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    Shinji Ikari 

Voiced by: Megumi Ogata (Japanese); Spike Spencer [ADV, Death & Rebirth, End of Evangelion, Rebuild], Casey Mongillo [VSI] (English)note 

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"I mustn't run away. I mustn't run away. I mustn't run away..."

Shinji, the Third Child, is the estranged son of NERV Commander Gendō Ikari. He is the main protagonist and the Ordinary High-School Student of the cast, and the series is actually mostly about him and his relationships with the other characters. He witnessed the death of his mother Yui when he was four years old (she was seemingly killed in an early test stage of Evangelion Unit-01), and was abandoned by his father shortly thereafter. As a result, he suffers from an extreme lack of self-confidence, has a very low opinion of himself, and generally does whatever is asked of him.

Especially in the early episodes, Shinji is the series' Butt-Monkey, the victim of almost every joke the scriptwriters could come up with for purposes of comedy relief. He's The So-Called Coward who saves the day occasionally but never gets any respect; the No Respect Guy who means well but can't ever get a break; the "Well Done, Son!" Guy who desperately wants his father to validate his existence. His day-to-day personality is meek, insecure, and indecisive, shaped by his constant fear of being hurt by his relationships with others. Although this is the only way he can cope when dealing with people, it hinders his interactions with fellow pilots Rei and Asuka, both of whom he is attracted to, and with his extroverted and very attractive guardian, Misato Katsuragi. Only when fighting the Angels does an inner core of strength and Determination shine through. Unfortunately, because of his psychological trauma, it often takes a mixture of Unstoppable Rage and suicidal fear to bring it to manifest.

In the first episode, Gendo blackmails Shinji into piloting Unit-01 with the threat that if he doesn't, a severely-wounded Rei will be sent out in his place to certain death. Because of this, Shinji is reluctant to pilot his Eva, doing it more out of a sense of duty and moral obligation than anything else. He seems to be the only pilot who fully grasps what is at stake, although he does not want such responsibility, and it weighs heavily upon him and constantly preys upon his mind. More than once he tries to run away or escape from his life as a pilot, only to return when driven back by the knowledge that he can't stand by while the world is destroyed. However, despite whatever conviction influences his decisions, an overriding theme in the series is that his actions are those of a child seeking approval, piloting Eva to earn his estranged father's praise or desperately trying to be accepted and valued by the people around him.

Over the first half or so of the series, Shinji makes noticeable progress toward becoming more stable and more accepting of others. However, beginning with the Angel Leliel's attack, and the increasing toll subsequent Angels' attacks and revelations about the truths behind NERV and SEELE take on him and everyone around him, Shinji becomes increasingly alienated, increasingly depressed, and his sanity slowly erodes. By the end of episode 24, he is on the verge of a nervous breakdown or starting one. This leads to a major point of contrast between the anime's more hopeful resolution in episodes 25 and 26, and End of Evangelion, where he becomes much less sympathetic, particularly at the start when he masturbates over a comatose Asuka and later attempts to strangle her. What was once bravery becomes insane recklessness, as his pain drives him to a point where he no longer really cares whether he (or anyone else) lives or dies.

In the manga version, Shinji's personality has noticeable differences, as he is more apathetic, depressive, and prone to anger or snarkiness, rather than being fearful and cringing. Although he is portrayed as being a bit more stable, he is fundamentally the same damaged child. His Character Development in this version is also very different than the anime version. This is most seen in how he feels about the people around him. In the anime, he comes to believe that nobody cares about him, while the manga emphasizes his desire to protect all the people he cares about, with losing almost all of them being what sends him into a mental state close to what he was like in The End of Evangelion. While the story plays out in largely the same fashion as in End, Shinji's motivations and mindset through it are not as self-centered, and because of this the final resolution is arguably the most hopeful of all the story's iterations.


