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What Are the Personality Disorders of the EVA Pilots?

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


We generally consider watching shows as a means of escape. We love characters that have heroic traits, but we also like them to have some flaws. Weaknesses and flaws can make them relatable to fans. People love it when the lead characters occasionally throw a tantrum and make a stupid mistake. This makes them seem more human. And we love it when they overcome the odds despite of their weaknesses. It can be inspiring.

However, Neon Genesis Evangelion has a rather unorthodox approach to sell itself. Unlike other mecha shows, this series features relatively weak pilots with serious mental issues. We have a whiny lead character, a conceited redhead and a mysterious weirdo. Nevertheless, a lot of people can relate to them. These characters can be seen as mirror images of ordinary people, though some who have overcome major hardships might disagree.

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

I did some quick research on 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.

You are a sick, sick boy Shinji.

You are a sick, sick boy Shinji.

Shinji Ikari and His Avoidance Personality Disorder

The way I view Shinji Ikari is as complex as the character itself. For one thing, I like him for being human. However, I found him very unlikable for being a source of negativity. I mean, if you are someone pursuing a dream, the last person you want to be with is a pessimist. I know people have a love-hate relationship with Shinji. Some will pity him for being an abandoned child tasked with a dangerous and stressful job. Others see him as a failure; yeah his job is stressful, his life is a mess, but we all have stress and problems. Deal with it!

Seeing how he carries himself in public, Shinji can be seen as an emo character. But calling him an emo is an understatement. He is overly shy, afraid and sensitive. And I know a lot of emo guys who are tougher than that!

The poor lad might have Avoidance Personality Disorder. Individuals with this disorder display severe social anxiety, and we're not talking about being shy. This is basically extreme detachment. People consider themselves to be personally unappealing (low self-esteem). They avoid being with others due to the fear of humiliation, rejection and dislike. As a coping mechanism, they avoid people to the 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.

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And this is probably why Shinji refused to jump into the EVA unit in the first episode. He simply never wanted to cause ridicule. Avoidance Personality Disorder can be caused by childhood neglect, so you can thank Gendo for driving your kid insane.

She had the biggest ego in the whole Mecha world.

She had the biggest ego in the whole Mecha world.

The Loud Asuka Langley Soryu and Her Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I found this tsundere to be highly unlikable. She was just a bossy and intellectual bully. And when I saw Asuka Langley Soryu step on poor Toji’s hat, she reminded me of a classmate I had back in high school. Just like Asuka, she was loud, hyper, bossy and somewhat arrogant. Guys thought Asuka had too much confidence. I thought her behavior was a normal effect from teenage hormones. But after seeing Asuka annoy the people around her, I thought she could use professional help. Her beauty going into her head was just a part of a larger problem. Asuka thought she was better than everyone around her, as if she was special and unique. Looking at how she treats the already defeated Shinji, the girl lacks empathy.

Being overly narcissistic isn’t just being a first rate a-hole. It’s a sign that someone needs help. People who have an 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 inflated and toxic ego. The problem is that narcissistic people tend to not seek help due to the fact that they are narcissistic. They are too inflated to find treatment.

Going back to Asuka Langley, we now know why it’s a bad idea to let her live with 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 call a psychiatrist.

Honestly, she is less toxic than the other two.

Honestly, she is less toxic than the other two.

Rei Ayanami Had Schizoid Personality Disorder

This is a good example of cloning gone wrong. When NERV salvaged the remains of Yui Ikari, they had 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 saw her on her own in class and not speaking much. Like our equally twisted main protagonist, she was an emo character, though her selling point was her 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. That’s probably the reason why her house was a total mess when Shinji paid her a visit. Since she never took pleasure in anything, she never bothered keeping her things tidy.

For some, Rei Ayanami is just an emotionless little girl, perhaps to an unhealthy degree. Her lack of interest in social relationships and her 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 noisy. But to entrench yourself from any human contact is beyond normal. These people don’t just want to be alone. They rarely take pleasure in anything, lack friends, are indifferent to criticism, and are aloof and cold.

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


NERV seems to have a habit of hiring sick and disturbed people. I kind of wonder how they find qualified staff. I also wonder if they have in-house psychological treatment. With their pilots suffering from a number of personality disorders, it kind of makes the Third Impact 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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