Get To Know The Neon Genesis Evangelion Characters - Anime Jinsei

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Get To Know The Neon Genesis Evangelion Characters

neon genesis evangelion

In the year 2000, a great explosion caused by an alien life-form wiped out half the earth's population—an event that came to be referred to as Second Impact

Now, fifteen years later, these aliens (known as Angels) are beginning to reappear, and the only defense mankind has against them are giant biomechanical robots, called Evangelions. But... these robots can only be piloted by those that were born exactly nine months after the Second Impact; ie. a group of fourteen-year-old children!

The story mainly follows the personal growth and discovery of one particular character, Shinji Ikari. As a pilot, he must first deal with battling the invaders. He is, however, a very timid person, and must also learn to cope with new friends and new family, as well as the truth about his past and his father. 

And behind all of this are the mysteries contained in NERV itself - what is the real secret about the angels?


What is Evangelion? 

Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shinseiki Evangelion in Japanese) is Anno Hideaki's creation, which caused a major impact (what a fitting word isn't it?) to the anime world even to this day. Its first episode aired in 1995. 

What began as a television series at first became bigger and soon Evangelion was on the movies, comic books, even concerts were opened, where solely the Evangelion Soundtracks were played.

After scoring a massive hit in Japan, Evangelion has spread its wings all over the globe. The reasons for Neon Genesis Evangelion's success are varied, but there are some major points, which make Evangelion unique among all other anime.

The EVA Pilots 

Ikari Shinji 

Birthday: June 6th
Age: 14
Blood type: A
Family: Gendou Ikari; Yui Ikari
Status: Third child - Pilot of Evangelion Unit-01
First appearance: Episode 1 "Angel Attack"

Ikari Shinji of neon genesis evangelion

Shinji, sometimes referred to as the "Third Child", is the main character of the series, and is the only one that's really capable of controlling the humanoid weapon EVA-01. 

His father, Ikari Gendou is the supreme commander of Nerv, but they don't get along very well, because he left Shinji when he was very young, and they have not seen each other for over ten years. 

He is awkward in socializing with other people and lacks self-confidence, but he gradually gets better thanks to his guardian Katsuragi Misato, who treats him like a younger brother, and friends he made ever since he moved into the 3rd Shin-Tokyo.

Rei Ayanami 

Birthday: Unknown 
Age: 14 
Blood type: Blue pattern 
Family: None 
Status: First child - Pilot of Evangelion Unit-00 
First appearance: Episode 1 "Angel Attack" 

Rei Ayanami of neon genesis evangelion

Rei is the test pilot of the EVA-00 Prototype and sometimes referred to as the "First Child". She was trained for piloting since the early stage of the EVA development. Unlike most girls her age, she is very quiet. 

She rarely speaks and almost never shows her true feelings to anyone other than Gendou. Gendou and Rei seem to have a Father-daughter relationship, and as such, when she is with him, she sometimes acts like a normal girl. 

She would pretty much obey any command given to her but avoids contact with others, and because of this, she is not very good at having a relationship with others. 

Ritsuko has even said, "she is not very good at living". However, she seems to have deep feelings for Shinji, as she saves him on more than one occasion, and acts more naturally when she is with him. 

Asuka Langley Soryuu 

Birthday: December 4th
Age: 14
Blood type: O
Family: Kyouko Zeppelin Soryuu
Status: Second child - Pilot of Evangelion Unit-02
First appearance: Episode 8 "Asuka Strikes!"

Asuka Langley Soryuu of neon genesis evangelion

Asuka is the pilot of EVA-02, and is referred to as the "Second Child". She is 1/4 Japanese and 3/4 German but her nationality is American. 

Her personality shows a sharp contrast with that of Shinji and Rei. She is active, self-motivated, and has a bright personality. 

Although she is only 14, she already has graduated from college. Because of this, she really hates losing to anyone at anything. She feels very confident, both in her ability as a pilot as well as EVA-02's abilities. 

Although Asuka and Shinji don't get along well when they first met, she grows to like him as time passes, and is around him almost wherever he goes (Shinji seems to like her as well). Because of this, they were "officially" classified as a "couple" by their classmates.

Kaworu Nagisa 

Birthday: September 13th
Age: 14
Blood type: Blue pattern
Family: None known
Status: Tabris, the 17th angel. Also temporarily the Fifth child and pilot of Evangelion Unit-02
First appearance: Episode 24 "The Final Messenger"

Kaworu Nagisa of neon genesis evangelion

Kaworu is sent to NERV as a replacement for Asuka as she becomes incapable of controlling EVA-02. His perfect synchronization makes NERV suspicious and as they investigate they find out that Kaworu indeed is the 17th Angel.

As Shinji and Kaworu become good friends, he eventually opens up to him. As it became clear that Kaworu is an Angel, Shinji had to kill him, which remains in Shinji's heart as a traumatic experience.

Touji Suzahara 

Birthday: December 26th
Age: 14
Blood type: Unknown
Family: Younger sister
Status: Fourth child - Pilot of Evangelion Unit-04
First appearance: Episode 3 "A Transfer"

Touji Suzahara of neon genesis evangelion

Touji is the "Fourth Child" and is also a friend of Shinji. 

