This Villain was Headlined on June 2020.
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|“||The human being forget things to survive, but there are certain things that should not be forgotten.||„|
|~ Gendo Ikari|
|“||There are also those who desired this disastrous outcome. A world untainted by original sin that no man may enter.||„|
|~ Gendo Ikari|
Gendo Ikari is a major antagonist in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. He appears as one of the main antagonists in the original series, the secondary antagonist of the film The End of Evangelion and the main antagonist of the film Evangelion 3.0: You Can (not) Redo, as well as the last installment of the series, Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0.
As the commander of NERV, he is the main leader of the war to destroy the Angels and one of the masterminds of the Human Instrumentality Project.
In Japanese, Gendo is voiced by Fumihiko Tachiki, who also voiced Akainu, Don Krieg (both from One Piece) and Megatron in the Japanese dub of Transformers: Robots in Disguise. In English, Gendo has been voiced by Ray Chase, Tristan MacAvery, and his current voice actor, John Swasey.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Gendo Rukobungi was born on April 29, 1967. The details of his early life are unknown, although it is implied that he had a markedly rough childhood and adolescence. In early 1999, at the age of 32, Gendo was enrolled as a student at Tokyo University. By his own admission, he had a negative relationship with most of the other students, and was by all appearances quite the recluse, spending much of his free time drinking in bars and getting into the occasional bar fight. Gendo somehow discovered the existence of SEELE, a secret organization composed of incredibly powerful men who worshiped an alien race known as The First Ancestral Race, creators of the human species, whose technology they planned to take. They called their plan The Human Instrumentality Project.
To approach SEELE, Gendo started a relationship with Yui Ikari, daughter of a prominent member of SEELE and one of the brightest bioengineering students in Japan. Despite any ulterior motives Gendo might have had in approaching Yui, she managed to bring out a softer side hidden deep within him, and he soon found himself falling genuinely in love with her, and was soon utterly emotionally devoted to her. This relationship facilitated his becoming a teaching assistant to the professor Kozo Fuyutsuki, a close friend and mentor of Yui, who found himself disliking Gendo because of his own unspoken attraction to his student.
Gendo and Yui eventually got married at some point early in the 21st century, with Gendo gaining Yui's last name, Ikari, with the marriage.
Head of Gehirn
In 1999, the prominent scientist Dr. Katsuragi arranged an expedition, funded by SEELE, to the south pole in hopes of locating Adam, the seed of life created by the First Ancestral Race. Katsuragi's expedition eventually succeed in finding the geofront of the White Moon with a dormant Adam inside; the giant humanoid having been rendered inert by a device which the scientists dubbed "the Lance of Longinus". The expedition then constructed an elaborate science station around the dome in order to study it and its occupant. Gendo, as well as chairman Keel of SEELE, visited the site in August/September 2000, with Gendo doing work as an auditor at the site. Eventually, on September 13, the scientists removed the Lance from Adam and initiated a contact experiment that apparently went wrong, causing Adam to fully awaken and break loose of his bounds and cause Second Impact which caused massive damaged to Earth's climate, triggering a state of catastrophic global unrest for just shy of two years that caused several wars to break out, resulting in the death of half of Earth's human population.
This, however, had been SEELE's plan all along, and Gendo, having been given forewarning, left the site at the south pole along with his team the day before the event, and him and Yui rote out the apocalyptic catastrophe in a secure and secluded location. During this time, Yui, by now pregnant with their child, asked Gendo what to name the child once it was born. Gendo replied that they should name the child "Shinji" if it turned out to be a boy and "Rei" if it was a girl. When the child, Shinji, was finally born, Gendo questioned how his future would be, as he had to grow up in the hellish world left in the wake of Second Impact, but Yui assured him that their child would have plenty of opportunities to find happiness.
As Gendo wanted, his relationship with Yui provided him with great privileges with SEELE, and after the disaster SEELE granted him with leadership of the scientific foundation Gehirn, whose secret goal was to revive Adam, with whose genetic samples the Evangelions were eventually created, as part of the SEELE’s plan to create a divine being with the powers of the First Ancestral Race. One of the very first people Gendo had recruited was Dr. Naoko Akagi, a genius in computers, employing her for the position of chief scientist, and put her work on developing the Magi, a new revolutionary generation of supercomputers.
