Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby xanderkh » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:37 pm

Forgive me if I'm interpreting your words wrongly, but the way you wrote "Other people can offer them pretty much only sympathy" implies that the “sympathy” normal people may be able to give Asuka and Shinji is something mediocre or poor. But, after all they’ve been through and the utter lack of affection they’ve suffered, I honestly think that receiving sympathy from others would be extremely heartwarming for them. Just think of how gladly Shinji accepts Kaworu’s “attention”, even though he just met him that same day. Asuka and Shinji are not aliens and their behaviours are very human, so why wouldn't other people be able to understand and give them comfort, in case they can't give it to each other?


I doubt after the debacle of both Kaworu and Asuka's rant in Instrumentality, Shinji would really be hard pressed to want sympathy from ANYBODY anymore on the grounds that he could be betrayed again. The reason I think Asuka and Shinji could at least be somewhat co-dependent (at least in the first few years before therapy) is because they've both seen the ugly sides of themselves, and therefore they would know how each other tics.

The thing is Caesarmagnus is that with your counterpoint, you kind of actually proved my own point of how there would be a lack of sympathy from others, considering your own admittance of bias against Shinji. And trust me, Asuka isn't so exempt from a lack of sympathy either, because there are just as many people here that express a lack of sympathy towards Asuka's plights just as much as Shinji's. And I'm not making this a "popularity contest" on who screwed up the most in the end, cause in my opinion, they both SCREWED UP big time on each other.

Now, the point I'm trying to make of the sympathy angle is that it's only a thinly veiled sense of comfort to another. We all can offer support for Shinji and Asuka, but we've never been were they were, NO ONE has. Who here is not only an eva-pilot, who's had combat experience against eldritch horrors that can inflict pain both physical and mental traumas on you on a nearly daily basis, while also having severe abandonment/intimacy issues? The latter could be helped by professionals, but even then, it's still a thinly veiled pillar of support from those who haven't been there. This is why veterans seek out other veterans, because normal people haven't been in their shoes.

Asuka and Shinji have, along with their previous issues, and if they learn how to queel those issues for themselves, again, they can be a strong support for each other and not have to be guarded around each other, because honestly, they've seen each other at their worst. It can only go up from here, but slowly.
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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby pwhodges » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:50 pm

Any parent can tell you that in real life it was almost impossible to predict how their children would turn out and what relationships they would form; the mind and the world are both too complex to know the answers to everything. In the case of the characters from Eva we have far less information than a parent would have, and correspondingly little chance to make an accurate prediction.

In fact, after the end of the story virtually any possible outcome is on the cards. So when any of us argues that this way or that is impossible, or alternatively is the only way, what we are actually hearing is the writer's summary of their life experience, not anything that can be relied on as a prediction of what (conjecturally) would have happened to our little broken heroes.

Each of us may prefer this or that fanfiction; but unless they actually contradict the canon part of the story, we are free to choose, and cannot say absolutely that any outcome is inconceivable.
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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby FelipeFritschF » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:31 pm

Something I think you should keep in mind is that at the present they're not merely not right for each other, but I don't think they're really right for *anyone*. Asuka and Shinji both are, at least before EoE, still engaging in problematic and self destructive behaviours. When Asuka feels her self worth is gone since she can't pilot any more, she runs away from home, stays with Hikari (whom we should keep in mind is a perfectly healthy person, yet she's completely unable to help Asuka), then roams the street until she comes close to committing suicide. Which is exactly what Shinji did thrice in Eps 4, 19 and 24/EoE.

Asuka and Shinji both are so dependent and insecure they have generally unhealthy relationships with just about anyone, in time. Asuka was trying to engage in something rather problematic with Kaji, which might have happened if Kaji didn't know any better. Same goes with Shinji, who in the Descent arc was unable to form very mutual relationships with Misato, whom had alienated him, Rei, who kept listening to him problems as though he wasn't there, or Touji and Kensuke who seemed to barely understand what he was going through (Kensuke especially). While this is certainly not entirely their fault, I think it goes to show that their personalities make them problematic to more than each other. If "normal" people can't help them, and "perfect" people turn out to be false fantasies, then how much of a chance do they have to just stumble on someone that will comprehend all their terrible trauma?

I'm not saying this means they are doomed to each other, but that seems to me like applying the "X relationship will fix this character" logic, but instead with someone else, that we literally don't know about. You know, maybe Gendo comes back from the sea, apologises to Shinji and that helps him with some of his issues, but by that point we're just essentially arguing based on a fanfic.

