Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition"). The final instalment made its debut in Japan on March 8, 2021.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Derantor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 10:27 pm

You're confusing audience knowledge with character knowledge. Would the villagers know about Asuka's Angel? Would they know which Eva was available for whom to pilot? And if they do - wouldn't they then know that all pilots are dangerous, which is why they have to sleep in explosive laden rooms and wear chokers 24/7? They don't even recognize Shinji, and there's no indication that Rei's plugsuit makes them uneasy at all - it's just a curiosity. If Asuka is suspicious because she's wearing an eyepatch (the only visible sign that something's off about her), how come Rei with her grim black suit, red eyes, super pale skin and blue hair isn't suspicious?
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Zer0_Stars_DS » Tue Dec 28, 2021 11:19 pm

Because that’s all there is to it. And this movie has a lot of important things to say in its long runtime. It’s also important to remember that Asuka suffers from isolation issues much like Gendo. That’s the real reason she doesn’t go to the village. It’s been the same thing here whole life

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Konja7 » Wed Dec 29, 2021 7:06 am

View Original PostDerantor wrote:You're confusing audience knowledge with character knowledge. Would the villagers know about Asuka's Angel? Would they know which Eva was available for whom to pilot? And if they do - wouldn't they then know that all pilots are dangerous, which is why they have to sleep in explosive laden rooms and wear chokers 24/7? They don't even recognize Shinji, and there's no indication that Rei's plugsuit makes them uneasy at all - it's just a curiosity. If Asuka is suspicious because she's wearing an eyepatch (the only visible sign that something's off about her), how come Rei with her grim black suit, red eyes, super pale skin and blue hair isn't suspicious?


I've understand that Asuka distances herself from humans on Village 3. She feels different from humans, which makes her uncomfortable and prefers to get away from them.

Instead, Rei Q is willing to be part of the community. This is due to her personalitiy as well. Rei Q may be calm and cold, but she doesn't push people away.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby cyharding » Wed Dec 29, 2021 11:08 am

View Original PostDerantor wrote:Ah, yes, that's quite the contradiction to what we see with Rei. Implies that the village is a very dangerous place for pilots. It would also explain why Kenken decides to take Shinji to his shack, instead of letting him stay with Toji. I have no clue how to solve this contradiction, because Rei's extensive interactions with the village people show that there's no actual animosity there, and I believe Shinji is walking around the village later without problem, too. So either the village people have a double standard, where they only hate the Wille pilots or Asuka specifically, or something else is going on.

Well my interpretation of that is Asuka basically has the same problem that Shinji has in NGE, which is that she assumed she is despised by the villagers because she is a pilot, thus a part of the ssytem that effectively destroyed their lives.

Like I said above, at best we can assume that she was aware of talking to somebody who she most likely thought was Kensuke.

Again, I want to bring NGE into this where she might be talking to the KenKen in her mind, but that's just me.
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby nerv bae » Fri Dec 31, 2021 1:12 pm

Minor responses on the village

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:
View Original Postnerv bae#933398 wrote:But I don't think you directly addressed the Asuka-Rei taser scene. If Asuka is so welcome in the village, why does she [...] sleep with a taser under her pillow?

Ah, yes, that's quite the contradiction to what we see with Rei. Implies that the village is a very dangerous place for pilots. It would also explain why Kenken decides to take Shinji to his shack, instead of letting him stay with Toji. I have no clue how to solve this contradiction, because Rei's extensive interactions with the village people show that there's no actual animosity there, and I believe Shinji is walking around the village later without problem, too. So either the village people have a double standard, where they only hate the Wille pilots or Asuka specifically, or something else is going on. But as I said, no clue how to solve this conundrum. Given that after initial distrust, they quickly accept Rei, I can only assume that whatever happened with Asuka was a misunderstanding one or both parties weren't keen on resolving.

Derantor, yes, Rei's welcome in the village does contradict your taken implication that the village is a very dangerous place for pilots, but I don't think that implication holds water. I don't recall any evidence that the village is dangerous for pilots qua pilots. Instead, we see that the village is suspicious of people with baggage and that Asuka (Asuka-as-Asuka, not for any apparent reason Asuka-as-pilot) cannot go there. Here's a line from Kenken on point:

SPOILER: Show
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So it's not that pilots can't show up in the village, it's that Asuka herself can't. Further to your response, I don't think we need to assume a mere misunderstanding: per some of Toji's conversations with Shinji the early village was a cutthroat place and we can imagine Asuka making some well-understood, ugly choices to establish, stabilize, or otherwise protect the village (this topic gets into it a bit more). I'll maintain my conclusion that the village is not welcoming of Asuka specifically, and that we can't use Asuka's poor relationship with the village as evidence that she'd rather just be piloting; i.e. that she's your Person B.