In 2002, Gendo, on behalf of SEELE, was sent on a scientific expedition to Antarctica, the purpose of which was to investigate the cause of Second Impact. SEELE, however, had a hidden agenda with signing Gendo on the expedition, namely to have him work as an agent to cover up the true reason for Second Impact. But Gendo also had his own agenda, and he in turn pulled some strings and managed to have professor Fuyutsuki, who was now working as an unlicensed doctor in the ruins of Toyohashi City, invited along for the expedition.
Gendo's reason for this first became clear in 2003, when Fuyutsuki, who had cottoned to the truth behind Second Impact and SEELE's involvement in the event confronted him at Gehirn's Headquarters, and threatened to go public with the evidence he had managed to gather. Gendo, however, had apparently planned for Fuyutsuki's visit (with the implication that the incriminating evidence that Fuyutsuki had found was in fact planted by Gendo as bait), and managed to convince him to instead join Gehirn and help him and Yui with the research for Project E, the goal of which was to create a clone of Adam, a so-called Evangelion, to ensure mankind's future.
WIth SEELE's backing, Gehirn made steady process on Project E, and finally had a breakthrough in creating a prototype for an operating Evangelion. But during an experiment taking place in 2004, in which Yui sought to achieve the highest level of synchronization with an Evangelion (Eva Unit 01 Specifically, genetic clone of Lilith, the second seed of life) the Evangelion absorbed Yui, capturing her soul and absorbing her body.
Yui's disappearance was decisively traumatic for Gendo, and his personality was noted to change drastically in the aftermath of the event. Immediately afterwards, Gendo spent a week grieving in isolation, refusing to see or talk to anyone. Upon re-emerging, his first act was to propose a plan to SEELE for achieving Human Instrumentality through Third Impact. This, however, was not his true agenda. In reality, Gendo hoped to harness the power of Instrumentality to allow him to reunite him with Yui's soul.
The only person he shared the truth with was Fuyutsuki, who agreed to help him, but unbeknownst to Gendo, this was because Fuyutsuki was involved with Yui's own plans for Instrumentality. Yui had in fact asked Fuyutsuki to keep an eye on Gendo, and ensure that his actions proceeded according to her plan. As part of his new goal, Gendo, with help from Fuyutsuki, created a set of genetically engineered clones of Yui called the Rei series, individually known as Rei Ayanami, designed to contain the soul of Lilith.
Gendo was also faced with multiple public accusations of being responsible for Yui's "death", having to appear before the Supreme Court for a hearing regarding the incident, but he was eventually cleared of all changes. Meanwhile, he grew cold and distant to his son, Shinji, and eventually abandoned him to live with an acquaintance. He eventually started to be frequently seen in the company of Rei, who due to accelerated growth now had the physical appearance of a young child, and passed her off as a daughter of a friend he was looking after.
At some point, presumably per Yui's instructions, Fuyutsuki allowed Gendo to be partly privy to her plans, namely by telling him that her absorption by Eva Unit 01 had in fact not been a mere accident, but in fact planned by Yui, and Yui had done it in the hopes of subverting SEELE's plans. Fuyutsuki still kept him in dark on the full extend of her plan, however.
Also as part of his goal Gendo made Dr. Akagi his lover to ensure her loyalty while she worked in the creation of the three Magi supercomputers, key instruments for the Human Instrumentality Project. Akagi knew that Gendo had not truly moved on from Yui, despite his claims otherwise, but admitted to him that she did not mind, and was just happy to be in a relationship with him. But during his private moments with Rei, Gendo came to express his contempt for Naoko, and the girl repeated his words to the doctor, and along with the Magi already built she was no longer useful for him. Listening to that, she went mad and killed her in a fit of rage. Naoko then died from a fall from the top of Central Dogma onto the Magi computers below. It is somewhat unclear if the incident was a suicide, but there is little to suggest otherwise.
