Is Hikari supposed to be a mother figure to Asuka?

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BornIn1142
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Is Hikari supposed to be a mother figure to Asuka?

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Postby BornIn1142 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:15 pm

The only mention of this subject that I found was a brief, neglected post in this topic - but since that's about the possible lesbian subtext in particular, I figured a new topic was alright.

View Original PostOpteron-O3 wrote:I found it interesting that she chose Hikari. Couldn't you say she sees in Hikari a Mother figure? I mean she is the class rep, trustworthy, responsible, etc.. But as I was saying about the mother figure. Asuka obviously trusts her enough to break down on Hikari, and gets sympathy in return. Something Asuka hasn't received (could she be longing for sympathy?) because of how her mother treated her and how everyone else treated her.


So yeah. Is Asuka's relationship with Hikari (in part) based on her unconsciously seeking out a nurturing female figure that she never had?

I can't say that this is really visible in their interactions at all. We never see Hikari apply her authoritative side to Asuka, for instance. If this suggestion was intended, it would have been the simplest thing to have her gently berate Asuka for something, then have Asuka pout and comply - or something like that, you get the idea. Even in the scene of Asuka doing what passes for opening up to her and crying in episode 23, Hikari doesn't really come off as maternal to me, just impotently compassionate.

But taking what we know about Hikari into account, the situation does seem a bit conspicuous. She is, after all, a very minor character. Even the subtle cues to her personality (like her doing the cooking in her family) paint a pretty broad picture. The question is, does that mean her established traits don't matter that much, in which case her being a "mother type" is entirely coincidental to her relationship with Asuka?

Look at it this way: the (quite reasonable) idea that Asuka gravitated toward Hikari because of her elevated social position as a class representative, suggested in the topic I linked to, isn't exactly laid out anywhere in the text either. It's just one of those things that fits. The mother-thing fits too, I'd say.

On the other hand, letting someone serve as a parental substitute in any capacity, with the implicit supplication that entails, could be seen as being at odds with Asuka's drive to be as adult-like as possible. But perhaps that conceit of Hikari being a friend and an equal is exactly what puts her into a position that two actual adults, Misato and Asuka's stepmother, wouldn't be privy to.

Thoughts?
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Postby C.A.P. » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:24 pm

I kinda see the relationship as someone for Asuka to hold on to, possibly because of the Classroom Rep. thing, until she can mange to handle things on her own, so until then, she holds on to Hikari as a good friend she can trust and share secrets with until she grows up and finds someone else to hang out with; basically a high school buddy buddy.

It's a good question to ponder, but I might have to hear other opinions before I think about this some more.
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Postby Merridian » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:09 pm

Hikari's more Asuka's confidant; Asuka in large part rejects maternal figures. In the scene in question, she tries to reach out and confide in a character that she knows lacks the capacities to adequately console her, yet Asuka's nature is such that she refuses to confide in the people that could probably help her the most.

BornIn1142 wrote:On the other hand, letting someone serve as a parental substitute in any capacity, with the implicit supplication that entails, could be seen as being at odds with Asuka's drive to be as adult-like as possible. But perhaps that conceit of Hikari being a friend and an equal is exactly what puts her into a position that two actual adults, Misato and Asuka's stepmother, wouldn't be privy to.
I think you're on the money, here.

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Postby Xard » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:32 pm

Hikari's a trusted, real friend more than anything else.

And potential yuri ship which of course is the best part

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Postby Warren Peace » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:16 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:Hikari's a trusted, real friend more than anything else.


I wouldn't go that far. Their relationship seems somewhat distant. When Hikari tells Asuka that she did her best, she doesn't know how crushing that statement is.

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Postby Allemann » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:25 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:Hikari's a trusted, real friend more than anything else.


Asuka is with Hikari only because of her Sega console.

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Postby Xard » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:33 pm

I wouldn't blame her for that, even if SNES is better :lol:

View Original PostWarren Peace wrote:I wouldn't go that far. Their relationship seems somewhat distant. When Hikari tells Asuka that she did her best, she doesn't know how crushing that statement is.


that was at the last act of the whole series when communications were breaking down among all cast members etc.

In other shared scenes Asuka is on better terms with her than with any other character, excluding couple of glomping-Kaji scenes

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:44 pm

I can buy into the idea Hikari being a surrogate mother figure in a sense. I certainly don't think it's meant to be taken literally or too far, but Hikari certainly does show certain motherly instincts, and when you combine that with her and Asuka's friendship and Asuka desperately needing somebody to comfort her, I think the maternal angle is at least suggested as a subtext. One common theme in NGE is relationships getting mixed up and subverted from the normal ways that we would look at them; if you think about it, there really isn't a single relationship in NGE that isn't given some kind of unique spin.
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Postby UrsusArctos » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:41 pm

That's an interesting idea, but Asuka probably doesn't ever think of Hikari as like a mother. While they do come across somewhat like mother and child that day, notice that Hikari doesn't face Asuka directly when talking to her when she tries to console her. There's something lacking there, something that prevents Hikari from really being a mother figure.

