Part 2: Analysis
Perhaps the simplest reason for living through the constructed identity would simply be that other people tell us to do so-and this is the first reason that Anno presents in both series. Such a theme is easily identified in Kare Kano simply by considering the family of the main character, Arima Soichiro, a character whom Anno emphasizes significantly more than the original manga artist. Arima's parents had stolen from the family fortune and ran away during Arima's childhood; because of that most of Arima's extended family is unwilling to accept him as anything more than "a guest in the Arima family." In order to repay the one uncle and aunt who remained to raise him, Arima feels obligated to be the perfect student, so that he may maintain the honor of his new parents. In this way Arima is living not his own life, but a life constructed-constructed by the extended family which cannot accept his potential true nature, constructed implicitly by his foster parents who want to see their risky investment become worthwhile. It is possible to argue that Arima is constructing this perfect student identity himself, that is, he chose himself to take on such a persona. But even if this were true, the fact of the matter is that such a persona is constructed rather than inherently real. Even though Arima may have created such an identity on his own, such an identity is not his real one but rather one made up from human observations and interpretations.
More complex psychological theory will become necessary in analyzing our other series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and in particular its focal character, Ikari Shinji. Right from the start of the series it is evident as to who is the oppressive master, as to who is controlling-creating-Shinji's identity: it is his father, Ikari Gendo, who forces his son to take on the identity of the Eva pilot. Shinji's reaction to his father, though, is quite paradoxical: although it is evident from just the first episode that Shinji abhors and does not respect his father, one wonders why, in the twelfth episode, Shinji actually says that he "pilot[s] Eva just to hear my father say those words [of praise]"-he apparently wants his father's approval. How can we explain Shinji's desire for praise from a man he so clearly hates?
A Freudian analysis of Shinji, especially in the context of the Oedipal complex, provides a partial answer, both to this paradoxical relationship with father and to the overriding question of why he chooses the constructed image of self. It is not an unreasonable analysis to make, since there is clear evidence that Anno was heavily influenced by Freud-one episode of Evangelion is entitled "The Oral Stage," making a clear reference to the earliest stage of child development in Freudian theory. The area on which Evangelion focuses, however, is not the first but rather the third stage, in which all three of the Eva pilots find themselves, and the problems that come with it, particularly the Oedipal complex. In the Oedipal complex the son fears the father, since the father holds the power of castration, preventing the son of fulfilling his mother's desire. This power held by the father could provide an explanation as to why Shinji hates his father. However, as A.Y.L. points out, because of the castration fear the son wants to please his father in some way, even regardless of this hatred. This not only provides an explanation as to why Shinji desires approval from his father, but more importantly links back to the original message of constructed identity: because the son wants the father's approval, the father has the power to decide what he wants the son to be like-the father has power to create the son's identity. In Shinji's case, this power is manifested in his becoming an Eva pilot at his father's request-Shinji's father has become the creator of Shinji's purpose in life, and thus he has become the creator of Shinji's identity.