On impulsiveness and childishness

Finally getting to this! I think this is your main argument on this aspect:

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:As for what Asuka's saying here: notice how she's regressing to an almost childlike state (quite literally, she's portrayed as a child). Her requests are similarly childish, betraying a lot of vulnerability: "Praise me! Recognize me! I'm lonely! Somebody pat me on my head!" (I left the "place where I can be/belong" part out for a reason, I'll get to it in a bit.) Notice how her most important request (which is why it stands last) is the pat on the head: a gesture both of recognition and comfort: "Job well done, Asuka: I see you and what you did, and you did well!" Bookends nicely with what she says at the start: "Praise me/Recognize me!" It's a desperate plea for recognition while she's crying. She's very broken at that moment. She resisted all the hardships up to this point, but now she can't any longer.

In other words, she's not expressing a well thought-through, rational perspective here - she's expressing her in-the-moment feelings, of loneliness and not belonging, and wants somebody else to coddle her. Like you would: I'm sure we all had moments of vulnerability where all we wanted was a hug. Maybe it was during childhood: school was stressful, and we really didn't know how to pass an upcoming test, and we didn't want to do it, and we started crying and ran to mommy and wanted her to shield us from reality. And then mommy would hug us and tell us that it's all-right and make us get our grip. But importantly, she then would send us to school anyway, and we still had to do the dreaded test. (If you can think of an example from your adult life, please do so - this is but an example.) The point is, everybody has moments of vulnerability, where we think thoughts which we shouldn't and usually won't act upon - wishes that shouldn't be granted. Wishing for a hug is innocent enough - wishing for nothing but a hug for the rest of our life just arrests our development completely, but we do have these kind of wishes when we are in a bad place.

Another example from Eva is Shinji in EoE: we see how he deteriorates and regresses, culminating in his wish to just end it all and let everybody die. Everybody who was an angry teenager (so, all of us) probably thought "I wish everybody should die" at one point in their life. But I think all of us, upon reflection, don't actually believe that everybody should die, and if somebody asked us: "I can make your wish come true - do you want to kill everybody?" we probably would have said no, even in our dark moments. The tragedy of EoE is that Rei acts upon Shinji's impulsive thoughts without reflection, and without making him reflect by asking him if that's truly what he wants, and explaining to him that it actually will happen, so that he can make an informed choice, kowing the consequences of his decision. Random thoughts we have, like "I just want a hug", or "I wish that idiot would be hit by a truck" are just that: impulsive thoughts. They don't actually express our true opinion. We might read something stupid on the internet and think "God, just kill me right now" - that doesn't mean we consent to dying, and if a god did exist who would grant that wish without any further questions asked, it would be a cruel god indeed.

That were a lot of words repeating the same thing over and over again; sorry for being so wordy, but I hope I managed to get the point across:
Shinji is not behaving in any way maturely or compassionately if he's granting Asuka's impulsive wishes or acting on her unreflected impulses. Impulses which he only got to see because he's reading her mind - possibly without her knowledge and/or consent.

As a first responsive point, in instrumentality children aren't necessarily childish. We see that Gendo and Shinji appear as children during Gendo's and Kaworu's instrumentality, and I'm not aware that anyone has discounted their statements on this basis:

Child Shinji talking to Gendo  SPOILER: Show
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Child Shinji talking to Kaworu  SPOILER: Show
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Teen Gendo wallowing  SPOILER: Show
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Child Gendo talking to Shinji  SPOILER: Show
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To the extent these children speak, their lines are mature: in Shin's instrumentality depictions of children can speak as adults. So, I am reluctant to conclude that Asuka is being childish simply because she is depicted as a child.

Getting a bit more abstract: among all five pilots only Shinji and Asuka are depicted as children in Shin's instrumentality, while Rei, Kaworu, and Mari are not. Ignoring Mari as a nonparticipant, we can thus group Shinji and Asuka as similar to each other (so that they both belong in the world without Eva) and can similarly group Kaworu and Rei (so that they belong wherever they end up). This is a stretch but I figured I'd put it out there.

As a second responsive point, I think you are imputing Asuka's later emotions to her earlier statements in a manner that mischaracterizes them. I will re-quote the relevant portion of your post:

View Original PostDerantor wrote:As for what Asuka's saying here: notice how she's regressing to an almost childlike state (quite literally, she's portrayed as a child). Her requests are similarly childish, betraying a lot of vulnerability: "Praise me! Recognize me! I'm lonely! Somebody pat me on my head!" (I left the "place where I can be/belong" part out for a reason, I'll get to it in a bit.) Notice how her most important request (which is why it stands last) is the pat on the head: a gesture both of recognition and comfort: "Job well done, Asuka: I see you and what you did, and you did well!" Bookends nicely with what she says at the start: "Praise me/Recognize me!" It's a desperate plea for recognition while she's crying. She's very broken at that moment. She resisted all the hardships up to this point, but now she can't any longer.