Commander of NERV
To quell the scandal left by Akagi's death, Chairman Keel had Gehirn disbanded and reorganized into the new organisation NERV, and part of its structure was modified to make it a secret military agency. As part of his machinations, Gendo took Ritsuko, the daughter of Naoko, as his mistress to ensure her loyalty as he had with her mother. He also assigned Fuyutsuki as his second in command, and recruited Misato Katsuragi, a survivor of the team of scientists who caused the Second Impact, as head of military operations.
As the architect of SEELE's plans, Gendo led NERV as the organization intended to destroy the Angels, Children of Adam, to prevent Third Impact and protect humanity. Actually the destruction of the Angels was simply a necessary step by SEELE from conducting their own vision of the Third Impact, as they had discovered the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls. NERV created a series of Eva's designed to fight and destroy the Angels, but Eva's could only be piloted by humans born after the Third Impact, so Gendo chose his son Shinji as a pilot because his soul was compatible with that of his mother Yui, trapped within the Eva Unit 01, without the slightest regard for the feelings of his son at such a frightening task.
Over the war against the Angels the SEELE members increasingly perceived Gendo disregarded their wishes to accomplish his own goals. With each new Angel invading Tokyo-3 that pilots and other staff of NERV increasingly fell to psychological crises and his son was increasingly led to dangers and unimaginable despair without Gendo giving any sign of empathy. As part of his preparations for the Impact, Adam, in an embryonic state, was grafted onto Gendo’s hand, giving him the power to generate an AT field. Also for the emotional crises that carried away his subordinates and his excessive interest in Rei Ayanami, Ritsuko herself ended up hating him and sought betray him in revenge for manipulating her.
Immediately after the destruction of the last angel, Kaworu Nagisa, SEELE held a final meeting with Gendo and Fuyutsuki, during which they confronted them with the fact that they knew about their treachery and delivered an ultimatum; with the Lance of Longinus out of their reach, SEELE was left with no other choice than to use Unit-01, the clone of Lilith, if they wanted to carry out their version of the Human Instrumentality Project, and they demanded that Gendo handed it over to them, or he would face the full force of their wrath. Gendo flat out refused, dismissing their plan as "death", and told them it would "create nothing". An upset Chairman Keel ended the meeting by declaring "Then you deserve death."
SEELE would already make their next move the the following day. By using their control over the UN, they had NERV's special status revoked and had it declared a rogue organization. At first, they initiate a hacking attack of NERV HQ's Magi computer to force it to lower the facility's defenses, using its sister units in the other international branches of NERV. Gendo countered them by ordering the release of Ritsuko, to have her install a firewall that could keep the hacking attempt at bay indefinitely. Both Gendo and Fuyutsuki knew, however, that this was just the beginning of SEELE's attack. In their preoccupation, however, none of them noticed that Ritsuko used the confusion to sneak away from her guards.
SEELE's next move followed almost immediately. Having beforehand convinced the Japanese government that NERV was planning Third Impact, the prime minister had stationed a JSSDF strike force, consisting of soldiers, artillery, and aircrafts just outside Tokyo-3. Giving the prime minster the go-ahead, the strike force was ordered to assault NERV HQ with everything they had, and to take no prisoners. When reports of armed invaders started flooding the radio channels, Gendo, realizing that it was time for the endgame, asked Fuyutsuki to see the battle through for him, while he left to make the final preparations to complete his plan. Fuyutsuki, in turn, asked him to send Yui his regards.
Gendo then found Rei, mediating amongst the remains of her dead "sisters", and asked her to follow him, telling her that it was time, not noticing the cold glare she gave him.
While NERV staff defended the HQ from the siege, Ritsuko attempted exact her revenge on Gendo. She confronted him and Rei in Central Dogma, where she held them at gunpoint, revealing that she had programmed the Magi computer to trigger NERV HQ's self-destruct mechanism, and would thereby rob Gendo of his triumph. But the emotions of her mother, Dr. Naoko, implanted in the Magi prevented her plan from succeeding. As Ritsuko was distraught over the fact her mother chose him over her, Gendo took advantage of the distraction to turn the tables on her, and drew his own gun, before shooting her.
