Written by Alexander Greco
June 20, 2020
Metaphor for a missing momentA Perfect Circle
Pull me into your perfect circle
Liberate this will
To release us all
Gotta cut away, clear away
Snip away and sever this
Umbilical residue that’s
Keeping me from killing you
This is the third and final part of my analysis of the first two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. If you haven’t read the previous two articles, I would recommend doing so, as much of the information discussed in those articles is highly relevant to understanding this article.
In the conclusion of this analysis, I will examine the Angels and Eva’s, then discuss the Setting of NGE, and finally attempt to bring all the parts of the analysis together into a more cohesive whole. I will conclude the analysis with a meta-analysis examining other lenses NGE can be analyzed, my own method of analysis, potential holes in the analysis, and discuss where this analysis can be taken to next.
I’ve tried to eliminate major spoilers from this article (which has slightly dampened the analysis), but be forewarned that some may still be lurking. In the future, I may release a more comprehensive, unabridged analysis that includes all the references to future episodes, and, because these articles have been so long, I may condense the analysis into a much shorter version.
And now, here is the conclusion to “Creature Fear”.
Angel and Eva
What of the Angels and Eva’s?
The Angels are capable of complete self-reliance, self-defense and autonomous warfare.
The Humans rely on society in order to survive, flourish and defend themselves.
The Angels are the species of the Individual.
The Humans are the species of the Collective.
Here, there is a Ying-Yang dynamic.
Yes, the Angels are what I’ve been calling “Hyper-Individuals”, but they also seem to act with the same ambitions or motivations—essentially the usurpation of humanity as the dominant species on Earth. While they act autonomously, they all act with the same goals.
Yes, the Humans require the collective effort of society in order to function, but this collective is made of a multitude of individuals with varying ambitions and motivations. While they must act socially, they all act with different goals and varying talents.
There are a few interesting things to note about both Angels and Eva’s, and a few interesting lines of thought.
First, the Angels act exactly how most villains in most stories act, except that their purpose, their motivations and any sort of morality they might possess is left almost completely ambiguous.
Most villains act as a highly singular individual (the “hyper-individual”). The villains are oftentimes above the law, or they do not obey social norms and state-sanctioned legal systems.
This could be a character like X-Men’s Magneto, who, while leading a cult of personality outside the confines of human society, is incredibly powerful and capable of engaging in combat alone with a multitude of enemies.
This could be a character like Galactus, who is a nearly omnipotent villain with little to no allies or companions, who is capable of engaging with all of Earth’s forces single-handedly, and who consumes entire planets serving as homes for a vast multitude of life-forms.
This could be a character like Lucifer. Similar to Magneto, Lucifer leads the armies of Hell and whatnot, but, beyond Magneto, Lucifer can be seen as one of the most singularly powerful entities in Judeo-Christianity, second only, perhaps, to God.
It’s difficult to say that these Villains are “evil” (though Lucifer could be argued to be the embodiment or manifestation of evil). A better understanding of them may be as amoral, or possibly as possessing a sociopathic morality. They are neither “evil” nor “good”. Their morality does not fall within the standard confines of society’s morality.
Once again, this falls under Nietzsche’s Ubermensch—individuals who are capable of standing outside the confines of society, either physically or cognitively. They do not possess the morality of the collective. They possess only their own morality.
The Angels are not necessarily evil. They simply have an agenda that is completely at odds with the agenda of humanity. This is how they become villains.
Eva’s, on the other hand, are similar in many regards to Angels. In fact, every Eva, with the possible exception of Unit 01, is made from the genetic material of Adam, the progenitor of the Angels.
The primary difference physically between Eva’s and Angels is that Eva’s can only hold one form—a form roughly equivalent to a human form—while the Angels can take any form they choose once they metamorphose from an Embryo.
While Angels have absolute determination of themselves, the Eva’s must still take the basic form of a human. In a sense, the Eva’s are humans, they are simply giant humans—hyper-individualized humans capable of far greater feats than normal humans.