I think the bolded bit is a mischaracterization, because she does not make any pleas while she is crying. The crying comes later, after she is done explaining what she wants:

So... praise me.  SPOILER: Show
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Recognize me.  SPOILER: Show
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Give me a place where I can be.  SPOILER: Show
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I'm actually lonely.  SPOILER: Show
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I just want... someone to pat me on my head.  SPOILER: Show
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Only after all this dialogue is delivered, quite calmly, does Shinji-as-Kenken find Asuka crying on the fallen tree. You impute her crying back across her calmly-delivered explanation of what she wants, in order to characterize it as impulsive or childish, but I think a better explanation is that child-Asuka is simply crying at seeing child-Shinji with his parents. It doesn't read to me as a desperate, broken, surrender to all her hardships.

On Asuka's three awakenings

SPOILER: Show
View Original PostDerantor wrote:
Asuka is aware of who she's talking to for the entirety of her instrumentality dialogue

seems to be directly contradicted by this:
Why "Baka Shinji?" upon the second awakening? She was just asleep; it would be normal to forget a thing or two between her first and second awakenings

Mightily convenient that she would forget something important like who she was talking to, just to make it seem as if she wasn't aware of who she was talking to previously. And again, why would Shinji take Kenken's form if he wants to talk to Asuka directly? Why this obvious deception in a place where people can supposedly always tell who they are talking to? If that's the case, him taking Kenken's form wouldn't work at all - but it seems like it does, since, again, Asuka is surprised to see Shinji. In any case, he's making it extra-hard for Asuka to know who she's talking to.

Imagine wife Alice chatting with husband Bob in the evening, going to sleep, and waking up the next morning to find him sitting on a chair next to the bed. She turns to him and asks "Bob?". It's easy for me to imagine this as an ordinary interaction between people; just because Alice asks her husband's name doesn't mean that the prior evening's conversation didn't happen, or that she thinks she's seeing him for the first time in a while. Similarly, in instrumentality we don't have to conclude that "Baka Shinji?" is an expression of surprise at a newcomer. We can instead conclude that it's simple recognition, like Alice's "Bob?". Stretching the example a bit, if during the evening chat Bob was wearing a Charlie mask to make a point, we don't have to conclude that Bob intended to deceive Alice. That example is a bit silly, but my point here is that we do not need to conclude for certain that Shinji was deceiving Asuka by appearing as Kenken. Asuka's line after her second awakening "Baka Shinji?" is not conclusive evidence that she was deceived during her first awakening.

SPOILER: Show
View Original PostDerantor wrote:So I think that rather than awakening three times to complete awareness, she's first becoming aware of her dream, then she's waking up on the beach, becoming aware of Shinji, and then she's waking up inside the Entry plug, becoming aware of her corporeality. In the first phase, she isn't aware of talking to Shinji (who took measures to make sure that she isn't aware, because he chose to deceive her by appearing as Kenken), then she is aware of talking to Shinji and immediately shuts up completely (which explains why Shinji felt the need to deceive her: she wouldn't talk to him otherwise, implying that he tricked her into laying bare her secrets, even if she was aware that she was talking to somebody during the first phase), and then it doesn't matter what she's aware of because the decision has already been made.

Regarding your proposal that Asuka would not speak to Shinji in instrumentality without deception and trickery, I can only make a Konja7-esque argument: that just doesn't seem to me to be what instrumentality is about at a meta or writer's level; this proposal requires a cunning or even malicious version of Shinji who I don't feel like I've seen in NTE before. More generally, as to whether Asuka's three awakenings are equal-in-awareness per my interpretation or graduated-in-awareness per yours, I can only claim that my interpretation is simpler. Maybe other folks reading the topic can use other evidence to make a case one way or the other.

Quoting your conclusions for the sake of completeness:

SPOILER: Show
View Original PostDerantor wrote:
Under this reading consent isn't an issue, because Asuka has knowingly conveyed her desires to Shinji.

Like I said above, at best we can assume that she was aware of talking to somebody who she most likely thought was Kensuke. That she thinks it was a dream makes it pretty clear that she didn't think she was making any decisions on her own behalf, or conveying her desires to the decision maker, who chose to hide his identity during that phase. You brought up EoE Instrumentality, and how Rei is talking to Shinji: and she does. Depending on the scene, we get to see them or only hear their voices, but there's never any doubt as to their identity, and no character is taking on the form of somebody else, either. That's just not the case in Shin, where Shinji and Asuka are neither having a voice-over dialogue, nor do they talk to each other directly before Asuka wakes up on the beach (due to Shinji hiding his identity), and on the beach Asuka does not talk. She says "Was I asleep?" and "Baka Shinji?" and that's it. EoE has Rei and Shinji shaking hands after talking things through in person; Shin has Rei and Shinji shaking hands after talking things through in person. Kaworu is smiling and happy, etc..

