Kawoshin

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Pairing
Pairing: Kaworu Nagisa/Shinji Ikari
Alternative name(s): Shinkawo, 5/3, LKS
Gender category: yaoi
Fandom: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: common
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Kawoshin is the Evangelion pairing Kaworu/Shinji.

Canon

The relationship between them in the show is deliberately ambiguous, as the original Japanese uses the "suki" and "koui" forms, which can be translated from anything from simple friendly "like" to a more romantic "love". Their relationship is short-lived however and Kaworu is only present in Episode 24, mentioned briefly in Episode 25, and has a few short appearances in End of Evangelion, all together with Rei. He is otherwise absent from Shinji's many introspections, reflections and fantasies in both the series' and EoE's Instrumentality, including the anime's famous Congratulations ending.

In the Rebuild films, Kaworu takes on a more significant role. He is particularly prominent in Evanglion 3.0, leading Shinji on a plan to restore the world that ultimately fails. In the latter film he has a brief role. He is revealed to have wrote his and Shinji's names in the "Book of Life", allowing him to meet him again each time the world restarts. Shinji sends him back to the survivor's village as he does with Asuka and Rei. He is last seen talking to Rei in the other side of a train platform, with all pilots as adults.

Extracanon

Kawoshin is one out of multiple available romantic option in most Evangelion games such as Shinji Ikari Raising Project and Girlfriend of Steel 2 (although it doesn't have an ending route). It is also given a larger role than in the series in spin-off manga. It also has a large number of official art, merchandising and figures featuring it, though this also applies to other pairings, as Asushin and Reishin still have as much if not even more official and fan material. Some material also features more unconventional relationships involving Shinji with Misato, Hikari or Mana. Sometimes, however, Kaworu's interest in Shinji in official spin-offs, is toned down considerably even if he has a larger presence, and he sometimes even shows interest in Rei.

Fandom

Whether their relationship is considered healthy or toxic, as well as its canonicity and significance, is heavily debated among fans. Fans' opinions on Kaworu himself range from him being simply a good character who loves Shinji unconditionally to a more deceptive and manipulative interpretation of his character as an Angel and his intentions in reaching out to Shinji are debated, as well as Shinji's own character being bisexual, heterosexual or gay.

Some parts of the fandom differentiate between Kawoshin in the manga canon, the anime canon, and the movie canon, as the tone of the three relationships can be very different. Kawoshin was fairly popular after Episode 24 was initially released along with Asushin and Reishin but quickly declined over the years, to the point it was a niche ship over most of the 2000s, dominated by Asushin and Reishin, however with the new Rebuild movies it has regained some popularity again, particularly after Evangelion 3.0, which features their relationship prominently, similarly to what happened with Reishin after Evangelion 2.0 which motivated a rise in its own popularity, but in turn also declined after 3.0.[1][2] It also has a large following among yaoi fans outside of the Evangelion fandom itself and is very popular with the Eva fandom on Tumblr, greatly more so than anywhere else. As of recent years, Kawoshin also seems to have steadily declined in popularity again as Asushin has remained popular and Reishin has seen something of a resurgence. Fans of this pairing often have a less than amicable relationship with fans of other pairings like Asushin and Reishin.

Marishin and Asuken are argued by some fans to be supported by the final Rebuild film, but neither enjoy significant fan support and are instead used to aggravate supporters of the three main Shinji ships, including Kawoshin. Some shippers have pointed out at some staff statements to rebuff these, such as the repeated denial of Mari being based on Anno's wife, though there is no later comment from staff on Reishin or Kawoshin, but some for Asushin. Kaworei is also argued as being supported by the film, however, it has long enjoyed significant popularity as one of the "secondary" fandom ships and is not usually used as a troll ship. Some Kawoshin fans argue that the final film's cycle dynamics apply to the original series and/or the rest of the franchise and compare Asuka and Shinji's expression of feelings in the film to Kaworu and Shinji's in Episode 24. However, there is no consensus or clear answer on the nature of their feelings, the nature of the cycle in relation to the franchise, references to the original series and EoE or the nature and open-endedness of the ending of the film, and supporters and detractors debate on the film's implications for each ship. Unlike with Asushin, Kawoshin has received no further comment from staff after the film's release.

The Netflix release of Evangelion in 2019 included a English localization, directly made by Khara themselves with strict oversight over the sub and dub, unlike the older ADV dubs and subs. Some changes, like translating "suki" as "like" again like it was in the first ADV VHS subtitle, irritated Kawoshin fans who based their interpretations on the DVD translation or even fansubs. However, there is abundant evidence that Khara simply remade the translation to bring it closer to the way the show was actually written in the original Japanese. See Kaworu's lines in Episode 24 on EvaWiki

Common tropes

  • Reincarnation
  • High School AU
  • Idolization: Kaworu is Shinji's idealized self, according to Hideaki Anno. Because of this, Shinji is able to more easily connect to him as his defensive mechanisms are lowered.
  • I Want My Beloved To Be Happy: In Rebuild at least, Kaworu's stated primary aim is bringing Shinji happiness.
  • Interspecies Romance: Shinji is human, Kaworu is an angel.
  • Longing Look: Happens several times in the series and Rebuilds.
  • Love At First Sight: Shinji immediately blushes the first time he talks to Kaworu, and his interest in him can be seen when he decides to wait for him later after sync-tests.
  • Love Confession: Both parties say they liked the other. The new Khara translation, however, reflects the ambiguity of the original Japanese, a decision probably made deliberately by Khara themselves.
  • Self-insert(Shinji)
  • "I'm not good enough" Shinji repeats this several times in the show
  • Supernatural creature: Kaworu
  • The Power Of Love: In End Of Evangelion, Kaworu and Rei represent "the hope for people to understand each other, together the words 'I love you'" in Shinji's heart, although he rejects this as a "pretense".
  • Red String Of Fate: The earphones they share in the official 3.0 poster alludes to this.
  • Star crossed lovers: In the 3.0 poster, the stars Altair and Vega are seen above Shinji and Kaworu's heads, referencing the Tanabata Japanese folk tale. This is one of the instances symbolism present in the movies that seem to allude to many different relationships.
  • "Was It All A Lie?" Shinji asks Kaworu this when he finds out the deal-breaker.
  • "What Is This Thing You Call 'Love'?" In the manga, which features a completely different Kaworu (nicknamed "Karl" by the fandom) this is one of the questions he asks himself.

Authors who write many Kawoshin fanfics include Laryna6, Morthael, phollie, mooncatcher and lady_daedalus.

Example Fanworks

Some fanfics which are well-read and recognized include:

Notes

  1. ^ Eva Store's Character Popularity Poll Yields Surprising Results
  2. ^ This 2020 NHK poll has Asuka, Kaworu, Rei, Shinji, Misato and Mari as the most popular characters.