More than this, the Eva’s only exist because the collective of Society has come together to create them. Eva’s are possible only because of the combined efforts of scientists, engineers and militaries under the authority of Seele.
And, Eva’s do not carry out their own will. They carry out the will of Society. This can be seen as an Individual Human (Shinji) becoming a living Tool carrying out the will of Society, or this can be seen as the manifestation of the Collective Conscious of Society—the Collective Conscious made Flesh—in the form of an Eva.
The Eva’s are the Will of Society come to life, represented as a singular entity.
We must don the armor given to us by our Father to carry out their will. The justification for this is ambivalent though.
Is it fair that we should be handed our place in Society by the powers above us? Is it right that the only way for us to become fully functioning Individuals within a Society is for a Society to transform us into a living Tool of its design? Is it even good for us and Society that we act this way, or is there a better way of being?
And yet, it is good, in that Shinji saves millions of lives. And it is good in that Shinji performs some of the most important tasks for society. And it is good that Shinji learns how to become a Hero, and how to become an Individual capable of confronting reality.
The alternatives are mass extinction, loneliness and isolation, and sheer uselessness as a human being.
However, this views the story as a representation of a Collective Reality. Shinji is a representation of the entire youth generation of a particular era in time. Gendo is a representation of all Father/Authority figures. The Angels are a representation of all major catastrophes or obstacles that a civilization is faced with.
From a Collective perspective, Shinji is any generation of youth maturing into adulthood, tasked by Gendo, the authority of any and all Societies, to confront the broad range of potential catastrophes we as a species may face.
However, from an Individual perspective, this is about the Individual (Shinji) confronting the terrors that internally threaten his sense of self and his existence.
This part of the analysis I have had the most difficulty in fully articulating.
Part of this difficulty comes from defining what both an Angel and an Eva are in Neon Genesis, both literally and symbolically.
In its simplest form, Shinji confronting the Angels is Shinji confronting his fears. From there, we enter the rabbit hole.
The Japanese word used for “Angel” in NGE, shito, means both “angel” and “apostle”, and both have an inherent meaning as “messenger”. Angels as messengers of God can be entities “sent” by reality to test, challenge and push Shinji, helping him develop as an Individual. The different incarnations of Angels (the different incarnations of Hyper-Individuality) may be the different incarnations of who Shinji as an Individual can become.
The final Angel Shinji must face in NGE is Kowaru, an Angel created in the Second Impact who takes the physical form of a Human. Kowaru is incredibly open, incredibly accepting and incredibly loving. There is a homoerotic romantic connection between the two of them, and this may be Shinji having to learn to love himself. However, with the ensuing tragedy of Shinji and Kowaru’s final confrontation, we see that Shinji is still incapable of this, and he may never be capable of this.
But what about how the Angels confront Tokyo-3, NERV and Shinji?
These Angels, these “messengers”, are attempting to penetrate into the deepest inner sanctums of NERV, and Shinji is tasked with repeatedly battling the Angels to keep them from doing this. Is this Shinji keeping these “messengers” from entering the inner depths of his psyche?
Is this Shinji battling the terrifying forces of Individuality, which are attempting to overcome the innermost force of his psyche. Lilith?
Humanity is a Collective force, while the Angels are Individual forces. Shinji must pilot the Eva’s, a manifestation of the Collective will, in order to become a powerful enough Individual to combat the Angels. In doing so, he must confront his own Individuality.
Without spoiling too much, the entity known as Lilith resides at the bottom of NERV, and Lilith arguably could be a symbol of the Collective power, force or will of Humanity. The Angels are continuously attempting to overcome this source of Collective human power, while Shinji is becoming a hyper-individual in order to save the Collective. But, ultimately, this creates a tension between Individuality and Collectivism.
Is this the ongoing tension between Ego and sense of self or identity, and the forces of Society asking us to annihilate our identity in order to become one boundless, egoless self?