Asuka meanwhile doesn't smile, she doesn't shake hands, and she doesn't give any other sign that she agreed to what's happening at all after not actually talking to Shinji in person. So while it would be logical for Asuka to go through a few stages of becoming aware of herself and her desires, talking to Shinji and reaching an agreeable and agreed upon outcome, that's not what happens. Even if they talk during Asuka's flashback, and are aware that they're indeed talking and not monologuing, they're not actually talking: Asuka is doing all the talking, Shinji only says "Asuka is Asuka, that's enough." Then Shinji does all the talking, and Asuka says nothing, and doesn't give any non-verbal indication of her agreement either. It's a completely dysfunctional way of interacting, where one side has to hide their identity for the other to open up, and when they drop their mask, the other side immediatly shuts herself off.

So we end up with a repeat of what happened to Asuka since she was created: she's being manipulated, is denied any agency and other people are making decisions on her behalf.

You get into consent mechanics here a bit more; if I dug in to consent I think you and I would end up here:

View Original PostDerantor wrote:I mean, you've been consistently arguing that Asuka's consent is not required if Shinji does what she wants anyway, or at the very least that it's not a big deal if he doesn't get it. ... There's nothing much I can misunderstand here, I think. Our opinions on what constitutes consent, when it can be considered sufficient and when it matters are clearly very different.

Don't get me wrong, I think consent is a critical moral value. But a deep exploration of it might be a bit too off-topic. :tongue:

And thus concludes another big effortpost, whew. Happy New Year everyone!

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Konja7 » Fri Dec 31, 2021 4:02 pm

View Original Postnerv bae wrote:Only after all this dialogue is delivered, quite calmly, does Shinji-as-Kenken find Asuka crying on the fallen tree.


Honestly, I don't understand the idea that Kenken in Asuka's Instrumemtality is Shinji. After all, this Kenken also appears even when Shinji is speaking with Rei.

I assumed this Kenken was an illusory representation from Asuka's mind, because he represented the closest thing to a home she made on Earth.

Also, in Asuka's Instrumentality, we also see an "illusion" of Mari saying goodbye to Asuka (the real Mari hadn't found Shinji at that time). I really doubt Shinji takes Mari's appearance in that scene.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Derantor » Sat Jan 01, 2022 1:21 pm

Replying to Konya 7 first; will edit in my reply to nerv bae later, unless there's a post in between.

After all, this Kenken also appears even when Shinji is speaking with Rei.

Which is exactly the reason which leads me to believe that it's not solely a figment of Asuka's imagination, since Asuka is at that point removed from negative space, and isn't there to imagine it. I think I explained my PoV before: Asuka is indeed the one imagining Kenken-as-a-doll, but Shinji hijacks her imagination, taking over Kensuke's form, which is why Kenken appears as a prop alongside the other props in the studio. Makes the most sense to me, but most of my arguments stay intact even if Shinji is not Kenken, I think.

I haven't thought about Mari appearing that much, to be honest. I can see all three options as potentially valid (that it's Asuka's imagination, that it's Shinji projecting an image of Mari, or that it's the real Mari) and have assumed that it's actually Mari saying goodbye. There's no way I've found yet to differentiate which parts of the movie show the "real" characters or them interacting in mind-space, where physical location is unimportant. Locality seems like it still is important in Negative Space, but it's not absolute. And since we get stuff like Unit 13 emerging from Unit 01 ...

Regarding your proposal that Asuka would not speak to Shinji in instrumentality without deception and trickery, I can only make a Konja7-esque argument: that just doesn't seem to me to be what instrumentality is about at a meta or writer's level, this proposal requires a cunning or even malicious version of Shinji who I don't feel like I've seen in NTE before.

Which is a very, very bad argument, since evidently, Asuka does not speak to Shinji at all (in any meaningful way) in the actual scene, so meta-writer-level-arguments are overwritten by default: contrary to what the writer should have done if he followed the proper behaviour described by this nebulous meta-writer-level made up by the fans, he went ahead and wrote something else. Fact beats fiction, so instead of the "should have been", we have to look at the "actually is", and adjust our view of what's meta accordingly.

But I'll entertain it for a second, to counter it with this: Shinji is completely OOC in the last half of the movie anyway. "Determined", "Knowledgable", "Wise", "Composed", "Enlightend", "Heroic" or "Saviour" are words that describe either iteration of Shinji either only in very specific moments and circumstances, if you stretch the definition of the words, or not at all - prior to his incredibly rapid "growth" which happens in Shin, that is. Therefore, on a meta-level, Shinji displays a lot of qualities we've never seen him display before in NTE, so displaying one more isn't out of the question - in fact, it seems to fit the ongoing theme of Shinji acting OOC! So, I've got the stronger pointless and invalid highly subjective argument to make here! :P

