Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition").
The third installment debuted in Japan on November 17, 2012.

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Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Settie » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:04 am

Yes i know the title is a bit clickbaity but as weird as it sounds it's something I think best describes the way rebuild handles Asukas relationship with Shinji.

Without making a big post I'll try and make the case.

Asuka starts out as a rather self centered loner that believes she needs only herself in life and Shinji is nothing more than someone that was gifted his position due to nepotism (she's technically correct about that though) so when they go into battle together and live together she eventually learns her own limits and what drives Shinji. Sure there is the rather tropey crush that is prevalent in 2.0 and that may seem that that is what defines her relationship with him, but when she decides to be the test pilot and let Shinji have a father/son moment is when that "it's only a crush" image starts to change.

This of course is further reinforced in 3.0 with her behavior. Since, I too, believe that it's unlikely her crush survived those 14 years, but then what would explain what she says and the way she behaves.

*Her last ditch desperate plea for his help in space
*Cracking a window while remarking about her resentment/ Mari implying Asuka just wanted to see him
*Her disappointment over his decision to leave the Wunder
*Not communicating during the central dogma fight/ expressing disappointment that he didn't go to help her afterwards

That is when the thought occured to me. What if Asuka has admiration and perhaps even a bit of hero worship in regards to Shinji. Throughout 3.0 she displays both disappointment in Shinji and desire for him to be there for her. Like her Image of him of her "senpai' versus the real Shinji is causing an internal conflict that comes out as jarring behavior. That is what made me think of the Senpai trope, Shinji has achieved a lot of what Asuka desired. He's a good pilot, is socially awkward but made a circle of friends and therefore is able to get close to others, plus he was the first person she tried to get close to. So Asuka putting Shinji on a pedestal doesn't seem so far fetched.

So what do you guys think? I know it's a bit strange but i honestly couldn't define their relationship another way, it's that damn 14 year timeskip that really screws with things. So the way i see it admiration is something that could survive those 14 years.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Ambiant23 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:02 pm

n o

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby PenPen4life » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:15 pm

I too kick senpai in the head and drag him across the desert.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Joseki » Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:12 am

View Original PostPenPen4life wrote:I too kick senpai in the head and drag him across the desert.


She didn't kick Shinji in the head.
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:13 am

^ She did in 2.22.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Joseki » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:18 am

^

I presumed it was the scene in the entry plug in 3.33.
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Reichu » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:03 am

You don't have to agree, but at least put some effort in if you're going to bother with a reply.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby AdamMalkovitch » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:20 am

I never really thought of that. Since it's New Theatrical, I took them at face value until I saw The Curse of Evangelion. I think this might be more of a cry for help. During Break, she opens up and connects with two people; Shinji, the night after Sahaquiel (or whatever her NTE name is) attacks, and Misato during her prep to pilot Unit 05. It could be that due to her flawed 14 year old logic, she's decided that interacting with others will only bring disaster, since both of these interactions were before, and in relation to, the Unit 05 incident. Because she connected with Shinji, she felt for him, and wanted to try to get closer to him, eventually taking his place as test pilot so that he could attend Rei's dinner party. After regaining consciousness in the aftermath of Near Third Impact, she decided she would never connect to anyone again, especially since Shinji's connection to Rei is what caused him to initiate N3I by going after her. Since she never connected with anyone except maybe Mari, she respects and adores Misato to the highest degree, and yearns to see Shinji again.

Or maybe Bardiel's infection just fucks with her that's probably it New Theatrical Evangelion ain't as deep as Neon Genesis
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:29 am

View Original PostSettie wrote:So what do you guys think? I know it's a bit strange but i honestly couldn't define their relationship another way, it's that damn 14 year timeskip that really screws with things. So the way i see it admiration is something that could survive those 14 years.