  • 10-Minute Retirement: Every time something traumatic happens to him in his Eva he swears off piloting only to be dragged back in not long after due to his own hidden Determinator qualities. The one time when he finally decides to call it quits for good, things don't turn out well.
  • Accidental Pervert: His first actual conversation with Rei starts with this, and is notable for being one of the first major signs that Rei isn't normal.
  • Action Survivor: His first encounter with danger occurs at the feet of Sachiel, which crushes and detonates an army helicopter less than fifty feet from him, and the next encounter is inside Misato's car and beneath Misato as the blast wave from an N2 explosion throws and rolls the car sideways and up a hill.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: The news that he has gained the highest sync score causes him to very briefly develop this in Episode 16. The twelfth Angel brings him back down even faster than that.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Where the anime depicts Shinji with dark blue eyes and a dark shade of chestnut as his hair color, he has brown eyes and pure black hair in the manga.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the manga, Shinji is far more prone to being a badass than in the anime, with one of the best examples being his battle against the Mass Production Evas, where he continually beats them down while trying to protect Asuka. That said, his insecurities and personality issues are still the driving force behind much of his actions.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: He's a lot less meek in the manga compared to the anime, and won't hesitate to talk back to Asuka when she berates him. It's enough for him to be considered a Type B Tsundere.
  • Adorkable: His polite behavior coupled with his tendency to get into incredibly awkward situations really makes him this.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Some speculate that this has contributed to some of the hatedom for Shinji (who is 14) in viewers of the English dub. In the original Japanese version, he is voiced by a woman, Megumi Ogata, and his voice sounds like that of a prepubescent child. In English, he is voiced by a man, Spike Spencer, and sounds more like a mid-puberty teenage boy. The theory is that audiences are more tolerant of angst when they hear the voice of a child than that of a more masculine, older-sounding voice, even though the scripts between the two versions don't differ significantly in their portrayal of the character.
  • Ambiguously Bi: While he's definitely attracted to several of the show's female characters, in the anime his feelings for Kaworu are left ambiguous and could be interpreted as romantic as much as simply friendship. In the manga there's no ambiguity about his feelings.
  • Apologises a Lot: Too often, according to Asuka.
    Asuka: Stop apologizing to me! Grow some backbone!
    Shinji: S-Sorry!
  • An Arm and a Leg: Played with. When Unit-01 has its arm torn off, the synchronization causes Shinji to feel as if it was his arm. For the rest of the series, he reflexively opens and closes his hand on that arm when agitated, as if to remind himself that it's still attached.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Or bi anyway. In the manga if Kaworu ever gets too close to him Shinji will insist that boys can't like each other that way. However, following Kaworu's death, he admits to having been attracted to Kaworu. Even though he didn't "want to fall in love with a boy like that" Combined with previous comments by Sadamoto about Shinji being interested, his armour seems transparent at times. In the anime's original scripts, he simply confesses his feelings to Kaworu.
  • Audience Surrogate: Whether people want to admit it or not, Shinji acts much the same way a lot of people would act given the circumstances, asks many of the same questions the audience is asking, and shares many of the audience's views on the events happening in the series (or vice versa, thanks to the story being told from his perspective). This, naturally, leads into a lot of the Fan Wank about the series.
  • Author Avatar: Additionally, many perceive Shinji as a reflection of Hideaki Anno's own psyche. This is backed up by statements from both the show's staff and Anno himself.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: His name can be read as "Wrath's Divine Child".
  • Badass Adorable: He's more cute than "handsome" or "pretty" and is often one of the only reasons for humanity's continued survival.
  • Badass on Paper: A shy, depressed teenager who slays trans-dimensional monsters for a living.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Both End of Evangelion and the manga play with this with how he initiates Third Impact. However, it's more clearly this in the manga, as his desire stems more from not wanting to lose anyone else instead of wanting everyone to die along with him.
  • Beginner's Luck: Subverted in several ways. His initial skill at piloting Unit-01 is revealed to have very little to do with any actual talent on his part, and his becoming its pilot was anything but a sudden chance.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • With Asuka in practically every installment of the franchise. Everyone Can See It. Even Toji can see it: Asuka starts chewing out Shinji for not bringing their lunches, while he tries to get his side in. Toji tosses off a remark that they're arguing Like an Old Married Couple. Cue double Luminescent Blush (they had kissed not many days earlier), then simultaneous denial in perfect stereo. But due to their personality problems, neither can actually tell the other, leading to... well, The End of the World as We Know It. Luckily, many fanfiction authors go out of their way to fix these problems. So did the canon author in the Rebuild series; her Tsundere and his Shrinking Violet tendencies are toned down considerably.
    • Compared to the immediate friendship the two develop in the anime, manga-Kaworu's relationship with Shinji is built around tension and the uneasiness Shinji feels around him. Kaworu is also no less interested in Shinji, but is presented as far more naive and a rather big Jerkass. Sadamoto described their relationship as two schoolboys who are constantly bickering but secretly desire to impress the other.
  • Berserk Button:
  • The Berserker: When pushed past his breaking point, Shinji becomes a brutal killing machine. There's only so much pressure a doormat can take.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When he's driven over the edge, horror ensues for the Angels, Asuka, and possibly for Gendo.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sometimes as the rescuer, sometimes as the rescued.
    • His one indisputable moment of this comes in episode 19, in the battle against Zeruel.
    • In the manga, he manages to save Asuka from the Mass Production Evas and proceeds to kick their asses.
  • Bishōnen: Shinji's level of bishie-ness (or non-bishie-ness) is very polarizing in the fandom, although Sadamoto wrote that he designed Shinji to be a delicate/vulnerable-looking bishonen.
  • Blessed with Suck: Shinji takes to piloting Unit-01 quickly after a couple sorties, and manages to attain high synch ratios as the series progresses. Not that any of it is enjoyable, or mentally safe, for him...
  • Break the Cutie: His psychological erosion over the course of the series is one of the defining examples of this trope in anime.
  • Butt-Monkey: To the extreme, but not in a comical way. In the more lighthearted episodes, he plays a more traditional version of this, constantly getting the short end of the stick for the audience's amusement.
  • Character Tic: The twitching of his fingers, and opening and closing his hand.
  • Chick Magnet: Asuka, Misato, Mana Kirishima in Girlfriend of Steel and Rei's actions around him say much... and then there's Kaworu.
  • The Chosen One: Zig-Zagged. Even though being a pilot already makes him one of The Chosen Many, Shinji is still viewed and treated as someone extra special by NERV, but as the series progresses it becomes increasingly clear that this is actually a result of him being the pilot of Unit-01, which plays a central part in Gendo's plans. However, by the last act of the series, it also turns out that Yui had chosen him to play the most crucial role in her own plans for the Instrumentality Project probably right from the day he was born, if not before.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: He saves the day several times in spite of all that he goes through.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: While he's implied to be aware that several of the women in his life have feelings for him, his own cowardly nature and indecisiveness ensures that he'll never get anywhere with any of them.
  • Conscription: It's been said that the reason Shinji gets so much flak from anime fans is because he has far more in common with a draftee from The Vietnam War than with most Shōnen protagonists. While the reasons for the animosity are up for debate (like virtually everything else in Evangelion), there certainly isn't any doubt that Shinji was shanghaied into becoming an Eva pilot.
  • Covert Pervert: As evidenced by his dream sequences. No more than Truth in Television level for a hormonal teenager, though.
  • Cowardly Lion: Shinji is a lot braver than he gives himself credit for. At his best he's a passive pushover with low self-esteem, but he almost always manages to pull through in the end. Emphasis on "almost".
  • Creepy Child: He becomes this big time when he finally breaks in The End Of Evangelion. Having hit the rock bottom of the Despair Event Horizon, his Sanity Slippage reduce him to fits of shrieking insanity and climaxes with him callously choosing to allow all of humanity to die.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has signs of this in the anime, at least in the beginning, before Break the Cutie rears its ugly head. In the manga, it seems to be his default state when he's catching flak from people, especially to Asuka. On a more subtle level, it also counts as another trait that makes him Not So Different from his father, as seen in Episode 22 where it turns out the younger Gendo also had quite the sarcastic wit back in the day.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • In the manga version of End of Evangelion, Shinji piloting Unit-01 takes a stand against the MP Evas once Unit-02 shuts down and, vastly outnumbered, speaks this line in utter badassitude:
      I will... protect Asuka!! Never... again... shall anyone die!!
    • He also felt this way about Rei though he doesn't succeed in protecting her.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Shinji approaches it several times over the course of the series, but manages to come back, although he's increasingly damaged each time. The culmination of his interactions with Asuka in End (built upon with the hospital scene and the sight of the MP Evas with Unit 02's mangled corpse, and capped with her rejection of him in the "kitchen scene") is what finally drives him over.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: He desperately wants love and affection, but is so terrified of being hurt by rejection that he pushes everyone away regardless; unfortunately, just when it seems that he finally found what he wanted in Kaworu Nagisa, he lost him in one of the most horribly heart-breaking ways imaginable.
  • Determined Defeatist: Kaworu admits that what he admires the most about Shinji, in contrast to Gendo and SEELE, is that Shinji keeps going despite all the heartbreak life causes him.
  • Dreadful Musician: He considers himself as such, but is actually a pretty decent cello player. Case in point: he can play the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No. 1, a piece known for requiring a considerable amount of skill, very well. Even Asuka is impressed.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Sadamoto has joked Shinji's design is essentially Nadia with no eyelashes and a boyish haircut. His rather slender frame, which tends to gets emphasised every time he is put into a skintight outfit, also occasionally contributes to give him a somewhat feminine appearance, especially that one time Asuka forced him to wear one of her plugsuits or that time he was made to wear a leotard along with a loose t-shirt matching Asuka's during synchronisation training.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: After killing Kaworu and failing to place valuable trust in those around him, he seeks Asuka's affection and attention as a last resort of comfort at a time when it is literally impossible for her to give it, due to the medical coma she is placed in after her mental breakdown. So, he takes it from her after he manages to rip her hospital shirt open by masturbating to the sight of her. Guilt strikes the moment he climaxes.
  • The Eeyore: Not (generally) played for laughs; he's genuinely depressed, and we're meant to feel his pain. What makes this even more painful to watch is the contrast the audience sees in episodes ten to fourteen, where he actually seems to be genuinely smiling for a short period of time and seems relatively happy, or at the very least content, with a fair bit of emotional stability thrown in for good measure. This doesn't last long, though.
  • Empty Shell: Kaworu's death causes him to be reduced to one, which lasts throughout the first half of End of Evangelion. Misato actually has to drag him across the floor because he refuses to so much as move an inch, let alone speak to her. He finally has an emotional outburst right as Misato brings him to Unit-01's location, and a final heart-to-heart with her seems to allow him to return to a somewhat more stable emotional state... but then the events that immediately ensue after this cause Sanity Slippage to kick in at full force, throwing him down the exact opposite path of the Despair Event Horizon into a fit of shrieking insanity.
  • Essential Madness: Shinji certainly qualifies, since it's implied Unit-01's berserk mode is tied to his manic state.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • Played straight, subverted, or both at once, depending on how you look at it. His interactions with Kaworu fall into Ho Yay territory, but end very messily. None of his relationships with the other characters turn out well either, due to his insecurities and everyone else's unique psychological issues.
    • In Shinji Ikari Raising Project, Shinji gets unwanted attention from both Kaworu and Gendo.
  • Expy:
    • Of Akira Fudo from Devilman, another lithe, dark-haired teenager with a sensitive personality who is forced to adopt monstrous powers and to undergo personal development in order to save the world. Unsurprising considering that Devilman was a major influence for both Anno and Sadamoto.
    • Visually speaking, Sadamoto based Shinji's character design on Nadia from his previous work Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. He described him as Nadia with shorter hair and without her earrings.
  • Extreme Doormat: Shinji's abandonment issues have left him with a subconscious belief that he has no worth as a person, so he has no real drive to do anything for and by himself, which has led him to adopt a main philosophy of keeping his head down and doing as he is told. This attitude is somewhat downplayed in the manga.
  • Failure Hero: He is this in general, but the manga actually spends more time examining it. After killing Kaworu in the manga, he wonders about what kind of hero he is for not protecting any of people he actually cares about.
  • First Kiss: An experience which differs between the anime and the manga. Neither of them are initiated by him.
    • In the anime, Asuka pressures him into kissing her under the pretense of experimenting. She pinches his nose down the entire time while Shinji just kind of stands there dumbfounded.
    • In the manga, Kaworu attempts to give him CPR after he starts hyperventilating, but ends up performing something closer to a kiss. Once he regains his breath, Shinji is understandably freaked out.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Leukine.
  • Fountain of Expies: invoked A staggering number of plain-looking Classical Anti Heroes with low self-esteem in fantastical settings suddenly started popping up all over anime as soon as Shinji hit the scene.
  • Freak Out: Happens often. Earlier in the series the occasional Freak Outs just temper into a Heroic BSoD, and eventually he seems to "recover" for a bit. However, as the series goes on, they become more and more damaging, and it becomes more and more difficult for him to recover from. And then we get to The End and, well...
  • Gender Flip:
    • In a meta sense. He has a stereotypical weak-willed, sensitive, delicate feminine personality to contrast to Asuka's bullish, brash, hardened masculine personality. He could also be considered a rare (and early) example of a male moe character, as he hits all the basic traits - he's cute and vulnerable, cries often, and gets into situations where you want to give him a hug; the basic building blocks of moe.
    • Played straight with regard to his character design, as Yoshiyuki Sadamoto has said that he based Shinji's design on that of Nadia from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water.
  • Generation Xerox: He's heavily implied to be very similar to how Gendo was at his age, which would make him dangerously close to becoming just like his father when he reaches adulthood. End of Evangelion outright confirms that this is the case, but also has Shinji finally overcome his personal problems, ensuring that he at the very least won't end up like Gendo.
  • A God Am I: Somewhat becomes this during End of Evangelion, where he is asked whether or not he wants humanity to continue existing as it is or not. The question being asked shortly after his Despair Event Horizon, humanity is forced to take it up the ass...or not.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: There's a reason why he's such a good pilot.
  • Hates Being Alone: Despite his introversion, his greatest fear is being abandoned by the people he cares about.
  • Hates Being Touched:
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: He's often seen wearing headphones, listening to music on his SDAT player, when he wants to block out reality.
  • Heroic BSoD: Several times over the course of the series, and so much so in End that after the Dude, She's Like, in a Coma! opening, he becomes a passive Death Seeker.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Shinji is hesitant to accept any praise he gets and tends to downplay it. Most notably, he considers himself a Dreadful Musician, despite what Asuka sees of him playing (she's impressed enough to consider him a pretty competent cello-player). Gendo really did something awful to his self-esteem.
  • Heroic Willpower: He mustn't run away. (The one time he does, it's 10-Minute Retirement).
  • Hidden Depths: It's not immediately obvious, but Shinji is much more impressive than meets the eye. It is demonstrated on a couple of occasions that, despite his unassuming and quiet demeanor, he has a bit of an eye for detail and is surprisingly observant. The manga takes it further as he comes from an evidently more neglectful childhood in that continuity, as everybody goes out of their of their way to pretend he doesn't exist. That means he's had to learn to cook for himself, by himself, learn to read, write, and do math entirely through self-study, and can get a passing grade (though barely) in high-school despite having no formal education prior to that point.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Shinji's own crippling lack of self-esteem is at the root of many of his social problems. Because he always thinks the very worst of himself, he cannot truly accept that other people might like or even love him, and a result he isolates himself from the people around him because he fears that he is just a burden to them.
  • House Husband: If it weren't for the whole "piloting Eva to save the world" thing, he'd fit the role completely. He's almost entirely responsible for the cooking, housekeeping, etc. in Misato's house. Asuka even calls him "a housebroken male" to his chagrin.
  • Hurting Hero: Progressively more and more as the series reaches the climax.
  • I Am Who?: The son of the woman who built the EVAs, and born into a family that has been involved with The Conspiracy for what appears to be generations. Also, he'd seen Unit-01 long before he was made its pilot...
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In response to trying Misato's cooking.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Desperately clings to any chances at a normal life despite knowing all too well that he's stuck in the world Gendo has placed him in. Even discounting that, the plans Yui made for him effectively means that he never really had a chance.
  • Iconic Outfit: Shinji's generic school uniform coupled with his brown hair makes him an instantly recognizable character.
  • Image Song: A cover of "Cruel Angel's Thesis", which was already a song about him in the first place.
  • Incest Is Relative: His sexual attraction towards Rei (who, unbeknownst to either of them, is a clone produced from a mixture of his mother's DNA and Lilith's').
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: In the anime. The manga goes for a more everyman kind of look by giving him brown eyes.
  • Interspecies Romance: Any fanon pairing with Rei or his relationship with Kaworu fits, the former being a mixed human/Angel clone and the latter being a full Angel.
  • It's All About Me: Overlaps with It's All My Fault in the anime. While not arrogant, Shinji's self-loathing is matched by an almost bottomless capacity for self-pity which drives him to do some truly despicable actions for his own selfish comfort. This is most glaringly evident in End of Evangelion when he masturbates over Asuka's comatose body to "cope" with his guilt over murdering Kaworu as well as when he curls into a fetal position while Asuka and NERV's personnel are slaughtered by SEELE.
  • It's All My Fault: He has a nasty habit of blaming everything on himself. The absolute refusal by the rest of the cast to explain anything to him only makes it worse.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Double Subverted. To begin with, Shinji absolutely hates being an Eva pilot, feeling both utterly overwhelmed by his duty to defend mankind and that he gets very little in return for risking his life on a regular basis. But eventually, he comes to see that as a side effect of being a pilot he has gained several new friends and a better home life, and realizes that he much prefers this new, more sociable life over the very lonely and humdrum existence he came from, and as a result he starts to identify more with his post as a pilot and even starts to draw happiness and hope from it. But just as this happens, the Angels start becoming increasingly dangerous and insidious in their methods of attack, and Shinji is soon faced with increasingly frequent assaults on his very sanity and psyche, as well as the fact that his friends are either in the midst of their own mental breakdowns or getting put of commission by various events. By the time of The End of Evangelion, he has been effectively worn down to a borderline catatonic wreck from the stress of it all and looks back on his piloting as something that has only lead to suffering for himself and others.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a lot more sullen, rude, and snarky in the manga. Ironically, this incarnation seems to be a much better person than the anime version underneath, as he has a more obvious conscience and willingness to do the right thing, as well as a greater willingness to express the love he feels for the people around him which is what motivates him to try to get closer to Rei and keeps him sane after Kaworu's death.
  • Just Friends: Megumi Ogata, when asked about Shinji's feelings towards Kaworu, said in character as Shinji "A friend!". Since Shinji and Kaworu's relationship has a distinct romantic undercurrent to it, Shinji's flustered assertion that he only sees Kaworu as a friend reeks of this trope.
  • Kavorka Man: While Shinji is hardly unattractive, he's clearly drawn to be very plain and unremarkable looking. Despite this and his crippling lack of self esteem and charisma, Shinji manages to charm more than a few girls throughout the series. Something he seems to have in common with dear old dad.
  • Kid Hero: Protecting the world from the powerful Angels at the age of 14 along with his colleagues, although this is savagely deconstructed as the series progresses.
  • The Kirk: He forms the insecure and indecisive center trying to balance out the emotionless Rei and the overly emotional Asuka.
  • Kissing Cousins: His possible relationship with Rei in Shinji Ikari Raising Project, where she is his distant cousin.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Asuka when they're both at their most emotionally stable. It's lampshaded by Toji.
  • Like Father, Like Son: It becomes increasingly apparent, especially near the end of the series, that Shinji takes a great deal after his father, both in looks and in personality.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He is quite unaware of the going-ons behind the scenes in NERV.
    • At one point Kensuke talks with Shinji about some rumors he has gotten through his own sources in NERV, assuming that as an important EVA pilot Shinji must surely be able to indulge him some further information, but Shinji honestly knows so little that it is actually him who ends up getting some of the bigger picture from talking with Kensuke. Kensuke is quite shocked to learn this fact.
    • Misato hurriedly attempts to bring him up to speed in End, but the amount of time she has to dump such a large amount of complicated information onto him isn't anywhere near enough and he clearly isn't paying attention to her while she's saying it.
  • Loser Protagonist: A core aspect of his character is his refusal to acknowledge anything about himself besides his failures.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Asuka's Masculine Girl. His lack of masculinity is partly why Asuka has such a hard time expressing her feelings towards him, finding him too weak to be worthy of her admiration.
  • Meaningful Name: "Shinji" means "to believe" or "have faith", though much of Shinji's problems come from the fact that much of his faith in others is betrayed and destroyed over and over again in the show. "Ikari" on the other hand can mean both "anchor" and "rage" depending on the kanji used. The kanji for Ikari in Shinji's name means "anchor", which makes sense, seeing how he is the protagonist and therefore is the audience's anchor point, but the "rage" interpretation also comes up, especially when he pilots the Eva.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Shinji's a loner with severe daddy issues, and it only goes downhill before reaching a nadir in the End of Evangelion, where he shifts from being near-catatonic at the beginning, to a shrieking madman near the middle, and finally to a genocidal ball of rage and hatred during the climax. He seems to regain his senses by the end, though his blank expression in the final scene still raises some concerns.
  • Messianic Archetype: Ultimately becomes this at the end of the manga, where he not only restores humanity but also apparently butterflies away the Second Impact, as the epilogue is shown to take place in winter.
  • Mr. Fanservice: There are quite a few shots of him naked.
  • The Muse: Other Gainax protagonists (like Naota and Simon) are based on what Shinji would be like if he grew up in a different environment.
  • Must Make Her Laugh: In the manga, Shinji tries to see if Rei can laugh by doing something funny—in this case, shoving two fingers up Toji's nose, causing him to freak out. This makes all the other girls laugh, but not Rei, who merely turns away with the same blank expression after seeing what all the noise was about.
  • Nice Guy: He's one of the most reserved characters in the cast, though he does do a handful of rude things throughout the series. By End of Eva, the Trauma Conga Line finally causes him to move away from this, as he refuses to make any effort to protect NERV (and in fact impedes Misato's attempts to do just that due to his mopiness slowing her down) and later decides that all life on earth deserves to die.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: After the whole Bardiel incident, Shinji finally comes to the conclusion that he can simply no longer trust Gendo and that his approval is worth nothing to him, and with this revelation any fear of incurring his father's disappointment or anger also evaporates. When Gendo confronts him in the aftermath of the incident, Shinji faces him without any of his usual reluctance or skittishness, and only responds to him with determined, ice-cold resentment.
  • Not So Different:
    • During the beginning of instrumentality, Shinji realises that he and Asuka are very much alike:
      Asuka: Even just the sight of you gets on my nerves!
      Shinji: Because I'm just like you? note 
    • It becomes obvious by the end of the series that he and Gendo actually are very similar people, both being introverted persons wracked with an extreme sense of social anxiety and self-loathing.
  • Only Friend: To Rei, and, slightly less obviously, Kaworu.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Averted. His family past is such that he could never have had an ordinary life to begin with, which Kaji makes amply clear in the manga. It's also deconstructed since it shows how well an actual ordinary teenager would react to being unwillingly thrust into war against Eldritch Abominations.
  • Out of Focus: The Rei Ayanami Raising Project games follow the events of the series, but Shinji is given secondary focus due to the player acting as Rei's (or Asuka's) guardian.
  • Overly Polite Pals: To Rei, due to her being a soft-spoken Emotionless Girl and him being a shy, socially awkward boy. Even in the manga where he has more backbone and snarkiness, he is still very polite to Rei.
  • Parental Abandonment: Dad is emotionally neglectful/abusive (especially in the manga). Even more painfully, Gendo did it because he was afraid he would hurt his son if he was with him (only to hurt him by leaving him, something Gendo acknowledges and regrets at the end.) Mom appears to have gruesomely died before his eyes, as far as he knows. Misato tries to fill in, bless her heart, but she simply can't get the job done. Ultimately, it is revealed that Mom is very much alive, and deliberately left her husband and son to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. In The End of Evangelion, Shinji never seems to realize the implications of this, but in Take Care of Yourself, he gets to call the old woman out and asks her why she forced all those battles on him. The finale seems to imply that he parts with both parents on good terms, even thanking Gendo for his misguided efforts.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the original dub.
  • The Protagonist: This is his story despite how much he doesn't want it to be. Interestingly, much of the show is dedicated to showing that Shinji is only a small part of a massive and complicated universe, but the fate of humanity is ultimately left entirely in his hands... all while showing how much it could crush normal people.
  • Punny Name: Ikari when spelled with a different kanji means anger/wrath.
  • Repressed Memories: He saw his mother being absorbed into Unit-01 but now has no memory of it (or any memories related to her, really). While it's possible he simply forgot because he was so young, Dr. Akagi implies he intentionally repressed the memory due to the trauma and coldly mocks him for it. Shinji's internal confession from Episode 20 that he lied to himself when he said that he had never seen Unit-01 before — he recalls that he did remember having seen it before and that he saw it on the same day his mother disappeared — supports it.
  • Reused Character Design: Shinji's character design is a Gender Flip of Nadia.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Stopped by Kaji in the manga. During the aftermath of Toji's death, Gendo calls for Shinji to explain why he didn't follow his orders. Instead, Shinji demands Gendo explain himself for ordering him to kill his own friend. When Gendo coldly dismisses it, arguing that he's the one in charge, Shinji loses it, jumps onto Gendo's desk, and tries to punch him. Kaji catches his fist an inch away from Gendo's (shocked) face.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: The last of the main trio to be recruited, and the one to eventually overtake them all, at very least in terms of synch ratio. Too bad that for all his talent, his lack of any sort of prior military training left him with no preparation to deal with the psychological impact of participating in actual life and death battles at such a young age.
    Random NERV Techie: These readings are incredible! It's like he was born to do this!
    Misato: ...Except that he hates it.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He is rattled almost immediately after being pressed into service, his first fight against an Angel causing no shortage of psychological trauma. It only gets worse as the series progresses.
  • Shrinking Violet: Generally a passive wallflower in social situations, though he does make attempts at being more social.
  • Ship Tease: He's teased with Asuka, Rei and Kaworu throughout all incarnations of the series. The anime places more focus on his sexual tension with Asuka, whereas the manga focuses more on his relationship with Rei (Who unbenknenst to him is the partial clone of his mother) while also making his relationship with Kaworu much more overtly romantically-charged.
  • The Scream: Screams quite a bit throughout the series, and at least three times in End of Evangelion. Usually coincides with a particularly painful Freak Out or begging Gendo to stop doing something highly unethical.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: Played for tragedy. He desires to get close to people and is desperate for affection, but his insecurities make his efforts halting and ineffective.
  • The So-Called Coward: Subverted; he saves the day again and again, but rarely gets any respect for it.
  • Spanner in the Works: Shinji forming a emotional connection with Rei by caring about and being concerned for her as a person meant that Gendo's plans were in the end all for naught, as it made her decide that Shinji, rather than Gendo, should ultimately decide what to do with the power of Instrumentality. Ironically, Shinji is at the same time the ultimate Unwitting Pawn of the story. While he might have derailed his father's plan (the existence of which he only had a vague idea about) without intending to, he also unknowingly played out his part in his mother's plan perfectly.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Shinji rather strongly resembles both of his parents, particularly his mother.
  • Super Mode: When the sync rate with Unit-01 is at 400%. This occurs twice in the anime, and three times in the manga: both occasions in the anime exist in the manga — the first being Unit-01 against Zeruel, and the second being when Asuka awakes inside Unit-02 to face SEELE's punching force; the instance that exists singularly within the manga is when Shinji decides to protect Asuka during End of Evangelion.
  • Supreme Chef: In every adaptation, Shinji takes over the cooking for the household (Misato can't cook anything beyond instant ramen, and Asuka seems just as clueless), and all the characters agree his cooking is fantastic, to the point that Asuka never wanted to share her lunch with anyone when he made it.
  • Tareme Eyes: Shinji has these eyes to signify his meek, shy and fragile nature in the anime. While his manga version has more of an attitude, he's still fundamentally the same damaged child deep inside, so these eyes still work in full effect.
  • This Loser Is You: Shinji was partially made as a criticism of the growing number of introverted shut-ins in Japan at the time. Though, by Anno's own admission, there is also an element of "This Loser Is Me, As Well" thrown in.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
  • Tragic Bromance: The poor kid has both of his closest male friendships end like this. The second time it happens is what finally pushes him over the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Tragic Hero: He oscillates back and forth during the series between terrified near-catatonia and insane superhuman courage, though by the end he's clearly heading for a nervous breakdown, and completely snaps in End of Evangelion.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Shinji's life. A lot of it courtesy of Gendo. As for the result types, he's a result B in the original.
  • Tsundere: Surprisingly acts like this in the manga towards Kaworu.
    Shinji: I was attracted to him... Even so, I really don't want to fall in love with a boy like that.
  • Tuckerization: Anno stated in an interview that that Shinji is named after his good friend, storyboard artist Shinji Higuchi.
  • Tyke-Bomb: He is actually easily the show's ultimate example, but unlike Asuka and Rei, he neither knew anything about it beforehand or ever saw it coming. It is rather heavily implied that no matter who and how her child would turn out to be, Yui had planned for it to be the ultimate Unwitting Pawn, whose eventual purpose was to derail SEELE's Assimilation Plot at the very last minute.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: After all, he is the central character, and on a fundamental level the series / franchise is all about growing up, including learning about the opposite sex. First and foremost, with Asuka. Also plenty with Rei and Misato (although they both are also mother figures to him) and Kaworu.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Whenever he gets pushed too far by the stress of being an Eva pilot.
  • Useless Protagonist: Played with and averted. He thinks that he's one of these due to his self-esteem being so low that he can't recognize himself as humanity's savior. In End of Evangelion, it reaches a point where he continues to view himself as one when the fate of the entire human race is quite literally put into his hands.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: One of the show's many deconstructions. His stint as a Child Soldier is never seen as the life-or-death battle that it actually is, on either side of the fourth wall. In his own universe, his repeated suffering and self-sacrifice is most often treated with ridicule and disdain, if not outright contempt, and most people with whom he interacts view him piloting the Eva as an after-school job, and an easy one at that. In fact, the one commanding officer who has any understanding of what he's actually going through, and tries to address his pain, is horrifically under-prepared for the task, and just winds up making it worse far more often than not. And that's not to talk about the ridicule, disdain and contempt he is given out-of-universe.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Made by Asuka to wear one of her spare female-oriented plugsuits during their first battle together, complete with cleavage.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Shinji's feelings on the subject of his father are ambivalent to say the least. It is made clear at several points that Shinji is very resentful towards Gendo for abandoning him (and on a more subconscious level, some part of him believes Gendo is in some way accountable for Yui's death), and late in the series he admits that his original motivation for journeying to Tokyo-3 was to confront his father with his hatred for him, but found himself utterly unable to muster up the courage to do so when Gendo sprung the surprise of wanting to recruit him as Unit-01's pilot. Yet he finds, time and time again, that he desperately craves Gendo's approval, as no matter how much he wants to, he can't completely give on the idea that his father might care about him deep down and the hope that the two of them might one day reconcile. He's this way up until the incident with Unit-03, where Gendo forces Unit 01 to cripple Toji despite his protests, at which point this hope dies a very messy death. When Gendo calls up Shinji to reprimand him for his insubordination, Shinji is completely unaffected and coldly tells his father that he has no intention of ever speaking to him again. Afterwards, Shinji by and large avoids even acknowledging Gendo altogether, with his final mention of him, during his sleepover with Kaworu, being bluntly stating that he hates him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Fits this trope in The End and then subverts it by rejecting Instrumentality.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: It seems that everything that brings him enjoyment or boosts his self-confidence will inevitably turn against him at the worst possible time.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: His cripplingly low self esteem makes him blind to his genuine talents and inner strength. Misato makes several efforts to get him out of this, but they are temporary at best. The show hints at a hopeful future for him when his final epiphany is to actually realize this about himself.
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    Rei Ayanami 

Voiced by: Megumi Hayashibara (Japanese); Amanda Winn-Lee [ADV, Death & Rebirth, End of Evangelion], Ryan Bartley [VSI], Brina Palencia [Rebuild] (English)note 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/reIayanamI_4815.jpg
"If I die, I can be replaced."

Rei, the First Child, is a Shy Blue-Haired Girl. She is beautiful, fey, and otherworldly, and has a Mysterious Past that is only partially revealed late in the series. When asked why she pilots her Eva, she says that it's because she's "bonded" to it, or that it's her bond to humanity, or something like that. She displays little concern for her own life (see the quote); this takes on seriously creepy layers late in the series.

At first, her only human relationship is with her commanding officer, Gendō. Shinji once stops to observe a conversation between Rei and Gendō from some distance, and though neither he nor the audience can hear what they're saying, Rei and Gendō are shown smiling at each other. Gendō, for his part, appears to care for Rei more than anybody else, even his own son. After a failed test forces Rei to eject from her Eva, Gendō, in an uncharacteristic panic, is the first to reach her entry plug, burning his hands while forcing it open to retrieve her. Rei still keeps the broken glasses that fell from his face during this incident, and is initially very defensive of him, as exemplified when she slaps Shinji for saying negative things about Gendō. This, plus the aforementioned conversation, deceives Shinji and the audience into thinking that they are close. Later, when Shinji asks Rei about Gendō, she replies that she doesn't know what kind of person he is. By the end of the story, her attitude toward Gendō has changed dramatically.

She is stated in Episode 17 to have strong feelings for Shinji, though her thoughts and feelings are for the most part revealed neither to the people around her nor to the audience. This is changed in the manga adaption where, as well as the pair having more scenes together, she shows much more of a fondness towards him and openly admits it. However, the true depths of her feelings are still hidden until later in the story.

She is in many ways the polar opposite of Asuka, and is compared to Yui Ikari, both implicitly and explicitly, on multiple occasions.