I guess we were arguing about this point back and forth already (Shinji being deceptive or not), so it's probably superfluous to repeat the arguments in their entirety. To me, it seems relatively clear-cut that Asuka does not openly engage with Shinji and chooses to turn away/shut herself off from him. She did engage with him on her terms on the Wunder before, so it's not a general refusal, but she's obviously uncomfortable in the position she's in on the beach scene. Probably something for next time, but there's also still the matter of the strategically ripped fan-service suit, which plays into this, given that she gave absolutely zero fucks about being nude in front of him before. Of course, being made into a sex-doll because of Shinji's rapey and objectifying fantasies would make any woman uncomfortable. Since Konya brought it up: Shinji using Mari's form to say goodbye to Asuka would fit right in with his previous appearance as Kensuke. Not saying that he does - there's literally nothing to prove it either way, so it would be futile to try and argue the point.

per some of Toji's conversations with Shinji the early village was a cutthroat place and we can imagine Asuka making some well-understood, ugly choices to establish, stabilize, or otherwise protect the village

A pretty self-defeating argument. Toji says that he himself did things he wasn't proud of, yet he's an integral part of the village. If Asuka was indeed involved in the foundation of the village, it's even less likely that she'd be barred from entering it. I don't believe she even was around when the village was founded, due to being stored at NERV for an indefinite amount of time before and after Third Impact, and it's not clear from Toji's statement whether or not he had to do those bad things before or after entering the village. But if we entertain the possibility, you are basically proposing that Asuka played Misato's role: taking over responsibility for a harsh decision which ultimately ensured the survival of the village, something which was necessary at the time. That implies a much deeper and more prolonged involvement in village affairs - but if she was in such a position to begin with, it's hard to imagine her losing that position and the right to enter the village. The village still needs protecting, so why would she stop doing that if she already made a super nasty decision and has dirtied her hands anyway?

Besides, what do you imagine she did? Murder half the population because of Thanos-like logic? Besides, she'd done that on Misato's orders most likely, as I doubt she'd be given any authority by herself, so - Misato is using her as a scapegoat and Asuka has to suffer the consequences? I really don't see how circumstances could arise which put Asuka into a position where she does something horrible to the villagers, really.

The other self-defeating part here is that if we entertain the notion that she did involve herself with the village to such an extent that she became hated by it for her involvement, it would proof that she's more interested in the village than in piloting, so this point could indeed be used to argue the case that she's Person A.

You impute her crying back across her calmly-delivered explanation of what she wants, in order to characterize it as impulsive or childish, but I think a better explanation is that child-Asuka is simply crying at seeing child-Shinji with his parents.

But we see that she doesn't cry right when she sees Shinji with his parents - she cries later, when everything she said previously comes together to push her over the brink. And it's not only her being portrayed as a child or crying which makes her pleas childish: what she actually says describes an immature mindset she built up as a defense mechanism since early childhood. It paints a holistic picture of her core conflict, and the part of her which wasn't able to change from a childlike state even all those years later. That was the whole point of the sequence: to show what she really is, deep down, and we're given a visual: a crying little child. That's still a part of her. And "I just want a pat on the head" is probably the most childish plea she can make here. She herself reduces her entire complex of problems to a vague feeling and a simple cure which will only work in the moment: a single gesture of kindness is all she wants after all the hardships she suffered through. Saying something like that out loud is mostly done on impulse. Her lines, even if delivered calmly, are very much not mature. And besides, the images we are shown are not the Asuka which is speaking for the most part: her voice comes from the off; it's only in the last part with KenKen where it seems like we're watching Asuka in the here and now.

Regarding your example of the married couple: the situation Asuka and Shinji face is so completely different from "ordinary married couple wakes up in the same bed it woke up in together hundreds of times already" that I really don't think it's applicable in any way here. There's nothing to imply that we're not seeing events unfold in real time, so there's literally only a blink and a few seconds between Asuka talking to Shinji and being aware of it and then feeling the need to recognize him - or recognize him again, if she indeed recognized him previously. None of the things she could be surprised about are things she should be surprised about if she talked to him seconds ago and was aware of it: that he's there, that it's actually him, that he's still there ... All of those are only surprising if it is indeed surprising to find Shinji on that beach. The only thing I can see somewhat making sense is that she feels that she physically moved to a different place, and is surprised that he's still there. But that still feels like a much weaker explanation than to assume that she's seeing him for the first time, which, given the ambiguity of only saying his name, captures more of the surprise and ambiguity.

Don't get me wrong, I think consent is a critical moral value. But a deep exploration of it might be a bit too off-topic.

I think it's exactly on topic, from multiple points of view: first, when looking at the relationship aspect, because consent is obviously the foundation for any healthy relationship. Secondly, because Asuka's whole story revolves around being denied freedom in almost every respect - respect being a good word to use here, since it brings up the fact that she's not even respected as a ... well, meta-human being by most people - so it really makes or breaks her happy ending whether or not she gets one which follows thematically from what came before but contradicts the trend, or she gets one which reinforces the trend. It flips the switch from "catharsis" to "shoot the shaggy dog, then shoot it some more, just to be sure."

