Reichu wrote:As far as I can see, Asuka and Shinji are both deeply, tragically flawed people -- neither somehow "better" than the other.
I agree that both are flawed (this being a special case of the more general result that the characters are flawed unless proven to be "bridge bunnies") - and I think that is the secret of the power of the series.
I certainly didn't plan on giving my sympathies to Asuka or reacting quite so viscerally to EoE; and I don't think I would have if they'd been perfect people all the way. My responses definitely surprised me - back at ep 11, I was still thinking "Christ! She's a complete cow! They should have killed her off last episode like I thought they were going to, and milked it for tragedy."
By the end - no, before the end, Asuka had at least reached the bottom and could be kicked into beginning the path back, to live with her flaws, if not overcome them. Shinji, by contrast, was about two episodes behind, and no sign of bottoming out - if the other two pilots had negative reactions to dolls, he by contrast was doing his damndedest to act as if he were one. And at the end, the Anti-Eden, the wasteland - his reaction is abusive, hers defeated.
Sad truth, indeed - if I were to be poetic, I would missaply a line from Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" as the translation of the final words:- "Why this is Hell, nor am I out of it."
In less apocalyptic times - episode #11, to me represents the acme of her interaction with the other pilots as a long series of dominance games (you couldn't get any more blatant than the breaking into NERV sequence), in marked contrast to her on-going flirtatious and more vulnerable behaviour towards Kaji.
All her conscious affections were directed in that direction, at least until her disintegration into dysfunction was well under way. My own personal chequered history makes me skeptical of the "She really loves Shinji but doesn't realise it." argument - when Cupid's dart struck, it was completely, insistently, unambiguous.
If they could have escaped the roller coaster, been weaned away from being pilots - they might have grown comfortable with each other; but I don't see where they would overlap in that case.
Originally posted on: 09-Nov-2004, 21:16 GMT