the next chapter to show that he was still working on it, and then, suddenly in July 2013 there was a full-chapter update, accompanied by much rejoicing. Since then it has gone dormant again. In August 2014, as updating another of his fics, he explained that he was 3/4 of the way of writing the next chapter.A Code Geass fanfic on the same name, with a similar Peggy Sue nature to it, also exists. This is not that fic.
The idea being basically that Shinji decides in Third Impact to 'go back', but Lilith takes a different idea of what 'go back' means, inserts a steel rod into his back to make up for his complete lack of a spine in the OT, then sends him back into the past. Angst mostly intact, but with full knowledge of the future and the ability to actually stand up for himself (shock horror!).
The idea being basically that Shinji decides in Third Impact to 'go back', but Lilith takes a different idea of what 'go back' means, inserts a steel rod into his back to make up for his complete lack of a spine in the OT, then sends him back into the past. Angst mostly intact, but with full knowledge of the future and the ability to actually stand up for himself (shock horror!).
Once More with Feeling includes examples of:
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- Ace Pilot: After returning to the past, Shinji's excellent performance with his giant robot gets his co-workers impressed and shocked, since they did not expect him to be so good. However he considers Asuka a much better pilot and fighter than he could ever be, and when he meets for first time -again- he makes sure to praise her skills, knowing her self-confidence is very fragile.
- Action Girl: Asuka and Rei are war mecha pilots and Misato is a soldier and army commander. The former two have fought and killed giant monsters together or separately.
- Alpha Bitch: Chihiro Tanaka acts like this, being the most beautiful girl in the school, having plenty of followers and slandering Shinji after being turned down by him.
- Always Someone Better: Ironically, Asuka and Shinji see each other as this. Shinji thinks Asuka is braver, more strong-willed and a better pilot than he will ever be. Asuka thinks Shinji is an excellent pilot who is mentally and emotionally stronger than her because he actually managed to move on from his mother's death. They also want to beat each other because they want to earn each other's respect.
- Anger Born of Worry: Ritsuko notes that Misato is angry at her charges after the quad bike race because she was terrified of them getting hurt.
- Apologises a Lot: Asuka can’t it stand when someone does this. In chapter 10 she gets angry because Rei has been ordered to live in a hellhole. Rei apologises for it, and Asuka gets angrier since Rei is sorry for something that's not her fault.Asuka hissed her breath out from between her teeth. God, she hated people who apologized for everything, even when it wasn't their fault!
- Archnemesis Dad: Shinji considers Gendo one of his primary enemies. Considering they have mutually exclusive goals, and what Gendo did in the original timeline, it's completely reasonable.
- Arc Words: "I am, I." This is thought by various characters whose ways of thinking are changed for the better by Shinji, namely Rei and Asuka.
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: During the school dance Kaji passes on a chance to flirt with Misato. Amusingly he notes that she is actually disappointed and upset because he has not tried to grab her and kiss her into submission.
- Assimilation Plot: When Shinji meets Kaji he reveals SEELE and Gendo's real goal is killing all humans and merge their souls to create a new god after defeating the Angels.
- Also, as a side-effect from Instrumentality, Shinji went back to the past with not only his own knowledge and memories, but also those of the people around him. For example, he has Asuka's memories of when her mother went crazy, knows the rather intimate (and private) details of Kaji and Misato's history (and a couple things that Kaji never told anyone), and full knowledge about the true events of the Second Impact.
- The Atoner: Neither Misato nor Hikari understand why Shinji is so determined to and obsessed with making everyone happy. They do not know that Shinji feels inmensely guilty and is trying to make amends because in the original timeline he left Rei alone because she "scared" him, let Misato die because he was wrapped up in his grief, defiled Asuka and abandoned her -which led to her very bloody and gorey death- and wished that everyone died because he thought nobody loved him.
- Attention Whore: Asuka is a very big attention-seeker. Shinji does not mind, though, since he now knows why she craves for attention, and he actually helps her to stand out as he makes clear he will always care about her, not matter what.
- Batman Gambit:
- Shortly after meeting Asuka, Shinji mentioned his mother was dead, expecting that Asuka was prompted to ask him about it since she was also an orphan.
- Kaji came up with a plan to help Shinji to go with Asuka to the school dance. His plot consisted in Shinji making several apparently innocent but carefully calculated remarks that, according to his knowledge of Asuka's personality, would prompt her to ask Shinji out.
- Battle Couple: Asuka and Shinji started on the path to becoming one as of battling the Sixth and Seventh.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Asuka/Shinji. It was there in the series but it has increased due to Shinji having a better insight into Asuka's feelings and emotions. Sometimes they seem to be channeling Kouji/Sayaka. Or more properly, Gender Flipped Tetsuya/Jun (since Asuka is a Gender Flipped Tetsuya, and Shinji, ignoring his partner's barbs or replying back, acts just like Jun... who is a half-black girl, just like Shinji's template).
- The Berserker: As soon as Shinji came face to face with Sachiel he charged savagely and furiously, killing it in less than one minute. He fought so brutally he made NERV believing it was his robot the one had gone berserker.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Shinji is usually pretty calm and even glum. But when he faced Sachiel again and thought of everything happening again if he did nothing, he went berserker.
- Big Brother Instinct: Shinji returns to the past knowing that Rei is his sister and he instantly becomes very protective from her. When people ask him about it, he tells that Rei is like a sister he did not know he had (which is actually accurate).
- Big Damn Heroes: In chapter 17 Asuka fought Sandalphon inside a volcano and killed it, but she was sinking to her death... until Rei leapt inside the ocean of burning magma, dove towards her and rescued her.
