WikiHow is an instructional site started by aliens to bring down humanity from the inside, beginning with our most gullible and least capable. Every how-to is not only incorrect, but escalates stakes in such a way that you are guaranteed to be ruined as a human being by the end of it. If you look up how to get into AirSoft and carefully follow every step, you’ll wind up the cause of a piercing cellphone alert by the end of it. If you look up how to cosplay as your favorite anime character, you’ll get a step-by-step guide to suicide. I was joking about the first one, I think, until I actually look up the “How to Get into Airsoft” page. I am not at all joking about the second one.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most famous and influential anime ever produced, so already everyone interesting is totally lost, and everyone I don’t want to talk to knows exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re one of the cool kids who thinks “Neon Genesis Evangelion” is an autocorrect disaster you get trying to research a used Hyundai, let me break it down for you: Schoolgirls, giant robots, confusing metaphysical bullshit, something something killing and/or becoming god.
It has all the anime hallmarks. It may actually be the reason all anime is that!
The main character of Neon Genesis Evangelion is Shinji Ikari, who is the anime Holden Caulfield. Shinji Ikari sucks shit. That’s the point of him. He’s a totally ruined little boy who fails in every direction at once and spends his days mentally rehearsing long speeches about how that’s all your fault. Nobody wants to be Shinji, and that very much includes Shinji. So already this guide is for nobody, and it’s going to teach them how to do something they don’t want to do, and it’s going to do that completely wrong. But here’s an important quirk: You look at the bottom of the images below and they’ll tell you the page is called “How to Cosplay as Shinji Ikari.”
That’s a lie. That is a lie WikiHow is telling you, I presume to escape the class action lawsuit you’ll join by the end of this article. Check that red box in the image above: The original title was “How to Act Like Shinji Ikari,” which is a very different thing. Don’t worry, this guide is still about acting like Shinji. The title is the only part they changed. It’s the work ethic you’d expect from the site that pays impoverished artists to trace film stills for 3 Cedi per page.
Let’s get the cosplay part over with:
Wear slacks and a white shirt. This is nothing. Nobody wants to dress like this at Comic Con, they’ll think you’re a Mormon there to protest. This is what every drunk waiter is wearing two hours after pulling a double. This is how far you’ll get undressing a magician before the charm of the hidden handkerchief trick wears off and you leave him to masturbate into his bottomless top hat. Nobody is looking up an article about how to dress like Shinji Ikari.
“Help! What are those, slacks?” Fuck you, WikiHow, you fail at existence.
I will give the artist credit, they really capture the spirit of cosplay, which is the art of looking almost like an anime character but less attractive.
But this is it. This is the only part of the cosplay article that teaches you how to cosplay. There weren’t even tracks for this to veer off – they built four feet of rails that led straight into the side of an orphanage.
Step 1: Learn to stalk an anime character.
This page could end here and it would already ruin a life. This is it: This is how you build a subhuman. “Learn to stalk an anime character” is the Baby Shoes Never Worn of unwashed 13 year olds. You don’t even need to specify that it’s Shinji Ikari to unravel everything good about a child. But it helps!
I worry those of you unfamiliar with the show aren’t getting the stakes. Here’s something to establish Shinji’s character for you non-anime folks, shredding through this article on your snowboards, dipping your Oakleys to scoff at us Inside Children:
There’s a scene in Neon Genesis Evangelion where one of Shinji’s fellow tween robo-pilots is severely injured, so he goes to the hospital to masturbate to her unconscious body. It’s not played as fun! This is anime, I have to specify that. The scene is there to illustrate what a total shitbag Shinji Ikari is, despite his narcissistic victim delusions.
Study that shit intently, kids! Watch it over and over, learn to get inside his mind at that moment, really internalize his logic until it’s your own. Think about it, really process the logistics of ejaculating to coma patients. That is the only way, the only way to pull off a black-slacks-white-button-down costume. Without it you’re just a valet using his break to hustle nerd tail from the weeb con.
Hey okay fuck you Wikihow. Shinji doesn’t like Gang of Four. Shinji is very clearly the kind of poser kid who listens to music he thinks gives him status rather than stuff he actually enjoys. Just because he found a cool thrift store shirt one time, it doesn’t mean he appreciates the thin pop veneer over the stripped down lo-fi punk foundations of Content – you take it back!
But you can kind of see where the romance of Shinji Ikari might come in for people who skim the anime while playing Genshin Impact on their phone. We’re all suckers for a quiet boy who listens to music a lot. In theory that’s a Baby Driver. Shy boy loves music too much is shorthand for a sweet child with a rich internal life. In theory. In practice it’s more a warning sign for a domestic terrorist, especially since Shinji Ikari is a struggle-dump of a boy who never once listened to Entertainment!.