If Asuka and Shinji are too screwed up by themselves, and can't love themselves, which prevents them from loving any one (as remarked by Asuka), why would this be nullified by meeting some random other person? Asuka would probably still grow up in bad shape, as would Shinji. But this all ultimately hinges on how their character development progresses, and I don't see how that is precluded by it being specifically Asuka AND Shinji. One could even say Hikari could be a good partner for Shinji, but by that point we're on pure "what-if" speculation, as that is not the way the show went.

Bagheera, in that thread you've mentioned, also argued that what would probably be necessary for them would be professional mental care something which should CERTAINLY have happened before. I tend to agree, as that's precisely what happened in his Ghosts of Evangelion fic, with them meeting again years later after going through lots of treatment. But, same as Hikari or Maya or some random girl from his class turning out to be great for Shinji, you know, it didn't. I don't think that they truly are ready for ANY relationship at the moment, with each other or some random new character.

Still, the general idea is that they DID learn a little something by the time One More Final rolls. Asuka has not only chose to come back, she also sat down by Shinji, and instead of offering resistance when he tried to choke her, she caressed him, her first open, honest display of affection (even if it doesn't need to be romantic in nature). Ultimately, whether Shinji and Asuka can grow to be at least real friends also depends on how much you think humanity can go back and learn from its mistakes: it is entirely possible that no one will come back, or that few will. We don't even know for sure about physical state of the world and its natural. The damage might be limited to Tokyo-3 vicinity, or Japan, or Eastern Asia... the point being, there are lots and lots of variables going beyond their characters. You can have relatively optimistic settings, with the world recovered quickly (Ghosts is very much this, in fact), or slowly with lots of political problems (The Creative Principle is a good example), or Asuka and Shinji can live a post apocalyptic hellhole being used by warlords like in A Throne of Bayonets. If you really want to get cruel, you can do it like in that fic in which they simply get lost, and Asuka assumes he abandoned her, only to find each other years later, with Shinji being nailed to a cross by a warlord (don't ask me the name, I don't want to remember)... or of course, then might remain alone and in in the same place.

The point being, due to the way the post-3I world is set up, they will have to deal with each other for at least some time. Much like the Hedgehog's Dillema means people dealing with the risk of failure and getting hurt in other to connect, Asuka and Shinji will almost certainly have to deal with whatever problems they have with each other, come to terms with whatever experiences, good or bad, they shared, and will at the very least have to refrain from killing each other in order to even grow in the first place. As I think humanity can indeed grow and learn after even such a cataclysmic even like Instrumentality, I think Asuka and Shinji can improve too. For better or worse, before they can get together as friends or lovers, or move on to someone else or even no one at all, they will have to deal with each other.

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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby CaesarMagnus » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:46 pm

@xanderkh: Some people might like Shinji, while others might not see enough good in him. And the same goes for Asuka, Misato, Gendou, etc. The fact that I don’t appreciate Shinji at all doesn’t mean that there aren’t people that do like him. And of course, after 3I, neither all the people Shinji and Asuka will meet will love them, nor hate them. I don’t think that me not liking him (mostly for his treatment towards Asuka) means that NOBODY would like him apart from Asuka. And vice versa: the fact some fans despise Asuka calling her a “b*tch” doesn’t mean that everyone hates her and no one could understand her.

Personally, I think that, precisely because they shared those horrific experiences (piloting EVAs, fighting against Angels, etc.), it would be optimal to find people who could give them a different perspective of life, free of those elements. In short, people who could allow them to live normal lives and who didn’t consistently remind them of the pain and tension of the past.

You mentioned war veterans very accurately, and I agree that they seek out others like them to share their experiences. But not in a romantic way. I don’t think all veterans marry other veterans, but might just keep in touch with their war companions as epistolary friends, with a sense of brotherhood, while having a normal life with a normal wife and children. As it’s been commented in this thread, a platonic relationship between the two Children is just as viable as any other; and platonic relationships are also based on empathy.

Another good example would be Holocaust victims. As far as I know, they weren’t an endogamic group, but many managed to find partners in life that hadn’t suffered what they did, and thus, could live normally, without being constantly reminded of their pain. That doesn’t exclude the fact that they kept in touch with their prisoner acquaintances , but the point I want to make is that having such sense of empathy doesn’t necessarily equate having a romance.

