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Raising Traumatized Child Soldiers For Dummies

"You are Misato Katsuragi, a soldier of uncertain rank. You've been recently transferred from NERV Germany, where you helped oversee simulation development, equipment testing, and a feisty redhead named Asuka. Because NERV apparently thinks you did such a bang-up job helping raise her, they've decided to put you in charge of the newly-arrived Shinji Ikari. The two of you have been moved into the same apartment; from now on you're responsible for Shinji's development as a well-rounded person and as a weapon against the Angels. Good luck!"
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The Shinji Ikari Raising Project, is a roleplaying Quest created by author Septimus Magisto, sharing the name of the eponymous Lighter and Softer spin-off of Neon Genesis Evangelion as well as its purported purpose: the guardianship and development of Shinji Ikari (and his friends).

Player take control of one Misato Katsuragi and vote on her actions and reactions to the events of the Quest to progress, often struggling against themselves as much as the sinister forces attempting to manipulate events for their own ends. Behind the shipping wars, moral dilemmas, and dice rolls is the sometimes surprising, often heartwarming story of an absurdly dedicated surrogate mother and the odd family that comes together around her.

During late July 2017 a sequel was started and can be found here.


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This work provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Played With. While many of the pilots' parents are at the center of lingering emotional trauma, very rarely was this the result of direct malicious action. Players were completely taken aback by Gendo's seemingly sincere attempts to connect with his son, as well as his support of Shinji and Rei's relationship. Whether these actions were purely sentimental, manipulative, or some combination of both have yet to be determined.
  • Accidental Pervert: Poor Shinji often ends up being put in this position, usually involving Asuka. In his first encounter with her, an ill-timed breeze led to him accidentally upskirting her. Later on, his desire to avoid perving on the girls while at a beach leads him to walking in on Mari and Asuka changing anyway.
  • Ace Pilot: Asuka, naturally. Later on she is joined by Mari, and the two are subsequently considered the go-to pair for offensive or risky maneuvers.
    • By the endgame, all of the pilots have become hyper efficient death dealers that together repel SEELE's strike force and nearly win for good until the sudden rebirth of Adam.
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  • Adult Fear: Present in spades in Misato and all the pilots, particularly post-Kushiel. Asuka fears being injured and ending up as an invalid, Mari fears growing old and feeble, Kaworu grows to fear dying and ceasing to exist, and everyone fears losing loved ones.
  • Alternate Continuity: The story diverges from the original series immediately after the battle with Sachiel, and butterflies into a completely different story. Several elements are outright changed from canon, such as the Angels faced and the early inclusion of Kaworu and Mari as pilots.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: Kaworu gradually develops into one under Misato's guidance, as does Rei.
  • Artifact Title: Although the Quest began with Misato as sole guardian of Shinji, it has since expanded to encompass Rei, Asuka, Mari, and Kaworu. That said, Shinji is ultimately the most important character of them all and his choices and attitude will determine the ending of the game.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: A favored strategy of Misato in the early game, although she relented after using this tactic against Rampel led to Rei being badly injured and Shinji proceeded to read her the riot act. Since then, the players have been more cautious about risking the pilots' lives to secure victory.
    • Mari often uses this as her default strategy, even moreso when she uses Beast Mode.
  • Barrier Warrior: To compensate for Rei's lower offensive capabilities, Misato turns her protective instincts into a strength by making her the Stone Wall of the team. Once she obtains an S2 Organ of her own Rei becomes capable of layering her defenses with A.T. Fields that can stand up to a tremendous amount of force without wavering.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Gendo has convinced himself that his plan for Third Impact is a justifiable alternative to SEELE's, and that it is as much for the good of the world as it is for himself. Naturally, Misato is skeptical of these claims.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: There's SEELE, an Apocalypse Cult with the goal of using Lilith to start a Third Impact that will wipe out humanity for the sake of a mysterious goal. Then there is Gendo Ikari, who also wants to start Third Impact so that he can merge all of humanity into one being and be reunited with his wife. And of course, there are the Angels, who are mostly instinct-driven creatures that want to merge with Adam to propagate their own race at the expense of humanity.
