Fanfic: The One I Love Is

During a test inside Unit-01, Rei realizes she cares for Shinji... and even though he cares for her, his attention had been shifting towards Asuka. Determined to stop a put to THAT, Rei decides to try to get Shinji's attention back. In turn, her actions force Asuka to her drop her denial act -and her own self-denial-, show her real feelings and pursue Shinji too. And all of sudden, Shinji finds himself being in the middle of a war between the two persons he cares most about... while the war against the Angels keeps waging and his personal traumas keep getting worse.

Written by Alain Gravel/Rakna back in 1999 and described by his author like "A story about how the love of two special girls can change one Ikari Shinji", The One I Love Is is one of the first Neon Genesis Evangelion classic fanfics. It tries to address the next question seriously: "What might have happened if instead of a deconstruction of the Everyone Can See It trope, a real Love Triangle would have developed between the three pilots during the course of the series?". However, unlike other shipping/romance fics, it does not neglect the real events of the series, and makes its better to fit the event fics in the original series. Most of tragedies and mind-screwness happened in the anime show also happened here. However, due to the changes of relationships, the characters react differently to them, and evolve and develop accordingly, leading to Shinji having not only to choose between two girls... but also between saving the world and comndening it.

It can be found on Rakna/Alain Gravel's old homepage along side-stories written by other authors, fanart and translations to other languages (it really was SO popular among the fandom back in the day), and here, and here.

This fanfic provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: A fan began a sequel, setting the first episode between the end of episode 12 and the epilogue. Regrettably, that fan never got around to write more than THAT only episode.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Most of the fic is told from Shinji's point of view, but some scenes in later episodes (and most of the side-stories) narrate events from other characters' point of view to flesh the plot out.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • In episode 6:
    Asuka: "It's okay. I can manage on my own. You be happy with Rei... Shinji... I... I love you..."
    • In episode 9:
    Shinji: "Well, I don't! I don't care! I don't care if you can't pilot those goddamn things again! I love you for who you are, not because you're a pilot!!!"
  • Apologises a Lot: Shinji has the habit of constantly apologizing, and it gets Asuka mad. However she gets mad because she feels that Shinji doesn't apologize for he feels that he has done something wrong but because he tries to avoid a scolding, and it drives her mad that he is unable to stand up to himself.
  • Arc Words: "Some truths can hurt if a person is not ready to hear them."
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Asuka delivered one to Shinji in episode 4. To be honest, it was pretty deserved. Misato also delivered him one in episode 11.
  • Author Appeal: After completing the series, Rakna confessed Asuka was his favorite character and he had always planned for a Shinji/Asuka ending. However he also stated he started truly liking Rei after writing chapter 3 and he nearly changed his mind.
  • Battle Couple: Shinji and Asuka.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Shinji and Asuka at the beginning. It mellows down as the same time their relationship develops.
  • Berserk Button: Do not even think about hurt or harm Asuka or Rei in some way, shape or form. Shinji… will not be nice to you.
  • The Berserker: Shinji at the Final Battle.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Shinji. Rei also counts.
  • Break the Haughty: Asuka. Although it was more of a breaking over and over and then stomping on the shattered pieces.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: After learning about Rei's origins Shinji states Rei is Rei, and he does not care about them.
  • Can't Spit It Out: Asuka had a very hard time confessing openly her feelings to Shinji. And the fact of Shinji has also a very hard time with this is part of what moves the plot forward.
  • Cat Fight: Rei and Asuka have two of them. They were able to make up after the second, though.
  • Character Development: Several characters go through it, but mainly the three pilots evolve greatly through the story. Shinji learns to stand up for himself and stopping to run away and give up (Word of God stated in one of the author notes it was one of his main goals, since he simply hated what Shinji had become at End of Evangelion). Asuka learns to stop to push people away, to not let her existence was defined by piloting a Humongous Mecha (like another certain Humongous Mecha Ace Pilot / Broken Ace that she is a Gender Flipped Expy from did) and to open herself up to others. And Rei learns to acknowledge her emotions, show her feelings and developing bonds.
  • Characterization Marches On: Back when the fic was being written, fans debated whether it was or was not Misato the one shot Kaji (shortly after, Word of God stated she did not). Rakna was uncertain about how he wanted to handle and he even put up a poll in his site. Finally he decided leaving it ambiguous. Also, it is interesting pondering how Asuka's portrayal could have been affected by one of the extra scenes added in later releases (the one showed she had wept after kissing Shinji because she believed he really was not interested in her since he had not kissed her back and he would not even hold her or touch her) or if he would have added the manga event regarding her stepmother to her backstory, and how it would played out.
