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 nerv bae » Sun Dec 05, 2021 5:42 pm

Your two-stages interpretation of Asuka's instrumentality sounds like a plausible alternative to my two-parts interpretation. I would like to rewatch all of instrumentality sometime this month before making up my mind about which makes more sense; I want to closely rewatch Gendo's sequence to tell if there's a parallel to your Asuka first stage. In other words, if Gendo is ever very clearly just having his mind read by Shinji, it'll bolster the case that Asuka is too.

Let's see, next, leaving aside again whether Asuka is speaking in a childlike state or impulsively, I reach your Person A and B construct where you make the following assertion:

Derantor wrote:Both people want a place where they can belong. But: Person A wants a place which caters to the majority, while Person B wants a place which is accepting of minorities. Or in other words: Person A wants to fit in, while Person B wants to be themselves. The point is: just because Asuka says "I want a place to belong", we don't know whether she wishes to be like everybody else or wishes to be able to be herself. "She is directly appealing to Shinji, God of instrumentality, to give her a normal life" does not logically follow from "I want a place to belong".

Okay, I will admit this in light of your construct. Shinji cannot resolve the ambiguity in Asuka's request unless he knows whether she's Person A or B. Shinji makes a Person A choice on Asuka's behalf while you present decent evidence that, actually, Asuka is Person B which in the context of NTE means she's an Eva (not a popular theory, as I understand it) or she's actually the ninth angel (not written up in your reply, but I think a relatively popular theory) or she is otherwise superhuman / superlilin (which is arguably true about all the pilots: witness Asuka's super-punch, Rei6's telepathy, Shinji's glowing eyes and harness ripping, etc.; all apparently caused by excessive plug depth). 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 (for example, I don't agree with your interpretation of Asuka's smile when Kenken tells her the Wunder is en route). At this moment, I'm thinking that even if Asuka is downgraded in NTE and doesn't play a big part, there is still a lot of room on each side of the Person A and B topic to make good arguments.

What a rich topic; I really appreciate your thoughts. I should have more to say after a rewatch.

Edit: my third unintentional new page snipe in this topic. :emogendo:

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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 » Sun Dec 05, 2021 6:56 pm

I haven't looked closely at Gendo's sequence yet; my gut feeling is that it won't bolster my argument. If anything, it would seem like Gendo is deliberately justifying himself, since he's at that point still in charge of the whole process.

Shinji cannot resolve the ambiguity in Asuka's request unless he knows whether she's Person A or B

Yes, exactly! That's why it's so important that he follows the simple two step process to get consent: ask her what she wants, and then confirm that she's okay with the decision he's about to make. I think we established that he failed to do the latter, so I'm happy to move on to discussing whether Asuka leans more towards Person A or Person B.

or she is otherwise superhuman / superlilin (which is arguably true about all the pilots:

Thank you for saying that, because it's something that's often overlooked in these discussions. I wanted to leave the question of what exactly Asuka is rather open, since the specifics didn't really matter for the consent discussion (it would be sufficient for Asuka to object to living in a world without Eva, even if there was nothing unusual about her otherwise), but I'm personally of the opinion that the Pilots are the Adams. At least with Kaworu, we can be 100% sure that he's the First Angel. I think nobody seriously questions that Rei = Lilith = Second Angel, either. Kaworu is fully aware of this, too, and I think Rei knows, as well. That's why their decision to agree to Shinji's proposal is even more important than simply "living on or staying in Instrumentality": they both agree to fundamentally change the nature of their being. Angel, Eva or Adams, it's all the same, more or less. It's not Lilin. So to create a world without Eva means to make everybody Lilin, effectively. I think it's safe to assume that Mari has no problem with that, and since it was Shinji's idea to begin with, this leaves only Asuka as the odd one out.

Let me end by saying that I'm very happy with your replies - I'm always enjoying a healthy, evidence based discussions like this, even if we were to ultimately disagree in our interpretations in the end. So I'm looking forward to your counterarguments, your different interpretation of the evidence I presented and any new evidence you can bring to the table.
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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 » Sun Dec 05, 2021 7:22 pm

View Original PostZer0_Stars_DS wrote:Thanks for this really well made post Meldon really. You made me believe that there was still hope. That the bond that these two share was still valid. But even as someone who share your feelings and beliefs, I have to admit that you’re probably just seeing something that isn’t there. NTE just doesn’t have that message. I wish it did but it doesn’t. Thanks for fighting for us anyway. Even if it was all for naught. We still have NGE and EoE to hold on to. And we’re going to need to hold on tight


edit: I take back everything that I said here. In fact I take back everything I have ever ever said in a negative regard to this ship. I will be right back

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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 AnaCPB » Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:05 pm

View Original PostMeldon_Elraenhie wrote:Whole post requote redacted -- Staff

Hi. Thank you so much for making this analysis.

I've watched NGE on Netflix with my partner and watched RoE now on Amazon Prime.

I was surprised and disappointing with the RoE series that are like a regular anime and washed out version of the original series, and things got even weirder in the final movie.

It looked like a parody/subversion of EoE plot - sometimes with lame references like Ritsuko shooting Gendo and Asuka removing a lance of her eye - with Shinji being healed before the final battle with the help of his friends and getting a full power up only by thinking about the recent events (making everyone else look like idiots) and winning the battle by talking Gendo to give up his dreams.

But that was ok. I understand that he decided to make an heroic sacrifice at the end, gave his good-bye to Asuka in a classic Titanic-like love tragedy plot, and also to Rei and Kaworu. But his sacrificed was stopped by Mari and Yui we had that weird final scene.