I liked very much one of your sentences regarding this, because it shows that we actually don’t disagree with this:
xanderkh wrote:Now, Instrumentality did give them the chance to learn to understand themselves and each other somewhat and start that journey, but based on what we have so far, and the circumstances and toxicity of their previous relationship, does that understanding equate to romantic love? Again, that's a pretty huge mountain to cross, and it would take a lot of time and effort to restructure their personalities to be compatible. Unfortunately, especially now these days, people aren't really that patient for that kind of restructuring and conditioning, especially when there are other options of people available...

It's possible that, while Shinji and Asuka do understand each other based on their similarities of trauma and backgrounds, they may move forward to other options for romantic needs and compatibility, while staying in touch based on their traumas. It's kind of like how Veteran's still get together even after the war; the war has given them a bond of trust and mutual understanding, as they both have endured a lot of pain together, both before and after the Angel's war. They have a bond, yes, but it is a bond between comrades and fellow soldiers, not a necessarily a romantic one, given their personality differences.

That shows that we’re making pretty much the same point, but viewing it from different sides: you like the pairing, and thus, firmly believe in the theoretical potential these two could have in the future, helping each other, while admitting that a lot of time and effort would be needed. And I firmly believe that, thinking that they’re too harmful for each other, and without the obligation of forcibly become lovers, they might want to meet others they can find comfort in.

On to the matter of sympathy/affection they can get from others, honestly, I don't think it would be just a “thin veil”. Using that logic, one could argue that all kind of friendships are mere thin veils unless you share a 99% of traumatic experiences with your friends; but, at least in my case, I have acquaintances with very different backgrounds, and that doesn't mean they're "less" whatsoever.

In the Children's case, and going on with the "veil" symbology, forcing themselves to “love” each other despite their constant bickering, just for the slim hope that things will be better, could equally be a thin veil; and very dangerous, in fact. To a certain point, they could fool themselves that they actually “love” each other to stick together, but unless many things change in them (and with many, I mean many), that comfort they can give to each other due to similarities might very well end up becoming a superficial “thin veil” too. Just like Misato or Asuka in the extra life-action, living a miserable life, but not wanting to be alone. Sticking together only causing pain to each other, that's what I mean.

That could happen with actually anyone, of course, and they could live miserably or happily being together, separated or however. But, given the evidences we saw in the series/film, the starting point of Asuka and Shinji is not much better than them with other partners. At the risk of repeating myself too much, I think the bad blood between them is still too hurtful (How disgusting), and many things have to be forgiven and forgotten. However, I might say that I agree with you, xanderkh, that actually nothing prevents them from trying, even if they eventually fail. But, unlike you, I’m very sceptical of the results of that, and my point is that nothing prevents them from finding others in life either. They’re not “meant for each other”, after all.

If they mature, go under a therapy and stop being so defensive, of course they have a potential as “lovers”, with a common baggage as they have. That's the theory, though, and life isn't that logical whatsoever. Thus, my question is: what forces them to go for a therapy just to forcibly become a couple? If they decide it’s better to go separate ways, it’s perfectly fine, and I don’t see why that would be a problem at all. I don’t blame you if you like the ship and wish them to improve together; but as pwhodges has just said above, “we are free to choose, and cannot say absolutely that any outcome is inconceivable.”

Debating with you is a pleasure, indeed; but many shippers with similar ideas fanatically state that the only possible choice in life for Asuka and Shinji is to stick together no matter what. And my question to them is: why on earth don’t they acknowledge that they’re 14 years old and have all life in front of them, being together or not? Sometimes I feel many people, when discussing about fanfic hypothesis, think of Shinji as their “self-insert”, and thus, can’t conceive any outcome other than him being with the “hot redhead girl”. That’s why I’m usually reluctant to read fanfics or debate about them; they’re just too personal.


EDIT: @FelipeFritschF: A very enlightening post, indeed. Thank you. Of course, all I'm talking about (and I think xanderkh too) is a long time after what we see in EoE, maybe years. By the time we see them on that apocalyptic beach, they're pretty much doomed, and I'm sure they would have lots of things to worry about (not starving to death or dying of any illness) before wanting to begin love-dovey romances, haha. Not to say they're very much broken and dysfunctional at that moment.