  • Chick Magnet: Shinji goes from believing nobody cares for him to ask -more than once- why girls are interested in him and what has he done to deserve it. The old homepage even joked about it, displaying pictures of Asuka, Rei, Misato and Hikari and asking if they were romantically interested in Shinji.
  • Cool Down Hug: Shinji to Asuka during their fight in chapter 4, Shinji to Misato after Kaji's last phone call, Shinji to Asuka after her Mind Rape, Asuka to Shinji after Rei's death...
  • Death Equals Redemption: Averted with Gendo. Dying did not redeem him. Nor it earned him Yui’s forgiveness.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Asuka goes through several of them (in episode 6, episode 9 and after Rei II’s death). Shinji almost suffers one after Kaoru’s death, but Character Development and a Misato’s lecture avoided it. Unfortunately he suffered another after seeing the MP Evas chewing the bloody remains of the Unit-02.
  • The Determinator: At the end of episode 11 Misato explained to Shinji why he could not and should not give up. If she would only have that in the original series...
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Unit-01 ran the Lance through the fusion of Lilith and Gendo.
  • Driven to Suicide: Asuka.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: At the start of last episode, Shinji softly kisses a comatous Asuka, replacing the disturbing hospital scene of End of Evangelion and its equally disturbing manga counterpart with a Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming.
  • Emotionless Girl: Not so emotionless, after all.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone but Shinji, that is. At least before the Rei/Asuka screaming match in episode 2.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: After the failed Third Impact, Gendos finds himself locked in a kind of Limbo, facing an eternity of being alone as he tries to redeem himself. His hope is it lasts time enough for his wife forgiving him and being together again.
  • Fiery Redhead: Asuka is -of couse!- quite hot-tempered. It is even reinforced by the episode 4 title: "Don't play with fire".
  • First Girl Wins: Averted. Nope. She does not.
  • For Want of a Nail: Rei realizes she likes Shinji and gives him a chocolate box in Valentine’s Day. That action unleashes a chain of little changes do not alter the series' main plot at the beginning but slowly and eventually they lead to the salvation of humankind.
  • Freudian Excuse: Nearly the whole history is narrated from Shinji's point of view, so Gendo is treated like a less than sympathetic figure. One of the sides-stories (Let the World Burn/One Dream at a Time) explores his motivations, showing him like a pathetic, broken shell of a man was afraid of people and had fully fallen apart cause his wife's death and was willing to send everything to Hell to find her again.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself Man: Misato to Shinji after Kaoru’s death. It was an epic lecture included a slap worthy of Bright Noa himself and avoided Shinji crossed the Despair Event Horizon right then.
  • Gender Flip: Kaoru Nagisa.
  • Happily Married: Shinji and Asuka.
  • Heroes Prefer Redheads: Shinji finds himself attracted to Asuka... and at the end, he chooses her.
  • Hates Being Alone: The three Children suffered of this in the original material, but it increases cause the events of the fic. Rei no longer wants to be alone, and Shinji and Asuka (who was good pretending otherwise) hate it now. The former tells he was used to it before, but after being in a Love Triangle he does not want to be alone again. And the latter sobs to Shinji she is sick of being alone during a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to herself.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Asuka was the best Eva pilot, a genius and a beautiful girl. She gloated about it because her very fragile self-esteem depended on being the best at all what she did. However throughout the fic she got routinely beaten by her teammates, defeated by the Angels and the guy she loves is uncapable to choose between her and another girl. When she is mind Raped, that is the final blow and humilliation and she feels that she is worthless and she has nothing to live for. She even quotes the line verbatim:
    Asuka: "How the mighty have fallen. Look at me... I'm crying... I hate crying... only a weak person cries. I hate Wonder Girl... she showed everyone how pathetic I was. I hate you... you made me cry, now you can see how disgusting I am. I hate everybody... but most of all... I hate myself..."
  • Humongous Mecha: The Evas.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • Played straight in chapter three, when Shinji is making out with Rei and suddenly he starts thinking about Asuka, and he is unable to go on. If he would have realized what that meant, the story could have ended up right then, but instead of it he complained about she mucking things up.
    • Played straight again one chapter later. Asuka dares Shinji to kiss her because she was bored. Typically clueless, Shinji replies that "You don't kiss a guy because you're bored". Exactly, Shinji. So, think: Why does she want to kiss you?
    • Averted in a later chapter. Shinji suggests Asuka her parents surely care about her. She lets him know that his father does not give a damn about her and her mother is dead. After few seconds it hit him that she was just like him.
  • Latex Space Suit: The plugsuits.