While the battle took place between Eva's, Gendo decided to continue his plan to reunite with Yui, merging his mixed DNA with that of Adam with Rei Ayanami, who he believed to have complete loyalty, to transform her along the Unit 01 into his Deity Puppet. But Rei-III, influenced by the love that in her previous life had felt for Shinji, rebelled against Gendo and snatched from him the DNA of Adam.
While Third Impact occurred, the human souls released by the dissolution of their AT Fields led to Gendo to meet the spirit of Yui, who reproached him for not having protected Shinji. Gendo in turn admits to her that he left Shinji alone because, without her at his side, he was afraid that he could only bring harm to his son. He confesses that deep down he believes nobody can love him, and that he's undeserving of any love. Kaworu and Rei then confront him, telling him that it was his own lack of trust in other people that led him down this path, telling him that his fear of being betrayed caused him to close off his heart. Yui then transformed in a demonic version of Unit-01, and picked Gendo up in her hand. Gendo states that "...this is my retribution", and the spectral Unit-01 bites off his torso as he utters his final words: "Forgive me, Shinji." The camera then shifts back to Terminal Dogma, where the lower half of Gendo's body is seen, still standing, with his torso severed.
While his role remain same in Sadamoto's manga, Gendo is shown to be more antagonistic towards Shinji than in the anime, first shown when he calls his son a "coward" when he refuses to pilot Unit-01. Later, while Shinji is recovering, Gendo checks on Rei in the hospital, but barely acknowledges his own son. To make matter worse, in his last moments, it's revealed that in his efforts to reunite with Yui, he sacrificed whatever love that he supposedly gave to Shinji against Yui's wishes, which made him more malicious, if not truly malevolent.
Gendo activates Unit-01's Dummy System in the battle against Bardiel, resulting in the death of Tōji Suzuhara, the pilot of the possessed Unit-03. After Shinji uses Unit-01 to damage the cage, Gendo calls on Kaji to bring Shinji to his office. Shinji asks his father if he has anything to say to him, which Gendo does not answer. Shinji responds by trying to punch him, but is held back by Kaji; Shinji screams that he never wants to see him again. Gendo's response to this is the same as in the anime; to have Shinji removed from NERV's records.
When Zeruel attacks and Rei fails to activate Unit-01, he heads down to the cage to try and get the Dummy System to work, which proves futile. Gendo, in his first act of distress, frantically asks why Unit-01 (and by extension, Yui) is rejecting him, to which Shinji's picture appears on the screens. This, and Shinji's sudden reappearance in the cage to do battle against Zeruel, surprises Gendo.
Just as in the anime, SEELE begins to doubt Gendo's trustworthiness after Unit-01 absorbs Zeruel's S² Engine. This results in them sending Kaworu Nagisa in order to spy on Gendo and NERV. Gendo increasingly defies SEELE while he continues to further his plan to take control of the Human Instrumentality Project. He later swallows Adam instead having it grafted to his hand.
During the invasion of NERV by the JSSDF, Gendo saves Shinji by projecting an AT Field from his left hand, which now has Adam embedded within. Gendo reveals the extent of his madness, telling Shinji that he has never loved him and that he used to feel jealous of the attention Yui gave to him, as well as detailing his plan to use Third Impact to become God and destroy humanity while reuniting with Yui. Gendo asks Shinji to pilot Unit-01 once again to aid in his plans, since Shinji has experienced loss and can now understand Gendo. Misato appears, however, and urges Shinji not to listen to his father.