  • Big Good: Misato Katsuragi, who simultaneously serves as commander, friend, and mother to each of the pilots. Not only does she help each of them grow into healthy, happy human beings, but she also exposes SEELE's global conspiracy and stops multiple potential extinction events through sheer skill and force of will. Every positive event in the story can be traced back to her actions in some way.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Misato and the Children successfully defeat SEELE's army, stop Third Impact, and defeat Adam himself. But it comes at a price: Tokyo-3 was obliterated by a massive nuclear strike, killing everyone in the city including Touji, Kensuke, and Hikari. To stop a repeat of Second Impact's global cataclysm as well as avoid Instrumentality, Kaworu was forced to create new Angels and seed them across the planet to eventually awaken. Thanks to Misato's spy network, information is released that scatters SEELE's agents and exposes them to the world, but they remain dangerous and at large. Misato and Ritsuko are dishonorably discharged from their positions for participating in illegal activity to obtain that information and win her chess match with Gendo and SEELE. Sharing a last embrace with each other, Misato must part ways with the Children and leave the outcome of the inevitable Second Angel War in their hands.
  • Blood Knight: Mari, who enjoys fighting in her Evangelion so much that she has no issues with the idea of being a pilot for the rest of her life. She is so in love with battle that she cheerfully accepts continuing to be a pilot for the Second Angel War. She even goes so far as to admit she'd like to be an Evangelion should she become incapable of piloting one, and would like for any children she has to pilot her Evangelion self.
    • Asuka, as well, although it slowly loses its shine with her as she grows disillusioned with NERV and the Evangelions. By the end she has abandoned this mentality completely and wants nothing to do with piloting or war.
  • Book-Ends: The story begins with Misato welcoming Shinji into her home and taking responsibility for his well-being. The final scene is of Misato and all ofher pilots embracing in their shared home before parting ways to decide their own futures.
    • The resolution of the conflict echoes its beginning, when Kaworu stops Adam from destroying humanity by instead creating new Angels. Like before, Misato Katsuragi is at the center of this event, although this time she is the one whose decision leads to this outcome.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Pretty much every major organization feels this way about the other, including the heads of those organizations. SEELE to Gendo, Gendo to Misato, Misato to Gendo...
  • Central Theme: Family. Misato begins the growth of her own family first by taking in Shinji as her ward, then expanding it to include Rei, Asuka, Mari, and even the half-Angel Kaworu. The story charts Misato's first steps into her parental role, coming to see it as a defining part of her life, and facing the ultimate test of every parent in the end when she must let her children go on to walk their own paths.
  • Character Development: All of the pilot crew, as well as several outside of it.
    • Misato begins the Quest as a young woman Not So Different from Shinji, avoiding deep ties and obsessed with destroying the Angels at all costs. However, the plight of Shinji softens her and provokes a shift in priorities. Eventually, she admits she has come to love the Children as her own and would do anything to keep them safe, even overcoming her prejudice of Angels for the sake of Kaworu and Rei.
    • Shinji rises from being a shy, anxious young man with little fighting ability or drive into an iron-willed pilot and stalwart friend who finds love. However, his more aggressive demeanor and close bonds leave him all the more fearful of losing them, and he admits he can see the appeal in a Third Impact where everyone is united as one forever.
    • As Rei's understanding of conventional society and relationships grows, she comes to love Misato as a parent and Shinji as something more than that. She unveils the truth of her half-human nature to the group, as well as the existence of her clones, and resolves to remain against simply starting Third Impact because Gendo orders her to. Like Shinji, her fear of losing the same things that led her to this point keep her wavering on the issue.
    • Asuka's Jerkass behavior is tempered as she finds common ground with others, finding herself comforted by their presence and happy to be with people who accept her. The reveal that SEELE and NERV have manipulated her life and the lives of the other Children from the beginning leaves her outraged and disillusioned about being a pilot. She yearns to reach a point in her life where she can cut ties from NERV and the Evangelions entirely, and begins attending a university at Misato's suggestion.
    • Mari's carefree attitude about relationships and her own life is tested when she finds herself growing attached to the other pilots, and the knowledge that SEELE is bent on The End of the World as We Know It puts her firmly on Misato's side of the board for stopping them. She grows more aggressive in her desire to protect her friends, especially Kaworu, and shows willingness to engage in morally dubious activities for the sake of that goal.
