Theory and Analysis:Sexuality In Misato and Shinji's Relationship

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Misato and Shinji have one of the deepest, most heavily implied, and one of the most confusing relationships in the Evangelion series. Though trying to act as a guardian, she ends up openly flaunting her sexuality in a way in which provokes response from Shinji. The two exist on far enough planes from each other to promote enough bewilderment to make for a difficult yet truly intriguing relationship until the onset of Instrumentality, in which the full strata of their relationship are unearthed.

First Meeting

The Photograph

Shinji first meets Misato not in person, but through and invitation photograph that Misato sends him. The image in and of itself is arousing, depicting Misato more as a potential love interest for Shinji than a mother figure or guardian. Further sexual objectification of her character occurs when one directs their attention to the writing scribbled on the picture. (writing, oddly enough, that is written in similar handwriting of the director, Hideaki Anno; along with lipstick from one of the few female Gainax members)

Naughty Picture
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Episode #1 Cuts

  • Writing:

To Shinji-kun I'll be picking you up, so wait for me, okay? ♥ → Check this out!!

Obviously, choosing this picture was no accident. Though it is unclear exactly what she was trying to get across by sending him this picture: Is she just a tease? Does she see him as a valid interest? Or is this just the way she can relate to people? All three of these possible response can be valid explanations.

The Pick-Up

Shinji's first in-person meeting with Misato occurs in glorious fashion. Misato, just prior to his pick-up voices her concern that she has lost him, and it appears quite worried. In an interesting contrast between Misato's photograph, the picture she possesses of Shinji, attached to the dashboard of her car, presumably from the Marduk Institute, shows Shinji tight-laced and prim in what appears to be his school uniform. While she searches for him, Shinji finds himself in the proximity of Sachiel's war path. Misato arrives just in time to pick him up, in this fashion:

Misato's Arrival
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Episode #1 Cuts

  • Misato arrives in the nick of time to rescue Shinji.

Her first words are: “I'm sorry to keep you waiting.” Oddly enough, these first lines to Shinji, and her last lines to him, (and later, to herself) all follow the theme of waiting-- waiting for something that will never happen (Shinji and Misato having sex as per her implication) in 25' (more on this later), her last words prior to her death (angry at herself for waiting too long to replace the carpets), and of course, her first words spoken in the series and to Shinji. End of Digression.

Then comes the scene in which Misato and Shinji watch the bombing of Sachiel. Though the nature of the scene is ambiguous, the nature of Misato's character seems to be suggesting that this position is not just an attempt to get a better look at Sachiel (binoculars, anyone?). She's put her breasts in such a way that it's damn near impossible to look at anything else, though it seems as if Shinji's interest is torn between her mammary glands and the cross around her neck.

Arrival at Nerv

Misato's View
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Episode #1 Cuts

  • The question arises? Is she actually trying to get a good look, or is she being flirtatious?

Following Misato having to justify to the up-tight Shinji her theft of car batteries to run her damaged car, the two enter a transportation tunnel while they await arrival at Nerv Headquarters. After some small talk, Shinji reveals the complicated nature of his relationship with Gendo. Misato sympathizes with him, making note of her own "daddy issues", i.e. the estrangement of her and her mother from her father, Dr. Katsuragi, due to his involvement in the events that lead up to the Second Impact.

After Shinji is set-up for piloting, Misato gains a very business-like persona aboard the command bridge. Her concern for the saftey of Shinji does shine through however, with her voiced-over line "Shinji, don't get killed out there." With the exception of Fuyutsuki, Misato appears to be the only one deeply concerned about the condition of the pilot.

"I'm Home"-- Episodes 2, 3, and 4

1. Episode 2

Shinji's first night at Nerv is spent in a hospital, recovering from the wounds he incurred as a result from the injuries he recieved as a result of fighting Sachiel the previous evening. After his release, there is some debate as to where he will stay. Both Ritsuko and Shinji advocate for him living on his own, with Shinji going as far to say that he's "always been alone". Shinji's situation must have really made an impression on him, for she pushed for Shinji to share her apartment, much to Ritsuko's behest.

Big Irony Bomb Part 1:

The scene in which Misato makes her case to be Shinji's guardian holds particular significance to the Episode 23 Big Irony Bomb scenario. In this scene Misato states the following in her conversation with Ritsuko: (see montage box)

Regarding the outset of the situation, Shin-Seiki describes it best:

"There's a lot of Freud referenced in NGE, and one of his ideas is that 'unacceptable' thoughts and desires cannot be suppressed entirely: They tend to come to the surface one way or another, "Freudian slips" being one example, or, as we see here, they get expressed as 'mere jokes'; and I would say this is a pretty self-implicating joke for Misato to make. As Ritsuko quite rightly puts it: "What the hell are you thinking!" Why would it even occur to Misato to say such a thing, unless the idea was lurking somewhere, perhaps subconsciously, in the back of her mind?… "

Big Irony Bomb Part 1
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Episode #2 Cuts

  • Misato:

Like I said, I'll take care of Shinji-kun. I've already got permission from the brass……And don't worry, it's not like I'm going to "put the moves" on a kid.

  • Ritsuko:

(OFF - TEL) "Of course you're not! What the hell are you thinking? You're always like that. Honestly!"

  • And then, twenty or so episodes later... (see episode 23)

Shinji's New Home

After some shopping at a the local grocery, where Misato buys nothing but junk food and alcohol, and a quick pep talk as the two watch the Geofront as the sun sets, the two arrive at Misato's apartment. Misato, in an upbeat manner, notes that her home is now Shinji's-- and inevitably, it is implied the two will begin a relationship (some kind of relationship, though not neccessarily romantic at this point).

