Love in evangelion

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Love in evangelion

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Postby zlink64 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:21 am

Trying to wrap my head around this in away that sounds reasonable to a lot of people and not just myself so I want opinions.

How do you guys define love in evangelion. I find myself arguing with people about Asuka/shijni and Kaworu/Shinji. I've noticed that a lot of these arguments end up becoming more about definitions of love rather than the show itself.

Like Asuka/ Shinji- this how i think of their realationship. They like each other. People don't like calling this love which I get because it's a strong word but some people don't even like calling it romance either. Some people are very sensitive about this for some reason...I think more so than Kaworu/Shinji...maybe because Asuak/Shinji feels more "real" but who knows. In my head I think of it like this, usually if I like someone and I also want to sleep with them those are thoughts I would lump in romance. This is not to say they don't have their issues I'm just saying imo obviously there was an emotional and physical attraction there.

The Kaworu Shinji who imo also have this romatic love thing going on but then people seem to think it's platonic. Like when does platonic love turn to romantic love in a story then if it is platonic. I just wanna here any opinion on this. If you think I'm completely wrong that's cool. I just wanna here how people think about it.

Like how do people feel if I say I think Rei and Misato love Shinji. Like do you think love is too strong a word?
hmmm

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby anonymaus » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:17 am

You're right that much of the argument depends on varying definitions of what constitutes love.

Personally I think unhealthy love is still love. And I think that affection for the kind of person someone is, and a desire to form a relationship which benefits that person, is the basis of what most consider true love. There's also love which isn't cerebral at all and arises from completely natural phenomena. Parents love their children purely because nature has proven it's useful. Finally there's love which combines natural and cerebral affection: if you're sexually attracted to someone and like their personality then that could be called romantic love.
I think that Asuka loves Shinji romantically. For his part, prior to instrumentality and perhaps afterwards, Shinji saw Asuka as a potential outlet for his problems and his libido and as a potential source of motherly comfort. He didn't love her. I can't succinctly explain why I know this but there's an in-depth analysis of Shinji's feelings toward her in this thread.

Asuka is clearly interested in Shinji romantically but her fear of rejection is too debilitating for her to pursue it properly. Even regular teenagers fear rejection but Asuka is a special case. Her mother rejected her in favor of a doll. She's extremely averse to rejection because of this, so every move she makes toward Shinji is done behind a smokescreen of plausible deniability. The desire to sleep next to him, and possibly to seek out comfort while her mother was weighing heavy on her mind, is plausibly denied by the excuse that she was sleepwalking, something she betrays when she blurts out that she knows he tried to kiss her. The desire to kiss him is plausibly denied by the excuse that it's only an innocent experiment.

I think Asuka's affection for Shinji can be said to be closer to genuine love than his attraction to her. There's a whole scene in instrumentality where she complains about this. She says it in a weird way, but to me, "If I can't have all of you, then I don't want any part!" reads like she's saying she wants him to understand and care for her as a person instead of only being attracted to her sexually.

Shinji's response seems fair. Asuka reflexively conceals her feelings. Prior to instrumentality it's very difficult for him to understand her. Heck, I don't think the viewers would understand her, even today, if not for the sequences where her backstory is shown. So imagine how hard it was for Shinji.

Post instrumentality he can't help but to have understood her. He saw her memories, her feelings, probably relived them through her own eyes. I think the whole reason he initiates his 'rejection check' in such a violent way is because he knows she cares about him and the only way he'll get to see rejection is if he himself initiates it.
The question nobody will be able to answer is whether Shinji truly cares about Asuka post-instrumentality. Philosophically I think it would be difficult to understand so completely someone who is so similar to you and not love them, but his actions are a bit same-old-same-old. He's crying into her breasts, partaking in the motherly comfort he wanted from her in the first place.

The ending scene is very dense with information that can be used as clues for their feelings. Asuka returns to her body wearing her plugsuit. She imagined herself back onto Earth wearing it. During instrumentality I'm sure she realized the folly of forming her self-image based on her status as a pilot, wearing her nerve clips everywhere, yet here she is. Same old same old. I think she recognizes her flaws but when she turned away from instrumentality and embraced her individuality she embraced her flaws as well. A person's distinctness is formed by their flaws just as much as their strengths, after all.

Maybe it's the same for Shinji. He wants motherly comfort from his partner. That's just who he is. The Shinji inside instrumentality would've been perfect, he wouldn't have needed a chest to cry into, but the Shinji outside instrumentality badly needs one. Maybe this is one of the additional meanings of the caress and 'kimochi warui'. Just like she accepts her flaws she accepts Shinji's. She knows them sorely by now. All his pitiful masturbations. Kimochi warui. But she's still there, willingly (it seems) at his side, caressing his face. "You're disgusting, but I still love you." That's how it seems to me considering all the facts.

