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Misato -- Netzach, the ultimate habit

Essay by Stephen Chung


Katsuragi Misato is easy to analyze -- she is the impersonation of Netzach. In fact, the single most distinctive thing about her throughout the show is her living habits: poor habits in fact. And habit is exactly the qlippah of Netzach, a danger that people will fall into once being in this state.

Her poor habits were reinfoced by her illusion of "projection", that is, imposing herself on others. One must ask whether she knew what other people thought about her being a complete slob, but one must also confront the answer that she simply didn't care, nor did she want to care. She liked curry in her instant Ramen, and so everybody else had to like the same thing. Throughout the show she imposed her likes and dislikes on others with total disregard about their feelings. Such power of projection (the illusion of Netzach) reinforced her bad habits into a vicious cycle. Any rational person having Misato as a roommate will label her "inconsiderate" -- i.e. projecting her bad habits to others.

Strangely enough, Shinji interpreted this as Misato willing to show him the true face of her. This is probably driven by Shinji's inherent mistrust of people.

This tendency to project reaches a climax during a late episode, right after Rei's sacrifice, when Misato tried to comfort Shinji without caring whether he wanted it or not. Soon later, she discovered that it was actually her who was lonely and wanted company -- she finally discovered her hidden feelings that she projected to others.

The virtues and vices of Netzach are also found abound in Misato. She was selfish all the way through (the vice of Netzach) and especially during early episodes. She admitted to wanting Shinji to live with her only because "I consider him a tool that I can use." She also wondered whether her devotion to NERV and its work was only because she wanted to avenge her father's death. "Don't make others suffer for your personal hatred," as this selfishness would come to a stand-off with Ritsuko in the episode of the "post-modernism painting" Angel.

The ideas of projection and selfishness are also summarized clearly in Episode 19 (almost unnecessarily): 

... to be honest, I have been projecting all my dreams, hopes and Purpose onto you. I know it has been a great burden to you, but we, everyone at NERV, have no choice but to entrust our future to you. Just remember that, please.

It is selfish, isn't it?

I know that.

On the other hand, there are far too many incidents that we see Misato executing sacrifices in a totally selfless way -- the virtue of Netzach.

Ultimately, we see that Misato was driven by the vision of Netzach -- that of beauty. She understood that there were certain rights and wrongs in the world, and things that should and shouldn't be done. And this would ultimate drive her forward towards the obligation of Netzach (responsibility) and to the command of Netzach (to know the truth).

Responsibility is an obligation that Misato certainly found difficulties with. Sure, everybody in the show has responsibilities, and some very heavy responsibilities indeed. However, the show seems to constantly emphasize the domestic responsibilities that Misato faced (rather than her responsibilities to defeat the Angles, which were taken for granted in the show). More than once and throughout the show, Misanto was heard saying, "I am a poor guardian." Her responsibility was to Shinji and in this area she certainly failed miserably.

It was not until the very end, in the movies, that she fulfilled this ultimate responsibility in preparing Shinji for what he should do, including dragging Shinji out of his security-hole like a true guardian. When her responsibility was over, she died a peaceful death, knowing that she had done "done well" in the eyes of Kaji.