, though. It was just one tiny kiss, and Asuka wouldn't even know about it afterwards.
If she woke up or learned about it she would be upset or grossed out.
Knowing the contents of her head from our audience seats we can deduce that she plopped herself down there for a reason and was probably hoping for him to do something, having made jokes about it earlier etc., but, without being able to read her mind or actually asking, there's no way Shinji could've known that & many ppl in that situation would have considered it gross & upsetting or have a mayor fight/flight/freeze reaction triggered, & there's many RL cases where someone made an assumption and then the other person froze in shock & ended up traumatized.
That said, I repeat, we are all born as ignorant uncivilized apes & kids to shit like randomly trying to kiss their peers all the time; This is fully explicable as a no-thinking brainfart situation.
An adult needs to talk to them & explain why that's not Ok before they become grown men but first one needs to acknowledge that no one is immune to fucking off or base desires.
This weird attitude of treating sexually colored situtions as different from other violence doesn't help either like it leads to both 'defiled forever' nonsense and harassment not being taken seriously because it's conflated with flirting or whatever (the difference between rape and torture is really just what body parts are being involved in the torture)
I find trying to picture if it was torture or murder instead is a good litmus test for purity culture - you would still be critical if something, say, glorified violence in a way that implies about real life wars or could be seen as propaganda, but you would not assume that because an author depics murder he is totally pro murder in real life.
It's like you treat EoE Shinji as a different character from his NGE counterpart
No, it's taking context into account.
He fucked up in that specific circumstance under very extreme circumstances but for 95% of their interactions/screentime she was very much the aggressor.
"X is a criminal & therefore always has & always will behave as a criminal" is just a super useless label idea of morality.
It assumes that we're all born pure and then failings turn us into [loaded labels] but it's really the opposite - we're born ignorant and learn morals as we gain experience.
It's just not helpful to focus on labeling people good guy/bad guy vs. on the situational causes of behavior. It's different to steal cause you can than to steal cause you're hungry, and both kinds of stealing can be made mare or less tempting based on the circumstances.
people who consistently behave as creeps, murderers, fraudsters or whatever, but they're different from someone who does a crazy act on a desperate situation.
Both of them do ugly things once they get super desperate, but if you look at their average behavior under average circumstances
, then Asuka hammers anyone she perceives as a rival with insults whenever she can (100% independent of Shinji in any way; She's just the same with Rei), while Shinji is... a bit frustrating, unreliable, probably not someone you could count on, but in a day to day life he's mostly nice and polite.
They're probably the same on overall
functionality (Asuka is better in the 'getting things done' department, having initiative & accomplishments & at least superficial social skill) but Shinji wins at the Not-Antagonizing-People discipline.
Almost everyone is capable of extreme ugly things under extreme circumstances. See wars, famines, dictatorships, extreme poverty, bad mental breaks... for plenty of evidence.