- Blood Knight: Asuka lives for fighting... and Shinji is trying to show to her that she has more reasons to live. Likewise her battle-lust has almost gotten her into trouble several times (such like when she rushed Israfel and almost got bludgeoned when it unexpectedly split into two halves).
- Bond One-Liner: After defeating Shamshel, Shinji internally muses that one of the advantages of time travel is the ability to use all the quips he came up with too late.Anyone for fried squid?
- Break the Haughty: Deconstructed. Shortly after meeting Asuka for first time -again-, he feels tempted to bring her down a notch... but he will do not it, not matter how overbearing she may be, because he has seen what would happen if her pride was shattered, and he has absolutely no desire of seeing it happening ever again.
- Bring My Red Jacket: Shinji often reminds what Asuka -who always wore red- got worse wounds than Rei or himself during the battles, and she got killed in the most gruesome, bloodiest way.
- Broken Ace:
- Shinji comes across as The Ace and a Robeast-killing machine to the rest of the characters, but deep down he's fighting hard to keep himself from falling into old habits; add to that the massive amount of guilt and self-loathing he feels towards his actions in the original timeline.
- Asuka seems brave, strong-willed and self-assured on top of being an excellent pilot, but she is barely holding herself together (that is what you have when you are a Tetsuya Tsurugi Expy). Shinji is aware of this and is determined to prevent her from falling apart.
- Broken Bird:
- After going through the Angel War and the end of the world, Shinji is trying to grow a spine and be more determined and braver to not let his second chance go to waste.
- As she is arguing with Asuka about the latter's desire to go to Okinawa, Misato reminds herself Asuka suffered terribly and lost a lot since she was three, but she always tried to become stronger and more determined.
- After fighting Sandalphon Misato tells Asuka about her childhood, her troubles with her own father and how she tried to overcome it.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Defied. Shinji has decided that he will romantically pursue Asuka and treat Rei like a sister this time around. He still has to remind himself that Rei is his half-sister sometimes, though, since despite loving her like a sibling, he still finds her physically attractive.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Shinji calls his father out twice:
- The first time happened in the Eva cages, before his first battle. When Gendo said "It's been a long while", Shinji replied "Not long enough". That was only the beginning.
- The second time happened after the battle, when Shinji wanted to discuss the terms of his job:Gendo:: “You are not indispensable. If you will not pilot the Evangelion, Rei will do so instead”.
Shinji: “You know, on some level I should be surprised that you would threaten to have a fourteen year old Girl sent to her death if I didn’t do exactly what you said… but I’m not”.
Fuyutsuki: “Now Shinji, that’s not what he-”
Shinji: “Oh of course it is. You don’t have any need to defend this man in front of me. Yesterday he paraded Rei out as the consequence of me defying him, putting her through hell just to blackmail me into Unit One. Every one of us knows she wouldn’t have lasted five seconds in combat, but he didn’t give a damn”.
- Canon Immigrant: Someone asked the author if Mana Kirishima would show up. He answered: "Who is Mana Kirishima?". After looking for information about her, he stated she would show up, but nobody better count on it being more than one scene or her role being big.
- Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: While Shinji sleeps for first time -again- in Misato's apartment, he recalls that sometimes he begged for someone -anyone- getting Asuka out of there... and now he feels terribly alone without her, he misses her and he needs her.
- Can Not Spit It Out: There are two things Shinji can't spit out to Asuka: his feelings towards her (because he is certain of she'll run for the hills if he confesses too soon); and the bit about him being a time-traveler and being awfully sorry for all that he did and did not do to her (because her life and safety depends on him keeping his mouth closed).
- Cassandra Truth: Fully knowing how it went the previous time, Shinji tries to point out the obvious risks in the mission for capturing the 8th Angel. This prompts Asuka (who was mad at him at the time for unrelated reasons) to laugh in his face and go along with it anyway. Of course, when the mission goes awry the way he predicted and Asuka nearly ends up killed as a result, she feels guilty for dismissing him so lightly.
- Chekhov's Gun: Shinji returns to the past carrying Misato's cross pendant with him. He briefly considers throwing it away to avoid awkward questions but he decides to hide it in a safe place. Many chapters later he reveals Kaji where he hid Misato's pendant. Kaji gets the trinket analyzed and it proves conclusively that Shinji is indeed a time-traveller.
- Clingy Jealous Girl:
- According Asuka, Shinji is her friend... but if some girl tries to get her hands on him, Asuka will chew her out.
- Rei does not appreciate either her female schoolmates' obsession with Shinji.
- The Chessmaster:
- Gendo and SEELE of course, but in this fic they are joined (and opposed) by Original character Major General Shigeru Ishiba, the Director of the Japanese Defense Agency (Intelligence).
- Shinji is trying to become one, too. He is trying to outmaneuvering Gendo and SEELE using knowledge what they do not know he has. Time will tell if he is successful.
- Early impressions don't bode well; Shinji helping to bond the Children together gives Gendo more levers to pull on, and mere moments after first meeting Shinji Keel discovered that the pilot knew far more than he should.
- After the aforementioned meeting, Kaji outright tells Shinji to leave Gendo and SEELE to him and his colleagues, as attempting to deal with them himself is likely to end up in disaster for him, and to focus on his most important duty: piloting the EVA and defeating the Angels to prevent them from causing the Third Impact.
- Childhood Friend Romance: A NERV officer reveals Shinji that he and Asuka had met for first time when they were toddlers... and they already fought back then. Shinji finds it both amusingly ironic and disturbing. Asuka finds it hilarious.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Shinji feels so guilty for letting everyone die in the original timeline than back in the past he spends the whole time trying to help other people. It gets so bad that Misato has to tell him stopping that "everyone must be happy" mindset and thinking a little of himself, too.
