What was Yui Ikari’s agenda?
Throughout this series of analysis articles, I will assume that the reader is reasonably familiar with the source material; that is, I’ll assume you’ve seen the show at least once. I won’t go too deep down the rabbit hole except to make my point and attempt to back it up with that source.
Neon Genesis Evangelion, and it’s associated movie and franchise, gives us very little to go on with character background, but this much is clear: their mutual teacher, Professor Kozou Fuyutsuki, believed to an extent that biology student Gendo Rokubungi was attracted to bioengineering student Yui Ikari for her talents and the backing of Seele, a secret organization who sought the control how the world ended with the intent that their cabal become akin to a collective god.
Throughout the show and fifteen years after their college days, Rokubungi, known as Commander Ikari, having taken his, later, wife’s name, is seen as something of a vague antagonist; being, at the least, an unreasonable authority figure in an organization meant to save the world from a supposed extraterrestrial threat.
But what if this impression is mistaken?
One point that is never made clearer than “It is so mankind is never forgotten,” is Yui Ikari’s agenda in all this. As the lead scientist in the program intending to construct giant bio-machines to “save the world,” she is given next to no screen time and the viewer is left with less than a full impression of the mother of the main character, Shinji Ikari. In fact, the first half of the series could be seen as a much more general giant robot show than history gives it credit for, given how little characterization really comes through in those earlier episodes.
For the sake of argument, I want to state out right that Yui Ikari is the mastermind of every action Gendo Ikari would take following her death ten years before the story began; that the layout for the control system of the giant, humanoid Evangelion, both artificial piloting programs, and even the abandonment of her and Gendo’s son were planned out in advance – by Yui.
That means not only am I positing that Yui Ikari engineered her death, but also her son witnessing the event, possibly having his memory erased and, given that the piloting mechanism is based on the pilot’s emotional connection to the interface, instigating Gendo to abandon the boy to break any chance of an emotional connection to anyone else.
The point of this exercise is not to prove anything, but rather to point out that there is more to fiction that the surface entertainment value. At a glance, Yui Ikari, scientist and mother, was dedicated to her job and family; a woman who met an unfortunate end possibly at the hands of her husband or co-workers. Behind everything, she could very well have single-handedly designed the plan to control the end of the world and immortalize mankind through a mecha.