Why must Asuka be "the best" pilot?

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confusedfan343
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Why must Asuka be "the best" pilot?

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Postby confusedfan343 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:13 am

Why, specifically, does Asuka have the need to be the best evangelion pilot?
I know she derives her value entirely from being an eva pilot in general, but why specifically does being the best pilot matter so much to her? Why exactly does she care so much when surpassed by Shinji in episode 16? I may just be overthinking it, but even when rewatching episodes 22 and 25 I can't find any real answers to why being the best matters so much. The wiki states that "Asuka's only way to prove herself her value is being the best pilot." But what evidence is there to back that up? Is there a canon explanation as to why she seeks to be the best?

I thought previously that her desire to be the best had something to do with the positive attention she received by being the best pilot, or to feed her superiority complex that masks her deeply rooted feelings of inferiority due to her childhood neglect, but I really have no clue anymore

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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Re: Why must Asuka be "the best" pilot?

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Postby Reichu » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:52 am

Asuka's mother Kyoko used herself as a guinea pig in an experiment with Eva-02. She survived, but at the cost of part of her soul -- the part associated with motherhood. Kyoko became severely mentally ill as a result, and one way in which her loss manifested was that she could no longer recognize who Asuka was. She instead used dolls as daughter-surrogates, and, disturbingly, she would alternate between nurturing and violent behavior.

Asuka was allowed to watch her mother unravel. She plead for her mother's recognition, and she never received it. She was allowed to hear Kyoko vocalize her desire for a double-suicide. Asuka wanted her mother back so badly that she would have been happy even for THAT kind of attention. But Kyoko continued to ignore her, and ultimately hung herself alongside a doll.

When Asuka saw this, it was when she, ever hopeful, had been rushing to tell Kyoko about her eligibility as a pilot. It took Kyoko killing herself to make Asuka give up on her.

So think about what happened. Someone who should have been an unconditional source of love became unresponsive, delusional, violent, and suicidal. She replaced her daughter with a rag doll. She "killed" her "daughter" and then killed herself.

The lesson Asuka learned was that she couldn't rely on anyone. She couldn't be a dependent child anymore. She couldn't get hurt again. But she couldn't fully exist apart from others. Asuka's paradox is that she wants to NOT need anyone else, but she needs to be noticed, which requires other people. Her psyche demands that no one ignore her the way her mother once did. And she needs to be valuable, so that she's never discarded and replaced again. Being "the best" is how she does this.

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Re: Why must Asuka be "the best" pilot?

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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:30 am

View Original PostReichu wrote:The lesson Asuka learned was that she couldn't rely on anyone. She couldn't be a dependent child anymore. She couldn't get hurt again. But she couldn't fully exist apart from others. Asuka's paradox is that she wants to NOT need anyone else, but she needs to be noticed, which requires other people. Her psyche demands that no one ignore her the way her mother once did. And she needs to be valuable, so that she's never discarded and replaced again. Being "the best" is how she does this.

Nail on the head, this is the crux of the issue. Her pathological need to be valuable as well as independent and to never need anybody else's help really only leaves her with the option of being the "best" in order to satisfy her need need.

We know she is self-loathing, as we see in the Directors' Cut bathroom menstrual cramp scene and by her implied attempt to commit suicide in the bathtub she was found in by NERV security (her neatly folded clothes do for one, which isn't uncommon as a practice in cases of suicides in Japan, where there are multiple cases of suicide jumpers having first removed their shoes and setting them neatly on the ledge of the building before jumping. This isn't even mentioning her gaunt appearance from likely not haven eaten for potentially days and total lack of will to even move from that spot even though she didn't die all strongly suggest it), A total lack of self-worth is pretty much inherent to self-loathing. Her mother told her that neither she nor her were needed or wanted, and on top of that her mother replaced her with a doll that she even preferred to hang with herself over her actual daughter that she asked to die with her. She was both literally told she had no value and was treated as though she had none... treated as though she didn't even exist (since Kyoko only recognized the doll as her daughter and couldn't recognize Asuka herself).

None of this was Kyoko's fault, but having your mother tell you that nobody wants you and that you aren't needed, and then being treated as though you didn't exist in lieu of a doll her mother replaced her with was certainly traumatic enough to leave Asuka entirely without a sense of self-worth as a result.

So, couple a lack of any real self-worth with a need to be totally independent, and you get somebody fiercely competitive and cut-throat. The fact that her drive to be the best to an unhealthy degree and seemingly all for the sake of being the best in itself is a major red flag signifying that her obsessive desire... well, really, need to be the best is pathological in nature.

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Re: Why must Asuka be "the best" pilot?

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Postby Bhorium » Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:09 am

I think what is another important part of what is at the root of Asuka's whole paradox, can be read from the two different pleas she delivers to her mother, namely:

Okay, I'll die with you, Mom. So, please don't quit being my mom! Okay, Mom?!


And:

Mom! Mom! Please don't kill me! No! I'm not your doll! I'm going to think and live for myself!


I think the idea here, is that Asuka made the first one as an response to her mother's "Die with me" request, but she was a scared little girl making it out of desperation, and didn't fully comprehend what she was promising. The latter is a response to her actually figuring out the terrible gravity of her promise. The crux at what I'm getting at, is that Asuka was both deeply disturbed and ashamed about the fact that she for a moment was desperate enough for Kyoko to just acknowledge her again, that she would willingly promise her life away. The lesson she took away from the whole situation is essentially that if she allows herself to rely on another person, it will literally end up killing her.

I would claim that this is a main part of why she so strongly desires independence. She equates letting others in with allowing them to hold power over her life and death.
Sorry, I was soliloquising again. Filthy habit.

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Re: Why must Asuka be "the best" pilot?

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Postby PenPen4life » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:11 pm

when your guardians give you the impression ur worthless, you may end up doing everything you can to prove them wrong. Worthless implies you're at the bottom of the food chain, so the logical opposite of this is being at the top. So Asuka wants to be at the top, "the best".


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