How competent is Asuka, really? (college & piloting)

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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:03 am

Reichu wrote:Not genetically engineered, just selective genetic recombination to produce an elite child. Her mom used "high caliber" sperm from some unnamed male scientist.


Oh boy... is possible that manga Shinji's most common romantic entanglements are both incestuous on different sides of the family?

:shinji_boohoo:

Rhyno wrote:She must be at least somewhat intelligent. She can fluently speak German and Japanese at a very early age. There are individuals on Okinawa who have been exposed to both languages their entire lives, and they still can't speak both languages fluently.


Well, she spent her early childhood in a multilingual home, spent most of her time around a NERV branch where I expect Japanese is the unofficial second language for anyone of note, and at least two of her guardians have been native Japanese speakers. With that kind of immersion going on I think it's actually surprising that she never learned to read it fluently as well, regardless of her intelligence level.

Rei, on the other hand, is seen reading an apparently higher-level text in German. Are we thus to conclude that she's smarter than Asuka?

For the record, I don't by any stretch think Asuka is stupid. In fact I expect that all the children are above average based solely on their parents' (or DNA source's) achievements.

I don't know enough about the education or living environment of Okinawa residents to comment on your anecdotal evidence.
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Postby Reichu » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:20 am

NemZ wrote:Oh boy... is possible that manga Shinji's most common romantic entanglements are both incestuous on different sides of the family?

Gendo isn't a scientist (evidenced by the fact that he's at liberty to participate in Kiel's little tirade at the beginning of 21'), and he doesn't match the silhouette of the sperm donor provided in the manga besides.
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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:26 am

I haven't really looked at the manga in more detail than just a quick read. Not important anyway... just trying to stir up a little trouble/humor where I can.
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Postby Ornette » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:36 am

NemZ wrote:Rei, on the other hand, is seen reading an apparently higher-level text in German. Are we thus to conclude that she's smarter than Asuka?

Learning to read a phonetic language and learning to read thousands of unique symbols are 2 different things. I can fluently speak and understand Mandarin, can barely read any of it eventhough it was my first language. It's something that if you don't use on a near daily basis, you'll forget most if not all of it.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:46 am

Fair enough with regards to my comments on reading kanji/German. I retract them and any implications on relative character intelligence connected to them.

The other comments in the post stand, however.
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Postby Ornette » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:50 am

I had also meant my post to cover this:
NemZ wrote:With that kind of immersion going on I think it's actually surprising that she never learned to read it fluently as well, regardless of her intelligence level.

Mandarin was the only language spoken in my household, yet, I never learned to read it. Maybe because I didn't need to in order to carry on, since at a young age I moved to a country where all the signs, books, etc were not in Chinese. Similarly, I expect Germany to not have many signs, books, etc. written in Japanese.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:58 am

I meant my retraction to cover that. That quote is specifically about reading and mentions intelligence, no?

Besides, as you point out it likely wasn't a real immersion experience with regards to the written form anyway, so the point is moot even if I don't drop it.
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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:44 pm

Well, Asuka's never above bragging about her accomplishments, but I don't think she'd lie and say she had done something that she hadn't. Asuka strikes me as the kind of person who wants to HAVE accomplishments; she measures herself by what she's done, not by what other people think of her. That's why I think that while the college statement was said mainly to impress Shinji, it was still completely truthful.
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Postby thewayneiac » Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:08 pm

NemZ wrote:Aside from her one comment to Shinji about being a college grad, is there any evidence in the show that this is actually the case?


You're the one who's questioning her statement that she's a college graduate. You need to show us evidence from elsewhere in the show that indicates that she's lying. We don't have to prove anything.

Plot 101: Plot points are there to act upon, sooner or later. The only reason the screenwriters would have her lie would be to embarrass her by later exposing her lie. Since the statement never comes up again she must be telling the truth. That it's never mentioned again in no way weakens the case that she is being truthful. At worst, the lack of elaboration has no effect upon her statement at all, and it possibly even strengthens her words.

I think what you are doing is mistaking character development for a plot point.
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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:01 pm

thewayneiac wrote:Plot 101: Plot points are there to act upon, sooner or later. The only reason the screenwriters would have her lie would be to embarrass her by later exposing her lie.

