EP 2

Many critics and fans credit the success of hit anime Evangelion to the way in which the franchise realistically examines the psychological effects of one of Japanese animation’s standard plot setups, in which a teenage boy must pilot a giant robot to save the world from alien attackers. To its credit, Evangelion does a fine job of answering how the mind of Shinji, its young protagonist, would react to the fear of putting his life on the line, the pressure of acting as humanity’s savior, and the sexual frustration of having the hots for almost every one of the few women he’s had a conversation with, but there’s one question the show’s never dealt with.

How much does Shinji earn?

It’s easy to forget while the anime is slapping viewers in the face with Shinji’s infamous ineffectualness, but the fact is that the boy does something of tremendous societal value. The number of people who have what it takes to be a combat pilot is small enough in the real world, let alone in the setting of Evangelion, where half the Earth’s population has been killed during the regular visits by hostile otherworldly entities.

There’s also the stated fact that only 14-year-olds can pilot the titular Evangelion mecha. Throughout the whole series, we come across just six individuals capable of doing so, which makes Shinji a member of a very small and select group of professionals, without whom the world will be destroyed. So let’s see how lucratively he’d be rewarded for his services to human society, as calculated by Japanese wage research organization Heikin Nenshu.

▼ Because whether you work in a cubicle or an entry plug, everyone likes to get paid.

EP 4

The average monthly base pay for a pilot in Japan’s Air Self Defense Forces is 150,000 yen (US $1,470 a month. Multiply that by 12, and you get a base salary of 1.8 million yen ($17,640) for the year. This may seem ludicrously low, but Heikin Nenshu points out that there are several income supplements for this line of work.

For example, Shinji would also draw flight pay, up to a maximum of 153,200 yen ($1,504) per month, which would work out to 1,838,400 yen ($18,048) per year. Then there’s the supplement for deployment to disaster or hazardous areas, which Evangelion’s battlefields would certainly qualify as. Assuming the invading aliens are considerate enough to time their attacks so the Evangelion pilots can take weekends off, at a rate of 1,620 yen ($15.90) per day and 20 workdays a month, Shinji would pick up another 388,800 yen ($3,812) for the year in this category.

“Look, man, I’ve got plans. Can we pick this up again on Monday?”

EP 3

Heikin Nenshu estimates that in addition to these, Shinji would also be eligible for an additional 400,000 yen ($3,926) annually for duty such as nighttime operations and maritime peacekeeping work, plus 200,000 yen ($1,963) in overtime pay.

Put it all together, and Shinji’s annual income comes to a respectable yet modest 4,627,200 yen (US $45,365), before taxes.

▼ Basically, he’d have to spend a whole year’s pay to get a mid-trim-level Nissan 370 Z, and it’s a good thing it’s available from the factory in an Evangelion-ish purple, because he wouldn’t have any money left over for a custom paint job.

EP 1

There is one more way Shinji could pad his bank account, as Heikin Nenji says he’d also stand to receive roughly one million yen ($9,816) in compensation for the injuries he sustains over the course of Evangelion’s conflict, which includes a hefty sum for the time he was nearly turned into primordial ooze.

Even still, this seems like chump change considering what the guy goes through, especially when you consider how much Shinji, a kid who wasn’t the most psychologically sound even before he was press ganged into being a child soldier, is likely to run up in therapy bills.

▼ No wonder the poor guy has to have a roommate.

EP 5

Sources: Jin, Heikin Nenshu
Top image: Yahoo! Japan
Insert images: Collection DX, Wikia, Nissan, Tumblr