  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Each of the Children get this to some degree, and for Rei it's her exact skin color. Particularly when you branch out to the manga and promotional images, Rei's skin tone varies from starkly albino all the way to simply being very-fair-skinned-but-still-recognizably-Japanese, with hosts of examples in between. The actual shows and movies are a little better about this (tending more toward the albinism) but even then there's still variance between episodes or movies.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga places more focus on her and her relationship with Shinji, in the process making her the clear female lead while slightly reducing Asuka's prominence.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Famously so. It's hard to say exactly what she experiences, though she shows many schizoid-schizotypal symptoms and is often believed to be on the autism spectrum.
  • Ambiguously Human: Initially, it's not exactly clear what she is. While she looks largely human, her blue hair, red eyes, and extremely pale skin give her a strikingly inhuman aura. It's later revealed that she's actually an artificially-created lifeform made from a combination of Yui and Lilith's DNA.
  • Anti-Antichrist: Was part of the Assimilation Plot yet when Gendo gets her to implement it she defies him and tries to talk Shinji out of it.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: The intention was for her to cause Instrumentality according to how Gendo wanted it. Didn't quite work out that way: When SEELE caused Instrumentality Rei put a stop to it.
  • The Ark: In the official Gainax sequel video game, NGE 2, that explains the backstory of the Angels, Lilin, and the First Ancestral Race, it's explained that Lilith and Adam are two of the seven last members of their own civilization that must carry the souls of the lost to give form in a new chosen planet. Two carriers landed on one planet by accident and due to humanity messing with the progenitors, they fought when they shouldn't have. This is relevant for Rei because she is the vessel for Lilith's soul.
  • Artificial Family Member: She is a clone created by Gendo Ikari via combining the DNA of Lilith and his late wife Yui. Gendo is shown to have some affection for her, although it might be because she looks just like his wife. There's been debates on whether Shinji's attraction to her can be considered incestual since she shares his mother's DNA.
  • Artificial Human: She's an artificially created clone combining Shinji's mother's DNA with Lilith's.
  • Assimilation Plot: Gendo intends to use her for this, which runs at odds with SEELE's and by extension Shinji's plans, which all go against Rei's plans when she basically tells them, "Ur doing it wrong."
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bonding with Lilith causes the resulting hybrid being (commonly referred to as "Giant Naked Rei") to grow first to mountain size, and then to astronomical size.
  • Badass Adorable: The vessel of the mother of the precursor race to humans, pilot of a mecha that fights said precursors, and Trope Codifier of Moe.
  • Bandage Babe: Codified bandages as a popular accessory in the Moe aesthetic.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason she mildly mellows out and gets closer to Shinji is because he's likely the only person who's ever treated Rei like a real person and shown genuine concern and care for her, unlike Gendo, whom she finally betrays in the end by choosing to side with Shinji.
  • Berserk Button: Yes, she has them. Bad mouthing someone she cares about will lead to either a "The Reason You Suck" Speech or Armor-Piercing Slap. Then there was the time Shinji enters her apartment without her knowledge, and he first notices her as she steps out of the shower naked after trying on his father's glasses. What bothers her? The glasses. She tries to take them off him, ignoring her nudity. The Shinji Ikari Raising game has the scene play out differently and she just bitch slaps him to the ground.
  • Betty and Veronica: Rei and Asuka have this dynamic going between them, though it goes two ways. In Japan, Rei is seen as the Betty because of her gentle disposition, reserved nature, and tendency to get horribly injured, whereas the Fiery Redhead foreigner Asuka is the cultural Veronica because her forceful and aggressive personality is just so strange to the generally reserved Japanese public. However, in the more demonstrative West, the more outgoing, more human, more badass, and more overtly in love Asuka is the familiar Betty, and the bizarre, cold, and strangely unsettling Rei is the exotic Veronica.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: That strange girl who spends her school days staring out a window? She's killed at least several Angels, is the basis of a particularly brutal Body Backup Drive and is musing on how to handle the Assimilation Plot.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Biggest in the series: she tries to reason with Shinji not to cause Instrumentality and when he does through SEELE Rei reverses it. Her nuking one Angel counts as well.
  • Bizarre Human Biology: While Rei is canonically known to be at least partially human, the specifics aren't made clear. To compensate, Fanfics tend to depict her with either this trope, Bizarre Alien Biology, or both, each in various ways. To list them all would be a herculean task, given the size of the fandom; one notably common aspect, however, is whether or not she has an S2 Engine/Organ, and its exact role in her physiology. There is also lot of speculation about the line in her monologue from Episode 14 about a "woman that never bleeds".
  • Blunt "Yes": Says yes when Asuka asks if she would be willing to kill herself if ordered to do so.
  • Body Backup Drive: Rei has several clone bodies hidden deep inside the oldest parts of NERV HQ, and since said clone bodies are soulless, her soul can be transferred to them in the event she dies, allowing her to live once again, though there seems be some side effects associated with the process, like temporary amnesia and loss of identity. Ritsuko eventually destroys the remaining clone bodies after the creation of Rei III, leaving Rei effectively Out of Continues, though Rei's ever increasing awareness of her own superhuman powers and role in Instrumentality at this point implies that it hardly matters at all.
  • Breakout Character: Rei is easily one of the most popular and iconic characters in the series, so much so that she inspired a whole slew of similar characters in anime and manga. She and Asuka are the most-marketed human characters in the Evangelion franchise, and possibly for Gainax as a whole.
  • Came Back Wrong: This could apply to either of Rei's second or third versions, depending on how you interpret her personality in regards to the previous version(s).
  • Clone Degeneration: It is implied here and there that Rei's Bizarre Human Biology, even when she is in peak physical condition, is rather unstable on a cellular level, and that the regular medical check-up she attends and as well as the medication he has in her apartment is meant to prevent her from literally coming apart at the seams. It finally starts happening to her in The End of Evangelion, where one of her arms falls off and Gendo takes it as a sign that her AT-Field is starting to fail. She is apparently able to fully stabilize herself after taking Adam from Gendo and absorbing it into herself.
  • Cloning Blues: She hates being a clone, especially the fact that she cannot die and will just be replaced if she does.
  • Color Coded Character: Rei's signature colors are blue and white; she's blue-haired, her Evangelion's second color scheme is predominantly blue with white highlights (and the original scheme's dominant color was orange, which is the complement of blue in painting), and in the anime and manga, she's always seen in either her practically all-white plugsuit or her school uniform, which consists of blue overalls and a white shirt. Furthermore, in official artwork and some spin-offs, she's often seen in blue-colored clothing. Her blue motif also manifests in the ending theme of the TV anime, where behind her silhouette is a blue-tinted moon and night sky. Finally, in End of Evangelion, merging with Adam and Lilith into a gigantic humanoid causes her skin and hair to take on an unnatural white for their color.
  • The Comically Serious: Several times, especially whenever she interacts with Shinji and/or Asuka.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Calmly accepts the Crapsack World she lives in and the fact she is a Child Soldier who has to make a Heroic Sacrifice against the Eldritch Abomination. In fact she almost looks forward to it.
  • The Confidant: Towards Shinji. In Episode 22, he is seen having a conversation with Rei, although it isn't heard what he is saying (as the scene is seen from Asuka's POV), he appears to be at ease and quite comfortable while doing so.
  • Conveniently Seated: Rei gets the symbolic window seat in class.
  • Creepy Child: Regarded as this by Toji, Kensuke and Asuka.
  • Creepy Monotone: Barely speaks above a whisper, and seems to live under a constant state of sadness.
  • Cry Cute: Rei 2, in episode 23.
  • Death Seeker: Of sorts. She flat out states that she wants to die, though this can be interpreted as not having the ability to due to her Cloning Blues. She does not take the pointlessness of her Heroic Sacrifice well at all.
  • Declaration of Protection: In both the anime and the manga, she tells Shinji that she will protect him. Ironically, he ends up saving her after that, but in episode 23, she fulfills her promise by pulling a Heroic Sacrifice for him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She slowly begins opening up to others, particularly Shinji, and even seeks Toji out when she learns he's a pilot, before hesitating to shoot him when she might have before.
  • Defusing the Tyke Bomb: After the series has Shinji unknowingly defusing her, the second part of End of Evangelion has her try and defuse him when he goes Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Disney Death: Subverted; she's really dead... until she's re-cloned.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Her eyes are cold and inexpressive most of the time, which make the rare occasions when they aren't all the more beautiful.
  • Emotionless Girl: Subverted; see Sugar-and-Ice Personality below.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": Inverted. Rei calls everyone else by their title, such as "Captain Katsuragi" (Misato), "Commander Ikari" (Gendo), "Unit-02's pilot" (Asuka)... and so on. Shinji is the only one whom she refers to with his name "Ikari-kun", and although it's his last name, it's much friendlier compared to the others.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Shooting an innocent boy and wiping out the human race are things that don't sit well with her. How horrifying the Evas are clearly make her uncomfortable as well.
    But everybody has the right to life.
  • Expendable Clone: "If I die, I can be replaced."
  • Extreme Doormat: Perfectly willing to commit suicide if Gendo asks her to.
  • Expy: Though Rei is more often thought of as a character who is copied, she shares many similarities with Chirico Cuvie, most obviously their blue hair, cold, unemotional exteriors and as being vessels for Godlike figures, both of whom they ultimately destroy or defy.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
  • Fountain of Expies: invoked Creator of the trope Rei Ayanami Expy, she is without a doubt one of the most copied anime characters of all time.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Rei attempts this to various characters, even Gendo in Rebuild, to varying levels of success. Shinji she generally gets through to, Asuka not so much.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Definitely not and justified due to her having No Social Skills. As long as it doesn't go against her orders, she has no problems or restrictions when it comes to speaking or acting out what is on her mind, and she freely tells Asuka and Shinji they suck when the need arises, going as far as slapping Shinji when he badmouths his father. She also ignores Shinji when he's injured fighting the fifth Angel (seeing it as a attempt to gain sympathy), essentially blackmails him into piloting by saying she'll fight and most likely die if he doesn't, and when first meeting Asuka basically says the only way they'll be friends is if she's forced to.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Rei is shown to be jealous of Asuka during the battle with Armisael (manga only). While Asuka was in a comatose state, Shinji went to visit her every day at the hospital. Rei watched in silence, and in Armisael's words during his invasion of Rei's mind, she found Second hateful, she wanted Ikari-kun to only look at her, and she wanted him to stay by her side forever.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: A clone of Shinji's mother and Lilith.
  • Heroic Albino: Sort of. Rei is usually taken as an albino as she has light blue hair, pale skin and red eyes. She also fights against Eldritch Abominations that menace the humankind.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rei risks her life no less than four times depending on how you count them.
    • Subverted somewhat due to her origins. Subverted moreso when you realize that she has this mindset because she is aware of this and places no value on her life period; some have interpreted her as an outright Death Seeker.
    • This does change as the series progressed and she learns to value her existence. By episode 23, she clearly tells Armisael that she does not want to be absorbed, so at least this was a genuine sacrifice for Shinji's sake. Of course, the next clone has a whole different opinion on the matter....
  • High-Pressure Blood: Giant Nude Rei/Lilith gets this in End of Evangelion, with blood so high pressure that it paints a stripe across the MOON.
  • Holding Hands: The manga emphasizes the importance of her holding hands with Shinji, which she describes as making her feel warm and happy. This is later called back to towards the end, when Gendo puts his hand in her body, where she tells him that it's not his hand that she wants. She gets to hold hands with Shinji one last time during Instrumentality, after which they are permanently separated from each other.
  • Humanoid Abomination: As the human vessel for Lillith, she's technically an Angel herself. Becomes much more pronounced in End of Eva, where a large amount of Body Horror happens to her.
  • Identical Stranger: Rei is basically Yui with shorter blue hair and red eyes. This is justified due to her being a clone of Yui.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: This is the reasoning for her frosty, pragmatic, distant personality, and why she becomes more pissed off and tired near the end.
  • Image Song: Several of the main characters have official songs sung by their seiyuu in-character (usually covers of "Cruel Angel's Thesis" and "Fly Me to the Moon"), but Rei has the most by far, with not only the two aforementioned songs but also an entire album sung in-character. One of Rei's songs, "Tengoku no Kioku" also has an official music video focusing on her character.note 
  • Innocently Insensitive: Given her tendency to express herself very bluntly and directly and her lack of emotional understanding, Rei has her moments of this.
  • Kissing Cousins: Her possible relationship with Shinji in Shinji Ikari Raising Project, where she is his distant cousin.
  • Last-Name Basis: She calls and even internally identifies most people by their title and last name. Gendo is "Commander Ikari", Misato is "Major Katsuragi", Ritsuko is "Doctor Akagi", and so on. The only exceptions to this pattern are Asuka, who is pretty much always "The pilot of Unit 02", and Shinji, who is "Ikari-kun". When looking at it the other way around, most people just call her by "Rei", except for Asuka, who mockingly calls her "Miss Perfect/Wondergirl", and Shinji, who calls her "Ayanami".
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The light to Asuka's dark. She's a deconstruction of the Yamato Nadeshiko characterization whereas Asuka is a deconstruction of a Tsundere.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: To Shinji, at least. She starts off friendless before warming up through their shared mecha woes.
  • Love Epiphany: While fighting the 16th angel, Rei realizes that she has strong feelings for Shinji and decides to absorb the Angel and sacrifices herself by self destructing the Eva to save him. The actual depth of her feelings is never made explicit.
  • Luminescent Blush: Displays this a few times when Shinji is particularly kind to her.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Adoptive daughter anyway. Gendo explains her appearance as looking after her for a colleague, but she serves as a daughter to him just the same as he intended to name his daughter Rei, and she is a clone of his beloved wife after all.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: What she appears to be to other characters, often volunteering for extremely dangerous courses of action with no regards to her own safety. It later turns out that her doing this is the most sensible option in most cases, as she can be easily replaced.
  • Messianic Archetype: Rei's entire existence is basically a Fate Worse than Death and she is key to the Assimilation Plot. She basically says, "Screw that" and when SEELE do this through Shinji she modifies it to at least give people the option of whether or not they want Instrumentality.
  • My Hero Zero: She pilots Unit 00, and her first name means "Nothing".
  • Mysterious Waif: Introduced as a quiet, oracular young girl.
  • New Transfer Student: In the anime's Alternate Universe scenes.
  • No Periods, Period: Implied in Episode 14, where Rei's cryptic monologue mentions a "woman that never bleeds", possibly referring to herself.
  • No Social Skills: To the point where she will ask if there's something she should feel or do in social situations. She also appears to have no nudity taboo thanks to a lifetime of scientific experiments. Her reaction to Shinji walking in on her naked, falling on top of her, and accidentally groping her was limited to politely but sternly asking him to get off her without a hint of embarrassment or annoyance, and then getting dressed with him still in the room stammering out apologies. This is probably the result of both not being entirely human and being sheltered by the antisocial Gendo for her entire life. The manga subverts this, as she becomes more receptive to human contact as she interacts more with Shinji.
  • Oracular Urchin: Borderline; Rei clearly knows more than she lets on, though she only rarely speaks. Rei gets nervous when Shinji says she'd make a great mother, suggesting he's too close to the truth.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: She normally regards the people around her, other than Shinji and Gendo, with cold indifference and barely pays any real attention to them, but when she encounters Kaworu, she immediately becomes on-guard and eyes him with suspicion.
  • Out of Focus: Happens to her around the introduction of Asuka, and though she still has a bit of prominence afterwards, she doesn't truly take center-stage again until the secrets of her origin and her role in Gendo's plans start getting unveiled near the end of the series. Anno would later acknowledge this, admitting that it was a result of him not being entirely sure what to do with her character after Episodes 5-6, as he felt the Character Development she had underwent in those episodes was a rather tough act to follow.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Depending on how much of her you feel was in the crowd of Rei/Liliths in The End Of Evangelion.
  • The Philosopher: "Mankind has always feared the darkness".
  • Phlebotinum Girl: She's vital to Gendo's plans for the Assimilation Plot, which run at odds with SEELE's.
  • Physical God: Though she only uses her powers near the very end of the series, she is shown to easily match Kaworu, the most powerful Angel by far, in terms of power.
  • Quest for Identity: A running motivation for her character.
  • The Quiet One: Rei says little, and almost never initiates conversations with anyone whose last name is not Ikari.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: ZigZagged. From about episode six she displays a willingness to help (outside of her obsession with self sacrifice that is), but things get complicated through her difficulty in associating with people and lack in tact, and even with character development she flip-flops between genuine kindness and telling others they are wrong.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni to Asuka's red. Asuka is loud-mouthed and aggressive whereas Rei is quiet and passive.
  • Rei Ayanami Expy: The Trope Namer; her unique combination of physical and personality traits would go on to spawn a huge number of similar characters.
  • Replacement Goldfish: For Gendo, Rei is treated like a surrogate daughter. For what it's worth, if Gendo and Yui had had a girl instead of Shinji, she'd have been named Rei.
  • Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: She's a mecha pilot and one of the main characters of a sci-fi anime, so she'd naturally have this hairstyle.
  • Series Mascot: Rei is well-known for being possibly the single biggest icon and most successful Breakout Character in the show, and (formerly) a symbol for Studio Gainax as a whole, with her (unintentional) popularity defining the company's approach towards marketing and merchandise. Case in point: an official group artwork of many of Gainax's characters at the time has Rei front and center.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Her stoic mannerism and body language are discernibly copied off from Gendo, to the point that she sports his hand pose a few times and shares his tendency to stare out of windows. The way she wrings out her dust cloths, however, seems to be eerily similar to Yui's; the twist being that Rei was only on cleaning duty at school and isn't shown to be particularly cleanly at home, while we know from episode 21 that Gendo and Yui were ridiculously wealthy and had the house to show for it, and could easily have hired someone to clean for them, unless Yui enjoyed housewifey activities. So while it's outwardly similar enough to yield an awkward reaction from Shinji, it simultaneously serves to underline how their personalities aren't particularly alike.
  • Shy Blue-Haired Girl: To the point where her choosing to interact with anyone is greeted with either shock and/or fear.
  • The Spock: The stoic and inhuman Rei forms the cold and logical part of the main trio.
  • Shrinking Violet: Played with and more nuanced than Shinji's case. Much to Shinji's surprise, belying her aloof and composed exterior is an extremely bashful and awkward person who cannot process so much as a single compliment. It's also very heavily implied that her social isolation is a punishment she inflicts upon herself for her failure to be truly human in the way Yui was. Her self loathing streak and obvious hatred for herself also further contrasts her with Yui, the only character in the show WITHOUT copious self esteem issues. Spin-offs and adaptations, particularly those where she is more "normal", tend to play this trope fairly straight.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Although she initially comes across as emotionless, aside from the aforementioned scene with Gendo, in truth she's so disconnected from meaningful human contact that until Shinji enters her life, she doesn't really know how to emote, something she more or less admits at the end of episode 6. She shows brief flashes of emotion in a handful of episodes afterward, culminating in episode 23. She also reacts with a Luminescent Blush to being told that she would make a good House Wife. Quite funny when she is a main inspiration for the real Emotionless Girls (at least the modern ones). She's even more so in the manga, which explores her feelings in more detail.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Her red eyes are the most distinctive sign that she isn't completely human, which becomes even more clear once Kaworu shows up with the same eye color.
  • Terse Talker: Rei communicates mostly in monosyllabic words, and rarely resolves to say anything more than what is expected of her. It is very evident that it is a habit she has picked up from Gendo.
  • Tragic Hero: Good God...she has Cloning Blues, is Conditioned to Accept Horror to the point it seems she wants to make a Heroic Sacrifice, and is part of an apocalypse plot she as good as states she disagrees with.
  • Tranquil Fury: Rei III's attitude toward Gendo.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Gendou's intention was to use her to set off the Assimilation Plot on his terms. It backfires to the point where The Bad Guy Wins, with Rei after arguing against it leaving an out.
  • Uncanny Valley: Rei was supposed to invoke this. Whether or not it actually worked is another story.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Subverted. Rei dies twice over the course of the series; first, when she was strangled by Naoko Akagi, then again, when she self-destructed her EVA. Both times, she seems to have made miraculous recoveries. Everyone soon learns this could be accomplished because each Rei is actually a clone replacing the ones that died.
  • Unkempt Beauty: It's debatable whether she even knows what makeup and hair care products are, settling for only the most basic of hygiene products. Despite this, she remains one of the most attractive female characters.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Justified, since everybody except Shinji knew her for years, and the strangeness of her blue hair and red eyes are nothing special by the start of the series.
  • Weak, but Skilled: The lowest synch rate and the worst EVA, but she makes up for it with her piloting ability, her efficiency and strategy in fighting, and her capacity to follow the plan.
  • We Have Reserves: Either one of the creepiest or most tear-jerking examples ever.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: While fighting the 16th angel, she asked herself what love is.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Rei thinks there is worse than none, placing her welfare and safety at basically zero. This doesn't change throughout the series, and she places the welfare of others (Shinji in particular) and the human race in general (the Angel attacks, Instrumentality) far and above her own.
  • When She Smiles: Shinji tells her at the end of Episode 6 to try smiling. She complies, in what may be the first smile she every gave anyone that isn't Gendo (and possibly even more sincerely happy than the ones she gave him), and Shinji is awestruck by the result.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Her second incarnation after she defrosts. She is calm, never shows any animosity towards anyone (even to Asuka, whose dislike of Rei is very evident) unless they insult the Ikaris, either of whom she would die for at any given moment.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Rei's unrealistic, icy blue hair is one of her defining character traits, to the point that it got its own paint color.