- Combat Pragmatist: Before battling Israfel, Asuka mutters "Two against one is hardly a fair fight." Misato sharply informs her the last thing she wants to give the Angels is a fair fight. Shinji is not particularly concerned with fighting fairly either (and in fact he has a quite the unfair advantage over the enemy, which he exploits wantonly).
- Comeback Tomorrow: At one point, Shinji muses that an underrated benefit of time travel is being able to use the quips you thought of too late.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Shinji and Asuka both are orphans and Evangelion pilots. When Shinji tells her about his mother's death, Asuka finds the similarities suspicious (and with good reason).
- Cooldown Hug: Shinji did to this to Asuka unawarely (or rather, Asuka thought he was unaware. In a nutshell, she was suffering of nightmares, and right like in the original series, she slept with him. It worked, and she managed sleeping peacefully... But she only thought he was sleeping. He was wide awake... and afraid of getting murdered if she noticed). Later Asuka realized he had trouble sleeping, and decided repaying the favor: she ordered him moving over, lay down on his bed and she slept with him.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Shinji and Asuka against Israfel. In this timeline they managed to fight coordinately from the start, and they stomped all over it without need of a rematch.
- Deadpan Snarker: Because of his former life and his new confident attitude, Shinji has developed a very sarcastic, caustic sense of humor.
- After seeing his father's huge -and nearly completely empty- office:Shinji: “I’m guessing you’ve never heard of Ikea”
- After seeing his father's huge -and nearly completely empty- office:
- Dead Fic: The lack of updates in two years suggested it had become this, but the author assured readers he was still working on it. In 2011 he posted new material to prove it. And then, all of a sudden there was a full chapter update mid-2013. So it is fortunately an Averted Trope (thus far).
- Defrosting Ice Queen: A very important piece of the "saving the world and those I care for" Shinji's scheme after returning to the past involves to get closer to Asuka and seduce her. It is progressing nicely so far, and Asuka feels more and more drawn to him.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: In chapter 9 Asuka quotes the trope verbatim after Shinji gets on her nerves:Asuka:"Third Child [...] Come with me".
Shinji (to Misato):"You have no idea how long I've waited to hear her say that…"
Asuka: "Don't make me destroy you"
- Driven to Suicide: Mentioned, but not really invoked. After Shinji reveals his whole story to him, Kaji wonders how the kid has kept himself from "eating the gun", so to speak.
- Drives Like Crazy:
- Shinji is fairly convinced Misato learned her insane style of driving from Kaji. At one point Shinji suspects he actually broke a few laws of causality while parking.Kaji was silent mostly because he was dodging traffic at absurd speeds and violating just about every law on the books doing it.
They made it to Misato’s apartment in record time again, screeching to a halt in a backward power slid into a parking space that violated at least two laws of physics and, Shinji thought, at least one of causality, but didn’t appear to implode the universe.
- Possibly in reference to Nobody Dies, during a quad bike race between the three pilots Rei used a car transporter as a ramp to jump onto a bridge ahead of Asuka and Shinji. Both promptly stop to stare after her in shock.
- Shinji is fairly convinced Misato learned her insane style of driving from Kaji. At one point Shinji suspects he actually broke a few laws of causality while parking.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Often Shinji remembers what he did when he saw Asuka naked in the hospital (masturbating), and he disgustedly wonders what he was thinking.
- Eating the Eye Candy: While Asuka is complaining to Misato about not being allowed to go to Okinawa, Shinji is trying to stop staring at Asuka's very nice top and very tight shorts in order to take part in the conversation."Actually," he called out into the living room, tossing the hand towel onto the bench as stepped out of the kitchen, "I wouldn’t mind staying if Asuka went." Walking into the living room, he paused to swipe a can of iced tea and walked up next to a disbelieving Asuka - who was lookingrather nice in a loose singlet top and very short shots that left little to the imagination -
Focus Shinji, focus he told himself as he dragged his attention back to Misato.
- Eldritch Abomination: Lilith -an ancient alien goddess is the source of Earth life- and the Angels -powerful alien beings- that Shinji has to fight again... and who seem more powerful than they were in the original timeline.
- Emotionless Girl: Rei is unemotional and passive at the beginning, but she slowly starts opening up after meeting Shinji. However she decides to hide her changes from Gendo and SEELE out of a growing sense of self-preservation.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: Scenes with Pen-Pen are highly hilarious
(PenPen) stared at his back for several long, long seconds before continuing into the kitchen, retrieving a can from Misato's stash, stopping in consideration, retrieving a second, and retreating into his fridge.
- Shinji, on a whim, reveals the whole bit about "I'm a time traveler who's trying to change the past to atone for my mistakes"... to Pen Pen. The bird's response?
- When a package was delivered to the Katsuragi household while Shinji was at school Pen Pen signed for it. Shinji does not know how Pen Pen did it and he doesn't want to try figuring it out.
- Misato has somehow turned the bird into an alcoholic and he apparently reads the Wall Street Journal every morning to check stock rates.
- Expendable Clone: Since she was a little child, Gendo taught Rei that she was replaceable. Shinji worked hard to disabuse her of it, arguing that, even if another Rei showed up, that new Rei would not be exactly and fully identical to the old one. He succeeded, but Rei pretended that she still saw herself as a mere, expendable clone so that Gendo did not replace her.
