Asuka Langley Soryu
"We've seen it. The proof of its construction was very useful."
- For information on the New Theatrical Edition character, see Asuka Shikinami Langley
|Asuka Langley Soryu|
|Rank / Title||Second Children|
|National Heritage||Japanese, American, German|
|Relations||Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu (mother), Langley (father),|
Stepmother (Kyoko's doctor and Asuka's stepmother)
|Voice Actor||(English): Tiffany Grant (ADV)|
Stephanie McKeon (Netflix)
(Italian): Ilaria Latini, Domitilla D'Amico (young)
(Brazilian): Fernanda Bullara,
(French): Marjolaine Poulain
(Spanish,Spain): Georgina Sanchez
(Spanish,Latin America): Norma Echavarría
(German): Julia Ziffer
Asuka Langley Soryu is the Second Children, the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit-02.
- 1 Name
- 2 Character Summary
- 3 Profile
- 4 Relationships with Other Characters
- 5 End of Evangelion
- 6 In Other Media
- 7 References
See also: Character Name Origins
Asuka is named after two warships, one Japanese, the Aircraft Carrier Soryu, the other U.S., the USS Langley. For more information on how Asuka and the other characters were named, see Character Name Origins. Asuka's surname is spelled differently from the name of the warship Soryu(蒼龍). The warship's name literally means "Green Dragon", but Asuka's name contains characters for "All" and "flow/flux/current/stream". No explanation has been given for the difference in name. Although the change could have been because "Green Dragon" would be a rather fantastical surname, Japanese surnames with the character for "dragon" in them exist. Adding to the mystery, aside from Ritsuko Akagi all the other characters share the same Kanji in their surnames as the warships they were named after, making their names at least as improbable.
Asuka's Japanese surname comes from the Japanese WWII aircraft carrier Soryu. Her middle name comes from the American aircraft carrier Langley, also from WWII, while her mother's surname refers to the nearly completed Nazi German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin.
Her first name comes from Saki Asuka, who is the main character of a Japanese manga "SuperGirl Asuka", 超少女明日香, Cho-Shojo Asuka, written by Shinji Wada. Her mother's first name, "Kyoko", also comes from that manga's character Kyoko Aoi. A brief shot from the Episode 26 alternate universe sequence shows the words "Ikari" and "Asuka" under an umbrella. Asuka is shown here as 明日香 - using the same Kanji as Wada's heroine, with the meanings of "clear/bright/to understand";"day,sun,date";"fragrant incense" respectively.
This particular rendering of her name - in the original Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, no less - is unique, because all canonical materials render Asuka's given name in Katakana as アスカ, consistent with the Katakana rendering of all Evangelion characters' given names. The use of Katakana given names is seen at numerous points in the series - in ID cards or on-screen information on individuals - and is consistent throughout. This consistency is repeated in the New Theatrical Edition where Asuka Shikinami Langley has her given name rendered as アスカ, same as her original series counterpart.
Given that Asuka's canonical name in all other materials is in Katakana, the most likely explanation is that Asuka's name being written in kanji is only applicable within the alternate universe scenario seen in Episode 26, as a meta-instance of the rules and established details of the original series being pushed aside. If this is meant to be intentional and not an oversight or blooper by one of the animators, it makes Asuka the only member of the main cast for whom the Kanji in her given name is given in any universe or continuity. In the absence of further details confirming this, this one instance of Kanji being used for a character's given name remains anomalous, if fascinating.