    Asuka Langley Soryu 

Voiced by: Yuko Miyamura (Japanese); Tiffany Grant [ADV, Rebuild], Stephanie McKeon [VSI] (English)note 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tv_tropes_asuka.jpg
"What are you, stupid?"

Asuka, the Second Child, is an obnoxious, conceited, abrasive German-Japanese girl with a short temper, who alternates between flirting with Shinji and brutalizing him both emotionally and physically. She is a Teen Genius who has a college degree at the age of thirteen, speaks at least three languages fluently, and is very determined and athletic. She is obsessed with extruding a personal image of beauty, intelligence, and perfection, and doesn't suffer fools gladly (which in her view is — with a noted few exceptions — pretty much everyone around her). She pilots gleefully because she wants to become famous the world over for her intrepid exploits. She glories in combat and lives for the praise it brings her.

She is infatuated with Ryōji Kaji, Misato Katsuragi's on-again/off-again boyfriend, and throws herself at him again and again in an aggressive manner that is, for cultural reasons, quite shocking to the Japanese (and still fairly obsessive and disturbing even in more demonstrative cultures). She initially offers to be friends with Rei because "it would be convenient", but quickly comes to loathe her because she perceives Rei as being akin to a doll or puppet, something Asuka harbors a deep hatred for. She is not the main focus of the program, so her thoughts and feelings are not displayed as much as Shinji's are, but she is shown to have strong feelings for Shinji... the problem (usually for him) is that whatever these feelings are, they seem to be either deeply conflicted or aggressive and violent. Word of God says that Asuka actually is attracted to Shinji, meekness and all, and is hurt by his shying away from her, never realizing that it's her dominant and hateful attitude that's pushing him away.

As the series goes on, she becomes more sympathetic when her own painful past is revealed. Her personality and attitude are revealed to be psychological defense mechanisms for a massive inferiority complex which leads her to abuse others partly out of a fear of intimacy and partly out of sheer anger at the world.

The manga version of Asuka is not much different; the main changes are to her background (she is a test-tube baby), her introduction (which establishes her as more of an outright badass than in the anime), and her traumatic past (an extra event is introduced which compounds the tragedy and which plays itself out again through Asuka).