However, if this show is a psychodynamic “theater” that exists in Shinji’s mind, as I originally discussed in the first article, then how are the Angels constructions of Shinji’s psyche? What are Angels as psychological constructions?
First, they are simultaneously “messengers” and destroyers. They are both that which helps Shinji reach a higher level of personal development, and that which is annihilating his psyche. They are “messengers” of Individuality, but they must annihilate the constraints put on him by society before he can become a completely Individualized human.
He fears the Angels both because he is taught to fear them, and because he projects his own fears of Individuality on them.
This entire show is about human relationships and the connections we form between each other. The contact between Shinji and the Angels can be just as traumatic and terrifying as the contact between Shinji and other human beings. The Angels are the terrors of Individuality manifested and made flesh.
With Individuality, one must take personal responsibility, one must be honest about yourself and who you are, and one must allow yourself to become vulnerable enough to show others who you are.
The opposite of this—what Shinji is defending any time he keeps the Angels from destroying Lilith—is having no Individuality, but complete openness between everyone. There is no pain of Individuality because there are no Individuals.
Shinji is projecting onto the Angels—or perhaps the Angels are the projections themselves projected onto reality—his sense of vulnerability, his sense of hopelessness, his sense of uselessness, his fear of the psychological violence involved in getting closer to others, his fear of annihilating oneself in order to become a new Individual.
The Angels seem not to be representations of Shinji’s fears themselves, but representations of what Shinji projects fear, violence and conflict onto. These are ideas, personalities and realities that Shinji refuses to let into his inner psyche and chooses to violently destroy rather than accept. They are the psychological forces, concepts or realizations that confront Shinji’s vulnerabilities.
To explore this further—to cement the concept that Neon Genesis Evangelion is a theatrical or narrativized representation of the inner workings of Shinji’s psyche—I will examine the primary setting of NGE.
Ruined City and Ocean
This I have analyzed in depth in the first article, but I will recap and expand on it here. The Ruined City shown in the beginning of Episode 1 is the ruins of previous generations. It is the scars left on our society—and from our society onto us—by the horrors of the past.
The Ocean represents both the Unknown as a place where tangible, external threats emerge from; and the Unconscious as a place where deep psychic forces emerge and terrorize our consciousness.
The Ruined City and the Ocean can also represent the border between the external and the internal. It is the border between the inner reality of our psyche and the external reality of the material world, and it is also the border where external threats manifest consciously in our psyches. On one side of this border is the Unknown, where potential threats exist, but we are not consciously aware of their existence.
Once this border has been crossed, once we perceive the external threat entering our consciousness, the Angels’ form crystallizes in our minds, and we must confront this external threat as both material and as idea.
However, this analysis of the Ruined City and Ocean as the border between internal and external becomes muddied if one takes the Ocean as the Unconscious.
One potential key to solving this may be in the fact that Lillith—which could potentially be seen as the ultimate source of Shinji’s problems—lies at the bottom of NERV. The Angels may be external threats emerging from the unconscious in that they are external stimuli emerging into our awareness, and it is the projection of the ultimate, core conflict (Lilith/Individuality vs Collectivism) from our inner psyche onto our external threats.
These external threats may be threats to our survival, but they may also be threats to our Ego. They may be people who come into our lives who threaten our sense of self, who question ourselves and our beliefs, or who get closer and closer to us, where we must show our vulnerabilities. They may be people who come into our lives who prompt action from us: Will you do the things I need you to do? Will you be the person I want you to be? Will you help me do the things I need to do and become the person I want to be?
They may also represent our hopes, our goals and our ambitions—each of which holds its own fears. With every dream we have, there is the war one must wage in order to see that dream to fruition; there is the threat of that dream forcing changes within us before it can be fully realized; and there is the threat that our dreams may never come to fruition, which is an assault on us as an individual incapable of fulfilling our dreams.