- Falling into the Cockpit: Subverted. When Shinji gets into his giant robot, Gendo and everyone else believe he is piloting EVA for first time, with no previous knowledge or training. He is not, due to time-travel, but it is in his best interest making everyone believing that he has never met an Evangelion, and he successfully deceives them.
- Fan-Art: A fan drew a picture of Asuka costumed with the dress she wore when she attended the school dance. Unfortunately, the art has been lost.
- Fiery Redhead: Asuka is quite the impetuous and strong-willed spitfire, although Shinji's influence is subtly helping her to control and channel her temper.
- Forgiveness: Even if no one else knows what he did in the original timeline, Shinji wants to earn everybody's forgiveness for his actions, so he is fighting hard to save the world this time.
- Forgotten First Meeting: In chapter 9 a technichian told Shinji that Asuka and he already met when they were toddlers (something both of them had utterly forgotten about). Kyoko was visiting the Japanese Branch, and she and Yui left their kids in a play pen, and they... well, they fought. Shinji got a good laugh of it (thinking that some things never change), and so Asuka did when he told her.
- Freudian Excuse: Chihiro Tanaka's aggressiveness, vindictiveness and rude behaviour is later explained as the result of growing up without a mother.
- Gender Flip: In canon, Asuka called Shinji, Touji and Kensuke "The Three Stooges". In this story, Asuka, Hikari and Rei are called -very privately and very, very quietly by the abovementioned trio- "The Three Stoogettes".
- Genre Savvy: It's funny how much insight time travel gives:In his rather extensive experience on the matter, brooding in a bedroom for that long just never led to good things.
- Giant Equals Invincible: After Shinji got fed up with an admiral dissing the Evangelions, Shinji narrates his first engagement and points out that the Humongous Mecha is the only thing can damage an Angel because conventional weaponry is useless.''“Well Sir, I have, so has the First Child and I’m sure very shortly, so too will have the Second [...] In my first engagement, I went up against an Angel that chewed through a Tank Battalion in four minutes flat, destroyed three dozen aircraft and took more firepower then this entire battle group could dish out, right up to the use of Strategic scale N2 weapons. The UN and JSSDF threw everything they had at it and barely slowed it down at the cost of over a thousand lives and half a billion US dollars. [...] With the greatest of respect, Sir, [...] the twin of that toy you are transporting took out that Angel in sixty three seconds, with no civilian casualties, no military casualties and minimal collateral damage to the city it was fighting in.”
- Gratuitous German: Preparing for Asuka's arrival, Shinji learnt some few German words. In chapter 10 both teenagers exchange some sentences in German:Asuka:: “Hullo Shinji! Guten Morgen!”
Shinji: “Guten Morgen Asuka. Wie Geht Es Ihnen?”
Asuka: “Wundervoll! Ich wußte nicht, daß Sie Deutsches sprachen Shinji?”
Shinji: “Uh, actually, I don’t speak German. I just learned a few words here and there after I heard you were coming over”.
- Grave Marking Scene: In chapter 4 Shinji wakes up after his battle against Sachiel and he goes to the graveyard to visit his mother's grave and talk to her, even though he knows her body is not buried there and her soul is somewhere else.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: Shinji's memories he got during Instrumentality show Asuka was jealous after seeing him talking to Rei because she thought she had lost something she only just realized she wanted.
- Grew a Spine: The premise of this story is Shinji returning to the past with a steel rod inserted into his back to manage to make up for his complete lack of a spine in the original series, and thus saving the world.
- Ground-Shattering Landing: When they sortied to fight Israfel Shinji and Asuka were transported in aircarrier aircrafts and then dropped on the battlefield. Their Humongous Mechas crashed down on the ground, fracturing it noisily (although they suffered no harm).
- Guile Hero:
- Played straight with Kaji, who is spying on and for three different organizations at once.
- Subverted with Shinji. After a meeting with SEELE goes awry, Kaji warns Shinji that he must not try to outthink and outplan the Committee because he is not trained for it.
- Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee: After Shinji and Asuka engaged the Sixth Angel and that battle resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and the sinking of dozens of warships, one of the members of Seele was dragged before the US Senate on no fewer than four occasions to answer some heated questions.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: In the original timeline, Shinji secluded himself in his room and put his headphones on to isolate whenever he got depressed. Back in the past, he realizes that behaviour was a self-destructive and dumb waste of time, so he is trying to quit the habit (and he is listening to a different kind of music, too).
- Heroes Want Redheads: Shinji. He blatantly admits Asuka is the only person he would have gone to the school dance with.
- Heroic BSOD: Shinji nearly has a mental breakdown in chapter 13 when he's recounting his story to Kaji and a JDF intelligence officer; they have to slip him a mild sedative to calm him down.
- High School Sweethearts: Shinji and Asuka were fourteen and thirteen respectively when they met. They liked each other but Shinji never saw it until it was too late. After returning to the past he is trying to make things right this time and hook up with the only girl he has ever loved.
- Hope Is Scary: Thanks to Shinji, Asuka is considering that, for first time in one decade, maybe she has met someone she can trust, open up to, and rely on. She thinks maybe she does not need to push Shinji away, and she can lower her walls around him... and the thought scares her more than any Angel.
- Hopeless Suitor: Chihiro and most of Shinji's female classmates chase after him. However Shinji only has eyes for Asuka. Several times he says he will never consider to date any of them.
- Hot-Blooded: Asuka's fierce and courageous temper was one of the things Shinji first noticed about her and loved.
- Humongous Mecha: The Evangelions. Neither politicians nor army men relish the idea of relying on giant robots to fight, but Shinji quickly proves that they are the best weapon to battle the giant aliens.
