Neon Genesis Evangelion and Harry Potter – A Compariso
by Steven Jester
Alright, I have a confession to make. I’m a big anime fan. I’ve been known to cross-reference several anime between each other, but lately I’ve been adding the Harry Potter series to that mix, especially after Half-Blood Prince came out. Now, most people whom are anime and Harry Potter fans are intrigued, they were probably intrigued at the title.
Yes, I’m going to compare mega-superpower franchise Harry Potter to another mega-superpower franchise, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Let me give you some background about Evangelion before I start with my comparisons.
In Evangelion, September 13th, 2000 is a day that will live in infamy. On that day was the great catastrophe known as Second Impact. The official story is that a meteorite crashed into Antarctica melting the ice continent and shifting the Earth’s axis. What really happened was the shrinking of the first Angel, Adam, into an embryonic state. It just so happened that it occurred on Antarctica where the egg of Adam, the White Moon, was found. From the White Moon spewed forth the rest of the eighteen Angels that werent in existence at the time (Angels 3-17, the second Angel, Lillith, was found after Second Impact, but was already in existence because it was the progenitor of the Eighteenth Angel, mankind). Adam is the progenitor of the rest of the Angels. To combat these Angels, man has made giant biomechanical robots called Evangelions. It is said that the fusion of Adam and Lillith, or Adam and any angel other than mankind, will cause humanity to evolve into a singular being where there is no us and we are all one. This would occur in the catastrophe known as Third Impact.
Alright, now if you’re reading up to this point, that means I’ve got you hooked. And you’d have to be in order to get through this in its entirety. Now the question is where to begin… Ah! I know the place.
CASE STUDY 1: SHINJI IKARI VS. HARRY POTTER — INTROVERTED ANTI-HERO VS. DEEP COURAGEOUS HERO WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?
All right, for those of you who don’t know, Shinji is the protagonist of the story. Protagonist and anti-hero? Doesn’t compute, you say. Notice the word usage of “anti-hero” instead of “villain.” “Anti-hero” just means that the character doesn’t posses the characteristics of a hero. So, other than being the series protagonist… what’s the connection? Harry and Shinji are both orphans… mostly. Shinji technically has a living parental figure, his father. But his father abandoned him after his mother died. Shinji not only knows the loneliness of being an orphan, he knows the pain of being abandoned. Harry, not to the extent of Shinji by far, feels abandonment in the beginning of CoS. This leads me to Eva Postulate 1:
Neon Genesis Evangelion takes human flaws and complexities to the extreme.
What they both have as well is a mother complex… more on this later, and be forewarned: some things get very squicky (Editor’s Note: I have no idea what this term means, and the author would not tell me, so you’re on your own) later regarding this.
IMPORTANT CONCEPT 1: INTRINSIC LONELINESS — THE MISSING PART OF THE HEART.
Everybody feels in some way, shape or form lonely. We all have a want and desire to not be lonely. So we try to understand each other in order to ease the loneliness. Let’s take a couple of examples of this:
In episode 9, Shinji and Asuka (whom you’ll meet later) have just finished their last day of sync training to battle the seventh angel, Israfel. (Remember Postulate One people? Yeah, more extremes.) Anyway, as a requirement of their training, they had to sleep in the same room, but Asuka moves her futon into another room. Later on in the night, Shinji is still awake but Asuka wakes up and goes to the bathroom. When she comes out she falls asleep again in front of Shinji. Shinji notices this and freaks out. He attempts to kiss her but stops when he hears Asuka say “Mama.” Ignoring his need to remove the loneliness, he goes into the other room disgusted. This goes back to the whole mother complex thing, but we’ll be back to that.
(Also from Evangelion)
In episode 23, during the battle with the sixteenth angel, Armisael, Rei (again, you’ll meet her in a second) speaks with herself/Armisael (we can’t determine this fully) about the loneliness. I can’t quote the dialogue fully, mainly because I don’t want to spend an hour just transcribing it. Anyway, in this dialogue and the small scene afterwards she realizes that she finds her release from loneliness in Shinji. Then, she blows herself up and “dies” (yes, that’s in quotes for a reason) but that’s for another topic.
