|Occupation:||Pilot of Evangelion Unit 01|
|Relationships:|| Gendo Ikari (father)|
Yui Ikari (mother)
Misato Katsuragi (guardian)
|Fandom:||Neon Genesis Evangelion|
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Shinji Ikari is the protagonist of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Shinji, as the protagonist of NGE, has been the subject of Hero Bashing. In particular, Shinji's behaviour is unlike that of most shounen anime heroes, and he is overall very hesitant to fulfill his role as a pilot. Often, Shinji is either treated overwhelmingly positively by fans who try to justify his actions because of his past childhood trauma including the loss of his mother and abandonment by his father, and what they perceive as mistreatment by other characters, or very negatively by fans that feel he is too emotional or weak, but also by those who feel his actions are childish, selfish or unjustified nonetheless, or even abusive. There are several major points of contention, like him masturbating over love interest Asuka while she was in a coma in a hospital.
Generally, the most popular pairings in the NGE fandom are between Shinji, the main character and another character. Because of the many and varied interactions he has with Asuka and the very significant and prominent role their relationship has in the series and End of Evangelion, though slightly less so in the manga and in the first three Rebuild movies, pairing them together is quite common and has generated a wealth of fan and official material. Their mutual love confession, though in the past tense, has been variously interpreted as either confirming or sinking their relationship in the Rebuild continuity, or even the franchise at large, considering the open-endedness of the ending is debated as well as the nature of the references to the original series and EoE and the later release of the Evangelion 3.0 (-120 min.) prequel manga, used by supporters as confirmation of active feelings alongside a number of statements coming from staff in the initial months after release.
Another less common alternative is Rei Ayanami, despite her being the clone of his mother, as many fans enjoy what they perceive as Rei's warm personality, and they have shared many moments in the manga and Evangelion 2.0. Kaworu also enjoys significant popularity as a romantic option for Shinji, though this mostly peaked in popularity after Evangelion 3.0 and then steadily declined. Reishin used to be almost as popular as Asushin before its popularity was mostly replaced with Kawoshin and they both also have many fanmade and licenced works. Despite being much older than him and serving as a sort of surrogate mother, Misato is also sometimes paired with Shinji. Less common alternatives include Mari and Hikari. Mari in particular is argued by some as having ended up with Shinji in the final Rebuild film but Marishin was never popular either after her introduction in 2.0 or after 3.0+1.0. Instead, it might be used to aggravate supporters for the main three Shinji ships as a troll ship, alongside Asuken for Asushin shippers, virtually unheard of previously and also unpopular even now. Some 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, however, has long enjoyed significant popularity as one of the "secondary" fandom ships and is not usually used as a troll ship.
This is reflected in many officially licensed Evangelion artwork, merch, spin-offs and videogames, which often present many possible romantic options for Shinji for the player to choose or simply feature him paired with another character, such the Girlfriend of Steel 2 visual novel, or the Angelic Days romantic comedy manga which features an Asushin ending. There is also a large amount of fan material dedicated to each ship.
- Asuka/Shinji or Asushin
- Kaworu/Shinji or Kawoshin
- Rei/Shinji or Reishin
- Misato/Shinji or Misashin
- Hikari/Shinji or Hikashin
- Mari/Shinji or Marishin
- Wikipedia:Ikari Shinji
- Shinji Ikari at Evageeks
- Shinji Ikari at the Evangelion Fandom.com wiki
- Shinji Ikari at TVTropes
- Shinji Ikari at MyAnimeList
- Videogames have even created no less than five original characters as possible romantic interests for Shinji: Mayumi for 2nd Impression, Mana for Girlfriend of Steel 1, and Satsuki, Aoi and Kaede for Shinji Ikari Raising Project. Except for Mayumi, all of these are also featured in the manga adaptation of SIRP. The latter three are also adults.