Final Edit: Okay, I think I'm done for now. I should probably wait a lot longer and let you make your point in its entirety first, so that we cut down a little on the repitition. :P Looking forward to the rest of your replies!
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby nerv bae » Wed Jan 05, 2022 10:40 am

I'll try to respond and conclude without introducing any new evidence or argument, because I feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do:

View Original Postnerv bae wrote:Sure, any of these Persons B might not be well served by Shinji's Person A go-to-Kenken choice, but I just don't think it's a total slam dunk: instead, if I sat here for a few hours I think I could write up a counterargument that no, in fact, Asuka is Person A based different evidence, or different interpretations of the evidence you've presented ...
View Original Postnerv bae wrote:Importantly, I'm not angling for a decisive victory in this topic. I don't think that's possible given the subject matter we're working with! My goal is to merely assemble a plausible reading in support of Meldon's original topic thesis.

With that in mind:

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:
Regarding your proposal that Asuka would not speak to Shinji in instrumentality without deception and trickery, I can only make a Konja7-esque argument: that just doesn't seem to me to be what instrumentality is about at a meta or writer's level, this proposal requires a cunning or even malicious version of Shinji who I don't feel like I've seen in NTE before.

Which is a very, very bad argument, since evidently, Asuka does not speak to Shinji at all (in any meaningful way) in the actual scene, so meta-writer-level-arguments are overwritten by default: contrary to what the writer should have done if he followed the proper behaviour described by this nebulous meta-writer-level made up by the fans, he went ahead and wrote something else. Fact beats fiction, so instead of the "should have been", we have to look at the "actually is", and adjust our view of what's meta accordingly.

But I'll entertain it for a second, to counter it with this: Shinji is completely OOC in the last half of the movie anyway. "Determined", "Knowledgable", "Wise", "Composed", "Enlightend", "Heroic" or "Saviour" are words that describe either iteration of Shinji either only in very specific moments and circumstances, if you stretch the definition of the words, or not at all - prior to his incredibly rapid "growth" which happens in Shin, that is. Therefore, on a meta-level, Shinji displays a lot of qualities we've never seen him display before in NTE, so displaying one more isn't out of the question - in fact, it seems to fit the ongoing theme of Shinji acting OOC! So, I've got the stronger pointless and invalid highly subjective argument to make here! :P

My Konja7-esque argument doesn't have any meat on its bones, and by referencing another poster my intent was to show that I'm not really the right poster to flesh out an argument that operates at a meta or writer's level. I haven't really been functioning on that level and I'm not sure that I can; would require a different focus. Konja7, or Axx°N N. in a pro-NTE mood, would be better posters to make this sort of argument against the existence of cunning or malicious Shinji in Shin's instrumentality.

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:
per some of Toji's conversations with Shinji the early village was a cutthroat place and we can imagine Asuka making some well-understood, ugly choices to establish, stabilize, or otherwise protect the village

A pretty self-defeating argument. Toji says that he himself did things he wasn't proud of, yet he's an integral part of the village. If Asuka was indeed involved in the foundation of the village, it's even less likely that she'd be barred from entering it. I don't believe she even was around when the village was founded, due to being stored at NERV for an indefinite amount of time before and after Third Impact, and it's not clear from Toji's statement whether or not he had to do those bad things before or after entering the village. But if we entertain the possibility, you are basically proposing that Asuka played Misato's role: taking over responsibility for a harsh decision which ultimately ensured the survival of the village, something which was necessary at the time. That implies a much deeper and more prolonged involvement in village affairs - but if she was in such a position to begin with, it's hard to imagine her losing that position and the right to enter the village. The village still needs protecting, so why would she stop doing that if she already made a super nasty decision and has dirtied her hands anyway?

Besides, what do you imagine she did? Murder half the population because of Thanos-like logic? Besides, she'd done that on Misato's orders most likely, as I doubt she'd be given any authority by herself, so - Misato is using her as a scapegoat and Asuka has to suffer the consequences? I really don't see how circumstances could arise which put Asuka into a position where she does something horrible to the villagers, really.

You're arguing that it's hard to imagine Asuka being around at the foundation of the village, having some responsibility for it, killing half of the population there, losing her position of authority, and so on, but I simply disagree. I think that these things are easy to imagine, are plausible in light of the evidence, and that they have some explanatory power for the state of affairs after the timeskip.

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:The other self-defeating part here is that if we entertain the notion that she did involve herself with the village to such an extent that she became hated by it for her involvement, it would proof that she's more interested in the village than in piloting, so this point could indeed be used to argue the case that she's Person A.

This is my argument, right? I am entertaining the notion that Asuka was involved with the village and became hated for it, and I am trying to prove that she's more interested in the village than in piloting, and I am arguing that she is Person A. She just can't actually go into the village and participate in its human community because of their hatred of her. It is tragic.

