The Improbability of Asuka's last name

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The Improbability of Asuka's last name

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Postby Derantor » Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:03 pm

Maybe this belongs in the discussion subsection, but it really is not that serious. Or is it? :uhh:

So, have you ever wondered why Asuka is named Langley-Soryu, when her mother was named Zeppelin-Soryu? Well, obviously because her father was named Langley - he is probably British or American, her mother half-german, half-japanese. Makes perfect sense, right? WRONG!

Asuka was born and raised in Germany - so her Parents had to live under german law. And German law is designed to make everything as unpleasing and restricted as possible.

First of all, double-last-names aren't allowed for children anymore - the law was changed shortly before the series aired, but lets ignore that for a moment, as it makes this whole thing impossible.

Secondly, there is a difference between your last name(s) and you family name. Kyoko Soryu and Friedrich Zeppelin marry. They then decide on a family name: Either Zeppelin or Soryu. This name is what their children will be called. Whichever name they choose, the person whose name is NOT chosen as family name can then decide on one of these options: Keep their old last name, adopt the chosen family name as their own, or adopt the family name while keeping their old name. If Soryu is chosen, Friedrich can thus be Friedrich Zeppelin still, Friedrich Soryu or Friedrich Zeppelin-Soryu (or Soryu-Zeppelin). Kyoko in this case has NO way to acquire the Zeppelin name - she always stays a Soryu, and Asuka will be only Soryu as well.

When you get divorced, you have a few options as well. Let's say Kyoko became Zeppelin-Soryu by marriage, then divorces the guy. She can keep her double name or revert to her maiden name. That choice is permanent, until she marries again, and makes whatever she choses her new family name. So, she can be Zeppelin-Soryu or Soryu. If she stays Zeppelin-Soryu, that becomes her new family name.

The ONLY way for both partners to adopt a double name as their family name is if one partner had a double name before the marriage already. So, if Kyoko was called Zeppelin-Soryu before her marriage to Langley, there are now four options for a family name: Zeppelin-Soryu, Zeppelin, Soryu and Langley. But no more than two names are allowed. Which means that if Zeppelin-Soryu is chosen, Langley has to give up his last name and become Zeppelin-Soryu, but all their children would be called Zeppelin-Soryu under the old law. To become Langley-Soryu, Soryu has to be chosen as family name, in wich case Kyoko would become simply Kyoko Soryu again, and all their children would only have Soryu as last name. In this case, if they get divorced, Langley has the option to return being called Langley or stick with the Zeppelin-Soryu name - he can NOT chose to keep one of the names he acquired in the marriage and add it to his own.

Pretty complicated, right? Well, it gets better. At the point of Kyoko's death, she is still called Zeppelin-Soryu, while Asuka becomes Langley-Soryu at some point. The name Langley has to come in somehow.

The easiest option is that Soryu isn't the name that Kyoko brought to the marriage, but Zeppelin is. She then married somebody named Soryu, which became their family name, while she kept her old name as well, making her Zeppelin-Soryu. That way, her husband's name just keeps being Soryu. After she died, he then marries the nurse, who is named Langley. They make that the new family name and he becomes Langley-Soryu. But remember the rules about children: They are named after the family names. So Asuka is at this point only Asuka Langley. Since she can't marry a Soryu herself to become Langley-Soryu, her father has to divorce the nurse, keep the Langley-Soryu surname, which becomes his new family name, then REMARRY the nurse and they decide on Langley-Soryu as their family name. Then, Asuka can be Asuka Langley-Soryu as well.

There is of course the problem that Kyoko definitely is not a german name, so it is highly likely that Kyoko was of (at least partial) Japanese heritage. Here the easiest option is that she was named Soryu at birth, married somebody named Zepplin, divorced him, kept the Zeppelin-Soryu name, then married Asuka's father and they kept the Zeppelin-Soryu name as family name, making him give up his old name. After her death the procedure is the same: He has to keep the Zepplin-Soryu name, marry the nurse named Langley, and when they decided that Langley is their new family name, he has the option to keep one of his old names (he can not keep both: Only two last names are allowed), becoming Langley-Soryu. He then divorces the nurse and marries her again (or any other woman) and can make Langley-Soryu the family name.

