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Ho Yay / Neon Genesis Evangelion

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“Gender cannot stand in the way of love”

Given that Evangelion is such a long running franchise with so much emphasis on the relationships between its characters, it’s not surprising that some of its same-sex ones would come across as a teeny bit questionable at times.

     Shinji and Kaworu 
  • The blushing, the showering together, the hand-holding, the sleepover, and the declaration of love, all in one episode.
    • And during the bathing scene, Kaworu places his hand on Shinji's, and rather than hesitate or pull back (as he did in a previous episode, when Misato attempted to touch him), Shinji allows Kaworu's hand to linger on his own. And shortly afterwards Kaworu tells Shinji that he loves him. At the end of the bathing scene, Shinji tells Kaworu that they need to go to bed, to which Kaworu is confused and asks, "Together?" Shinji is quick to decline Kaworu's offer, but he does spend the night at Kaworu's apartment, sleeping on the floor beside Kaworu's bed. Shinji finds it quite easy to talk to Kaworu about his conflicted feelings and Kaworu is shown smiling at Shinji in a fond manner, causing Shinji to blush, and Kaworu tells him "I think I was born just to meet you, Shinji Ikari." Later, Shinji is devastated by his killing Kaworu, and remarks that Kaworu was the only person in his life to tell him that he was loved. The original Japanese also encompasses a more friendly "like", however, which is present in the new Khara translation Kaworu, as well as the first ADV one.
      • Look where Shinji's staring when he blushes in the shower.
  • In the movie Death and Rebirth, Kaworu is brought up as a prominent link between the TV series and End of Evangelion. The death scene at the end echos the first scene of End of Evangelion, showing the sheer impact Kaworu's death had on Shinji.
  • In End of Evangelion, Shinji meets Giant-Naked Rei and has a screaming fit of insanity (to be fair, so did many fans) but a second later, she transforms into Giant Naked Kaworu and asks, "Is this better?" Shinji smiles for the first time since meeting Kaworu. Yep.
  • In the manga, meanwhile, the Ho Yay is much more sexualized but one-sided, with Kaworu as the aggressor. Shinji outright tells "Evil Manga Kaworu" he doesn't even like him, and rebuffs anything resembling an advance he makes. That still doesn't stop him from kissing a feverish, hyperventilating Shinji in bed—covering it up as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation—then rather aggressively interrogating him on the nature of love. Throughout their scenes together, Shinji is unnerved by Kaworu's "weird" behavior, but acts as a classic tsundere archetype. Only later after killing Kaworu at his request does Shinji admit he was attracted to Kaworu in a conversation with Misato.
  • In the Campus Apocalypse manga, Kaworu says that he's only helping NERV for Shinji's sake and that otherwise he'd be out there enjoying life until all reality fell apart without him as a Cosmic Keystone. Because Shinji was nice to him, true, but...
    • Campus Apocalypse Kaworu falls in love with Shinji because they met as children and Shinji patted Kaworu on the head. Kaworu sacrifices himself for Shinji in the end.
    • After Kaworu reveals to Shinji that he is the final angel he expects Shinji to reject him... only for Shinji to say that he doesn't care. Kaworu turns his head away and bursts into tears of joy.
  • The Shinji/Kaworu Ho Yay is often used by Khara to sell merchandise, much like Les Yay and pretty much everything even remotely markeatable.
  • In Rebuild 1.0, Kaworu awakens shirtless on the moon to promptly say "I'm looking forward to knowing you, Shinji Ikari." As lampshaded with many lulz by the fansubbing group, the Japanese word used can mean "to know in the biblical sense."
    • And in Rebuild 2.0, after knocking out Eva-01 and putting Third Impact on ice, a very annoyed-looking Kaworu says, "This time, only you will find happiness". The creators even jokingly (or maybe not) suggested that Kaworu was annoyed that Shinji had a thing for Rei in this movie.