Okay, so I dunno if Senpai is the word you’re looking for when describing Asuka’s relationship with Shinji. I see where you’re coming from, and there’s clearly something there between Asuka and Shinji (even if it’s not a crush), but “Senpai” suggests that Asuka believes that she has something to learn from Shinji, and that particular aspect of the trope is completely absent in their relationship. (Look to the Ritsuko+Maya relationship for an in-universe example of that trope.) Asuka sees herself as the best Eva pilot, and, while her interactions with Shinji and Rei convince her that teamwork and friendship is the better path than being a lone wolf, Asuka never admits that she isn’t the best Eva pilot. If anything, the movies still leaves us assuming that Asuka thinks that she might be the role model in the group.

If anything, Asuka’s relationship with Shinji in Eva Q strikes me more of Asuka assuming that they’re old rivals meeting up again for the first time in years, followed quickly by her realizing that she has to baby him a little more than usual, given his vulnerable emotional state. All while still feeling some sort of resentment for almost ending the world some 14 years ago.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Joseki » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:20 am

3.0 ends with Asuka as the "senpai" really, Shinji is supposed to learn from her.
Last edited by Joseki on Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Settie » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:08 am

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote: Asuka sees herself as the best Eva pilot, and, while her interactions with Shinji and Rei convince her that teamwork and friendship is the better path than being a lone wolf, Asuka never admits that she isn’t the best Eva pilot. If anything, the movies still leaves us assuming that Asuka thinks that she might be the role model in the group.


It isn't entirely about ability though. Asuka still wanted to reconnect even after 14 years when ability wise, Shinji doesn't offer much. She only had that "i'm the best' mentality prior to the 8th angel, afterwards she changed to include others. So yes, senpai isn't the best descriptor, but it was the closest thing i can think of.

If anything, Asuka’s relationship with Shinji in Eva Q strikes me more of Asuka assuming that they’re old rivals meeting up again for the first time in years, followed quickly by her realizing that she has to baby him a little more than usual, given his vulnerable emotional state. All while still feeling some sort of resentment for almost ending the world some 14 years ago.


Yes i've thought about that too as 3.0 is rife with overly aggressive Asuka and the imagery in their confrontations has her often in the high ground looking down at him, in a "dominant" position for the lack of a better term. Just can't tell if that's about their personal relationship or simply a proxy for Shinjis new role in the world (as Misato too has scenes where she looks on down him). The issue i see it being rivalry is that, while Asuka did initially see him as competition, that changed after the 8th. Add Shinji constantly disappointing her and that, to me at least, implies that Asuka has a certain view and expectation of him. Expectations he failed to meet, so she lashes out, but that doesn't mean she does not have a relatively high regard of him.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:50 pm

Given Asuka is a Captain, iirc, in the Rebuilds, then it wouldn't make sense for Shinji to be considered her senior/senpai by anybody. Not quite sure how Japanese honorifics work, but if anything, Shinji should probably be referring to her as Shikinami-sama if anything. That's totally ignoring the fact that she's the Second Child when Shinji is the Third himself, meaning she would be his senior in the organization as well, even if she happens to be nearly a year younger than he is.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:22 pm

^ Yeah, see, that’s the issue. Very few of us understand Japanese culture that well. While whatever Asuka and Shinji have between them isn’t a Senpai thing, I don’t know exactly what they would call that.
Last edited by FreakyFilmFan4ever on Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Chuckman » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:54 pm

I believe the technical term is "fuck buddenemies".
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby DarkBluePhoenix » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:26 pm

^ That is a mouth full.
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby FelipeFritschF » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:50 pm

More like as her daddy.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Reichu » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:09 am

Alright, kiddies, that's enough of that. If you don't have anything to add to the original conversation, as opposed to some pithy comment, just let the thread rest.

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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby Amalgam429 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:00 pm

N. O.

But it's important to recognize how different auskas relationship with Shinji is throughout the rebuilds. Not only is she an entirely different character (shikinami) but her mannerisms and speech are extremely different than her hardcore tsundere roots. Romantic rivals are something super new to eva and was only really explored in depth in 2.22.
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Re: Does Asuka see Shinji as her Senpai?

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Postby ShonHam » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:43 am

Does she wish to regard/see Shinji as a senpai? That's a hard no from me. It's just not the way Asuka is, Rebuild or not.
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