Neon Genesis Evangelion, the first series I ever owned on DVD, introduced me to the idea of “shipping.” I didn’t know that term back then, but I did know I was interested in certain couples becoming items.
But I didn’t just focus on the obvious in the Eva pilot love triangle. I also liked the coupling of Misato and Kaji, who remain my two favorite characters from the series.
The early episodes with Kaji largely portray him as smug and a womanizer. And early on, Misato seems completely in control in any and every situation. However, as the series progresses, the two depictions change – Kaji is more heroic and loving and Misato is more lost and unsure.
The truth is, neither character is what they seem at first. Certainly, Misato’s is the one who suffers the most from the change in characterization. But in terms of the world depicted in the show, Kaji knows from the beginning who Misato really is. He knows her struggles, her past, and her insecurities.
And he loves her anyway.
Misato treats Kaji worse than anyone (with the possible exception of Shinji, though she is also most loving toward him). She calls him names and acts as if he’s the devil incarnate. Kaji pokes fun at “Major Katsuragi” as well, but he’s there for her when she needs it. And he has that acute understanding about the less-than-in-command major, as demonstrated through the wonderful watermelon scene with Shinji (remade into an even better conversation in the second film).
Misato can hide her fears and anger from the world, but she can’t hide them from Kaji. He sees right through her and remains with her until the end.
Is there someone close to you whose “real self” you know better than just about anyone? Why do you still love this person, warts and all?