|Rank / Title||Nerv Commander|
|Affiliation(s)||Nerv, Gehirn, Seele|
|Relations||Yui Ikari (wife), Shinji Ikari (son),|
Rei Ayanami (derived from wife), Naoko Akagi (lover),
Ritsuko Akagi (lover)
|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
Gendo Ikari 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 and was then appointed as head of Gehirn and later Nerv, by Seele. 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 largely shrouded in mystery. The only reference he himself makes to it, namely that he "is used to being hated", hints that it was rather dark and unhappy.
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 in front of the Human Instrumentality Committee, who are his superiors, or in front of the JSSDF generals who, prior to the transfer of power when the N² Mine attack fails to stop Sachiel, are technically in command. While it is indeed part of his character design (Gendo never zips up his uniform throughout the entire series), but it could also be an intentional sign that Gendo has no respect for his superiors at all.
It was once rumoured that Gendo had approached Yui for nothing but her talent and her affiliation with Seele, 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.
Main article: Gendo and Shinji (Relationship)
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, and later in Ritsuko's destruction of the Dummy Plug Plant and her attempt to self destruct Nerv Headquarters. 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.
Gendo 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 an attempt to make Shinji pilot by making him feel guilty. In several subsequent episodes, Gendo is strongly concerned with Rei Ayanami’s welfare, even going so far as to sustain severe burns to his hands as seen in Episode 05 by opening a super-heated Entry Plug hatch with his bare hands in order to rescue her after Evangelion Unit-00's berserk incident. Gendo's white gloves cover the burns he sustained and later cover something else as well. In Episode 05 he refuses to send Eva-00 to assist Shinji against Ramiel, sending Eva-01 out alone instead. This concern might be read as paternal in nature, particularly given that Gendo wanted to name a daughter "Rei" (Episode 20), and that he has raised Rei since childhood. He also seems to be capable of conversing with Rei on a level that he is not capable of with Shinji, as seen in Episode 05, and Rei reciprocates. Gendo's relationship with Rei apparently degrades with Rei's third cloned copy, who openly rejects him by the End of Evangelion.
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.
Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time
In Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, Gendo and Fuyutsuki are steering the Black Moon towards Antarctica. Fuyutsuki wonders if Gendo made Shinji suffer the same loss as him through the original Rei. Arriving at the epicenter of Second Impact, they attempt to restart Eva 13. When Wille and the Wunder arrive, Eva 13 manages to destroy and absorb Eva 02 and Asuka with it. Gendo is in the Erbsünde ship restraining the Wunder when Misato and Ritsuko confront him. Ritsuko shoots him, but he's unaffected, thanks to using Nebuchadnezzar's Key to inject his body with "knowledge surpassing the logic of the world" and thereby transcending his humanity. Gendo explains the purpose of the Impacts, and sets about starting the Human Instrumentality Project, entering Eva-13.
Inside a Minus Space he fights Shinji inside Eva-01. Shinji appeals to Gendo to stop and talk. Gendo shows Shinji an "imaginary Evangelion", a Black Lilith predicted by the theories of Dr. Katsuragi. Misato sacrifices herself to hold back Gendo's "Additional Impact". Shinji finally succeeds in talking to Gendo inside a train. Shinji's present-day train transitions to a Showa-era train as he speaks to Gendo, and he and sees a vision of Gendo's past experiences and life. Gendo is depicted as lonely and not caring much for other people, preferring to play the piano and lead a solitary existence. Yui's love is implied to have transformed him by giving him a person whom he finally loved and cared for, and although he states that he lacked parental affection, he chose to be a parent. Yui's loss traumatized him. Gendo also flashes back to leaving Shinji on the train station, where he embraces his young son. When Shinji decides to restart the world, he is then pushed out of Eva-01 by his mother Yui, and they are embraced from behind by Gendo in Eva-13. Gendo and Yui, Eva-01 and Eva-13 together sacrifice themselves to allow Shinji to survive, reuniting both husband and wife for one last time.
In Evangelion 3.0 Gendo now wears a visor instead of his glasses. 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. Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 explains the need for the visor to hide his new, nightmarish appearance: it is revealed that Gendo has used the Key of Nebuchadnezzar on himself and now has a hollow, glowing, vaguely cross-shaped void where his eyes should be.
In a FUNime interview with Kazuya Tsurumaki, English translation by Kendrix; issue 27 (3/2002), Tsurumaki states that "Ikari Gendo is not exactly popular in Japan. Many think that he is too stern with Shinji and that he generally exudes the aura of a hard, traditional, strict father. Gendo was meant to be a strong father who should have a positive influence on Shinji so that he could grow to be more confident and adult-like. Many modern fathers in Japan are “mollycoddled” which was another reason to make Ikari Gendo into a strong father." Given Gendo's cold, distant and manipulative nature towards Shinji, Tsurumaki's perspective is contradicted within the show itself. Gendo's own line in End of Evangelion stating that he stayed away from Shinji because he feared he was a negative influence, countered by Yui stating that he was merely "running away" suggests that Gendo's behavior was directly responsible for Shinji turning out the way he did, the same applying to Gendo's final words, "I'm sorry, Shinji". Gendo, rather than being the traditional image of a strong father and a positive influence, is a deconstruction of what having such a father would actually do to his children.
- Evangelion Chronicle has a character height chart, however it does not clearly state each character's height. An user has calculated their heights based on it here, taking Misato's height from Episode 25 as a reference.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Notably, Straker from the British TV show UFO, one of the influences for Gendo's design, dresses in a rather similar fashion.
- Episode 21
- See Theory and Analysis: Gendo's Agenda for more details
- People are surrounded by emptiness… And loneliness fills their hearts. And when humans’ history reaches its conclusion, Gendo Ikari will be reunited with his wife. Yui Ikari – the woman who loved a man unworthy of love. Did the Instrumentality Project exist to bring her back? Instrumentality (Complementation) for Gendo could only mean the resurrection of Yui. Having achieved this eagerly awaited reunion, Gendo confesses that he was “afraid” – afraid that contact with his son would only hurt his son. The hedgehog’s dilemma whereby the nearer we draw to one another, the more we hurt each other. This may be the nature of people who estrange themselves from each other using barriers of the heart. Gendo was also this type of weak person. Like his son, Shinji, he was nothing more than a cowardly, weak man. With his last words “Forgive me… Shinji,” Gendo is crushed by the jaws of Eva-01. Was this the retribution toward a man who kept running from the world, or was it also his salvation…? - End of Evangelion Program Book
- Episode 21
- Episode 23
- Episode 26'
- 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).
|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|