- Hurting Hero:
- After his mother's passing and his father abandoning him, Shinji was raised by people did not care about him for ten years. Then he fought a War against giant space aliens where he and everyone he cared about were hurt, abused and manipulated until he was broken enough to wish for the end of mankind. And now he has to go through it again, burdened with the weight of his massive guit as he tries to not let anyone down this time.
- During an argument with Asuka related to a school trip, Misato ponders how badly Asuka was betrayed and hurt in the past by everyone and even so she still fights giant aliens that threaten mankind.
- The "I Love You" Stigma: When Asuka asked him bluntly what she was to him, Shinji avoided to tell he loved her because he was afraid of scaring her away. So he settled for telling she meant a lot to him.
- I Miss Mom:
- During their argument in the Eva cages, Shinji said his father he has not forgotten that robot was the thing swallowed his mother. He constantly misses Yui, and when a co-worker told him several things he remembered about her, Shinji was deeply grateful for those memories.
- Later Asuka asks Shinji if his mother still shelters him. When Shinji replies his mother is dead Asuka feels horrible because she misses her late mother badly and realizes Shinji must feel the same thing.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: A hilarious version. Shinji, on a whim, reveals the whole bit about "I'm a time traveler who's trying to change the past to atone for my mistakes"... to PenPen. The bird's response?(PenPen) stared at his back for several long, long seconds before continuing into the kitchen, retrieving a can from Misato's stash, stopping in consideration, retrieving a second, and retreating into his fridge.
"Yeah" Shinji muttered as he stacked the plates in the dishwasher. "That's about what I thought you'd say".
- Played straight with Kaji, who admits he needed several hours of hard drinking after getting proof of Shinji's claims of time-travel.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Shinji did not care -too much- for Asuka's gloating because he knew that piloting Eva was all she thought she had. He knew that her pride was the only thing holding her together and he did not want to see her to fall apart again.
- Ironic Echo: Asuka to Shinji: "You're not the type of person who just sits around, moping in your bedroom for hours on end."
- I Uh You Too: During a school dance Asuka asks Shinji straightforwardly what is she to him. Shinji does not want to tell plainly he loves her because he is frightened of scaring her away, so he resorts to tell "You... mean a lot to me" and other euphemisms.
- Just Friends: During the school dance, a girl asks Asuka if Shinji and her are an item. Asuka replies they are just friends. Of course, when the girl suggests maybe she will get him all for herself, Asuka advises her keeping her hands far, far away Shinji.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Poor Shinji. It isn't that he doesn't want to help, it's that he feels extremely morally obligated to help.
- Last Girl Wins: Asuka was the last relevant character Shinji met in the original timeline, and he fell for her. In the reset timeline she is also the last girl he meets, and he wants to hook up with her.
- Latex Space Suit: The plug-suits
- Leeroy Jenkins: In her second battle, Asuka carelessly charges head-on, ignoring Shinji's warnings. Thank Shinji she avoided getting her butt handed to her, but she still acknowledged and cursed her own recklessness.
- Lethal Chef: Shinji has very bad memories of Misato's horrid cooking skills. When she tells hims that he will be staying with her, Shinji is happy... until he remembers it means he will have to eat whatever she "cooks" again, and he gets terrified.Misato: “I’ll cook you a huge welcome home meal!”
Shinji: “Oh…great” (thinking) Oh God in Heaven, not again, I can’t go through that…food…again…
- Let's Get Dangerous: Shinji's new attitude is due to him being aware of what is at stake and refusing to fail everybody again. Hence, he is more determined and dangerous in battle.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Invoked. The director of JDA intelligence chooses codenames based on nearby items, in order to make his agents harder to find.
- Lighter and Softer: When he returned to the past, Shinji was determined to set his world right. His -both covert and overt- influence has got good effects so far: Touji's sister did not get crippled when he fought Sachiel, Rei is learning to make friends, Asuka trusts and respects her teammates more than in canon... Nonetheless everything can go to Hell again if he is not careful, and Shinji is well aware of it.
- Love Hurts:
- Shinji fell in love with Asuka. When he saw that she had gotten killed by the MP-Evas it shattered his sanity to pieces. Even though he returned to the past to Set Right What Once Went Wrong it haunts him knowing he did nothing as she was getting chopped into pieces and eaten alive.
- After meeting Shinji Asuka starts to connect with him deeply, and it scares her because she is afraid that she will get hurt if she falls in love with him.
- Love Interest:
- Shinji and Asuka are each other's.
- Touji and Hikari.
- Rei and Kensuke.
- Lovely Angels: An involuntary but welcome consequence of Shinji meddling with the timeline was Asuka and Rei becoming friends and a better fighting team. As Shinji thought: "And woe to the enemies of humanity if this fragile new friendship grew into the simultaneously awesome and terrible weapon it could become..."
- Manipulative Bastard: Koga Hayashi, the JSSDF's top Interrogator; known as "The Warlock" behind his back. However, he's arguably one of the good guys.
- Mama Bear: When Shinji and Asuka were fighting Gaghiel Shinji could not focus properly. Then he tried reaching out for Asuka's mother, screaming mentally her daughter would die if she didn't help them. Kyoko reacted so furiously the backlash knocked Shinji out, as Unit-02 easily forced Gaghiel's jaws open. Asuka reached a 100% synchronization with her EVA right then. Misato is also fiercely protective of Shinji and Asuka (Kaji notes that she was perfectly willing to kill to protect Shinji.)
- Marshmallow Hell: Shinji gets one from Misato in episode 4. She nearly accidentally suffocates him to death, but he did not really mind.
