Thoughts on Asuka

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Thoughts on Asuka

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Postby Cybermat47 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:39 am

Asuka is, to me, the most interesting character in Evangelion. As someone who had to deal with anger issues when I was young, I can certainly relate to her quite a bit. She also seems to be desperate for someone to comfort her, as evidenced by her clumsy efforts to seduce Kaji and Shinji - something I can also relate to.

But this character who craves comfort yet pushes people away made me think of all the people I've only had negative experiences with, or regard as an asshole. Do they act the way they do because of some hardship in their lives? Are these negative experiences all caused by misunderstanding?

But, as Asuka's story in NGE shows us, if you want help, you can't get it by pushing people away and making them dislike you.

What are your thoughts on Asuka?
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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:54 pm

Asuka is really a variation of the "Poor little rich girl" character. From almost her earliest memories, she is this elite pilot at NERV, and also gets hot-housed through university when most children her age would just be starting "big school". Materially, she has been indulged (just remember all those boxes of her stuff filling the room she took in Misato's flat), but she will have had little chance to socialise. Her time at NERV will have been spent with adults, and even when at university, the decade or so gulf in years and life experience would isolate her from other students; meanwhile, when interacting with her age cohort, they would be slower, duller, and preoccupied with things she would consider trivial, juvenile or both.

Then she gets thrown into an alien culture where she is also nearly illiterate, and having to deal with her own age group once again, at an age where girls have matured more than boys.

Being a simmering ball of frustration and making only the occasional socially transgressive eruption actually shows significant restraint, given the circumstances.
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Postby C.T.1290 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:32 pm

I had often thought of Asuka as a selfish, rude, uncaring, thoughtless, and a remorseless individual. If she truly wanted/needed some help (although she seems to deny it), she should've learned to not push people away, because her attitude will no doubt cause people to avoid her and dislike her even more, and I guess she learned that the hard way.
After EoE though, it's hard to tell what she'll do or what she'll become from here on out, or if she even made some improvements unto herself to become a better person. I know that her stroking Shinji's cheek is some indication, but then she expressed her disgust towards him, so that made me think that she hadn't made some improvements at all and that she'll always be the same person as she was before. I like to be positive that she would be able to make some changes to her character, but realistically, I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, or ever at all.
Half of the time, her interaction with other people (which were mostly negative) kind of makes me want to slap her across the face as a form of reprimanding, to put her in her place. Because imagine if she were like that towards me for no good reason, that kind of attitude is not something I would stand for. I know of her upbringing, her twisted life that molded her into what she is. Come to think of it, NERV and SEELE might have something to do with that; The horrible incident that drove her mother mad before committing suicide, plus the other unfortunate events that led to Asuka's spiral downfall. So they are basically to blame for all that had happened, as it is a part of their own twisted scenario to bring about Third Impact. But regardless of what had happened to her, it's a bit hard for me to feel completely sorry for her since she brought a lot of it upon herself. If she wants to gain full sympathy(and even praise) from me, she's gonna have to work hard to earn it, do something nice for people for a change, more than what she already did before; because just her applauding Shinji for his cello playing, taking everyone to a cheap restaurant at Misato's expenses, and even order something for Rei's diet clearly isn't enough to make up for all the bad times and for the way she treated others. No sir, she's gonna have to do a lot more than that to gain my approval.

(I sometimes wonder what Asuka would think if she were to ever see the many negative threads and posts I made in regarding her. If she would be appalled, maybe even ashamed, if she saw/knew about mine and many other people's negative view on her.)
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Postby ArvisTaljik » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:17 am

I see Asuka as somewhat of a mixed bag of several contradicting notions that constantly compete against eachother, leading to her over-the-top behavior.

Firstly, she's been at the "head of the class" for so long, including recieving the recognition that goes with, that she now expects to stay at the front and be recognized for it all the time. When it turns out that she's no longer at the front of the line when it comes to piloting (Shinji + mother dearest = WIN) she has no means of processing it because it's an entirely foreign concept to her. Queue the teasing, name-calling and general putting down of everyone.