Rejection and failure may be far more painful than passivity, but we must confront rejection and failure if we are every to actualize our ambitions, and, in the end, never having tried to actualize our ambitions may be the most painful of all.
So, the Angels crossing this external/internal border are both external threats and internal projections of threats.
An interesting note here—addressing the muddiness of external threat and internal projection onto external reality—is that our unconscious mind processes external stimuli before we consciously perceive what we are seeing.
In order for our brains to react to threats faster, if we see something that our brain has categorized as threat (such as a snake, bear or moving car), the “reptilian” brain begins reacting before we’re even consciously aware of what we are looking at.
If we put our hand on a stove, we don’t wait to rationalize out, “This is really hot. Really hot really hurts. If I don’t want to hurt, I should stop touching the hot. Alright. I shall remove my hand from the hot so as to stop the hurt.”
The instant our unconscious mind perceives pain that exceeds our tolerance levels, it takes over and pulls our hand away.
The unconscious mind (NERV) perceives and categorizes the external threats (Angels) far before our conscious minds (Shinji as Ego within Tokyo-3) are ever aware of these threats. In fact, the military has been mobilized to confront the Angel long before Shinji is even aware that there is an Angel.
The unconscious mind is actually at the front-lines of our psyche, constantly wary of threats, even though we may perceive or represent it as being within our conscious mind, or in the depths of our conscious mind.
Something to analyze further in later episodes is where Angels appear and/or how they appear, as well as what their method of penetrating into NERV headquarters is. While all Angels seem to have the same basic motivation, their approach and their methods of entry all vary, and these variations may be significant.
Tokyo-3 is the current incarnation of our society. Though this may be a stretch, you could potentially think of it as Tokyo-1 as the pre-history society (ancestor’s civilization), Tokyo-2 as the pre-present society (Father’s civilization), and Tokyo-3 as the contemporary or present-day society (new generation’s civilization).
This may ring especially true since all of the Evangelion pilots are children.
Tokyo-3 is also the landscape of both the conscious mind and the autonomic nervous system. When threatened, the landscape shrinks, its inhabitants flee, and we are left with the militarization of an otherwise empty, quiet psyche until the force threatening us is dealt with.
It is the aboveground landscape of the psyche and nervous system—the day-to-day activity, the calm, conscious perception of reality, the awake and aware tip of our mind’s iceberg. It is the conscious landscape of thoughts, emotions and actions Shinji, the Ego, must traverse. When we are threatened, when the streets of our psyche are emptied of its cognitive inhabitants, this landscape becomes a warzone where we face our most formidable opponents.
Tokyo-3 is the landscape of the conscious mind.
NERV, by contrast, is the underground landscape of the psyche and the nervous system. It is where the deeper motivations and machinations of the psyche lie. Despite the day-to-day activities of the aboveground landscape of the consciousness, the real ambitions and meaning of the city are derived from NERV.
NERV can only be entered through a tram system, which delves deep into the Earth, before entering the Geo-Front.
The Geo-Front is an underground cavern, far larger than the aboveground city. Hanging from the ceiling of the Geo-Front are the buildings of the aboveground city that have retreated during the threat of the Angel, and they are little more than stalactites compared to the enormity of the rest of the Geo-Front.
However, the hanging, inverted city is nonetheless beautiful and heavenly here. The shape of it, similar to the dynamic of Misato and Ritsuko, resembles the bilateral hemispheres of the brain, with two equally tall buildings forming the two peaks of the city/brain. The heavenly glow and the bright lines of trains moving through the air may represent the activity of the brain, the hum of electricity, and the communication of neurotransmitters.
However, this heavenly glow may also represent the sacredness of this inner sanctum. This is the realm of the Unconscious—the realm of Dreams, the source of our emotions, the home of the roots feeding the trees of our conscious beliefs. This is the realm of mythology, the realm housing instincts, personas, archetypes and cognitive structures that have evolved over millions of years.
Aboveground is the new, the temporary, the fleeting.