What am I trying to get at? Eva Postulate 2 states:
Everyone feels an inherent loneliness. We all try to relieve this loneliness by forming relationships with others.
CASE STUDY 2: THE FEMALE CHARACTERS OF REI AYANAMI, ASUKA LANGLEY SORYU, GINEVRA WEASLEY, AND HERMIONE GRANGER
OK… here’s where I’m going to feel the most heat. People who have watched Evangelion will probably guess who I’m going to associate with whom. But for those who haven’t had the pleasure (pain… joy… excitement whatnot) to watch Evangelion can keep it very simple. The Redheads (Ginny and Asuka) are alike, whereas the main characters from the beginning of the series (Hermione and Rei) are alike. LET ME EXPLAIN!!! Evangelion fans just let me explain!
SUBSECTION 1: REI VS. HERMIONE
Rei and Hermione are a lot alike. Just remember Postulate One, Rei is just the extreme of Hermione. Hermione is very informational and loyal and courageous in battle. Rei is more so. Rei is EXTREMELY introverted. I mean, she’s the textbook version of the word. Hermione isn’t all that introverted, but Rei is. She keeps to herself more than we’re let to believe. Remember, we don’t get to see every waking moment of Hermione’s point of view. They’re both philosophical and intelligent. And, dare I say it; they were both possible love interests for their respective main characters. Remember Postulate One and you’ll go far. Rei… well I’ll go into that later.
SUBSECTION 2: ASUKA VS. GINNY
Again Postulate One is essential in seeing how these two are alike. We are properly introduced to Ginny in CoS. Asuka is introduced in episode 8. A major difference here is that upon proper introduction, Ginny is shy and introverted whereas Asuka is extremely extrovert. Asuka, however, shows her true colors later in the episode and DVD (volume two out of seven volumes… hmm… I sense a “Seven-fold” theory topic coming up…). Asuka, after her feisty phase, turns introvert in truth but extrovert in facade. Ginny also has a major facade (but so does everyone else… I’ll get back to that), but again Postulate One connects it. Asuka is the extreme of Ginny.
IMPORTANT CONCEPT 2: THE MOTHER COMPLEX – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Ah yes… I first introduced this topic back in Case Study One. And this has probably the most controversial information besides the triangles. There are several subsections to this, so why dont we start out with the easiest to explain:
SUBSECTION 1: THE CASE OF ASUKA LANGLEY SORYU
Expecting me to go into Shinji first? Sorry. Anyway, Asuka’s mother complex is easy to explain and observe, seeing as though she makes absolutely no point what-so-ever to hide it. Actually, let me rephrase. She fails in her attempts to hide it. We see it easily in the movie End of Evangelion, in the scene right after Asuka’s all inside her head and depressed. Then Taliesin Jaffe, Evangelion aficionado and voice actor on the Evangelion movies, (Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion) said on the End of Evangelion commentary track that she knew she was looking for the affection of her mother all throughout the series. I probably should have said this earlier, but Asuka lost her mother early in life (as did Shinji and Harry) when her mother hung herself. Asuka’s mother was a test subject for the Evangelion Project. The Evangelion Project was charged with building these big biomechanical robots that operate on the human thought called Evangelions. Asukas mother became very crazy she believed that a doll was Asuka (Asukas mothers mind was absorbed into her Evangelion). The doll was hanging beside her when she hung herself. The first person to discover them both is Asuka.
Yeah, bad tragic circumstance. That, my friends, is the defining tragic circumstance for Asuka, just like the Chamber was for Ginny. Again, remember the mantra of Postulate One; Evangelion is just the extreme. I’m not going to go into Ginny’s mother complex, mainly because it’s irrelevant and so minor that it just bears slight mention.
SUBSECTION 2: THE CASE OF HARRY POTTER
Harry’s is a little harder to understand. Harry’s mother complex shows through his desire for a mother’s love. He has come to accept Molly Weasley as his surrogate mother in some respects. But, because of his background he tries very well to hide it. Postulate Two comes into play a little bit here, as Harry seeks to form a, usually easy to form, relationship with the only mother figure he can see in front of him besides the ones (yes, plural) his own age. This will play a big role in the triangle topic. (I’m so going to get flamed.)