The question is: does he love her too? As a person, and not just as a source of all the things he needs? Does he really want to help her? She is so much like him, almost a mirror of him, that I consider it likely, but I can't make any argument about it based on evidence. There is simply not enough post-instrumentality screen time to tell concretely whether he does or not.

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby zlink64 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:15 am

Thanks for the long response. Kinda needed something to center my thoughts around. I kinda always figure if Shinji was just too dumb to realize he liked someone or that he didn't understand himself so he couldn't realize he like some one. Never really gave the question of how conscious he is of that stuff much thought/special focus because it never seem too important in grand scheme of things. I mean shipping arguments is really the only reason to lol. Anyways I think I will now.

Again ty.
Last edited by zlink64 on Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
hmmm

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby RadicalRandy » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:25 pm

Great post, Anonymaus.

To the original post, I believe that it's crucial to recognize the disassociation of romance and love, albeit understanding how the two can intertwine. I personally characterize love as a sort of emotional connection or bond, flexible to the degree that people can love each other without having a desire to also sleep with them. This can extend to familial relations or otherwise, as I love my friends and family, but I do not want to have sex with them (that's just nasty). Asuka, like Anonymaus proposed, clearly has expressed some sort of romantic interest in Shinji, although that isn't entirely direct in a conventional manner- it's pretty unhealthy. Shinji is unaware of her affections throughout the duration of NGE, leading to difficulties in whatever defined their relationship. It's shown that he reciprocates some type of affection or sexual interest, although throughout the show he's unwilling to act upon it due to his little understanding of her. Given a better understanding at the end of EoE, I believe that it's plausible for them to realize their emotions towards each other and mature their relationship into something viable.

As for Kaworu and Shinji, I personally see that shipping the pair is a bit of a misinterpretation of their interactions. Romantic intentions do not comprise this relationship, but rather a strong emotional understanding and comfort represented best by some similar definition of love. Kaworu can best gain an understanding of humanity by deciphering human emotions, and to some degree, I feel as if his love to Shinji was expressing a fascination and desire to know him more. From Shinji's perspective, nearly all of his friends and loved ones had grown detached due to the complicated circumstances, leaving him in a difficult and unstable mental state. Kaworu lent him Shinji time and affection; exactly what he craved at the time, although I do not believe that Kaworu would try to sleep with him.
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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby cyharding » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:54 pm

To build upon what Radical Randy stated, there are four distinct types of loves:

Storge-love for a family member such as a parent or a sibling.

Philia-love for a close friend.

Eros-romantic love. Keep in mind that this is different from sexual attraction. In his book on the Four Loves, CS Lewis states that the difference is a man desiring a woman in general and a man desiring one particular woman.

Agape-also called Charity, the highest form of love, a love that last regardless of whatever happens in life.

Shinji and Asuka can potentially have any of the first three loves given enough time and positive interactions between the two. The great problem is that their respective traumas happened at such a young age, they have a very skewed idea of what love is. As far as agape is concerned, Shinji's interactions with Kawrou and Rei at the end would count.

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby zlink64 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:55 am

I'm not really comfortable to jumping on the idea that Shinji and Asuka have an unhealthy thing going on. I mean it becomes unhealthy but I I think that has alot more to do with their personal issues than any possible actual attraction they might have is what I'm trying to say. Like their problems and their relation ship seem more like they are related incidentally rather consequentially...atleast at the beginning.
@cyharding cool. Never read about that, will look into it.
hmmm

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby C.T.1290 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:56 pm

I still find it hard to believe that Asuka has ever loved Shinji, considering the way she treated him. It's true that she may display some interests onto him and tried to make some flirtatious advances towards him, but that could be her hormones speaking for her.

She seemed to have a very negative relationship with Shinji, and not to mention toxic. She even claims that she hates him, as she did with other people, so where's the love in that?

But I guess post Third Impact is another story. I'm not exactly sure what she learned from all this or how she can make some improvements and fix her relationship with the people she hurt, such as Shinji; it'll probably take a long time for her to make amends. And we're never shown how things will turn out between Shinji and Asuka, so it's been left uncertain. Could be good, or it could be bad either way.
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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby zlink64 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:56 pm

Hormones/period makes you hate everyone + emotional baggage is how I take Asuka bathroom breakdown scene. The way I see it the only reason she "hates"(genuine/normal or self- hate?) Shinji is because she cares in the first place. If she really didn't give a fuk about him it wouldn't have gotten to her as bad as it did. Like hypothetically yeah she would still dislike him but it wouldn't have gone as fars as it did I think. Like for rejection from Shinji to bother her as much as it did kinda requires caring in the first place. I mean she was a popular girl so she didn't exactly "settle" for Shinji.
hmmm

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby Sachi » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:47 am

I think for this question it's important to examine how relative the idea of love even is to Evangelion. Relationships between people are very important in the series, but I'd argue that romantic love has nothing to do with anything in Evangelion.