In any case, Asuka doesn't get the comfort she longs for in her equal and confidante. If Hikari had been any help, Asuka wouldn't have landed in that bathtub.
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Postby Fuun » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:55 pm

Honestly, I think that Hikari being like a mother to Asuka is going a little bit too far. Great friends fits perfectly...

On Hikari's side, like BornIn1442 said, she never applied her severe side to Asuka. I think this is a major point. She always tries to consolate her, agree with her actions and opinions. I recall the scene where Hikari tells Asuka about her genuine interest in Touji, and the later goes in her classic trash-talking... Hikari doesn't even tries to argue with her, just blushes and that's it. Maybe she's just overwhelmed by Asuka's personality.

On Asuka's side, i think she doesn't see Hikari as a friend, in fact, maybe she doesn't even know what is like having one. To me, she sees Hikari more like a "safe confident", because the girl will never ever go against her, and uses her to fill the "human relationship" spot that Asuka needs (well... in theory :P). Come on, she even stays at her apartment, and abuses her SEGA xD

So, I think they can be labelled as "great friends" but just that.

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Postby child of Lilith » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:56 pm

I guess I've taken away a very different view of the scene with Hikari and Asuka in bed then most people. When they were in bed together I got the feeling Hikari was acting like she was tired of having Asuka around and was just saying whatever she thought Asuka wanted to hear. She doesn't even look at her in the scene and earlier she didn't sound to pleased when Asuka asked to spend the night again. I think it was this final rejection by Hikari that sent Asuka on her way to the tub. It was just the final straw that broke the camels back.
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Postby Fuun » Sat Feb 05, 2011 11:54 pm

View Original Postchild of Lilith wrote:I guess I've taken away a very different view of the scene with Hikari and Asuka in bed then most people. When they were in bed together I got the feeling Hikari was acting like she was tired of having Asuka around and was just saying whatever she thought Asuka wanted to hear. She doesn't even look at her in the scene and earlier she didn't sound to pleased when Asuka asked to spend the night again. I think it was this final rejection by Hikari that sent Asuka on her way to the tub. It was just the final straw that broke the camels back.


I got almost the same feeling as you. Just this is slightly different to me:

Hikari is indeed tired of Asuka, but my guess is that she is tired of Asuka not opening up and sharing her feelings (the SEGA scene shows that she STILL doesn't open up, playing all the time with the console, restraining herself, even when now she stays with her), somehow she feels she can't say it loud and clear; instead, it seems she limits to reply only with the empty lines Asuka wants to hear, because that's the only thing she can do for her.
In fact I think this is the reason Asuka goes to live with her, to hear that, to be consolated, nothing more.

I strongly believe that, if she could do it, Hikari would like to yell "talk with me about it, i'm your friend god dammit!" :P


P.D.: Hikari doesn't leave Tokyo-3 with Touji/Kensuke shortly after this event? (my memory may be failing me... correct me if i'm wrong) because if that's the case, i think Asuka was thrown to the tub by this rather than for the apartment scene.

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Postby child of Lilith » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:25 am

I can't quite agree with this. When the two of them are in the bed Asuka does try to open up to Hikari, but all she gets in return is the verbal equivalent of a Dear occupant letter. If all Asuka wanted was superficial comfort I don't think she would have fallen apart after getting the cold shoulder. l think Hikari was her last desperate grab at help, so when it failed like everything else she broke completely ang gave up.
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Postby C.A.P. » Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:21 pm

Heh, it's like Rei II is talking with Rei III with those avatars. :)

You two do raise a good question though; if Hikari is indeed a motherly figure to Asuka, then couldn't that imply that the 'rejection' from Hikari is related to Asuka's mother 'rejecting' her, which led to the attempted suicide?
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Postby child of Lilith » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:36 pm

View Original PostC.A.P. wrote:Heh, it's like Rei II is talking with Rei III with those avatars. :)
:rofl:
You two do raise a good question though; if Hikari is indeed a motherly figure to Asuka, then couldn't that imply that the 'rejection' from Hikari is related to Asuka's mother 'rejecting' her, which led to the attempted suicide?
Although I don't agree Asuka saw Hikari as a replacement mother( she's to young for Asuka to see her that way) I do think Hikari's rejection of her did lead to the bathtub scene.
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Postby Bagheera » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:53 am

View Original Postchild of Lilith wrote:I guess I've taken away a very different view of the scene with Hikari and Asuka in bed then most people. When they were in bed together I got the feeling Hikari was acting like she was tired of having Asuka around and was just saying whatever she thought Asuka wanted to hear. She doesn't even look at her in the scene and earlier she didn't sound to pleased when Asuka asked to spend the night again. I think it was this final rejection by Hikari that sent Asuka on her way to the tub. It was just the final straw that broke the camels back.