SUBSECTION 3: THE CASE OF SHINJI IKARI
“Ow,” that pretty much sums up this boy’s problems with mother figures. Shinji knows the pain of losing his mother from a young age. Even during part of the series he gets a flashback of how his mother died. Yui Ikari died in an accident involving the activation of the test Evangelions. Instead of going insane and killing herself, Yui was absorbed into one of the Evangelions; Shinji’s to be more precise. Gendo, Shinji’s father, was emotionally devastated. He began the Human Instrumentality Project (HIP) to reunite himself with Yui. (I know I’m seemingly going off topic, but trust me…)
Shinji sees aspects of his mother in the three women he works with while working for NERV (his fathers agency): Asuka, Rei, and a character by the name of Misato Katsuragi. Misato is considerably older than Shinji and is his commanding officer. Asukas the hardest to explain in this sense, but I cant describe it. To give you a heads up, some thing about Evangelion I get in my head, but describing it is impossible. As for Rei… midway through the series, episode 15, Shinji comments that Rei is very mother like. ”I bet you’d make a great mother, Rei,” Shinji said in an elevator scene in this episode. Rei subsequently blushed at that comment. (Quote is from the English Dub version.) He is very attracted to her especially at this point of the series. But… oh I cant dance around it any longer!!!!!
NECESSARY BACKGROUND INFORMATION 1: THE ORIGINS OF REI AYANAMI
Warning: The next section contains information that will be extremely squicky. Reader discretion is advised.
Evangelion fans know where I’m heading now, I hope. But for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure… I’m going to give you the reason why I’m always hesitant to come out and say that Rei and Shinji are perfect for each other.
Rei isn’t normal. Again, Postulate One makes a correlation here. Hermione is the only Muggle-born member of the four (Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione), whereas Rei is the only one that is like this out of all the Evangelion Pilots [Shinji, Rei, Asuka, Touji (who matters not other than mentioning) and Karou (hes full Angel, not a hybrid)].
Rei was created using the DNA of the second Angel, Lillith, and the DNA of one Yui Ikari. (And God said, Let there be squickiness! And there was squickiness.) Biologically, Rei is Shinji’s half-sister. Now, this is the one and only fact of Rei that I cannot find a correlation to in Hermione. We wouldn’t want it anyway! This throws a HUGE monkey wrench into your theories, Steve, you say? It would if Shinji a) found out and b) made the connection. Well, unfortunately for me, one of those sort of happened. You see, Gendo (who is the madman behind this… squickiness) created enough copies of Rei that in case she died, she could still serve her purpose during the HIP. She is the instrument of Third Impact. Anyway, Shinji finds the copies. He doesn’t know anything else about them though… but it does throw a kink in the works… I’ll discuss this later.
CASE STUDY 3: GENDO IKARI – WHAT RON, VOLDEMORT, AND DRACO COMBINED WOULD LOOK LIKE
Again, I’m so going to get flamed. Gendo (Shinji’s father) is a character that cant be pinned down, and is one of the most complex characters in the series. Hes even more complex than Shinji and Harry, and that’s saying something. So, why pick the above bold lettered three? Well why he’s like Ron is obvious, because Gendo is doing what he thinks is the greater good. He certainly is also going about it bravely. But he’s being very cunning and underhanded about doing it, like Draco. And we cannot forget the touch of sinister evil he imposes by doing the impossible and creating a child in the likeness of his wife and abandoning his son, Voldemort. Not very convincing, but after the Rei background, I felt like I needed to explain the enigma known as Gendo.
THE SEVENFOLD THEORY – WHY ARE THERE SEVEN BOOKS AND SEVEN DVDS?
OK, this is where I stray from character analysis and go into plain and utter theory. I made this correlation when I noticed similarities between how the recent release of the Platinum Edition of the Evangelion DVDs were set up and the events of each book of Harry Potter. I cant go too in depth, mainly because Id like you to go out and watch the DVD’s (find your local anime junkie… hed let you watch them in his presence), and also because I don’t have much time and I have another topic to do. This doesn’t include the movies… it’d throw off the theory.
