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What Are The Personality Disorders of EVA Pilots?

Updated on December 2, 2018
Mamerto profile image

Mamerto Adan is an engineer by profession, but a writer by night. He loves toys and knives, and has a martial arts background.

Generally we consider watching shows as means of escape. And yes, we always loved heroes that are larger than life, but clumsier than usual at the same time. Weaknesses and flaws are their ways to connect to the fans. People love it when the lead characters share their tendencies to throw tantrums and make stupid mistakes. Suddenly they are more human, more real, as if they are living, breathing entities. And we love it when we saw them overcome the odds despite of their weaknesses.

Inspiring, indeed!

But I know this mecha anime with a rather unorthodox approach to sell itself. Unlike other mecha shows in its league, their selling points are weakling pilots with serious mental issues. We saw a whiny lead character, an overly inflated red head and a mysterious weirdo. Nevertheless a lot of people can relate to them. As one describes, they are the mirror image of ordinary people, though some who endured more daily torture and managed to stand up might disagree.

Yes, the pilots are sick, but how sick are our beloved EVA characters?

I did a quick research in the net, and I found something rather interesting. These pilots seem to display authentic mental issues. If you want to learn more, just read below.

Shinji Ikari and His Avoidance Personality Disorder

You are a sick. sick boy Shinji.
You are a sick. sick boy Shinji.

We all know him, that kid from Neon Genesis Evangelion series. The way I viewed Shinji Ikari is as complex as the character itself. For one thing I like him for being human. Yet I found him very unlikable all the same for being a source of negativity. I mean if you are someone pursuing a dream, the last thing you want to be with is a pessimist. I knew people also have a love-hate relationship with this kid Shinji. Some will pity him for being an abandoned child tasked with a highly dangerous and stressful job. Others found him to be a failure; yeah his job is stressful, his life is a mess, but we all have stresses and problems. Live with it!

Seen on how he carries himself on public, Shinji is like an anime emo. But calling him an emo is an understatement. He is overly shy, afraid and sensitive. And I know a lot of emo guys who us tougher than that!

The poor lad might have this Avoidance Personality Disorder. Those affected display severe social anxiety, and we don’t just speak of being shy. This is basically extreme detachment. People consider themselves to be personally unappealing (low self-esteem) that they avoid being with others for the fear humiliations, rejections and dislike. As a coping mechanism, they avoid people up to a point where they stay away from activities that involve interpersonal contact. Because of this, they are reluctant to take personal risk due to the fear of embarrassment.

And probably this is why Shinji refused to jump into the EVA unit in the first episode. Simply he never wanted to cause ridicule. Lastly Avoidance Personality Disorder can be caused by childhood neglect, so thanks a lot Gendo for driving your kid insane.

The Loud Asuka Langley Soryu and Her Narcissistic Personality Disorder

She had the biggest ego in the whole Mecha world.
She had the biggest ego in the whole Mecha world.

I found a tsundere to be highly unlikable. It’s like a female version of a bossy intellectual bully. And when I saw Asuka Langley Soryu stepped on poor Toji’s hat, she kind of reminds me of a classmate back in high school. Like her she was loud, hyper, bossy and somewhat arrogant. Too bad she was pretty, but that’s the problem. Guys thought she had too much confident. I thought that was a normal effect of the female teenage hormones. But after seeing Asuka Langley annoy the people around, I thought she might need professional help. Too much beauty going into her head is just a part of a larger problem. Asuka though she was better than anyone around her, as if she is special and unique. And on the way she treats the already defeated Shinji, the girl lacks empathy.

Overly narcissistic isn’t just being a first rate a-hole. It’s a sign that someone needs help. People who had exaggerated feeling of self-importance have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Sometimes it’s easy to spot someone with NPD by just finding a person with an overly inflated and toxic ego. The problem is narcissistic people tend to not seek help due to the fact that they are narcissistic. Simply they are too inflated to be treated.

And back to Asuka Langley, now we know why it’s a bad idea to let her live with the poor Shinji. It’s fun (and sexy) to see her bullying the hapless boy at first, yet it’s a sign of something deeper and darker. When we hear her blame Shinji again, I suggest that NERV should call a psychiatrist.

Rei Ayanami had Schizoid Personality Disorder.

Honestly she is less toxic than the two.
Honestly she is less toxic than the two.

For me this is a good example of cloning gone wrong. When NERV salvaged what remains of Yui Ikari, they had all the chance to rebuild a human without any mental problems. But in the end they got a creepy recreation of Shinji’s mom instead.

Rei Ayanami was never a normal teenage girl. A true introvert, we often see her on her own in class and not speaking much. Like our equally twisted main protagonist, she was a virtual emo, though her selling point is lack of expressions instead of raving emotions. We did see her smile at some point, though she could use a lot of cheering up. Our girl here might have little interest in what’s going on and lives in her own fantasy world where she roams free. Probably that’s the reason why her house was a total mess when Shinji paid her a visit. Without taking pleasures on anything, she never bothered keeping her things tidy.

For some, Rei Ayanami is just an impassionate little girl, too impassionate perhaps to be healthy. And the lack of interest on social relationship, and her overly preference for being alone is a sign of Schizoid Personality Disorder. It is one thing for someone to seek privacy when the world is getting a bit noisier. But to entrench oneself from any human contact is beyond normal. These people don’t just want to be alone. They rarely take pleasures on anything, lack friends, indifferent to criticism, aloof and cold.

Now if there was something that NERV did right, is that they gave Rei companies. What they did wrong is they gave the girl equally sick bunch of characters.


NERV seems to have a habit of hiring sick and disturbed people. I kind of wonder how they qualify their staffs, and If they have in-house psychological treatment. With their pilots suffering from a number of personality disorder, that makes me wonder if the Third Impact is inevitable. NERV just sealed the fate of humanity, and who knows if they are even qualified for the task of world protection.


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