    • Kaworu grows out of his fatalistic worldview through witnessing the struggles of others, and resolves to learn and imitate as much about humanity as he can to overcome his fate.
  • Child Soldiers: All of the pilots, including the T-RIDEN-T crew. Depending on the nature of the Evangelions, the NERV pilots may end up growing into adult soldiers in time for the return of the Angels.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Rei, to the point of active suspicion and dislike of new girls entering the dynamic between the children. That said, this usually dissipates once she has confirmed their lack of interest in Shinji and/or gotten to know them.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Rei struggles to reconcile her attachment and loyalty to Gendo with her love for Misato and her fellow pilots, causing much strife within the group. Although she eventually falls on Misato's side of the board, she is still unsure of dismissing Human Instrumentality as an endgame outright and does not want to see Gendo harmed.
    • Ritsuko begins to suffer under the weight of this, beginning when Misato confronts her on her complicity in Gendo's plots as well as her one-sided affair with him. The balancing act takes a toll on her physical and mental well being, leaving her depressed and exhausted. Misato's repeated entreaties appear to pull her slightly across the line to the anti-Impact team, and she ultimately decides not to actively aid Gendo in any of his schemes, remaining decidedly neutral.
  • Creepy Child: Rei and Kaworu in their respective introductions, although they eventually outgrow this and become quirky but friendly individuals.
  • Crossover: A series of non-canon conversations between the pilots of this quest and their counterparts from Advice and Trust.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Mari using Beast Mode, which grants her Evangelion tremendous physical power as well as improved A.T. Field penetration at the price of mental erosion. The consequences of her using it during the battle with Orifiel and Qaphsiel leave her in physical therapy having to relearn how to move and eat like a human being. According to her, both Unit-02 and Unit-03 possess this capability.
    • Kaworu is capable of wielding his immensely powerful A.T. Field to slay even the mightiest of enemies, but doing so risks his mind being consumed by his Angelic instincts and an early awakening of Tabris. Similarly, Rei after growing an S2 Organ is capable of using her power to fly and defend herself, but avoids doing so as it may result in her being compelled to merge with Lilith.
  • Determinator: Shinji's greatest strength and potentially his Tragic Flaw. Misato fears that he would submit to Third Impact if it meant protecting his loved ones, and Mana notes he is possessed of a quiet but intense determination. Like Father, Like Son.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Shinji absconding with Asuka and Rei, taking them on a tour of Tokyo-3 to let them get to know one another.
    • Rei spontaneously growing an S2 Organ on her chest after Unit-01 devours the core of Kushiel.
    • The simultaneous arrival of Orifiel and Qaphsiel, breaking the pattern of single-enemy encounters.
    • Absolutely nobody, including SEELE, expected Gendo to stick his Adam-implanted hand into Kaworu and grow into a gigantic naked blue man.
  • Driven to Suicide: Kushiel's visions have such a traumatic impact on Rei that she immediately intends to sacrifice herself to save her friends. Players leapt on her before this could happen, although she remained in a deep depression for some time.
  • Epic Fail: Shinji's attempt to Dynamic Entry kick Nathaniel is countered hard when the Angel sends a launch-platform racing up to meet him and the resulting collision of velocities results in Shinji being thrown somewhere outside of Tokyo-3 for the duration of the fight.
  • Expendable Clone: Subverted. While it's suggested that a recent enough back-up of Rei would be the same in nearly every way down to the soul, Misato and Rei both believe that her current self would still cease to be rather than simply lose memories in transfer.
    "You mention that even though Rei has her "backups" around, she needs to be just as careful as before. You don't care if they're the same person or not, if the transfer process takes anything from her, you'd much rather she keep it. Shinji again agrees. Rei tells you very seriously that if she does die the two of you have to be nice to whatever Rei Ayanami ends up living with you. Regardless of her identity, she's going to care about you and want to protect you, so you'll need to do the same for her."
  • First Kiss: Shinji and Rei both share theirs, marking the beginning of their romantic relationship.
  • Five-Man Band: The NERV crew, eventually playing straight the same roles the original series deconstructed.
