|Voice Actor||(English): Amanda Winn-Lee (TV and films),|
Mandy Clark ("Director's Cut"), Monica Rial (Rebuild), Cherami Leigh (Netflix)
Pen Pen (sometimes Pen-Pen or Pen²) is Misato's pet, a warm-water penguin, who lives in a second freezer she keeps in her apartment. She apparently took him with her when she left her previous job.
There does not seem to be a direct real-world equivalent to the species of penguin that Pen Pen is, though the closest equivalent seems to be an Erect-Crested Penguin. Pen Pen clearly possesses retractable claws (three on each "hand"), which no living bird species actually has. He also appears to have noticeably increased intelligence: watching television, reading newspapers, taking baths in hot springs, eating human food and drinking beer, and it seems to be subtly hinted that he has a near-human understanding of events around him. All of this suggests that Pen Pen is a new species, created through advanced genetic experimentation.
The manga adaptation of the series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (not actually set in the same continuity as the series) does provide a more in-depth explanation of Pen Pen when he is introduced. In the manga, Misato explains to Shinji that Pen Pen was created as a test animal through genetic experimentation at a research lab she used to work at. When the experiment concluded, Misato adopted Pen Pen to keep him from being euthanized.
It is never stated how long Misato has had Pen Pen. A line in the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie has been mistranslated as "It feels like it's been fifteen years", although the translation should say "Such birds were much more common fifteen years ago", which gives no clue to Pen Pen's age.
After Evangelion Unit-00 self-destructs and destroys a large swath of Tokyo-3, much of the city is evacuated. Misato sadly sends Pen Pen away from Tokyo-3 to make sure that he will be safe, staying with Hikari Horaki's family.
In Rebuild of Evangelion
Pen-Pen is unchanged in Evangelion 1.0, and makes Shinji come running out of the bathroom screaming as he did in the TV series. He is seen snoring alongside Misato (beak under her shirt), and sips Yebisu beer with a straw. He also wears his backpack with the "BX293A" identification number. In Evangelion 2.0 his comic role is pronounced: he scares Asuka and sends her screaming out of the bathroom in the same manner as with Shinji in the previous movie. Later, he is seen enjoying the hot shower at the Marine Preservation Facility during decontamination (when all the other characters, save Rei, are screaming) and later gives a "speech" of sorts to other penguins stationed there, and chases Toji because he wants an extra boxed lunch. Pen-Pen appears at the end of Evangelion 2.0 with Toji, Kensuke and Hikari, cowering from missile explosions as the Tenth Angel attacks Tokyo-3. His fate in the following films is unknown.
In Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0, many hot springs penguins are seen at the preserved ruins of Nerv-02, indicating an increase in population of the species. Whether Pen Pen himself is present among these animals is unclear, although there is one penguin conspicuously front-and-center who might be a backpack-less Pen Pen. A closer examination of the penguins' individual crests is necessary to confirm or deny Pen Pen's specific presence.
In Other Media
"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
In the Manga
- Pen Pen is often the source of comic relief in the episodes he appears in, and has become the (more or less) "mascot" of the series in promotional materials.
- Series creator Hideaki Anno explained in an essay on his official website how the character of Pen Pen was created and named (italics are inserted info by Evapedia):
- "Super straightforward naming, but I thought the repetition sounded cute. His name has officially become the 2nd power of "Pen ("Pen" being short for "penguin," repeated as " Pen² "). I was reluctant at first, but we thought we needed a mascot character, so we had an animal appear in the show. As it happened, the show is set in Hakone, which is famous for its hot springs, which in turn are associated with monkeys (the Japanese Macaque monkey is famous for bathing in hot springs, such as in Hakone ). But that is no fun, so we decided to make it a penguin, the animal most unsuited to a hot spring. I'm positive that "hot spring penguin" was Sadamoto's idea."
- No on-screen information ever explains what function the backpack that Pen Pen wears could possibly have. It's been theorized that it has something to do with a cooling system, but that's just speculation. He is capable of taking it off and putting it on again, since isn't wearing it while in the bathtub at the start of Episode 10 but is seen wearing it a short while afterwards without Misato, Shinji or Asuka to put it on.
- The serial number on Pen Pen's metal collar is "BX 293A"
- He makes a cameo as a bobblehead doll on Shinji's desk in Episode 26's alternate reality sequence.
- Brian Smith points out a previous anime penguin, "Mr. Pen-Pen", featured in two 1986 TV specials and suggests Pen Pen was named after Mr. Pen-Pen. (There are 2 visual resemblances: the red object on their heads, and wearing something around their necks.)
|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 | Ryoji Kaji (Jr)|
|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|