I thought that it was a strange ending, because there was no development at all for Shinji and Mari, but since there were no rings at their fingers (yeah, I even looked for that) and the smelling and flirt thing was used to measure Shinji's growth and gave him some Kaji-like vibes at the ending, I saw that it was probably a regular ending. After all, Shinji called her Mari-san, she was implied to be way older than she looked by her scenes with Fuyutsuki and also in Gendo's memories, so her ending scenes mirrors Misato's role: Misato guided Shinji to the world of Evangelion and Mari is guiding Shinji to a new world.

To see it as a romantic ending would have been weird because of the lack of development and would inply that Mari was a total disgusting bitch and character if she planned to "take" Shinji away from Asuka, who was her friend for 14 years.

But then I read things about Mari and Shinji because Mari represented Anno's wife and people saying that 14 year's old Asuka was having sex with Kensuke and thought it was really weird. My partner linked me this link to your post and this forum and I discovered interesting things about how people can have different interpretations, although some of them are just.... disgusting.

Yeah, the scenes with Asuka naked were meant to show that she wasn't normal/human anymore. She didn't live with Kensuke at the village, since she had a room in the Wunder and Kensuke expressly stated that she is a guest at his house and called her Shikinami. It's a way more likely explanation than the pedo route, but I guess people are so stupid that they had to make a manga to reinforce the fact that Asuka lived with Mari and had her heart set on Shinji for the entire time.

Good call about the Kensuke's doll being Shinji. Again, the movie made it kinda obvious when they showed the doll on the garage, but people really like to think about sex all the time i guess.

Shinji, acting like a God during instrumentality - even if he was heartbroken - has decided to restore Asuka's humanity and give her the chance of living a normal life, confessing his feelings and saying goodbye (with the desire of seeing her again) and solving their hedgehog's dilemma by being semi-honest with each other, with pure love but also the knowledge that they would not be able to be together (no hurt, but no warmth) instead of their ending at the original series were they had each other's warmth but also were hurting each other. In a way, Shinji this time saved the world and lost Asuka while in the classic series he doomed the world, but had Asuka.

The movie would have worked better with Shinji's sacrifice, but the ending scene was beautiful message and, like you said, it makes us able to think about the difference between Anno's message and Shinji's destiny that may be being in a separated universe from all of his friends (which is not a good ending, but kind of a run-away ending) or he will be able to live and meet them again in this rebuilt world, especially if the last scene of the train station is also an instrumentality dream and Mari really succeeded in "bringing him back" like she said she would do.

So, once again, thank you for putting all of this together. I can appreciate the movie better now, even though it's still not as interesting as the original series.

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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 Rideel » Wed Dec 08, 2021 6:48 am

AnaCPB:


Excellent analysis. Really enjoyed.

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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 Dec 08, 2021 11:22 pm

I am slowly grinding out an effortpost responsive to @Derantor's material (I have no idea how he writes his TED talks so quickly :tongue:) but thought I'd toss out some unfounded speculation in the meantime:

View Original PostDerantor wrote:... So my conclusion is that Asuka is not normal and doesn't especially want to be normal, either: she wants to be able to be herself. Her struggle is not that she's normal but can't lead a normal life; her struggle is that she's not normal but can't live true to herself. She hates her body because she knows it was limited to human form at the point of creation. She hates the Curse of the Eva because it limits her human form even further. ... (Edit: And yes, even non-humans want parents and friends and love and a sense of belonging; her wanting so see her Mama and Papa and getting hugs and head-pats can't be used as proof that she wants to be a Lilin. Evas are people, too. Think of Rei and Kaworu, who are definitely Angels.)

When Shinji sent Asuka back to the village maybe a non-human did get love, belonging, and all the rest. Shinji rewrote the world without Eva and lifted the Curse of Eva from Asuka: but does that mean she's now merely a Lilin? Shinji didn't explicitly rewrite the world without Golgotha or Guf or Angels or Adams, right?

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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 Dec 09, 2021 8:24 am

(An artifact of a lot practice and having spent a lot of time thinking about this :P)

Shinji's wish only makes sense if he removes all the magical/supernatural stuff from the world, imo. Evas, Angels and Adams are basically the same thing. A few of the Evas are the Adams' bodies, and if things work just a little bit like NGE, the rest of the Evas are clones of the First & Second Angel. He might leave the Golgotha object intact and close the Gates, because without Evas, there's no way to access those. But if he leaves something which can be used to create an Eva, like, a little bit of Angel DNA, or a person whose soul is that of Adams, and an intact one at that, the whole thing can start again. Remember that Mari has to wear a choker 24/7, too. That implies that she can theoretically shed her bindings and become something very dangerous. And Gendo became a God via the Key of Nebby. So there are multiple "magic" ways to become a god, which would in turn make it possible to recreate the Evas, or start an Impact on their own. The only way Shinji can be sure that the world is indeed "without Eva" (a very general term) is to remove all magic from it. I bet he'd be slightly non-plussed if he visists Asuka to say "hi", and she replies by turning into a Radiant Giant and starting an Impact of her own. :P
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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 The18°angel » Thu Dec 09, 2021 10:17 am

I think rebuild operates on the fact that when you get to the gogolta object as a god, you can basically do anything you want including rewriting reality, changing the past, or those things. gendo couldn't do it because there was another god (Shinji) fighting against him for control of that power and i understand that Rei was helping gendo until Shinji intervened and asked her to let him pilot the eva. so it is entirely possible that Shinji made all pilots human using that power in addition to erasing everything related to the evas.

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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 » Sat Dec 11, 2021 9:40 pm

Some responses to Derantor's first post in this topic. For the second time this month I find myself apologizing to the moderators for rule infractions in advance, this time for omnislashing.

View Original PostDerantor wrote:I wouldn't call what Asuka is doing on the beach "smiling", either. At best, she's doing the same ambiguous, pained expression Misato does when Kaji sits down with her in Ha. Reads like "Too little, too late", to me.