    • The Leader: Misato, who holds the group together through sheer charisma and directs them in battle.
    • The Lancer: Rei occupies this role, offering alternative points of view on subjects like Third Impact, a slightly more cynical contrast to Misato's idealism, and sometimes operating outside of Misato's orders to fulfill an objective.
    • The Smart Guy: Kaworu, who offers an intellectual counterpoint to both Rei and Misato's worldviews as well as knowing much about SEELE and the nature of the Angels.
    • The Big Guy: Mari and Asuka share this role as the heavy-hitters of the team, Mari as The Berserker and Asuka as a Genius Bruiser.
    • The Chick: Shinji, the object of Rei and Asuka's affections and Misato's most favored child. He saves the group from fracturing several times through his empathy, and is liked by every member of the group. He and Misato also share the role of The Hero.
  • Foreshadowing: Shortly after the beginning of the quest, Misato comes into possession of a strange budget report revealing that NERV possesses a facility on the Moon. This is a SEELE installation, and holds the back-ups of Kaworu's physical bodies.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The battle with Orifiel and Qaphsiel pushes the pilots to the limits of their ability and beyond. Orifiel is a Nigh Invulnerable Mighty Glacier, while Qaphsiel is a gravity-manipulating, teleporting Lightning Bruiser. The former is ultimately defeated by shoving an N2 Mine directly inside its near-impenetrable shell, while the latter is defeated when Rei and Asuka drag it back as it attempts to teleport, resulting in a lower-torso removing Portal Cut. Ultimately, it takes a combination of all the Evangelions, the T-RIDEN-T and Japanese military, Jet Alone Prime, Rei using her enhanced A.T. Field abilities to their full extent, Mari in Beast Mode, Kaworu hijacking a test-bed prototype Evangelion body, and Misato's Crazy Enough to Work tactics to secure victory.
    • Defied in the final battle against SEELE and Adam. Despite the overwhelming odds, several potential secret weapons or last-ditch tactics are not employed. Mari does not use Beast Mode, Kaworu is not deployed in battle until he saves the world by overcoming Adam's willpower, and neither Rei nor Unit-01 start Third Impact to prevent total extinction.
  • The Heart: Misato fills this role as the battle commander of the pilots inside the Evas, and their maternal figure outside of it. Her compassion and understanding brings the group together.
  • Here We Go Again!: Stopping Adam came at the price of the world being seeded with more Angels, meaning that once again humanity will have to fight them in the future to stave off extinction. SEELE also still lurks in the shadows, and fully intends to finish what they started one day.
  • Hidden Depths: Mari seems at first to be little more than a fanservicey Manic Pixie Dream Girl with little to flesh her out in comparison to the other pilots. However, her nature as a spy for NERV Berlin, surprisingly insightful attitude, and sincere bond with Kaworu show her to be just as complex as any other Evangelion character.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Gendo forces this on Misato with the entire world as his hostage. By merging with Adam, he places her in a position where if she does not follow his demands for Rei to initiate Human Instrumentality then all of humanity will perish. She takes a third option instead, and Gendo is trapped within Adam, who is returned to an embryonic form.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Kaworu's time along humans leads him to discover he would rather die than propagate the Angelic race at the expense of humanity's extinction - and more importantly, the expense of his friends. He attempts to invoke this by embracing different philosophical cultures and experimenting with relationships, food, and even clothing. In doing so, he hopes that it will sufficiently anchor him enough to resist the call of his Angelic destiny when it arrives. Kaworu's love for his friends is what allows him to overcome Adam and stop him from completing Third Impact.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Asuka ultimately realizes she may have feelings for Shinji, shortly after he and Rei become an item. Rather than pursue the issue and potentially hurt one or both of them, she decides that she can be happy for both of them and continue their friendship.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Asuka grows into one as she spends time around the other children, eventually shedding the Jerkass aspect entirely. Her temper is still as fiery as ever, though.
  • Karma Houdini: SEELE is not completely defeated, still retaining much power although they have been forced into hiding and lost many of their political agents as well as their Evangelion army. They will very likely try to end the world again some day.
