Asuka as Gendo (to Shinji)

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Asuka as Gendo (to Shinji)

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Postby SenorSquiid » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:30 am

I was just considering something.

In terms of Shinji's psycho-drama as an Eva pilot, in terms of his quest for acceptance, the split between Asuka and Rei is in much mroe Freudian terms than I originally though.

While Rei represents his desire to possess his mother, Asuka presents a pretty direct analogue for his conflict with his father. It gets kind of weird for Shinji though, because as his desire to poses Asuka sexually is super tied up with his desire to be accepted by the authorities in his life, ultimately it seems like Asuka is a sexual representation of Gendo in Shinji's mind.

Though Asuka and Gendo are very different people, they're shockingly similar in their relationship with Shinji. Asuka and Gendo both rely on Shinji while denying him the satisfaction of acknowledging their need for him. they are both authority figures to Shinji. Whether it's the case or not, Shinji naturally accepts Asuka as his superior as an Eva pilot, and as a person. But he doesn't seek Asuka to be his mtoher despite treating her like it. Shinji can only treat women like his mother because that's the only thing he can acknowledge desiring. Shinji sees his father in Asuka's surface-evident social superiority, in her self-appointed mastery fo her craft, and in her contradictory need of him, a need even Shinji won't acknowledge, and her dismissal of him.

Without Shinji, Gendo would be dead. Without Shinji Asuka would be dead. In multiple situations Shinji, a boy who considers himself barley worthy of being considered unremarkable, has proved his worth to these supposed authorities of his, yet they never provide him more than a bone. Had Shinji had gendo in his life as a more supportive father figure he would have possibly found gratification in relating to women as individuals rather than parent replacements, but Gendo wasn't so Shinji didn't.

But I just thogut it was interesting tot ake the tack of Asuka as Shinji seeking to be accepting by his father as distorted through the lens of his desire to possess this young woman who treats him like his father treats him. Also, in the spells-it-out scene fo the film, the kitchen scene of EoE, Asuka basically provides a mirror image of Gendo's reasons for rejecting Shinji.

I dont know. Let's discuss how Shinji wanting to fuck Asuka represents Shinji wanting to be sexually submissive to his father in order to obtain approval. or is sometimes a redheaded daddy cartoon girl just a cigar?
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Postby NemZ » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:43 am

I swear I've heard this theory before somewhere, but search is failing me.
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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:48 am

View Original PostNemZ wrote:I've heard this theory before somewhere
It's one of OMF's, but that's not helped in a cursory search.
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Postby SenorSquiid » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:06 am

I also would be interested to see prior writing on this subject.
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Re: Asuka as Gendo (to Shinji)

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:56 am

I did have a theory along these lines before, but I believe the relevant ANF thread itself was not archived. My thoughts were very similar to SenorSquid's. Practically identical in fact( with the exception of Asuka being a sexual representation of Gendo. I didn't go that far I think).

View Original PostSenorSquiid wrote:But I just thogut it was interesting tot ake the tack of Asuka as Shinji seeking to be accepting by his father as distorted through the lens of his desire to possess this young woman who treats him like his father treats him. Also, in the spells-it-out scene fo the film, the kitchen scene of EoE, Asuka basically provides a mirror image of Gendo's reasons for rejecting Shinji.

If I remember correctly, my thinking on this also centred on the Kitchen scene in EoE as well. Shinji begs Asuka not to abandon him, but like Gendo, she coldly rejects him. Asuka's rejection here becomes an echo of Gendo's original abandonment of Shinji. When the entire Pre 3I sequence ends, we are actually once again shown the image of a young Shinji crying at the train platform.

Very notable here is the image of Asuka as she finally "abandons" Shinji here. The core of this is the unusual shot of Asuka from below (She's the same height as Shinji).

[wkimg width=300]File:M26 C281 iya.jpg[/wkimg]
The angle here is to me suggestive of the many shots we see of Gendo looming down on Shinji

[wkimg]File:01 C202.jpg[/wkimg] [wkimg]File:01 C227.jpg[/wkimg] [wkimg]File:02 C062.jpg[/wkimg] [wkimg]File:20_C079c.jpg[/wkimg]
I feel this establishes a visual connection, linking Asuka's rejection to Gendo's. Gendo cannot be here in pre-3I Instrumentality, but Asuka is in part representing him, or representing emotions involving him.