In Book/DVD 1, were introducing a new world and the main cast of characters. The cast goes on adventuring/battling. We get into the head of the main character a little and we start to form relationships. In Book/DVD 2, more relationships are formed; we have our first major brush with the possibility of total destruction of our world (Quirrell doesn’t register in my mind); and a new, supposedly spunky, character (Asuka/Ginny) is introduced and relationships start forming between this character and the main character (yes, whether we like it or not, some form of a relationship happened during this book). In Book/DVD 3, our spunky character makes a little withdraw while the relationship between a certain shy female (Rei/Hermione) and the main character strengthens. Absent from Evangelion is a Sirius-archetype character for Shinji to latch on to; unless you count Kaji Ryoji. He doesn’t really make as big of an impact as Sirius though. Book/DVD 4 deals with a lot of psychological issues (disguised in GoF as the Tri-Wizard Tournament) that center around the main character. Also, the relationships take pretty much a back-seat to the psych stuff. Book/DVD 5… HAIL THE GREAT LEVELS OF ANGST!!! Sorry, but it’s true. A backlash of angst and teen melodrama comes from the main character. However, here’s where the relationships pick up. (We’ll get in depth with those later). I personally recommend episode 19, but anyway, time to stop sounding like a commercial. Book/DVD 6: back story galore! In Evangelion, both sides of the triangle take setbacks, whereas in HBP –well I don’t need to remind this crowd, now do I?
So what does Book/DVD 7 have in store for us? *Pulls DVD 7 from the box* The climax, the release and, ambiguity. Nothing will be answered and all will be questioned. What were you expecting? Resolution? Eva Postulate 3:
Life is always a search for climax. The road to and from this release is ambiguity.
THE HERMIONE/HARRY/GINNY AND REI/SHINJI/ASUKA LOVE TRIANGLES – AN ANALYSIS
And we’ve come to the end people. All the theorizing and character comparisons come down to this… my analysis of these two triangles of relationships. *Sigh* I’m so very going to get flamed for this.
The Evangelion relationship centers on Shinji. Shinji needs to make a decision, and this boy has a hard choice to make: Rei, the quiet and helpful friend, and Asuka, the fiery popular girl. End of Evangelion gives us some insight. (End of Evangelion is a remake of episodes 25 and 26, what they should have been.) In the beginning, Shinji seems to have made his choice and runs to a comatose Asuka for help. (… Can’t really make a correlation to HP for that…) But it’s during the crazy mind trip scene of Third Impact that we find Shinji’s true decision, Rei. But Rei’s body is uber-Rei/Lillith. Third Impact is aborted by Shinji’s decision. The first people to return from being one (long story) are Shinji and Asuka. But we are left with the knowledge that more will return, Those with the will to live will return. I say that when Rei returns, Shinji would abide by his choice.
Now, why do I say that Shinji and Rei make the best match? Shinji is fixated on Rei more than Asuka, for one. Rei makes him more comfortable, even after the whole clone tank extravaganza. Asuka disturbs him… yet intrigues him. But he is more comfortable with Rei.
Now on to the one everyone wants me to go on the record with… Harry’s got a similar choice between Hermione and Ginny. Putting my personal preferences aside, I’m going to go on record saying that Hermione is the better of the two choices, but I think that we’re, again, going to get something very similar to Evangelion. I think that Harry’s going to come to his true decision after a journey into himself while finding the Horcruxes. He’s going to seemingly choose Ginny, but choose Hermione in the end.
My reasons are again based on how Hermione makes Harry more comfortable. Ginny… just doesn’t have the history. I can’t really explain it more than that… but I think I’ve given my reasoning clearly in the theories.
Harry and Ginny fans fear not! I personally prefer those two getting together… it just doesn’t work in this model. The above was just my professional opinion as a student of the written word.
Now, combine Postulates Two and Three. We make relationships to serve our search for climax and release. But then, all relationships are ambiguous. This can’t prove a thing, but it explains why we are essentially alone.
(Comments/Debates are accepted. Flames will be ignored. Contact me directly at sjester at twcny dot rr dot com)