Secondly, her expectations are all over the map. Asuka expects to be helped by Shinji (Clockiel in Rebuild, Gaghiel in NGE, etc.) but somehow also expects that she should be allowed the killing blow without any assistance. Using the Clockiel example, she explicitly states that he's useless because he wasn't around to help then immediately says he would have been useless anyway even if he had. So she expects to be offered help but for her skill to never actually need that help. Sorry fraulein, but when you say "I don't need it" often enough then you can't complain when people stop asking or offering. Then when it turns out that she can't do it alone (Sandalaphon in NGE, Sahaquiel in NGE and Rebuild) then all of the sudden she shuts down and can't process the fact that she's not God's give to Eva and actually does need help.

Thirdly, she's socially maladjusted. Her illiteracy in Japanese only exacerbates this but the fact that she's been kept in a more "mature" environment both in college and working in NERV means that she is leagues out of touch with her peers (by age, not education, obviously). Because of this lack of appropriate age exposure, she seeks out the attention of someone older than herself (Kaji) then flip-flops to wanting acceptance by someone her own age (Shinji) while denying any sort of desire to associate with her own age group. She tries to force a tentative friendship with Rei that immediately shot down and doubles back to wanting to be friends with Hikari likely both because Hikari comes across as more mature than their classmates and she's literally the only other person who is willing to give her a chance and ignore her shenanigans (and I call shenanigans on Asuka in perpetuity; Asuka speaks = shenanigans).

Fourth and finally, she lacks the ability to properly process her own emotions. The reasoning for this is the combination of points one through three above to the power of 10 (or so). She's looking for an impossible combination of things simultaneously, namely someone mature (like Kaji) but in her own age group (like Shinji) who can compete at her level but can't actually surpass her ability while also managing to fill the emotional/abandonment gap left by her mother (in NGE specifically, as it's not clearly stated in Rebuild what the situation with her mom is). So she wants a mature pilot that's good but not as good as her that will shower her with attention and affection regardless of how she treats them. Sorry girlfriend, that just doesn't exist in your looneyverse. Try again. ^_^
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:54 pm

Asuka is personally my favorite, and arguably(along with Shinji) the most well written character in NGE, which happens to have some of the best characterization in animation, period. I also personally find myself sympathetic and in a vague sense, even empathetic to aspects of her mental struggles. Her arc also reminds me a lot of Zuko from ATLA who happens to be my favorite character from what I consider the best animated show of all time.

Asuka's character development is incredibly well written and complex. Asuka starts off as an unlikable girl with a massive superiority complex. However, as she starts opening herself to Shinji more, and even shows signs of caring about him(before their relationship goes into a downward spiral, she quite literally tells him he needs to value himself more), she starts to grow on us.

Anno is clever though as he doesn't have the rather predictable development arc of Asuka eventually becoming an extremely open and compassionate person. Rather, he gives her an incredible amount of depth by shining a light on her internal struggles. As well have things have been going between Shinji and Asuka, with Shinji prompting Asuka to show more care for others and be softer while Asuka has prompted Shinji to be more assertive and confident, their relationship inevitably fails because Asuka can't truly show others affection when she's essentially shunning, ashamed of, and suppressing who she truly is. Her false superiority complex can't hold up and makes her relationships and her own belief herself incredibly fragile. With Arael, Anno simultaneously shows Asuka's downfall while giving Asuka an incredible level of depth and giving the audience a powerfully crushing moment.

Having suffered through an incredible low and forced to face herself for who she is, Asuka finally is free to grow. First she needs to grow personally by valuing herself. And this happens when Asuka comes to a powerful realization: Her mom's soul is protecting her. In other words, those she has lost still live on through there love for her. Love transcends loss and death. This gives meaning to Asuka who goes from not caring if she died or lived to heroically fighting to preserve life.

