Ryoji Kaji (加持 リョウジ Kaji Ryōji?) is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He is employed by Nerv as a special inspector. He wears a ponytail, has a constant 5-o'clock-shadow, and is always referred to by his surname. His given name is romanized as Ryoji in the English manga, English version and original, untranslated version of the TV Series, Ryouji on Madman Entertainment's website, and as Ryohji in the English version of the movie and on Gainax's English Evangelion website.
Kaji appears to be a triple agent, working as a special inspector for Nerv, while secretly investigating the organization for the Japanese Ministry of the Interior, and at times seemingly acting as a cat's-paw both for and against Gendo Ikari and Seele. In addition, he seems to maintain personal motivations beyond loyalty to any organization, and speaks frequently of his desire to "find the truth." Kaji can be said to have a green thumb, as he cultivates a watermelon patch close to Nerv HQ. (This is only seen in the anime; he is watering the watermelons while Zeruel is attacking the GeoFront.)
Kaji and Misato Katsuragi were lovers during college, but had long since broken up by the start of the series and do not see each other again until she flies out to the UN fleet ferrying Unit 02 and Asuka Langley Soryu to Japan. After he returns to Nerv headquarters, Kaji and Misato flirt and fight, Kaji teasing Misato, and Misato constantly calling him "stupid."
Most of the time, Kaji is very easygoing and jovial, always remaining cool and composed and maintaining his detached sense of humour even during times of crisis. He also flirts unabashedly with his female peers and coworkers, which further draws Misato's ire. Despite his irresponsible public persona, Kaji demonstrates a great level of personal responsibility and worldly wisdom in his personal interactions. He acts as something of a father figure to both Asuka and Shinji, particularly the latter. Asuka is openly infatuated with him, something he coolly and repeatedly deflects. He offers Shinji contemplative advice and tries to help him understand the nature of social dynamics. Behind all of this, however, Kaji hints at being a very melancholic and lonely individual, plagued by doubts of his own sincerity and whether he is capable of true love. The only times during the series - including his death - in which Kaji seems to be truly sincere are during his philosophical discussions with Shinji and his dialogue with Misato in Episode 15.
Kaji is ordered by Seele to kidnap Deputy Commander Kōzō Fuyutsuki so that he can be interrogated. Kaji follows his orders, but disobeys Seele by rescuing Fuyutsuki later and returning him to Nerv. Prior to this, he remarks that his Nerv I.D. card is the colour of blood; also, during their last meeting, Kaji gives Misato a small capsule which contains the information for the Human Instrumentality Project, then says "This may be the last gift I give you." He then leaves Misato a farewell phone message, indicating that he knew he would likely be dead when she heard it. Fuyutsuki even remarks that his actions will cost him his life. Kaji is eventually shot and killed by an unknown assailant. In the anime, Kaji remarks to his killer, "You're a little late, aren't you?" which has led to debate among Evangelion fans as to the identity of the killer, who is described in the episode Film-book as "a third party working either for Seele or for Nerv's Intelligence Division.". The film-book also states that the killer was not a main character.
Rebuild of Evangelion
Kaji is introduced in Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. In this continuity he seems to work alongside the American branch of NERV and doesn't have any relationship with Asuka. He appears to know Mari Illustrious Makinami from the States though. Kaji is still doing spy work and is shown recording a conversation between Gendo and Fuyutsuki. In the teaser for 3.0 Kaji is shown screaming and pulling his gun out on someone offscreen.
In Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga of the series, Kaji is given a back story which was not given in the anime and which relates to his behavior. In the aftermath of the Second Impact, Kaji and his brother were orphans and members of a group of children who united in order to survive the chaos. One day while stealing food from a JSDF facility, he was caught by soldiers, who threatened to kill him if he did not reveal the location of the gang's hideout. Kaji chose to betray his brother and friends, who were killed by the guards, and he has been plagued by guilt ever since. His role in the story is identical to that given in the anime, but there are a number of differences. He talks with Shinji and helps him to remember his mother's disappearance, and tells Shinji of his past to motivate Shinji to return to Nerv after the fight against Bardiel (this takes place in a hidden supplies cellar rather than a watermelon patch). In the anime, Kaji is shot and killed by an unknown assailant; however, in the manga it takes two shots, and Kaji chides the murderer for his poor aim. As he is dying, he sees the shadowy figures of his brother and friends and greets them.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku
In this manga Kaji is Shinji's guardian, a journalist and photographer, who was once a subordinate of Shinji's father. He appears to recognize Kaworu Nagisa upon their first meeting, and also has ties to Misato. He disapproves of Shinji's nightly walks, particularly in light of recent disappearances.
His family name, "Kaji" is written with the characters for 'increase' (加) and 'hold' (持) in Japanese. "Ryoji" was the name of a hero in Minako Narita's manga Aitsu.
- ↑ Script error