That all being said, let’s discuss each character in further detail to provide better insight as to why their faults are necessary plot devices to tell a larger story (i.e. the central story).
Shinji — The reserved, self-loathing protagonist, Shinji Ikari, epitomizes the introvert personality by concealing his true identity a-la the hedgehog’s dilemma (first introduced by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer). Just a brief reminder for anyone who hasn’t watched the show for quite some time, as this concept is fundamental in understanding our main character, the premise of this theory goes as follows: forging intimate relationships, despite our best intentions, causes shared emotional pain; therefore, provoking guarded behavior and overall weaker relationships due to the lack of intimacy. This explains Shinji’s maladroit encounters with female characters in the show, and his reluctancy to solidify lasting relationships. He has become content to live in the imaginary shell that is his happy place, believing that expressing his true self will cause unintended harm to others and himself. Hideaki Anno, to his credit, overlaid his permeating depression into a fourteen year-old character, that, for the most part, comes through as feeling authentic. This is not your prototypical action hero who possesses an indomitable will to overcome any, and all challenges; rather, Shinji, on countless occasions, shows signs of regression, a trait that is synonymous with the human condition. He