Now that she's personally grown, her can relationship with Shinji can truly become better. We're shown this development with "I Need You". With Shinji strangling Asuka, the Asuka of old would

A. react violently
B. let herself be killed.

Instead, Asuka shows Shinji affection, caressing him. Now that she values herself, she can show affection for others. This also helps Shinji who decides to accept his emotions and his pain(crying) rather than trying to suppress them.

It's not a "Happy ending", but it's a more subtle hopeful one. The world isn't magically back to where it was before second impact and neither Asuka or Shinji can erase the damge they've done to each other("how disgusting" or "I feel sick" is an honest response to the masturbation while Shinji sobbing is an honest response to Asuka's abuse), but now that they've accepted themselves, there's hope for them to better their interactions with each other.

That's an incredibly complex, meaningful, and well written character arc.

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:02 am

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote: so that made me think that she hadn't made some improvements at all and that she'll always be the same person as she was before.


-> Goes from being comatose and wanting to die to sacrificing her life to fight off a force threatening to literally force everyone to commit suicide
-> Goes from kicking a dude onto burnt coffee when he asked for help to caressing his face when he tried to kill her
-> She didn't grow

:|

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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:59 am

I don't find Asuka any more interesting than many of the other characters. She's easily the most relatable to me, but that fact doesn't necessarily make her any more interesting to me than any other character on its own. As a matter of fact, as time has gone on, I've found the characters i've related to most changing. When I first saw the show when I was 14, Shinji was the most relatable until a few months later when I got a concussion at 15 and psychological problems that developed as a result more directly mirrored Asuka instead.

Now that I'm 26, for the last 3 years or so I've found Rei and her issues with recognizing, forming, and understanding what an identity for someone and something like her is to be most relevant. Misato's problems make more sense to me too, but I still don't find myself heavily relating to her really.

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:18 am

View Original PostStrokeMeGoat wrote:
Now that I'm 26, for the last 3 years or so I've found Rei and her issues with recognizing, forming, and understanding what an identity for someone and something like her is to be most relevant. Misato's problems make more sense to me too, but I still don't find myself heavily relating to her really.

Well, Rei is the clone of some lady in her 20's iirc.

I've always found Misato's problems sort of weird. The whole "I'm not really good I just seem that way!" never made much sense to me.

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Postby Alaska Slim » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:38 am

View Original PostArvisTaljik wrote:Fourth and finally, she lacks the ability to properly process her own emotions. The reasoning for this is the combination of points one through three above to the power of 10 (or so). She's looking for an impossible combination of things simultaneously, namely someone mature (like Kaji) but in her own age group (like Shinji) who can compete at her level but can't actually surpass her ability

Actually, If I recal correctly, she reveals in Pre-3I that she would be willing to give up even the EVA as her focus of dependence, so long as the other person treated her as a "main dish".

She on some level wants to be bested, by someone who meets the standard she expects; the virile "man" she desires. The fact that Shinji bests her while still being a spineless twerp she can't rely on ( and who is constantly "held in reserve", never issued to help her, further implying he's somehow too good for her in any capacity) is the contradiction her mind can't allow.

Afterall, if she can be bested, and out-valued, by a spineless twerp, then what does that make her?
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:11 pm

View Original PostAlaska Slim wrote:She on some level wants to be bested, by someone who meets the standard she expects; the virile "man" she desires. The fact that Shinji bests her while still being a spineless twerp she can't rely on ( and who is constantly "held in reserve", never issued to help her, further implying he's somehow too good for her in any capacity) is the contradiction her mind can't allow.

Afterall, if she can be bested, and out-valued, by a spineless twerp, then what does that make her?

That's probably part of why she gets pissed whenever Shinji self depreciates himself.

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Postby C.T.1290 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:19 am

View Original PostAsuka'sBigBrother wrote:That's probably part of why she gets pissed whenever Shinji self depreciates himself.

Why would she be mad over that?