Asuka is 1/4 Japanese and 1/4 German (from her mother Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu's side), although her nationality is American, as is, apparently, her father's. When Asuka was very young — prior to her selection as an Evangelion pilot — her mother was involved in a contact experiment with Evangelion Unit-02 and lost her mind as a result, thinking that a rag doll was her daughter and ignoring Asuka. At the same time, Asuka's father proceeded to have an affair with Kyoko's doctor. Kyoko eventually turned suicidal, and asked Asuka to die with her, which Asuka agreed to, as she was too young to understand what her mother asked of her and believed it was the only way she could convince Kyoko to be her mother again. After being selected as an Evangelion pilot at a very young age, an overjoyed Asuka rushed to tell her mother, only to be devastated on finding that her mother had committed suicide, having hanged the doll in Asuka's place. At Kyoko's funeral, Asuka refused to cry, declaring she would have to look out for herself now. Following Kyoko's death, her father married his mistress. Asuka's new stepmother initially tried to bond with Asuka, but she ended up being discouraged as she found the young girl's overly serious disposition for her age and coldness towards her to be somewhat disturbing, and the two have kept each other at a mutual distance ever since. Her mother's death and her father's infidelity and remarriage have left deep scars on Asuka's psyche.
Arrival in Tokyo-3
Asuka and Eva 02 are transported from Germany to Japan by the Pacific Fleet. Upon meeting (and attempting to impress) her former handler and the first children, she isn't impressed by Shinji (in fact, she seems very annoyed when Kaji praises Shinji's first battle in the lunchroom) but changes her mind when Kaji tells her he achieved 40% synchronization on his first battle. Right after that, Asuka feels the need to bring Shinji with her and show him the Eva-02 while talking about the Eva's capabilities. During this demonstration, they hear an explosion, and quickly get to the deck to see what was the cause, upon realizing that it's caused by an Angel she mutters to herself that it's her "chance" and drags Shinji along with her to sortie on Eva-02, forcing him to wear one of her plugsuits, as the two manage to eventually defeat the angel.
After failing to defeat Israfel the first time, on a suggestion of Kaji's, Asuka moves in with Misato and Shinji in Misato's Apartment to properly train for a coordinated double attack on the angel. After initial difficulties coming to a proper unison with Shinji, Asuka is "persuaded" to improve when faced with the prospect of Rei taking her place. After rigorous practice, Asuka and Shinji manage to defeat the Angel. At the end of the battle, Asuka and Shinji start arguing, and Shinji unwittingly ends up confessing he tried to kiss her while she was asleep.
Ace pilot and schoolgirl
Asuka participates in Nerv's attempt to capture Sandalphon, descending in a magma filled crevice in Eva-02 using D-Type Equipment. The operation is aborted when the Angel awakens, and with some quick thinking, Asuka is able to defeat it by subjecting it to thermal shock using her equipment's cooling fluid. Asuka narrowly escapes falling into the abyss when Eva-02's cables fray, but she's caught in time by Shinji in Eva-01. Asuka will later recall this rescue during Arael's mind probe.
During the blackout, Shinji, Asuka and Rei have to manually infiltrate Nerv HQ, with Asuka assuming the self appointed leadership of their party. Asuka tries to tease Rei for being the commander's favourite, but is angered when Rei does not respond. Along the way, the trio discover that the ninth angel Matarael is attacking the base. When Shinji asks what the Angel's are and why they are attacking, Asuka remarks that they have to fight back at the strange beings attacking them. Eventually reaching the Eva Cages, All three Evangelions sortie under emergency power. Upon encountering the Angel's acid attack, and with their power supplies running low Asuka devises a plan to defeat it, placing herself in the most dangerous "offence" position during this. The plan works and Matarael is defeated, with Asuka regarding her debt to Shinji's earlier rescue repaid.
Asuka is irritated by Shinji's improving synchronization scores, though they remain behind her own. When Tokyo-3 is attacked from orbit by the 10th angel Sahaquiel, Misato orders all three Evangelions sortie in order to catch the Angel as it falls; Asuka openly disapproves of the reckless nature of the operation -- though puts on a show with Shinji afters Misato promises them a steak dinner. Before the operation begins, in response to his question, Asuka tells Shinji that she pilots her Evangelion to display her talents to the world. During Sahaquiel's attack, after Eva-01 catches the angel first, Eva-00 and Eva-02 arrive to dispatch it, with Asuka delivering the killing blow with her Prog knife. After the battle, when Shinji tells Misato that he pilots the Eva for his father's praise, Asuka regard this as a silly reason for piloting.