I don't think this has any dubious sexual connotations however. We already had a blast of Shinji and Asuka's sexual neurosis from both barrels earlier in instrumentality. The Kitchen scene lies purely in the realm of Shinji's abandonment complex. He enters, asking for Asuka's help, but she says that "anyone will do", and that he is only running to her because he is afraid of everyone else: Misato, Rei, Gendo, Yui. The principal effects of the abandonment -- Shinji's failure to love himself -- is cast in his teeth, and his omnipresent need to be needed is flatly rejected.

The Kitchen scene is all about the core of Shinji. Since Gendo is a very big part of that core, Asuka is standing in for him here.
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Re: Asuka as Gendo (to Shinji)

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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:22 am

View Original PostObsessiveMathsFreak wrote:I believe the relevant ANF thread itself was not archived.
I know we d/l'd pretty much everything from there before it went quiet, so it may be lurking in Ornette's archives somewhere.
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Postby NemZ » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:26 am

The thing is, that's just a cinematogrophy choice to emphasize the feeling of a power imbalance. It's a hell of a stretch to go from that to Asuka = father figure.

Despite the clone thing I also don't think Shinji sees Rei as a mother figure (or rather he does, but not as HIS mother), because for the most part he's the one providing care in the relationship.

Basically the whole thing strikes me as trying too hard to make the Freud stuff stick.
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Re: Asuka as Gendo (to Shinji)

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Postby LeoXiao » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:36 am

View Original PostObsessiveMathsFreak wrote:I did have a theory along these lines before, but I believe the relevant ANF thread itself was not archived. My thoughts were very similar to SenorSquid's. Practically identical in fact( with the exception of Asuka being a sexual representation of Gendo. I didn't go that far I think).

With regards to the sexuality, it can be very easily explained. Asuka is physically attractive to Shinji while his dad isn't. However, he is only shown acting on this feeling twice: once in episode 9 and once in EoE. Both times, Asuka is not awake and thus vulnerable. Why? Because Asuka dominates him the same way Gendo does. He doesn't dare think about her sexually unless her personality is compromised by sleep or coma.

When Gendo tells Shinji he did well, he gets super happy about it. I'm not sure how often Asuka told him something similar but she does find him playing the cello once and claps, saying "I didn't know you could do stuff like that". Does he smile? I don't remember. But I would find it immensely odd if he weren't incredibly pleased.

I think the point in all this is that Shinji, never having had functional parental figures, seeks just this parental comfort in his relationships with others. However, no one can provide this simply of their own accord. Asuka is too much of a bitch. Rei is too...Rei. Gendo is too much of a dick. Misato is fucked up in other ways. Kaji gets killed and doesn't see him much anyhow. Kaworu is an Angel and must be killed.
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Postby Dream » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:26 pm

Personally, i always found that the more bitter aspects of and interactions within Shinji and Asuka's relationship served (among other things, of course) to showcase Shinji's woeful unpreparedness and inability to properly operate in and deal with an intimate relationship, mostly because of his lack of parental guidance and support. By the way, it's probably worth noting that Shinji's mother (instead of his father) seems to be closer in theme and psyche during the Kiss scene in episode 15.

Reason why i'm bringing this up is because i also feel that there is a connection between Asuka and Gendo in relationship to Shinji (and regarding symbolism and thematics as well), but not in the way presented or suggested in this theory. The way i see it, the way Gendo treats Shinji and his failures with him are "carried" by Shinji into the way he treats Asuka and his failures with her. Granted Asuka isn't the only person he is variably unpleasant to but due to her central role in the story and the very particular/multi-layered relationship she holds with Shinji this aspect of the series is best in showcasing Shinji's difficulties in an intimate, emotional/romantic relationship and the influence his parents play into it. I might probably write about it in a more detailed way, but that's basically the gist of it.

Also, sorry to say this but i would have to agree with NemZ in feeling that this theory seems to be forcing a Freudian reading where it doesn't fit very well. I would also have to agree in that the common angles/shots could easily be just a cinematographic coincidence, even if we are talking about Anno here.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:28 pm

View Original PostDream wrote:I would also have to agree in that the common angles/shots could easily be just a cinematographic coincidence, even if we are talking about Anno here.
But what about the context if the Kitchen scene itself, centered around Shinji's abandonment issues. There's actually very little in the scene itself to do with Shinji and Asuka's relationship -- that dirty laundry having been publicly aired earlier in Instrumentality. Shinji cannot be reacting to Asuka's rejection on the level of their own relationships, as he barely registers that they have one. I feel his reaction here is centered around deeper emotions which can be ultimately traced back to Gendo.
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Postby Dream » Sat Jun 08, 2013 6:42 pm

^ I would agree that the pre-Komm Susser Todd scene is focused more on Shinji's core than anything else, but i personally am not entirely sure of how central or relevant Gendo is to that core, at least post ep. 19.

