I have never been on EvaGeeks before, but I have always been an assiduous reader of all the content of this magnificent site, so I feel quite familiar posting here, despite being the first time.
The reason I finally decided to sign up is to contribute to the richness of the site with my humble opinions on Evangelion and its universe. Hopefully someone might consider them interesting, while others may think they’re irrelevant. But, in any case, I’ll give it a shot.
In order to make my position clearer for everyone, firstly I must say I have always been a passionate admirer of Asuka. I watched NGE when I was 14 years old (very appropriately, indeed) and she already caught my attention, beautiful, fierce and astonishing as she is. However, at that age I didn’t really give it much importance. It was when I re-watched the series some years later, being more mature and having had more life experience, that I really fell for her, for I realized what she was hiding deep inside: a vulnerable heart protected by a delicate façade, as well as her continuous struggle not to allow others see her weakness. Her desperation for validation, her mighty pride and the vulnerability of her true self resonated so much with myself, that she was no longer a “cute redhead character”, but a sort of “soul-mate” in 2D.
For that very reason, as those interested will see later if they want to keep reading this post, I am in frontal opposition to any kind of romantic depiction of Asuka with our clueless MC, Shinji. If the admirable Mr Tines is the “anti-AS shipper” of this forum, emulating such a nickname, and adding my historical interest in the Holy War, I could be called the “anti-AsuShin crusader”, always willing to defend Asuka against those who wish her the misery of being paired up with someone who:
2) A hormonal teenager as he was, far from giving her the emotional support she was asking for, treated her like a dirty pornstar. And no, it wasn’t an accident: He even took the time to lock the room. Thankfully, he admitted he was “fucked up”, but that doesn’t exculpate him.
3) Had two desperate yet brutal outbursts against Asuka in the two scenes we all know well, in which he had the clear intention of killing her (out of revenge in the kitchen scene, and driven by madness on the beach post-3I), which are, in my opinion, a red line. The hospital scene was already nauseating enough, but the strangulation scenes were a good proof of what kind of person Shinji can become if being under too much pressure and having his wishes denied. “You don’t want to help me? Then, die!”. Very lovely, isn’t it?
Whatever Asuka saw during Instrumentaity that made her feel empathy and understanding (caress) towards Shinji, didn’t make her see him any better (cold stare and “Kimochi warui”). She can be very rightfully bitter with him, after all his edumbness during NGE, plus the utterly immoral and erratic behaviour he had in EoE. Shipping those two after all the film showed us is maybe one of the most optimistic acts of naivety. Be it because I like to consider myself a gentleman, or be it because of my appreciation for Asuka, I consider what happened in EoE unforgivable, and unworthy of a second chance for Shinji. But well, that’s only my opinion.
There is something undeniable, though, as The Eva Monkey describes it on his AsuKawo manifesto: Asuka has always been the legitimate “love interest” (despite I actively refuse the usage of love in their relationship; hormonal attraction, or a desperate need for other’s company and affection describe it way better) from episode 8 to the very end of EoE. Shinji lusted after the Trinity of women, but near the end, it is blatantly obvious that Asuka offers him the only relationship that doesn’t involve incest of pedophilia. But, being on equal footing to him doesn't make them a "lovely couple" or help to erase the toxicity and miscommunication of such relationship. They could have helped each other, yes, but they didn’t, and everything ended up becoming a vicious spiral of disappointment, frustration, misunderstandings and why not, hatred. Arguing that “Asuka is the right choice” or that “Asuka wins”, as some say, is reducing Evangelion to a rom-com anime, and ignoring what Asuka and Shinji interactions mean: the complexity of human relations, the barriers of pride and the fear of being alone. In other words, the Hedgehog’s Dilemma.
Agreeing with many wise users here, Sachi, FreakyFilmFan4Ever or FelipeFritschF, for instance, I really doubt there’s anything near romantic love present in the series. Even the “official couple” of Misato and Kaji could be seen as two adults giving an empty comfort to each other, like animals. And, obviously, claiming that two traumatized children of 13 and 14 years old like Asuka and Shinji are, respectively, were anywhere near “love”, is quite laughable. As laughable as it is to deny their mutual attraction, of course (a bit more complex in the case of Asuka, who wants help from him, while in Shinji’s case it seems to be rather physical). “They want the other to love and help them, without giving anything in exchange”, that could be a proper description of what’s between them.
Did anyone here feel true “love” being 13~14 years old? Quite unlikely, I think.
Finally, at the risk of making this post too long, I would like to share a humble article I wrote concerning this issue, for it is something that has always bothered me. It is my first and only serious writing regarding this matter, although I’ve had many discussions on places like MyAnimeList or 4chan (the latter is maybe the very worst place to debate about this topic; shamefully, I wasted too much time there, with little results apart from being called “Kaworufag”, “Reifag” and other kinds of insulting combinations using “fag”, no matter how much I tried to make them understand I was rather a “non-shipper Asukafag” xD. It’s better not to approach that venomous site, seriously). For that very reason, having had very tense debates with close-minded shippers, I hold an inevitable bitterness against them, which those who are interested in reading the article will easily notice.
This is the blog post I wrote, which might be full of mistakes and/or misinterpretations in your eyes, but I just felt I had to write it as a fan of Asuka who doesn’t want to see her suffering anymore: AsuShin, or How Opposites don't always attract.
If any of you, willing to read it, happens to be a civilized A/S shipper (unlike the savage beasts of 4chan and other sites), please don’t feel offended by my words. As a matter of fact, I honestly respect very much those who sincerely believe that Asuka and Shinji could be a viable couple (although I don’t share that opinion), thus wishing “the best for them”, after they’ve recovered from their traumas. I could mention a couple of users here to whom I have great respect, despite being shippers: xanderkh, Chuckman, or banned Bagheera, among others.
What I can’t stand are the kind of fanatic shippers who claim that their arguments are the absolute “canon” everyone should obey, and that all Evangelion is about is the “lovey-dovey couple of Asuka and Shinji”. Those ones, blatantly ignoring the complexity and nuances of the relation of the both children, only see what their goggles allow them to see, and defend their point of view with such belligerence and arrogance that it’s difficult not to get pissed off after debating with them. Sentences such as these: “AsuShin OTP” or “The ending of EoE is purely romantic. If you deny it, you haven’t got anything”, which try to humiliate the point of view of others, are what usually irritate me the most. To those, I show my bitterness in the article.
Having read plenty of LAS-friendly interpretations of the series, and if shippers can post huge articles using all kind of fanwank to conclude saying that Asuka and Shinji are “star-crossed lovers”, or interpreting every single event of the show with their shipping goggles, as if AsuShin was the crux of Evangelion, why can’t I, a rather moderate EVA fan, write about what I think of the message of the series and, why not, what I think of some of those extremist shippers?