Asuka takes part in the tests with the simulation bodies in the Pribnow Box along with Shinji and Rei. During the tests, the 11th angel Ireul infiltrates the Pribnow Box and attacks, and Asuka and the other pilots are ejected. Nerv deals with the angel without using the Evangelions, while the pilots are left alone in their plugs for the duration, much to Asuka's irritation.
Asuka does not take part in the Eva cross-synch tests in Episode 14. When she asks why, Misato convinces her that she wouldn't want to pilot any other Eva but Eva-02 anyway -- though Misato does not tell her Eva-02 is not in fact interchangeable at all. After Eva-00's accident during the tests, Asuka wonders what kind of girl Rei really is.
Descent and Arael's mind invasion
While Misato and Kaji are out at a wedding, Asuka asks Shinji if he wants to kiss, claiming she is bored. Due to Asuka and Shinji's respective interpersonal difficulties the kiss does not go well, and despite her overt reaction, Asuka is secretly deeply disappointed by Shinji's awkward reaction. This disappointment is compounded when Asuka smells Misato's lavender perfume on Kaji after he brings her home. It is very possible that the failure of the kiss and the feeling of "losing" Kaji are among the primary factors that lead to her sync ratio and capacity as a pilot gradually decay, further increasing her anguish and making her issues more apparent.
Shortly before the attack of Leliel, Shinji surpasses Asuka in sync ratio, an event which leaves Asuka stewing in barely restrained anger. The battles of Bardiel and Zeruel both end for Asuka in her being defeated while being outshined by Unit 01, something which further erodes her confidence and sanity. Asuka also becomes increasingly aware and ultimately jealous of Shinji and Rei's close relationship, eventually expressing a perceived defeat to Rei when she spots her and Shinji having a casual conversation. Asuka also starts having increasingly frequent anger breakdowns, something which does not go unnoticed by Misato, who admits to Ritsuko that she considers placing Shinji and Asuka in separating housing.
When Arael attacks, Asuka and Eva-02 are trapped by a beam of light from the Angel which proceeds to invade Asuka's mind. Asuka is forced to confront her relationships with Kaji, Shinji, and with herself with devastating consequences. When Rei defeats the Angel with the Lance of Longinus, Asuka is recovered, Shinji tries hesitantly to comfort Asuka, but she is furious by having been saved by Rei, which is yet another perceived humiliation for her. In the aftermath of Arael's attack, Asuka avoids returning to the Katsuragi household for extended periods of time, instead staying at Hikari's house, where she does nothing but play video games all day.
The lingering effects of Arael psychic attack finally becomes apparent during the attack of Armisael. Asuka's sync ration by this point is so low that she is send out as backup for Rei, though only with the hope that Eva-02 might be able to act as a decoy. Asuka, however, is by this point so deeply depressed that she is unable to making the Eva move even in the slightest, necessitating her immediate retrieval from the field.
Later, Shinji informs Asuka about Kaji's death, which seems to be what finally pushes her over the edge and makes her run away from home (similar to Shinji in episode 4) only to be found naked and malnourished in an abandoned apartment by Nerv agents seven days later.
For her own safety, Asuka is interned in the Geofront's hospital, and placed under an artificial coma in hospital room 303.
The End of Evangelion
Shinji, in a stage of deep sorrow and depression over Kaworu's death at his hands, visits the sedated Asuka in the Geofront hospital, being too afraid to turn to Misato or Rei. He attempts desperately, but fruitlessly, to wake Asuka, and in his attempt he ends up ripping her shirt open and expose her breasts. He then goes on to masturbate to the sight.