  • Accent Adaptation:
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub, Asuka is given a German accent to go along with her half-German heritage.
    • In the Netflix English dub, Asuka speaks with a slight Irish accent as a result of her being voiced by Dubliner Stephanie McKeon.
  • Ace Pilot: Deconstructed. Asuka is a very skilled Eva pilot with many years of training, unlike Shinji who basically depends on what appears to be Beginner's Luck, and she proves it when she's introduced. However, that skill is tied to her need to prove herself to others to bolster her self-worth. As the series goes on and she finds herself increasingly unable to handle repeated defeats (whether at the hands of an Angel or by being shown-up as a pilot), her synch rate plummets and her piloting ability evaporates.
  • Action Girl: Both in and outside an Eva. While her on-foot action is shown more in the manga, her anime portrayal is no less competent.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Asuka's hair is whatever the artist wants to draw at that moment in time, to put it simply. Her hair's been drawn as auburn, bright orange, medium-brown (mostly by fan artists), and occasionally even blonde (mostly in the manga). In the anime it seemed to be consistently auburn, and in Rebuild, it's consistently brownish copper. The manga officially states her hair color as golden-red. Most of her merchandise suffers from this as well, even with her Rebuild incarnation where she has a more consistent on-screen hair color.
  • Adaptational Heroism: A subtle case, but her interactions with Shinji and her treatment of him in the manga are a lot less mean-spirited than the anime. This is also partly because Shinji is more willing to talk back to her there, making it look less like one-sided bullying from Asuka's part and more like equal bickering.
  • Adorkable: She has her moments, particularly when she's acting like the kid that she is.
  • Alpha Bitch: In the anime. She mostly reserves her wrath for Shinji, or for Kensuke and Toji.
  • Always Second Best: It is implied that Asuka has a bit of an issue with having been designated the "Second Child", and a part of her chip on her shoulder against Rei stems from her being the "First". In a more obvious sense, there is the fact that she starts out as the leading pilot in sync score (something which she is quick to remind everyone of at the slightest provocation), but she is eventually surpassed by Shinji, something which deals so severe a blow to her already very fragile self-confidence that her sync score remains on a downward trajectory for the rest of the series.
  • Always Someone Better: She spent years firmly convinced she's the best Evangelion pilot ever, and she's indeed very skilled and arguably the one with the most training under her belt among the three recurring pilots. Yet she finds her status and sense of superiority challenged and then gradually and decisively destroyed:
    • She's shocked to learn that Shinji managed a surprisingly high synch score on his first try, despite having zero training or preparation.
    • Rei effortlessly aces the pilot synchronization training with Shinji in Episode 9, where Asuka herself had failed to do until then (which she had insisted that it's all Shinji's fault).
    • She suffers several humiliating defeats at the hands of the last few Angels: Zeruel basically slaughtered her the same way he did with almost everything else, Arael raped her mind and she couldn't do anything; and against Armisael, she wasn't even able to move her Eva (let alone fight). Each time, it's either Shinji (vs. Zeruel) or Rei (vs. Arael and Armisael) that gets the kill. And to rub salt in the wound, she has to be rescued from Arael by Rei of all people, whom she utterly despises for being essentially the antithesis of everything that Asuka had worked hard to be.
    • Gendo refused to allow Shinji to take to the field and pull Asuka out of Arael's Mind Rape range (due to it risking Unit-01 getting caught as well), only for him to send the boy out to save Rei when Armisael began to physically invade Eva-00 (even though it risked Unit-01 getting infected as well). This basically gives Asuka the impression that her life and well-being are worth less than those of a mechanical and doll-like person like Rei, despite the fact that Asuka is the better-skilled and generally better-performing pilot between the two.
    • And finally, in End of Evangelion, Asuka makes her long-overdue comeback by going up against the eight Mass-Produced Evas and doing quite well... only to get slaughtered and Eaten Alive anyway when the true power of their signature weapons is unveiled, the supposedly disabled ones rise up in spite of being in varying states of heavy damage, and all eight gang up on her. In the very end, it's Shinji (in whom the decision is left) and Rei (who more or less holds the key to the required power to do so) who are instrumental in averting Instrumentality.
  • Anti-Hero: As deeply flawed as Shinji and with similar issues, but in a more extroverted fashion.
  • Arc Number: Two, being the Second Child and the pilot of Eva-02. It fits into her inferiority complex and troubles with being Always Second Best.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Aside from what happens to her in the fight with Zeruel (Zeruel slices her Eva's arms off before going for its head), in End of Evangelion, the MP Evas attack her in such a way that her own arm is sliced apart like a banana being peeled.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: She is a deconstructed female example. She's extremely cocky and aggressive, and takes great pride in her skills as an Ace Pilot. However, it's later revealed that she uses this attitude to obfuscate just how screwed up she is.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the -ANIMA- storyline, she mutates and fuses with Unit 02 to become what can best be described as a giant version of herself with biomechanical elements and a babylike personality.
  • Ax-Crazy: If anyone or anything that isn't named "Kaji" or "Hikari" pushes her buttons. This effect is turned Up to Eleven if Shinji is the victim or if she is in Unit-02, and passes the horror threshold in End of Evangelion when she fights the MP Evas, dispatching them with brutality that is at times almost sickening.
  • Attention Whore: Asuka is desperate for attention due to deeply-ingrained insecurities caused by her mother's psychotic break, subsequent murder-suicide with the doll she called "Asuka", and her father's abandonment. She needs people to acknowledge her existence because otherwise she feels worthless.
    Asuka: WHY WON'T YOU LOOK AT ME!?
  • Back from the Dead: She's the first human being (besides Shinji) who gets out of Instrumentality.
  • Badass Adorable: She's as cute as a kitten and is also one of the most skilled EVA pilots upon her introduction, garnering her lots of admiration in-universe on both counts. Her competence (and adherence to this trope) fades as the story progresses, only to rebound spectacularly and tragically for End of Evangelion.
  • Badass Decay: invoked Intended as a part of her character arc. As Asuka suffers from more and more failures and begins to be outclassed by Shinji, she gradually loses her self-confidence, eventually becoming a catatonic wreck after her Mind Rape by Arael.
  • Bandage Babe: During the last scene of End. She suffers from similar wounds to Rei's in the first episode.
  • Bath Suicide: Implied to have been attempted in by Asuka, post Mind Rape. The scene is somewhat ambiguous as to whether this is what actually happened, but the fact that the character is found in a destroyed house, naked in a bathtub with water that appears stained red, with her clothes neatly folded beside the tub along with her shoes, and is too weak to resist being taken into custody by agents certainly suggests it.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Shinji Ikari. Everyone Can See It. Even Toji can see it: Asuka starts chewing out Shinji for not bringing their lunches, while he tries to get his side in. Toji tosses off a remark that they're arguing Like an Old Married Couple. Cue double Luminescent Blush (they had kissed not many days earlier), then simultaneous denial in perfect stereo. But due to their personality problems, neither can actually tell the other, leading to... well, The End of the World as We Know It. Luckily, many fanfiction authors go out of their way to fix these problems. So did the canon author in the Rebuild series; her Tsundere and his Shrinking Violet tendencies are toned down considerably.
  • Beneath the Mask: Her arrogance and bravado is her mask. Beneath it is an extremely lonely person with abandonment issues who is cripplingly afraid of being replaced and discarded if she isn't "good" enough.
  • Betty and Veronica: Rei and Asuka have this dynamic going between them, though it goes two ways. In Japan, Rei is seen as the Betty because of her gentle disposition, reserved nature, and tendency to get horribly injured, whereas the Fiery Redhead foreigner Asuka is the cultural Veronica because her forceful and aggressive personality is just so strange to the generally reserved Japanese public. However, in the more demonstrative West, the more outgoing, more human, more badass, and more overtly in love Asuka is the familiar Betty, and the bizarre, cold, and strangely unsettling Rei is the exotic Veronica.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: She has a volatile temper and a massive superiority complex in order to compensate for the Parental Neglect she suffered at the hands of her mother, who spent her last days driven to such insanity that she did not recognize her Asuka, and instead became convinced that one of Asuka's dolls was her daughter. A whole new level of trauma is heaped on her when she found her mother had hanged both herself and the "Asuka" doll on the very day that she became an Eva pilot.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In the manga, she hides the less pleasant aspects of her personality until Misato, after seeing her facade slip, tells her that she doesn't have to put on a "good girl" act.
  • Blood Knight: She appears to fall under this category at first, but she's actually a subversion. While she appears to enjoy the heat of battle against the Angels, she doesn't fight out of a true warrior spirit — rather, she's really trying to upstage and surpass everyone else to draw attention to her because she is frightened of being alone and ignored. Unfortunately, Shinji (unintentionally) starts to outshine her, which begins to gnaw at her resolve. Worse, she's only being used on the condition that she can pilot an Eva. If she falters, she's going to be tossed aside. Unfortunately, she suffers a horrific failure in battle that leaves her in turmoil... followed by a diabolical assault on her mind.
  • Break the Haughty: Since her entire self-conception revolves around being the best Eva pilot, any failure is a major blow to her confidence.
  • Breakout Character: While not as central to the story as Shinji, Rei or even Misato, Asuka is one of the most popular and iconic characters in the series, and is often cited as the archetypical Fiery Redhead Tsundere in anime. She and Rei are the most-marketed human characters in the Evangelion franchise, and possibly for Gainax as a whole.
  • Broken Ace: Eva pilot, intelligent, already has a university degree, the most popular girl in school...and packing childhood trauma equivalent to Shinji's.
  • Broken Bird: The Jerkass Woobie type, but she's already qualified for this at the start of the show. This being Evangelion, things go horribly wrong and after the Mind Rape she was almost completely broken.
  • Broken Smile: 4-year-old Asuka after she walks in on what should be the happiest day of her life so far, with what she believes to be proof she is a worthy daughter, only to find that her mother has committed "murder"-suicide, hanging herself with a doll of Asuka.
  • Broken Tears: Asuka cried during her Mind Rape due to being forced to remember her childhood traumas and face her deep-rooted insecurities, as well as in episode 23 after Hikari comforts her by telling her that she shouldn't hate herself, and that she thinks she's done well.
  • Bungled Suicide: It's implied that she tried to cut her wrists in episode 24, when she's seen in a bathtub with water that looks like it's stained red, and may have been starving herself. Section 2 finds her and she's too weak to resist being taken into custody.
  • But Not Too Foreign: She is occasionally drawn in promotional materials as a blonde instead of a redhead. The North American and Mexican dubs pad this out with dialogue that occasionally includes German expletives and exclamations. A handy conceit of the show is that Asuka is "part-Japanese", explaining her given name and family name being Japanese, but she's really only quarter Japanese because her mother was half Japanese and half German. Asuka was born and raised in Germany, speaks German as her native language, so she considers herself German and everyone else does too. Her actual ethnic makeup is 25% Japanese, 25% German, 50% "American"note . Her mother's name was Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu, while Langley is her father's last name.
  • Byronic Heroine: She's selfish, impulsive, self-centered, rude, and borderline misanthropic. She's also lonely, heartbroken, wounded, and desperately searching for her place.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: For extra fun, she has a hard time even admitting her feelings for Shinji to herself, let alone telling him. It probably doesn't help that on the occasions when she subtly or not-so-subtly flirts with him, it doesn't work at all.
  • Catchphrase: "Anta baka?", meaning either "What are you, stupid?" in the original dub or "Are you an idiot?" in the Netflix dub.
  • Char Clone: She wears red, pilots a red EVA unit, is The Rival to Shinji Ikari, and serves as the show's resident Ace Pilot.
  • Character Development:
    • Following her Mind Rape, she starts questioning who she is and nearly kills herself in the process. After returning from the LCL, she shows Shinji a sign of affection by caressing his face (though it's clear she's still mad at him).
    • Even more pronounced in the manga, where she survives her post-Mind Rape battle due to Shinji's intervention saving her.
  • Child Prodigy: While she's technically a Teen Genius in the story proper, she says she graduated from university "last year" at the time she debuted, which is in 2015 — specifically, it can be deduced from several pieces of evidence that said debut happened in the middle of the year. Her official profile states her birthdate to be in December 4, 2001; that means she was at age 13 when she first showed up in the story. Logic dictates then that she must've started her university-level education a few years before then (2-3 years if we assume she was smart enough to do 4-5 years of university studies faster than the average young adult could), and thus in turn indicates that her intellectual giftedness had to have manifested while she was still in the middle of childhood, in order for her to have skipped all the way from elementary to senior high school.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl
    • She's very possessive towards Kaji whenever it seems like he's paying attention to another woman; this makes his past flame Misato the main object of her jealousy.
    • She's also just as possessive towards Shinji, not that she would ever admit it. Even catching Shinji looking at Rei can trigger an outburst; then there's Episode 22, where in the midst of her Heroic BSoD she spots Shinji and Rei talking to each other. The next time she interacts with Rei, Asuka goes into a screaming meltdown and slaps her. This is often much more explicit in Alternate Continuity works; Mana Kirishima seems to really bring this out in her. She also plays this trope painfully straight while Shinji is viewing an alternate world in episode 26 where he was never an EVA pilot; she is instead his next door Childhood Friend, and doesn't like how much attention he seems to be giving to New Transfer Student Rei.
  • Color-Coded Character: Red is Asuka's signature color, matching her hair color and personality as well as the color of her Evangelion. It also contrasts with Rei, who has blue as her color.
  • Colorblind Casting: Portrayed in live action by her brunette, very Asian seiyuu Yuko Miyamura in the End of Evangelion alternate ending.
  • Creepy Child: Following her breakdown, she becomes a catatonic wreck. Her final battle in End of Evangelion shows a disturbing amount of hysterical brutality as well.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The way that Asuka checks out in End of Evangelion is definitely not for the faint of heart... or stomach.After reaching an extremely high level of synchronization with her Eva, all wounds her Eva receives happen to her. So, in order, her Eva, and thus her: get a replica Spear of Longinus through the eye, gets its intestines ripped out, gets its arm sliced in half longways, then gets peppered with more Spears. And that's what we see onscreen. Shortly after, the Eva gets torn to pieces with one of the MP Evas seen carrying its head. We can only hope that she was dead from all the Spears. The sight of it is enough to basically break Shinji completely.
  • Debt Detester: Shows this in Episode 11 to repay Shinji, who saved her in the volcano (Episode 10). Asuka takes the full brunt of Matariel's acid, doing God knows what to her Eva, to give Shinji and Rei the time to kill the Angel.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: There are tiny shades of this immediately following her introduction. She steadily becomes less and less of a Jerkass to Shinji until finally they have an awkward kiss scene. Unfortunately, then things went south when she interpreted his awkward reaction to the kiss as a rejection. Then her jealousy flares back up once he surpasses her as a pilot, and his relationship with Rei grows warmer. Then came the Mind Rape...
  • Designer Baby: Asuka is a test-tube baby in the manga adaptation, apparently from a bank that was very particular about its donors. Her feeling of being "special" is partly tied to this, which makes her loss of confidence even more painful to her as the story progresses.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: In spite of her narcissism, all Asuka really wants is admiration for her skills as a pilot, Kaji's respect, and Shinji's affection. Her struggle in getting them puts her in a downward spiral.
  • Determinator: Even as horribly injured as she was by the time the MP Evas were done with Unit 02, she still had the will and anger to try to fight back.
    I'll kill you I'll kill you I'll kill you...
  • Deuteragonist: Although Misato is definitely the deuteragonist of the series as a whole, she arguably takes the role during End of Evangelion specifically. The final catalyst for the Human Instrumentality Project is essentially Asuka's and Shinji's failed interactions with one another throughout the series, which in a sense makes Asuka the second most responsible for Instrumentality occurring as their mutual inability to form a relationship with one another is what drives Shinji to reject the world. Despite this, Shinji ultimately decides to embrace humanity and allow people to return to their corporeal state, and Asuka is the first person to come back to life after him.
  • Disney Death: In End of Evangelion. Asuka is brutally dismembered by the MP Evas in the middle of the movie thanks to her high synch rate with Unit 02, but is brought back from Instrumentality after Shinji decides to embrace humanity, even getting the final line in the movie.
  • Domestic Abuse: She's secretly attracted to Shinji (who secretly is attracted to her too), and yet hurls a lot of verbal abuse towards him, sometimes on the slightest provocation. Occasionally during the "Action Arc", she becomes outright physically violent, but given the light tone of the arc in question, it's probably intended to come across as slapstick comedy rather than serious physical abuse.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Asuka hates the very thought of anyone feeling sorry for her, as she has a pathological fear that it means people have seen through her thunderous surface and therefore think she is weak and pathetic.
  • Driven to Suicide: Shortly after her mental breakdown and Mind Rape. It fails when she is found, but she falls into a coma.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: A written version. Asuka fails her math exams at school. However, when Shinji is having trouble with a problem, she solves it in her head. When Shinji expresses his amazement at how she could possibly be failing math, she explains that she hasn't learned the kanji yet and just can't read the exam questions. Made more apparent by the fact that she has a university degree and is basically a child prodigy as well as an Evangelion pilot. It's likely that kanji is really the only reason she's in school at all while in Japan.
  • Escapism: After her Mind Rape and before her suicide attempt, she briefly became obsessed with video games to cope with her horrible reality. Even Hikari was worried about her playing games all the time.
  • Expy:
  • Eye Scream: In End of Evangelion, because of her incredibly high sync rate with Unit-02, she is shown bleeding profusely from her left eye when a replica Spear of Longinus hits the EVA in the face. When she returns from Instrumentality, her left eye is bandaged over in the same manner as Rei's was at the start of the anime.
  • Fembot: In -ANIMA-, she is unwittingly fused with Unit-02 and transforms into Crimson A1, a monstrous entity that resembles a giant armored Asuka.
  • Fiery Redhead: She's even the page picture. In the anime Asuka is always depicted with some shade of red hair, and is known for her arrogance, short temper, callousness, and very pronounced tsundere traits.
  • First Kiss: She pressures Shinji into kissing her in Episode 15. Between her grasping his nose and their mutual fear of rejection, it goes poorly.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
  • Foil: She serves as one to Shinji. While their initial childhood traumas are near identical (watching their mothers die and having their fathers outright abandon them), they are raised afterwards in the polar opposite manner, thus resulting in the two of them responding in polar opposite ways.
    • Shinji is "raised" by people who do their best to pretend he didn't exist, while Asuka is forced into Eva-piloting at age 4.
    • Shinji is raised in Japan where "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down", meaning that anybody who stands out gets brutalized until they stop standing out, so that Shinji keeps his head down in response to everything, does as he's told, and becomes an Extreme Doormat until he's pushed far enough to become a conduit for an Unstoppable Rage.
    • Asuka is raised in that continuity of Germany where your self-worth is tied directly to how well you can excel in combat, or so she's raised to believe; she becomes a Tyke Bomb for Nerv Berlin, while her father's mistress - her step-mother - sees fit to have sex with him, loudly, in the room right next to her mother's hospital bed, while she's there.
    • She is also a subtle foil to Rei as the two of them are tyke bombs for NERV since age 4, but while Rei becomes a Death Seeker waiting for the day where she can finally die and embrace sweet, sweet oblivion to free her from her pain, Asuka seeks to live forever, having her fame and glory burn her name across the heavens for all time. BOTH of them get their wishes horribly denied.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Asuka's American voice actresses can speak German, and pepper Asuka's speech with German profanity.
  • Fountain of Expies: Invoked. While not quite to the same extent as Rei, Asuka inspired the creation of a whole slew of red-headed Tsunderes.
  • Freudian Excuse: Pretty much all of the unpleasant aspects in her personality can be traced to childhood traumas, from her mother being driven insane enough to be convinced that a lifeless doll is really "Asuka" and that the real Asuka is a complete stranger, to said mother committing "murder"-suicide with said doll and Asuka discovering the corpse on the day she was hoping to bring the happy news that she was selected as a candidate for piloting Eva-02. Then there is her father's handling of the incident; that is, completely abandoning his wife to her insanity and starting a very public affair with her doctor, only served to re-enforce the twisted lesson Asuka learned from all of this namely: "If I am not good enough, I will be discarded and replaced."
  • Girlish Pigtails: Wears true tsundere tails tied up with her nerve clips. She might be the trope founder. Taken further in the -ANIMA- light novels, where her usual hairstyle is a set of full-fledged twintails (despite her no longer fitting the tsundere bill).
  • Glory Seeker: Her Attention Whore issues lead to her striving to hog the spotlight (and, consequentially, the praise) when it comes to being an Evangelion pilot.
  • The Glomp: Her standard way of greeting Kaji.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Being the number one pilot is a cornerstone of her self-esteem, and she strives to always project an image of being the smartest and most beautiful person within her circle of peers. As such, Shinji seemingly undermining this as his piloting skill and sync ratios improve is enough to send her over the edge.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Much like Rei, but for different reasons. Asuka is one of the most accomplished and honorable heroes in the series, and also one of the most unpleasant people to be around for most of the cast.
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: Has German, Japanese and American heritage, and has rather large breasts for someone her age. Her foreigness is a source of sex appeal, as she is aggressive and straightforward sexually and otherwise due to being non-Japanese. This is part of her appeal as a romantic archetype and to Shinji, though his feelings towards her are complicated.
  • Gratuitous German: Asuka's Japanese VA sadly does not speak German well, and Sadamoto's manga isn't any better at that either. It's a completely different matter with her English dub VAs, though (see Surprisingly Good Foreign Language).
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Asuka becomes jealous of Shinji for his apparent skills at piloting, and of Rei for believing Shinji feels closer to her.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Some illustrations for the manga depict her with blonde-looking hair like some merchandise does, but she's stated to have golden-red hair.
  • Hair Decorations: She usually wears her nerve clips even when not piloting an EVA, which keep her Girlish Pigtails in place.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Asuka's temperament is perpetually on thin ice, and she unloads almost as often as Shinji or Rei steps upon it.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Asuka is sent over the edge when Shinji's sync ratio got higher than hers even when she trained as a pilot for years. Then we found out why: it's revealed that Asuka figuratively "walling off" her heart from everyone (to avoid being hurt again) also caused her to shut out Unit-02 in all her attempts to synchronize with it's resident soul, which just so happens to be that of her dead mother, thus she was essentially piloting an Eva all wrong. The fact that she managed the highest sync ratio for any period of time is impressive, and Asuka is still a better pilot than Shinji in terms of self-discipline and practical skill anyway. The main problem being that the series is Neon Genesis Evangelion, where everything will always go wrong (unless you're in a Lighter and Softer spin-off).
  • Hates Being Touched: Although she doesn't say it outright, the trope is heavily implied to have taken effect after her Mind Rape by the fact that the first time we see her after said event, it's right after she's being declared under quarantine (symbolism, perhaps?), she's in a Troubled Fetal Position, she explodes in anger at Shinji's awkward attempt at comforting her while her body language makes her look like she's trying to draw herself in even further, and since the Mind Rape she never makes any sort of physical contact with anyone (not even Hikari, whom she made a point of staying with instead of with Shinji and Misato).
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": In the non-canon comedic radio drama Evangelion: After the End she pitches the idea of Shin Sentai Evangelion, a show wherein she is The Hero and The Leader, because she's wearing red, while her crew, consisting of Rei, Shinji, Toji, and Kaworu, are portrayed as weirdos and losers.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Episode 22 starts with Asuka going into a mental breakdown that sends her sync ratio plummeting, then she gets Mind Raped. After that, she spends most of her time full of anger and grief, thinking that nobody loved her or would care for her now that she had been humiliated, and after losing her connection to Eva (which meant that she was now worthless to Nerv and would be replaced and discarded), she runs away and tries to commit suicide; she is found in time to save her life, but she falls into a coma.
    • Also, she pulls one the moment before her EVA receives a replica Spear of Longinus through the head in End of Evangelion.
  • Hot-Blooded: Especially compared to Rei and Shinji. She's prone to screaming her head off when piloting.
  • Hurting Heroine: She has a lot of emotional baggage under her haughty surface.
  • Iconic Outfit: Somewhat in contrast to Shinji and Rei (and, to a lesser degree, Kaworu) who are most commonly associated with their school uniforms, Asuka's most iconic piece of clothing is easily her casual yellow sundress, combined with the A10 Nerve Clips in her hair of course.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Which she gives a number of cold stares with over the course of the series.
  • Image Song: Asuka has a few, including two adorable renditions of "Fly Me to the Moon" and trio versions of both that song and "Cruel Angel's Thesis" shared with Rei and Misato. One of the Sega Saturn games gives her "Get It On! Doppelganger ni Kuchizuke Wo" (which she sings in-universe for a school show accompanied by Shinji and his pals), and a Rebuild of Evangelion pachinko game gives her two more.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Spam Attacked to Gorn levels with her death in End of Evangelion, as the MP Evas send their replica Spears of Longinus into Unit 02.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Asuka's attitude and abrasiveness are a psychological coverup for her self-esteem issues.
  • Informed Ability: Despite being a Teen Genius, she doesn't appear to be particularly more intelligent than any of the other children. This is a case of Truth in Television, as people with unusually high intellect don't really stand out from their peers in most situations.
  • Irony:
    • She grew up in Germany, lives in Japan during the events of the series, has German as her first language and speaks fluent Japanese, but has more American ancestry than either of those two nationalities (her father is fully American while her mother is half-German and half-Japanese)note .
    • Her entire personality in the present day is at its core driven by her mother falling into insanity after a Contact Experiment with Unit-02, such that she ignored Asuka in favor of a doll, with which she committed "murder"-suicide just before Asuka came in to happily inform her of her selection as an Eva pilot. Come End of Evangelion, Asuka would finally discover that her mother's soul had been inside Unit-02 all along, but as Rei had put it in one late episode, Asuka had been "shutting out" the Eva from her heart (as a side-effect of figuratively doing the same to everyone in her life), thus she couldn't even vaguely feel her mother's presence like Shinji did.
  • Japanese Politeness: She's constantly annoyed by Shinji apologizing, and is also the most prominent foreigner on the show.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Asuka is an angry and temperamental Tsundere, but despite that, she still tries to be compassionate to Shinji; this even more visible in the manga version, post her initial appearance in Volume 4. Unfortunately, he's just too secluded to open up to her, leading to many angry confrontations between the two over his cowardice and her arrogance. Likewise, she does genuinely attempt to befriend Rei, but Asuka's abrasive nature and Rei's stoicism rub each other exactly the wrong way.
  • Kill the Cutie: How the fight against the MP Evas ends.
  • Lack of Empathy: Asuka's empathy is rather limited.
  • The Lancer: Shinji's polar opposite who is actually very similar to him beneath the surface. Their conflict with each other is a driving force throughout the series.
  • Large Ham: Asuka chews the scenery every time she appears thanks to her Hot-Blooded attitude and overemotional reactions, especially compared to the down-to-earth Shinji and stoic Rei. Even more so in the English dub, although in Japanese she gets to crank up the ham as well in Evangelion: After the End.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Asuka often labels herself as the leader of the Children by default, and has a red color theme. In After The End, she quite literally positions herself as the red-colored leader of her sentai team.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Part of the series' Deconstruction of the Hot-Blooded Ace Pilot is Asuka's occasional tendency to be this. Her first attempt to work together with Shinji was a disaster, after which she got better as she learned to work together with her teammates before reverting back to this due to her mental breakdown.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: The dark to Rei's and Hikari's light.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Her bickering with Shinji is lampshaded by Toji in class when he addresses them as the "newlyweds" making them both Luminescent Blush. Notably, this is at the point where she and Shinji are actually closest and have the most stability both individually and between them.
  • Loving Bully: Deconstructed with her feelings towards Shinji. Because of all the trauma she's experienced and her personality, she can't bring herself to express her feelings for him any other way. Also in that she can be really vicious to Shinji at times, which is implied to be the result of her actually being angry at herself for feeling attracted to him, because she cannot understand why she feels that way about him. At first it seems like funny slapstick though love, but then, she triumphantly laughs and says he deserved it when he is presumed dead in episode 16 (which prompts Rei to more or less get in Asuka's face with a Death Glare and curtly reproach her). Additionally, hammering someone with insults is more likely to drive a person away than make them think you have feelings for them, especially if that someone is already insecure and tending towards avoiding confict.
  • Madness Mantra: "Kill you ... Kill you ... I'll kill you ... I'll kill you ... kill you ... kill you ..." It also doubles as a Survival Mantra but it fails. Grandly.
  • Mauve Shirt: Ironically, Asuka, who believes that she is the hero of the story, is in actually much closer to this trope when it comes to her in-universe importance for the plans of the various masterminds. In both Gendo and SEELE's plans, her role is for all intents and purposes nominal at best, as she and Unit-02 are essentially Cannon Fodder meant to even the odds against the Angels (and more covertly, a way for Gendo to even his odds against SEELE), and in Yui's plan it appears that she is effectively a non-factor, easily making her the most expendable pilot in-universe. Of note, neither Gendo, SEELE, or Yui ever mentions her by name, and the first only ever (barely) acknowledges her existence in the capacity of her post as Unit-02's pilot. This is in contrast to Shinji and Rei who have both been chosen from the beginning to play central parts in the end-game and all parties therefore have some degrees of vested interests in keeping alive.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine Girl to Shinji's Feminine Boy.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Towards Shinji, alternating between mocking him and trying to hit on him. Justified in that she clearly does want his attention, but she's already been rejected by Kaji and fears getting the same result with Shinji, so she wants to leave an out that she can use to at least save face. Unfortunately for her, this ends up ruining all of her chances with Shinji.
  • The McCoy: The emotional, hot-tempered and unpredictable part of the main trio.
  • Meaningful Name: She is one of only four Evangelion characters named after a ship whose ship-based name uses entirely different kanji from their namesake (the others being her mother and the two Akagis); the kanji of Asuka's surname Sôryū are 惣流, while the IJN Sôryū's kanji are 蒼龍. This superficiality of her name's allusion seems to foreshadow the fact that her self-confident persona is a façade concealing the truth that she has no self-confidence at all; it may also allude to the fact that her namesake, despite being one of the best IJN carriers of her class at the time, was eventually destroyed by an aerial attack that she was unable to defend against due to the limitations imposed upon her design by the London Naval Treaty, mirroring Asuka's own limits as a girl still in early adolescence being thrust into a war against an alien threat while still suffering from a shitton of psychological issues. Add to that the fact that the IJN Sôryū, like all purpose-built Japanese carriers, was named after a sacred creature of Japanese myth (in her case, the Blue Dragon), and it's easy to interpret Asuka's name as representing how she attempts to claim great glory and status but ultimately falls short.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Asuka's an isolated and arrogant narcissist whose sanity reaches a nadir following her Mind Rape.
  • Mind Rape: The Trope Namer. Arael's mental contact with her causes her to relive all of her traumatic childhood experiences at once, overwhelming her mind and crushing her self-image.
  • Ms. Fanservice: A contender for the position with Misato and Rei. She's this in-universe as well, as many of the boys at school develop crushes on her and send her love letters (something that Kensuke and Toji take advantage of by selling photographs of her).
  • Narcissist: Played straight in the original anime where she is consistently portrayed as vain, self-absorbed, and obsessed with being the center of everyone's attention and admiration. Her immense pride in her beauty and piloting skills are all-encompassing to the point that she treats everyone around her with undisguised contempt and feels entitled to adulation and praise from everyone she meets. Despite demanding unconditional devotion and praise from others, Asuka conversely feels no obligation to treat others with respect unless doing so will keep them under her thrall or otherwise advance her interests in some way. Towards the end of the series, it is revealed that her megalomania is a coping mechanism for her deep-rooted fear that no one will ever love her despite all she has achieved.
  • Never My Fault: Asuka refuses to accept the possibility that she's the one that's off from Shinji during the dance training in ep. 8, and doesn't take it well when Rei matches up with Shinji perfectly on the first try.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted.
    • Asuka is having one in Episode 22. She's not the least bit pleased about it, and Ritsuko brushes off Misato's mention that it might be the reason for her low synch rate.
    • This pops up earlier in the manga when Asuka, describing herself as "one giant cramp", tries to get Shinji to deliver a note to Kaji instead of giving it to him herself.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: While her final battle against the Mass-Produced Evas initially seems to be a Curb-Stomp Battle in her favor, because she failed to destroy any of their cores they each recover from their injuries and proceed to give her a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Not So Different: It becomes increasingly evident towards the end of the series that Asuka has quite a lot in common with Shinji, such as a similar past and psychological issues, and, most importantly, a pathological need for affirmation from other people, and that is the reason for much of their conflict. Especially Episodes 25 and 26 and The End of Evangelion spends some time hammering this point home.
    Shinji: Right now, the Eva is all I have.
    Rei: Because otherwise, you can't maintain your identity.
    Misato: It's true, Eva Unit-01 is a part of who you are.
    Ritsuko: But if you keep clinging to the Eva, the Eva itself will become you.
    Kaji: The Eva itself will become all you are.
    Misato: The real you will cease to exist.
    Shinji: I don't care! I never had anything to begin with anyway! Even the cello lessons I used to take all came to nothing.
    Asuka: That's because you never took the initiative to make something of it!
    Shinji: But I can pilot the Eva now!
    Asuka: And eventually, you won't be able to do anything without the Eva... Like me.
  • Panty Shot:
    • Played straight in the anime in her first appearance. Hilarity Ensues.
    • This actually doesn't happen in the manga, although she thinks Shinji, Toji, and Kensuke were peeping at her in the arcade and tries to get them to fork over money as their "viewing fee."
  • Parent with New Paramour: After Kyoko's death, Asuka's father got remarried to the mistress (who also happened to be Kyoko's doctor)… with him having started his affair with said mistress soon after his wife was institutionalized. And the two had the gall to have sex (and rather noisily at that) in the hospital room right next to Kyoko's at least once. It's little wonder that Asuka finds herself unable to become attached to her stepmother; that being said, she states that she doesn't hate the woman, but merely feels as if she could never replace her real mother.
  • Parental Neglect: One of Asuka's father's lines implies that already before she went insane, she would regularly neglect Asuka in favor of her research work. Whether he was telling the truth, exaggerating things, or just lying out of his ass is unknown, but the trope is definitely played straight after Kyoko is driven insane by a Contact Experiment gone wrong, causing her to mistake one of Asuka's dolls for her daughter, whom she no longer recognizes.
  • Patient Childhood Love Interest: In the anime's Alternate Universe scenes and the Angelic Days manga.
  • Pet the Dog: She has a few moments even in the original series where she displays a heart under all that anger. After defeating one of the Angels, Misato offers a steak dinner to celebrate with all the pilots. Asuka's first instinct is take a moment to flip through a resturant guidebook, hoping to find the most expensive steak place, but she then finds out Rei is a vegetarian, and so instead loudly demands they have ramen instead to include Rei in the festivities rather than leave her out as usual. She also knows about Misato's meager financial means, and so makes sure to pick a ramen cart serving modestly priced meals.
  • The Perfectionist: Asuka will not accept anything less of herself than being the best among the Evangelion pilots, because the integrity of her incredibly low self-esteem depends on it. The idea of Shinji surpassing her starts her breakdown.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Somewhat. Just like Misato, Asuka is a competent character who nonetheless provides quite a bit of levity due to her personality (in her case, over-the-top histrionics and Large Ham tendencies), to the point that the mood of the series becomes quite a bit sillier upon her introduction. She even has a wacky, lighthearted leitmotif like Misato does. However, this gets thrown out the window as the series goes into darker territory, and Asuka becomes a more tragic, troubled and serious character all the way to the end of End of Evangelion.
  • Plucky Girl: Though her pluckiness is presented in a rather negative light.
  • Poirot Speak: In the English dub, Tiffany Grant and Stephanie McKeon occasionally pepper Asuka's speech with German exclamations; McKeon even gives the character slight hint of her native accent. The Latin Spanish dub does the same, but takes it further by giving Asuka a German accent.
  • Pride: Her Fatal Flaw. She is practically defined by pride in herself — even more than being the series' Tsundere. This is both a strength and a weakness; as the art book Eve states, "Asuka's pride is a double-edged sword of Damocles", and it's stated that her Pride is a defense to her crippling low self-esteem due to a Freudian Excuse. It's essentially a false coping mechanism.
  • Psychological Projection:
    • It is quite obvious that she has a lot of this going with Rei.
      Asuka: (in a private moment to Shinji) This First Child is scary! She's the type who will do anything to accomplish her objectives. In other words, a self-righteous bitch.
    • Near the series progresses, becomes increasingly evident that she also has quite a bit of this going on with Shinji, as it turns out that the two of them are Not So Different. Especially her belittling and insulting him whenever she thinks he acts "weak", is not so much down to his own behavior, as it is a result of her seeing her own inner fragility reflected back at her whenever she looks at him and hating what she sees.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: In -ANIMA- she is transformed into Crimson A1, a being that has the mentality of a baby and causes destruction merely through curiosity.
  • Rapunzel Hair:
    • Asuka's sometimes depicted with very long hair, though like all the female characters this is inconsistent. Her hair usually reaches just below the middle of her back.
    • In -ANIMA-, her hair in illustrations is much longer and reaches her lower back. Exaggerated with her transformation into Crimson A1, where her Girlish Pigtails are formed from the enormous UX-1 Allegorica unit.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Firmly on the good guys' side despite her personality.
  • Red Is Heroic: Asuka is the only protagonist to have a consistent color scheme via her hair, her plugsuit and her Eva. However, unlike most other red-themed heroes, she's solidly an Anti-Hero; in her case, the red emphasizes her anger and, being the color of her Eva unit, how closely her identity is tied to her piloting skills.
  • Red Is Violent: Once again, red is the primary color for this highly aggressive young girl.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Rei's blue. She's hot-blooded and loud-mouthed whereas Rei is quiet and emotionless.
  • The Rival: While she doesn't really have an actual rival (she perceives Shinji and Rei as such at times, but that's all in her head) Asuka's character in general bears all the hallmarks of a classic Rival character. Introduced as cooler and more elite than the main character? Check! Child Prodigy? Check! Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy? Check. Similar backstory, but different reaction leading to contrasting personalities? Check. Strong aversion to teamwork and Ineffectual Loner early on? Check! First belittles the protagonist as beneath her, then takes it very badly when he catched up to and eventually overtakes her? Check. Inferiority Superiority Complex? Oh boy... Lancer-like dynamics, ie, calls BS on what the hero does and presents an alternate set of values? Check. Extremely competitive and obsessed with 'winning'? Double-check!.... The only abnormality is that Shinji is so passive and noncompetitive that all of Asuka's attempts at instigating a rivalry fail instantly.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Notice how her EVA Unit bleeds purple and her limbs get mutilated during her final fight in the End of Evangelion. Reflects the color and punishment of the Deadly Sin of Pride, which she embodies.
  • Sanity Slippage: Her mental health degrades over the course of her Trauma Conga Line, with her interactions with practically everyone around her becoming more and more dominated by hostility and irrationality; Episode 23 delivers the final straw that pashes Asuka past the Despair Event Horizon, and the next time we see Asuka finds her in a run-down apartment after what is heavily implied to be an ultimately failed suicide attempt, with her falling into a coma from that point and until around midway through the first half of End of Evangelion.
  • Series Mascot: Asuka is a very heavily marketed franchise icon similar to Rei, but has traditionally played "second fiddle" to her (which was lampshaded in Evangelion: After the End). Despite this, she enjoys very similar popularity and iconic status to Rei (even possibly surpassing her in the West), and is widely considered to be the franchise's secondary mascot.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: After the attack of Arael. She doesn't get any better until End of Evangelion.
  • She's Back: In End Of Evangelion her confidence is back to the state it was post-debut and and shows an exceptional performance in her fight against the Mass produced Evangelions. That is, until Unit 02 runs out of power and they overwhelm her and rip her to shreds.
  • Slasher Smile: During her battle with the Eva Series, especially when she turns one's head into a pincushion.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: She's 13 and has a crush on the much older Kaji, who, despite acting like The Casanova toward most of the adult female cast, simply isn't interested. It's also a subversion, however: Asuka only pretends to be attracted to Kaji because she wants to seem mature; by contrast, she hides the feelings she ends up developing for Shinji. In the manga, however, her feelings may be more genuine. Despite some scenes that could be interpreted as subtle flirting, she apparently never develops romantic feelings for Shinji, and when Rei takes her during Instrumentality, it's Kaji that Asuka sees and not Shinji.
  • Smug Snake: Asuka has an incredibly over-inflated ego and gleefully treats everyone around her as inferior except for Kaji.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Her anger, haughtiness, and combative attitude are essentially an emotional armor she wears to cover up her loneliness and depression.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the manga version, Shinji manages to save her before she is killed by the MP Evas. She still got turned into LCL during Third Impact though.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Soryu, Sōryū, Souryu, Sohryu, Soryuu...? ADV's subs for the Platinum Edition use Sohryu, while the official English translation of the manga uses Soryu.
  • Stepford Smiler: Despite her haughty and hardnosed go-getter attitude, she is very lonely and miserable under this surface and is also very bad at dealing with slights; both real and imagined. With the mounting stress and mental pressure she experiences up over the series, due to feeling rejected by Kaji (and Shinji), and eventually being surpassed by Shinji in sync scores, she struggles to maintain this surface, despite the cracks in it becoming increasingly appearent.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Asuka's German in the English dub is not only more extensive, but far better in quality than in the source material, thanks to her VAs Tiffany Grant and Stephanie McKeon being actually decent speakers of the language.
  • Survival Mantra: After waking out of a catatonic state and being placed inside her EVA, underwater, with hundreds of special ops soldiers - who are packing tanks, attack helicopters, mortars, and Mass-Producing EVA machines — specifically hunting her with murderous intent, she whispers — then screams — this simple desire:
    "...Don't want to die. Don't want to die. Don't want to die. I don't want to die. I don't want to die..."
  • Tantrum Throwing: Though it does not occur on-screen, the occasional shot of her room in the latter half of the show, when her mood and psychological state is at its most unstable, shows that is it filled with broken pieces of tea cups, fashion magazines with several pages either torn out or filled with furious scribbles, and pillows with their stuffing partly ripped out, points towards the fact that she evidently often vents her anger this way when in private.
  • Tareme Eyes: Despite being a Fiery Redhead with a harsh and extremely mean attitude, Asuka has downward-slanting blue eyes. This is meant to show that despite her outside attitude, inside she's just as hurt, fragile and insecure as Shinji.
  • Team Prima Donna: Although she is a very good pilot pilot when not in the middle of a mental breakdown.
  • The Tease: In the manga's take on Asuka and Shinji having to room together to synch themselves for the battle with Israfel, she teases Shinji after coming out of the shower (apparently) wearing only a towel, giving him a good look at what of her bust isn't covered and then making a show of taking off the towel. Turns out she was dressed under it, and she laughs herself silly at Shinji's freaking out at her boldness.
  • Teen Genius: College graduate at 13... except that it doesn't count for much; see Worthless Foreign Degree below.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Wears one infrequently in extracanonical material. Most notably, she wears her hair in a very long ponytail when in her plugsuit in the -ANIMA- light novels.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She's a ferocious Hot-Blooded Action Girl who revels in her job as an Ace Pilot fighting alien Eldritch Abominations and has a rather aggressive fighting style, especially in End. But in her off time, she obsesses over boys (well, one older man to be precise; all other boys are just inadequate losers in her eyes), watches trashy romantic dramas, and her fashion sense (other than the mandatory plugsuit and school uniform) is rather cute and feminine, most notably with her iconic yellow sundress.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Okay, so in the end she got beaten in a rather horrifying manner by the MP Evas in End. That doesn't change the fact that when she breaks out of her Heroic BSoD she kicks some serious ass for a few glorious minutes. This being NGE, naturally it is immediately undone in a horrifying fashion.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • In the manga, where, following the events of Volume 4, she's much more Jerk with a Heart of Gold than Jerkass.
    • Even more so in -ANIMA- where she's mellowed out considerably and has a personality similar to Shinji, until she mutates and fuses with Unit 02.
    • In her campaign in the PS2 and DS versions of Ayanami Raising Project, Asuka is considerably nicer than usual (especially towards the player character) and mostly shows her harsher side via the anime-based events, although her character can evolve in different ways.
  • Trauma Conga Line: In Episode 15, at a time where she feels rejected and ignored by her crush Kaji, she makes an ill-devised attempt at getting some affection from Shinji by goading him into kissing her, only for it to disastrously fail due to a combination of Asuka's convoluted and mixed signals and Shinji's own abysmal self-esteem making it that much harder for him to pick up any cues at all; later in the episode, she realizes that Kaji has gotten back together with his former flame Misato, rubbing salt in the still fresh wound. Then come Episodes 18 and 19, where she makes very poor showings against Bardiel and Zeruel due to to a moment's distraction in the former's case and the latter's extreme durability and overwhelming power, dealing a heavy blow to her pride as the self-proclaimed #1 Eva pilot; her defeat at the latter's hands is made worse by how Shinji, her supposed inferior, fared much better against the Angel and would have probably defeated him single-handedly had Unit 01 not run out of power… which was rendered moot when the Eva went berserk soon after and proceed to kill and devour Zeruel, in the process recording an unpercedented synch rate of over 400% by Shinji that Asuka would never be able to reach.