After aiding Shinji and Misato's escape from the JSSDF, Gendo descends into Terminal Dogma to convince Rei to merge with Adam. As in The End of Evangelion, he shoots Ritsuko when she attempts to self-destruct NERV Headquarters to stop them. However, much to Gendo's surprise and anguish, Rei rejects him and destroys Adam, merging with Lilith without ever having absorbed the latter. After Rei/Lilith ascends from Terminal Dogma, Gendo is shot through the neck by a still-living Ritsuko in her final act. A vision of Yui confronts him as he lays dying, asking him to remember the first time he felt love for Shinji. After confessing that he has only caused his son pain, Gendo remembers Shinji as a newborn baby—the first time he felt love for him, and realizes that what Yui wanted (through the Evangelion project) was a better world for them to live in as a family. He thus redeems his soul in his final moments.
Rebuild of Evangelion
In the remake series Rebuild of Evangelion, Gendo, like other characters, plays a lot like the original series role in the first two parts of the series, Evangelion 1.0 You Are (not) Alone and Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance. It can be assumed that most of the history of his origin before the start of the plot is essentially the same as in the TV series, as demonstrated by most of the same events happening and playing out similarly, so his goals and methods are essentially the same.
The third part of the series, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (not) Redo, takes place in a time skip of 14 years in which the plot of the series takes a new plot twist diverging from the original story, and in this, far from his original position as an alternative villain to Seele, Gendo assumes full antagonism of history (with Misato Katsuragi ironically somewhat ending up becoming the main antagonist from WILL-E's side and behaving similar to him).
After the battle against the Angel Zeruel takes place, the Eva-01 piloted by Shinji entered in awakening mode after seizing a S2 Motor, absorbing within itself the young pilot and opening a Door of Guf with which made a Third Impact occur. Although the impact was interrupted, the level of disaster still made the world uninhabitable enough that it caused the mass extinction of most living species and most of humanity.
After the catastrophe, the former members of NERV's staff understood that Gendo's ambitions were never to prevent Third Impact, but provoke it, and rebelled against him. Gathering the rest of the survivors of humanity, they formed the WILLE organization, led by Captain Misato Katsuragi and Dr. Ritsuko Akagi, which was dedicated exclusively to destroying NERV and SEELE to prevent future impacts and ensure the future of the dying human race.
Although much of the events that occurred after the disaster are unknown, it is possible to see during the subsequent clashes that the head of Lilith stayed in the old bridge of NERV while her body was trapped in the central dogma impaled by two Longinus Lances along with an inactive Eva Mark 6. It was also implied that the 11th angel was destroyed during this period while the 12th was lying trapped in the Mark 6.
To destroy WILLE, Gendo and Fuyutsuki created new Evangelion units piloted by the Ayanami Series and other weapons of mass destruction, including clones in mass of Eva Mark 6 and cyber clones of angels inspired by Eva's designs, called the Nemesis Series. With his weapons ravaging the earth to wipe out WILLE's forces, Gendo became the de facto ruler of the uninhabited post-apocalyptic world.
14 years after Third Impact, the WILLE’s Evas rescued the Eva Unit 01, which was orbiting the earth in an isolation chamber protected by the Nemesis Series, and rescued Shinji in the process, whose body was already reassembled unconscious inside the Eva. WILLE rescued the Evangelion to use it as a power source of AAA Wunder, a giant airship which became their mobile headquarters, so Gendo sent the Nemesis series first to stop them and then to Eva Mark 09 piloted by Rei-III to recapture his son and recruit him again as his pilot to go ahead with his plans.
Once again reunited with his confused son, Gendo entrusted him to pilot the Eva Unit 13, Unit 01's successor, to rescue the Longinus Lances from the dogma terminal. Shinji fulfilled the order with team human-angel Kaworu Nagisa, believing that by recovering the lances, they could reverse the damage left by Third Impact (apparently misled as part of the plan of Gendo). During the search began a new battle against WILLE’s Evas, with the 12th Angel being released during this time. By consuming it and appropriating its N2 Motor, Unit 13 awoke and turned the Mark 09 in an Adam Vessel, starting the Fourth Impact, where Gendo said that he would soon meet with Yui.
