Ritsuko and Shinji (Relationship)
Ritsuko's relationship with Shinji is different from the ones she shares with the other pilots. She acts in a more motherly, kindly, less intense sort of way than Misato does, perhaps because she is aware of the sufferings a pilot undergoes and of Gendo's own indifference toward his son. Shinji's cynical attitude mirrors her own detached stoicism; in a scene from the manga, when Misato notes Shinji's rather glum mood, Ritsuko responds, "A cheerful, confident Shinji would be all the more disconcerting." Initially, in the series, Ritsuko is on friendly terms with Shinji and colludes with him in chiding Misato on her disastrous approach to instant food, preferring to be invited over for dinner "when Shinji's cooking". In the anime, it is Ritsuko, not Misato, who asks Shinji to take Rei's ID card to her apartment. Shinji's closeness with Rei disturbs Ritsuko. Ritsuko notes Shinji's complacency and trusts him to do as he's told, making him an ideal pilot in her view. Nonetheless, she seems to resent having to use child soldiers, though she believes this is acceptable as a necessary part of a greater goal. In Episode 23, in retaliation for SEELE's interrogation and Gendo's indifference, she takes Shinji (with Misato in tow) to Terminal Dogma, reveals some of NERV's deepest secrets, and destroys the Dummy Plug system before their eyes.
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