    By Episode 22, her synch ratio has significantly worsened due to her emotional turmoil, especially after she was told of Kaji's death. Then Arael mind-rapes her by exhuming all the memories of her childhood traumas as well as her recent humiliations and forcing her conscious mind to confront them all at once, sending her into a full-fledged freak-out as she can no longer deny the harsh reality; that Rei is the one who ends up saving her only added insult to injury, as not only does she hate Rei, but Gendo's refusal to sortie Unit 01 to help her gives off the impression that Asuka's well-being is "expendable" compared to the safety of said Eva. In the aftermath, Asuka rejects Shinji's attempt at consoling her, and by Episode 23 she has run away from Misato's apartment and takes refuge in Hikari's home, skipping school and spending all her waking time playing video games in a desperate attempt at escapism; when Hikari vainly tries to cheer her up at night, Asuka feels too ashamed of herself to do anything but face away from her and cry. The final straw that breaks what little remained of Asuka's sanity is when she's sortied to help Rei against Armisael, only for her to be unable to even move Unit 02 due to her synch rate having hit rock-bottom in the wake of her mental violation by Arael, at which point Gendou sees fit to lift the freeze on mobilizing Unit 01 when he refused to do the same for Asuka against the 15th Angel.
  • Troubled, but Cute: She's a dysfunctional, extremely troubled loner and easily one of the cutest characters in the series along with Rei.
  • Tsundere: Another of the series' deconstructions, as her behavior is essentially an answer to the question, "How messed up in the head would a person have to be to act like an anime tsundere?"
    • To be more specific, she does have a softer side (and as early as the eighth chapter in the manga, at least one scene hints that her bravado is only a façade) but due to severe childhood trauma she has a hard time trusting people, and uses her harsh side like a mask to push them and keep them away because she is frightened of opening up. She saves her deredere for Kaji, who she crushes on, and she flirts with Shinji fairly frequently. Part of the tragedy of their relationship is that Shinji isn't a very open person (neither is Asuka but she's better at pretending otherwise), and can't believe in the possibility of Asuka being interested in him and starts to regress when he struggles to cope with her (especially after the Unit-03 incident and after his friends leave Tokyo-3). So she gets frustrated, and the tsuntsun is back in full force. In short, Shinji/Asuka is the mating dance of the hedgehogs. She does show her more gentle side in her relationship with Hikari Horaki, even if Asuka doesn't think much of her taste in boyfriends, and with Misato when they are off-duty (e.g. the hot springs scene in Episode 10).
    • That being said, despite being one of the codifiers of the tsundere archetype, there's some debate on whether Asuka counts as one in the first place, considering how she hardly shows her softer side (especially compared to her Rebuild of Evangelion incarnation).
  • Tyke-Bomb: In the manga.
  • Unknown Rival: Her relationship with Rei has elements of this in the original show. Asuka is very vocal about her dislike of Rei, while Rei barely acknowledges Asuka's existence. While much of this is fueled by their contrasting personalities, Asuka's dislike markedly increases as Rei develops an interest in Shinji.
    • Some of Rei's internal dialogue indicates that she actually does view Asuka as a rival for Shinji's attention, but this being Rei she never treats Asuka as such or even realizes that she does secretly view Asuka as such (yes, Rei's mindset is that screwed up). The manga takes this further, especially during Rei's mental confrontation with Armisael.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Most of all, with Shinji, to the point where it actually ends up being one of the main focal points of the latter half of The End of Evangelion. It ultimately doesn't get resolved.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In her battle with the Mass-Production Eva Series in End of Evangelion, she's so hopped up on a combination of joy from discovering that her mother's soul had been in her Eva and watching over her all along and sheer fury that she essentially goes into a battle lust, tearing through her enemies one by one. It works out for her... until she finds out the hard way that the weapons they were wielding are replicas of the Spear of Longinus, which retain its property to punch through otherwise nigh-impregnable A.T. field barriers like a hot knife through butter.
  • Waif-Fu: Her first appearance in the manga involves gratuitous handsprings during a fight scene.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!:
    • It is clear that at least some of her meanness towards Shinji stems from her viewing his apologetic and withdrawn behavior as an undesirable trait, and her belief that Misato's acceptance of this behavior only serves to enable it. She embodies the trope completely during the episode 26 fantasy sequence where she is his childhood friend.
    • With its changes in their personalities, the manga makes this the default state of the Asuka/Shinji dynamic since the conflicted romantic angle doesn't really come into play. She can be a major brat to him and he's not afraid to turn it around on her. However, when things are on an even keel they seem to be more comfortable around each other than in the anime.
  • Wife Husbandry: Inverted and subverted. Asuka is the closest thing Kaji has to a daughter; Asuka desires Kaji obsessively, but despite Asuka's continued advances the most Kaji ever does is let her down gently.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Aside from the usual, copious amount of marketing she and Rei get, Asuka was extensively marketed for Evangelion 1.0 despite not even appearing in the movie except for a couple of seconds in the after-credits preview. She was even marketed as one of the main characters of the movie's official video game, with her original series Unit-02 and all (despite the fact that the preview showed an early version of Unit-02's Rebuild design). Asuka would make her actual debut in the following movie (with her last name changed to "Shikinami").
  • Woman Scorned: Asuka becomes rather bitter with Shinji after his lack of warmth during their kiss. In the very next episode, she mocks him after he's absorbed by Leliel.
  • The Worf Effect: Despite starting out with the highest sync rate and being described as a very talented and competent pilot, she is also the one who suffers the most defeats on the battlefield, which eventually severely worsens her confidence and erodes her psychological stability, causing her sync rate to drop drastically.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: Despite her Teen Genius status, when she moves to Japan her college degree is worthless (much to her chagrin) and she ends up back in high school where, due to the language barrier, she barely breaks even.
  • You Are What You Hate

    Toji Suzuhara 

Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese); Joe Pisano [ADV, eps 3-18], Michael O'Connor [ADV, 19-20], Brett Weaver [ADV 21-26, Death & Rebirth, End of Evangelion], Johnny Yong Bosch [VSI], Justin Cook [Rebuild] (English)note 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toji_suzuhara_2677_7289.jpg
"Hey, bigshot! What're you starin' at so intently?"

Toji, in his first appearance, punches out Shinji because his little sister was injured during Unit 01's fight with Sachiel. However, after experiencing firsthand what Shinji has to go through as an Eva pilot, he becomes sympathetic to Shinji. He has Shinji pay him back with a punch of his own, and he, Kensuke, and Shinji become friends. Later, he is selected as the Fourth Child, only to have his Eva taken over by the Angel Bardiel. During the ensuing battle, Asuka and Rei are quickly defeated by the Angel-possessed Unit 03. Shinji balks at orders to attack, wanting to try to save the pilot, and Gendō orders Unit 01's Dummy Plug to be activated. Out of Shinji's control, Unit 01 tears Unit 03 apart, then rips out and crushes the Entry Plug, crippling Toji.

There are a few noticeable differences between Toji's portrayal in the anime and manga. In the manga, Shinji's payback for his punch is different, and their out-of-classroom antics are shown more. He also reveals to Shinji that he is Unit 03's pilot prior to its activation/takeover, and is killed when his Entry Plug is destroyed.