    • Gendo, as well, never truly gets punishment for his actions. While he is merged with Adam and remains an embryo, he is now effectively immortal and lies in wait for another to attempt to harness that power so that he may reemerge.
  • Kick the Dog: As SEELE gets wind of Misato's efforts to meddle in their affairs, they whisk Kaworu away for a time and place a bomb collar on him as a threat. Eventually, Misato is able to get Ritsuko to disarm it.
    • Gendo coldly attempts to throw Misato off balance by pressing the sore spot of her father during their Go-Karting with Bowser scene at the inn. He also shows no reaction to her argument that his plan will sacrifice innocents as well as his surrogate daughter Rei in the process, although it could be he considers it a necessary sacrifice.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Mari and Kaworu have a promise where if Kaworu cannot resist his Angelic urges, he will inform her so that she may have time to get to an Evangelion and kill him before he loses total control. As of the unveiling of Kaworu's origins to the rest of the group, it now extends to the other pilots and Misato as well.
    • When Kaworu is forcibly merged with Adam and the hour has arrived, Misato refuses to sacrifice his life and instead orders the other pilots to save him. It works.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While the characters themselves are stalwart allies to Misato and company, the arrival of Mari and Kaworu marks a shift in tone for the quest. The conspiracy thriller elements become more pronounced, tensions within NERV and the group rise to greater levels, and of course the Angels become much stronger as time goes on.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Gendo, Rei, and even Kaworu argue that Human Instrumentality ensures that mankind will survive in some form or another, whereas an Angelic or SEELE victory will result in total extinction. Misato grudgingly acknowledges this, but is only spurred to ensure that the war does not escalate to that level.
    • This is Gendo's argument when he merges with Adam, arguing that Misato should choose Instrumentality so that everyone will be saved instead of allowing Adam to wipe humanity from the Earth.
  • Light Is Not Good: Adam's form is that of a giant of light, with wings stretching into the sky. Although when this form actually manifests, it is in fact Kaworu taking control at the last second.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Misato's extroverted nature as well as players Flanderized concept of Shinji led to them prescribing a therapist for him almost immediately after meeting. Although this proved helpful in the long term, in the short term the psychologist stated that Shinji was for all intents and purposes an average introvert. Eventually he achieves a moderate balance between extroversion and introversion, and Misato becomes more accepting of his lower-key mannerisms.
  • Lovecraft Lite: To an even greater extent than the original series. Despite facing even greater eldritch threats, powerful conspiracies, and grappling with personal demons, the heroes fight on and learn to love one another rather than be torn apart.
  • Mama Bear: It's practically Misato's job description, and she lives up to it. Players often contemplate murderous action when one of the pilots is in distress or harmed, and Rei had to extract a promise from her to not physically harm or kill Gendo Ikari shortly after her true heritage was revealed.
  • Mood-Swinger: Because of her conflicted self-image and difficulties with understanding her own feelings, Asuka is this throughout her introductory arc and for some time beyond. Becomes a Downplayed Trope once she comes to terms with several of her issues and learns the truth behind her mother's suicide, although she still remains rather mercurial.
    • Rei struggles with the downsides of no longer having compartmentalized emotions, confiding to Misato that she feels torn between the happiness she finds in her friends and the terror she feels at the idea of losing them.
  • Morality Chain: Shinji and Rei, for one another, and in general the entire pilot family is this for each other. Gendo implies that the only thing preventing Misato from becoming like him is that she hasn't lost the ones she cares for - yet.
    • Zig-Zagged with Rei and Shinji, in that both of them keep one another stable but also encourage a pro-Third Impact mentality. Rei fears losing Shinji, more specifically the idea of him dying simply due to random chance in a post-Angel world. Shinji's fears are similar, but extended to all of his friends. It seems that their bonds pull them in both directions, rather than simply holding them to the side of good.
    • Kaworu's bond with Mari was his first and strongest tie to humanity, followed by Misato and the other Children. He comes to care for them so strongly that he resists Adam's compulsion to wipe out humanity long enough to stop it.
