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(mentally)(?) in 3.0
Height 157cm[2]
Seiyū Yuko Miyamura
Voice Actor English: Tiffany Grant

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.

Physical Changes

In Evangelion 3.0, Asuka Shikinami appears to have been physically altered either by here contact with the Angel inside Eva-03, or else the unspecified Curse of Eva.

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.

Glowing Eyepatch

Asuka now wears an eyepatch over her left eye. It is unknown exactly what is wrong with the eye, but something underneath the patch -- possibly a still-intact eye -- glows blue through the fabric at two points in the film: after Shinji's escape from the Wunder and after Asuka activates Eva-02's "777" Beast Mode. Furthermore, the eyepatch appears to be infused with angel-sealing hex glyphs.

Production History

Asuka smiling in the Q/3.0 Preview.

Staff interviews[6] 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.

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. 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". The reason for the change isn't clear, especially since the change in Kanji makes the name somewhat nonsensical.
  • 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. Yuko Miyamura has stated that it is a secret.[7] One consideration: 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. With significant new plot and character developments in Evangelion 3.0, the change in name is at least partially justified.

Notes & References

  1. Germany is her country of origin, according to the official website. Retrieved 2011/04/27.
  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. Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection
  7. 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
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