Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:04 am

Throughout​ the series, we've never seen Asuka actually feeling or even saying sorry for the way she acted and treated other people, such as Shinji.
And I bet that even after Instrumentality, (just recently finished End of Evangelion for the first time.) She still hasn't changed much. Maybe a bit slightly, but probably not enough to make a full improvement. I could be wrong though.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Reichu » Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:32 am

As a child, you see her accepting blame for something that's not in any way her fault:

Episode 25 wrote:CHILD Asuka:
Don't, Mom! Don't quit being my mom!
I'll be a good girl, so you'll like me!
So, don't quit being my mom!
So, look at me!
Stop, Mom!
Don't kill me!

The bolded part carried the implication, "Mama must hate me because I'm 'bad', so I have to be 'good' to get her to love me again". Typical kid logic.

Developmentally, Asuka seems to have started out quite normal. It's the defense mechanisms she developed in response to the trauma of Kyoko's mental illness and eventual suicide that produced her current calloused shell. She wants to be strong and independent to a fault, which results in instinctively burying any perceived vulnerability. Conceding that you're wrong or sorry about anything means showing a little weakness, so of course that's a no-no for her.

I don't think that Asuka returned to individuality exhibiting any real improvement either, but it would also be unrealistic to expect this, I think. Unlike Shinji, who has been allowed to maintain self-awareness during the process of Instrumentality, Asuka was given no such privilege and would have been subsumed into the hivemind. It will take time for her to process everything that's happened. Even a well-adjusted adult would need a proper buffer zone to recover from such an intense and otherworldly experience.

We'll never know what happens to the characters after "Fin" appears. Their future depends on the individual viewers' imaginations, because that is the only place their future can exist. So if you think Asuka becomes a better person, then she will.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Chuckman » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:57 am

She can't be reasoned with, or bargained with. She doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear.

Actually her entire life is remorse. She knows she committed a crime but doesn't know what it is and spends her entire life punishing herself for it.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:45 pm

View Original PostChuckman wrote:She can't be reasoned with, or bargained with. She doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear.

Actually her entire life is remorse. She knows she committed a crime but doesn't know what it is and spends her entire life punishing herself for it.

So her actions are eating her up from the inside. Am I right?

Reichu wrote:Conceding that you're wrong or sorry about anything means showing a little weakness, so of course that's a no-no for her.


So she never feels sorry then? Nor know the meaning of it?

I don't think that Asuka returned to individuality exhibiting any real improvement either, but it would also be unrealistic to expect this, I think.


Well, that's a bit disappointing. :nono:

We'll never know what happens to the characters after "Fin" appears. Their future depends on the individual viewers' imaginations, because that is the only place their future can exist. So if you think Asuka becomes a better person, then she will.


Hence the fanfics we see before us.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby silvermoonlight » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:48 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Throughout​ the series, we've never seen Asuka actually feeling or even saying sorry for the way she acted and treated other people, such as Shinji.


I think she is capable of feeling remorse and regret yes but I think her history of abuse and neglect makes it difficult for her as she has not had therapy and can't focus her emotions correctly and does not know how to channel her anger which is very misdirected. I do think as she got older she would start to feel to feel real deep regret over everything she did and how she treated people and would want to right her wrongs.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby pwhodges » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:54 pm

She gets some therapy in Bagheera's story, Ghosts (which I just linked in the other EoE thread).
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Bagheera » Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:02 pm

It's sort of a trick question: I think most kids, at the age of 13, are only just beginning to figure out what things like remorse are, and they're still a ways off from properly managing such emotions. It's one reason so many fanfics (mine included) tend to age up the characters -- when they're older we can give them meaningful therapy, have them engage in self-reflection, have them really grok the notion of having empathy for other human beings, etc. It's hard to do that with early teenagers, let alone basket cases like Shinji and Asuka.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby silvermoonlight » Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:10 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:It's sort of a trick question: I think most kids, at the age of 13, are only just beginning to figure out what things like remorse are, and they're still a ways off from properly managing such emotions. It's one reason so many fanfics (mine included) tend to age up the characters -- when they're older we can give them meaningful therapy, have them engage in self-reflection, have them really grok the notion of having empathy for other human beings, etc. It's hard to do that with early teenagers, let alone basket cases like Shinji and Asuka.


Not gonna disagree with that at all as I pushed up the ages in my fanfic purely for the reasons you mentioned, plus I liked the idea of a much older Asuka confronting some of her teenage wrongs and getting therapy and some form of closure.

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:She gets some therapy in Bagheera's story, Ghosts (which I just linked in the other EoE thread).


Thanks for the recommendation I'll look in to reading that ^_^
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Reichu » Sun Apr 30, 2017 3:10 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:So she never feels sorry then? Nor know the meaning of it?

I don't think we can make that conclusion at all. Note my phrasing.

  • "defense mechanisms"
  • calloused shell"
  • "burying any perceived vulnerability"
Being incapable of remorse would mean that Asuka suffers from sociopathy, and I see no evidence of that. Hers is just a highly traumatized psyche clinging desperately to the only method of survival that it currently has. She has trained herself to repress certain emotions in order to build an exoskeletal facade. This is how she's lived for nearly a decade of her life. Making adjustments and unlearning her various habits won't be easy, but I think it's certainly possible. As thoroughly shaped as the mind is by its early experiences, it does retain a good amount of plasticity as we get older, so that we can continue to adapt to a changing environment (very crucial for social animals especially). And as someone in her early teens, Asuka's brain is still developing!

