Who is Kaworu Nagisa? - Spores, Molds, and Fungus
Here are 20 valid reasons why the relationship between Kaworu and Shinji can be viewed as a romantic one. Reason 1: In the movie poster for. Though fans have speculated on what kind of relationship Shinji had with Kaworu it is at least clear that Kaworu represented a sort of idealized. Kaworu Nagisa and Shinji Ikari's friendship/relationship is arguably the most complex relationship in the whole series. Their interactions.
Kaworu Is an Idealized Version of Shinji
He tells him all sorts of personal things, like his past and how he feels about his father, with little prompt from Kaworu. He then wonders why he is telling all of this to Kaworu. The answer is pretty obvious - he trusts Kaworu. If you think about it, although Shinji obviously had some issues all along, he was relatively level headed until he was forced to kill Kaworu. Everything finally catches up on him and he just loses it in a downwards spiral of despair.
And we get a nice little collage of Kaworu clips.
My life was meaningful, because of you.
Notice that the angel statue is headless too? And Shinji is an emotional wreck at this stage. In the climax of The End of Evangelion, after Rei fuses with Lilith and becomes a living God, she takes on the image of the person each individual cares about most before they are deconstructed into LCL.
- Kaworu Nagisa
- Kaworu Nagisa and Shinji Ikari’s relationship in “Neon Genesis Evangelion”
- My life was meaningful, because of you.
Misato who was dead at this point, Asuka who was believed to be dead, Rei herself, his mother… anyone! But the fact is, it appeared as Kaworu because he cares about him. And it sure as hell works, since he finally calmed down and stopped screaming.
Giant, naked Kaworu obviously did some good! You might disagree, but I think that they both represent a different type of love. When Kaworu and Shinji are piloting Eva 13 at the end of Evangelion 3. Did you know that Kaworu is amazing?
Shinji sure as hell does!
This obviously shows his respect and admiration for him! He can see him advancing!
And instead of struggling or attempting to push him off, what does he do? Close his eyes and accept the kiss! This is full blown romantic attraction. Posted 5 years ago with note s. Anyway, so that's Key Moment Number One. The final boss of Evangelion is essentially GOD. And God, an alien entity called Lilith that gave rise to humanity, essentially wants to take humanity back into a kind of fluid shared consciousness. This is called Instrumentality, and the shady organization backing the shady organization that is fighting the Angels secretly has been working towards this goal--this apocalypse where all of humanity becomes one entity--all along.
And the key to their plan is Shinji Freaking Ikari and Unit If they can get him to lower his Absolute Terror Field--the Light of the Soul that differentiates organizations from each other through, essentially, fear of being wholly connected to another being--they can trigger an event where basically all of humanity turns into tang and gets absorbed into Lilith, and Unit 01 becomes a god or But what's key here is that when people lower their AT Fields during Instrumentality, they see a vision of the person they love most or care about the most or something along those lines--the person they most want to be "one" with.
And in just about every case, barring a couple exceptions, it's strongly, strongly implied to be full on sexually tinged love. A LOT of these scenes involve gentle caresses and kisses before people's bodies literally explode into reddish-orange liquid hence: It's somewhere between extremely touching and extremely disturbing.
So alright, instrumentality involves people lowering their barriers, there's a heavy sexual content, we got it, good. Now I wanted to make all that clear because while all this is going down and side characters in the command center of NERV are getting turned into rehydrated fruit drinks, Shinji's hovering up in space facing down Lilith And Shinji's understandably freaking out because he's facing down a giant naked version of this girl, a version so vast that she extends out of Earth's atmosphere.
Storming the Ivory Tower: The Remarkable Queerness of Shinji Ikari
He's just straight up flipping his shit and it looks like he's all set to reject what's going on and then Lilith essentially is just like And turns into Giant!
And Shinji grins like an idiot and that's pretty much it for humanity--it's all over but the collective screaming as everyone on the planet explodes in glowing crosses and is sucked into Lilith's vagina hands while an eight minute long pop track about suicide plays in the background. There are Reasons why the fanbase is willing to believe that it was created specifically to troll them. Like they could literally have shown Shinji and Kaworu boning and it both would not be that much more obvious than what they did show, and I am convinced Eva fans would still find some way to make that just a sign of "close friendship" or something.
I don't think it's out of line to describe this as indicative of deeply rooted homophobia in the Otaku community, homophobia that manifests as denial of male bisexuality while drooling over femslash pairings of all sorts.
There's the occasional defenders of public decency who apply the same standard of complete and total erasure of canonical female bisexuality or lesbianism but they're at least less hypocritical, if not less offensively ridiculous. The reason why the rhetoric surrounding this issue is so disturbing to me is because it mirrors word for word discourse used to deny queer identities in real life.
For example, one of the most prominent descriptions, one that I saw over and over again from fans, was that Shinji was "just confused" about his feelings for Kaworu.
Queer readers, I know I don't have to explain to you why this is gross, because you've probably lived this shit. I know I have. But for those not in the know, this is a common tactic used to deny queer identities, particularly bisexuality, pansexuality, or any variety of trans identities all identities prone to erasure in real life--I'll return to this point momentarily but pretty much capable of being mobilized to deny just about any queer person you'd like to shove back into the closet.
It's a form of sort of soft homophobia, a reaction that's less extreme than getting kicked out of your home but is still destructive to your sense of self at a time when you're already questioning your identity. Compare phrases like "it's just a phase" and concepts like women being bisexuals at parties but really, at their core, being straight or notions like bisexuals actually having a binary attraction to whoever they're currently dating.
It's particularly frustrating in the case of an apparently bisexual male character because bisexuality, and male bisexuality in particular, is so highly stigmatized not just in heteronormative dominant culture but in the ostensibly more inclusive queer culture as well.