Or because it's another method of proving to the people around her how great she is. Asuka has been known to do that, though she probably wouldn't lie about that sort of thing, as I mentioned in my last post.
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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:37 pm

Gamer_2k4 wrote:Well, Asuka's never above bragging about her accomplishments, but I don't think she'd lie and say she had done something that she hadn't. Asuka strikes me as the kind of person who wants to HAVE accomplishments; she measures herself by what she's done, not by what other people think of her. That's why I think that while the college statement was said mainly to impress Shinji, it was still completely truthful.


That's a very reasonable interpretation, though I disagree. I believe Asuka is not as immune to the opinions of others as she declares when confronted on the topic by Rei. If it was enough that she knew what she had accomplished (whatever that might be... if anything) then why does she feel the need to constantly brag and otherwise play for attention from pretty much everyone?

I also am not sure it's a lie so much as a misinterpretation or exaggeration on her part... possibly subconscious. As I understand her character, she has built many levels of denial around her heart to spare her having to deal with the unpleasant truths of her existence.

thewayneiac wrote:You're the one who's questioning her statement that she's a college graduate. You need to show us evidence from elsewhere in the show that indicates that she's lying. We don't have to prove anything.


I'm not trying to pose a formal argument. Quite the contrary, actually.

To be perfectly honest I expect that Anno did mean for her to be a child prodigy, but that detail has never sat right with me... it feels tacked-on and unnecessary. My gut reaction is simply that she's full of it. I'm sorry but I just don't buy it, and have privately suspected it was false from the first time I heard it and had not yet even begun to imagine where the series was going with her. I'm actually hoping someone can find something to substantiate it because I'd like to be able to let go of this.

I think what you are doing is mistaking character development for a plot point.


I think what you're doing is mistaking my question about her character development as an argument about the plot for some reason.
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Postby Rhyno » Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:49 pm

NemZ wrote:I'm actually hoping someone can find something to substantiate it because I'd like to be able to let go of this.
I think it has been pointed out that she is intelligent enough to be capable and there is no evidence to contradict her statement. What more or you looking for? Most people question something because there is evidence for it to be false. You appear to be without this evidence yet still question her statement. Instead of broadly stating, "Prove this true," perhaps you should be more specific in pointing out why you doubt her comment. You claim to want her comment substantiated but have provided no clear reason why you doubt it.

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Postby NemZ » Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:30 pm

Rhyno wrote:I think it has been pointed out that she is intelligent enough to be capable and there is no evidence to contradict her statement.


It has not been proven that she is of an extrordinary intelligence, nor that she is capable of this feat. I've conceeeded that I think she's above average, but lots of people are above average. I've agreed that certainly some people are capable of graduating college by her age, but that doesn't mean she is.

What more or you looking for?


I've stated clearly what I'm looking for since the first post in this thread: some evidence from the show to back up her statement. I've further widened that to include even general statements about her being extremely intelligent.

Most people question something because there is evidence for it to be false. You appear to be without this evidence yet still question her statement. Instead of broadly stating, "Prove this true," perhaps you should be more specific in pointing out why you doubt her comment. You claim to want her comment substantiated but have provided no clear reason why you doubt it.


Actually I tend to question everything first.

I already said I don't have evidence on this particular issue, hence I'm asking this fine and learned community of scholars if they know of any so that I may settle this issue. Disappointingly, so far all I'm getting is evidence from outside the show (problems with which I stated were my initial reason for starting the topic), vague interpretive claims, and something approaching a rebuke.

Why do I doubt her? Because she's Asuka, and thus I simply assume anything she says is BS on general principle unless it is backed up by something else in the show. Why? Because she's an intensely dishonest person by nature.

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.

Given all that, why should I trust her claim on it's own merits?
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Postby Rhyno » Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:06 am

NemZ wrote:Disappointingly, so far all I'm getting is evidence from outside the show (problems with which I stated were my initial reason for starting the topic), vague interpretive claims, and something approaching a rebuke.
I'm afraid you might continue to be disappointed. The only direct evidence that Asuka did attend college is her statement to Shinji in Episode 10. As you yourself have stated, there is no direct evidence to the contrary. That leaves us with interpreting whether Asuka would lie about such a thing. You disagree with Gamer_2k4's reasoning that Asuka wants to have accomplishments as opposed to lie about them and thewayneiac's "Plot 101" analysis. I think you have a different interpretation of the character that leads you to ask the question you posed:
Given all that, why should I trust her claim on it's own merits?
I cannot answer that question since you reject my interpretation of the character... which is similar to Gamer_2k4's.

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Postby NemZ » Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:27 am

Rhyno wrote: The only direct evidence that Asuka did attend college is her statement to Shinji in Episode 10. As you yourself have stated, there is no direct evidence to the contrary.