  • 13 Is Unlucky: The 13th Angel possesses Unit-03.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Toji has black hair in the anime and light brown hair in the manga.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In both the anime and manga, Toji loses his left leg as a result of the Entry Plug being destroyed. Of course, the difference is that one continuity sees him having to live with this injury; the other doesn't.
  • Apologetic Attacker: When he first meets Shinji and slugs him. Inverted an episode later when he has Shinji hit him so he can apologize for the earlier incident.
  • Beta Couple: Forms one with Hikari. In keeping with the trope, Toji's romance arc with Hikari develops in a more stable and straightforward manner than the great big mess of misunderstandings and complicated emotions Shinji finds himself embroiled in.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The entire reason why he has a beef with Shinji to begin with is because his younger sister got injured during the battle with Sachiel and he felt he had to avenge it. His sister, however, wasn't happy to learn that he had punched out the hero who saved the city, giving quite him the scolding for it.
  • The Big Guy: He has the muscled look and boisterous personality to fit, though the one time he gets to pilot his Eva leads to him getting incapacitated before he can do anything.
  • Bromantic Foil: Serves this role to Shinji.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the anime, his last scene is of him talking to Hikari when she visits him in the hospital. He is mentioned a few times here and there, but, aside from some brief moments in episode 26 and End of Evangelion, he doesn't make any more on-screen appearances.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To Kensuke.
  • Covert Pervert:
    • In the manga, Toji tries to teach Shinji how to turn cleaning the stairs into a peeping opportunity, but gets caught by Hikari, freaks out, and ends up knocking Shinji down the stairs.
    • Played straight in the anime in Episode 5 when he and Kensuke ogle the girls during swim practice, then inverted when he gives Asuka her "change" after she takes her "viewing fee" in episode 8.
  • Custom Uniform: Toji always wears the same tracksuit ensemble. It's clearly not the school's gym uniform, but for some reason he never gets in trouble for it.
    • There is one episode that is memorable for being the only time he's ever shown in the regular school uniform.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the manga, he's killed during the Unit 03 incident instead of just being crippled.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Actually justified. After his traumatic accident, he spends the rest of the series in the hospital, and Shinji is too guilt-ridden to want to see him.
    • Also applies to him in merchandising and spin-offs, where his position as the fourth child is generally ignored in favor of Kaworu.
  • Dies Wide Open: The last thing we see of Toji in the manga is his eyes-open face as his body is being removed from the entry plug.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
  • Foil: To Shinji. He's more or less a prideful, hyper-masculine jock with a heart of gold who, though unhappy about the idea, never hesitates when it came to piloting EVA; meanwhile, Shinji is an effeminate, shy, awkward musician. Toji enjoys typically masculine hobbies like sports while Shinji is content in a more feminine gender role and is always questioning whether he should pilot EVA.
  • Four Is Death: He's the Fourth Child and pilots the fourth created Eva (counting Unit-00). He only dies in the manga adaptation, but it doesn't end well for him either way.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: In the manga and the Rebuild dub, he freely calls Asuka a bitch, but in the series dub he opts for "she's a real female dog if you know what I mean."
  • Healthcare Motivation: One of the first clues that conclusively points to his identity as the pilot of Unit 03 is when some characters are heard discussing the fact that he only agreed to do so if his sister got medical care with NERV. Toji is seen walking through the hospital while this dialogue is playing.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kensuke, which he later extends to include Shinji.
  • Hidden Depths: His later appearances show him to be an insightful, sensitive, and most importantly stable person in comparison to the rest of the cast. When he and Rei are talking on the roof, alone, Rei describes the emotions she's been feeling towards Shinji, and Toji simply says, in a very matter-of-fact tone, "Yeah, that's love."
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Subverted. He fits the stereotype in quite a few ways, having the accent and being a brash, short-tempered guy, but his more stable mental state compared to other characters and strong moral compass sets him a bit apart from it.
  • Jerkass Realization: After witnessing first-hand the trauma Shinji experiences as an EVA pilot, Toji regrets beating Shinji up earlier and strives to redeem himself, resulting in him becoming Shinji's friend.
  • Jerk Jock: Subverted. He initially comes across as one when he beats up Shinji but it turns out he has a very good reason for being angry and later on becomes friends with Shinji. In fact, he proves afterwards to be quite the Lovable Jock, being unquestionably loyal to his friends and family, having a friendly, down-to-earth demeanor most of the time, as well as proving to be one of the show's more mentally stable characters.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's loud mouthed and rough, but he's one of the most moral characters in the entire series, even more so than Shinji himself; though to be fair, Shinji receives much harsher tests of moral character a lot more frequently than Toji does.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Of the Brooklyn rendition in the manga.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After being chosen as pilot, Toji feels guilty for having punched Shinji for landing on his sister, realising he had no idea what he was going through.
  • Missing Mom: As with all of Class 2A. It is never mentioned directly, but can clearly be inferred from when he laments that his sister is often all alone in the hospital because of his father and grandfather's work hours, with any references to his mother being conspicuously absent during this.
  • Oblivious to Love: Downplayed. Toji is to begin with rather ignorant of Hikari's obvious crush on him, but he appears to have cottoned on to her feelings by Episode 18. But it is by this point that Toji slips Out of Focus, so it is not really explored.
  • Only Sane Man: Or at least the most mentally stable man.
  • Optional Party Member: Several spin off games allow for the player to save him, which allows him and Unit 03 to become usable in later fights.
  • Out of Focus: Hits him hard after Episode 19. While Hikari and Kensuke still have some limited on-screen appearances in the latter episodes, Toji is from that point on effectively The Ghost, and he only (sort of) comes Back for the Finale to guide and congratulate Shinji during Instrumentality in Episode 25 and 26, and has an even briefer appearance in End of Evangelion where he only appears in a still image.
  • Resigned to the Call: Toji quietly accepts his selection as the Fourth Child, but it is evident from his very apprehensive mood afterwards that he is not the least bit happy about it, and that he does it mostly out of sense of duty and obligation and to help his sister.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly man to Shinji, and to a lesser extent Kensuke's, sensitive guy.
  • The Team Normal: He's the only pilot that could be considered a completely normal person, and even then he still has his problems.
  • Those Two Guys: Him and Kensuke frequently hang out together. Though they later form a trio with Shinji, they are still operating as a duo on many levels.
  • Token Good Teammate: The only child who never performs any morally reprehensible act beyond punching Shinji during their first meeting. He supports his friends through thick and thin and only pilots his Eva out of his love for his sister.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: From raging bully to Shinji's friend over the course of two episodes.
  • Tragic Bromance: His steady friendship with Shinji is permanently strained after the latter's inaction led to him getting crippled following an Angel possession. Though Toji's reaction to the incident isn't examined in depth, in the little that is seen of it he doesn't appear to be particularly angry at Shinji or even really blame him at all for what happened. Shinji, on the other hand, very much blames himself and keeps a distance to Toji afterwards out of guilt. Played more straight in the manga, where he is killed during the incident.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Kensuke.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Toji's acceptance of the offer of becoming a pilot may have allowed his sister to be transferred to the higher standard NERV hospitals, but at the cost of his leg (along with his life in the manga).

    Kaworu Nagisa 

Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese); Kyle Sturdivant [ADV], Greg Ayres [Renewal], Clifford Chapin [VSI], Aaron Krohn [films], Jerry Jewell [Rebuild] (English)note 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kaworUnagI_3472.jpg
"Singing brings joy and revitalizes the human soul. I think that song is the highest achievement of the Lilim culture. Don't you agree, Shinji Ikari?"

Bishounen, as fey and mysterious as Rei, and possessed of an unnatural calm, Kaworu is the last major character to appear in the anime, puts in only 13 minutes of screen time in one episode, yet is a critical character for a variety of reasons, and marks a significant turning point in the plot.

Kaworu is sent by SEELE as the Fifth Child in order to replace Asuka when her synchronization ratios fall too low, a task he handles with startling ease. He shows a strong interest in Shinji, showing him more physical and emotional affection than probably any other character, which Shinji appears to accept, to a degree he shows to none of the other characters. Kaworu even goes as far as to tell Shinji that he loves him and was born to meet him. He also expresses an appreciation for humans and their achievements, particularly music. The next morning, however, Kaworu reveals his true nature as Tabris, the 17th Angel, and attempts to invade Terminal Dogma. After failing to achieve his goals, he concludes that because his success would cause Shinji to die, he cannot be allowed to exist and asks Shinji to kill him, which Shinji reluctantly does after spending a full minute paralyzed with grief. Shinji later admits to loving him as well and he shows up in The End of Evangelion to talk with Shinji during Instrumentality.

A homosexual subtext clearly exists between Shinji and he, and is carried through to both Alternate Continuity works and some official artwork. However, how much this particular aspect of Kaworu's personality is emphasized, and how Shinji tends to react to him, vary greatly depending on the work in question.

In the manga, Kaworu is much more prominent, showing up well before the battle with Armisael, and fighting against the Angel in Unit 02. His personality is also noticeably different, making him more inhuman and unsettling, and drastically changing his interactions with the cast, especially Shinji. His fate is ultimately the same, but plays out in a fashion that is more complex than in the anime. As a final note, he does not return to guide Shinji through his instrumental introspection in the finale, his pivotal reappearance initially thought to be a foregone conclusion.


