Determining whether Asuka acted deliberately or not seems impossible to me, EoE shows us that children are depressed. However I consider the hypothesis.
* If Shinji and Asuka's choices aren't deliberate, then they are morally equal;
* If Shinji and Asuka's choices are deliberate, then for some people they are morally equal, while for others the strangulation is worse than "No".
If from a logical point of view Asuka's deliberate "No" is not functional, Shinji's deliberate decision to go to Asuka to offer her a false help is also not logically functional. Asuka knew (?) that Shinji was depressed and didn't help him, similarly Shinji had to think that Asuka would refuse him, yet he went to her and offered her a selfish help (I help you because I want to get a personal advantage).Shinji: I want to help you in some way... and to be with you forever.
Asuka: Then, don't do anything. Don't come near me anymore... Because all you ever do is hurt me.
Shinji: Asuka, help me! You're... you're the only one that can!
Shinji change idea in 2 seconds, the fastest change of mind in history, revealing immediately his selfish intention. Sure, Shinji partly asks Asuka to help him help her, that is, to allow him to help her, but this is only superficial. Shinji isn't really like that. Shinji wants to depend on others, and this is repeated several times in both NGE and EoE.ANNO: That’s the same thing as I [myself] becoming an adult. I’m often asked if Shinji-kun [represents] an old version of myself, but that’s not the case. Shinji-kun is my current self (laughing). I act like a fourteen-year-old boy; I’m still childish. No matter how you look at it, in psychological terms, I’m [still] in the Oral Stage. A melancholic oral-dependent type. Well, this is a truth I can’t deny; I can’t do anything about it. I wanted to move forward from there, but the result was that I ended up regressing back to myself. A dead end.
Morality is the object studied in ethics, but morality is not one, there are many different morality because there are many sets of norms and values that can be chosen as a reference. There are no right and wrong absolute, good and bad absolute, but they are relative to the chosen value system. We cannot impose our moral system on someone else's work, we must ask ourselves what the value system imposed by author. Any discussion that is independent of the author's point of view can potentially last indefinitely, since everyone sees and judges things from their own perspective, rather than from the author's perspective. Determining what the author's point of view is difficult, but I think it is important to try to understand it.
In EoE I don't see characters giving a negative moral judgment about Asuka, but I see Rei telling Shinji that he is wrong to thinking about certain things. Shinji: but ambiguity only makes me insecure.
Rei: that's just an excuse.
Shinji: Nobody understands me.
Rei: You didn't understand anything.
Shinji: I thought it was supposed to be a world without unpleasantness... without uncertainity.
Rei: Because you thought that everyone else was like you.
Shinji: Betrayed! You've betrayed my feelings!!
Rei: You've misunderstood from the start. You simply assumed without asking.
Shinji: Nobody wants me. So, everybody just die.
Rei: Then, what are those hands for?
Shinji: Nobody cares whether I exist or not... Nothing will change.
So, everybody just die.
Rei: Then, what is that heart for?
Shinji: It'd be better if I wasn't here either. So I should just die, too.
This seems to me a direct judgment, as if Anno entered the scene and told Shinji through the divine Rei that he is wrong. Conversely, Asuka is never reprimanded in such a way.
In EoE Shinji behaves several times worse than Asuka, masturbates watching Asuka in the hospital, does not help Asuka in the fight against MP-Eva where she risks dying, strangles Asuka in the kitchen risking to kill her, sentence all humanity to death, finally, strangle Asuka again on the beach. Conversely Asuka rejects Shinji with words.
This makes me think that Anno's moral judgment hits Shinji's thoughts and behaviors more than Asuka's. And I don't think it happens because Shinji is the protagonist, but I think it happens because Anno considers Shinji's selfish-dependent behavior morally worse. Shinji is the main part of Anno's identity, so it's the most criticized part.
Indeed, Shinji makes physical gestures with which he can actually kill Asuka. Vice versa, "No" and other verbal refusals hits the psyche, but doesn't directly bring death, doesn't help those who receive it, true, but doesn't kill directly. So that of drowning is a logical fallacy of false analogy. So, Shinji's behavior is worse, according to Anno.
In the previous comment I wrote that Shinji and Asuka are parts of Anno's personality. Anno said he is an oral-dependent type, i.e. a person like Shinji, has high expectations of himself, like Asuka, and hates himself, like Shinji and Asuka. Strangulation can also be understood metaphorically as a judgment that Anno focuses on his high expectations (Asuka). In this sense, Anno kills a part of himself (Asuka), and then lets Shinji die (It'd be better if I wasn't here either. So I should just die, too
). But this is my subjective metaphorical interpretation. The main point of the show are criticisms of Shinji's thoughts and behavior.
