Misato retreats to the personnel parking lot and takes refuge inside her car. Hugging one of her knees to her face, and clinging to her father’s Greek cross, she struggles to process everything that’s just come to light.
Her father, Adam, the Angels, the Evas, Kaworu Nagisa. Because of whatever happened between her father and Adam on the day of Second Impact, Misato is connected to all the rest, so intimately that they might as well be family. And, in the one case, actually are . Her ‘vengeance’ scheme is finally exposed as the lie it always was. She was very close to stumbling upon the full truth, back when she admitted to Shinji, “Maybe in the end I just want to get revenge on my father, so I can rid myself of him.” If Nagisa is slain, then Misato will, in a very real sense, be rid of her father at last. But now that the moment is potentially upon her, she’s not sure she can deal with it. She’s not sure she even wants it.
Some of the last things her father said to her are echoing in her head.
‘I want you to see the bright new future take wing, with your own eyes.
‘Soon, Misato, very soon… no one will have to cry anymore.’
Right now, it’s hard to keep herself from crying. Images from that day are flooding back through gates of memory she tried to weld shut long ago.
Her father’s figure silhouetted against the bright lights. The metallic-green suit with all its plugs and valves, clinging to his painfully thin body. Thick bundles of wires and cables, hanging like vines and sprawling across the floor. A vast wall of pale flesh that seemed to go on forever, violated with all manner of instrumentation. A giant, utterly terrifying face with huge red eyes and the visage of Death itself. Her father’s sad, soulful brown eyes, framed by shaggy purple bangs, looking her way… a weary but gentle smile on his lips, intended only for her.
During their last months together, Misato was cold to him. She no longer feigned filial reverence. The man wasn’t worthy of her respect, social mores be damned. Misato didn’t want to be down there at that godforsaken base where it was too dark and too cold, and the food was crap, and there were no other kids, and she had nothing to do other than study. She would have been perfectly happy staying with her aunt. As happy as she could possibly be given the circumstances, anyway. Mom, right before she died, had entrusted Misato to her sister. But somehow, Father got around that. Nobody knew how, but he did, and they couldn’t do a damn thing. Seemed he had made some friends in high places, and was totally okay with wielding their larger-than-life influence if it meant getting what he wanted. Unusually scummy for him; he’d shown no interest in custody — none at all — back when the divorce was actually happening.
Even though, on the base, Misato treated him as badly as she thought she could get away with, her father just kind of rolled with the punches. He kept trying to talk to her and spend time with her anyway. It was really weird and didn’t feel like him at all. But Misato refused to give in. All of this was his fault, after all. She wouldn’t let him reap any reward from the circumstances. If he had really wanted to show he cared, he would have dropped everything and come back to Japan. But he didn’t. Because none of this was about Misato, or him becoming a better father to her. This was just him selfishly using her to numb his own pain, without a single shred of regard for her own feelings. She might have only been thirteen, but his motivations couldn’t have been any more obvious. And if he was in pain? Good! He deserved it. He deserved to hurt, and suffer, and keep on hurting.
For the most part he was as childishly self-absorbed as ever, not to mention mercurial: peppy and outgoing as long as he was surrounded by people who adored him, and a miserable wreck when he had nothing to lean on but his own troubled thoughts. But his extremes seemed so much worse in those final months. And the whole time Misato was down there, Father’s mouth might have smiled, but his eyes never again did. They were always sad. Always. As much as Misato seemingly delighted in his emotional pain, it was actually kind of disconcerting, just how much Mom’s death changed him. Something in him, somewhere, truly did care about her.
Misato knew that the crew was preparing for a ground-breaking experiment. But she was just a “special guest” with very limited access to the facilities. She didn’t really know anything. Father became increasingly busy and appointed a trusted associate to keep an eye on her. One of the only Katsuragi Team members whose name she can remember offhand: Sakaru Tsubaki. He was some sort of multi-disciplinarian who led efforts to map the labyrinthine interior of GF-01 and engage in material analysis of the structure. She resisted him at first. He had a reputation as a grouch and pessimist, and it was obvious a lot of the crew didn’t like him. He quickly won her over, though. More than most, he seemed acutely aware of the absurdities of the adult world. He always knew exactly what to say to Misato to make her feel better, no matter how bad her mood on any given day. Though he was on good terms with Father, he, like Misato, saw straight through the man’s bullshit. It was nice having someone there with a grounded view of the guy — neither overly reverent, nor critical without basis.