Belowground is the ancient, the eternal, the foundation.
Mirroring the hanging city, the pyramid of NERV headquarters similarly has a bilateral design, with one solid pyramid pointing up (bottom-up) and one inverted pyramid filled with water (top-down). NERV’s inner architecture is like a hive—literally shaped like the hexagon of a beehive—and its complex paths moving in every direction extend downward, compounding depth onto complexity in an abyssal volume of pathways (similar to the enormous number of synapses in the average human brain, which outnumber the stars in our galaxy).
Deep, deep in the recesses of NERV are the Eva’s. Eva Unit 01 could be seen as Shinji’s Shadow—a Jungian term describing the repressed emotions, instincts and behaviors we have (similar in some ways to the Id). Eva Unit 01 is the Monster Shinji must become in order to confront the horrors of reality.
However, following Jungian psychoanalysis, incorporating the Shadow into our personality, rather than repressing it, is necessary for Individuation—the process of becoming a unified, unique person. Individuation is necessary for Actualization—Actualizing our highest potentials in life.
Far into NERV (into the unconscious) lies the Monstrous aspects of our psyche and of our personalities, and yet this Monster we keep caged within us is necessary for becoming complete, unified individuals—which is exactly what Shinji spends NGE and End of Evangelion becoming.
The different levels of NERV abyssal depths could be analyzed, and would lay quite nicely across the Jungian concept of the unconscious, but this would spoil much of the show for those who haven’t seen it.
For now, I’ll summarize NERV and my analysis of NERV with this: shit goes deep.
Bringing the Pieces Back Together
How can we simplify these various components and bring them together?
We’ll start from the ground up.
NERV, Tokyo-3 and the Ruined City and Ocean are Shinji’s psyche. NERV is the inner sanctum of the unconscious mind. Tokyo-3 is the conscious mind as well as the autonomous/day-to-day functions of the brain. The Ruined City and the Ocean are the border of the internal and the external realm—the border between Shinji’s mind and the external world—but they are also the border between conscious and unconscious, in that the unconscious mind projects onto the external world.
Within this microcosm of NERV/Tokyo-3/Ruined City/Ocean are components of Shinji’s personality, broken up into sub-personalities.
These sub-personalities are the Ego (Shinji), the Super-Ego (Gendo), the Left/Right Brain lateralization (Ritsuko and Misato), the Anima (Rei), the Shadow (Eva), and the Id (Lillith).
It is the relationship of these characters (and more, as the show progresses) that reveal Shinji’s relationship with himself, the external world, and the powers that be:
- Shinji with Shinji – Anxiety, uncertainty, self-loathing, depression
- Shinji with Gendo – Cold relationship, transactional, little to no communication, necessary for mutual survival
- Shinji with Ritsuko – A knowledge of how he (and Eva) function, what the technical details of various machines, tools, etc. are and so forth
- Shinji with Misato – 1) Top-down thinking, as emotions and ideals, source of higher morality 2) Relationship with Mother Nature: woman as “sexual other”, woman as compassionate and nurturing source of life, woman as violent and cruel consumer of life, woman as mysterious, external unknown
- Shinji with Rei – Guiding inner force bringing Shinji into contact with his deeper self, his deeper desires and motivations, and to his full potential. She is Shinji’s Anima, or inner feminine psychic spirit
- Shinji with Eva – Monster Shinji must become in order to overcome his conflicts with external and internal reality. Shinji’s potential for violence, destruction, individuality and Godliness
- Shinji with Lillith – The deepest conflict Shinji must face: Individuality vs Collectivism (Id vs Super-Ego), as well as the source of life for humanity
Now that we have a clear picture of the structure of the Shinji’s psyche (setting) and the components of Shinji’s psyche (characters), we can look at the conflicts of Shinji’s psyche (Eva and Angel).