While it's true that most of Shinji's aspects or traits could be traced back to Gendo, how much relevance Gendo plays in that scene depends on how intrinsically connected or relevant Gendo is to Shinji's issues.
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Postby Kendrix » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:12 pm

I don't really think there is any more to it than that there are both characters that Shinji feels rejected and looked down by.

They probably both come from that little voice in the back of one's mind that telly you "You suck" - but that's it.

It's simply a matter of bad parent/child relationships leading into bad relationships as "adults" (more adolescents in Shinji's case), see Misato and Asuka herself.

I kinda remind me of something I once read, a quote by the singer/songwriter Tori Amos about her Song "silent all these years" - It#s about finding a voice you didn't know you had, and how years go back and "the jailor changes". From parents, to partners... untill, one day, you realize that at this point, the jailor is you.

So this is what happens here - the jailor changes, it's no longer Gendo, but Asuka, but it has actually been Shinji for quite some time. In the beginning of the show, Shinji was mostly upset about Gendo. By EoE, Shinji has all but given up on Gendo, and he is concerned with his new home having fallen appart, everyone dying and the sad remainder of his relationships with Misato, Asuka and Rei, with Gendo's only contribution being to have contributed to the creation of the bevior patterns that are now in Shinji's way, the abandonment issues - but these don't just stand in the way of him and Asuka, they're making the forming of any bond hard for him.

Asuka just gets cited as the one prime example because a) She's the one with the most disfuntional relationship of them all, and Anno is a sadistic fucker b) She sort of stands as a symbol for "the other"/ "the pain of interaction" (Alltough Rei also embodies "communication" and "hope that people can understand each other"; It can be likened to a ying/yang thing. The love triangle is symbolic of Shinji being torn between various opposing forces - and on top of that, the girls have their own plots. An apparition of Rei in Shinji's head most likely doesn't mean the same as in Asuka's head. See EoTV.)
...when he snaps her neck, he's symbolically rejecting the concept of "the other" in general, and sure enough, the next thing we hear are the first notes of "Come, sweet death..."

I don't think Asuka should be added to any oedipal infantile sexuality realm at all; She comes after most other characters, after the "home base" is already established. She has her own little side plot, not that much related to the big plot with Gendo and the conspiracy... She is a foreighn, exotic element, the indeciphrable female; Asuka very much belongs to the sexual awakening of puberty.
She's an outside thing;

From all of Shinji's relationships, barring the video game characters, the one with Asuka probably has the least connection to Gendo; He's only a background factor that set the stage of Shinji's behavior patters. He has no more to do with Asuka & Shinji's relationshhip than Kyoko. (Mr Langley, as the oposite sex parent, is a different story. Asuka very clearly sees a connection there.)

With Misato, it's not much more, but the father complex thing is a point they have in comon.

With Rei, well, there is the fact that Rei is actually existing in the vincinity of Gendo; She was "the mystery girl at Gendo's side" to Shinji before he knew her as Ayanami Rei. On one level, Rei is attracted to a man who happens to look like the guy who raised her (See Misato/Kaji) on the other, she's sort of in the place that should be Shinji, which he feels in unfair, but hearing that there is this girl whom he saved, who has faith in him also gave Shinji the hope that there is another, nicer side of Gendo's he doesn't know, so Rei's an intermediary. ("Hope that people can understand each other" - Rei may have initially taken that place as living proof that there may be hope with Gendo ("Did you try to understand him?") but later stayed there by her own virtues/interactions with Shinji, even after he long gave up on Gendo and, in fact, reached the conclusion that Rei is being used by him. If you will, a parallel to the equivalent, Asuka related thing of the "jailor changing".)

