Gendo Ikari

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Gendo Ikari
Gendo Ikari
碇 ゲンドウ
Rank / Title Nerv Commander
Affiliation(s) Nerv, Gehirn, Seele
National Heritage Japanese
Relations Yui Ikari (wife), Shinji Ikari (son),
Rei Ayanami (derived from wife), Naoko Akagi (lover),
Ritsuko Akagi (lover)
Age 48
Birthday 04/29/1967
Seiyū Fumihiko Tachiki
Voice Actor (English): Tristan MacAvery (TV and movies),
John Swasey ("Director's Cut" episodes and Rebuild), Ray Chase (Netflix)
(Italian): Massimo Corvo
(Brazilian): Fábio Moura
(French): Michel Roy
(German): Erich Räuker , Urs Remond (Netflix)
(Latin Spanish): Humberto Solórzano

Profile

Gendo Ikari[1] is the Commander of Nerv, the husband of the "deceased" Yui Ikari and the emotionally distant father of Shinji Ikari. Originally known as Gendo Rokubungi, he changed his family name to Ikari after marrying Yui[2] and was then appointed as head of Gehirn and later Nerv, by Seele[3]. Along with sub-commander Kozo Fuyutsuki, Gendo is responsible for the defense of Tokyo-3 against the Angels, and for aiding in the completion of the Human Instrumentality Project. At the beginning of the series, Gendo summoned his son to Tokyo-3 in order to serve as a pilot for Eva-01.

Gendo's past is by and largely shrouded in mystery, but the only reference he himself makes to it, namely that he "is used to being hated", hints that it was rather dark and unhappy one.

While Fuyutsuki keeps his uniform properly zipped up the entire time, but Gendo just wears his uniform's jacket open. Gendo never properly wears his uniform, not even while in front of the JSSDF generals who, prior to the transfer of power when the N² Mine attack fails to stop the Angel, are technically in command and his superiors. It's possible that this is just part of his character design (Gendo never zips up his uniform throughout the entire series), but it could also be an intentional hint that Gendo has no respect for his superiors at all[4].

Relationships

With Yui

Gendo in the Proposal

It was once rumoured that Gendo had approached Yui for nothing but her talent and her affiliation with Seele[5], but it seems that he truly loved her. Though he appears cold and distant, Gendo's primary motivation is in fact love: his goal in working on the Human Instrumentality Project is to reunite with his beloved wife, even if it means hijacking Seele’s plans[6].

With Shinji

But in doing this, Gendo manipulates or rejects the people around him, including his son, whom Gendo sent to live with his sensei shortly after Yui Ikari’s disappearance.

Episode 26' revealed that this was not an act of callousness, but that Gendo genuinely believed that he only hurt Shinji when his son was with him, so it was better to do nothing. This, along with Adam/Kaworu’s suggestion that Gendo had just been "running away" indicates that Gendo and Shinji may have more in common than it first appeared.

With the Akagis

During the series, Gendo was also involved in a sexual relationship with Naoko Akagi and later her daughter Ritsuko Akagi. However, it seems that while both Akagi women harbored romantic feelings for Gendo, he never reciprocated the sentiment, and was merely using them for their talent as a way to further his plans. Naoko, at least, appeared to understand that Gendo would only give her his body, and that he could not forget about Yui. Both women's unbalanced natures were triggered by rejection from Gendo, resulting in Naoko's Murder of Rei 1[7], and later in Ritsuko's destruction of the Dummy Plug Plant[8] and her attempt to self destruct Nerv Headquarters[9]. In Naoko's case, the reaction was triggered by Rei 1 forcing her to realize the truth about Gendo's feelings. In Ritsuko's case, it was her realizaton that Gendo had offered her as a sacrifice to Seele in Rei's place.

With Rei

In several episodes, Gendo is strongly concerned with Rei Ayanami’s welfare, even going so far as to sustain severe burns to his hands[10] by opening a super-heated entry plug hatch with his bare hands in order to rescue her after Evangelion Unit-00's berserk incident.[11] In Episode 05 he refuses to send Unit-00 to assisit Shinji against Ramiel[12]. This concern might be read as paternal in nature, particularly given that Gendo wanted to name a daughter "Rei" (Episode 20), that he has raised Rei since childhood. Alternatively it could be read as ensuring that his "investment" survives (for Rei is apparently Gendo’s gateway to controlling Instrumentality), as the transition from one Rei clone to the next is not entirely smooth and it would be difficult to build up that trust again.

He was willing to have the gravely injured Rei pilot Eva-01 in Episode 01 but that could relate more to the need to do whatever is needed to succeed in a tense situation, rather than any coldness towards Rei, or as a simple attempt to guilt Shinji into piloting.