The comparison with Misato's expression in Ha is perfectly apt, but I believe it demonstrates the opposite of what you are trying to show by making it. In Ha, Kaji invades Misato's bento lunch and teases her, ending with the flirtatious "Being stressed out makes you less sexy" (or, in the EG translation, "If you're that tense, men won't show interest in you"). As Misato turns to respond she sees Kaji's suggestive, intimate gaze and expresses surprise and then a blush:

SPOILER: Show
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The pair of expressions are nearly identical to Asuka's in Shin:

SPOILER: Show
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I say the comparison is apt because it demonstrates that, just as Misato is actually quite taken with Kaji (they are only weeks or months away from conceiving their son!), Asuka who is making the same expressions -- ending with the same blush of love -- still has romantic feelings for Shinji. And of course as Meldon pointed out, we also see this expression on Asuka in the manga Evangelion 3.0 -120:

SPOILER: Show
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Illustrated side by side with her manga twin of the bento Misato was eating in Ha!

View Original PostDerantor wrote:And we can really not ignore the rather blatant theme of "moving on", either. Shinji talks in past tense when he says he liked Asuka; and then he says goodbye. On the train station, he does not try to connect to Asuka. She's on the other platform, in plain sight, but he doesn't acknowledge her in any way. Of course not, because he's waiting for Mari. Asuka leaves on the train, Mari and Shinji go prancing off into the sunset. Shinji is also plainly visible for Asuka - and she, similarly, doesn't try to connect to him. She'd rather play on her phone, ignoring the brat.

I think your argument here is using a metatextual interpretation of the train station scene: although textual Asuka has been safely (but wrongly, per your thesis) ejected back to the village, here in the train station metatextual Asuka can grump on the opposite platform, conveying textual Asuka's real unhappy feelings. But I'm in favor of a textual interpretation of the train station scene which is still actually set in the anti-universe, and in which Mari removes the real collar and takes Shinji to the real world, Rei and Kaworu get to entrain together, and Original Asuka (not your metatextual Asuka) gets to ignore Shinji because she's never actually met him. In other words, under my textual interpretation of the train station scene, we cannot infer anything about Shinji and Shikinami's relationship because the girl on the opposite platform is Original Asuka, not Shikinami. I don't think my position is widely accepted but I'll still advance it here as an explanation of why the girl on the opposite platform is tuning everyone out.

View Original PostDerantor wrote:I mean, it's no wonder, given that she just lost Eva, the only place she ever belonged and where she's shown happy:
Asuka with Eva  SPOILER: Show
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She experiences plenty of terror and confusion in the Eva, too.

SPOILER: Show
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View Original PostDerantor wrote:"The boy needs a mother, not a lover" - exactly, and Asuka has been playing reluctant mother to him throughout the movie. She makes sure that he eats and survives. That's it. She knows that Rei is in love with him, and tells her where Shinji, the "target of her affections", is. Just like in Ha, she conceeds that she "lost", and is in no way entering into a contest with Rei. It's hard to deny that she still feels something for Shinji, but it's not exactly a secret wish to become his lover once more. She clarifies her past feelings to him, and gets closure that way. She, too, is moving on. In fact, she mostly has moved on at that point already.

Regarding Ha, is it your position that Asuka concedes to Rei by volunteering to test-pilot Unit 03, thereby allowing Rei to throw a dinner party with Shinji in attendance? If so, I don't think that's a clear-cut concession. An alternate interpretation is that Asuka volunteers to benefit Shinji, not to concede to Rei, because she knows that'll bring Shinji and Gendo closer at the party. In other words, a sacrifice in the name of love, not in the name of defeat.

I don't think Asuka's direction of Rei to Shinji in Shin is much of a concession either, because Asuka knows Rei is going to stop functioning soon:

SPOILER: Show
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View Original PostDerantor wrote:As for Mari pushing them together: I wonder if she was actually trying to. Kinda doesn't mash with her taking Shinji for herself in the end, either. You noticed how we don't know what Asuka feels about being cast out of Instrumentality; and that's the difference between EoE and Shin. In EoE, actual communication happens, even if its painful. In Shin, it doesn't. Shinji is talking at Asuka, an Asuka is shutting herself off, before she gets her plug pulled. (Notice how this scene invokes Kaworu's death scene: a moment of extreme loss for the person inside the ejected Plug. Asuka even flies off in the same direction the freshly dead Kaworu did.) Next time we see them, they're on opposite platforms, and Asuka is on her phone, ignoring him. Sometimes, "Sayonara" actually means "Farewell." Even Mari says goodbye to Asuka: "Be well, Princess." They are moving on.

Figured I'd screenshot the plug directions because it's a fun comparison:

Asuka's Shin ejection: up and to the right  SPOILER: Show
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Kaworu's Q flying off: up and to the right  SPOILER: Show
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Shinji's Q ejection: down and to the left  SPOILER: Show
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Echoing your "sometimes sayonara is just goodbye" (my paraphrasing), here I'll respond "sometimes the upper right corner of the frame is just the upper right corner of the frame" -- Shinji experienced his loss in plug 13a, and later Asuka was ejected in it, but I don't find this coincidence to be that compelling.

The rest of Derantor's post that I'm quoting addresses the Q manga; Derantor also has some additional posts further down the topic that I haven't addressed yet. I'll press "Submit" now just to get this post out there; in a couple of days I'll do some more work on Derantor's further points. As always, I've really enjoyed engaging with this subject matter -- this is one of the most interesting current threads in the Rebuild subforum!