      • When Gendo and Fukutsuki were at the moon and saw Kaworu seat on Mark.06 without a suit or even a shirt, Kaworu turns around to see Gendo. What he says? "Nice to meet you, Father" as in "Father-in-law".
    • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days manga, Kaworu obviously has a crush of some sort on Shinji. He wants to play a concert with Shinji, but Shinji refuses to take care of a sick Asuka. After this, Kaworu dissapears only to return years later and seems happy to see Shinji dating Asuka.
    • In Shinji Ikari Raising Project, Kaworu has the hots for Shinji so much that Asuka and Rei team up to push Kaworu away from him. Before long, Kaworu completely dissappears for the rest of the story.
    • In the early drafts of Episode 24, the episode writer wanted to insert much more Ho Yay. In those drafts, they were going to go skinny dipping in the ocean together, and Shinji was actually going to confess his feelings for Kaworu. This was eventually shot down by Anno as being "above my tolerance levels" and the episode director Masayuki outright refusing to do it.
  • Kaworu is available as a romantic option in some games, notably in Scenario 17 out of 19 in Neon Genesis Evangelion 2, in which he has and Shinji Ikari Raising Project, in which he is largely absent from most portions of a game, but also has an entire bonus path in which the player plays as Kaworu, to compensate for the *seven* other romantic options. Kaworu, however, is the only character associated with bad endings. In Girlfriend of Steel 2, he has a route which ends abruptly and the player is instead forced to choose between Asuka or Rei anyway.
    • A scene from the NGE 2 game had Fuyutsuki say that Shinji looked just like Yui and then crossdress Shinji for the role all while saying how beautiful "she" looks; Fuyutsuki's actions soon become overtly sexual.
  • In the 4koma gag comic strip (not confused with the anime adaptation), Puchi Eva or Petit Eva, Kaworu's blatantly in love with Shinji (he desires to be his wife in his profile and calls Gendo his father in law). There are a number of teases in several strips, including one with Kaworu moving in with his family (the angels) to live with the Ikaris. Yui's supportive of their relationship and teases Shinji about it. For a online Valentine's Day Special campaign in a mobile phone, Shinji and Kaworu were drawn sharing the Red String of Fate tied to their pinky, both bashful with a multiple heart patterned background.
  • In 3.0 Kaworu and Shinji both play the piano under a heart shaped tree, with Shinji learning how to play the piano instantly with some help from Kaworu. Later on he blushes when Kaworu tells Shinji he can just call him by his first name.
  • Rebuild's theme songs Beautiful World and Sakura Nagashi are both very much to do with Kaworu and Shinji's relationship.
    • Beautiful World can be interpreted as being about Shinji from Kaworu's perspective, as supported by the male pronoun "boku", and distinctly similar speech patterns. And as for the content... hoo, boy. Who else would profess so selflessly that their only wish is to sleep by Shinji's side? Who sleeps with him in both the original and the films? The singer doesn't care where it is, as "anywhere would do", and in 3.0, Kaworu and Shinji watch the stars together - lying on the cold hard ground. Yet again, the singer's single-minded fixation on Shinji is typical of Kaworu ("I don't need newspapers; they don't have anything important in them/but how are you doing?/if you're alright, then that's good") and also that selfless curiosity and general love of humanity cannot be attributed to anyone other than him - who else would call the world "beautiful"?
    • Sakura Nagashi is a song about coping with grief, and mourning for a lover deceased. Guess who dies in that film... If the song is read in that light, then the lyrics are very revealing of Shinji's feelings towards Kaworu. ("...You were so beautiful. What would you think of me, living without you?") ("I can't believe we'll never meet again/I haven't told you anything yet.")
  • KHARA recently released engraved Kaworu and Shinji wedding bands and necklaces from wedding company KISS that read "Good things happen when we play together". What about any of that is 'ambiguous'?

