Asuka Shikinami Langley

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For information on the original series Asuka, see Asuka Langley Soryu
Asuka Shikinami Langley
Asuka Shikinami Langley
式波・アスカ・ラングレー
Rank / Title Second Girl;
Captain (of the European Air Force)
Affiliation(s) Nerv (2.0), Wille (3.0)
National Heritage German[1]
Age 14 in 2.0, 28 in 3.0
Height 157cm[2]
Seiyū Yuko Miyamura
Voice Actor English: Tiffany Grant
German: Julia Ziffer
French: Emilie Rault
Italian: Ilaria Latini
European-Spanish: Anna Pallejà
Latin-American Spanish: Georgina Sanchez
Brazilian-Portuguese: Fernanda Bullara

Asuka Shikinami Langley[3] (式波・アスカ・ラングレー) debuts in Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance as the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit-02 and Captain of the European Air Force. While adapted from Asuka Langley Soryu of the original series, her Japanese surname is different, and her characterization diverges in some significant ways.[4]

Profile

Her appearance is essentially unchanged from the TV series (although her haircolor is auburn brown instead of red), but her character and personality are noticeably different. Most notably, she talks to and plays with a hand puppet (while Asuka Soryu had a deep hatred of dolls) when in low spirits (her first night at Misato's). She's even seen cooking to try to impress Shinji after learning of Rei's dinner party plans for Gendo and Shinji. She does not express any interest in Kaji and becomes jealous when Shinji pays attention to Rei.

Asuka is once shown in this continuity eating lunch with Hikari, but does not become good friends with the class representative. Shikinami is also shown to be a loner, playing her Wonderswan game console to block out the world similarly to Shinji's use of his SDAT.

She considers both Rei and Shinji to be rivals in Eva piloting (additionally, Rei as a romantic rival, although Rei makes no acknowledgment of this), but gradually warms up to them over the course of the film. In Shinji's case, Asuka allows Shinji to call her by her first name (although she refers to him "stupid Shinji" in place of "Daddy's boy"). In Rei's case (who Shikinami refers to as "Commander's pet" during the film), Asuka decides to be the test pilot for the ill-fated Eva-03 so Rei can hold her dinner party in an effort to bring Shinji and Gendo closer.

Asuka being absorbed into the 9th Angel's core.

Asuka eventually confides in Misato that she's never needed friends and prefers being alone. But, through her interactions with the others, she's started to realize that being with people is a good thing. Upon sitting in the Eva-03 entry plug during the start-up sequence, Asuka realizes that she's smiling. The 9th Angel proceeds to infect Eva-03 and is ultimately ripped apart by the dummy system-controlled Eva-01. Eva-03's entry plug is crushed in Eva-01's mouth. Asuka is later seen still alive and under heavy life support; Ritsuko calls her a "valuable sample". However, Shinji is too angered over Gendo's decision of using the dummy system to hear about her condition (and Rei's) from Misato before he temporarily quits Nerv.

Asuka returns in 3.0 with an eyepatch over her left eye and a new plugsuit, as seen in the 3.0 trailer at the end of 2.0.[5]. Interestingly, in 3.0 Asuka is thematically associated with cats; she wears both a hat and a helmet which have cat-ear-shaped protrusions, and Eva-02's Beast Mode when under her control has the appearance of a gigantic saber-toothed cat. None of the other pilots are strongly associated with an animal in this way, which makes its significance unclear.

Asuka's personality in 3.0 is that of a 28 year old, although her body remains at the physical age of 14 (due to a phenomenon she calls Curse of Eva). She retrieves the tesseract encasing Eva-01 at the start of 3.0 and serves as Eva-02's pilot, this time under Wille. She has a heavy grudge towards Shinji for the harm he caused with Third Impact at the end of 2.0, and even fights him and Kaworu in Eva-13. Asuka asks Shinji if he is trying to start another Impact by trying to pull the Spears, which Shinji denies but does happen when he does. At the end of the movie, she grabs Shinji's hand and wanders into the wasteland generated by Third Impact.

Glowing Eyepatch

Asuka now wears an eyepatch over her left eye that is infused with angel-sealing hex glyphs. The eye underneath glows blue through the fabric at two points in Evangelion 3.0: after Shinji's escape from the Wunder and after Asuka activates Eva-02's "777" Beast Mode. It is revealed in Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 that the eyepatch covers a still-functioning eye with a miniature Angel-Sealing Hex Pillar inserted into it. Upon removal of the eyepatch and activation of Mode 999, the pillar is released from the eye and causes Asuka to transform back into the Ninth Angel, as well as causing Eva-02 to enter a state similar to Pseudo Evolution.

Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

In Evangelion 3.0+1.0, Asuka guides Shinji and Rei through the outskirts of Tokyo-3, and they arrive at a town comprised of survivors. When not on the Wunder she lives with Kensuke, much like with Mari on the Wunder, and he cares for her a father figure, as Asuka would rather isolate herself from the rest of the community. After Kensuke leaves on a supply run, Asuka takes a shower and strolls around naked in his house and finds Shinji. Asuka waits for Shinji to do something, but he remains catatonic. Shinji notices she is also wearing a DSS Choker, and vomits, still traumatized by Kaworu's death. Kensuke appears, covers Asuka, and cleans Shinji's vomit. They talk and Asuka expresses irritation at Shinji's inaction, but Kensuke defends him. Asuka explains to Shinji how their existence in the village is full of hardships, and force-feeds him protein bars. Later, Kensuke finds out Shinji ran away, but before leaving to retrieve him, thanks her for feeding Shinji, to which Asuka responds: "It's not like I did it for him or anything".

When the Wunder arrives to pickup Asuka, Shinji insists on going with her, much to her surprise. Mari teases Asuka over Shinji again, telling her she though Asuka didn't care for "boys his age", but Asuka expresses that Shinji "needs a mother, not a girlfriend". When the Wunder prepares to go to Antartica, Mari and Asuka get their new plugsuits. Asuka decides she needs to talk with Shinji. When asked if he understood the reason for her anger, Shinji admits his failure to take responsibility during the incident with the Ninth Angel. Recognizing Shinji is growing up, Asuka confesses she liked him due to his bento-making before the incident with the Ninth Angel, but she "grew up first."

When attempting to strike Eva-13 with the stop signal plug, Asuka is surprised by Eva-02 manifesting its own A.T. Field and stopping her from doing so, as though afraid of Eva-13. In order to complete her mission, Asuka takes off her eye-patch and activates "Mode 999". An Angel-Sealing Hex Pillar in miniature form pops out. Asuka manifests as the Ninth Angel complete with flaming orange hair[6] and turns Eva-02 into a Giant of Light-like form. However, Eva-13 sets off an explosion/beam of energy that destroys the Stop Signal Plug and cripples Eva-02, partially de-evolving it from its new form. Eva-13 then attacks Asuka directly, trying to pull her plug out of the wrecked Eva-13. During the process, the entry plug interior transforms and Asuka meets "her original", revealing that she is a member of the Shikinami series of clones. The original Shikinami pulls her out of the DSS Choker before it explodes, saving her life but allowing Eva-13 to incorporate her.

In a flashback to Shikinami's childhood during Instrumentality, it is revealed that she is a clone, with neither father nor mother, one amidst hundreds of copies. All the copies are eliminated, with the Shikinami we know being the only one left[7]. She is seen growing up in Germany and fighting simulated enemies (with a different hairstyle and body language). The cloning program is to be terminated, and she reveals that she is aware how people talk behind her back but tries to make herself strong and not depend on anyone. A brief scene shows a young Asuka seeing Gendo, Yui and little Shinji step out of an official Nerv vehicle, with Gendo and Yui soothing the crying (3 year old?) Shinji and watching their interaction with fascination and apparent sadness. Asuka laments not having a parent to care for her, and Kensuke, in a giant doll costume, tells her it is alright and gives her the pat on the head that she so badly wants. In a callback to the beach scene in The End of Evangelion, Shinji finds a grown Asuka on the beach, in a badly damaged plugsuit. Asuka awakens and wonders if she was asleep. Shinji tells her that he is glad to see her again, and thanks her for telling him she liked him, admitting that he had liked her too (in the past tense). He asks Asuka to say hello to Kensuke for him. Mari speaks to Asuka for the last time, addressing her as "princess". Asuka is briefly seen at the train platform in the rebuilt world later, on the same platform as Rei and Kaworu.


Asuka's Changes
Asuka's glowing eyepatch
Asuka cracking the interrogation room glass
Asuka growing fangs inside Eva-02'

Asuka has apparently not aged at all in the 14 years since Third Impact. She is seen to be able to crack the glass in the interrogation room with her fist. While both Mari and Asuka's eyes glowed green during Eva-02's Beast modes, during Eva-02's 777 mode, not only does Asuka's eyepatch glow, but Asuka's herself begins to grow "fangs". Her back molars elongate and sharpen, seemingly in response to the change in the Eva's own teeth. The fangs apparently disappear after Asuka ejects.

It is not clear what the Curse of Eva actual refers to. It may be related to her exposure to the 9th Angel; After Asuka's rescue from Bardiel in 2.0, Ritsuko stated that "We cannot rule out the possibility of psychological contamination from the Angel". Some have speculated that this curse may also be due to prolonged LCL or Eva exposure, or because of the very high plug depth she attained when the 9th Angel took over Eva-03.

Production History

Asuka smiling in the Q/3.0 Preview.

