NemZ wrote:She spends the majority of the series in a state of willful denial on a number of topics such as her status as the best pilot and the degree to which she cares about the opinions of others. Asuka pretends to have an entirely different personality around Kaji. She denies her true feelings towards Shinji on multiple occasions when questioned by several different people (including herself) and only makes advances towards him in the most indirect forms she can come up with. Asuka blames others (usually Shinji) for just about everything that goes wrong in and out of the EVA even when she is clearly at least partially to blame. She brags about herself almost constantly, claims knowledge that she does not actually possess (nerv's layout in the blackout episode, for instance), and belittles anyone who does know more about something than she does.
Let's address those one by one. First, everyone acts differently around people they like. It's not necessarily deception, but more along the lines of dressing up for an interview. You're not trying to imply that you dress up all the time, but you're trying to leave the best possible impression with the person in the hopes that they'll like you enough to give you the job.
Asuka's relationship with Shinji is a bit different, mainly because of her pride. If you can score a relationship with an older, manly guy, great; if, after setting your sights on that guy, you settle for some kid that comes across as a whiny little coward, well, it's not so good. Because Asuka has already convinced herself that she's the best, she can't allow herself to "sink" to Shinji's level.
Going with the "I'm the best" thing, it's easy to see why she blames other people for her own shortcomings. She's not trying to be dishonest, only protective of her pride. Asuka has been told and has convinced herself that she's great, and she's just trying to keep her reputation intact. Bragging helps maintain that reputation.
In the blackout episode, Asuka felt that she had to act in a way consistent with the image that she tried to project. I don't believe Asuka was intentionally trying to get the others to believe that she knew the base layout. In fact, I don't think that she ever said that she knew the correct way. When Rei suggested that they go a particular way, for example, Asuka didn't say that she was wrong, but instead asked Shinji what he thought. Asuka just wanted to be the leader, which fits with her personality.
The college lie, if it is a lie, would be significantly more blatant than any other deceptions Asuka may have tried to impose on herself or others. In no other cases (that I can recall) does she explicitly try to get someone to believe an outright lie, especially one as conspicuous as a claim to a college education.
The thing is, when you tell a blatant lie to uphold your reputation, you risk losing that reputation (and then some) once it's falsified. If, on the other hand, you use mild and essentially benign deceptions to maintain your reputation, you have something to fall back on. "Maybe that wasn't ENTIRELY accurate, but it's still pretty close."
It's worth noting that whenever Asuka makes a claim, she tries to back it up. When she says she's the best Eva pilot, she keeps looking for opportunities to prove it. When she tries to lead Shinji and Rei to Central Dogma, she keeps making decisions, despite being wrong in the past. When she says she went to college, she goes ahead and solves Shinji's problem within seconds. Asuka is trying to maintain an image, but she's willing to take action to do so.
Is Asuka prideful? Yes. Does she want people to think she's the best? Yes. Does she take actions to emphasize her superiority? Yes. Does she tell obvious lies in order to create and retain her reputation? No.TL;DR:
Asuka is never seen telling an outright lie in the series.