When the JSSDF attack NERV, Misato realizes that Asuka will be a high-priority target for the invaders and has her placed inside Eva-02 on the bottom of the Geofront lake to keep her out of their reach. No longer sedated, Asuka eventually returns to consciousness and is surprised to find herself inside the Eva. Just then the JSSDF, having located the Eva, attempts an attack with depth charges, the explosions from which sends Asuka into a panic. Asuka starts repeatedly declaring that she refuses to die, and as she does so, she hears Kyoko's voice inside the Eva, telling her not to give up, and realises that her mother was inside the Evangelion all along and makes contact with her soul. A reinvigorated Asuka proceeds to reactivate the Eva, and rises from the lake engaging the the JSSDF force in battle and later defeat all of the Mass Production Evangelions single handedly. However, Eva-02 is eventually defeated when its power runs out and it is impaled through the left eye by a replica of the Lance of Longinus. The horde of Mass Production Evas, able to reactivate themselves with their S2 engines proceeds to brutally rip Eva-02 apart, with Asuka feeling all the pain. The Mass Production Evas eventually pauses their attack and takes to the skies, leaving a decrepit and mostly broken Eva-02 behind. Despite the pain and the state of Eva-02, Asuka manages through pure persistence and rage to force the Eva into berserk mode, as she determinedly reaches for the Mass Production Eva in the sky, swearing repeatedly she will kill them all. But in response, the Mass Production Evas each throw their replica spear into Eva 02, killing Asuka inside.
After Third Impact, during One More Final, Asuka ends up alongside Shinji on a beach, seemingly unconscious and with a bandaged right arm and left eye. Shinji starts to strangle her. However, Asuka stops him with a gentle caress of her hand across Shinji's cheek. Shinji begins to sob into her chest and after a few seconds she looks directly at him. She breaks the silence by simply saying "Kimochi warui." meaning "How disgusting." and the movie ends.
The series' creators have described Asuka as a girl "who seeks to put herself above all others": in the very first scene Asuka appears in, she is standing on the control tower of the aircraft carrier, physically standing high above the landing pad where Shinji, Misato & Co. exit their helicopter transport. This also occurs later in this same episode, when Asuka feels driven to show off Eva 02 to Shinji, and is compelled to stand on top of Eva-02 to look down on Shinji far below. Also, when Asuka initially finds Shinji and orders him to come see Eva-02 with her, she is standing at the top of an escalator he is riding.
As an Eva pilot
As a consequence of these needs, Asuka loves to pilot an Evangelion for the positive attention she receives, but beyond that, Asuka seems to have a genuine zest for piloting, because it makes her feel powerful. Asuka is so proud of being a pilot that she constantly wears her Interface Headset, even when in a swimming pool or at a hot springs bath. However, because Asuka does not pilot out of a pure warrior’s spirit, she is trapped in the same bind that Shinji Ikari is, of being unable to have an identity separate from an Evangelion.
Asuka is the character with the most consistent "color scheme" in the series. Her Plug suit, Interface Headset, Evangelion, and hair are all red. This might be meant to symbolize her temperamental, passionate personality or to solidify the sense of identity she needs from her Eva. This can be further supported by the fact that she is also the only Children whose number designation matches with her Evangelion's.
Asuka is so identified with piloting that the loss to Zeruel in Episode 19 devastates her. This, followed by a mind-rape from Arael that forced Asuka to relive childhood trauma, and then being rescued by Rei Ayanami, whom she despised, started a breakdown that lead to a nearly comatose state in which she cared about nothing.
Relationships with Other Characters
With her mother
After her contact experiment with Evangelion Unit-02, Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu went insane and eventually committed suicide. Before Kyoko killed herself, she would talk to a doll that she thought was Asuka and ask her daughter to die with her, as Asuka's father wanted neither of them. On the day she was chosen to be an Eva pilot, the young Asuka opened the door to see that Kyoko had hanged herself along with the doll. When her mother told Asuka that she was not wanted, and so should die with her, it might have been the impetus for Asuka’s entire teenage personality, as she certainly tries to make people "notice" her, and also to assert her independence and adulthood.
