And kanji with manga
Sunday, July 18, 2021

Gendo Pose

In anime, placing your elbows on a desk and interlacing your fingers in front of your face such that it hides your mouth and you look like you're scheming something important is called a Gendo pose, in Japanese: Gendou Poozu ゲンドウポーズ, in reference to Ikari Gendō 碇ゲンドウ, from Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, a bespectacled, gloved character who did this pose a lot.(dic.pixiv.net)

A collage of characters doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
From left to right, top to bottom:
Ikari Gendou 碇ゲンドウ
Hasegawa Taizou 長谷川泰三
Luhy Jistone, ルーヒー・ジストーン
Unnamed Hayate's boss
Doma Umaru 土間うまる
Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子
Nogizaka Gentou 乃木坂玄冬
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン (Episode 2)
Anime: Gintama 銀魂 (Episode 43)
Anime: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 這いよれ!ニャル子さん (Episode 4)
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 1)
Anime: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (Episode 13, OAD)
Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 11)
Anime: One Punch Man, ワンパンマン (Episode 4)
Anime: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza, 乃木坂春香の秘密ぴゃあれっつぁ (Episode 11)

Definition

Often, a Gendo pose is an Evangelion reference, specially in parody anime, so I think it's good to have an idea about who is Ikari Gendō, the character whom the pose is named after, in order to define what the pose is.

Ikari Gendō was some sort of strategic commander in an organization that fought huge monsters, called shito 使徒, "apostles (of God)," and known in English as "angels."

Although this sounds pretty important, all he did was basically sitting in a cozy command room and watching through screens and cameras his son enter a huge robot and go fight risking death almost every episode.

While doing this, he often did the pose, which would lead the audience to think he was watching attentively or scheming something grandiose.

He also did the pose when in meetings in rooms with very important people who weren't actually in the room and communicated through needlessly large "sound only" boxes, without even portrait images depicting who they were.

Due to the generally dark color theme of the show, with the meeting room being dimly lit, his glasses were often drawn bright white reflecting the little light there was in contrast, like they were shining. Gloves were part of his uniform.

Ikari Gendō 碇ゲンドウ doing his iconic Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Ikari Gendō 碇ゲンドウ
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン THE END OF EVANGELION (Movie)
  • Context: hmm.

The pose, generally, is done by placing your elbows on a desk, and interlacing your fingers in front of your face, such that it hides your mouth.

More specifically, it's done with the fingers at an angle which you can't see the character's palms from their front, only the back of their hands. Often at a position such that if you lean forward your fingers will be right underneath your nose, and your thumbs will be at the base of your chin. Although most fingers interlace closely, the little fingers cross each other spaced away from the ring fingers, the negative space of their perimeter forming a triangular or diamond shape.

Is it really necessary to describe the character's finger position in such excruciating detail? Surely this shouldn't matter, right? I mean, it's not like Gendō even only posed in this extremely specific way.

Character doing poses similar to the Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン (Episode 1)
  • Context: ironically, in the first episode of Evangelion, Gendo doesn't do a Gendo pose interlacing fingers but something similar with one hand over the other. A background character does the pose interlacing fingers.

The reason to be pedantic is merely to identify whether something is a reference to Evangelion or not, whether that really matters you decide.

It's not like Evangelion invented the act of covering your mouth with your hand when thinking, or the art of making a character look mysterious by hiding their mouth, or any of that sort of stuff, so it doesn't make sense to say every time a character does this, it's a reference to Eva.

Examples of characters covering their mouths with their sleeves or fans: Shirasaka Koume 白坂小梅, Fujiwara no Sai 藤原佐為, Kogami Akira 小神あきら, Uraha 裏葉, Ruki ルキ, and Shuna シュナ.
From left to right, top to bottom:
Shirasaka Koume 白坂小梅
Fujiwara no Sai 藤原佐為
Kogami Akira 小神あきら
Uraha 裏葉
Ruki ルキ
Shuna シュナ
Anime: The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, アイドルマスター シンデレラガールズ (Episode 8)
Anime: Hikaru no Go ヒカルの碁 (Episode 1)
Anime: Lucky☆Star, らき☆すた (Episode 1)
Anime: AIR (Episode 8)
Anime: Sen'yuu. 戦勇。 (Episode 3)
Anime: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, 転生したらスライムだった件 (Episode 9)

However, just like there's no common term for extending your arms away from each other, and people started calling it "T-posing," there's also no common termsfor placing your elbows on a desk and your hand in front of your mouth, so we might as well call it a Gendo pose, because why not?