  • My Beloved Smother: Misato often prioritizes the immediate comfort and happiness of the pilots over anything else, and much time is spent with her worrying that she may not be doing enough for them. Ritsuko compares Misato to an addicted rat pressing the "make the pilots happy" button at every opportunity, while Shinji more politely suggests that perhaps the Children should be allowed to take care of themselves more. She faces the greatest test of parenthood when she must part ways with her children and leave the future in their hands.
  • Mythology Gag: Early on, Shinji repeats his Catchphrase "I mustn't run away" and "Center on the target, pull the trigger" Survival Mantra from canon. Over time, he stops needing these anchors.
    • Misato's Lethal Chef and Drives Like Crazy reputations are mentioned, as well as her lack of directional sense.
    • Asuka and Mari become Vitriolic Best Buds, mirroring their counterparts from You Can (Not) Redo.
    • After a particularly traumatic Angel battle that leaves the pilots in physical recovery, Misato brings several animals to cheer them up. Kaworu finds enjoyment in playing with a cat, and pointedly does not snap its neck.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Kushiel's Mind Rape of the party and the subsequent fallout is the final nail in Asuka's resolution to walk away from NERV and the Evangelions once the war is over. It also leads to Kaworu's full commitment to stopping himself from succumbing to his Tabris instincts, and in death provides Unit-01 and Rei with an S2 Organ.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Misato is rewarded for her success in saving the world, defeating the Angels, and exposing a global Apocalypse Cult conspiracy by being dishonorably discharged from the military for illegal espionage and barred from working in the successor organization to NERV. This means that she is unable to follow her Children when they go on to continue piloting to prepare for the Second Angel War. The rest of NERV's mostly innocent staff are given this treatment as well, including Ritsuko who had pulled a Heel–Face Turn and was instrumental in preventing SEELE's victory.
  • Nostalgia Heaven: The final scene of the story, set in a hot-springs inn where Misato and all the pilots lived together.
  • Odd Friendship: Kaworu and Mari seem like complete opposites - and according to Kaworu, that is what brings them together so closely. The "music of their souls" create a strange pattern wherein Mari will differentiate from whatever pattern Kaworu's is in, something described as very special and yet not necessarily romantic.
  • Oh, Crap!: The arrival of Orifiel and Qaphsiel...at the same time.
    • Kerubiel's awakening is signaled by the sudden and total obliteration of Iceland.
    • The arrival of the Mass Production Evangelions and the final stage of SEELE's attack on NERV. How many of them are there? Twelve. Three more than in End of Evangelion. And this is after a grueling battle with several patchwork-Evangelions and multiple support mecha sent in to soften up the NERV pilots.
    • Just as NERV stands poised to defeat SEELE's attack, Gendo shoves his Adam-merged hand into Kaworu and Adam is reawoken. The act is so utterly shocking that the SEELE Eva Series themselves stare slack-jawed at the new arrival.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Players were pleasantly surprised when Shinji took it upon himself to mend the rift between Asuka and Rei, an action that proved the first step in bringing them together as True Companions.
  • Parental Favoritism: It's acknowledged In-Universe that Shinji is Misato's favorite child, and she often relies on him for emotional support or help managing the other Children.
  • Pet the Dog: Ritsuko often goes above and beyond for the sake of meeting Misato's sometimes unreasonable expectations regarding the treatment of the pilots, despite her griping. This stands in stark contrast to her canon self, who was dismissive of and condescending to Misato (and everyone else) as well as indifferent to the well being of the pilots.
    • During a private dinner, Rei and Shinji inform Gendo of their romantic relationship. Rather than ignoring this or reacting with displeasure, Gendo states that such an event was unexpected but not unwelcome. While this could be satisfaction at having an easier lever to manipulate the pair, Gendo could just as likely be pleased at seeing his son and surrogate daughter find happiness with one another.
  • Plot Armor: Shinji, as per Word of God. Every other pilot and several main characters are expendable without an instant Game Over, but Shinji cannot reach his ultimate fate until the end of the game.
  • The Power of Love: Misato's greatest advantage over her opponents. The bonds of love she shares with Shinji, Asuka, Rei, Mari, and Kaworu are what pushes them to become a stronger team and as a result better pilots. She sways Rei from Gendo's influence, convinces Asuka to accept herself and be open with those around her, cajoles Shinji into finding his inner determination, convinces Mari to put herself at risk to find friendship, and gives Kaworu the strength overcome his Angelic instincts.
