Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:They can always learn that and by the end of the story they know a great deal more about social actions than they did beforehand. There's no reason they can't continue to address this problem. As it is, they interact more freely with each other than they interact with anyone else. Shinji's is the only person we see Asuka open herself up to. Asuka is the only person we see Shinji express and stand up for himself with.
Logically, they'll grow more socially when interacting with each other rather than interacting with others.
That's the theory of it. Rather than logically, I would say theoretically, since even after Instrumentality they'll still have to deal with the massive miscommunication issue that drove them apart in the series. That they can understand each other better than others doesn't automatically mean they're destined to be with each other. It all depends on how mature they are to acknowledge such a thing (as Yui said, the barriers of pride were back in the world: A.T. Fields, Wall of Jericho, etc.) and forget/forgive the pain of the past. And, as it's been commented here, that's completely up to interpretation.
Anno showed us they were very similar and that, in theory, they could have helped each other on many levels. But, in reality, we see that not working. And, personally, I think even Anno himself was unsure of how to give a final closure to Asuka and Shinji, and thus, chose to end EoE ambiguously. I mean, their relationship reached such confrontational and tense levels, that despite the hope of the final message, nothing is clear at all.
Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:Asuka's abrasiveness and Shinji's avoidant personality still stem from the same source: self-hatred
Asuka's abrasiveness is a front she puts to conceal her utter lack of self-esteem. It's no coincidence that when the "front" fell apart, Asuka attempts suicide.
Shinji's avoidant personality is a way of avoiding his lack of perceived self-worth.
Asuka and Shinji's interactions with each other ended up with both opening themselves and facing themselves for who they were. Of course, this ended badly because they were forced to face their self-hatred.
However, being forced to face said self-hatred ended up with both finding value in themselves, rather than depending on external sources to assign them value. Hence why, by the end of EOE, now that both are seeing their own worth, they can better appreciate the worth of each other.
I agree but disagree a bit. I wouldn't reduce everything to self-hatred, although as you've seen, I'm not opposing to your argument at all. However, I think there're more elements, such as immaturity, the pressure they suffer, and very importantly, their vulnerability not wanting to be hurt: Hedgehog's DIlemma. Due to their childhood, it's clear that they don't want to open to others, being afraid of pain. But, as the final message of EoE shows, humans can't live alone, so it's mandatory to try to open to others.
That's why, although I essentially agree with you on the matter of self-hatred, I think there are many other factors that explain why two similar kids as them failed so miserably trying to understand each other and others (that applies to the both of them, as well as their relation with Toji, Kensuke, Hikari, Misato, etc.). Thus, I wouldn't say that, after 3I, everything will be as easy as "now that they value themselves better, they'll undoubtedly value the other". That's the theory, but given all they've been through, it'll be far from being an immediate process, so, again, it all depends on the time to mature enough. Will pride be stronger than understanding and forgiveness? That's utterly up for interpretation.
As for when the both of them "risked" their lives and other things you said, while I don't disagree at all, I think you're reading too much into it. Of course they wanted to save each other in battle, as well as we see Shinji caring for Rei. They're fighting apocalyptic monstrosities, so it's obvious that they would risk their lives for their partners. But in Shinji's case, for instance, most of the selfless acts he does usually come out of the heat of battle, and not of a genuine concern for others. And, in Asuka's case, as we've discussed, she sees Shinji as a kind of kindred-soul who could help her, and involuntarily she shares some of her thoughts with him (for example, when the phone call from her stepmother), but she quickly berates Shinji, hiding her true vulnerable self. It's not that they open to each other for the sake of it, but in one case (Shinji), he seems to want affection from actually anyone (hence, how easy Kaworu became his friend), and in the other (Asuka), she desperately wants to be saved and be "held" by strong arms (but neither Kaji nor Shinji, the two she seeks help from, seem to understand that, which leads to her downfall, as well as a spiral of hatred. She hates herself, but also the others for not understanding her, although she constantly pushed them away).
Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:The problem with his analysis is it completely neglects the character growth both Shinji and Asuka have undergone. You can't judge a character based on what they were, you need to judge them based on what they are.
