If Makoto is the main protagonist, then it can be argued that Jinnai is the main
antagonist. Some may say however, he is the not MAIN antagonist, but rather MAKOTO'S
antagonist. I could agree with either point. Of course, if you asked Jinnai himself,
he would claim that he was the main protagonist of the story and that Makoto was
Jinnai is not your average high-school student. He is self-centered and egotistical. He takes joy in the failings of others and is willing to impose his status over those lower on the social ladder. He is also dysfunctional with his family (Nanami.) On second thought, Jinnai more closely resembles an average teenager than Makoto ever does. If you look at your average high school, students are more concerned with themselves and maintaining position in a highly judgmental social structure. Plus, the average teenager will find himself/herself at odds with his or her family. Jinnai simply is all of those traits taken to extremes.
Jinnai, in essence, is the yang to Makoto's yin. Makoto is the selfless one loved by all, while Jinnai is the selfish one who is generally loathed. That short description only scratches the surface of Jinnai, who is actually very deep, possibly even deeper than Makoto.
Who exactly is Jinnai? As stated before, he is a selfish and conniving man. He is also the student president of Shinonome High School. He used the previously mentioned traits to secure the previously mentioned position. However, all is not well in president Jinnai's world. He says it himself: It is crumbling around him. All the power he had horded will soon be gone.
Then, suddenly, he finds himself in a new world. Suddenly he is given a new opportunity. Falling right into the heart of the Bugrom Homeland, with the ability to speak their tongue and having gained the trust of those around him into believing that he is, in fact, their messiah. In his own mind, he is being given a second chance on a scale that he could've never attained in his old world. Now ask yourself this: If you were him, what would you do?
Jinnai's life is all about second chances. That may be why he never has changed his behavior. Jinnai has never truly received his 'come-uppence.' For every failure he experiences, for every scheme that comes up short, he can simply rationalize that it is just not his time yet and that the next time it will be.
Some may argue that Jinnai has been punished many times. True. But it always seems that the universe gives him a second chance. Consider this: He is about to be impeached as student president. That means he will be publicly humiliated. His greed and behavior have finally cost him all he has wanted. But does that happen? No. Instead, before he can be dealt the crippling blow, he is transported to another world and given even more power! You must believe that in his own mind, he feels that the universe is in fact rewarding his antisocial behavior.
Then, after his entire army is destroyed, Jinnai is alone, powerless, and has effectively burned his bridges with those from Earth. Truly, he would repent for his behavior now. Instead, we find that his most loyal Bugrom (his only friends) and more importantly, Queen Diva have survived. Again, he is given second chance because with Diva, he can rebuild. He even proclaims that God is on his side. For every despicable act that Jinnai commits, he is always given the chance to do more. One might begin to think that God WAS on his side.
For all his faults, Jinnai is not without merit. Jinnai has his scruples and is very unwavering from them. He religiously believes in the art of the 'the perfect foul.' He is unwilling to take short-cuts, even on his unscrupulous shortcuts. He is very attentive to detail and meticulous in executing his carefully constructed plans. Jinnai also has a very attuned understanding of human nature, abet, mostly its darker points. Jinnai knows how the real world runs and is definitely not as naïve as Makoto. He knows that it is often the most rotten and evil people who succeed the most and if he wants to succeed, then he must sink into the mud as well. In essence, he believes nice guys finish last. He also understands that sometimes, butts must be kissed in order to get ahead. There is no doubt that Jinnai could be a success in the stressful corporate world, but would also probably die from a stress related disorder caused by the task of maintaining that success.
Jinnai is also very smart. A lot of people overlook this detail. On the posted test scores, we see that he was second highest, while Makoto was first. Also, no mere idiot could almost completely conquer the Alliance. He is definitely an excellent strategist and if not for some extraordinary circumstances, he should've won. There is no doubt that he probably excels at games such as chess and Risk(c).
A huge question that will come up when discussing Jinnai is why exactly he is the way he is. How can one man become so antisocial to the levels Jinnai has reached? I have two different schools of thought on this question.
One must consider what Jinnai's family is like. In a traditional Japanese household, it is the wife who really wields the power, while the husband is mainly just the financial supporter. I feel this philosophy has probably helped shape Jinnai's attitudes. I have a mental picture of his family. Jinnai's father is probably very successful in his own right, but his authority is nothing in comparison to Jinnai's mother, whom I picture as a very domineering woman. Jinnai's father is pretty much a figurehead in the family and thus any power he DOES wield, he probably wields like a dictator. That may also be why Jinnai relates so well Diva, a matriarchal figure who wields the true authority in the Bugrom empire. Jinnai probably sees a lot of his mother in Diva and therefore is careful to not let her get too close in fear that she may begin to dominate him like his mother does his father.
Jinnai's parents also probably have the habit of living vicariously through him and his sister and thus push them to succeed, no matter what the cost. The children must be the best because no Jinnai will be a loser. That may be why, no matter how accomplished Jinnai is, he cannot accept second best because he knows he'll hear about it at home. This desire to have children who are the best has even caused the siblings to compete against EACH other in a battle to get their parents limited attention, because neither wants to be seen as the 'second-best child.' This kind of parenting style has also affected Nanami just as greatly as you will read about in my analysis of her. Needless to say, Jinnai's behaviors and attitudes are a culmination of these parental messages being driven into him since a very young age.
The other explanation is that, maybe, Jinnai is really just a big jerk who likes being mean.
Finally, one cannot discuss Jinnai without discussing his relationship with Makoto. Jinnai sees Makoto as his 'destined rival.' A foe who must be vanquished. Almost all of Jinnai's schemes and plots are done to simply 'show up' Mizuhara. Jinnai believes he will not truly be happy until Makoto is removed from his life.
But one must wonder if Jinnai would really be happy if Makoto was removed from his life. I would think not. If anything, Jinnai would probably feel worse. Jinnai is a man who lives for the chase. It is very comparable to the Road Runner and Wile. E. Coyote. He is forever on a quest to devour the bird, but one knows that if he ever succeeded, then the Coyote would have no purpose in life. Jinnai is very similar. Makoto is the force that drives him forward. Jinnai is a person who believes that if something is worth having one must have to overcome obstacles. That is maybe why he sees Makoto as his 'rival.' He knows that Makoto is just a little better than him at almost everything and that helps keep Jinnai motivated to succeed. If Jinnai were to ever succeed in becoming the best, then most likely he would grow melancholy and depressed because there is no more challenge for him to drive him forward. The only thing he could do would be to create a new 'adversary.'
'The Wanderers' show an example of this. When Makoto disappears at the end of the series, Jinnai has a perfect opportunity to drive his plans forward without Makoto's interference. Instead he does nothing. Without Makoto there, he feels that there is no point.
Jinnai is a character who is very consistent in all the El-Hazard Series. He is almost the same in every universe and if you were to print a line of his dialogue, one would have a hard time placing it to a particular series.
In conclusion, one cannot judge Jinnai so harshly. Given his lot in life and his situations, one must wonder if one was placed in the same situation if they would not simply do the same things.