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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 The18°angel » Sat Dec 11, 2021 10:14 pm

The fact that Misato and Kaji started their relationship again is not a good example because it happened after the N3I and it was off-screen also we must remember that Misato katsuragi (anime / manga) uses sex as a mechanism to deal with trauma and strong amounts of stress and also remember that at that point Misato relived her trauma from the second impact and also Shinji "died". Misato definitely loved Kaji but it's hard to know if they would have returned to a romantic relationship without an apocalyptic event and the fact that they were both founders of WILLE.

Now here has been extensively discussed Asuka's feelings towards Shinji and why she loves him or loved him in the past depending on how you see it.

but do we have a deep analysis of Shinji's feelings towards Asuka? Because when watching 2.0 during the duration of the movie, Shinji forges a strong bond with Asuka but it is seen that he is closer to Rei than he was to Shikinami in those weeks / months together. in fact Shinji does things for Rei of his own free will without being ordered. for example cooking for her which causes her to say "thank you" for the first time. which causes jealousy in Asuka and the "competition" begins to see who is going to cook for Shinji.

but do we have an analysis of Shinji's feelings towards Asuka?

because so far everything has come down to Asuka loves Shinji and Shinji loves her (except we don't have an analysis of why and it all comes down to a single line of dialogue at the end of 3.0 + 1.0 where if the Shinji pattern is followed he could have been lying about the fact that he liked Asuka in that way, not that he didn't like her anymore).

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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 Settie » Sat Dec 11, 2021 11:52 pm

View Original PostThe18°angel wrote:
but do we have an analysis of Shinji's feelings towards Asuka?

because so far everything has come down to Asuka loves Shinji and Shinji loves her (except we don't have an analysis of why and it all comes down to a single line of dialogue at the end of 3.0 + 1.0 where if the Shinji pattern is followed he could have been lying about the fact that he liked Asuka in that way, not that he didn't like her anymore).



I'm of the opinion that yes, he indeed lied about it. The way i see it he was giving her everything he thought she wanted.

1) Regular lilin body and not the lilin+ one she quite explicitly made it known to him that she didn't like.
2) A place and person that cared for her (Kensuke) meaning she wasn't and wouldn't be alone anymore.
3) Reciprocated feeling meaning she didn't waste 14 years of her life on a fools errand.
4) More of a stretch but life outside eva.

There wasn't anything explicit to show prior to trice that Shinji liked Asuka in that way. Given the finality of the ending with Shinji moving on from anything eva related, including his relationships with Kaworu, Rei, and Asuka. I think it's a fair interpretation to say Shinjis confession was about giving Asuka validation rather than genuine feelings from him.

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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 » Sun Dec 12, 2021 8:38 am

@Nerv Bae: Thanks for your reply! I see, we're back to the actual thread topic. ^_^ I'll keep my reply short this time, I want to see the rest of your points first.

Reg. Asuka's expression: yes, there are definitely many ways to interpret it. My main point was that it's not a clear cut smile or admission of love. Sorrow is baked in, and it seems like there's no easy answer as to what she's feeling, if she even knows herself. Thanks for posting those screenshots!

Reg. the Train Station: The Asuka on the trainstation being OriAsu is a possibility, yes, but it raises the question of who Rei and Kaworu are. Both of them are supposedly back in the real world at that point, too - it's heavily implied in their conversations with Shinji that that's their destination. But then, which Kaworu and which Rei are we talking about? There are multiples of them around. Rei is the more clear cut case, as she seems to be an amalgamation of Rei2 and Rei6 when she talks to Shinji. So, did he split them apart again into individuals? But if so, why is Rei6 on the trainstation, leaving with Kaworu and Asuka to some place other than the real world? Or are they going back to the Village-3 world? The questions go on, the ending isn't clear to me yet at all. The main point was that there's no acknowledgment of each other's existence between Asuka and Shinji, and even if it turns out that Asuka isn't Shikinami, but OriAsu, Shinji seems disinterested in her, still. So while he might be looking forward to seeing Asuka again, the scene doesn't provide any clear-cut evidence for it.

Reg. Asuka experiencing terror and confusion in the Eva: oh yes, she isn't only happy in there. But I seldom find her portrayed happy outside Eva at all, and I don't think we ever see her enthusiastic to the degree shown in the screenshot when anywhere else.

Reg. Asuka conceeding her loss: I guess I was mixing up the NGE statement there, where she says outright "I see. So I've lost." In the case of NTE, her decision seems to revolve around the realization that she cares more about piloting than Shinji or Rei or "stupid games". I doubt that she's got Shinji's wellbeing in mind. "I could try to go to the Dinner Party, or I could take it upon myself to pilot. Hm. I'd rather pilot, let Shinji and Rei do whatever they want." So she just doesn't care that much about Shinji, after everything is said and done. That she suspects that Rei might stop functioning soon is true, but the same arguments apply there: she's either granting Rei a final favour, knowing that Shinji will have no option to return to her because Rei will be dead soon, which is kind of callous, or she's simply uninterested in Shinji that way and sees no reason not to send Rei his way (or anything in between, really). The only thing she doesn't do is get jealous of Rei. They're not in a competition for Shinji's feelings. And her dialogue makes it clear that she thinks that Rei's emotions were imposed on her, and are, to an extent, not "real" in the first place. It seems like she thinks it's a little silly of Rei to not question that, but she also believes that Rei should do whatever she likes. If it's fine for her to live that way, then so be it. It's none of her business. She's got no stake in that game.

Reg. the Plug-pulling: I think it's suspicious that the movie makes a visual callback to the earlier scene. That Asuka is both inside the plug, so the person experiencing the loss, while also flying away in the direction Kaworu flew away in, making her the person who is lost to other people, seems like a nice double meaning being efficiently portrayed via visual language.