I think you're spot on here. I've never thought Asuka and Hikari were great friends; I think instead that they were acquaintances, with Asuka tolerating Hikari because of her status as class rep and Hikari trying to manage Asuka so that she doesn't run roughshod over the school. And sure, they like each other a little, but they're hardly BFFs.

I think that, by the time Asuka winds up in Hikari's bed, Hikari's acting more out of obligation and basic decency than anything else. She's concerned like anyone would be, but she's ultimately just tired of the whole mess and is saying whatever she thinks Asuka wants to hear. That's as far as it goes IMO.

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Postby BornIn1142 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:51 am

View Original PostFuun wrote:On Hikari's side, like BornIn1442 said,


Ouch! That really hurts, you know. (Okay, I know it's not a very intuitive name.)

View Original Postchild of Lilith wrote:Although I don't agree Asuka saw Hikari as a replacement mother( she's to young for Asuka to see her that way)


Ah, but as I kind of suggested to begin with, I think the fact that she isn't older than Asuka is exactly what would allow her to be something of a mother figure to her, since Asuka would tend to reject maternal affection from an actual adult. Well, theoretically.

I do think this idea is a little shaky. After all, it's just based on Hikari being somewhat maternal and Asuka having a 'thing' with mothers, and nothing else. The thing is, with all the focus on foils and subtly cued relationships in Evangelion, I think there's reasonable doubt about whether putting together characters with that dynamic wasn't a conscious authorial choice. Though, even if I'm not reading too much into it, that kind of speculation is a dead end line of thought, I suppose...

View Original Postchild of Lilith wrote:I can't quite agree with this. When the two of them are in the bed Asuka does try to open up to Hikari, but all she gets in return is the verbal equivalent of a Dear occupant letter. If all Asuka wanted was superficial comfort I don't think she would have fallen apart after getting the cold shoulder. l think Hikari was her last desperate grab at help, so when it failed like everything else she broke completely ang gave up.


Actually, I'm not sure Asuka did fall apart there. Or at least, I don't think she cried because she thought Hikari failed her somehow. You could read Hikari's words as such: "I know you don't like crying, but you can do that now and I won't judge you.", kind of giving her permission to open up, which Asuka then does by allowing herself to do the unthinkable and cry. At the very least, I don't think any possible miscommunication with Hikari would have had a direct effect on her suicide attempt.
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Postby Trajan » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:06 pm

Hikari is just a friend...Asuka thinks she's mature enough not to need any maternal / older sister type figures in her life.
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Postby child of Lilith » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:25 pm

View Original PostBornIn1142 wrote:Ah, but as I kind of suggested to begin with, I think the fact that she isn't older than Asuka is exactly what would allow her to be something of a mother figure to her, since Asuka would tend to reject maternal affection from an actual adult. Well, theoretically.

I think Kaji kind of blows this theory out of the water. She latches on to him because she thinks he’s cool, charming, a possible father figure and everything else an adult should be in her eyes. But the key word here is adult. If Kaji had been a kid she would not have been so interested in him. Asuka wants desperately to be an adult but she also knows she doesn’t know how, so naturally she would gravitated to an adult to show her the way. This type of thinking would keep her from seeing anyone else her own age as anything other then a friend. In her eyes another child would not be able to give her what she really needed.

Actually, I'm not sure Asuka did fall apart there. Or at least, I don't think she cried because she thought Hikari failed her somehow. You could read Hikari's words as such: "I know you don't like crying, but you can do that now and I won't judge you.", kind of giving her permission to open up, which Asuka then does by allowing herself to do the unthinkable and cry.
You could certainly see it that way, but that’s not the feeling I got from their talk.
At the very least, I don't think any possible miscommunication with Hikari would have had a direct effect on her suicide attempt.
It would if it was Asuka’s last grab at help and it fell through like all the others.
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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:35 am

The Asuka/Hikari friendship appears full-blown and without explanation between episodes 8 and 9, so we have no real indication of how it came about, beyond its convenience for the later narrative. My interpretation is that Hikari, having a position of responsibility that she took seriously was the only non-pilot in class not outright dismissed as a silly little kid.

At the other end of things -- Asuka's ultimate failure in her final combat mission comes between the night with Hikari and the bathtub (and, taking the DC chronology as ordered, her bereavement from her crush comes as the last straw).

And if there is a total communications failure when Hikari is lukewarm in her approach when telling Asuka that she should have the courage of her own convictions, then is that not the theme of the series in play yet again?
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