- Meaningful Name: Averted. We get to see things from the JSSDF's POV this time around, and the Code Names they use are deliberately meaningless; the guy actually responsible for the designations tends to name them after random, everyday things that happen to be nearby. Example: Operation "Wallpaper" is the name for their highly classified ongoing investigation into SEELE and NERV, while their highest ranking source is known as Agent "Balcony".
- Mecha Show
- The Men in Black: The NERV's special agents. Shinji mentions them when he goes to talk Fuyutsuki in chapter 9. They are seen in chapters 11, 12 and 13 when several Section-2 bodyguards have to follow Asuka, Rei, Hikari and Misato around and carrying their purchases while they go shopping.
- Mental Time Travel: When Shinji decides in Third Impact to 'go back', Lilith takes a different idea of what 'go back' means. She inserts a steel rod into his back to make up for his complete lack of a spine, then sends him back into the past. shinji wakes up in his fourteen-years-old body, staring at the payphone he was trying to use right when Sachiel attacked at the beginning of the series.
- Mildly Military: This is actually a plot point. Shinji feels he is not integrated with the remaining NERV workers because they are professional and business-like whereas he is too informal and must come across as a little boy playing war games and then going home. So that he requests for the pilots wearing his own NERV uniforms.
- Mind Screw: This is Evangelion. It is to be expected. Other than the Third Impact, a minor but humorous one happens when a package is been delivered to the Katsuragi household while Shinji is at school. Shinji doesn't want to try figuring out how PenPen had signed for it because he suspects the truth would destroy his mind.
- A lot of things PenPen does tends to boggle the mind; Misato has somehow turned the bird into an alcoholic and he apparently reads the Wall Street Journal every morning to check stock rates.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Shinji was abandoned by his father when he was four and summoned ten years later because his father needed him to pilot a Humongous Mecha and fight alien monsters. Due to the machinations of his father during the Angel war Shinji got hurt physically and emotionally, and saw his life's love, his sister, his surrogate mother and his friends suffering and dying until he crumbled down and let the world dying. Then he got a second chance, and he revealed the secrets of Nerv to Kaji as soon as he met him.
- The Mole: Shinji. He reveals the truth to Kaji, hoping the older man and spy will help him to avert the Third Impact. In turn, Kaji gets him in contact with the Military, and he (Shinji) becomes their best source of info on the activities and goals of NERV and SEELE. He even gets a code-name: Balcony.
- No Endor Holocaust: Averted. The author doesn't shy away of showing how much people perish in the battles and how much collateral and property damage they cause.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Shinji's return match against Sachiel. After ultimately deciding against waiting for Unit-01 to go berserk on its own, he takes advantage of his previous synch ratio and combat experience to literaly tear the Angel down, leaving it almost no chance to retaliate. He even manages to contain the blast caused by its self-destruction with his AT-Field, and acts confused after the fight to pass his combat prowess off as Unit-01's awakening.
- Noodle Incident:
- The Jet Alone mess? It is just mentioned in passing.
- After Shinji turned Chihiro down, some students spread rumors of he was gay. However, thanks Toji and Hikari, after a very embarassing morning, almost nobody believed those rumors. Shinji did not specify what happened in that morning.
- Fuyutsuki does not know how the UN managed to get a frigate down in the Geofront, but doesn't make any inquiries into the matter as he reasons it's a good test of his self control... and it probably wouldn't beat the story of the motorboat in Terminal Dogma anyways.
- No Sense of Personal Space: When Asuka met Shinji she immediately and aggressively stepped into his personal space to study him. During their posterior interactions she tended to get extremely close to Shinji.
- No Social Skills: Shinji grows a spine and some few social skills before returning to the past. His attitude utterly befuddles his father, since Gendo expected him being meeker and more pliable. However Shinji keeps being bad with people and a bit introvert. It comes up several times, such like Shinji realizing -too late- he might have given several female classmates hints he was interested in them, or blurting out to Hikari that he knows she likes Touji.
- Not What It Looks Like: In a chapter, Misato caughts Asuka leaving Shinjis' room at the morning. Asuka has to explain that is not what it looks like, she had been not acting untoward towards Shinji and had a good reason for she sleeping in his room. And in his bed. With him in said bed, at the same time. The reason beuing he had nightmares and she was triyng comforting him.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Genre Savvy Shinji goes out of his way to act completely inept in his first combat simulation (and does such a good job of it that the staff nicknamed him "Godzilla''), then asks for a week of training combat training so he can have a more believable explanation for his piloting skills.
- Official Couple: Shinji and Asuka.
- Oh Crap!:
- From Gendo and Ritsuko when Shinji stated he remembered how his mother died. Also, Shinji realizing that one of the changes in the timeline was that the Angels were becoming more powerful and more dangerous than he remembered.
- And from Shinji when he realized he had let Keel have a good glimpse of his thoughts.
- And from the audience when Keel realized the Third Child somehow knew him.
- Older Than They Look / Wise Beyond Their Years: After traveling to the past, Shinji looks (naturally) like a teenager. However he mentally and emotionally is rather older. A secondary character actually notes this.
- One-Man Army: Fed up with an admiral slighting the Evangelions, Shinji points out that in his first engagement he went up against a monster that obliterated a Tank Battallion and three dozens of aircraft and shrugged nukes off... and he took out that enemy in sixty-three seconds.
- Shinji also admits freely that Asuka is more badass than him.
- One-Liner: Lampshaded. Shinji notes to himself that one of the best parts of going back in time is "Using all those clever lines you thought up too late."