Obviously, Shinji, who probably has never experienced this kind of friendliness and sympathy is taken aback-- and of course, we happen upon a recurring theme: that he "musn't run away" from beginning his new life in Tokyo-3 with Misato. This is a scene of great importance for Shinji, because if he is living under Misato's roof, he will inevitably have to open up to her, share thoughts and feelings, and be subjected to the opinions of the Other. Shinji's fear is not just one of say, "commitment", it is one that will determine how and when he interacts with people, something he struggles mightily with.

The Shoes
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Episode #2 Cuts

  • Shinji taking the important first step to begin what will prove to be the most important few months of his life.

Episode 3'

During Episode 3, Misato makes her first "motherly" actions in the relationship while still remaining curiously sexual. This is probably very confusing for the already overwhelmed Shinji, who is already struggling to adapt to a completely new home and school environment. In this regard his reactions in this episode to Misato can be regarded as unfortunate after effects of what seems to be overstimulation. And this does not even go into depth about Misato's role as bridge commander-- her role as Major is directly contrasted with her other roles of Mother and Love Interest. The alienation in this episode and later episodes can be theorized as a result in this confusion of roles.

Here is where the relationship takes a dramatic turn-- Shinji no longer feels comfortable with his living conditions with Misato, and runs away.

Entrances of Asuka and Kaji-- Episodes 8, 9, and 10

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Sub-Dramatic Context-- Episodes 11-14

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Point of Catharsis: Episode 15

Episode 15 seems to play at odds with the prospect of a romantic relationship between the two of them. If anything, Misato's "motherly" attitude is shown toward both Shinji and Asuka when she calls the house to check in on them. The fact that she is on a "date" of sorts with Kaji is also significant. This is where it begs the question, especially in regard to the later points in the series... with whom do Misato's feelings really lie-- with Kaji or Shinj?

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Everything Falls Apart-- Episode 17-20

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No Longer a 'Synthetic Family'-- Episodes 21-22

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Big Irony Bomb-- Episode 23

Big Irony Bomb-- Episode 23
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Episode #23 Cuts

  • Dialogue:

Misato: Shini, I'm coming in.

Shinji: Misato, the tears won't come. I feel sad, but the tears just won't come.

Misato: Shinji, this is about all I can do for you right now.

Shinji: Stop it! Stop it, Misato.

Misato: I'm sorry.

Misato (MONO): But he must be feeling lonely... Is he afraid of women? No, he's afraid of being intimate with people.

Misato: Pen Pen, come here.

Misato (MONO): I see, it doesn't matter who. I am the one who is lonely.

In what is known as the "Big Irony Bomb Scene", we have Misato, in an attempt to respond to Shinji's sadness, offer her own body[1] to Shinji. The reasons for her doing this, however, still seem up to debate. What should be recognized here is primarily that sex is the way Misato responds to difficulties in her own life, and in the life of others. So initially, it appears that this is just a formuliac response to Shinji's woes, but, after looking at the character of Misato more deeply, even more so in her relationship with Shinji, the only person she sexualizes more often in the series than him is Kaiji, who at this point, is deceased. For Misato, sex acts as one of the primary functions to determine the strength of relationships.

To define this further, allow a digression to be taken: Throughout the series, she loses her faith in several characters, but a prime example is her relationship with Ritsuko. When the two friends have a falling out later in the series, it does not sadden Misato in the way Kaiji's and Shinji's did. Asuka can be seen in this regard as well. She does not mourn the loss of Asuka in the way she does Kaiji's or Shinji's. In this regard, sex should be seen as Misato's "relationship barometer" in which if she has offered sex to someone, she must have some sort of deep emotional bond to someone, if not romantic love in its entirely.

In looking at how Misato uses flirting, and later, the sexual act itself, to develop and mainfest relationship, the big irony bomb scene can now be looked at in a much more Freudian sense. To recap the information provided us in Episode 2, Misato's "It's not like I'll make a pass at him" line can now be interpreted as something she actively wanted to do, or at least was leading herself and Shinji to do, from the very outset of the series. Her failure in all this seems to be that she was never really able to establish grounds for doing this. At this point, Shinji probably still sees Misato as a "mother figure" and obviously, he would react negatively to the imposition of sex.

Proof of Misato wanting to do the nasty?
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Episode #23 Cuts

  • Look at the chair very closely. Freudian symbolism at its finest.

  • Misato stretched out her hand to Shinji. At this time she may have intended to offer her body to com­fort Shinji. However, this was merely substitutive behaviour in order to assuage her own loneliness. -Filmbook Vol. 9

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The Aftermath-- Episode 24

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Episodes 25 and 26

EoTV, like it does for Shinji, Asuka, and Rei, at first becomes a shocking indictment of character on the part of Misato. She first admits to being a "dirty-girl" of sorts in her fornication with Kaji as a college student. Looking back on it, she claims:

MISATO: But I hate my father. That's why I hate being good too. I hate it all now. And I'm so tired. Of having to maintain my clean image. Of myself, for keeping up this pretense of being so pristine. I'm just tired of it. I want to be dirty. I wanted to see what I looked like when I was no longer perfect.

Obviously, her Electra complex plays a major role in her dealings with men, but the question arises-- why sex? And better yet, why choose Kaji and Shinji as partners? This can be seen because of her father-- emotionally fragile and distant like Shinji, and a man who is consumed in his work like Kaji seems to be.

MISATO: Harsh reality? That's me, isn't it? Of course, just look at me. It's only to be expected.

SHINJI: Stop it, Misato!

MISATO: Sometimes, I lose all hope for myself! I hate it!

IBUKI: FiIth, you're so dirty.

RITSUKO: You're pathetic.

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End of Evangelion

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A Bloodied Cross: In Conclusion

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