  • Reality Ensues: Misato creates a global network of spies, warlords, and other organizations of dubious morality and legality in order to map and expose SEELE's political and military network. It works, but although she decsively saves the world and reveals a global conspiracy in doing so, she is dishonorably discharged and barred from military service for breaking too many laws to do so.
  • Reconstruction: The story could be described as a slow transition from the original series' deconstruction of mecha anime tropes to downplaying or playing them straight as examples of Character Development.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In the "Sealed With A Kiss" arc, where Rei decides to act on her feelings for Shinji and the two enter into a relationship. In true Evangelion fashion, this has solved and caused several dilemmas in equal measure.
  • Rousing Speech: Misato gives several throughout the story. The greatest and last one comes from her and the pilots, urging Kaworu not to give into despair and to fight back against the will of Adam.
  • "Save the World" Climax: The final battle against Adam is the true climax of the story, with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance.
  • Shoot the Dog: Mari has promised to do this if Kaworu cannot Screw Destiny and succumbs to his Angelic side. Misato gives a similar promise, and the rest of the group implicitly agrees to the same. In the end, they save him through the Power of Love.
    • When Gendo merges with Kaworu and Adam, reawakening the latter, Rei points out that he explicitly putting Misato in a situation where she must do this or face the extinction of humanity. Although Gendo wants Misato to order Rei to merge with Lilith and enact Human Instrumentality, she instead Takes a Third Option and convinces Kaworu to regain control and stop the Impact by creating new Angels. Unlike most examples where a third option is taken, Misato is still ultimately forced to shoot a dog, but it's a different dog.
  • The Social Expert: Gendo, although one may be led to believe otherwise. His manipulation abilities are not to be underestimated, and he himself cites this as why Misato cannot afford to dispose of him for the duration of the Angel War.
    • Shinji himself appears to have inherited this trait, although to much more constructive use than his father. He is disturbed by the implications, but Misato assures him that his motives are what distinguish him from the ruthlessness of Ikari senior.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Ritsuko, who affects a semi-false facade of callous indifference and outright hostility toward Misato and the pilot crew, but inwardly is an extremely depressed and self-critical woman. She feels that her affair with Gendo is a cosmic joke at her expense that she nonetheless clings to, feeling that being a scientist is the only thing she is any good at.
    • Gendo is an extremely bitter, ruthless, and all around nasty individual. But his actions are taken out of an inability to cope with the loss of his wife and his underlying self-loathing.
  • Stepford Smiler: Although he affects an outwardly calm exterior, in truth Kaworu possesses strong emotions and feels conflicted over his fate to attempt to bring an end to the human race.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Misato is the protagonist of the story and integral to its development, but she ultimately relies on the decisions and abilities of her pilots, particularly Shinji, to defeat the Angels and save the world.
  • Supreme Chef: Shinji, in contrast with Misato's Lethal Chef reputation. She exploits this mercilessly to ingratiate the other pilots to him as well as boost his self-esteem. Although modest about his skills, he successfully directs a large group dinner for the NERV and T-RIDEN-T pilot crews as well as making German dishes for Asuka with little mishaps.
  • Tears of Joy: Asuka cries these, along with more pained tears, when Misato admits that she loves her as if she were her own child.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Began this way with the Children, although they have since progressed into Fire-Forged Friends. Meanwhile, Misato and Ritsuko are often at odds with one another despite their shaky friendship, and that's without getting into the constant chess game with Gendo.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted Trope. At the very beginning of the quest, players chose to enroll Shinji into mandatory counselling with a professional psychiatrist, and followed suit for the other Children as they arrived. This effort was instrumental in aiding Shinji's gradual acclimation to his new life, as well as Asuka learning to manage her issues surrounding dolls. However, as the war grew in intensity and secrets too terrible for civilian ears to hear began piling up, the Children decided that therapy was of little practical use to them anymore.
    "You don't really know this kid all that well yet. Normally you'd start the first day with some light teasing, maybe a game of beer cap checkers to lighten the mood. But one look at him and something deep in your soul told you he needs all the therapy."