  • The Ace: Kaworu is a deliberate deconstruction of this. He is intentionally designed to be what Shinji sees as the perfect human being and is the best of the pilots, kind, handsome, intelligent and capable of reading and understanding others like books. However, as an Angel he is anything but human. Anno has specifically stated that Kaworu was designed to be so perfect that it would be impossible for Shinji not to develop a complex just by spending a few moments around him.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zig-zagged. Manga-Kaworu actually gets to be shown piloting Unit 02 to battle Armisael and proves to be exactly as skilled as the anime had implied, but at the same time is presented as a far more flawed character then he was in the anime.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: His hair is steel gray in the anime, but more of a silvery white color in the manga. In the original script for episode 24, his hair is described to be honey-colored, although whether this is because he really is blond or just an effect of the sun shining on his hair is unclear.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The manga plays up his Blue and Orange Morality to the hilt and abandons any expectations of him playing the role of the Nice Guy. Kaworu is portrayed as a creepy, almost hedonistic sociopath whose attraction to Shinji is implied to be a consequence of accidentally linking with Rei during the fight against Armisael. He also lacks his introspective nature and his intimate relationship with Shinji (who acts much more abrasive towards his advances despite still showing some attraction to him), and his Heroic Sacrifice is removed; instead, he allows Shinji to kill him because it will somehow prove in Kaworu's weird mind that Shinji loves him back.
    • Certain spin-offs also cast him in a much more straightforwardly villainous light. Examples include Puchi Eva, which casts him as a Harmless Villain who runs around trying to scare people as a Bed Sheet Ghost; the Shinji Ikari Raising Project manga, which makes him a Yandere Stalker with a Crush for Shinji; and Detective Evangelion, which makes him The Rival and much more openly antagonistic.
  • Advertised Extra: While he's pivotal to the show both story-wise and thematically, Kaworu only appears in one episode and yet is featured in more advertising and tie-in products than most of the rest of the cast combined. His comparatively small role can come to a surprise to viewers who were attracted to the show through advertisements prominently featuring him.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Implied, though not outright stated, to be part of the reason he seeks Shinji out so much. Literally every other character is immediately suspicious of him and thus avoids him, while Shinji is eager to talk to him.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Sort of. While Kaworu knows that he has the soul of Adam in him, he doesn't remember being Adam. The NGE 2 “Broken Wings” ending features a scenario where Kaworu regains Adam's memories and takes his children out of there (including the EVA Units), effectively ending SEELE’s plans for Third Impact and the war between Lilith and Adam’s progeny.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Although the "ambiguous" part really only exists because he's never been outright confirmed to be gay. His interactions with Shinji have very clear romantic undertones, enough for him to be officially recognized as a love interest by companion books, and his character overview in the officially-sanctioned NGE 2 describes his romantic affections (愛情) towards the opposite sex as being "weak". Due to not being a human, however, it can be hard to say if his sexuality can be categorized at all.
  • Anti-Antichrist: Has stated that his life purpose is to continue existing (at the price of eradicating humanity), but defies this fate and asks Shinji to kill him because he wants him and the human race to live.
  • The Ark: Just like Rei, Kaworu is the soul of Adam, one of the seven last members of the First Ancestral Race tasked as carrier and progenitor of the dead members of his species; originally Earth belonged to Adam and her children, but Lilith crashed as a mistake of coordinates. Unfortunately, SEELE's incarnation process erased Kaworu's memories, because if he had remembered his original purpose, the battle between Angels and the lilin would have been averted.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • He only appeared in one episode of the original anime but is a more major character in all other adaptations. The original drafts of 25 and 26 show that he was meant to play a larger role, and he does in the movie versions of the intended ending, making him more of a case of Demoted to Extra in the anime.
    • Zig-zagged in the manga. He shows up earlier, has a lot more screentime, but after his death, he's kind of just... forgotten, to the point of not showing up during Instrumentality like he had in the anime.
  • Becoming the Mask: In the manga where it's more clearly shown in the first place that he is sent by SEELE to destroy NERV, at first he is rather focused on what he is commanded to. However, after slowly developing feelings for Shinji and finding his human emotions fascinating and confusing, Kaworu's motivation shifts dramatically from obeying SEELE to get Shinji to love him back. And even when Shinji pretends not to love him back, he still chooses to die by Shinji's hands rather than, in his own words, "be detonated by those old geezers".
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Compared to the immediate friendship the two develop in the anime, manga-Kaworu's relationship with Shinji is built around tension and the uneasiness Shinji feels around him. Kaworu is also no less interested in Shinji, but is presented as far more naive and a rather big Jerkass. Sadamoto described their relationship as two schoolboys who are constantly bickering but secretly desire to impress the other.
  • Big Man on Campus: In the original scripts where he actually attends Shinji's school he almost immediately becomes this due to his good looks, athleticism, brains and kindness. His only interest, however, is still Shinji. Alternate Universe adaptations where he attends school tend to stick with this depiction as well. Interestingly, the final version of his episode almost reverses this, making him out to be something of a pariah to all people besides Shinji.
  • Bishōnen: Explicitly stated by the creators to be 'beautiful'. As Akira Ishida's star-making role, it's no surprise the route his career took afterwards.
  • Bishōnen Line: The last Angel is also the most human.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: He's an incredibly selfless and kind person but he's incapable of fully understanding human emotion. His obliviousness to the repercussions of having Shinji kill him are directly responsible for a large part of the conflict in End of Evangelion (also take into consideration that he was raised by SEELE, whose philosophy seems to be "life is pain"). In the manga, he's frustrated and upset by Shinji's negative reactions to him, due in large part to how his lack of true understanding of emotion makes him come across.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In the original script for Episode 24, Shinji confesses his love to Kaworu, but Kaworu immediately rejects him, apologizing and saying that he doesn't feel the same way. It is clear later on that he does love Shinji, but knew that he was supposed to be Shinji's enemy and didn't want to hurt him any further.
  • Breakout Villain: He only appeared in one episode in the original series. Then Death and Rebirth advertised him heavily, he made an important appearance in End of Evangelion, was among the main cast in several AU spin-offs, and has become a more prominent character in the manga version and the Rebuild movies. Whether or not he's portrayed as a villain at all in them varies, however. After the End parodies this, where he is brought in specifically as a ratings stunt to keep the show on air.
  • Bury Your Gays: His relationship with Shinji always has heavily romantic undertones, and he almost always ends up meeting a tragic end regardless of the continuity.
  • Chick Magnet: Not in his actual debut episode, in which he barely interacts with females, but the original scripts and officially licensed spin offs show him to be one around girls his own age.
  • Color-Coded Character: A somewhat subtle case. Kaworu wears the same school uniform as Shinji (white shirt and black pants), but he wears an orange undershirt under it to contrast with the blue one Shinji wears, signifying his role as Shinji's (positive) Shadow Archetype.
  • Cooldown Hug: Performs a fairly disturbing and definitely heartbreaking version of one during End of Evangelion, wherein the Lilith/Adam hybrid takes on his form and embraces Unit 01 in order to calm down the raving Shinji inside of it. Shinji is reduced to a tearful smile by the action, relieved at the sight of the person he believed himself to have killed. The "disturbing" part comes from the fact that "Kaworu" is in this instance a towering Eldritch Abomination who is putting Shinji's mind at ease in order to grant him the power to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Closet Key: Seemingly is this for Shinji, though it's muddled somewhat by the fact that Shinji was so severely starved for any form of affection that it's unclear if his attraction to Kaworu would have still occurred if he had approached him in a more stable emotional state.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: In the manga. Kaworu's outright sarcastic toward Rei and is annoyed by the fact that Shinji would be affected so much about her death. He's also very mad and hurt at how Shinji considers Rei, Asuka and the others his friends, but not him.
  • Creepy Child: Considered one in universe as well as out. His ever-present smirk, universal way of speaking and lack of any social skills make others incredibly suspicious of him almost immediately. The manga plays this to the hilt; even Kensuke, looking at him from their classroom while he and Shinji are on the street, sees that something about Kaworu isn't right.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Zigzags with Dark Is Evil. While he's technically a villain who causes a lot of damage during his appearance, he's a genuinely nice and well-intentioned guy. His plugsuit also happens to be colored with sinister blacks and dark blues.
  • Death Seeker: Subtly implied. Early drafts mention scars on his wrists, which the actual episode doesn't debunk, and he mentions to Shinji before dying that "death is the one true freedom."
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Pretty much everybody is immediately suspicious of him as soon as he arrives, with Misato going so far as to have Hyuga run a detailed background check on him while she monitored his movements. The only exception is Shinji, who doesn't seem bothered, similarly as to how he was open and friendly with Rei. This is further shown in the manga, where, just by seeing him several yards away from him through a window, Kensuke is immediately able to realize that something about Kaworu isn't right.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Not only does he smile a lot despite the fact that he is introduced at a moment in which events have taken a turn for the tragic, he even manages to smile as he asks Shinji to kill him.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: He seems to have initially been SEELE's trump card but is in the end only working for himself. He is the Angel of free will, after all.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He appears at the very end of vol. 7 of the manga, a full two volumes before his actual introduction. Also, pay close attention to the opening credits and you can very briefly see a sketch of his face.
  • Enigmatic Minion: The Trope Codifier. He had been sent, possibly even created, by SEELE to infiltrate NERV, but because he is the most human of the Angels he also has thoughts and desires beyond the whims of his creators. During his brief storyline, he struggles to make sense of the situation and decide what stance he wants to take towards humanity.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Kaworu's hairstyle in the manga is a little different from his anime self, being more ruffled, spiky and longer rather than smooth and short. This subtly shows that they are not similar.
  • Expy: Of Ryo Asuka from Devilman, just like Shinji is meant to be one of Akira Fudo. White hair in contrast to the protagonist's black hair? Check. Unnatural and off-putting behavior? Check. Troubling romantic feelings for the main protagonist? Check. Secretly a demon who attempts to bring about the apocalypse? Check.
  • Fate Worse than Death: NGE 2 explores one of Kaworu's psychological motivations to choose death: his fear of being forever alone. He was lonely before meeting Shinji and the people of NERV and he would be unable to endure the infinite loneliness if the lilin were erased.
  • Final Boss: He's the final Angel featured in the anime (not counting End of Evangelion), and the rest of the series after is Shinji finishing up his Character Development.
  • First Kiss: His attempt at giving Shinji mouth-to-mouth CPR in the manga ends up being closer to a kiss.
  • First-Name Basis:
    • Shinji and Kaworu reach this phase on their first meeting. From then on, they tend to call the other's name a lot.
    • In the manga where he is shown interacting with SEELE, they address him as "Tabris", as a reminder of his mission. However, Kaworu's growing feelings for Shinji and the fact that he betrays SEELE in the end so he can die by Shinji's hands seems to subtly imply that he doesn't like his Angel name that much.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
  • Flanderization: Generally always has an aspect of his personality exaggerated in spin offs, although which aspect it is tends to vary depending how the author perceives him. Several drop the subtext entirely and make him a Shinji-obsessed Stalker with a Crush while others make him almost cartoonishly villainous in comparison to his actual Blue and Orange Morality. Puchi Eva switches between the two depending on what's funniest.
  • Fountain of Expies: invoked Second to Rei in this regard. The number of characters directly inspired by him is staggering.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: He is shown in the opening, just before we see Rei in moonlight.
  • Gay Option: In many of the Eva side games, Kaworu acts as a Third-Option Love Interest for Shinji.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Whether it be his death scene in the anime, the manga or Rebuild, Kaworu always accepts his demise with a soft smile.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: His death; aside from the sound of him being crushed, all that's shown is his head falling into the lake of LCL, and that is heavily shadowed.
  • Guile Hero: He betrays SEELE's orders and follows his own agenda.
  • Heroic Albino: He has silver hair, pale skin and red eyes, and dies so that humanity can live.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He lets himself die to give humanity another shot at survival. Deconstructed to a degree as his actions end up hurting Shinji more than anything else in the series prior and it eases SEELE's work in having him conduct their plan. His cryptic comments also led Rei to figure out her true identity and reject Gendo in End of Evangelion, which, although they didn't exactly save the world, asserted Rei's own free will and independence.
  • Hey, You!: In contrast with the frequent name-calling in the anime, he and Shinji almost never refers to each other by name in the manga, showing their more strained relationship.
  • Hope Bringer: In spite of everything that Shinji had suffered immediately prior to Kaworu's appearance in his life, the pure, unconditional love and affection that Kaworu provides him still allows him to find some happiness in his circumstances. His death (at Shinji's hands, no less) is the final action that strips Shinji of every remaining shred of hope in his being.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: In the manga, he pilots Unit-02 and fights Armisael along with Rei, and they both end up connected through the Angel. During Rei and Armisael's dialogue, he actually sheds tears after she does, much to his shock, and it's then that he learns about her attraction to Shinji and all it entails. Afterwards, he starts to show himself attracted to Shinji as well.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He is the human vessel for Adam, and he is by far the most powerful of the Angels, being capable of manipulating Evangelions based on Adam and produce a AT Field that is stronger than anything NERV has previous encountered. He was initially supposed to have an "Angel form" that he would turn into during his fight, but it was ultimately decided to be more meaningful for him to look human even when using his powers.
  • Humans Are Special: Believed that humanity, and Shinji, should control the future, not Angels or SEELE's plots.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Why he asked Shinji to kill him. Seeing as an early draft of episode 24note  shows that Kaworu has scars on his wrist, it is possible that Kaworu has attempted suicide before.
  • I Know You're Watching Me: When Misato spies on him, from several kilometers' distance through a pair of binoculars, Karowu is still aware that she is there and makes direct eye contact with her through said binoculars. Misato is extremely spooked by this, but quickly dismisses it as impossible that he should be able to know she was there over such a distance.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Although Manga Kaworu's behavior is rather mean compared to his anime self (enough to be nicknamed Evil Manga Kaworu,) he's actually not being evil for the sake of it, but rather because he genuinely understands little to nothing about human culture. He operates entirely on his Angel logic, which baffles Shinji very much. For example, he moves even closer to Shinji after the latter moves away from him in the bathroom scene, not getting why he avoids contact with him and even thinks that Shinji hates him, when Shinji is just embarrassed due to getting to close proximity with a naked person.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: An Alternate Character Interpretation. Canon for Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, and for Rebuild.
  • I Let You Win: Clearly had no intention of killing Shinji during their battle, generally only blocking his attacks and performing a few minor body blows throughout it. Considering his truly massive power and the fact that he barely pays any attention to the fight, it suggests he could've done far, far more but didn't want to.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The French translators cannot seem to agree between Kaworu or Kaoru.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: He finds humanity's ability to persist even in the face of despair and hopelessness incredibly admirable, and considers Shinji to be the defining example of this. It's heavily implied that this admiration comes from his own inability to do so. He also expresses a deep appreciation for music, calling it mankind's "crowning achievement".
  • Jerkass: Seeing how polite he is in the show, it's jarring to see how he behaves in the manga. It's implied that the reason why he behaves like a jerk is because he has literally only been outside for the mission SEELE gave. Before that, he was shown being in a test tube, and Sadamoto confirmed that he was only alive for 9 days in the manga, therefore the interactions with Shinji were pretty much the only human interactions he got. No wonder he has No Social Skills.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the manga, when Shinji wants to go out and rescue Asuka while she is being tortured by Arael, Kaworu condescendingly says that Shinji would just meet the same fate as her. Shinji protests, but Gendo agrees with Kaworu.
  • Just as Planned: He's just as unflappable as Rei, though he replaces her stoicism with an omni-present knowing smirk. The few times we see him change his expression from this terse smile are the only times we can be completely sure that he is being genuine (and even in those cases, he's usually still smiling too).
  • Kick the Dog: In the manga. Barring the infamous scene where he strangles a kitten, there's also his nonchalant smile when Arael attacks Asuka, noting it to be "interesting". Later, after Rei pulled a Heroic Sacrifice to save both Shinji and him, he gets irritated that Shinji feels sad over it and snidely calls Rei an idiot.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: SEELE's equivalent of Rei Ayanami, until he either decided to deny them their victory or reveals that he was never going to in the first place.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Beethoven's ninth symphony, fourth movement. Oddly, they even get the mood right, going to the largo parts just before he dies. Fittingly, he earlier described it as one of the greatest achievements of human culture, which is part of what he's dying to preserve.
    • Before he enters Heaven's Door, the choir's singing "Und der Cherub steht vor Gott/Steht vor Gott/Vor Gott!" (Replace "cherub" with "angel".)
  • Love Confession: "I mean I love you." While the exact connotations of Kaworu's declaration of love to Shinji are ambiguous, the fact that he was able to do so as bluntly as he does stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the cast, who spend the entirety of the series unable to be open with each other about their feelings. It is the only instance in the entire series where one character professes their love for another.
  • Love Hurts: His brief but intense relationship with Shinji abruptly ends with Shinji being forced to kill him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In the manga at least, where he's a completely different person.
  • Meaningful Name: Tabris is the Angel of Free Will—very appropriate for a character who decided to Screw Destiny, even at the cost of his own life. Tabris, as the name being so different indicates, is from a different tradition/version of Christian mythology than the other Angels. Also, see Punny Name below.
  • Mellow Fellow: His calm but warm serenity stands in stark contrast to most of the other characters.
  • Mercy Kill: Two instances in the manga:
    • Shortly after he and Shinji meet, Kaworu kills a starving kitten that was following Shinji around, reasoning that a swift death was kinder than letting it die of starvation. It comes full circle when he asks Shinji to do this for him, because no matter what he does he will die or cease to exist as an individual, but he wants to choose the terms on how he dies.
    • Kaworu actually compares his situation to the cat back then: similar to the cat, he has only two options: either abandon the mission and have SEELE kill him (like how the cat would have died of starvation), or being killed quickly by Shinji right there. It's obvious which option Kaworu prefers: he asks Shinji to kill him like the cat, because if he has any feelings for Kaworu, he would let him die a quick and more pleasant dead, rather than have him killed by the "old men". And as Shinji complies—with Kaworu happily smiling, we get to see a scene of Shinji strangling Kaworu like Kaworu did to the cat.
  • The Mole: Infiltrates NERV per SEELE's orders, though it's ultimately subverted as almost everyone immediately becomes suspicious of him and he never really bothers trying to hide his identity. In the end he has his own agenda opposing both SEELE and NERV's.
  • Monster of the Week: This is essentially what his role in the series amounts to, sticking around for one episode before being killed off at the end just like the other Angels, but the impact he leaves on the series both in and out of universe makes him one of the most iconic characters by far.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Intentionally done for Kaworu to act both as a Foil and a love interest to Shinji. The scripts (all of them) detail his ethereal beauty and how it takes Shinji's breath away. Masayuki (storyboarder of episode 24) wanted to make him "erotic" and "dazzling." Sadamoto has also stated that he had the Bishōnen aesthetic in mind when designing his character to make him "sexy". It should be noted that, brief though his screen time may be, they still managed to give him an extended Shower Scene.
    • Ironically, while Kaworu is more similar to Rei than any other character, he's usually shown properly dressed in his school uniform in stark contrast to her, who is often shown naked for no narrative reason. This is particularly noticeable in Shinji's visions during End of Evangelion, in which Kaworu appears fully dressed unlike the perpetually nude Rei (and Shinji himself in key scenes). It is not until Rebuild of Evangelion that he adopts Rei's symbolic nudity as a trait, and it is still limited to The Stinger of the movies and never zoomed on.
  • My Own Grampa: Technically. He is Adam's soul in a human vessel, but he's still an Angel born of Adam.
  • Mystical White Hair: Subverted in that he actually has grey/silver hair. He's an Angel, so his hair color serves to indicate he's not human to begin with.
  • Nice Guy: Hands down the nicest person Shinji meets in the entire series, showing him open and immediate affection and kindness at all times. Anno has stated that he created Kaworu to be an incredibly good person, someone who could be loved by anyone.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kaworu making Shinji kill him, while an act of kindness on his part, inadvertently destroys Shinji both mentally and emotionally, which causes major problems during End of Evangelion.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Yet another thing Kaworu doesn't get about humans or willingly ignores. Especially noticeable in the scene where he reaches for Shinji's hand while they're bathing, to say nothing of what he does in the manga.
    • To elaborate, in the manga, he steps into the female restroom only because he hears Asuka complaining to herself. And then he steps naked into the bathroom stall Shinji is taking a bath in to borrow soap. When Shinji steps away from him, he misunderstands that Shinji dislikes him.
  • No Social Skills: Although he is easy around people and very confident overall, his knowledge of human social mores is pretty much non-existent. Given his fear of loneliness and background, one can assume he hasn't had much human contact before the events of the series. Justified in the manga, as it's implied that he's been kept in stasis his entire life.
  • Not So Different: Analyzing his character a little closer heavily suggests that he was just as lonely and miserable as Shinji was during their first encounter.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After spending all of his screen time as a Perpetual Smiler with a seemingly omniscient awareness of everything, his shock at discovering Lilith in Central Dogma instead of Adam and the cold, emotionless frowning look he gives to Unit 02 as he makes his final decision to allow Shinji to kill him show that things really didn't turn out like he had expected they would. Earlier, the genuinely heartbroken look he gives Shinji before he makes his final move to Lilith's chamber makes it pretty clear that he's only doing what he's doing because he has to.
  • Optional Party Member: NGE2 allows Shinji to convince him to remain alive through a Guide Dang It! skill tree conversation, which allows him and Unit 04 to become usable in the final few fights. Notably, however, the Super Robot Wars series, which loves undoing character deaths, has never allowed the player to spare him to increase the impact of his sacrifice.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Always has a calm, open and friendly (and, at least in some adaptations, smug) smile on his face. The very small handful of occasions where he doesn't are the few instances where he's not completely in control of the situation, and even so, a lot of what he expresses is done through variations of the same smile.
  • Physical God: If he hadn't surrendered, they wouldn't have had a prayer of stopping him from causing Third Impact.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In the manga and very much Played for Drama. The scene where he approaches Shinji at the lake and demands to hear Shinji's true feelings about him implies that, had Shinji been honest and told Kaworu that he did consider him a friend, Kaworu would have had no problem betraying SEELE completely and joining NERV's side, as he now has someone who cares about him for that. However, Shinji lies to him because he doesn't want to lose any more of his friends, so it's better to not have any, which leads to Kaworu pulling a painful expression and going away. And then Shinji has to kill him anyway, which still leads him into a Heroic BSoD.
  • Power Floats: The moment he's revealed to be an Angel.
  • Power of Love: What he represents in Shinji's subconscious mind. What he and Rei symbolize, and the feelings he had for both of them, are what make Shinji decide to break free of Instrumentality and go back to living as a human.
  • Present Absence: While he plays a major role in the final scenes of End of Evangelion as one of Shinji's Spirit Advisors, his appearances outside of them are brief and sporadic. Despite this, there are many allusions and references to him throughout the film that make his presence and impact heavily felt despite his absence.
  • Punny Name: Nagisa (渚) looks like a combination of katakana シ (shi) and the kanji for person 者 (sha). Shisha (使者) means "messenger", the same as the Greek angelos. Additionally, shisha (死者) also means "dead person". Also, Nagisa (渚) means "shore", following Evangelion's theme of names from sea places and objects.
  • Really Was Born Yesterday: In the manga continuity at least, Kaworu has spend most of his existence as a soulless dummy body, and by the time he is introduced, he has only been a "truly" alive being with a soul for 9 days, explaining why his worldview and some of his behavior comes across as rather strange.
  • Rebellious Spirit: In contrast to his more gentle and obedient anime self, Kaworu has quite a rebellious attitude toward SEELE in the manga. He has a "yeah yeah sure whatever" kind of behavior when talking to them and when Shinji confronts him after the reveal, he snidely admits to loathing the "old geezers" and the act of allowing Shinji to kill him is also partly to spite SEELE.
  • Satellite Character: In the anime, aside from a short cryptic conversation with Rei and an exchange of stares with Misato, his interactions with characters other than Shinji are either offscreen or non-existent. Justified in that he's only around for a single episode focusing on his relationship with Shinji. He has a handful of additional brief exchanges with other characters in the manga, but the focus of his character is still entirely on Shinji.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Wears Shinji's school uniform throughout his appearance despite the fact that the school has been long destroyed and abandoned by that point. In the manga, he arrives early enough for the school to be in one piece, but immediately decides to skip it with Shinji before he actually gets to go to it.
  • Screw Destiny: Third Impact, the point of an Angel's existence (supposedly) was within his reach and he decided not to. He is the Angel of Free Will, after all.
    Kaworu: But people must act of their own free will, or nothing will change at all.
  • Self-Harm: Episode 24's drafts show that he had scars on his wrists, possibly implying he had attempted suicide in the past (see I Cannot Self-Terminate above). We never get see clearly his wrists throughout the actual episode, so this trait might be still on.
  • Shadow Archetype:
    • A rare non-villainous example. Kaworu is an embodiment of all of the qualities Shinji lacks, but this does not result in him being his Evil Counterpart or The Rival. Rather, because Shinji has such an exceptionally low opinion of himself, he immediately deems Kaworu much better than he is because of this, and the two get along extremely well. More tragically, this also covers Kaworu's obvious Death Seeker nature, something that has plagued Shinji since the start of the series. Kaworu simply had the courage to go through with his suicide.
    • On a less plot-relevant note, it's worth noting that where Shinji passively learned the cello and never really brings this skill up, Kaworu actively enjoys music and openly delights in his appreciation of it. Even in the more mundane aspects of their lives, they're opposites.
    • Kaworu could be seen as the Shadow Archetype for all of humanity, as his human appearance is contrasted by his openness about his feelings, something no one else in the cast is capable of doing.
  • Shout-Out: A minor one to either Zyuranger or Power Rangers: Kaworu pilots his Eva from the outside, which is a common trait of Sixth Rangers.
  • Significant Birth Date: September 13th, 2000, the day of the Second Impact.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The spin-offs generally run with the idea that he is only interested in Shinji. This is best seen in his Raising Project, which only has one romantic route: Shinji. In comparison, all other character RPs have multiple routes.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Spin-offs tend to portray him as being this with Asuka. Asuka regularly refers to him as "homo boy" and seems to be bothered by his closeness with Shinji, while Kaworu becomes somewhat uncharacteristically snarky when in her presence.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Was intended to be this to the other children and NERV; instead, he betrays SEELE by not causing Third Impact in the moment of his/their victory.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: In the original series, he's around for only a single episode, in which he basically serves the role of the Monster of the Week, but he's absolutely pivotal to Shinji's development, iconic for the series as a whole, and generally seen as a main character (often moreso than major characters who appear in every episode). Later adaptions and remakes dramatically expanded his role.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the most well-informed and intellectual of the children by far.
  • Smug Smiler: While his actual smugness varies depending on the adaptation, his signature expression is a smile that screams "I know something you don't know."
  • Spanner in the Works: To SEELE, and since Gendo's goal involved Shinji accepting Instrumentality...
  • Spear Counterpart: Superficially one to Rei. Both are albino genetic clones with unisex names containing the souls of godlike aliens and the trump card of their respective organizations who grow to love humanity due to Shinji's influence. In terms of actual character, however, the two are quite a bit different, which Rei notes when they talk to each other.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the original anime, it was Kaoru. But since his name is written in katakana, it's technically Kaworu (which is how it's officially spelt in romaji). In End, as the Mass-Produced Evas' Dummy Plugs are being inserted, "KAWORU" is seen written on them.
  • Spirit Advisor: In End of Evangelion, along with Rei, he appears to Shinji after Third Impact. They, and what they represent, are what convince Shinji to leave Instrumentality and give life another try.
  • Stealth Pun: In the anime, he says that Shinji is in need of "koui". While the "koui" he uses here means "kindness", it also sounds similar enough to "koi" ("romantic love"). Considering that he's the first one to tell Shinji that he loves him and that he represents "love" in Shinji's mind...
  • Stepford Smiler: He almost always has a smile on his face, but taking a deeper look makes it pretty clear he's incredibly melancholic and passively suicidal.
  • Super Senses: That or Hyper-Awareness: he's easily (and eerily) able to pick up on Misato's spying on him from a substantial amount of distance away. Misato even wonders how it is possible.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Subtly serves as one to Kaji, likely due to the two of them being the only male characters that Shinji substantially opens up to throughout the series. Several of his scenes directly parallel earlier ones featuring Kaji, and multiple shots (most notably during each of their respective Famous Last Words) are framed in a way so that Kaworu is in the same position that Kaji was in.
  • Take a Third Option: In the manga, this was the biggest reason for asking Shinji to kill him. Since SEELE would have done it anyway if Kaworu hadn't initiated Third Impact, and if it had he'd cease to exist as an individual, he decides to choose the terms of his death, instead of letting SEELE do it for him.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Like Rei, his red eyes are a sign of his inhuman side.
  • Technopath: He is able to open Heaven's Door locking system with just a glance.
  • Thanatos Gambit: He is opposed to the Third Impact, and ensures his own death so it would not happen, at least by his hand. Ironically, the emotional damage this causes to Shinji almost ensures later on the very thing he was trying to avoid. It is even possible Kaworu already knew this and was unable to do anything about it from his position.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: A pure-hearted, open and sincere young man who shows boundless love and kindness to a person in dire need of both, only to give his own life in order to ensure that humanity would be able to continue existing.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Some of his comments and actions in the manga are very cold and indifferent to the emotional impact they have on others.
  • Tragic Bromance: Forms an incredibly intense relationship with Shinji in a very short amount of a time, but circumstances force Shinji to kill him just as quickly. His death is directly responsible for Shinji's final and greatest breakdown.
  • Tragic One-Shot Character: Appears in a single episode, bonds deeply with the protagonist, dies in that very episode, and his death causes an equally deep wound on the latter.
  • Two First Names: His surname "Nagisa" is more commonly used as a first name. Doubled as a Gender-Blender Name since "Nagisa" can be given to both girls and boys.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In the manga, Rei sacrifices herself to save Shinji and him. He just thinks she was being stupid and doesn't feel a shred of gratitude. Granted, her main motivation was to save Shinji and not him, but still.
  • The Un-Reveal: While his body is a cloned human vessel for his soul like Rei's is from Yui, we never find out who it's cloned from. Given that Kaworu doesn't physically look like anyone in the cast, the original is likely a true Unknown Character.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His intended Heroic Sacrifice resulted in Shinji crossing the Despair Event Horizon, causing him to be completely useless during SEELE's raid on NERV and resulting in him choosing to go ahead with Third Impact when the choice is left in his hands. More indirectly, clones of his body are used to pilot the Mass Produced Evangelions, which end up killing Asuka, the only other Eva pilot available to stop SEELE, and assist Lilith in causing Instrumentality. On the other hand, the love he showed Shinji ends up being one of the two things that motivates him to end Instrumentality and kill Lilith, meaning some good did come from his decision, but in a much less ideal way than he probably intended.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Kaworu is described as "a child who was manipulated" in the book All About Kaworu Nagisa. He might have thought that his defiance of SEELE's orders and his assisted suicide would save humanity, but it's implied that, for whatever reason, that's what they wanted him to do all along. After Kaworu begins his attack, Keel says "I will be praying that Unit 01 will accomplish its task", and that's exactly what ends up happening when Kaworu dies by Unit 01's hand. This implies SEELE was already aware of Kawaru's disloyalty and was sending him to NERV to die in order to dispose of him, if not a more sinister reason.
  • Walking Spoiler: Since his entire role in the series is to serve as the catalyst for Shinji's final breakdown, it's more or less impossible to discuss him without spoiling the end of the series.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Compared to End of Evangelion, where he is highly involved in the events of Third Impact, he does not appear at all in Shinji's psychological visions at the final two episodes of the original series, outside of Shinji's initial despair at having killed him in the beginning of episode 25. Most notably, he is absent from the iconic "congratulations!" scene at the very end. This is explained by the fact that he was only made to carry the soul of Adam in the Director's Cut editions of the final episodes that were made in preparation for the film, meaning that, in the original continuity of the series, his soul is truly just like any other Angel, giving him no reason to be present during Third Impact.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: In the manga, after ironically having Rei's love for Shinji essentially Xerox'd onto him by the 16th Angel, he asks Shinji if what he's feeling is love and tries to romantically advance on him after kissing Shinji while he was hyperventilating.note 
  • White Hair, Black Heart: One of the earliest quintessential examples in anime history, although it's ultimately subverted: Kaworu is the only one who shows Shinji unconditional love, and ultimately sacrifices himself for humanity, making him one of the purest characters in the series. And while the manga seems to play this straighter, it's also eventually subverted in that Kaworu is just Innocently Insensitive rather than truly malicious and his feelings for Shinji are genuine.
  • Wild Card: He essentially does whatever he feels is right while ignoring the objections of NERV, SEELE and even Shinji. Very appropriate seeing how he is the Angel of Free Will.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: His calm, detached atmosphere, eloquent way of speaking, and ability to understand others straight away make it hard to believe he's in the same age group as Shinji and Asuka.
  • Yandere: In the Angelic Days manga, Kaworu is Shinji's childhood friend, and is severely possessive of the boy when Asuka or Rei get too close.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: What he helps Shinji realize. Unfortunately, this development is turned on its head after Kaworu's death.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Inverted; his head is the only part of his body that isn't turned into a pulp.


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