Fucking just master an instrument for this!
Not to enrich your life, or for the love of music – spend decades of your life perfecting a difficult art because WikiHow said to. And when a tremulous waif moved by your performance asks why you play – you tell her it’s to be more like Shinji Ikari. She either doesn’t know who that is, in which case you have to explain the hospital jerkoff scene until she slaps you in the mouth, or she knows exactly who that is and she will slap you in the mouth before you try to explain the hospital jerkoff scene.
Here it is: Here’s the one step nobody interested in this guide has any trouble with. Look at that boy aggressively avoiding eye contact. That is the thousand-yard stare of a professional girl avoider. That kid successfully made it around the corner without fully seeing a girl before the adrenaline dumped out on him and he threw up in his backpack so he could take the shame home.
Imagine if I was wrong though! The guide thinks you’re not already doing this. It’s written like there are happy extroverted teens with active social lives reading this article, and WikiHow is like “hey Part 2, ditch those losers and learn to cultivate self doubt, idiot.”
Hahaha “become desperate for love.” That’s a step!
That is an actual step somebody wrote down. This is exactly what I’d tell my hypnotized grade school bully to kickstart an elaborate revenge. This is literally reverse therapy.
I mean, credit where it’s due, from the first bullet point it seems like the page kind of wants to warn you about itself.
Become passive and lose agency, WikiHow says. Also don’t wear a sheer shirt – Shinji Ikari wears thicker weaves, that was Step 1. But Step 4 is “lose your free will and learn to love conformity.” Both equally important.
And now we spiral.
Here’s where “How to Act Like Shinji Ikari” earns its Hot Dog wings. This moment right here, when it starts to become self aware. Where the guide itself realizes that every successive step is making you an objectively worse person. This point where even WikiHow, the most oblivious of Wikis, the least sapient of Hows, thinks “oh no, I fucked up! I fucked up! Kid, you need to go – google how to act like Goku, that one just teaches you to abandon your wife and kids for the love of punches!”
You will be bullied for this, and your bullies will be right.
This is a step. “Be more susceptible to bullying.”
This is according to plan! Write down in your journal: “Day 136 of becoming Shinji – Michael pulled down my pants in the cafeteria and the entire school laughed at my bashful penis. It’s working!”
“Step 7: Oh god, I shouldn’t be doing this. I started writing this guide because I desperately need the ramen money, but I didn’t know I’d have to kill a child! There’s no time to edit, I can’t! The WikiHow text editor only scrolls forward like an oldschool Mario game. Some SEO bot crawled this search term, which was probably a dyslexic kid looking for Shinji’s voice actor, and now here I am. Here I am teaching children about the glory of suicide for $6.82 cents a day, and I will have to explain that. I will have to explain that to the devil when my time is come. Step 8. Live With a Penguin: Penguins are often found-“
Let’s head down to the Q&A section and collectively realize that people actually did read this, holy shit, they internalized it, and they want to engage further:
Haha if you don’t have a robot, pretend your bike is the robot! It’s the saddest advice from a parent that doesn’t have time for crafts, especially when you remember that Shinji’s robot was actually some sort of bioengineered motherbeast. Pretend your bike is your mother, who is never coming back! Pretend she loves you but has gone mad from losing her humanity, and then pedal her as hard as you can – pedal your mother, child, pedal her to undo the collective psychic mass of humanity’s sin! Do a bunny hop!
Man, that’s a perfect ending line but WikiHow isn’t done apologizing yet:
Once again, child, you simply must be prepared for scorn.
Step 1. Prepare for scorn.
Step 2. Internalize scorn and realize that it’s earned.
Step 3. Try not to kill yourself – even though Shinji would if he was just a lil’ braver!
This article can never be sorry enough. It ends like every Malibu Comics series: with profuse apologies and passive aggressive blame shifting.
HOT TIP: Life is worth living.
That’s seriously the last line. That’s the way the guide “How to Cosplay as Shinji Ikari” ends: with a firm reminder that there is still some good to be had in life, even though you’re currently using it to learn how to act like a cartoon child sex pest, and you’re taking those lessons from a Journalism School dropout making moral compromises for Hot Pocket money.
This whole thing was a missed opportunity. This should have been about Shinji’s caretaker. She kicked ass. Maybe there’s a “How to Act Like Misato Katsuragi” – all having you get wrecked on tallboys, fuck a lot, own a penguin, and do sweet drifts in your sports car. Let’s see if WikiHow has that shit-