This time of year puts me in an absolutely not great place, and from here I’ve been startled by the ways in which I relate to Shinji. The most visible thing is how for the past few months, I’ve felt like I needed some sort of feedback in my head at all times (usually headphones) because I don’t think I can, and don’t want to have to, deal with the alternative. The one I feel the most is what I see as a profound, idle frustration at isolation and lonliness, while also wanting both. Which brings me to Kaworu.
2: I really like Kaworu
I’m someone who requires remarkably little to buy in to stories, so take this with a grain of salt, but I extremely felt the Shinji/Kaworu relationship, specifically because of how long we knew Kaworu. Like what Austin was saying, I would be putty if someone I liked told me that I was worthy of their grace and that they liked me, and I would ride that high for as long as I could. I could absolutely see myself in Shinji’s shoes, so I know that eventually, the anxiety would come. So the episode doesn’t let that happen; it keeps Shinji on that wave so that he can crash. I’m sure that there’s a way to have Kaworu be more present and to have a relationship develop over time (I’m super interested in reading the manga), but for me, and for how I see Shinji, this resonated so so so so much.
My second thing about Kaworu is I like his characterization here. His image and how he speaks is: (a) in stark contrast to the other angels, and (b) is relatively in keeping with the common depiction of angels (hot, flying, kinda otherworldly). It really lends to the almost dreamlike tone of the episode. Shinji has found someone who gets him, who likes him, who is kind to him, and who wants to spend time with him.
3: Regarding the Misato hand-touch
On my first viewing in Uni, I definitely interpreted this as a sexual thing, but watching it now, it comes off as more ambiguous. I kinda want to push back on what Patrick was saying about how the sexual reading isn’t as logical; I think that it is, but only through the show’s own perspective. I think the show sees Misato’s confessions to Kaji about how she uses men more as her voicing her fatal flaw, rather than her being unfairly critical of herself. The extrapolation of this is that she knows how she copes, and has had mixed success with relating to Shinji, and so offers what she knows.
Side note: short rant
Tangentially related, but it kinda rubs me the wrong way when people complain about things being unnecessary or too explicit when communicating ideas in stories. This was brought to mind by the AT field stuff this episode. I’ve never been good at that kind of stuff, and while I get that people have their preferences when it comes to stories, sometimes I just don’t want to have to look at supplemental material to get what someone else might be able to get from the text. This isn’t me throwing shade or anything, I just didn’t want to have this in my chest anymore.