He attends the 3rd Shin-Tokyo No.1 Junior High, and uses Oosaka dialect, and is kind of the typical football captain. He is also a friend of Kensuke and when all three of them are together, the peers call them the "Idiot Trio". 

He becomes the pilot of EVA-03 in episode 18.

Other Characters 

Kensuke Aida 

Birthday: September 12th
Age: 14
Blood type: Unknown
Family: None known
Status: Student
First appearance: Episode 3 "A transfer"

Kensuke Aida of neon genesis evangelion

Kensuke is a close friend of Shinji and Touji. He also lives in the Third Shin Tokyo. 

He is a video and military maniac and is always around Touji. A member of "The Idiot Trio". He wanted to be a pilot of the Evangelion unit.

Misato Katsuragi 

Birthday: December 8th
Age: 29
Blood type: A
Family: Katsuragi
Status: Captain, later Major; NERV Tactical Military Operations Department
First appearance: Episode 1 "Angel Attack"

Misato Katsuragi of neon genesis evangelion

Misato is a part of the First Division of Operation Section in the Department of Tactics and Operation of Nerv Headquarters. She is also a direct supervisor of Shinji, Rei, and Asuka. 

She volunteered to be Shinji's guardian when he first came to the 3rd Shin-Tokyo, and later, she also takes care of Asuka as well. 

Aside from these two, she also lives with her pet penguin called Penpen. She is very cheerful and optimistic but can be very punctual and serious when she needs to be. She helps Shinji gain self-confidence by encouraging him. Shinji respects her a great deal. 

She was also friends with Akagi Ritsuko and Kaji Ryouji when they were in college. She and Kaji used to be lovers eight years ago.

Ritsuko Akagi 

Birthday: November 21st
Age: 30
Blood type: B
Family: Naoko Akagi
Status: Scientist; NERV Technology Development Department
First appearance: Episode 1 "Angel Attack"

Ritsuko Akagi of neon genesis evangelion

Ritsuko is a part of the First Technology Division in the Department of Technology and Development of Nerv Headquarters and manages the development of Eva Units, and as such, she is most knowledgeable of Evangelion Units than most. 

She is very determined and handles things a little more cautiously and seriously than Misato does. 

However, this is not to say that she is a typical stone-cold scientist. 

She also has a very warm personality. She was also friends with Katsuragi Misato and Kaji Ryouji since her college years, and like Misato, she also falls in love with Kaji. He uses this as an opportunity to get information about Nerv.

Gendou Ikari 

Birthday: April 29th
Age: Unknown
Blood type: A
Family: Shinji Ikari; Yui Ikari
Status: Commander of NERV
First appearance: Episode 1 "Angel Attack"

Gendou Ikari of neon genesis evangelion

Gendou is a dark and cold character. As Chief Commander, he is rational and efficient, but as a father of Shinji, he utterly failed. 

For him, Shinji is nothing more than a tool that he uses when needed and throws away afterward.

Oddly enough he developed a father/daughter relationship to Rei, who is the only person he treats like a real human. He seems to be working for his own agenda which remains a mystery.

Ryouji Kaji 

Birthday: June 17th
Age: Unknown
Blood type: A
Family: None known
Status: Works for both NERV and the Japanese Government (spying!)
First appearance: Episode 8 "Asuka Strikes!"

Ryouji Kaji of neon genesis evangelion

Kaji is Misato's ex-boyfriend from her college years. He returns to Japan with Asuka, and sparks soon fly between the two old lovers. 

Kaji meanwhile is working for both NERV and the Japanese Government and is investigating NERV's activities for SEELE. 

His curiosity at NERV's secrets, however, eventually lead to his death, at the hands of his own lover Misato.


Birthday: Unknown
Age: Unknown
Blood type: Unknown
Family: None known
Status: Pet; to Misato and later Hikari
First appearance: Episode 2 "Unfamiliar Ceiling"

penpen of neon genesis evangelion

Penpen is perhaps the cutest character in the series... as Misato's pet, he somehow learns to put up with her bizarre habits around the house. He lives in her freezer and often eats the same food as his human owners (which at times is rather un-palatable). 

Eventually, Misato sends him to live with Hikari's family, as she thinks it is too dangerous for him to live with her. He isn't seen much in the anime, but in the manga, we are offered extra insight into this kawaii bird; he is actually the result of an experiment gone wrong, and was adopted by Misato just before he was to be put to sleep... poor Penpen! 

Evangelion - What makes it so interesting? 

A side of EVA valued by many fans is the plot, which houses connections to metaphysical and religious theories, ancient prophecies, and supernatural mysteries. God and The Creation are viewed from a very unique angle, looking into man's attempts and demise to become god himself. EVA is a very unique creation, which made a name even among people who usually do not watch anime.

Patience is a key in this series, not because of pacing, but because the biggest pay off is at the end of the story when you see how it all ends. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing this anime completely. It feels like you've grown as a person and as a human being.

With the great synergy of mecha, its deeply mysterious plot, and the dark past of just about every character, this all makes for a great storyline. 

Personally, this is one of my favorite anime. It became such a hot topic in anime for well over a decade when it came out and with Netflix picking it up this year, it still is talked about today. 

Definitely worth the time to watch, though it's a shame it's only 26 episodes. I think the movies are even better! Highly recommended though some scenes are not for the young audiences.

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