Staff interviews[8] state that Asuka being the pilot of Eva-03 was planned early on. There were various storyboards of her fate (such as Kaworu's voice speaking to Asuka as her face peels away inside the 9th Angel/Eva-03, as well as a scene of Shinji reacting to her removal from the entry plug) that were ultimately unused. It is ultimately revealed that Asuka retains the ability to manifest as the Ninth Angel in Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0.

Another unused concept was Asuka sitting unconscious in the Eva-02 entry plug during the 10th Angel battle instead of Mari hijacking Eva-02.

Name

  • The Shikinami is an Ayanami-class post-World War II era Japanese destroyer whose name literally means "Spreading Waves". It is pronounced, approximately, "Shkee-nami", not "Sheeky-nami". Hideaki Anno has confirmed that Asuka, like Rei and Mari, are named after Ayanami-class destroyers of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and not from the old Fubuki-class destroyers, although English-language information on the Ayanami-class is very scarce. Noteworthy as a naval curiosity is the fact that the original, Fubuki-class Shikinami was actually the first destroyer of the Fubuki Type II (Or 'Ayanami') subclass to be completed and commissioned, despite being ordered six months after the Ayanami (due to Ayanami's slow construction).
  • Asuka Shikinami's name is spelt 式波, meaning something like "ceremonial waves" or "ritual waves" while the JMSDF namesake's name is written purely in hiragana, and the WW2 warship of the same name has it written with the kanji 敷波, meaning "spreading waves". While the change in Kanji makes the name somewhat nonsensical out of context, the emphasis given to the ceremonies surrounding the impacts in Evangelion 3.0 and Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0, and the revelation of Shikinami's cloned origins, it's possible that the change has a specific, in-universe meaning. What, exactly, is still a matter of speculation and debate.
  • Why Asuka's Japanese surname was changed from Soryu to Shikinami for the new movie adaptation remained a matter of speculation for a long time. When asked about it, Yuko Miyamura stated it was a secret.[9] Given that the newly introduced character Mari has the Japanese surname Makinami, and the other female Eva pilot is Rei Ayanami, the change to Shikinami establishes the three female pilots as a triad. However, it remains to be seen if this theme naming implies a more significant in-universe connection between Rei, Asuka, and Mari or not. A later interview with Hideaki Anno indicates that the 'settei' (roughly 'background') of the main characters had altered since the original series, hence the change in name. Shikinami has several subtle but significant changes in characterization from Soryu, diverging further with the major new plot and character developments beginning in Evangelion 3.0 that develop her as an entirely different personality. With Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 finally explaining her new and entirely different backstory, the change in name is justified: unlike her Soryu counterpart who was a normal human girl, Shikinami is a clone and a "pseudo-Lilin" belonging to the "Shikinami series".

Notes & References

  1. Germany is her country of origin, according to the official website. Retrieved 2011/04/27. Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 makes this explicit with scenes set in Germany, and giving her an Eva simulator with German as the language.
  2. As labeled in character height sketch by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. Published in Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection.
  3. The name order provided in the film itself follows Japanese conventions. However, the westernized version "Asuka Shikinami Langley" is provided in Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection.
  4. Miyamura herself stated that Shikinami is played as a different character from Asuka Soryu. Evageeks.org Forum. Yuko Miyamura at SMASH. Retrieved 2011/02/19.
  5. Anno specified for Asuka to have a "cat-like smile" in this cut. His note is published in Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection
  6. The flaming orange hair and many other elements in the sequence are a direct reference to Nono from Gainax's Diebuster, itself a sequel to Hideaki Anno's famed Gunbuster.
  7. Although the clones are never depicted fighting each other for survival directly, it is heavily implied that a "Battle Royale" style selection process was in play in which only the strongest clone(s) survived. A deliberate reference to Battle Royale would be apropos given Yuko Miyamura's brief but memorable live-action role as "onee-san", the creepy training video instructor who explains Battle Royale's murderous rules in an over-the-top cheerful manner.
  8. Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection
  9. Evageeks.org Forum. Yuko Miyamura at SMASH. Retrieved 2011-02-19.



Characters
Main characters: Shinji Ikari | Rei Ayanami | Asuka Langley Soryu
Nerv staff: Misato Katsuragi | Gendo Ikari | Ritsuko Akagi | Kozo Fuyutsuki | Ryoji Kaji | Maya Ibuki | Makoto Hyuga | Shigeru Aoba
Classmates: Toji Suzuhara | Kensuke Aida | Hikari Horaki
Other characters: Kaworu Nagisa | Yui Ikari | Naoko Akagi | Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu | Dr. Katsuragi | Keel Lorenz | Pen Pen
Rebuild of Evangelion: Asuka Shikinami Langley | Mari Makinami Illustrious | Sakura Suzuhara | Ryoji Kaji (Jr)
Miscellaneous: Minor Characters | Minor Characters (Rebuild) | Extracanonical Characters
Theory and Analysis: Name Origins (Warships) | Designs | Relationships | Profiles
Resources: 2015: The Last Year of Ryohji Kaji