The projections of the Unconscious onto the external reality are the Angels. The projected Angels are “messengers” of a Supreme Individuality, or of a Hyper-Individuality. Every rejection of an Angel into the core of NERV is Shinji rejecting his own Individuality in favor of doing what he is told by the Super-Ego (Gendo/Society/the Collective). The violence he commits onto the Angels is the violence he commits on to himself or on to others.
Throughout the show, there are themes relating to self-loathing, insecurity, anxiety, depression, suicide. So much of this show might be Shinji’s rejection of himself, his rejection of his own emotions or thoughts, a rejection of his own desires.
However, the violence of the Angels unto Shinji and the other Eva pilots, as well as the violence done unto the city and NERV, is the violence of the thoughts telling us to be more individualistic. They are the pain and anxiety of changing yourself into something new. They are the intrusive thoughts asking, “Why haven’t you done this? Why haven’t you done that? Why are you still eating that shitty food? Why are you so afraid of talking to that person? God, what is wrong with you?”
“Why are you so lonely? Why are you so afraid? Why are you so helpless? You made yourself this way. You can unmake and remake yourself. You have the potential to become something new.”
I mentioned in the last article that the Super-Ego as Gendo provides answers to these. Culture and Society provide you community through nationality, social norms and family structure. They protect you from the horrors of reality. They give you an occupation and a purpose in life. However, it is ultimately up to the Individual to provide these for themselves if they wish to break out of the tyrannical conformity of society, fully or partially.
It is up to the Individual to become someone they aren’t afraid of being and make true, genuine connections with others. It is up to the Individual to become self-reliant and capable of self-defense, and find a cause worth facing your fears for. It is up to the Individual to carve their own path in life, train and develop themselves and their skills, and create their own place in society that uniquely benefits others.
It is possible that the Third Impact—the catastrophic event thought to happen if an Angel makes it to the core of NERV—is actually the “death” of Shinji’s former identity or personality, and the birth of a new one.
These projected Angels can also represent actual individuals, or possibly the projections of Shinji’s insecurities onto other individuals, and Shinji may be confronting his own fears of getting close to others. The violence between the Eva’s and the Angels may be the violence between two people in conversation, two people trying to get to know each other, or two people wondering if they even should get to know each other.
It may be the violence of having to push deeper into someone’s life, of having to get closer and closer to another person, even in times when it makes us uncomfortable to do so—even at times when it hurts incredibly bad.
While I don’t entirely agree with the Postmodern notion that words are violence, it’s an interesting idea to take into consideration at a psychological or phenomenological level.
To the degree that words can tear down someone else, or reduce them to either a sad, sobbing mess or a furious, shaking monster, words can be viewed (though only to a certain degree or in a specific lens) as violence.
This might be the violence of honesty. How can someone know what you actually think if they don’t bear the pain of hearing your honest opinion? How can someone know what your feelings are if they don’t risk discovering there are negative emotions pointed at you? How do you fully understand who a person actually is without understanding the horrors and tragedies within them—as repulsive as they may be?
So, the violence done to and by the Angels is:
- The violence we do unto ourselves, as we come to understand ourselves better, or try to change ourselves
- The violence others do unto us, as their personality, their emotions, their thoughts and their identity comes into greater and greater contact with our own
- The violence we do unto others, as we get closer to others and see them more and more as who they really are
Altogether, Neon Genesis Evangelion depicts a psychodynamic narrative that is not happening in a physical reality, but in the psychological and phenomenological reality of Shinji Ikari’s mind.
The relationships between people in Neon Genesis are the relationships between various components of Shinji’s psyche.
The physical conflicts are conflicts within Shinji’s mind, either as the tensions Shinji has with others, or the tensions Shinji has with himself.
Violence can be: an act of change; an act of repressing change; an act of showing one’s own vulnerabilities; an act of revealing someone else’s vulnerabilities. However, these all have the potential to produce tremendous anxiety and depression.
The Angels entering Shinji’s psyche reflect external threats entering our consciousness, other individuals in our lives entering our consciousness, and reflections of our selves and our potentials entering our consciousness.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a psychodynamic depiction of the psychological reality occurring within Shinji Ikari’s mind.