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:
You impute her crying back across her calmly-delivered explanation of what she wants, in order to characterize it as impulsive or childish, but I think a better explanation is that child-Asuka is simply crying at seeing child-Shinji with his parents.

But we see that she doesn't cry right when she sees Shinji with his parents - she cries later, when everything she said previously comes together to push her over the brink. And it's not only her being portrayed as a child or crying which makes her pleas childish: what she actually says describes an immature mindset she built up as a defense mechanism since early childhood. It paints a holistic picture of her core conflict, and the part of her which wasn't able to change from a childlike state even all those years later. That was the whole point of the sequence: to show what she really is, deep down, and we're given a visual: a crying little child. That's still a part of her. And "I just want a pat on the head" is probably the most childish plea she can make here. She herself reduces her entire complex of problems to a vague feeling and a simple cure which will only work in the moment: a single gesture of kindness is all she wants after all the hardships she suffered through. Saying something like that out loud is mostly done on impulse. Her lines, even if delivered calmly, are very much not mature. And besides, the images we are shown are not the Asuka which is speaking for the most part: her voice comes from the off; it's only in the last part with KenKen where it seems like we're watching Asuka in the here and now.

A good counter-argument; I'll rest on this point. Let the readers decide.

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:Regarding your example of the married couple: the situation Asuka and Shinji face is so completely different from "ordinary married couple wakes up in the same bed it woke up in together hundreds of times already" that I really don't think it's applicable in any way here. There's nothing to imply that we're not seeing events unfold in real time, so there's literally only a blink and a few seconds between Asuka talking to Shinji and being aware of it and then feeling the need to recognize him - or recognize him again, if she indeed recognized him previously. None of the things she could be surprised about are things she should be surprised about if she talked to him seconds ago and was aware of it: that he's there, that it's actually him, that he's still there ... All of those are only surprising if it is indeed surprising to find Shinji on that beach. The only thing I can see somewhat making sense is that she feels that she physically moved to a different place, and is surprised that he's still there. But that still feels like a much weaker explanation than to assume that she's seeing him for the first time, which, given the ambiguity of only saying his name, captures more of the surprise and ambiguity.

Another good counter-argument; my last comment here is: I think you are reading more "surprise" into this scene than actually exists in it. Beyond this I say let the readers decide.

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View Original PostDerantor wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I think consent is a critical moral value. But a deep exploration of it might be a bit too off-topic.
I think it's exactly on topic, from multiple points of view: first, when looking at the relationship aspect, because consent is obviously the foundation for any healthy relationship. Secondly, because Asuka's whole story revolves around being denied freedom in almost every respect - respect being a good word to use here, since it brings up the fact that she's not even respected as a ... well, meta-human being by most people - so it really makes or breaks her happy ending whether or not she gets one which follows thematically from what came before but contradicts the trend, or she gets one which reinforces the trend. It flips the switch from "catharsis" to "shoot the shaggy dog, then shoot it some more, just to be sure."

Just as I'm not the right poster to make the meta or writer's level argument about Shinji's supposed cunning or maliciousness, I'm also probably just not the right poster to engage meaningfully on this consent topic. From my point of view, in Shin's instrumentality either Asuka knowingly conveyed her wishes, or if she did not then Shinji guessed correctly anyway, both of which satisfy consent requirements in the moral universe I inhabit. Beyond this I won't argue further on the consent topic.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby C.T.1290 » Wed Jan 05, 2022 5:10 pm

View Original Postnerv bae wrote:I'll She just can't actually go into the village and participate in its human community because of their hatred of her. It is tragic.

Just what do they hate her for? I still haven’t seen the film for myself, so I would have no way of knowing.
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Konja7 » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:29 pm

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Just what do they hate her for? I still haven’t seen the film for myself, so I would have no way of knowing.


There is no evidence that the people in Village-3 hates Asuka. We only know that she doesn't interact with people in the Village, but we don't exactly know the reason.

I suspect that Asuka decides to stay away from humans herself, because she doesn't feel like she fits in.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby C.T.1290 » Wed Jan 05, 2022 7:56 pm

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:There is no evidence that the people in Village-3 hates Asuka. We only know that she doesn't interact with people in the Village, but we don't exactly know the reason.

I suspect that Asuka decides to stay away from humans herself, because she doesn't feel like she fits in.

Wow, that must have been tough for her. Not sure if it was because she’s a clone or mostly because she’s part angel, or a combination of both. But regardless, it was tough on her. She’s always been alone, and one can’t help but to sympathize her. You can really feel bad for her there. :sniffle:
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Derantor » Thu Jan 06, 2022 8:35 am

@Nerv Bae: Noooo, I made you quit! ;_; I knew I went a little to hard this time around ... Please feel free to introduce new stuff if you have any. The repition thing was mostly aimed at myself, since I do tend to restate my points over and over again.

This is my argument, right?