And Kaworu...
Anyone here familiar with Goethe's "Ganymede"?
That's really all about it, even if the poem itself, as its companion piece "prometheus" have a religious layer below the paternal and the homosexual one.
If there's anyone who's the Freundian sexualized subconcious equivanlent thingy of a father, it's probably Kaworu, even if there's a bit more complex, as in all the other cases.
There's the Adam aspect and even vaguer allusions of a connection between the two themselves.
Further abstracted, these two could be self-love and self-hate, and this thing about Kaworu being something of a pendant to Rei - The "leading", "teaching" role he takes in his interactions with Shinji. Way less so in Rebuild, but certainly in ep 24.
Maybe that's why neither I nor Shinji could resist him for a moment - We didn't have the "Ganymede/Zeus" side of the father archetype in our lives so much, before watching/being in episode 24, we were all prometheus XD

...I'm rambling random associations about Goethe poems. This anime does weird things to the mind.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:34 pm

View Original PostKendrix wrote:So this is what happens here - the jailor changes, it's no longer Gendo, but Asuka, but it has actually been Shinji for quite some time. In the beginning of the show, Shinji was mostly upset about Gendo. By EoE, Shinji has all but given up on Gendo, and he is concerned with his new home having fallen appart, everyone dying and the sad remainder of his relationships with Misato, Asuka and Rei, with Gendo's only contribution being to have contributed to the creation of the bevior patterns that are now in Shinji's way, the abandonment issues - but these don't just stand in the way of him and Asuka, they're making the forming of any bond hard for him.

That's a good point, which goes back to the idea of the Kitchen scene being all about Shinji. The shots here may only be a reference to Shinji's own feelings about the situation. Still, Asuka is the one ultimately doing the rejecting here, so I still feel the situation is hearkening back to Gendo or the Shinji's feelings surrounding him somehow. Admittedly, it's hard to make Asuka and Gendo themselves mesh together in this way, but the idea of rejection does tie their actions together here.
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Postby Kendrix » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:48 pm

View Original PostObsessiveMathsFreak wrote: but the idea of rejection does tie their actions together here.


Yeah, but is there a common denominator other than Shinji and his problems to handle these situations in general?
That's a property he has (in part because of Gendo), not one these two share.
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Postby PanzerEVA » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:12 am

And suddenly it makes sense. This gives very good grounds as to why Shinji was choking Asuka in the last scene.

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:30 am

While many have connected the Kitchen scene to the later beach scene, I don't see how Asuka as Gendo is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the latter. Could you expand on your thoughts here?
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Postby Chuckman » Thu Jun 27, 2013 10:19 am

View Original PostNemZ wrote:The thing is, that's just a cinematogrophy choice to emphasize the feeling of a power imbalance. It's a hell of a stretch to go from that to Asuka = father figure.

Despite the clone thing I also don't think Shinji sees Rei as a mother figure (or rather he does, but not as HIS mother), because for the most part he's the one providing care in the relationship.

Basically the whole thing strikes me as trying too hard to make the Freud stuff stick.


Nothing in a film is just a cinematography choice, especially in animation.

Though I would argue that Asuka doesn't represent Gendo specifically here, she represents the entire world. Shinji has unfairly objectified and idealized her as the last line of defense between himself and total despair, and in the depths of his self-destructive urges he's paid her the ultimate insult and destroyed the last barrier between himself and his suicidal wish for oblivion.

He's too much of a coward to accept his own suicidal urge, so he tortures someone else into casting judgement on him.
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Postby Dream » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:04 am

View Original PostObsessiveMathsFreak wrote:While many have connected the Kitchen scene to the later beach scene, I don't see how Asuka as Gendo is the key to unlocking the mysteries of the latter. Could you expand on your thoughts here?


I don't feel that the beach scene is connected to the Asuka/Gendo parallel, or in fact connected to any thematic elements of NGE outside the essential/overarching aspects.

I'm too lazy to type what the beach scene means to me but in some aspects my interpretation is similar to Chuckman's last post (or at least i'm assuming he's talking about the beach scene rather than the pre-EoE kitchen scene).
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Postby xdiesp » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:25 pm

This reminds me of an old Penny Arcade cartoon about people liking the Witch from L4D. Because someone honestly thought she was cool, and not the horrible abomination she was designed to look like. Similarly, you are supposed to feel confrontational and even dislike Asuka, beside the fanservice, because you "are" the main character in a story.
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Postby Sirona » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Just wanted to interject here the association of Asuka with the sun; yang energy, "male" force, etc., and Rei's link to the moon; yin, mother... In my mind, regardless of how "direct" the correlation is between Asuka and Gendo, there is at least a basic link between what Asuka represents and the concept of "father".

On a side note, I believe that the two pillars of the Tree of Life are viewed as "male" and "female", and that the "male" side is associated with mercy, while the "female" with severity...


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