Who is the real antagonist of Evangelion? After you have enjoyed enough Manga and Anime you are able to read between the lines and can see a detail or two another may have missed. Through this and other detailed evidence you are able to piece together what really happened in a particular series. This results in an abstract idea, a thought which doesn’t have a physical existence but can be speculated. Welcome to Anime Abstract.
Who is the villain of the series? Is it the mysterious Angels, who are determined to annihilate Humanity? Is the mysterious organization SEELE who has no problem eliminating any who stand in there way? Or is it the manipulative Gendo Ikari who seems to do whatever it takes to be able to reconnect with his dead wife? You’re all wrong. Despite how malicious these individuals are they have nothing on the real villain of the series.
Please note this is theory is in regards to the original Neon Genesis Evangelion and the follow-up movie End of Evangelion. The new quartet of movies has introduced new aspects and have become their own beast. A future Anime Abstract will probably be needed to explain those. Frankly there are several articles which can from from Evangelion but one step at a time.
First off, who is the villain of the original series? To explain this we must first make the assumption Shinji is the hero (or at least the Protagonist) of the story. Even if he was a bad protagonist he was still the main focus of the story. Just go with it, if you want to get to the main point of this article. Now all we have to do is figure out who causes him the most strife and torment.
For now let’s take a look at the usual suspects. The angels can be eliminated right off the bat. Their purpose is only to be forces of destruction and have no way of plotting in the way a proper villain should does.
When people think of the protagonist of Neon Genesis Evangelion there are usually two suspects which come to mind. First is Gendo Ikari. The man who seems to have everything figured out, the man who knows more than he lets on, and who seems to be pulling the strings even behind a shadow organization. Though his methods are very manipulative as he is not above murder, illegal experiments, and even seducing women to get his way. Unfortunately, his goal is noble as he is trying to connect with his dead wife, Yui who was lost during the event known as the Second Impact. Actually if you think of it, his actions are rather romantic in nature. Guess he’s out.
Next up is SEELE, the secret organization behind Gendo who is pulling the strings. At the End of Evangelion movie their whole plot is revealed. The best explanation to what happened (as End of Evangelion is trippy and could be an article itself to explain what went down) is after Second Impact humanity is cut off from heaven. In an effort to try and find a way to get back to paradise, SEELE plans to use the EVA-01 as a bridge to take all the souls on Earth to the other side. An unfortunate side effect is humans are taken against their will and converted to orange goo in the process. Very demented but in a way not the most evil in nature.
The True Evil
So, who is the real enemy in the series? Your not going to believe this one but she was dead the entire time. The villain is Yui Ikari. How you may ask? Check this out.
Through a flashback to when she was still alive and talking to her former teacher and confidant Kouzou Fuyutsuki, an interesting conversation unfolds.
When Man created Evangelion, were we trying to create a clone of God?
Of course. Humans can only exist on this Earth. But the Evangelion will be able to exist forever, along with the human soul that dwells within it. When the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are all gone, EVA will exist, so long as one person remains. It’ll be lonely, but as long as one person still lives…
…it will be eternal proof that Mankind ever existed.
This really brings her entire character into question. It proves Yui knew what was going to unfold and wanted this outcome. She wanted EVA-01 to end up in space as an eternal testament to the accomplishments of mankind. Some may say a very extremist view of the philosophy of Humanism (which emphasizes the value of human beings collectively over all others). She wanted everything to happen and knew how all the course of events would unfold to make it happen. She all the elements necessary to put EVA-01 in orbit. This included the breaking of Shinji’s psyche, all of humanity being melted into orange goo, and absorbed into a colossal naked form of Rei Ayanami. Essentially, SEELE are the minions carrying out Yui’s plan. She helped to create the Evangelion project, knew her son would be a viable candidate for the project, knew he would help to defeat the angles, and it would all end with EVA-01 in space. Going even further, since it is her soul in EVA-01, she could have done it all so she would be the one who was the symbol of humanity’s existence.
Yui Ikari, a woman who is willing to let her own son suffer to the point he went crazy, all so a giant statue could float out in space to remind aliens humanity existed. Not exactly an ideal candidate for mother of the year.
Do you think Yui Ikari is the villain of Neon Genesis Evangelion? Leave a comment below and let us know.