  • Through His Stomach: Shinji's progress from fellow pilot to the object of Rei's heart begins when Misato puts together a group dinner for the three of them, with Shinji as the chef. This tactic proves to be a tried-and-true method of bonding, as Asuka, Mari, and even Kaworu are drawn closer into the fold through good cooking.
    • Even Gendo cannot resist Shinji's cooking, complimenting him on his prowess when they share a dinner together.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rigorous synchronization training, teamwork exercises, and physical conditioning elevate all the pilots magnitudes beyond their original capabilities. Special mention goes to Shinji, who goes from being hardly able to walk properly in his Unit to a ferocious and relentless fighter to rival Asuka.
    • Following the defeat of Kushiel, Rei's individual abilities as well as her piloting capabilities are vastly improved by the development of her own S2 Organ. Her A.T. Field manipulation abilities turn her into an outright Stone Wall, not to mention her ability to, as Shinji puts it, telekinetically rip threats to bloody pieces.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Asuka, to a great degree. Her first sign of mellowing out is during a trip with Shinji and Rei, orchestrated by the former specifically to build common ground. Through the efforts of Misato, Shinji, Rei herself, and loads of therapy, Asuka becomes a passionate and fierce but stable young woman with True Companions to call her own.
    • Misato herself, due to the nature of the quest. Canon Misato was a teenage girl in a woman's body, with a lot of hang-ups about emotional intimacy and a burning grudge against the Angels that kept her from truly connecting with her charges. Here, Misato forsakes her desire for revenge as a primary priority to dedicate herself to raising and protecting children not unlike herself. Lampshaded by Ritsuko, who believes she has gone soft. In spite of this, her results have been as good if not better than canon's in successful Angel incursions.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Rei, even pre-Relationship Upgrade. Her first meeting with Asuka ends with Misato returning to find the two girls in a brawl, instigated by Asuka slapping Shinji for looking up her skirt when wind blew her dress up. Asuka soon displayed similar behavior, resulting in them taking some time to acclimate to fellow Action Girl Mari and Badass Normal Mana.
    "You do notice that there seems to be some tension between Rei and Mana. You guess it makes sense. You've trained Rei to be suspicious of and hostile towards any new girl entering the inn, and those instincts don't just turn off."
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Asuka and Rei become this, with Rei stating that while she often butts heads with Asuka and expects this to continue for the rest of their lives, she wouldn't want Asuka not to be alongside her. Asuka reciprocates.
    • To a lesser extent, Mari and Asuka. At first the two didn't get along much at all, mostly on account of being too alike. However, battle and forced cohabitation resulted in their developing a healthy respect for one another.
  • Warrior Therapist: While players wisely chose to send the pilots to actual therapists on a reasonable basis, it is often up to Misato to help unpack the tangled mess of her charge's personal lives and provide them advice on life-changing decisions. For the most part, she is very successful.
  • Wham Episode: Increasingly more frequent as the story progresses.
    • The Kushiel encounter, remembered by players as perhaps the single most damaging Angel battle yet, deserves special mention. The Angel's unique abilities allowed it to manifest as tailor-made nightmares plucked from the minds of each observer, an effect so devastating that Gendo Ikari was left closing his eyes to avoid looking at it. The Angel's presence was so severe that Ritsuko briefly became suicidal, one of the bridge staff was described as hiding under a table, Misato herself was left shaken, and all of the Children's psychological states were left badly damaged. Worse, the Children had collectively voted to cease mandatory therapy the very day before.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Kaworu is a big believer in this, before his Character Development. Unlike most examples of this, he is not distressed by the concept and is happy to simply pursue whatever small pleasures he can find before the inevitable end. It's only after creating strong bonds with the group that he resolves to do his best to Screw Destiny.
    • Gendo says that the Dead Sea Scrolls preordain that events will ultimately occur and conclude in a set fashion. The details may be changed, but the final destination is always the same. Kaworu is said to be destined to a cursed existence that can only be redeemed through great sacrifice.
    • The outcome of the final battle with SEELE and Adam proves Gendo right. Kaworu is saved from death and is rid of his Angelic instincts forever, but only after being forced to create more Angels. He is guilt-ridden at the price this will cost the world in the future.
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