Now I wrote quite a lot again, despite not wanting to. Oh well. Looking forward to your next post!
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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 Settie » Sun Dec 12, 2021 9:26 pm

I know i'm butting in here but this caught my attention.
View Original PostDerantor wrote:
In the case of NTE, her decision seems to revolve around the realization that she cares more about piloting than Shinji or Rei or "stupid games". I doubt that she's got Shinji's wellbeing in mind. "I could try to go to the Dinner Party, or I could take it upon myself to pilot. Hm. I'd rather pilot, let Shinji and Rei do whatever they want." So she just doesn't care that much about Shinji, after everything is said and done.



I don't think it's that big of a stretch to assume Asuka agreed to test pilot and let Shinji go to the dinner party out of altruism rather than disinterest. This all happens after she knows Shinjis reasons for piloting (earn his fathers praise) and with some trice 20/20 hindsight of her complex regarding parental figures. Is it really that strange that Asuka would do it just to do something nice for Shinji?

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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 » Mon Dec 13, 2021 7:50 am

Is it really that strange that Asuka would do it just to do something nice for Shinji?

Yes. If she's just doing for him, I don't buy it at all. Not only because I don't like it, as it would mean that one of her most important and far reaching decisions wasn't about herself at all, instead revolving around Shinji, making her even more of a non-character who only exists for Shinji's sake and has no existence outside of him, but also because it goes against her characterization and leaves out everything else we know about her. Right before, she's really distressed when Ritsuko imprisons Unit 02; she says that it's the only place where she belongs. She also is quite clear when she says that Shinji is an idiot for piloting only to get praised by his father. In addition, she dreams of having a long career at NERV. Her whole life is bound up in piloting - for her, it's a matter of life and death. Her memories are at that point probably still suppressed, but she's already expressing that sentiment, meaning that she's subconsciously aware of it. Being able to pilot = being able to live on - else, she gets butchered, like the rest of her sisters. So of course, when she recieves that message in the middle of the night, offering her an opportunity to pilot, she jumps at the chance. We see later on that she sees herself as a protector of humanity, so maybe that's part of her reasoning too, and that would include Shinji at some level. But I don't see him being the main focus and driver of her decision at all. The decision is important for her character because she chooses piloting over socializing.

So - is it possible that Asuka is also acting altruistic, at some level? Sure. Does she do it only for Shinji's sake? Absolutely not. Her list of priorities goes something like this:
-Survive
-Pilot Eva
-Survive
-Pilot Eva
-Survive
-Pilot Eva
--------------------------------------------- (<- Ordering not 100% definite below this line)
-Defeat the Angels
-Survive
-Avoid social situations
-Garner Praise
-Pilot Eva
-Be admired
-Survive
-Protect Humankind
-Pilot Eva
-Play videogames
-Be fair to people
-Talk to Misato about her feelings
-Beat her own highscores on her Wonderswan
-Have contest with Rei
-Be nice to people
...
...
...
-Forego her own wellbeing so that Shinji can reconcile with his asshole father, which she thinks is idiotic to begin with

Edit: to contrast, here's Rei's list of priorities:
-Make Shinji happy
-Feel Poka-Poka inside

In her case: yes, she absolutely would have piloted for Shinji's sake.
Last edited by Derantor on Mon Dec 13, 2021 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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 kuribo-04 » Mon Dec 13, 2021 8:00 am

View Original PostDerantor wrote:Yes. If she's just doing for him, I don't buy it at all. Not only because I don't like it, as it would mean that one of her most important and far reaching decisions wasn't about herself at all, instead revolving around Shinji, making her even more of a non-character who only exists for Shinji's sake and has no existence outside of him, but also because it goes against her characterization and leaves out everything else we know about her.

I'd say it's very clear Asuka pilots 03 to save Rei's dinner. It's part of her arch to do something for someone else, realizing she cares about others too.
The film is also pretty much a light harem, so there's that.

I don't think that Asuka only exists as part pf Shinji either. There's plenty going for her. Her past and origin, her obsession with being a great pilot, her friendship with Mari, her struggle with being a "mock pilot", her friendship(?) with Kensuke, etc.
Obviously a lot of what defines her will be related to Shinji, he is the main character.
Shinji: "Sooner or later I'll be betrayed... And they'll leave me. Still... I want to meet them again, because I believe my feelings at that time were real."
Ryuko: "I'm gonna knock ya on your asses!"
-Asuka: THINK IN GERMAN!!! -Shinji: Öh... Baumkuchen...
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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 » Mon Dec 13, 2021 8:14 am

I mean, like I said: if we ignore everything else about her, then yes, she did it only to save Rei's dinner party.

It's like this:
Option A: She makes a decision for herself which is incredibly important to her on account of allowing her continued survival and securing her future, and which follows logically from her previous characterization.
Option B: She makes a decision to be nice to some random dude she barely knows and help out a doll she barely respects at all and which goes against her previous characterization, just because.

In addition:
Option A leads to a tragic outcome: She made the decision she thought was right for herself, but choosing piloting over socializing once again fucked her over and left her worse off. Character flaw leads to bad outcome - she's too fixated on piloting, thus, she can't make progress.
Option B leads to a cynical outcome: She made the right decision to grow & balance out her character, doing something nice for somebody else for a change, and was punished for it. The lesson: if you do nice things for people, you will be punished for it immediately. Alternative lesson: If you do things only thinking about your own or somebody elses immediate emotional gratification, you'll ruin your life and/or everybody elses in the process. See also: Shinji, Misato, Kaworu, Gendo, Rei.

Edit: And like I said, it's entirely reasonable to assume that part of her justification is "... in addition, it'll allow Shinji to go to the dinner party. That's fine; I don't care about these things, I have higher aspirations and principles. I'm doing this to protect humanity, because I'm the only one who can. Shinji can thank me later for being such a nice person." That's the part where she's altruistic. So it isn't black and white, either or. It's just about her priorities.
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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 » Mon Dec 13, 2021 10:29 am

View Original PostDerantor wrote:Option A: She makes a decision for herself which is incredibly important to her on account of allowing her continued survival and securing her future, and which follows logically from her previous characterization.