If Kyoko was named Zeppelin-Soryu at birth, her ancestors had to go through the same ordeal to give her that double-last name, if they lived in Germany. Otherwise, the procedure stays the same.


So, what does this all mean? Well, Langley can not be the birth name of Asuka's father as there is no way for him to acquire the Langley-Soryu surname while Kyoko stays Zeppelin-Soryu. That would only be possible they married, made Soryu their family name so that he can become Langley-Soryu, then they got divorced and Kyoko married somebody named Zeppelin before she died. But the series indicates that Kyoko and Asuka's father were married until her death. So his ethnicity can not be guessed from the "Langley" part of Asuka's name.


Or they just married outside of Germany. In which case, this whole post is mute. :shrug:

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Re: The Improbability of Asuka's last name

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Postby Reichu » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:38 pm

That post makes me a bit cross-eyed, so let me just share my general impressions.

- We know that Langley is American, because he was named after an American vessel and, furthermore, Asuka has American citizenship.
- It's offhandedly mentioned in episode 9 that Asuka was born in Japan. (This cooperates with the tidbit provided in supplemental materials that work on Eva-02 began in Japan and was later moved to Germany.)
- Asuka is a quarter Japanese and a quarter German (as established in supplemental materials from the very beginning). With her father being American (Anglo-Saxon, if "Langley" is any indication), the Japanese and German heritage clearly comes from Kyoko, who has a compound Japanese/German surname.

Kyoko kept her original surname until death, and it's not much of a stretch to assume that Langley didn't change his either. Asuka was thus given her own unique compound surname blending East (from Kyoko) and West (from Langley). How exactly this works doesn't really matter because the Japan of NGE already has one naming convention in place that does not mirror real life (all given names being written in katakana only), so, really, what's one more?
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Re: The Improbability of Asuka's last name

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Postby Blockio » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:19 pm

Yeah I'm with Reichu, that's pretty... trivial. If there is a tiny detail about Asuka's past and name that's more worth ragging on it would be the fact that she is an Air Force Captain at the age of 13 in Rebuild :P

although that could also be explained as an honorary/necessity rank because all German military pilots have to be officers
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Re: The Improbability of Asuka's last name

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Postby Derantor » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:10 pm

Blockio wrote:Yeah I'm with Reichu, that's pretty... trivial.

Well, yes. ^_^ That's why I put it in the Chit-Chat section and included the caveat that this is all pointless if german laws don't apply. Oh. And maybe I should have said "This is not meant to be taken so seriously" instead of "This is not serious." :facepalm: Sometimes I do wonder if my brain does this on purpose.

Funny that you mention her Air-Force rank (which can be easily explained) - this whole pointless search for a way to get her her last name under german law was spawned by trying to square the off-hand comment that she's got a degree at twelve with how she behaves in the series, as that kind of achievement puts her close to savantism, and she never displays any symptoms, nor any outstanding sense of duty when it comes to academic achievement. Failing to find any way square that circle, I wondered how she would have gotten her last name, as that HAS to be far easier, right? I then found out again why I hate german law-making.

Reichu wrote:That post makes me a bit cross-eyed.

Yeah, that's german law for you. Edit: I just found it funny that Anno gave her such a strong association with Germany, and then gave her a name that is almost impossible for her to have if she actually was a german citizen - which she might as well be from her mothers side, as dual citizenship is common, unless she only lived in Germany for work.

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Re: The Improbability of Asuka's last name

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Postby Kendrix » Sat May 09, 2020 6:53 pm

It's not beyond some unlikely results of differenmt countries' naming conventions intersecting that I've seen. I know a case where both the wife, the kids and the husband each ended up with a different last name.

I'm not familiar with the nitty-gritty legal details but the only thing that seems particularly odd to me is that around here double names would typically be spelled with hyphens.
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