- Out-of-Character Moment: Like many Peggy Sue fics, this comes into play. Several characters have noted that Shinji's current personality does not match up with previous reports on him. Also, Ritsuko became suspicious of Shinji after she noticed the supposedly "Berserk" EVA 01 use a prog knife the same way she had seen Asuka do in a video report even though the two had yet to meet.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In chapter 10, Asuka admits that she had screwed up in front of Rei, and Rei apologized for Asuka. And Shinji, who was staring at shock and whose jaw almost hit the floor, wondered why nobody had informed him that Earth started rotating from West to East overnight.
- Parental Substitute:
- After returning to the past Shinji hopes Misato becomes his guardian again. She does not disappoint. Later he says to the face of SEELE Misato was the only person had looked after him, unlike his so-called biological family.
- Misato was also Asuka's guardian in Germany. Asuka felt she was the first person since her mother's death had genuinely cared about her. Later, when she nearly died while she was fighting into a volcano, Asuka felt betrayed because Misato seemed more concerned about destroying the enemy than about her safety, but Misato acknowledged she had acted wrongly, explained her actions, apologized and reassured her than she cared about her and Shinji.
- Peggy Sue
- People Jars: Rei spends several scenes floating inside a transparent vat filled with LCL, healing her body or downloading her memories in her clones' brains.
- Properly Paranoid: Shinji got forced to confront Seele in chapter 17. Inwardly he was coming up with all kind of bad scenarios and disastrous outcomes (including Seele saying they knew everything before putting a bullet in his head). His paranoia was, of course, justified and understandable. However, he never imagined what trump card Keel would play.
- Recursive Fanfiction:
- The Finale of the Ultimate Meta Mega Crossover contains references to this story and at least other three different fanworks (RE-TAKE, Thousand Shinji and Shinji And Warhammer 40 K).
- In A Crown Of Stars, Once More With Feeling is part of The Multiverse, and several events of this story are mentioned.
- Chihiro Tanaka shows up in Advice And Trust.
- Red Is Heroic: Asuka is a giant robot pilot and and wears red most of time. When Shinji saw her red mecha he said the color suited her.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni:
- Asuka and Shinji are like this. Asuka is the Red Oni -temperamental, bold and daring- is the Shinji is the Blue -tranquil and quiet even when he is angry-.
- Rei -calm, soft-spoken- is also the Blue Oni to Asuka's Red one. Due to Shinji changing the timeline events they unexpectedly become friends, and better teammates (and Rei actually saves Asuka's from dying inside a volcano.
- Reverse Mole: On one hand, Shinji is feeding information to the enemy about what the organization he works for he is up to. On the other hand, given WHAT that organization is up to, and what he is trying to avert (including the deaths of those ones he cares for), you would be hard-pressed to call him a bad guy (and if they knew about his motives, it is highly doubtful anybody bar Gendo and SEELE would call him a traitor). He is essentially a good guy pretends to be a bad guy pretending to be a good guy.
- Robeast: The Angels.
- Science Fiction Fan Fic: Here you find Time Travel, Humongous Mecha, alien invaders, Eldritch Abominations...
- Secret Keeper: Kaji is the only major character who knows that Shinji's already been through all this.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Lilith misunderstands Shinji when he says he wants to go back, and she sends him back in time. Shinji gets shocked but he decides that he will use that chance nevertheless to atone for everything that he did and did not]. He is so determined to win the Angel War, protect his surrogate family and make amends that his behaviour gets Misato puzzled, since she does not understand why he goes out of his way to help everyone and make them happy (and he cannot tell her he feels guilty for leaving her, Asuka and Rei dying and obliterating the whole humankind).
- She Cleans Up Nicely: In episode 15 Asuka, Rei and Hikari got ready to attend she school dance. When they arrived at the place the dance was held, everyone -including their dates- stared at them open-mouthed. Hikari especially drew many stares of people could not believe how beautiful the usually plain-looking class representative looked.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: A girl asks Asuka if Shinji is her boyfriend. Asuka claims they are Just Friends, and the girl hints maybe she will take him all for herself, then. Asuka chewed her head off.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: After living through the war and Third Impact Shinji got sent to the beginning of everything. Although he is trying to grow a spine, become a better person and do things right this time, he is heavily traumatized and feeling inmensely guilty for everyone's deaths. Some characters note that he seems older and more tired than a fourteen-years-old should, and Kaji is amazed that Shinji has not tried to kill himself yet.
- Shipper on Deck: Shinji tries hooking up Touji and Hikari. He also tries setting Rei up with Kensuke. Kaji also gives tips to Shinji for winning Asuka over. There also is an interesting inversion: Obviously Shinji is not against Kaji and Misato hooking up, but after telling Kaji how his death left Misato devastated in the original timeline, Kaji decides to stop flirting with her until the Angels, Gendo and SEELE are defeated and dead.
- Ship Tease: The Shinji/Asuka teasing was plentyful and blatant. Before meeting her for first time -again- Shinji often thinks he will never be able to love someone else, and when he hears about the cancelled school dance, he gets it un-cancelled so that he has a chance to ask Asuka going together. During their first meeting Asuka wonders why Shinji gets under her skin so easily, and later, while Shinji is sleeping in her cockpit, she spends a good while staring at his face.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Although Shinji was not afraid of arguing with Asuka anymore he did his best to not hurt her pride because after going through Instrumentality he knew it a mask and underneath she was a scared little girl thought being a pilot was everything she had.Then the Second Child had arrived, bringing with her conflict, friction and more then a few painful contusions to his head as she continually let him know exactly what she thought of him as an Eva Pilot, a man and a human.