* Shinji hates himself, depends on others, is selfish, cowardly, weak, introverted, constantly complains, not really interested about others. It is the part of Anno with these characteristics. It is the main part of Anno.
* Asuka hates herself, is narcissistic, does not want to be helped and rejects everyone. It is the part of Anno with these characteristics.
* Shinji's behavior is dysfunctional, Asuka's behavior is dysfunctional.
* Anno criticizes/kill the narcissistic part of himself, which refuses everyone and does not want to be helped.
* Anno criticizes/kill even more the dependent part of himself, cowardly, selfish, weak, introverted, constantly complains, not really interested about others, who asks for indulgence, benevolence and unambiguity.
I disagree on the hypothesis of 0.000000001%. Speculating about "what if" is useless, because the show doesn't show this, it becomes a fanfiction. If Shinji had done so, if Asuka had done this way, if Misato had said this, if Gendo had done so, etc. No, I don't like this method, sometimes I use it, but really carefully, only when the probability percentage is more significant, i.e. meets some criteria. A book or a film is like our past life, it cannot be changed, it's just the way it is. Because what happens is what the author wants to show, that is, the content that the author wants to convey to us.
In EoE there is no true altruism in Shinji's words. Anno is criticizing himself very heavily. Maybe I'm not good enough to explain what I mean. I try this way: as long as we look for the problem outside ourselves, depression will not be resolved.
Do people say ambiguous things? It doesn't matter.
Do people say things that can hurt? It doesn't matter.
Do people say things implicitly rather than explicitly? It doesn't matter.
Do people say lies? It doesn't matter.
Do people do anything else? It doesn't matter.
The problem is not other people, the problem is my thoughts, my words and my behaviors. Do you know Stoicism? A solution like this.
For the avoidance of doubt: this is my partial interpretation of Anno's thought, of his moral point of view, and of his criticism. I can't say I have 100% certainty, of course, but I think more or less this way.
I disagree that they were entirely unable to communicate or live by themselves for years.
I badly explained myself. I meant that they have traumas from their childhood, and they hid the problem under the carpet, so they lived normally only superficially. For example Shinji lived passively even when he was with the tutor. But obviously, as you say, the difficulties then increased during the series, or rather they came out like a geyser.
If you meant to say that they are not healthy in the beach scene, then I agree, obviously.
They are a little better than before (kitchen scene), + 0.1%, but they still have a long way to go. It's only the beginning.
NGE and EoE show the importance of meet himself and other people. Already in the first few episodes Misato says "he will realize in time that growing up is to get a sense of distance among the others for hurt feelings each other."
Shinji and Asuka hate themselves, this is because Anno didn't appreciate himself, as he said in an interview.
Shinji and Asuka's behaviors are both dysfunctional, they lead nowhere. This show clearly shows it, and I wrote it in the previous comment. Asuka behaves in a dysfunctional way, Shinji too, but worse. Probably because he his the main part of Anno.
Do their behaviors also depend on the outside world? Yes. But if the outside world doesn't change, I can't keep making mistakes because of the outside world. If the outside world does not change, then I must be the one to learn to manage my thoughts, my words and my behaviors. In the kitchen scene Asuka and Shinji are not able to do it, unknowingly or knowingly, but in the end of film and in the beach scene there is an improvement of + 0.1%, and it is only the beginning.
NGEShinji: I hate myself.
Rei: Those who hate oneselves cannot love or trust others.
Misato: If you know yourself, you can be kind to others.
EoEMisato: You hate yourself, right? That's why you hurt other people... Because you know that hurting other people is more painful than hurting yourself. But, no matter what happens, remember that it was your decision. And that makes it worthwhile, Shinji - Because you decided by yourself! So stop lying to yourself... Think about what you can do... And then live with your decisions. Nobody's perfect. You realize that you've made a mistake, and then regret it... That's all I've ever known. Nothing but empty happiness and hating myself. But... I feel like I always grew from the experience! Listen, Shinji. Pilot Eva once more and find yourself. Pilot Eva to face the questions "Why did you come here?" "Why are you here?" Find your own answers.
I hope I have explained clearly my point of view.
- - -
I conclude with a question: have you seen Isao Takahata's film Hotaru no Haka
(Studio Ghibli)? If so, how do you interpret Seita's aunt's behavior from your moral point of view?