I agree that a good part of the reason why Asuka participated in the test for Eva-03 was because she feels the Eva gives sense to her life.

Asuka has romantic feelings for Shinji, but she has given up on these. At that point, Asuka has decided to exclusively focus on the Eva.


However, we should consider that Asuka wasn't being discarded even if she didn't participate in the test to pilot Eva-03. Rei will pilot Eva-03 for the test, but it is unlikely that she would be a permanent pilot. After all, the reason why Gendo discarded Eva-02 was because he wants to mantain Eva-00.

So, Asuka probably wanted to save Rei's dinner too.

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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 Dec 15, 2021 11:03 am

View Original PostSettie wrote:I know i'm butting in here but this caught my attention.
View Original PostDerantor#933126 wrote:In the case of NTE, her decision seems to revolve around the realization that she cares more about piloting than Shinji or Rei or "stupid games". I doubt that she's got Shinji's wellbeing in mind. "I could try to go to the Dinner Party, or I could take it upon myself to pilot. Hm. I'd rather pilot, let Shinji and Rei do whatever they want." So she just doesn't care that much about Shinji, after everything is said and done.

No, please do butt in! There's plenty of room in this topic for multiple opinions. The last few days' discussion of Asuka's dinner party decision have been great and I'm squarely on the "she did it for love" side. If the topic had been silent until now I think that's where I would have started this reply, but since it's been explored I'll move on to:

View Original Postnerv bae wrote:The rest of Derantor's post that I'm quoting addresses the Q manga; Derantor also has some additional posts further down the topic that I haven't addressed yet.

I'll make a post today addressing the Q manga. Here's Derantor's full aside:

View Original PostDerantor wrote:
SPOILER: Show
As an aside: Q -120 isn't evidence for anything, besides everybody being handed the idiot ball for the duration of the Manga. It actually tells us nothing new: we knew already that Asuka still had feelings of some form for Shinji, and that Mari is shipping them to some extent. Besides that, the story presented within the Manga does not make an ounce of sense:
-Shinji knows exactly one redhead. In fact, Asuka is the only redhead in Japan, as far as we know
-Asuka has not aged a day since Shinji last saw her
-Shinji has seen Asuka outside of her plugsuit plenty of times before. He even saw her in the nude.
Despite all that, Asuka somehow has brought her old plugsuit (a damaged plugsuit Shinji never saw in that state - if the eyepatch throws him off, because he's apparently extremely dense, why doesn't the same go for a damaged plugsuit?) to a missile launching site (don't get me started on how "saltwater" and "machinery that's left exposed to the elements for over a decade" do not result in a successful launch), somehow anticipating the exchange with Mari, and wants to wear it so that Shinji will recognize her. Let that sink in. Her whole problem is that she does not physically age - that she looks exactly like she looked 14 years ago, sans eye-patch. Yet somehow, she's concerned that Shinji will not recognize her if she does not wear a specific Plugsuit she shouldn't have brought with her to begin with.
That's beyond idiotic.
Edit: Not to mention that Mari changes into her school uniform so that Shinji will recognize her, but in the opening scene of Q, she's wearing her plugsuit he definitely won't recognize again - and she doesn't visit him after he's pulled out of the plug. Well done, Mari-san! :asuka_thumbsup: It's almost as if Q -120 doesn't fit the continuity and isn't canon, but just a bit of fanservice ...

A thoughtful post dismantling each of Derantor's points. Haha: to prepare for writing, I just scrolled through the Q manga topic and realized that these arguments were all litigated to death over there already. In that topic there are plausible Q manga readings that address who exactly brought Asuka's old plugsuit to the launchpad and why she wore it, address why Mari wore her school uniform and then changed back into her plugsuit for Operation US, and so on. (The only thing I don't find in that topic is your saltwater issue; in response I say there's no evidence that the Mighty King and Mighty Queen were at sea for a decade.) Suffice it to say: I think it's deeply uncharitable to simply dismiss the Q manga as non-canon and out-of-continuity, and its characters as idiots!

This was a little hurdle I had to hop over before getting on with my main thoughts, which I'll attempt later this week.

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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 17, 2021 7:29 pm

(We had an aside this week in the Q manga topic linked above; now I'm back in this topic.)

Some responses on Derantor's interpretation of visual evidence:

View Original PostDerantor wrote:Shinji can not have his all-encompassing, uncontradicted goodbye scene if one of the characters refuses to let go of Eva. It would not really be the closure he wants if Asuka speaks up: "What are you, stupid? I already found my place! Eva is the only place I belong! Sure, KenKen is a nice guy, but haven't you seen how I smiled when he told me that Wunder is coming, which means I get to pilot again? Haven't you seen how I stared longingly into the sky, hoping for Wunder's return? Haven't you seen how happy I was when I was in that one place where I belonged? Why do I have to give that up? I don't care if you want to quit piloting, you can do that all you want! Say goodbye to Eva, but leave me alone!"
View Original PostDerantor wrote:And even if she is: why put on an act when nobody is watching, for example during the Wunder launch? Why is she shown smiling when Kensuke and her talk about the Wunder picking her up, instead of being unhappy about being forced to do something she hates once more? Why is she shown staring longingly into the sky, waiting for Wunder, when piloting and Eva and not being able to lead a normal life is the source of her unhappiness, ... [I continue this quote a few sections below]

I don't accept that Asuka is staring longingly at the sky waiting for Wunder in this frame, which I think must be the one referenced:

SPOILER: Show
Image

The village has a handful of watchtowers, including this one with dishes over Kenken's home. In my understanding watchtowers are places to look out for threats, and showing Asuka on a watchtower is more consistent with her self-ascribed role of village protector than it is with watching hopefully for Wunder (which radios ahead anyway, so its appearance shouldn't come as a surprise to be watched out for). And if the Wunder is such a joy to Asuka, why show her frowning upon its actual arrival?