As the Impact happened, Gendo and Fuyutsuki defused the now silent monoliths of Seele promising that their plans would be fulfilled. Meanwhile, a full battle with WILLE took place involving the Wunder itself, but the self-sacrifice of Kaworu, who committed suicide inside his plug, made the Eva lose its power and caused the Door of Guf to close, preventing the impact reset to complete life on Earth. After the battle, Captain Katsuragi and Gendo withdrew their forces, postponing the continuation of the war. Gendo concluded that even then, everything went according to his plans.
A loner by nature and notorious for frequently visiting bars and getting into drunken brawls, Gendo was seen by most people in his youth as somewhat of a delinquent and thug. Gendo himself claimed that the frequent fighting he was involved in was often the result of happenstance, rather than any deliberate provoking on his behalf, noting that most people quickly seemed to take an almost instinctive dislike to him. His relationship with his wife, Yui, was by all appearances the only happy and stable one he ever had, and she was the only one capable of bringing out kindness in him. After the disappearance of his wife, Gendo entered a state of shock and delusion that he could never completely overcome. Completely absorbed in his obsessive goal of recovering her, Gendo buried almost all his emotions, becoming a cold unfathomable being, only able to express kindness to his adopted daughter (and Yui's clone), Rei Ayanami.
Most of the time Gendo is pondering his machinations, without showing any kind of fear or passion even in situations of combat, he expressed only slight signs of satisfaction when his plans were being fulfilled. Only the possible disobedience of his subordinates could make him demonstrate fierce military discipline, and not in few cases a very calculated cruelty. All the staff of NERV obey him properly, but find hard to treat with him.
In terms of his relationship with his son Shinji, it was revealed that the fractured familial bond between them have been beyond any hope of restoration ever since he abandoned him. The great pain and rage over losing his wife Yui drove Gendo to abandon Shinji and later manipulate him in whatever way was necessary as a pawn in his machinations to bring her back, regardless of how much this hurt him. This was worsened by the fact that at the same time, Shinji was already fractured so much that he was unable to do his best to do what was necessary to win Gendo's acceptance, as shown in the fight against Bardiel, who possessed Eva Unit-03, where he was unwilling to harm it because its pilot (Asuka in reboot films or Toji in original anime and manga) was trapped inside. In response to this, Gendo, instead of telling his son to take a third option and find a way to rescue the trapped pilot from the possessed Eva, activated Shinji's Eva Unit-1's Dummy System that resulted in the Eva brutally maiming Bardiel and severely injuring the pilot inside, with Shinji unable to do anything about it. Since Gendo was too absorbed in his obsessive goal of recovering Yui at any cost and being completely willing sacrifice his bond with Shinji in spite of briefly improving it and other people's lives when he deemed it necessary, there was very little that Shinji could do to restore their doomed relationship.
- "Gendo" means "ilusion", Rokobungi "sextant" and Ikari "anchor". The sextant and anchor are instruments of navigation. Probably not by accident many of the Evangelion's characters have names inspired form WWII's ships.
- His relationship with Rei might hint an Elektra syndrome.
- During the Giant Impact, he admitted that the reason why he abandoned Shinji is because he feared the memories of Yui.
- Additionally, Gendo is generally considered one of the worst fathers in all of fiction for forsaking his familial bond to Shinji Ikari.
- His visors in Evangelion 3.0: You Can (not) Redo are very similar to those of Keel Lorenz, the leader of SEELE. This suggests that he is the new head of SEELE.
Gargoyle | SEELE (Keel Lorenz | Gendo Ikari | Kaworu Nagisa) | Lordgenome | The Four Supreme Generals (Thymilph the Raging Wave | Adiane the Elegant | Guame the Immovable | Cytomander the Swift) | Viral (Gurren Lagann) | Anti-Spiral | Ghosts (Big Brown Eye | The Fast And Not So Furious | Queen Bee | Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf | Cowpers | Hell Pound | The Fabulous Lingerie Ghost | Oscar the Snot | Boogey Pukey | Loser Ghost | The Fallen | Money Ghost | Wife Petter | Other Gods) | Cocktimus Prime | Corset | Mingeatron | Scanty and Kneesocks | Stocking | Stockingcons