Well, Bagheera, what can I say. Follow your own advice? I'm only familiar with various of your posts I've stumbled upon on the Rebuild of Evangelion section (and this previous one), and you come of as very hostile most of the time (including right now). But since we're both obnoxious geeks, I think we'll get along just fine, you and me. Won't we?
I have to agree with this. It's really hard to look at the kitchen scene and claim with a straight face that Shinji's relationships with Rei and Misato have just as much of an impact on the course of events in the show.
That's like saying the last drop weighs more than the jarful. And first, again, I never focused only on these 3. If you think Shinji's relationship with his father or with Kaworu are not important to his decision to say goodbye to the world well, I'm not sure what to say.
You're weighing one scene against a whole show. Not even that. You're weighting some
of the stuff in that scene against a whole lot else. I'd say it's important not to pull stuff out of context or look at scenes and elements within scenes in isolation. The narrative as a whole is what important. So let's not forget the park dream scence when it comes to Shinji's decision to start instrumentality, right? Let's not forget episode 25 and 26. Let's not forget that it is not solely Asuka that is brought up by the narrative in the final build-up to the beginning of instrumentality. Events don't jump from place to place. It's a process that is, implicitly, continuous. There is just SO MUCH you have to ignore to raise Asuka on the pedestal that you do.
If we are to look at that "right before instrumentality" stuff alone, it is in itself also a a pretty telling back and forth about Shinji's relationship with various people among which undeniably, there is Asuka too. And her role is very important. There's no mistaking that. But... not Asuka alone.
You can't just pull everything from the Asuka kitchen cuts (and a few others). There is a lot more in Evangelion than that. Why are you ignoring the analogous stuff that focuses on Misato right before, for example (and it's just an example that I picked due to proximity in editing). One thing leads into the other. That's how things work in real life and it is only common sense that is how they work in Evangelion as well. And even within the scene there's more than Asuka in the kitchen. When the film is edited so as to go back and forth between various characters, moments and "issues", it does so because they are important. "What's in the frame" - "show what matters". And there is a lot more in the frame than Shinji and Asuka.
The build up scene to the beginning of instrumentality is made up of a bunch of stuff. And again, there's nothing that makes the final straw weight more than everything else that brought the situation to this edge (which is the whole of Evangelion, if we are to look at things in rougher lines). The relationship between Asuka and Shinji is shown as falling apart in that scene specifically, because his relationship with everyone else was already dealt with by that point. It's a checklist. Between the 3 that feature prominently then, Misato and Rei are already "dealt with" by that point. Shinji has already rejected them in the respective circumstances. He has only to also reject the one that is left - Asuka. And then instrumentality begins.
It's similarly difficult to look at the montage sequence in 22' and conclude that Shinji wasn't the primary cause of Asuka's downfall.
"Funny", because it seemed to me that there was a whole lot more than Shinji being portrayed in that Asuka focused episode. It focuses on Asuka
and her problems. Not on Shinji and Asuka's relationship. He is just another (important) part of her life. I don't think I have to do a cut by cut analysis (and I don't have the time right now, but if you really think that is necessary I am more than willing to do it) to see that. There's a lot being portrayed there. From her relationship with Shinji, to her relationship with other people in her life (like Kaji,Misato,Rei, her mother, her foster parents) to her own internal (psychological as well as physiological) concerns etc etc etc.
Even considering only the mind "rape" scene, yet again Shinji is not the only point of focus, but Asuka and her relationship with "others" in general. Please take into consideration everything that is shown. Also consider the sequences that go through Asuka's identity issues (the "This is not me","THis is not me","This is not me" cuts), also consider the scenes where she is walking around town and runs into a tellingly creepy crowd, also consider Kaji, also consider her mother, and by God also take the cuts with the young Asuka into consideration - the cuts which are the climax of that whole sequence. Not JUST Shinji. Cherry picking cuts and scenes, and more, cherry picking just parts
from various cuts and scenes, this kind of stuff is not making for a valid (let alone compelling) argument.
Each was the personification of all the other shit that was wrong in their lives and I think it's a mistake to call for an effort to diminish that fact
(particularly on a page devoted to analysis of Asuka and Shinji's relationship).
A page devoted to analysis of the relationship between Asuka and Shinji is one thing. A page devoted to a biased (mis)representation of that relationship is different thing altogether. But with that being said:
That doesn't mean we should be calling them a couple, or suggesting that there are romantic feelings between them, since that's clearly not the case. But even so, coupledom is not the only way to be important to someone's life; human relationships are insanely complex, and it is easily possible to have a huge impact on someone's life no romance whatsoever thrown into the mix.
We have no disagreements here. You put it splendidly!