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|“||The human being forget things to survive, but there are certain things that should not be forgotten.||„|
|~ Gendo Ikari|
Gendo Ikari is a major antagonist in the franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion. He appears as an anti-hero 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, the third film in the Rebuild of Evangelion series. He is expected to return in the role of central antagonist of the latest 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.
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 appearences 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 bioenginering students in Japan. Despite any ulterior motives Gendo might have had in approaching in 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, one experiment funded by SEELE at the south pole to seize Adam, the seed of life created by the First Ancestral Race. Gendo, as well as chairman Keel of SEELE, visited the side in August/September 2000, with Gendo doing work as an auditor. Eventually, on September 13, the scientists reactivated Adam through a contact expieriment that appearently went wrong, causing Adam to break loose 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. It was during this time that him and Yui's son, Shinji was born.
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 treathened to go public with the evidence he had managed to gather. Gendo, however, had appearently 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 convience 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.
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. Immediatly 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 (although unbeknowst 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 Surpreme 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 appearence of a young child, and passed her off as a daugther of a friend he was looking after.
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 NERVTo quell the scandal left by the death, Chairman Keel had Gehirn disbanded and reorganised 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 thet 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 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 Longius 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, dimissing 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 organistation. At first, they inicated 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 preoccopation, however, none of them noticed that Ritsuko used the confusion to sneak away from her guards...
SEELE's next move followed almost immediatly. Having beforehand convinced the Japanese government that NERV was planning Third Impact, the prime minister had stationed a JSSDF strike force, consisting of soldiers, allitery, and aircrafts just outside Tokyo-3. Giving the prime minster the go-ahead, the strike force was orded to assault NERV HQ with everything they had, and to take no prisoners. When reports of armed invaders started flodding 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 preperations 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.
Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga)
Whle 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 sacrifice 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 to responds by trying to punch him, but is held back by Kaji; Shinji screams that he never wants to see him again. Gendo 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 most of the acts passed in the films, so his goals and methods are essentially the same.
In the third part of the series, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (not) Redo, takes place a time shift 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 ended up became main antagonist from WILL-E side as well as behave similar to him).
After take place the battle against the Angel Zeruel, the Eva-01 piloted by Shinji entered in awakening mode after seize a S2 Motor, absorbing within itself the young pilot and opening a Door of Guf with which occurred a third impact. Although the impact was interrupted the level of disaster brought the world to a state of uninhabitable that caused the mass extinction of most living species and most of humanity.
After the catastrophe the former members of the Nerv’s staff understood that Gendo's ambitions were never prevent Third Impact, but provoke him, and rebelled against him. Gather the rest of the survivors of humanity they formed the Wille organization, led by Captain Misato Katsuragi and Dr. Ritsuko Akagi dedicated exclusively to destroy 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 is unknown it is possible to see that the subsequent clashes made that the head of Lilith stay in the old bridge of Nerv while her body was trapped in the central dogma impaled by two Loginus Lances along with an inactive Eva Mark 6. It was also implied that was destroyed the 11th angel 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 Ayanami Series and other weapons of mass destruction, including clones in mass of Eva Mark 6 and cyber clones of angels inspired in Eva's designs, called the Nemesis Series. With his weapons ravaging the earth to wipe out the Wille’s forces Gendo becamein the ruler de facto of the uninhabited post-apocalyptic world.14 years after the Third Impact the WILLE’s Evas rescued the Eva Unit 01 which was orbiting the earth in an isolation chamber protected by Nemesis Series, rescuing in the process to Shinji, whose body was already reassembled unconscious inside the Eva. WILLE rescued the Evangelion to use it as power source of AAA Wunder, giant airship became their mobile headquarters, so Gendo sent the Nemesis series to stop them and then to Eva Mark 09 piloted by Rei-III to recapture his son, 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 successor by rescue the Longinus Lances from the dogma terminal. Shinji fulfilled the order in team human-angel Kaworu Nagisa, believing that recovering the lances they could reverse the damage left to World by the Third Impact (apparently misled as part of the plan of Gendo). During the search began a new battle against Wille’s Evas, during which to recover the Lances was released on the 12th Angel. 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 soon would 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 took place a full battle with Wille starring by the Wunder itself, but the self-sacrifice of Kaworu, who committed suicide inside his plug made that Eva lost its power and the Door of Guf closed, 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 everything went according to his plans.
Extremely cold, calculating, manipulative and selfish, Gendo was seen by most people in his youth as a bully ruffian, being his wife Yui the only capable of find kindness in him. After the disappearance of his wife Gendo entered a state of shock and delusion that could never completely overcome. Completely absorbed in his obsessive goal of recover 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 you see fulfilled his plans. Only the possible disobedience of his subordinates can make him to demonstrate the fiercest 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 relationships with his son Shinji, it was revealed that their fractured familial bonds between them have beyond any hope of restoration ever since he abandoned him. The great pain and rage over losing his wife Yui drove Gendo to abandoned Shinji and later manipulated him in whatever way is necessary as pawn in his machinations to bring her back regardless of how much this hurts him. This worsened by the fact that at the same time, Shinji was already fractured so much that he unable to do his best to do what is necessary to win Gendo's acceptance, as shown in the fight against Bardiel who possessed Eva Unit-03 where he unwilling to harm it because its pilot (Asuka in reboot films or Toji in original anime and manga) trapped inside. In respond of this, Gendo, instead of telling his son to take a third option to pulled the trapped pilot out from the possessed Eva, activated Shinji's Eva Unit-1's Dummy System that resulting the said Eva brutally maimed Bardiel and severely injured the pilot inside, with Shinji unable to do anything about it. Since Gendo too absorbed in his obsessive goal of recover Yui in any costs and takes no restraint in sacrificing his bonds with Shinji in spite of briefly improved it once and other people's life if it deemed necessary, there's actually none that Shinji can do to restore their doomed relationships.
- His seiyu is Fumihiko Tachiki, who also portrays to Don Krieg in One Piece, Megatronus in Japanese dub of 2015 TV Series Transformers: Robots in Disguise Japanese dub. and Kenpachi Zaraki in Bleach.
- "Gendo" means "ilusion", Rokobunyi "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 may be a reference to Elektra syndrome.
- During the Giant Impact he admitted that the reason why he abandoned Shinji is because he feared the memories of Yui.
- His visors in Evangelion 3.0 are very similar to those of Keel Lorenz, leader of SEELE. This suggests that he is the new head of SEELE.
- Due to his actions, Gendo Ikari might be the main villain of the entire universe of Gainax anime (including that of Gurren Lagann).