I thought she'd be more pissed at someone being better than her, or someone who reminds her of her own flaws; such as Shinji for instance, since he reminded her so much of herself.
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Postby Sachi » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:06 am

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Why would she be mad over that?

I thought she'd be more pissed at someone being better than her, or someone who reminds her of her own flaws; such as Shinji for instance, since he reminded her so much of herself.

It can be frustrating putting all your effort into something while sad boy doesn't even take pride in what he does, yet does better.. He doesn't even try and he outclasses Asuka at Eva piloting, which is understandably very damaging to her ego. She expresses this frustration in EoE during the kitchen scene: "You're all you have and you never even learned to love yourself."
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:22 am

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Why would she be mad over that?

I thought she'd be more pissed at someone being better than her, or someone who reminds her of her own flaws; such as Shinji for instance, since he reminded her so much of herself.

Maybe the same reason she endangered her life to protect him and visited him at the hospital to make sure he was ok.

Maybe because she *gasp*, cares about him? :huh:
View Original PostSachi wrote:It can be frustrating putting all your effort into something while sad boy doesn't even take pride in what he does, yet does better.. He doesn't even try and he outclasses Asuka at Eva piloting, which is understandably very damaging to her ego. She expresses this frustration in EoE during the kitchen scene: "You're all you have and you never even learned to love yourself."

Good point.

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Postby C.T.1290 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:34 pm

View Original PostAsuka'sBigBrother wrote:Maybe the same reason she endangered her life to protect him and visited him at the hospital to make sure he was ok.

Maybe because she *gasp*, cares about him?

Does she really? Even after the negative ways she treated him(verbal assault, the need to put him down and belittle him, her lashing out at him for little to no reasons, ect.)?
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Postby pwhodges » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:55 pm

So? She’s not consistent - just like real humans.
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:19 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Does she really? Even after the negative ways she treated him(verbal assault, the need to put him down and belittle him, her lashing out at him for little to no reasons, ect.)?

Hurting the people you care about and caring about someone are not mutually exclusive concepts.

It's not either-or.

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Postby C.T.1290 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:58 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:So? She’s not consistent - just like real humans.

What does consistency have to do with Asuka?
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Postby Sachi » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:19 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:What does consistency have to do with Asuka?

You brought up the inconsistencies first when you challenged the idea that Asuka cares about Shinji with contradictions.
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Postby C.T.1290 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:42 pm

View Original PostSachi wrote:You brought up the inconsistencies first when you challenged the idea that Asuka cares about Shinji with contradictions.

So I guess things were a little more complicated between Shinji and Asuka, huh? And things aren't always what they seem, which is probably what I'm missing here from only seeing the series twice now and EoE just one time.

I'm starting to feel a bit stupid all of the sudden. I guess it's true that I'm just denying the possibilities of positive character growth for Asuka 'cause of the initial impression she left on me. Plus, I haven't really seen her doing something nice for people during the series before things went downhill for her and when she regresses to the person she was before. That's why I have been having negative views on her, because she didn't improve when she did these nice things for people, like when she complimented Shinji on his cello playing(it wasn't a threat to her status as an EVA pilot, so that's why she allowed that).
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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:56 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:So I guess things were a little more complicated between Shinji and Asuka, huh? And things aren't always what they seem, which is probably what I'm missing here from only seeing the series twice now and EoE just one time.

I'm starting to feel a bit stupid all of the sudden. I guess it's true that I'm just denying the possibilities of positive character growth for Asuka 'cause of the initial impression she left on me. Plus, I haven't really seen her doing something nice for people during the series before things went downhill for her and when she regresses to the person she was before. That's why I have been having negative views on her, because she didn't improve when she did these nice things for people, like when she complimented Shinji on his cello playing(it wasn't a threat to her status as an EVA pilot, so that's why she allowed that).

It's aight bro. Realizing there's a problem is the path to self improvement.

Like Asuka, you've accepted your belief for what it truly is and can now make real progress. :wink:


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