Perhaps a useful analogy here would be your own experience with autism. This has lifelong consequences for how your brain works, and it takes significant time and effort to overcome some of those challenges. As a fellow high-functioning autist, I've received extensive training on the arts of empathy, tact, body language, and so forth; and as a result I can pass for "normal" when properly motivated. But it's not intuitive and it's not easy; it never will be. Now, to the analogy part: trauma appears to produce lasting changes to the brain, which, naturally, have behavioral consequences. Depending on the exact person and situation, this can result in more aggressive behavior later in life. To a certain extent, Asuka may not be able to "help it", any more than you can "help" leaning toward dichotomous thinking. But due to mental plasticity, proclivity is not necessarily the same thing as destiny or inevitability.

I think that NGE is, to an extent, a stealth commentary upon the state of affairs in Japanese mental health at the time. Which, to put it bluntly, were not good; they made my own country look like a pinnacle of progressivism. As far as I can gather, you were expected to suffer in silence alone, lest you become a "burden" upon others; and if anyone learned about your illness, it would be implicitly deemed a moral failing on your part. NGE shows the disastrous consequences of broken souls hiding behind crumbling facades, in a world where therapy doesn't even seem to exist. So in a way, Asuka's problems are there to provide a lucid illustration of what can go wrong when some of the most basic human needs are neglected. Most of the characters act as cautionary tales in their own way.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:11 pm

Perhaps a useful analogy here would be your own experience with autism. As a fellow high-functioning autist, I've received extensive training on the arts of empathy, tact, body language, and so forth; and as a result I can pass for "normal" when properly motivated.


Hey, you're just like me! What a coincidence! :D And I'm also surprised that you were able to tell what I have. How did you do that?
To a certain extent, Asuka may not be able to "help it", any more than you can "help" leaning toward dichotomous thinking. But due to mental plasticity, proclivity is not necessarily the same thing as destiny or inevitability.


I see.

Most of the characters act as cautionary tales in their own way.


Yeah, seems that way.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby C.T.1290 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:13 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:It's sort of a trick question: I think most kids, at the age of 13, are only just beginning to figure out what things like remorse are, and they're still a ways off from properly managing such emotions. It's one reason so many fanfics (mine included) tend to age up the characters -- when they're older we can give them meaningful therapy, have them engage in self-reflection, have them really grok the notion of having empathy for other human beings, etc. It's hard to do that with early teenagers, let alone basket cases like Shinji and Asuka.

I didn't know you write fanfiction too until someone brought it up. I might have to check it out.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Reichu » Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:40 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:I'm also surprised that you were able to tell what I have. How did you do that?

No guesswork was required:

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:And I think that with me being a mildly autistic person, I tend to see things in black and white, that's kind of how I am.

:wink:

Anyway, hope my posts were at least moderately helpful. Been a while since I wrote about Asuka like this.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Glor » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:06 pm

The fact that this is even a question is... odd. It's evident to anyone who's watched the series that she's capable of feeling remorse. Like, just put your bias away and pay attention.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Reichu » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:36 pm

View Original PostGlor wrote:It's evident to anyone who's watched the series that she's capable of feeling remorse. Like, just put your bias away and pay attention.

Obviously not "anyone", as this thread demonstrates! Incidentally, when I "put my bias away" and skimmed over the entire series in my head, the example from Asuka's childhood was the only one that popped out at me, and even that wasn't "remorse" per se. If there are clear-cut instances, it seems it would be actually be valuable to have them pointed out.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Guy Nacks » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:19 pm

View Original PostChuckman wrote:She can't be reasoned with, or bargained with. She doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear.


She also can't self-terminate efficiently.


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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon May 01, 2017 1:30 am

View Original PostChuckman wrote:Actually her entire life is remorse. She knows she committed a crime but doesn't know what it is and spends her entire life punishing herself for it.
This.

The whole "doesn't suffer fools gladly at all" act is there because she's already maxed out trying to atone to her mother, by being the best there can possibly be.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Redgirl01 » Mon May 01, 2017 5:10 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:She wants to be strong and independent to a fault, which results in instinctively burying any perceived vulnerability. Conceding that you're wrong or sorry about anything means showing a little weakness, so of course that's a no-no for her.


I don't see how saying sorry or admitting that you're wrong is weakness.

Asuka seems to have been showing a little remorse when she said no, none of this isn't the real me.

View Original PostBagheera wrote:It's sort of a trick question: I think most kids, at the age of 13, are only just beginning to figure out what things like remorse are, and they're still a ways off from properly managing such emotions. It's one reason so many fanfics (mine included) tend to age up the characters -- when they're older we can give them meaningful therapy, have them engage in self-reflection, have them really grok the notion of having empathy for other human beings, etc. It's hard to do that with early teenagers, let alone basket cases like Shinji and Asuka.


I think that early teenagers can start feeling sorry for their actions, even traumatized ones. I looked back on my actions at 13 when I was younger and said I was sorry.
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Re: Is Asuka even capable of​ feeling remorse?

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Postby Reichu » Mon May 01, 2017 5:40 pm

View Original PostRedgirl01 wrote:I don't see how saying sorry or admitting that you're wrong is weakness.

The concept is incredibly pervasive, independent of how nonsensical you may personally find it.

Asuka seems to have been showing a little remorse when she said no, none of this isn't the real me.

How does that indicate that she's sorry for anything? My takeaway of that scene is that Asuka is, for the first time, seeing herself "from the outside" -- as other people might see her. This is reinforced by the fact that, in the quick replays, Asuka is voiced by the other NGE actresses -- what she's seeing and hearing is not the Asuka she knows, but something else. It's no real secret that humans are notoriously terrible at evaluating themselves from others' point of view, and Asuka has fortified herself against what other people think of her, by convincing herself that none of those people matter. As a result, what Arael forces Asuka to look at here comes as a genuine shock, and Asuka's first impulse is to deny that this is who she is. Remorse requires some form of acceptance; Asuka hasn't reached that stage yet.
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