It's hard to express properly what so many people think or feel is the ultimate, honest-to-god true of what is the Asuka ethos. As a character, she is along with Shinji the most polarized character for anyone briefly seeing Evangelion; like Shinji, either you love her for all the tiny defects that make her who she is, or you hate her because of all those tiny defects that make her who she is.
Regardless of the intellectual capabilities, and of whether that would make her plunge deeper into being a socially retarded person, or not, I simply believe that she is very adept at being human, having a firm mask to show others a personality she tries to keep in check; of being liked, of being strong, of being flirty and being girly.
At her core, her trauma comes from parental abandonment issues; since this is just barely touched upon to show us her unravelment, we never see exactly how much did her parents have in making Asuka who she is; some think of Kyoko as being the worst mother ever, in stark contrast to the almost beatific feeling Yui gives. None really stop to think of the dad, or the step mom past a "how dare they" moment that is easily buried under "Oh, but she is still Asuka" even when we see that moment also shaped who she was.
The trickiest part is how everyone seems to simply focus on the "Asuka is an adult mind trapped in the body of a child" dichotome when in reality the aspect of Asuka being a girl is never touched, and when it is we get conflicting images; in the series she is outgoing and had her own share of friends and followers, and then suddenly she is alone, making some to believe she must have been to open and western and thus, her "friends" left her.
I chose to imagine the parts Asuka fights to keep secret; the child that needs her mom despite vowing never to cry, the girl that wants a father despite saying she doesn't need men or family. the young woman who is deathly afraid of intimacy, because letting someone in means they can break you apart, despite her trying to bed Kaji... or even the girl who wants to be closer to someone she despises because she can't understand where the hell those feelings come from.
Essentially, I wish to see Asuka as a regular 14 year old girl who is said to be a genius, and who still is interested in being a girl at the same time she demands attention and respect for saving the world.
Picturing her as an adult or as an stereotypical Asspie seems more of a refraction of what Asuka is meant to be to me; it's easier for me seeing her as a typical girl who on top of having to worry about her hair and clothes and if the guy she likes likes her back but who also has to worry about robots and angels and on top of that has to fight her own demons to keep them at bay than just focus on one specific part that seems more familiar to me and try to mold everything else around that idea.
In this time of Rebuild, I'm proud to be one of the few fans of the original NGE, and one of the last proud fans of Asuka Langley Soryu.
Avatar: A fighting boy meets girl on a one night stand, walking into the blue, ending day by day as they dance in a very merry Christmas, continuing on my own as a burning one man force while you come and make my day approaching in the nick of time and always, stand by me.