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Kaworu Nagisa (渚 カヲル Nagisa Kaoru?) is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He is the Fifth Child and the seventeenth Angel, Tabris. He is sent to Nerv by Seele as a replacement pilot for Unit 02 after Asuka Langley Soryu's synchronization ratio falls below usability. He later breaks into Terminal Dogma to return to Adam, but after he discovers the being there is actually Lilith, he permits Shinji Ikari to destroy him. He appears in The End of Evangelion during Third Impact, communicating with Shinji in regard to the choice of whether to accept or reject Instrumentality.

Biography

Kaworu is first seen in episode 24, sitting on a stone amongst wreckage due to the previous battle with Armisael, the Sixteenth Angel. Shinji is present, confused and frustrated about what to do since all of his friends have evacuated the city, Asuka is mentally distressed and in a ward, and Rei appears to not remember recent events. Kaworu abruptly tells Shinji music is beautiful after he stops humming, and begins conversing with him in a kind manner, referring to him as "Mr. Ikari". After Shinji asks him how he knows who he is, Kaworu tells Shinji he is "rather ignorant of [his] own position". Following their initial meeting, Kaworu accompanies Shinji to a Nerv bathing room. While sitting together in the bath, the boys display a degree of comfort around one another. At one point, Kaworu places his hand on Shinji's, who allows Kaworu's hand to linger on his own. Kaworu then says "I love you" to Shinji.. At the end of the bath house scene, Shinji tells Kaworu that he needs to go to bed, to which Kaworu is confused and asks, "With me?" Shinji is quick to decline Kaworu's offer, but he does spend the night at Kaworu's apartment, sleeping on the floor beside Kaworu's bed.[1]

After the Nerv staff become suspicious of Kaworu's high synchronisation rates with Unit-02, and Misato and Hyuga learn that he can set his synch rate to anything he wants, an alert is issued that Unit-02 has activated without a pilot inside, and someone is descending towards Terminal Dogma; it is Kaworu, who is identified as the 17th and final Angel. Shinji is placed into Unit-01 and pursues Kaworu, who manipulates Unit-02 to fight Shinji in Unit-01 after Shinji unsuccessfully tries to stab Kaworu with the progressive knife and is blocked by Kaworu's AT Field. Kaworu proceeds to Terminal Dogma, and after activating the door to open and entering, appears to reach an understanding that the giant crucified there is not in fact Adam, but rather Lilith, and after Shinji defeats Unit-02, allows Shinji to grasp him in Unit-01's hand. Shinji is hurt that Kaworu betrayed him "just like [his] father did" and lied to him about his identity after befriending him. However, Kaworu tells Shinji that his life is complete and had more meaning after meeting him and request to be killed. Following a period of silence, Shinji kills Kaworu by crushing him to death in Unit-01's hand.

In The End of Evangelion, the Mass Production Evas' Dummy Plugs are prominently marked "KAWORU", suggesting that Seele was in possession of clones of Kaworu just as Nerv was in possession of clones of Rei for the Dummy Plug system for the original Evas.

Kaworu first appears in The End of Evangelion as the Human Instrumentality Project is being initiated. At first, when the giant Lilith/Rei appears to Shinji, he is terrified by it. It then transforms into Kaworu, a form which Shinji accepts. Later, Kaworu, along with Rei, appears in Shinji's mind and argues with Shinji in regards to the case of humanity and in favor of individualism and free choice (specifically, in favor of Shinji rejecting Instrumentality).

Alternate continuities

Rebuild of Evangelion

Promotional materials for Rebuild of Evangelion showed prominent images of Kaworu in his plugsuit with the other Children.[2] In the first film, he briefly appears at the ending, in which he has a mysterious conversation with Keel on the surface of the Moon. In the second film, Gendo and Fuyutsuki travel to the Moon to observe the construction of the Mark.06; much to Fuyutsuki's surprise, they see Kaworu sitting shirtless on top of the Eva in hard vacuum. He turns towards them and calls someone a father. At the end of the film Kaworu comes down from the Moon with the Mark.06 and impales Unit 01, aborting Third Impact. Afterwards he says that the promised time has come and that this time he will bring Shinji happiness. The preview of the third film shows Kaworu confronting the other pilots in an unknown location.