All of it a giant lie to shield the four year old girl desperately hiding deep behind the moats, minefields and electrified fences she had placed around her heart.
- The Stations of the Canon: Inevitably due to it being a Peggy Sue fic, it goes throughout the series (Shinji coming Tokyo-3, Misato picking him up, he arguing with his father in the cages...), making gradual changes (for example, he did not run away after the battle against Samshel).
- Stepford Smiler: Shinji may come off as cheerful and easygoing, but in reality he's struggling with massive amounts of guilt, rage, fear, and grief.
- Stress Vomit: In chapter 3 Shinji faces his father, calls him out and demands combat pay in exchange for piloting a giant robot and risking his life. He succeeds, but he was so terrified during the confrontation that after leaving Gendo's office he hurried to the bathroom and spent thirty seconds throwing up.
- Surprise Checkmate: A variation with Go.
- Talking in Bed: In chapter 16 Asuka noticed Shinji was having nightmares so she slept with him to try to help him to sleep better. Before falling asleep Shinji talked to her about his nightmares and told her he was terribly frightened of let her down or her dying because he was unable to avoid it or too coward to do anything.
- They Do: Although the story is dormnant, the author has said that Shinji and Asuka will eventually get together.
- Think Unsexy Thoughts: Invoked by Shinji during the fight against Gaghiel. To distract himself from Asuka's chest touching his back, he conjures up the picture of Gendo in a one piece and instantly regrets it.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: Asuka started to wear a ponytail in chapter 11.
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Shinji took a level when he returned to the past. Now he knows what the stakes are and what the prize of failure is, so he fights seriously and fiercely rather wasting time whining and feeling sorry for himself. And he uses all his experience and knowledge gained in the original timeline. The result is a more dangerous, more focused and more experienced fighter.
- As shown in his first battle: in the original timeline Sachiel beat him around until his mother went berserker. In the altered timeline he slaughtered Sachiel so quickly and ruthlessly than Gendo and Ritsuko thought Yui had gone berserker.
- Took a Level in Cheerfulness: Shinji is taking great pains to prevent Asuka from breaking down again, making sure that she knows that there are people care about her and value her, and will do so even if she stops being a pilot. The result is she is happier and more upbeat than in the original timeline.
- Took a Level in Idealism: After travelling back in time Shinji learns to not run away and not give up. He uses this newfound wisdom to help Rei and Asuka to be more open and be more optimistic and hopeful.
- Took a Level in Kindness: After returning to the past, Shinji knows exactly why Asuka is rude and and confrontational and what ticks her off, and makes sure to show her that he is there for her and not behave as a wimp who apologises for everything, never stands up and always backs off, to avoid pressing her berserk buttons. As a result, she becomes more sympathetic and nicer. This is especially obvious in several scenes, such as where she admits to Rei she screwed up during a battle or where she says it would be unfair going to Okinawa alone while Shinji and Rei stay in Tokyo-3.
- Tsundere: Asuka, of course. Though she's beginning to show more of her "dere" side than she ever did in Canon; due to her interations with Shinji, she's started to re-examine her life.
- Tragic Keepsake: Shinji somehow brought Misato's cross-shaped pendant with him to the past (likely Lilith/Rei's doing) as a reminder of his past mistakes. Becomes important later on when it's used to prove his time-travel story to Kaji and the military.
- Tranquil Fury: Asuka slips into this when she sees Rei's atrocious living conditions, and finds out the whole thing was arranged by Gendo.
- Unkempt Beauty: In chapter 11 Asuka wakes up and does not bother with brushing her hair, thinking that Shinji would not notice. However he DID notice... and he thought that she looked really, really stunning.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Par for the course.
- Villainous Friendship: Keel Lorenz and Shinji's grandfather Takuya Ikari seem to have this dynamic. Takuya was the closest thing Keel had to a mentor, and he seems to respect him more than the other high-ranking SEELE members, valuing his input and willing to be completely honest with him. For his part, Takuya is the only person in SEELE who can be casual, even sardonic, with the chairman.
- WAFF: During the scenes involving Shinji and Asuka.
- Wave Motion Gun: In episode 7 the cast fights Ramiel -an Eldritch Abomination armed with a huge laser blast-, building a gigantic cannon shot a massive particle ray.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Some fans have wondered what happened to Rei/Lilith after her last chat with Shinji. The author has stated she was barely a memory that has since faded.
- With Due Respect: In chapter 9 the cast has fown to a carrier to picking Asuka and Unit 02. However the fleet's Admiral is complaining non-stopping about being turned into a cargo service and having to baby-sit a bunch of children. Finally Shinji got fed up with it:“With the greatest of respect, Sir” he continued, “the twin of that toy you are transporting took out that Angel in sixty three seconds, with no civilian casualties, no military casualties and minimal collateral damage to the city it was fighting in. Us ‘kids’ have to pilot these things because there isn’t anyone else who can. While our classmates at school are worrying about who they’ll invite to the dance, we are wondering if tomorrow we’ll die as we’re ripped to pieces by something nuclear weapons barely slow down, knowing if we fail, out entire race is going to die. So, respectfully, I’d ask you to show some fucking respect”.
- Worthy Opponent: Asuka finds both Shinji and Toji to be these when it comes to verbal sparring; Shinji in terms of wit, and Toji in terms of tenacity.
"So I'll make you a deal Third Child, [...] If you, at some point in the future, let me down utterly, completely and catastrophically like you think you might, I forgive you in advance for it…providing that you don't mope around like an idiot for the rest of your life but find a way, any way, to make it right, and you don't stop trying until you do. Fair enough?"