One thing about the upcoming experiment that Tsubaki didn’t even try to hide from Misato was his complete and utter disapproval. Misato got the sense that he’d done everything in his power to dissuade Father from volunteering himself, and felt both disappointment in his friend, and an overwhelming sense of personal failure, that he had not managed to stop him.
Her father was an idiot. But she was an idiot too. And she only figured that out when it was far too late to do anything about it. It wasn’t until the day that it happened that Misato finally understood. Once she saw the true scale, and the pure concentrated horror , of that experiment, she couldn’t get the thought out of her head that this was all just a very elaborate suicide. Misato blamed him for Mom, he knew she blamed him, and so this would make everything “right”. Was this ‘bright future’ simply one where he didn’t exist? ‘Everything would be better if I were dead’, was that what he was thinking??
She remembers now, after Adam started glowing and making the air uncomfortably warm, Tsubaki was the one who risked himself to disconnect Father. Everyone else would have left him down there to die, and, given the circumstances, they could hardly be blamed. But his friend saved him, and somehow Tsubaki convinced him to take Misato and run for the emergency life pods on the surface, in the facility where the S 2 engine mock-up was being built. In the end, her father rejected the easy escape of death — only to be mortally wounded by a sudden and unexpected explosion.
In the moments between Misato accepting her father’s hand, and her losing consciousness, she filled her mind with silly fantasies to ward away the paralyzing nightmare happening all around them. They would escape from here. They would go home. They’d leave all of this behind… become a family again. She wouldn’t be mean to him anymore. He wouldn’t be scared of her anymore. They’d be able to talk about the boring everyday things, joke with each other, have fun together. Misato would get older and she’d start dating, and Father would tell her how nice her boyfriend was. Maybe Father would recover from his heartbreak, and he’d find someone again, and Misato would get a new mom, one who wasn’t always crying…
A beautiful dream dismantled with a single bloody tear.
Misato is clinging to Father’s necklace so hard that her knuckles have gone white. All the promises in the world can’t keep this pain dammed up. All at once, she starts sobbing.
“I hate you…!” she sputters between her knees. “I didn’t want you to die! I never really wanted that! I just wanted you to be my dad… I wanted a future with you in it!!” She butts her forehead against the steering wheel repeatedly, desperate to distract herself from what she’s feeling inside. It’s like there’s a knife in her gut being twisted round and round, and trying to pull it out would only make everything hurt more. Emotion overwhelms her senses to such an extent that it takes her several seconds to even notice that her horn is going off, let alone care enough to do anything about it.
After what happened to Mom… why, just why, did he have to do what he did, and leave her all alone? Why did he think his own life was worth throwing away … at something like that? Why did he think Misato, the daughter who terrified him, who surely just hated him, needed to see it? Was he truly so deluded that he thought she would forgive him if he killed himself too?
She had blamed him for everything, but, really, it was all her own damned fault. She never even tried to understand him. People would tell her how “sensitive” he was, and she just blew it off as the lame excuse it surely was. Misato’s total lack of empathy pushed him away and into acts of desperation. It was all on her. She didn’t do anything for Mom when she needed it, either. After the divorce, all Mom could do was torture herself for giving up on someone she still loved — while Misato could only celebrate and look forward to life without him.
Misato was just a stupid kid who thought she was above it all, but, really, she didn’t understand anything. She brought that stupidity into her first and only relationship, too. Kaji — just like her father, a man Misato wounded deeply. And, just like her father, a man who ultimately threw his life away.
Suddenly, she thinks about how Kaworu Nagisa had approached her, and how she had responded to him with fear and rejection. It’s going to be the same thing all over again, isn’t it? If Nagisa ends up dead, surely it, too, will be her fault. Because she made him think he had no other option. She’s his only living family on Father's side, but her response to him was no warm welcome. Quite the contrary; the message she sent was, “You’re a freak, and you have no one.”
Through her tears, Misato can see the sweet allure of death. Just being released from all of this and never having to feel pain or fear ever again. Never again shedding a single tear over anything. Misato hates herself. She hates herself more than anything else in the world. None of her happiness has ever been real. She doesn’t deserve to be happy anyway.
But if she just gives up now… if she doesn’t keep on trying to become better, in spite of everything that’s happened… she’ll never forgive herself.
Misato clears the tears from her eyes, starts up her car, and heads for the nearest ramp to the Geofront surface.