Manga

In this manga series, Kaworu is portrayed as being ignorant of human emotions and taboos regarding social interaction and personal space, creating some comic relief. Also, some events concerning him are changed, and he appears earlier as well. He appears briefly at the end of vol. 7 in the presence of Seele. In his appearance in book 9 (when Shinji first meets him), Shinji finds him playing a piano in the ruins of a church. He asks Shinji if he knows the name of the song, to which Shinji replies "the Ode to Joy." (In the anime, he was sitting on a rock by the sea, humming the tune of the same song.)

Another important difference in this manga is that Shinji initially does not like or trust Kaworu. Just after their first meeting, Kaworu calmly kills an abandoned kitten that had been following Shinji; his pragmatic reply to Shinji's question of "why" (it was kinder to kill the kitten rather than let it eventually starve to death) made Shinji feel that Kaworu was like Rei when Shinji first met her. Later, after seeing Shinji and Kaworu arguing, Kensuke thinks to himself, "Creepy...something inhuman..." After Shinji brings Kaworu to Nerv, he tells Asuka that she needs to open her heart to her Eva in order to operate it; this line was delivered by Rei in the anime. In the aftermath of the battle with Arael, Seele interrogates Kaworu, and he mentions that he finds human emotions and attachments fascinating.

In volumes 8 and 10, Kaworu pilots Unit 02 alongside Rei in the battle with the Angel Armisael. The Angel partially assimilates Unit 02, connecting the already-assimilated Rei to Kaworu and causing him to feel Rei's love for Shinji, which makes him cry. After the battle, Shinji nearly punches Kaworu after he calls Rei a fool. Despite this, Shinji stays in Kaworu's apartment rather than go home to Misato, believing that being around the emotionally distant Kaworu would be more tolerable than being around people who would also be sad about Rei's death. He reluctantly accepts Kaworu's offer to share his bed. That night, Shinji begins to hyperventilate while having a nightmare, and Kaworu kisses Shinji, using the lack of a handy paper bag as an excuse. Shinji becomes angered when he wakes fully and realizes what Kaworu did, and is even more angered when Kaworu asks him if what he felt while connected to Rei was love and attempts more advances. Later, after Rei re-appears, Shinji returns to Misato's apartment with the barest of good-byes, visibly upsetting Kaworu. Volume 11 plays out the same way as episode 24. However, Shinji is confused about his feelings towards Kaworu, as the latter persuades the former to kill Kaworu as "proof of what [Shinji] really think[s] of [him]" instead of obsessing over his own guilt in the aftermath.

In the following chapter (75), Shinji admits that he was attracted to Kaworu, even though he knew he shouldn't be. With his confused feelings at everyone else he was close with abandoning him, and Kaworu being the only person showing the slightest bit of affection to him at the time, Shinji regrets killing the only person who has ever genuinely cared about him with no strings attached.

The bonus materials in volume nine of the English adaptation of the manga contain an article written by the editor Carl Gustav Horn which compares Kaworu to the character Satan in Mark Twain's novella, The Mysterious Stranger.[3]

Neon Genesis Evangelion Addition soundtrack

A scene in the parodical audio drama titled "After the End" (Shuukyoku no Tsudzuki), released on the official Neon Genesis Evangelion Addition soundtrack, features all of the original Japanese voice actors who return to voice their characters and break the fourth wall, talking about how they need to produce a 27th episode and increase the appeal of the series as well as playing comically exaggerated versions of themselves as actors playing the characters of the series, and at other times, playing the actual characters themselves. When Kaworu appears, (loosely translated) Asuka exclaims "oh great, it's that homosexual guy", to which Kaworu replies "I really wish you wouldn't make statements like that, when you lack any evidence for them", reflecting the debate about the character (discussed below under "Reception").

Shinji Ikari Raising Project

In the noncanonical Shinji Ikari Raising Project, Kaworu is an agent sent by Seele to infiltrate Shinji's school (much like the original). Here, he is helped by Ritsuko Akagi. He teases Shinji frequently, drawing Asuka's (and eventually, Rei's) ire. He is also implied to be the cause of a blackout at Nerv (in an homage to the original outage in the anime), and is also a potential romantic interest for Shinji.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku

In this spin-off, Kaworu is a transfer student who takes an interest in Shinji, who is suspicious of his relationship with Rei. With Rei, Kaworu secretly fights against Angels and has the ability to generate an AT Field to defend against attackers and his Eva manifests as a sword. He uses the name Tabris to play online games. He, as revealed in chapter eight, is an "artificially created child" and has spent all of his life until now in facilities. He is ignorant of many social customs, and considers himself to be close friends with Shinji. Later, however, Kaworu confides to Shinji that he is really the 17th Angel, Tabris.