Yeah, exactly. My intention there was to show you that, if you manage to make a convincing case for Asuka being involved in the village from early on, you have a strong argument as for her being Person A. The "self defeating" bit was meant to say that you were stating that this can't be used to argue either way (for her being Person A or B), when I think it can be. I was basically trying to strenghten your position there.

Also, I don't think you're the wrong poster to make the arguments you were making. I think the meta arguments are inherently flawed, it was nothing personal. Sorry, I was probably a little too acerbic there. The meta and I have a mutual hate-hate relationship. :P

If you want to continue this discussion, I'd welcome it! It certainly was the most engaging, civil and fun discussion I had on here for a long time. Also apologies if I stated my points too strongly and gave the impression that I'm not listening or am impossible to convince. You made some good points and observations which made me take another look at some stuff I had overlooked/forgotten about again.
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby nerv bae » Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:15 am

View Original PostC.T.1290 wrote:Just what do they hate her for? I still haven’t seen the film for myself, so I would have no way of knowing.

Find a way to watch it! It's really good! :D

Derantor wrote:@Nerv Bae: Noooo, I made you quit! ;_; I knew I went a little to hard this time around ... Please feel free to introduce new stuff if you have any. The repition thing was mostly aimed at myself, since I do tend to restate my points over and over again.

...

Also, I don't think you're the wrong poster to make the arguments you were making. I think the meta arguments are inherently flawed, it was nothing personal. Sorry, I was probably a little too acerbic there. The meta and I have a mutual hate-hate relationship. :P

If you want to continue this discussion, I'd welcome it! It certainly was the most engaging, civil and fun discussion I had on here for a long time. Also apologies if I stated my points too strongly and gave the impression that I'm not listening or am impossible to convince. You made some good points and observations which made me take another look at some stuff I had overlooked/forgotten about again.

Haha, don't worry; it's not you, it's me. :tongue: I think this has been a great discussion too, but in my opinion 1) because we're debating in a public space the other readers will start to find our points tedious if we grapple intently with every last possible point (I bet some of them think we've already crossed the line into tedium) and 2) if we keep branching out into new things we find interesting we'll go too far off topic (I want to respect the intent of Meldon's first topic post). Not to mention, 3) this takes a lot of mental energy which I'd like to apply to other topics here in the NTE subforum. I'll keep posting in here as I think of unexplored, on-topic points.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Leonaxzz » Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:03 pm

View Original PostDerantor wrote:
I haven't thought about Mari appearing that much, to be honest. I can see all three options as potentially valid (that it's Asuka's imagination, that it's Shinji projecting an image of Mari, or that it's the real Mari) and have assumed that it's actually Mari saying goodbye.


In my opinion, I don't think any of the three are valid.
It couldn't be Asuka's imagination because she didn't have a clue at the time that Mari was about to leave her therefore wouldn't imagine Mari saying goodbye to her.
It couldn't be Shinji projecting an image of Mari, because Shinji intended to sacrifice himself not knowing Yui will save him, which he had no reason to know that Mari will seperate with Asuka (as Asuka would be sent back to village).
It can't be the real Mari too, it's impossible for her to realize that Shinji planned to kill himself and was also saved by Yui unless she knew everything beyond the story.

So my conclusion is: this is a meta narrative said by creator that it's the last farewell between characters(Shinji and Mari didn't even care about Asuka in the following trainstation scene), thus i learned from above that Anno intended to make them leave Asuka forever in order to convey his "Moving on" message.

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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby Derantor » Fri Jan 07, 2022 4:50 pm

View Original PostLeonaxzz wrote:It can't be the real Mari too, it's impossible for her to realize that Shinji planned to kill himself and was also saved by Yui unless she knew everything beyond the story.

Mari doesn't need to know that; she only has to see that Asuka is about to be sent away. Her reasons for saying goodbye to Asuka might be personal, and not related to Shinji. She might just have realized that she wants to move on from their friendship, or thinks that it's the best for Asuka. She also probably already plans to take Shinji for herself. So she took the opportunity presented to her; she herself might not know if she will return from Instrumentality, either. For my opinion on "it's just meta" arguments, scroll up a little. I mean, yes, what you wrote is probably the intended message, but it's not an explanation for the in-story goings-on.
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Re: Comprehensive and in-depth analysis of Asuka and Shinji relationship in 3.0+1.0 and implications for the ending

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Postby xBushxWookiex » Thu Dec 28, 2023 7:12 am

Thank you for putting your efforts into this amazing analysis. I, like you, was horrified at the prospect of the OG theme being told through Asuka and Shinji’s relationship being tossed out. But after reading this in its entirety, I feel liberated in a way I thought wasn’t possible after rebuild. The smoking gun seems to the title of the movie, I love that hidden yet overt detail clearly sends the message that many people, self included, missed out on.

My soul is at ease now knowing what the most likely outcome was for these characters and that they can get what we’ve all always wanted for them. Happiness that’s well deserved and long overdue.


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