A great deal of what we're commenting now has to do with "what-if" scenarios, as you mentioned. That's why, as I said, I don't really like post-EoE debates, since they're based on mere personal preferences, rather than on actual evidences. What we see on the Last Scene is far from being conclusive; it's simply ambiguous, like real life is.
Last edited by CaesarMagnus on Thu Dec 07, 2017 6:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby FelipeFritschF » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 pm

Thing is, they don't need to get therapy only for the sake of being able to get together, they don't need to improve as people just so they can date each other. Asuka's problems go far, far beyond not being able to date Shinji, and Shinji's problems go far beyond not being able to date Asuka. Yet it is through their relationship that the show explores these issues, and it is through interacting with each other that they have dealt, or failed to have dealt with them, just like they will, at least for some time, have to come to terms with each other in one way or another, or regress again into stagnation, apathy, and quite possibly death. There won't be, for some time, anyone else to reach out to, no one else to have closure with (I bet Shinji will remain puzzled about Misato's kiss for a while...), no one else to hunt and gather food with. Maybe after that they will part ways, maybe they won't, but they won't be able to ignore the other's needs and only think of themselves anymore, much like it happened on Ep. 9 when Asuka was briefly able to let go and try to give Shinji space, and Shinji was able to work with Asuka and challenge himself to achieve what was needed.

"Going back" in the story is fun and all, but hey, even though Shinji could have just happened to die in a car crash right before Asuka even met him (there is one fic in that he dies after Leliel and that affects Asuka and everyone else deeply), as much as "positive" scenarios like Shinji holding her during the kiss and "making it work", but for better or worse we're not only rewriting the plot, but also the characters themselves, be it by character development, changing their past or starting from scratch in an AU of sorts, ultimately it doesn't have much relevance to discussing where the story of the actual anime is going, and thus what the anime really wanted to do.

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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby C.T.1290 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:32 pm

View Original PostFelipeFritschF wrote:"Going back" in the story is fun and all, but hey, even though Shinji could have just happened to die in a car crash right before Asuka even met him (there is one fic in that he dies after Leliel and that affects Asuka and everyone else deeply),

I remember reading that fic were Shinji died after the Leliel incident, and how Asuka was all torn up by it. Sometimes, when I read fics like these, I wonder to myself "is this something Asuka would ever do?", Especially when it comes to Shinji. If something were to happen to him, how would she take it? And to what extent would it affect her? To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how much she actually cares for him. We've seen the way she treated him with full of spite, unless that is the result of her own self-hatred.

And I think that (and some might argue) if Asuka was nicer towards Shinji and others than she normally is/would would be considered out of character for her. Because let's face it, Asuka isn't usually that nice towards people, and Shinji especially. She wouldn't go "oh hi Shinji! Nice to meet you!" "Nice day today, isn't it?" "Aren't you glad we're such good friends?" Seem out of character there?

I don't think Asuka has ever identified her own problems (ok, maybe she did at one point) and even made an attempt to fix those problems, until she supposedly did after HIP. So would it be considered OOC for Asuka to be genuinely nicer towards Shinji, and possibly some others? Or is that how she actually would be? Given the right time and motivation?
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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby Asuka'sBigBrother » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:59 pm

Sometimes, when I read fics like these, I wonder to myself "is this something Asuka would ever do?", Especially when it comes to Shinji. If something were to happen to him, how would she take it?

Given how we've seen her react when something happened to Shinji, not too well -- see e.g. episode 16 at 21:36
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Re: Introduction, Toxicity of AsuShin and other things

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Postby Settie » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:06 pm

The way i see it is that it's not Asushin that's toxic, but Shinji and Asuka as individuals are. The same reasons that they couldn't work together would apply to anyone else, Shinji would be passive and pull away if things got rough, Asuka would push them away. Their personalities were both defined by the trauma they suffered as toddlers, one which they never really grew out of, so i find the whole thing moot. Judging their potential as partners as they are won't work with each other or anyone else, but if we take into account things like Asuka finding out that her mother in fact didn't replace her and had loved her all along and Shinji coming to the conclusion that he could learn to love himself, then that changes things and opens up pretty much any possibility as the end is so open ended.

I find any interpretation of their future relationship to be equally valid as i see the ending being that open ended.
Could they drift apart and never talk to each other? Yes.
Could they remain lifelong platonic friends? Yup.
Could they have something more than friendship but less than lovers? Indeed.
Could they marry and live happily ever after? Of course.

The ending where they're taking the first tentative baby steps towards bettering themselves leaves what comes next as whatever you want to interpret it as. So in the end if you take these characters as their growth culminating by the end then yes, they are toxic to each other and others as well, but if you think the ending is just the beginning of their growth, then i think their future is whatever you make of it.


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