What we do see in Eva are a bunch of lonely people seeking validation. This is less about love and more about recognizing one's own worth. Shinji, for example, is far too self-absorbed and caught up in his own issues to be able to offer any form of romance to others. This is showcased perfectly by him begging a catatonic Asuka to wake up and help him, ignoring any regard for her wellbeing and refusing to acknowledge that she's got her own obvious problems. And like Asuka points out during Instrumentality, it doesn't matter to him who helps him because any one will do. This isn't love; it's desperation. Shinji just wants anybody to validate his existence. That's why Kaworu became so important to Shinji so quickly. Shinji never loved Kaworu, but he fell in love with the positive attention Kaworu was giving him. In the end, love just isn't an option for Shinji until he grows up.
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Postby zlink64 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:27 am

Ultimately the only reason why I put important emphasis on the romance aspect is because the most important form of validation for a person in typical everyday normal life is validation from a person you love. I.e the most important connection you make in life is with the people you fall in love with. I think this is part of the reason why the show steeps all the relationships with sex and romance. IMO. Like all the lonely characters aren't lonely because of friends...they have those for the most part and apparently it's not good enough. Like Shinji learning to connect with people is part of learning to love some one.
hmmm

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby C.T.1290 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:35 am

View Original PostSachi wrote:What we do see in Eva are a bunch of lonely people seeking validation. This is less about love and more about recognizing one's own worth. Shinji, for example, is far too self-absorbed and caught up in his own issues to be able to offer any form of romance to others. This is showcased perfectly by him begging a catatonic Asuka to wake up and help him, ignoring any regard for her wellbeing and refusing to acknowledge that she's got her own obvious problems. And like Asuka points out during Instrumentality, it doesn't matter to him who helps him because any one will do. This isn't love; it's desperation. Shinji just wants anybody to validate his existence.

I assume that Asuka was going through the same problems as him as well?
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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby Geometer » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:05 pm

I have to agree with Sachi, the Shinji wants Asuka to love him, but doesn't really love her in return, and I would say the same in reverse.

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby xanderkh » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:56 am

^
I think it's more accurate to say they don't know HOW to love. Or more likely, how to give love and accept the consequences from it.

Both Asuka, Shinji, and pretty much everyone else with the emotional baggage all what the idea of "take and no give" version of love, unconditional love that is given without consequences, which is what Kaworu represents. It's beautiful at first glance, but as it turns out, is fake and unrealistic, and still leads to pain, as evidenced by his "betrayal".

But that's not to say that Shinji or Asuka are cold-hearted or jerks. Yes, they're both selfish, and Asuka had every right to call Shinji out on his bullshit, but both are still by-products of their upbringing where they were denied barely any validation of their own being beyond Nerv and being Eva Pilots.

They both want to be loved and validated, but they can't bear the pain that comes with the risk of loving another, which means the possibility of getting hurt, BADLY. It's the hedgehog's dilemma.

They both want to be validated, but it's a two-way street. In order to be loved, you also have to learn to love.
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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby anonymaus » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:27 pm

View Original Postxanderkh wrote:^
I think it's more accurate to say they don't know HOW to love. Or more likely, how to give love and accept the consequences from it.

Humans naturally know how to love, it's just a feeling.
That doesn't mean the love will be productive

People place the label of 'true love' behind some goal line of how successful the love is bound to be, as if to truly love someone you have to be good to/for them. I think it's not correct, although I guess it can be useful to spread that idea.
As an example, in my opinion it's possible even possible for a stalker to love the person they stalk. Nobody would consider it a productive love or something worth encouraging, but I think what they feel in their heart can still be love, however misguided.

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Re: Love in evangelion

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Postby zlink64 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:52 am

I was watching berserk and these lines reminded me of this thread so just sharing.

It's Casca talking about her feelings about Griffith and Guts while she's with Guts:
Dub:
I'm changing... there may be a place for me in this man soul... Not because what I may receive but for something of worth I have for him.

Subbed:
I can change... There may be a place for me in this man soul... Instead of only taking I might be able to give something back this time.

Added dub just cause I thought it was worded better.
hmmm


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