James, Kojirou コジロウ, doing a Gendō Pose, ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: James, Kojirou コジロウ
Anime: Pokémon Diamond & Pearl, ポケットモンスター ダイヤモンド&パール (Episode 142)
  • Context: all goes according to James' keikaku.
    • This is a Gendo pose.

The question is whether EVERY TIME a character does this so-called "Gendo pose" that's supposed to be a deliberate reference to Eva, or it could be the author just drew the character in that pose, and, by coincidence, it just happens to be the same pose that Gendo did.

Like, a character sits on a desk, places their elbows on the desk, hands on mouth, and IS THAT A JOJO, I mean, AN EVA REFERENCE? Of course not! That sounds ridiculous!

Just because we can call the pose Gendo pose because Gendō did the pose that doesn't mean every Gendo pose is a reference to how Gendō poses.

"Major," Shousa 少佐, doing a Gendo pose-like pose.
Character: "Major," Shousa 少佐
Anime: Hellsing Ultimate (Episode 6)
  • Context: Major speaks passionately about war.
    • Is this an Eva reference?
    • Is this even a Gendo pose?

It's uncertain whether variations would be Eva references, or even count as a Gendo pose.

However, when you see a character in that specific finger position, then there's no doubt it's an Eva reference, or at least somehow based on Eva, because that's an unusual finger placement: if you're just going to draw them interlaced, there would be no space because the fingers are tightly closed, so you have to deliberately draw the hands a little apart from each other; it was used multiple times in the series; and even by other characters beside Gendō.

Katsuragi Misato 葛城ミサト doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Katsuragi Misato 葛城ミサト
Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinseiki Evangerion 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン (Episode 9)

If a character has their fingers like this, that's an Eva reference.

Compare with:

Hanazono Yurine 花園ゆりね interlaces her fingers.
Character: Hanazono Yurine 花園ゆりね
Anime: Jashin-chan Dropkick', 邪神ちゃんドロップキック’ (Season 2) (Episode 4)
  • Context: Yurine speaks passionately about what she wanted to become in the future: a dictator that would kill anyone that defied her.
    • This is most definitely not a Gendo pose, considering she isn't even hiding her mouth.
    • Also note that you can't make a triangle or diamond shape if your fingers are closely interlaced like this.

To interlace your fingers in general would be:

  • te wo kumu
    手を組む
    To cross hands. (literally.)
    To interlace fingers.
    To work with someone. (in the sense of having done a handshake with them.)
  • yubi wo kumu
    指を組む
    To cross fingers.
    To interlace fingers.

Typically this refers to the pose you do to pray.

神様!仏様!古見様!!
Manga: Komi-san wa, Comyushou desu. 古見さんは、コミュ症です。 (Chapter 14, あがり症です)
  • kami-sama!
    神様!
    God!
  • hotoke-sama!
    仏様!
    Buddha!
  • Komi-sama!
    古見様!
    Komi-sama!
  • doo suruu?
    どーするー?
    [What should we] do?

Forming a triangular shape by holding fingertips against each other is called "steepling." It's sometimes used my scheming characters, too.(tvtropes.org:FingerTenting) However, given this is different from interlacing fingers, I don't think it would be called a Gendo pose.

  • yubi-saki wo awaseru
    指先を合わせる
    To match finger-tips. (literally.)
    To make fingertips press against each other.
    To steeple.

Interlacing fingers with someone else is called koibito-tsunagi 恋人繋ぎ, "lover's linking," instead, in the sense of "linking hands together," i.e.: "lover's hand holding."

Azusagawa Sakuta 梓川咲太 holding hands with fingers interlocked with Sakurajima Mai 桜島麻衣, example of koibito-tsunagi 恋人繋ぎ. Lewd.
Left: Azusagawa Sakuta 梓川咲太
Right: Sakurajima Mai 桜島麻衣
Anime: Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, 青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない (Episode 2, Censored)
  • Context: lewd.