SPOILER: Show
Image

Kenken pans his video camera from the Wunder in the sky, to the civilians disembarking on the ground, to Asuka taking in the whole scene while looking utterly sullen. An instant later she will realize she is being filmed and get irritated, but in this frame we have an honest visual depiction of how she feels upon Wunder's arrival. This is not consistent with a yearning to get back aboard and into the pilot's seat.

Earlier, we do see Asuka's smile after Kenken reports that Wunder has radioed ahead its arrival:

SPOILER: Show
Image

But, significantly, we don't see this smile right after that precise line of dialog. We see it a few lines later:

View Original PostShin wrote:Kensuke: Sounds like the Wunder will swing by for a pickup tomorrow.
Kensuke: We've discussed the return route.
Kensuke: I agreed to document the village for Misato-san.
Kensuke: There are photos of the crew's families, too.
Kensuke: Also, here's a letter from Toji for his sister.
Kensuke: "Hope things go well", or along those lines.
Asuka: You got it. <- SMILE!

What's happening here? Does Asuka smile at Kenken's Wunder announcement? No, she smiles later, after her father figure gives her some happy chores to help the villagers. This isn't a pilot itching to get back in the entry plug, but a daughter pleased to be of use to her community. But not, as you assert, a community that accepts her ... despite her wish to be human.

On what Asuka wants:

Focusing in on Person A versus Person B now:

nerv bae wrote:Let's see, next, leaving aside again whether Asuka is speaking in a childlike state or impulsively, I reach your Person A and B construct where you make the following assertion:

View Original PostDerantor wrote:Both people want a place where they can belong. But: Person A wants a place which caters to the majority, while Person B wants a place which is accepting of minorities. Or in other words: Person A wants to fit in, while Person B wants to be themselves. The point is: just because Asuka says "I want a place to belong", we don't know whether she wishes to be like everybody else or wishes to be able to be herself. "She is directly appealing to Shinji, God of instrumentality, to give her a normal life" does not logically follow from "I want a place to belong".

Okay, I will admit this in light of your construct. Shinji cannot resolve the ambiguity in Asuka's request unless he knows whether she's Person A or B. Shinji makes a Person A choice on Asuka's behalf while you present decent evidence that, actually, Asuka is Person B which in the context of NTE means she's an Eva (not a popular theory, as I understand it) or she's actually the ninth angel (not written up in your reply, but I think a relatively popular theory) or she is otherwise superhuman / superlilin (which is arguably true about all the pilots: witness Asuka's super-punch, Rei6's telepathy, Shinji's glowing eyes and harness ripping, etc.; all apparently caused by excessive plug depth). 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 (for example, I don't agree with your interpretation of Asuka's smile when Kenken tells her the Wunder is en route). At this moment, I'm thinking that even if Asuka is downgraded in NTE and doesn't play a big part, there is still a lot of room on each side of the Person A and B topic to make good arguments.

Per the above quote, in the section above I've been grinding away at different interpretations of some of your evidence, and now I'm going to present some different evidence, both efforts in service of my thesis that Asuka is actually Person A. Not sure if this is quite congruent with your majority / minority formulation, but I'm going to work towards Person A being a normal human in a world without Eva, and Person B being 1) an normal human piloting Eva, 2) a curse-of-Eva'd person piloting Eva, 3) an Adams soul, capable of radiant gianting, in any kind of person in a world with Eva, 4) a ninth Angel, any combination of 1 through 4, or any additional pre-Impact iteration of Asuka that can no longer exist in Shinji's chosen world without Eva. Again, I'm not aligning these categories with majority / minority concepts but maybe they'll work here; if they don't please give me a do-over.

All of your visual evidence that Asuka is happy piloting is valid, but she begins to grow past identifying only as a pilot in Ha. Here's Misato and Asuka's gondola phone call per the EG translation, with my transcription of some of the Prime subtitles added in brackets:

View Original PostHa wrote:Misato A direct line? It must be Asuka.
Misato: What's wrong, Asuka? We have the test soon.
Asuka: I just wanted the two of us to chat, Misato.
Misato: Well, I never thanked you for before so, thank you.
Asuka: Thanking me is fine.
Asuka: It's my duty to help protect the ignorant masses since I'm an elite pilot.
Asuka: At first I didn't want to go to that dinner...
Asuka: Being with other people is fun, but it wears me out.
Asuka: I don't like to see other people happy but I like piloting Eva.
Asuka: I've always liked being alone, and I never needed close friends.
Asuka: Since the beginning, I've never had someone take care of me properly. [And nobody's ever seen me for who I really am.]
Asuka: At first, I felt that being the top pilot at Nerv meant I could go to that dinner. [As long as I get top scores, I should be fine at NERV.]
Asuka: But now, I realize it's good to be around other people. [But you know, I'm learning that being with others isn't so bad.]
Asuka: Although it seems like I can't fit in. [It must sound strange coming from me.]
Misato: That's not true. [Not at all.]
Misato: You're a nice person, Asuka. [You're a sweet kid, Asuka.]
Asuka: I think this is the first time I've felt comfortable talking with you, Misato. [You're the first person that I've ever talked to like this.]
Asuka: I had no idea it could feel so good to get this off my chest. [I feel better somehow. Talking to people feels good, doesn't it? I never knew.]
Misato: This world is full of interesting things you need to learn.
Misato: You should have fun.
Asuka: Yeah. You're right. Thanks, Misato. [Sure, I will. Thank you, Misato.]