This analysis can be one of many, and I want to conclude with a meta-analysis of this analysis.
There are many levels of Neon Genesis Evangelion to explore, especially since so much in the original series and in End of Evangelion is so ambiguous.
One can explore the literal events—the plot—and attempt to correlate various events on that level.
One can explore the lore of the world and try to correlate the many fragments of tiny details and exposition that have yet to be pieced together.
One can explore the characters, their relationships with each other, their individual lore and background, and their development through the series.
One can analyze this on a more literal psychological basis than I have, on a philosophical level, or from a socio-cultural angle.
One can analyze just one sub-component—a single character, a single Angel, a single episode—from many different angles and likely yield great depth from just that one component from one particular lens of analysis.
That is part of what is so powerful with this story: there is a bottomless pit of information to sift through and analyze, there are so many lines of thought one can follow, and there are so many different interpretations of just single events.
However, I think my interpretation here can reveal some of the deepest insights about the story, and I think some of the insights I’ve unearthed and articulated here are applicable to all other levels or lenses of analysis (at least partially).
This analysis certainly is not conclusive, as this was only intended to serve as a framework to view the series and its complex web of characters and events. Even from this one lens of analysis—the psychodynamic lens—there are great depths one could explore within just one character or one relationship between characters.
I do feel though that if one follows this particular line of thought—viewing Neon Genesis Evangelion through a lens of Psychodynamic Narrative—one will find that it remains applicable throughout the rest of the series. However, considering that there is a mountain of information, plot points, lore-building, characters and characterization that have yet to be introduced or fully explored in the first two episodes, then there is still quite a lot that must be accommodated into this analysis.
One blaring example is Asuka, a pivotal character for much of the series.
How does she fit into this framework? How does she relate to Shinji, Gendo, Misato, the Eva’s and Angels, and the setting?
Also, there is the fact that this story is not told in first person point of view. How can this be a psychodynamic analysis of a show exploring one character’s psyche if the show is in 3rd Person Perspective? How can this be a window into Shinji’s psyche if Shinji as the Ego is not present in many of the scenes?
To that I would say that many of these scenes may be unconscious processes or functions that Shinji is not conscious of. Or, they may be Shinji contemplating others, contemplating certain events and contemplating various aspects of his psyche without him contemplating himself in direct relation to them.
Seeing Shinji or being in Shinji’s mind may be Shinji contemplating himself as an Individual or as an Ego. Seeing other characters without Shinji may be Shinji as the Ego/Self contemplating other aspects of himself disassociated from his sense of self.
Another important note here—and this applies to nearly all creative works—is that this show is not an actual, documentarian depiction of something. This show is the brain-child of Hideaki Anno and the product of dozens of people (maybe over a hundred or more, who knows?) working together to create this show, and this must be kept in the back of one’s mind.
Why did they do this? What was the point of this? What were they thinking when they made this specific scene or drew this specific character in this way?
What was Hideaki thinking when he did X, Y or Z? Why did he choose to do this in this specific way? What was the purpose of A, B or C?
This is all important to think about when analyzing any piece of creative work—art, literature, music, film, etc.—as well as thinking about the process of creating these works.
Nonetheless, much work still needs to be done in this framework of analysis alone, but these articles have hopefully formed a solid foundation to proceed forward.
This analysis has helped me and my thinking in regards to NGE, as well as in my thinking of other narratives. Much of what I wanted to display with these articles was not just an analysis of NGE specifically, but approaching a Psychodynamic analysis like this in general, and how to view these narratives. I hope this analysis can help others understand NGE better, or at least in a different light, and I hope this analysis also helps others understand narratives in a Psychodynamic perspective in general.
One thought on “Analysis of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episodes 1 & 2”
Thanks a lot for this great analysis, the structure of your article is very well made and allows for a fluid reading / understanding.