  • Let's not forget the onsen bath scene with Misato and Asuka. Through suggestive dialogue and giggling it's hinted that Misato was feeling up her mutually naked charge in some rather provocative ways, under the blanket of being "innocent girlie fun."
  • Some will also say the relationship between Gendou and Kouzou is loaded with subtext/vibes. Amusing as the idea may be, it's not canon, though you can really imagine what you want with Eva...
  • And there's a scene in Rebuild 2.0, Kaji asks Shinji if he wants to go on a date with him. Shinji reminds him that he's a boy and in response Kaji says "No problem. Gender shouldn't get in the way of love," places his hand on Shinji's, gets close to his face, and tries (or pretends to) to kiss him and Shinji blushes, letting out an almighty squeal.
    • In episode 17, Kaji inexplicably flirts with Shinji.
      Kaji: How about it? Wanna go out for tea?
      Shinji: You know, I'm a boy.
    • There's a deleted/alternate scene on the 2.22 DVD where Kaji is introduced in a tram car, which ends with him suddenly saying "I love you" to Shinji before ducking out. So if that had been the final version, Kaworu wouldn't have been the first person to say that to him.
  • There's also some Les Yay/Foe Yay played with in regards to Asuka and Rei in the official art. Their interactions in "The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still" actually bordered on a bizarre case of Belligerent Sexual Tension, especially since they made temporary peace with each other in the end.
    • In Rebuild of Evangelion, Asuka later volunteers to pilot Unit 03 so that Rei can bring Shinji and his father closer together. She does this for Rei, who in most incarnations she doesn't care for at all.
    • They're on better terms in Angelic Days as well, once even holding hands.
    • Even in the main manga adaptation, Asuka grows more comfortable in Rei's presence over time. When Shinji's in the hospital following his battle with Eva-03, the two of them are together in the waiting lobby (though quite a distance apart due to Rei sitting down while Asuka's standing against the wall) and vocalize their thoughts and concerns about Shinji to one another. The later scenes of Asuka declaring her hatred of Rei for being an emotionless doll never occur, with Kaworu being in Rei's place for one of them, and some of Sadamoto's artwork has Rei positioned as almost the Kaworu to Asuka's Shinji in terms of personal space. Particularly this cover.
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    • In Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, there's a very Les Yay scene between Asuka (playing the Virgin Mary) and Rei (playing Gabriel) during the Nativity Play. Quite frankly, it's impossible to miss. Either that or Asuka and Rei were sneakily insinuating that Jesus is Mary and Gabriel's lovechild.
      • After Rei reveals her true origins she expects Asuka to hate her, only for Asuka to scream at her that she doesn't care about what Rei is after all they've been through together. Remember that this is Asuka we're talking about, who hated Rei at the beginning.
  • Hikari and Asuka? Hikari is pretty much Asuka's only friend. And after the battle with Arael, Asuka seeks out Hikari and stays with her for an unspecified time. During a late evening they share a bed and a tearful Asuka breaks down and reveals her inner insecurities to Hikari who comforts her, a testament to their friendship.
    • The second film of the Rebuild series has a scene where Hikari approaches Asuka and shyly asks if she can sit with her at lunch. She's even blushing when asking it.
      • And pretty amusingly, when Misato finds Asuka trying to cook, and naturally correctly assumes that she's trying to do something nice for Shinji, for a change, Asuka flusters and tries to insist that it's for a girl. Alas, neither of them seem to think of the implications.
  • Shinji Ikari Raising Project does this with Asuka/Rei on illustrations and in Shinji's dreams and even in real-life as they become more friendly toward each other late in the series, Maya/Ritsuko, Rei/Misato because Rei obsesses about boobs and can't help touching them, and also Ritsuko/Yui and the terrifying Rei/Yui because Yui has the largest breasts of the whole cast. Also, there is much Shinji/Kaworu to be had and Asuka once jokes about Touji and Shinji having an intimate relationship. And of the more No Yay variety, Gendo simply loves his son Shinji so dearly he wants to bear-hug him from behind or take a bath with him. Look hard and you can probably see some Mana/Asuka too.
  • Kensuke genuinely enjoys spending time with Shinji and in an early episode he offers Shinji emotional support when both are sitting around a campfire and gives him his jacket to wear because its cold out.
  • A rather popular fan theory is that Ritsuko had unrequited feelings for Misato in college, supported by the fact that Ritsuko's mother refers to her as "Boy-shy".
    • In one episode, when Kaji flirts with Misato, Ritsuko says that "The interaction of men and women is not very logical”, and then when going for drinks with Misato says "Been a while since I went out", despite going out for drinks with Kaji just one episode prior.


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