Gendo in Other Media

In the Manga

Gendo undergoes significant changes in the manga - becoming a far more unsympathetic character than his TV series counterpart. He goes as far as to tell Shinji that he does not love him and is jealous of him for having stolen Yui's affection away from him. He was also afraid of being a father, compounding his jealousy towards Shinji. Unlike in the TV series, he eats Adam alive and later manifests Adam's eyes in his palms, allowing him to set up A.T. Fields during the JSSDF invasion of Nerv. His reasons for wanting to initiate Third Impact also diverges significantly from the TV series, as the manga has him unambiguously declare that he wishes to harness the powers of the event for himself and become a God; his motives being a desire for revenge against the world for taking Yui from him. During instrumentality, he appears to be reunited with Yui and dies in bliss, unlike the End of Evangelion.

Kaji's killer in the manga wears gloves and has an open collar, although his face is still unseen. This choice of clothing, however, implies that Gendo himself killed Kaji in the manga continuity.

In Rebuild of Evangelion

Gendo's character and background have changed in Rebuild of Evangelion - significantly, Gendo's surname is Ikari rather than Rokubungi, and Yui adopts his surname upon marriage in the traditional manner rather than the reverse as in the TV series. In Evangelion 1.0, Gendo appears to be far more uncaring than before, simply watching without any reaction when Shinji's entry plug boiled during Ramiel's attack. However, he shows signs of change in Evangelion 2.0, as he accepts the idea of going to Rei's dinner party along with Shinji and is even about to pick him up before being informed the Bardiel incident. The relationship between Gendo and Shinji breaks down completely, as in the TV series, although Gendo reacts visibly during the Zeruel incident when Shinji calls him "Father". He watches, satisfied, as Eva-01 begins turning into a godlike being, knowing that his plans are soon to come to fruition.

In Evangelion 3.0, Gendo continues to live within the ruins of the Nerv pyramid, controlling the remains of the Nerv facilities. He remains as cold as ever, simply instructing Shinji to pilot Eva-13 with Kaworu Nagisa. It is implied by Fuyutsuki's dialogue that Gendo's existence is inhuman and/or miserable. Gendo and Fuyutsuki seem somewhat closer and more united in their approach to their common goal. Although Gendo did not appear to have a relationship with Ritsuko as of Evangelion 2.0, Ritsuko's haircut in Evangelion 3.0 (signifying the breakup of a relationship in Japanese culture) suggests that some kind of relationship may have existed between them.


Gendo's Visor

Gendo's visor

In Evangelion 3.0 Gendo now wears a visor instead of his glasses. It is unknown why he switched, or if the visor has any special function or properties. Gendo's eyes are never seen as a result. Apart from this detail and greyer hair, Gendo's appearance is largely unchanged. The visor bears some resemblance to that of Chairman Keel's in the original series.

References

  1. As with Shinji, Ikari means "anchor"; Gendo's original surname, Rokubungi, means "Sextant", a navigational device that calculates a ship's location using the positions of the sun, moon, and stars. For more information on how Gendo and the other characters were named, see Character Name Origins.
  2. In Japan, as in the west, it's usually the woman who changes her name after marrying, but occasionally the husband will change his name if the wife is of higher social status, especially if the wife has no brothers to carry on the family name.
  3. The Classified Information describes him as a member of Seele. He is not one of the twelve highest-ranking members, and any further information on his standing within Seele is not available.
  4. Notably, Straker from the British TV show UFO, one of the influences for Gendo's design, dresses in a rather similar fashion.
  5. Episode 21
  6. See Theory and Analysis: Gendo's Agenda for more details
  7. Episode 21
  8. Episode 23
  9. Episode 26'
  10. Episode 05
  11. Gendo's white gloves cover the burns he sustained in rescuing Rei from her ejected entry plug, as seen in Episode 05. They later cover something else as well.
  12. Gendo sent Shinji out alone in Eva-01 against the Angel Ramiel; Fuyutsuki specifically asked if he would send out Rei in Eva-00 and he said she wasn't ready to fight yet. However, Gendo was willing to send Shinji out against Sachiel in the first episode, when he was totally unprepared for combat.
    • Although this does show a degree of callousness on Gendo's part towards his son, Eva-01 was physically capable of fighting when it was sent to fight Sachiel, while they hadn't yet confirmed that Eva-00 was fully operational after its berserk incident (because the tests were interrupted).



Characters
Main characters: Shinji Ikari | Rei Ayanami | Asuka Langley Soryu
Nerv staff: Misato Katsuragi | Gendo Ikari | Ritsuko Akagi | Kozo Fuyutsuki | Ryoji Kaji | Maya Ibuki | Makoto Hyuga | Shigeru Aoba
Classmates: Toji Suzuhara | Kensuke Aida | Hikari Horaki
Other characters: Kaworu Nagisa | Yui Ikari | Naoko Akagi | Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu | Dr. Katsuragi | Keel Lorenz | Pen Pen
Rebuild of Evangelion: Asuka Shikinami Langley | Mari Makinami Illustrious | Sakura Suzuhara
Miscellaneous: Minor Characters | Minor Characters (Rebuild) | Extracanonical Characters
Theory and Analysis: Name Origins (Warships) | Designs | Relationships | Profiles
Resources: 2015: The Last Year of Ryohji Kaji