  • Love Epiphany: Shinji has three: when he realizes he has fallen in love with Rei, when he understands he cares for Asuka because he is in love with her, and finally when he understands it is Asuka the one he loves the most.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Gendo specifically states his hands are blood-stained because he thought it would be the only way to reunite with his wife. And in an alternate ending, Shinji. Determined to get Asuka back, he is following his father's steps.
  • Mama Bear: Naturally, Unit-01. But not how you would expect. Other than the times it went berserker to protect Shinji, when Misato said she did not want to die because she was pregnant, it activated on its own.
  • Mind Rape: Again, Asuka suffers one at the hands of Arael.
  • Mind Screw: Nearly so many as in the original series.
  • Noodle Incident: Subverted. After getting pulled out of Unit-01, Shinji asks what happened between Asuka and rei. Misato mentions off-handily a Cat Fight, but she does not supply details. A side-story, though, narrated what happened between them.
  • Not So Different: In the false epilogue we could have seen what Shinji could have become if Asuka would have never awoken from her coma: He would become eerily aloof and driven, and his obsession with saving the woman he loved back would drive him to manipulate everyone around and treating him like tools in his goal of bringing about the Instrumentality. In a nutshell, he would turn into his father. And, like a reader put it, the scariest thing of that alternate epilogue it it feels right.
    • Also, Shinji notes several times along the story it is distressing how alike Asuka and he are.
  • Oblivious to Love: In first episode, Rei gives Shinji a chocolate heart, much to his surprise. Hikari then tells him Asuka is in love with him, much to his utter amazement and disbelief.
  • Out of Character: Although the author tries to -and perhaps succeed in- justify it, Rei is the most ooc character in the series. The remainder characters on the other hand are pretty spot-on.
  • Parental Substitute: Shinji looks up to Kaji and often goes to him for advice or counseling. And more than once he wondered why could not he be his father.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Done several times by Asuka to HERSELF as a horrified Shinji sees her –someone who he admired by being braver and more confident than him- tearing herself apart.
  • Red Is Heroic: Asuka wears a red plugsuit and rides a red robot.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Asuka and Rei. Their relationship greatly evolves throughout the fanfic. First Asuka detests Rei and Rei ignores her. Later they can not stand each other. Finally, they try to become friends.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After seeing what the MP Evas had done to Asuka, Shinji goes berserker. He practically channelled Kouji Kabuto (mainly the Shin Mazinger Zero incarnation) in that instant.
    Shinji: "Die... die... die... die! Die! Die! You monsters! You killed Asuka! I'll kill you! Kill you! I'LL KILL YOU ALL!"
  • Robeast <=> Eldritch Abomination: The Angels.
  • Running Gag: Shinji falling on top of women.
  • Sacred First Kiss: During their first date Asuka (not entirely) jokingly accuses Shinji of completely ruining her first kiss. He agreed, feeling pretty guilty about it. In all hindsight, kissing her forcefully as she was teasing him, admitting he had kissed Rei before their date and then yelling it was nothing of her bussiness whom he kissed was probably not a good idea.
  • Ship Sinking: Misato/Kaji after Kaji got apparently murdered. Also, Shinji/Rei at the end.
  • Shout-Out: Plenty of them, especially to anime shows (Ranma ½, Sailor Moon, Rurouni Kenshin...) or even fanfic were popular among the fandom back then.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: In episode 5 Shinji does this to Asuka to shut her up after she dares him to kiss her.
  • The Stations of the Canon: It starts halfpoint in the series and it follows the order of battles and main events closely.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Shinji. Several times. You have that time Asuka tried -clumsily- to seduce him, and he thought she was just trying to screw with Rei, so he slapped her, called her names and treated her like dirt for several days. And then you have that another time that he insulted Rei and made her to cry because she had not told him who was the Fourth Child. In his defense, he later admited he had acted wrong and apologized to both girls.
  • That Didn't Happen: When Misato heard Kaji's last message, Shinji tried to reassure her and carry her to her bed (instead of hiding inside his bedroom. That scene alone should show you how much he had already changed for that point). Unluckily -or unluckily- they tripped and he fell on top of her. Misato kissed him before both of them fell asleep. At the next morning they agree they will not talk about it again.
  • Title Drop: It happens sometimes.
  • Triang Relations: The closer is a Type 7, with Shinji loving both Asuka and rei and both girls in love with him.
  • Tsundere: Asuka.
  • Wham Line:
    Misato: "I don't want to die... because... because... I'm... I'm pregnant..."
  • Zeerust: Averted in an unintentional -and ironically funny- way. In a chapter, Misato plays a Dvd for Shinji. Alain told in the author notes he guessed in 2015 there would be more advanced technology than dvd technology, but he didn't feel like making something up. Nearly in 2015, dvds keep being the most widespread information-storing technology.