Examples

For reference, some examples of characters doing a Gendo pose in anime,

Naturally, parodies are the most likely to feature such thing, specially in reference to Eva:

Hasegawa Taizou 長谷川泰三 doing a Gendō Pose, ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Hasegawa Taizou 長谷川泰三
Anime: Gintama 銀魂 (Episode 43)
A character doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: unnamed.
Anime: Hayate no Gotoku! ハヤテのごとく! (Episode 1)
  • Context: Hayate's boss has very important business to discuss with him.
  • Ayasaki-kun, kimi wa kubi da
    綾崎くん、君はクビだ
    Ayasaki-kun, you are [fired].
    • kubi - "neck," for someone to become a "[decapitated] head" by being killed, and, from there, by being fired.
Luhy Jistone, ルーヒー・ジストーン, doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Luhy Jistone, ルーヒー・ジストーン
Anime: Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 這いよれ!ニャル子さん (Episode 4)
  • Context: Luhy plans (commercial) warfare.
Saitama サイタマ doing a Gendō Pose, ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Saitama サイタマ
Anime: One Punch Man, ワンパンマン (Episode 4)
  • Context: Saitama talks about a huge issue that's troubling him.

Exceptionally:

Nogizaka Gentou 乃木坂玄冬 doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Nogizaka Gentou 乃木坂玄冬
Anime: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: Purezza, 乃木坂春香の秘密ぴゃあれっつぁ (Episode 11)
  • Context: this character is voiced by Tachiki Fumihiko 立木文彦, the same seiyuu 声優 that voices Ikari Gendō.

Besides the pose, there are cases that go an extra length to make a reference, like momentarily drawing characters wearing glasses or gloves that they don't normally wear, or making a background that imitates the dark, "sound only" meeting room of Eva.

Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子 doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Kuroki Tomoko 黒木智子
Anime: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui! 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! (Episode 13)
  • Context: Tomoko shrewdly plans how to take money from the audience by adding clichéd template female characters to the show.
Doma Umaru 土間うまる doing a Gendō Pose, ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Doma Umaru 土間うまる
Anime: Himouto! Umaru-chan 干物妹!うまるちゃん (Episode 11)
  • Context: Umaru in an extremely deliberation with other Umaru's representing the various facets of her mind in a shoulder devil and angel fashion in order to decide which snack is the best one.
    • Umaru's hands are too small to look cool posing, so she uses a pair of gloved hands on sticks instead.
Jashin-chan 邪神ちゃん doing a Gendo pose ゲンドウポーズ in a meeting with herself inside her head.
Character: Jashin-chan 邪神ちゃん
Anime: Jashin-chan Dropkick', 邪神ちゃんドロップキック’ (Season 2) (Episode 1)
  • Context: Jashin-chan deliberates with facets of her mind, one of which, the bottom-left one, is absent and replaced by a "sound only" dark semi-transparent slate.
Lotte Jansson ロッテ・ヤンソン doing a Gendō Pose, ゲンドウポーズ.
Left: Lotte Jansson ロッテ・ヤンソン
Anime: Little Witch Academia (Episode 4)
  • Context: Lotte talks about "conspiracy," inbou 陰謀.
    • She was only drawn with gloves for this pose.
Oogaki Chiaki 大垣千明 doing a Gendō Pose, ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Oogaki Chiaki 大垣千明
Anime: Yuru Camp△ ゆるキャン△ (Season 2) (Episode 10)
  • Context: Chiaki concocts the "Operation Lobster," Ebi Sakusen 海老作戦, a plan to make their teacher stop drinking alcohol for a whole month in order to save money to buy "spiny lobster," ise-ebi 伊勢海老.
Nakamura Yuri 仲村ゆり doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Nakamura Yuri 仲村ゆり
Anime: Angel Beats! (Episode 3)
  • Context: the leader of the {Shinda} Sekai Sensen 死んだ世界戦線, "{dead} world battlefront," also known as "afterlife battlefront," in a briefing with her organization members.
  • Tenshi Eria Shin'nyuu Sakusen
    天使エリア侵入作戦
    Angel Area Invasion Operation.
Nagato 長門 doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ, with Mutsu 陸奥 standing behind her.
Middle: Nagato 長門
Right: Mutsu 陸奥
Anime: Kantai Collection: KanColle 艦隊これくしょん -艦これ- (Episode 6)
  • Context: Nagato takes the role of a food judge in a curry-making competition.
Hikigaya Hachiman 比企谷八幡 doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Hikigaya Hachiman 比企谷八幡
Anime: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Kan, やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。完 (Season 3) (Episode 7, Collage)
  • Context: Hachiman makes an extremely important decision: the phrase his group should use to greet each other when they assemble.
Souma Kazuya 相馬一也 doing a Gendō pose ゲンドウポーズ.
Character: Souma Kazuya 相馬一也
Anime: Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki 現実主義勇者の王国再建記 (Episode 2)
  • Context: after being summoned to another world, and then suddenly becoming the king of a nation, Souma ponders what to do while sitting on his throne.

References

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