Newtype, March 3, 1996, “Stray Children,”

Originated from (6/8/13)

Index page caption on the cover picture of Asuka:
Shinji, you ask if something’s the matter with my zipper because it’s down so low? Don’t you get it? It’s service, service!!

From Newtype, March 3 1996 p.4, cover story: Stray Children.


(Note: there were many errors in my first attempt at the translation of this text. Thanks to help from my Japanese teacher, Noriko Ralphs, the translation has been improved.)

A big feature on the trials and hopes of 14-year-olds entrusted with life-or-death decisions, depicted just before the climax!

Main article: Stray Children
At last, the 19th episode of EVA has come out with a roar. Shinji, who has seemed lost and isolated up to now, has decided to re-enlist in the EVA, and he is also getting untangled from the restrictions they put on him. In the shocking awakening of the secret bio-engineered weapons program (EVA), various personal relationships are intricately intertwined, involving Shinji, the hero of the story. Let us study in detail one by one and try to piece together the personal relationships these frightened adults and children are fated to fence each other into. Let us also study how these small, ordinary relationships grow to be the power that changes the world.

How do you think Shinji feels about his two co-ed classmates?

Ayanami Rei, Souryuu Asuka Langrey, and Ikari Shinji. As the story unfolds, we worry a lot about the relationship between these three people. Can a so-called “love triangle,” etc., be expressed without breaking up their relationship? It would seem that all is clear between Shinji and Asuka. The situation with them has changed so they can express their feelings and, so to speak, become as close as childhood friends.

Asuka yells “Hot!”, splashing the morning bath water, rages over forgetting her lunch box, and openly states her feeling, like an incantation, of being frustrated with wanting Shinji as her partner; from these facts we may infer that her feelings for him as a man are less than they appear to be.

Shinji appears to be henpecked by Asuka. However, since he got very flustered when she slipped into his futon one night, and since he couldn’t look straight at her figure in a sexy bathing suit, we may read between the lines that Shinji has feelings for her as a woman. Before the split between Asuka and Shinji, when their friendship was turning into passion, possibilities for Shinji seemed good.

On the other hand, the rift between Shinji and Rei makes the one between him and Asuka look like a “lover’s game”. Both their words and actions have moved to a place of mutual understanding; there’s a mysterious atmosphere between these two people. Would it be going too far to say it’s like the relationship between an adolescent son and his mother?

According to Shinji, he can almost see his mother in the figure of Rei wringing a floor rag. And the first time Shinji boarded the number one EVA unit, he might not have volunteered if Rei were merely an “injured girl” to him. If Shinji were nothing but an “unreliable boy” to her, we cannot understand Rei’s bravely volunteering to become a human shield for Shinji in battle plan Yashima.

Usually, when Shinji and Asuka were going around provoking each other, Rei did not get involved, but when Asuka criticized Shinji for falling into the Angel’s trap, Rei became angry. At that moment, we could see the different attitudes of these two people to Shinji. When Shinji was wounded in combat with the Angel, he saw things as they really were, and Rei said little but just smiled at him, just as his mother did in Shinji’s dream right before he woke up. Might there be as yet unrevealed hints of the true nature of the relationship between these two people?

Shinji, Rei, and Asuka. As the story nears its climax, the relationship between these three people must grow stronger.

Where do broken dreams and wishes go?

Aita Kensuke, with a millitary weapons mania, and Suzuhara Touji, with a liking for younger women, would seem to be good friends with no problems. One might say perhaps that they are the small set of friends that Shinji has made in Neo-Tokyo 3.

However, Touji was selected as the fourth candidate, and when EVA device #1 attacked Touji’s EVA device #3, this relationship was broken. Kensuke’s dream of being an EVA pilot was also broken, and Hikari’s feelings for Touji too…

The ‘promise’ of a personal relationship was seldom made in “Evangelion” and it made a touching picture that Hikari, an honor student and class president, was charmed by Touji, who had a bit of an image as a delinquent. Hikari was portrayed as a girl who was wishing, “I’m not yet able to confess my feelings, but I want to transmit them somehow,” and Touji, either knowing or not knowing about her feelings, promised to eat the leftovers of her box lunch. Touji, Hikari, and Kensuke; from here on we will not be able to take our eyes off of them.

The same warmth in their smiles, the bond between people who know the same pain.

Concerning actual blood relatives introduced in this story, the only pair is the protagonist, Ikari Shinji, who meets with his father, NERV Commander Gendou. However, one very rarely sees “family feelings” between these two. Rather, we can observe more cases where unrelated companions form family-like ties.

To begin with, Gendou and Rei may give us an example. Gendou shows his concern about Rei to the point that Fuyutsuki knits his brow. The first thing is that, despite the fact that he would get burned too, he hand-opened the burning-hot entry plug and rescued her. He entrusts everything concerning this important experiment to Rei. Also, when addressing Rei he has a gentle smile.

Rei also shows a smiling face only to Gendou. For everyone else but him, she has a sour look and appears to be lacking in emotion. She calls him “that man”, and “dear thing” is the free association she makes with the name “Commander Ikari”.

That Katsuragi Misato lets Shinji live in her apartment is also not merely from sympathy. If Rei and Gendou have exchanged smiles with the same mutual warmth, as peacefully as in a “husband and wife” relationship, Misato and Shinji have something spiritually like an “older sister/younger brother” relationship.

Shinji appears to be afraid of contact with others, and Misato can identify with this, since she continues to be troubled by the loss of her father in the Second Impact. Misato surely has experienced Shinji’s feelings of hesitation and pain. Therefore, she blames herself for not giving his feelings enough support at this important stage.

Having just come through such a path herself, Misato is capable of throwing Shinji off without hesitation when his heart is in torment. Misato is shown in this story to be the one with the greatest understanding of Shinji, the one who wants to be his guiding hand. Also, Shinji is the one who truly understands her pain.

It appears that Shinji and Misato will have to walk together to surmount the great problem of launching EVA device #1 and to get back “something” they lost in the past.