I don't speak Japanese nor do I have access to the platinum subs, so I was rather hoping that there might be some evidence that I was unaware of.

That leaves us with interpreting whether Asuka would lie about such a thing. You disagree with Gamer_2k4's reasoning that Asuka wants to have accomplishments as opposed to lie about them and thewayneiac's "Plot 101" analysis.


I agree she would like to have accomplishments and would prefer that to lying, but I don't believe she's above lying about them anyway.

the "plot 101" comment is in part why I'm annoyed at the college issue. If it never comes up again it seems a rather pointless addition even if it is true. It's a bit of a proud nail, and that's why it bugs me.

I'm afraid you might continue to be disappointed.


That's not just a possibility, but a likely one. A great many of the series' mysteries have lead me to disapointment upon considering them in detail.
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Postby Gamer_2k4 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 1:17 am

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.
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Postby NemZ » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:27 am

That's certainly an impressive wall of text!

Gamer_2k4 wrote:First, everyone acts differently around people they like.


I disagree. If you act differently than you expect to generally continue to act around a person in a romantic or business sense then you are indeed being dishonest. A white lie is still a lie.

Asuka's relationship with Shinji is a bit different, mainly because of her pride. (...) Because Asuka has already convinced herself that she's the best, she can't allow herself to "sink" to Shinji's level.


Except she isn't the best by any measure other than synch ratios (and she herself says those don't matter in ep 16) so this is completely unsubstantiated bravado.

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.


she may not be trying, but she is succeeding.

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.


...only after she already said they should go the other way, and that she was sure she was right.

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.


I agree it would be above the rest and thus is worthy of investigation.

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.


I agreed with this earlier, and suggested that it's quite possible she's merely exaggerating something that she's built up in her own head. Your statement does seem to show that you agree that she is fundamentally quite capable of lying, however.

It's worth noting that whenever Asuka makes a claim, she tries to back it up.


She's desperate to do so, in fact, and I believe it's because she often secretly doubts the validity of her own claims. She also proves herself completely unable to back down even when a loss is all but assured.

Does she tell obvious lies in order to create and retain her reputation? No.


Way to state the conclusion as evidence of itself...

I think ultimately we agree on many aspects of her character, but with a fundamental difference. You seem to picture her having a pillar of solid pride that holds up all the other facets, like a tree and its branches. I see her more as a house of cards, with all of the various pieces mutually supporting one another but left hollow inside and likely to collapse at any moment... thus she keeps racing to add more cards as support, all the while just adding more strain to the system and making the collapse even more imminent.
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Postby Evangelion__x » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:58 am

Rhyno wrote:I'm part of the "there really isn't any reason to doubt her comment" crowd. There really isn't any reason to think the contrary.


I s'pose I am too. =D


It's manga

One of Sadamoto's worst fuck ups


lol I've never read the manga. D: I've no idea where to find it. The only place is in the city, which I live hours and HOURS away from... and I rarely visit... maybe I'll get my dad to buy it for me next time he's working there!

I'm interested to see the whole 'Rei and Shinji love' thing. Hehe.
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Postby Rhyno » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:59 am

NemZ wrote:No other blatant lies come to my mind immediately, but I will think on it.
I think this is where the interpretation of the character may come into play. For myself (I will only speak for myself), I see no evidence where she has blatantly lied in the past, therefore, since there isn't a precedent, I don't see why she would blatantly lie in this incident. If she did blatantly lie in this incident, by your own admission, it looks as though it would be a first. You, obviously, have a different interpretation of the character to make you think that she would blatantly lie about this one achievement... even though there isn't a precedent for her doing so. I would find this especially odd since (as has been pointed out before) this lie could so easily be exposed by a revelation by Misato.

In the end, it will be up to you to decide whether you believe Asuka or not... and that will reflect volumes on how you perceive the character. I don't think you are going to find any other 'direct' evidence one way or another however.

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Postby NemZ » Tue Jul 15, 2008 4:27 am

Rhyno wrote:In the end, it will be up to you to decide whether you believe Asuka or not... and that will reflect volumes on how you perceive the character. I don't think you are going to find any other 'direct' evidence one way or another however.


It certainly looks that way. I came here hoping somebody could explain what it was that I was missing, but apparently it just comes down to the gut-check.

Oh well. It's not like it's something that seems to really matter in the greater scheme of things anyway.
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