It's crazy to me how different the translations are, but fortunately I can make this point with only the second and third bolded full-lines, across both translations, that agree with each other: Asuka has learned in Ha, after 100% of her "I just want to pilot" lines, that she realizes it's good to have a community with other people and that talking with other people is beneficial. These two bolded full-lines contrast with her initial lines in this phone call in which see says she likes piloting. She is saying that her desire for human community is a new feature in her life in addition to piloting. Her desire for human community is essentially the very last last thing she gets to express in the Rebuilds before the timeskip.

As an aside, my first bolded half-line in the EG translation points plainly for her desire for a parental figure; Misato isn't able to fulfill this but later Kenken is.

You ask well, if she wants human community so much, why does she reject it in the village?

Derantor wrote:[continuing this quote from the first section] ... and a normal life is right around the corner in the village? The village is shown to completely accept Rei; Mari is viewing her as a human, too. So if she's lonely, and if she's just a human, why reject those offers? It really does not make sense: Asuka is normal, wants to be normal, and is given the opportunity to be normal, but rejects that opportunity because ... ? Because she wants to ... punish herself? Hates herself? Likes to make things extra hard for herself? That requires a lot of mental gymnastics ...

The village is shown to completely accept Rei only after initial doubt:

SPOILER: Show
Image
Image

These aren't trusting people. They know that people with baggage shouldn't be loose in the village. Who has baggage?

SPOILER: Show
Image

Asuka has baggage. Something happened in the timeskip that makes her jumpy in the village, and ready for trouble. The village has antagonists -- she doesn't have offers or opportunities to be normal there; only Kenken (and Mari, to a lesser extent) provide these. When Kenken is giving her a place to belong, like no one else on earth will do, what does she think about late at night when normal people would be sleeping? Is she imagining getting onto the Wunder, or piloting, or self-deification? No:

SPOILER: Show
Image

She just wants to sleep. Like a normal person.

On the comparison of Kaworu/Shinji to Shinji/Shikinami:

SPOILER: Show
View Original PostDerantor wrote:... We see that using the spears to change the world requires an Impact in Shin. That's the whole point of Gendo starting one, and Shinji taking over. Use spear to change the world = Impact. That's not a theory, that's just what happens.

You are right, it is Shinji's decision to not inquire further, which just goes to show that he isn't of sound mind at that point, because I definitely would want to know how taking some spears can make everything right again. I mean, he's a traumatized minor acting on incomplete information - he goes through a mental breakdown in the very same movie ... The point about Kaworu being wrong about Shinji's happiness is that it is in principle wrong to assume you understand other peoples' happiness, and that it's dangerous to confuse your own happiness with that of others.

And of course Shinji wanted to escape his guilt, but that does not mean he wanted to achieve it the way Kaworu pushed him to do it - do you see his face when he realizes that they just started an Impact? He clearly did NOT want any of that to happen, but Kaworu clearly did - the problem is not the Impact, it's that the spears are wrong. And Impact was always Kaworu's goal, he simply did not tell Shinji about that, even though he should have. He abused his power and knowledge to push Shinji into a direction he wanted, knowing full well that Shinji was in a desolate mental state - that's abusive behaviour. It was wrong with Kaworu and Shinji, and it's still wrong with Asuka and Shinji later on. The ironic part of all this is of course that Shinji later on does exactly what Kaworu had planned in the first place, once he got the correct spear.

In the spoiler above I've bolded a comparison that I object to. Yes, Kaworu did abuse "his power and knowledge to push Shinji into a direction he wanted, knowing full well that Shinji was in a desolate mental state - that's abusive behaviour." I agree with this 100%. But even if we equate Shinji's Q desolate mental state (resulting from the timeskip, the blame for Third Impact, and his apparent failure to save Rei) to Asuka's Shin mental state in instrumentality (an equivalence I'm iffy on, whether she's in knowing conversation wish Shinji, or dreaming per your two-stages interpretation), Kaworu's abuse of Shinji is intentional in a way that Shinji's potential mis-treatment of Asuka is not. If at worst Kaworu acts intentionally and gets a bad result, at worst Shinji is merely negligent (regarding Asuka's consent) and still gets the right result: her conversion to a normal human.

Alright! That's as much as I can cobble together this week. I have more to think about and write up regarding mindreading, comparisons with EoE, whether consent is the highest moral concept at work in Shin's instrumentality, etc. But I figure I should press submit again now before this post gets too insanely long.
Last edited by nerv bae on Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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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 17, 2021 8:16 pm

View Original Postnerv bae wrote:In the spoiler above I've bolded a comparison that I object to. Yes, Kaworu did abuse "his power and knowledge to push Shinji into a direction he wanted, knowing full well that Shinji was in a desolate mental state - that's abusive behaviour." I agree with this 100%. But even if we equate Shinji's Q desolate mental state (resulting from the timeskip, the blame for Third Impact, and his apparent failure to save Rei) to Asuka's Shin mental state in instrumentality (an equivalence I'm iffy on, whether she's in knowing conversation wish Shinji, or dreaming per your two-stages interpretation), Kaworu's abuse of Shinji is intentional in a way that Shinji's potential mis-treatment of Asuka is not. If at worst Kaworu acts intentionally and gets a bad result, at worst Shinji is merely negligent (regarding Asuka's consent) and still gets the right result: her conversion to a normal human.


Honestly, I don't think the story tries to portray Kaworu's behaviour as abusive.

Is Kaworu's behaviour portrayed as problematic? Definitely. However, the problematic aspect is because he supports and enable a pretty troublesome behaviour from Shinji.

The story still presents Kaworu as someone who wants to help Shinji and tries to give him happines. In 3.0, Shinji wants to escape the pain and guilt, so Kaworu would try to grant Shinji that through the restoration of the world.


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