Super Robot Wars

Kaworu appears in the Super Robot Wars games in the same role he had in Evangelion. However his spirit appears in Super Robot Wars Alpha 3. In the game's adaption of The End of Evangelion, Kaworu's spirit returns to take control of Unit-00 and aid Shinji in battle and help rescue Rei from inside Lilith. He also visits Neki Basara and voices his approval of his music. He makes his final appearance during the final battle with Kaiser Ephes where he encourages the Eva pilots not give up.

Character notes

In early designs, Kaworu was depicted as a school boy with a pet cat who could switch to an "Angel form".[4] In vol. 9 of the manga, one of Sadamoto's artworks is a portrayal of Kaworu dressed in black and holding a black cat.[3]

Kaworu was named by screenplay writer Akio Satsukawa.[5] Kaworu's surname "Nagisa" comes from the Japanese word nagisa (?), meaning "waterside" or "shore," concerned with sea. It also comes from Japanese movie director Nagisa Oshima.[5] Adding to these, the character "", when divided, can be read shi-sha (シ者?). The title of episode 24 is "The Last Shisha" (最後のシ者 Saigo no Shisha?). "シ者" includes two Japanese words read as "shisha" (the character "" only represents the sound "shi"). The first is "messenger" or "apostle" (使者 shisha?), while the other is "dead (person)" (死者?).[5]

Gainax renders his name in Romaji as "Kaworu," not "Kaoru" as would be given by most romanization schemes. The reasons for the difference in the naming have not been explicitly detailed by the series' creators; one theory is that the name is based on the original kana of the name Kaoru Genji, from The Tale of Genji.[5]

Reception

As a promotion for its 10th Anniversary Special Edition of Evangelion, ADV Films published a humorous bumper sticker which reads "KAWORU DIED FOR YOUR SINS" (カヲルはあなたの罪のために死んだ Kaoru wa anata no tsumi no tame ni shinda?)).[6] Mania Entertainment's Chris Beveridge described Kaworu's death in the anime as an "extremely powerful moment" due to the fact that after a minute without dialogue, his head's shadow appears touching the water.[7]

Kaworu Nagisa was the second most popular male character in the 1997 Animage poll.[8]

The possibly homosexual undertones of Kaworu's interactions with Shinji has been a persistent topic of debate among fans of Evangelion since the series' first run as discused in the Patrick Drazen's book Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! Of Japanese Animation.[9] Patrick Drazen's self-admittedly minority view is that Kaworu's offer of love for Shinji is a tactic that Kaworu as the last Angel used to disarm Shinji.[10] Gainax is clearly aware that the audience associates Kaworu with bishounen tropes, and have produced artworks such as splash pages for their website in reference to Kaworu's ambiguity and the audience's reaction to the character. However, whether Kaworu, an Angel, actually has any concept of sexuality as he is presented in the series is unclear.[10]

References

  1. Episode 24, "The Beginning and the End, or "Knockin' on Heaven's Door""
  2. Anime News Service, 9-6-06 (6:46PM EDT)---- Confirmed: "Evangelion Shin Gekijou Ban" Details
  3. 3.0 3.1 ISBN 1-59116-707-8
  4. NEWTYPE 100% COLLECTION: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION. 1997 Kadokawashoten. ISBN 4-04-852700-2. Partial translation.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Evangelion character names". Translation of essay by Hideaki Anno about character name origins; includes a link to the original essay in Japanese. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  6. EVA 10th Limited Edition
  7. Beveridge, Chris (January 24, 2002). "Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:8". Mania Entertainment. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 
  8. Script error
  9. Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). '"A Very Pure Thing": Gay and Pseudo-Gay Themes' in Anime Explosion! The What, Why & Wow of Japanese Animation Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press p.95 ISBN 1-880656-72-8.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Drazen, Patrick (October 2002). "Evangelion" in Anime Explosion! The What, Why & Wow of Japanese Animation Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press p.308 ISBN 1-880656-72-8.
it:Kaworu Nagisaru:Каору Нагиса

zh:渚薰

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