Well, he does talk about the “growth” after Instrumentality, and in fact, I think his post-3I vision resembles yours very much. I just quoted the analysis of their in-series personalities, but it goes on talking about possible outcomes, after 3I or in alternate realities. Here’s what he thought about Post 3-I:
Bagheera wrote:Post-3I: The heavy lifting route. By this point the kids have been horribly victimized by Eva, which means their conditions might easily worsen to catatonia and madness respectively. Thrown in some PTSD and they are both tangled messes of neuroses that will take years to sort out. And yet, we also have Instrumentality. It’s not a fix by any means, but it does mean they’ll have a better understanding of their own issues, and some idea of the other’s. If they reconnect after they’ve had some time to get their heads in order they might easily become fast friends, each relying on the other because of similarity of origins and shared experiences. In short, they’d understand one another in ways no one else could, and that insight would be very helpful for people who are recovering from trauma. But it’s a lot of work to develop this properly; you’d need a flowchart to figure out what happened to each kid individually, and then you’d have to figure out how they’d interact with one another at each stage of recovery, and you'd have to situate all of this in the context of post-3I recovery. Even in an optimistic setup (of which there are several plausible possibilities, Tines and NemZ be damned) it would take an awful lot of heavy lifting to develop the setting and the kids’ place in it to make it all ring true. It’s possible, I firmly believe that, but it hasn’t yet been done. Some have come close, though; Orchestrating the Silence, Throne of Bayonets, a few others. But these works are deeply flawed and ultimately unsatisfying for various reasons once you start delving beneath the surface.
As far as I know, he summed his theory up this way: “with a proper therapy, these two could realize and accept how similar and compatible they are to each other, and end up living happily together; but, without that therapy, all they can do is curl up and die on that beach”. It’s a bit drastic as an opinion, but I think it somehow resonates with yours.
In response to that, there was this one (by user Hyper Shinchan, I think it was), which resonates with mine:
Hyper Shinchan wrote:Maybe, but at least it's better to base your fanwanking on something of solid, like their respective personalities and compatibility in the series itself, rather than expecting that Shinji and Asuka will go through years of therapy just for the sake of forcibly becoming a couple.
There's nothing that force them to go through that choice, especially if more people will really de-tang in the short to medium term like some optimists believe, they could be happier if they search for someone closer to their personal needs.
It all depends on the perspective you have, as conciliatory users like synthmachine81 have repeatedly argued.
Asuka'sBigBrother wrote:No. It's not a good thing. The show goes out of its way to tell us how bad of a trait this is and coincidentally the climax has Shinji shunning this mechanism of his. This is why Shinji directly dealing with pain rather than trying to avoid it in EOE's final scene shows growth.
Well, that depends on your interpretation of the last scene. You have repeatedly stated that Shinji crying is a symbol of growth, while I rather think the true climax is when he decides that life is worth being lived, despite pain. For me, that Shinji cries in the end could mean a couple of things: 1) Him being relieved that he's alive and not alone; 2) Him being ashamed of his own weakness and madness having tried to kill Asuka, plus all the pain he's caused to her and others; and 3) A combination of the other two.
That's my vision, while yours is a more cathartic one, which is also fine.
In conclusion, I think we don't really disagree on the essentials, Asuka'sBigBrother. There are a few aspects that we see differently, as well as some semantic nuances, but that's all. That's why I think these two quotes taken from C.T. 1290’s thread can serve as a bridge for the two of us, since they sum up very well the ambiguity of the ending:
Sachi wrote:They have plenty in common and enough to sympathize with each other over. However, for either of them to enter into any sort of healthy romance with anybody would require each of them to grow up a little on their own and develop into stronger individuals. For example, Shinji needs to grow out of his need for constant affirmation and find his own self worth. Asuka needs to be more comfortable letting her guard down and becoming comfortable with her weaknesses.
Give them time grow up, and they may eventually be good as a couple. At the same time, give them time to grow up and possibly move on, see the world, meet other people. No reason they need to be revolved around each other. Failed romance can help one grow and pave the way for future romance.
xanderkh wrote:Me personally? I'm a HUGE Asuka and Shinji fan, as both RE-TAKE, the Second Try, Ghosts of Evangelion, and many others helped me transition into Evangelion itself, but I'm also willing to read, research, and analysis other character interpretations, like how Wreckage provided, so let's analyze if Asuka and Shinji ARE compatible as a couple.
While it's true that Asuka and Shinji have similar background traumas, and are both Eva Pilots....but other than that, what else do they actually have that makes them a couple? Asuka has a VERY ambitious personality, seeming like she'd want to do something big with her life, something almost world-renowned with her abilities and intellect. Shinji, however, is very passive and withdrawn, and most likely will keep to himself, maybe running a restaurant or being a farmer. Shinji isn't very ambitious, and seems to only want to move through life without causing pain to others or himself. No one was around to help him see that ambition trait, and that's going to be pretty hard to overcome.
Now, I'm not saying that it's IMPOSSIBLE, but it's going to be a pretty big mountain to cross, considering not just their life-style choices, but their personalities, where Asuka is VERY critical of others, and Shinji is passive and takes words from others pretty hardly. 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.
But again, that is just a possible understanding between them, and as the EoE ending suggests, their journey has just begun, and who knows what is in store for the future?
Personally, I think Shinji and Asuka may need some time apart to explore other avenues to put their trauma's behind them.
Time and pride.