Bisexuals are, by and large ahahtreated as traitors to both sides, untrustworthy and prone to promiscuity, dirty, slutty, and barely worthy of political consideration in their own right as they are simply the transitional phase, the chrysalis period, before a formerly straight person emerges as a beautiful fully gay butterfly.
Make no mistake, the treatment of bisexual fictional characters is symptomatic of a treatment of actual flesh and blood bisexuals.
And the research I did for this article, poking around discussions of Shinji's sexuality, indicated that these attitudes were not just occasional but were outright rampant. Those who weren't aggressively denying that he could possibly be queer with the "just confused" excuse or other rationalizations were labelling Shinji gay for stereotype reasons rather than for the fact that he actually seems to be into dudes.
I think it's significant that two of the most prominent longrunning fanfics of Evangelion almost completely erase and sublimate the possibility of Kaworu and Shinji having a relationship. Nobody Dies, which isn't all sunshine and rainbows but which is fundamentally predicated on the idea of a lighter, fluffier Evangelion where people have way less issues, is for the most part queer-free.
Hell, Kaworu shows up in Tokyo 3 hoping to breed with the female pilot Rei! What does it say that the Lighter, Fluffier Eva has an apparently straight Kaworu and straight Shinji? Nothing good, I think.Neon Genesis Evangelion: Kaworu Hits on Shinji
And Shinji and Warhammer 40K which is a story about Shinji and the game Warhammer 40K and how it turns him into a MAN touches on the idea only briefly in order to have the two boys react in disgust. TV Tropes can call this a "hilarious" nod to the original series all it wants, but what that is, at the end of the day, is a homophobic gay panic joke, revealing much about the author's insecurities but providing little humor. The stunning irony of it all is that these instances of casual homophobia simply reveal the eggshell fragility of masculinity that in many ways Eva ultimately skewers.
And that, I think, is what sets this narrative apart from other instances of canonical queerness: See, the thing about Shinji x Kaworu is that it's a messed up, impossible, totally unhealthy relationship. Kaworu really, really likes Shinji. I mean one of the central recurring ideas is the Hedgehog's Dilemma, where, like hedgehogs, the closer people get to one another, the more they hurt each other. I just tried to type up ONE of the other relationships in the show and it's wrapped up in so many other fucked up unrequited love situations, sexual relationships of convenience and manipulation, and weird antics with cloning technology, that I ended up confusing myself and erasing the whole damn thing.
The one semi-positive relationship in the whole show ends up, as I mentioned before, with the guy getting disappeared after handing off his intel on the stack of shady organizations running Project Eva off to his love interest. So expecting the queer relationships in the show to be somehow actually stable is ludicrously optimistic.
And I think it's a somewhat unreasonable standard in fandom culture that queer relationships should be treated as illegitimate if they are unhealthy or self-annihilating when they come in the context of a whole range of relationships that are also unhealthy and self-annihilating. Compare Willow and Tara's relationship in Buffy: Thus, it is in keeping with the themes being explored about the difficulty of life to have this relationship fall apart.
While it's important that there be positive queer relationships on TV, I don't think the proper way of going about getting that representation is to demand that queer relationships be given preferential treatment in contexts where the overarching message is one of all relationships having problematic elements. When I point out that Shinji and Kaworu are actually kind of terrible for each other, then, you have to understand that it doesn't undermine the importance of acknowledging their fundamental queerness, and neither does it indicate homophobia on the show's part, coming, as it does, in the context of a whole raft of similarly warped and unhealthy relationships.
What is it that makes their relationship so unhealthy? Uh, how about the fact that it ends with Shinji squashing Kaworu with his giant robot?
I mean that's just surface shit though. The deeper problem here is that Kaworu sets himself up to be squashed, and behaves like being squashed is a totally reasonable thing to allow in a relationship based on mutual love. And that reveals a deeper problem: Shinji falls in love with Kaworu because Kaworu loves him unconditionally to the point of self-destruction.
Shinji is an endless sucking void of neediness, and he frequently seems totally incapable of seeing that other people have needs beyond his emotional fulfilment. And Kaworu is the perfect object--the perfect objectified being--for that instrumentalization, because he is almost literally a blank piece of paper ready for Shinji to inscribe upon him whatever he needs.
He is an almost totally passive entity, passively acting out the plot of SEELE and the other Angels, then finally deciding--in his one real show of agency--to immediately ditch all agency again in the name of his newfound love!
Kaworu and Shinji (Relationship)
Like, even if Shinji could have persuaded Kaworu that there's an alternative to the stark false dilemma that the Angel accepts as inevitable which apparently, for the record, is something you can do in one of the Eva video games--you can get Kaworu to give up on his suicide mission and join Shinji, which prompts them to talk about wanting to "explore the rest of their lives together" just in case you hadn't picked up at that point that THESE BOYS ARE NOT STRAIGHT the end result would have been a remarkably unhealthy relationship where Shinji continues acting as an emotional black hole and Kaworu continues to sublimate his own identity.
In the series, when he dies, it's clear that Shinji does what emotionally unstable teenagers do with their exes: The fact that this leads ultimately to his total paralysis in the face of Instrumentality and the end of the world, and I think it contributes greatly to his ultimate willingness to send all of humanity to hell when Kaworu seems to miraculously reappear.
Kaworu is literally and figuratively larger than life at that point, and for howling affection sink Shinji Ikari, he's the only thing that can possibly take away the pain. Why can't this be just a very special friendship?
I don't know, I guess it could if not for the fact that everything is screaming that it isn't. His relationship with the female pilots could be friendship too!
And his guardian's affection for him could be totally innocent and motherly and have no sexual component at all!