Why I like Gendo Ikari
Why do I like Gendo? How could I like such a cold, ruthless, manipulative and calculating individual such as him? It's a question I've asked myself many times.
If it weren't for a few things that happened in my life, I probably would completely be like Gendo, in an emotional sense. In many ways, we share similar traits. I can be rather cold and insensitive at times, and I like to analyse people as well. I'm not a heartless manipulator though. That would be too much, in my opinion.
I've always been fascinated with dark characters, and Gendo is the latest of many. I think my interest in them is an attempt to understand my own darkness. Perhaps by understanding Gendo's dark side, I can understand my own.
I admit, when I first saw Gendo in episode 01, I was not too impressed with him. He seemed a bit dark, but there was nothing really outstanding about him then. However, as more episodes went by, I became more and more fascinated with him. His confidence, insight and the ability to manipulate people was facinating. The sense of denied emotion and loss is apparent if you look at Gendo a bit deeper past the surface. And in episode 21 (The flashback episode), we get to see what he was like when he was younger. This was the episode where I realized why I liked him so much. Our pasts are quite similar. His personality inspired contempt and hatred from his peers. I know full well what it's like to be hated by your peers, as well as the need for disconnecting your emotions. Whether this was deliberate or accidental, the result was the same.
I have a theory why Gendo acts the way he does. Note that this is merely my own opinion from what I've seen in the series. I could be way off with this...
As with most neurosis and personality traits, they were determined in childhood by parental influence. There is an excellent chance that one or both of his parents were cold toward him, or perhaps he lost one of them when he was young. So in his mind, he became convinced that no one could possibly love him. So he became crippled, emotionally. In order to cope, he suppressed most of his emotions, becoming very cold and detached. The only thing left was a sort of contempt for humanity. When he finally met Yui, something happened. Gendo felt love for the first time. Yui probably felt and understood his pain, and gave him what he had wanted all of his life... acceptance. Since Gendo had suppressed his emotions, his love for Yui was especially strong. After Yui disappeared, his love for her was transformed into an all-consuming obsession. He would use everyone and everything to achieve what he wanted, which was to be reunited with Yui. I mean, he was willing to do absolutely anything to be reunited with her... even destroy the human race. If he was truly heartless he would not have gone to such extremes to be reunited with a woman he "used".
Gendo has been known by many nicknames. "Grade-A Jerk" being the most common. Other more thoughtful names include "The Master of Human Chess", and "The Ultimate Stalker". It's amazing how he can generate such hatred in people...
In conclusion, I think Gendo is a facinating character, someone to watch from afar, rather than up close. Would I like to have him as a father? Probably not. I understand his pain, and know that he needs to be left alone.