Much of Asuka's obsession with being seen as an adult and fear and hatred of dolls, also stems from her experiences with her mother. When Kyoko asked Asuka to die with her, Asuka, at the time, being both too young to fully understand what was asked of her and desperate for Kyoko to acknowledge her as her daughter, agreed to the request, begging Kyoko to be her mother again while doing so. It is obvious that Asuka has later come to realize the implications of Kyoko's request, and felt deeply disturbed and powerless about how easily and readily she agreed to it; how she at that very moment was her "mommy's doll", so obedient to and depended on another person that she was willing to give up her life without a second thought. As a result, Asuka has come to resent the idea of being so beholden to anyone again and has become obsessed with being an independent adult who thinks only for herself in order to shield herself from ever ending up in a similar situation again.
Asuka is somewhat attracted to Shinji Ikari, although the Asuka-Shinji relationship is less of a straight romantic relationship and more the deconstruction of one. Asuka initially dismissed Shinji in Episode 08 as "boring" and then saw him as competition because of all the praise he was getting. When she heard of his surprisingly high initial synch rate, from Kaji, she feels compelled to show off Eva-02 and its production model features, and then to demonstrate her prowess first hand by dragging Shinji into battle with her. Following this, Asuka developed a level of friendship with Shinji that lasted until Episode 15, when Shinji refused to give her the physical intimacy she desired and even more so in Episode 16, when Shinji's synch rate surpassed Asuka's and directly threatened her sense of self-worth as a human being.
Asuka also showed frustration with Shinji’s accepting nature and reflexive apologies, often arguing with him and using her "Anta baka?" catchphrase on him , but Asuka also flirted with Shinji and was extremely hurt when he didn’t respond and give her the attention she deeply desires. 
Episode 22 shows Asuka internally complaining about Shinji. "You won't do anything!" (After the "Wall of Jericho" sequence from Episode 09, in which Shinji didn’t take to her reverse psychology), "You won’t help me! (Shinji had actually saved Asuka from the volcano in Episode 10, but Asuka forgot about that) "You won’t even hold me!", (upset that Shinji didn't hold her while they kissed in Episode 15, although she was using Shinji as a substitute for Kaji). However, by the end of Episode 22, any romantic feelings that may have been between the two of them are lost, because Asuka is too deeply damaged by the attack and Shinji, traumatized by the events of the next two episodes, is left with only Asuka to go to for help despite being afraid of her.
Asuka’s relationship with Rei Ayanami is also strained. Though it starts with Asuka often mocking Rei, later in the series Asuka acts blatantly hostile towards her, likely reflecting Asuka’s own deteriorating level of control. But the motivation is the same in either case: Asuka hates Rei because she’s the opposite of everything Asuka has tried to be. This antithesis is also spelled out thematically though re-occurring motifs. When Asuka makes her first appearance, she is standing facing the "camera" silhouetted against the Sun behind her, just as Rei is often seen against the moon. In addition, Asuka’s blue eyes and red hair are the inverse of Rei Ayanami’s blue hair and red eyes.
Asuka also sees Rei as mechanical and doll-like because of her tendency to do anything she is ordered to. When confronted in Episode 22, Rei admits that, if ordered, she would kill herself, which sends Asuka into a frenzy because of her traumatic childhood experience with dolls.
It is made clear that Asuka views Misato as more a barricade stopping her from becoming an adult. She is constantly seen berating Misato for various things, ranging from her preferring Shinji to her messy apartment.
Asuka also shows jealousy for Misato's awkward relationship with Kaji. She expresses this to him before arriving in Tokyo-3 by dismissing her as boring, and is deeply disturbed when Kaji and Misato return in Episode 15, with Kaji smelling of Misato's lavender perfume.
Asuka tends to push people away, acting abrasive towards others if not snubbing them completely. She also tends to avoid relationships with boys of her own age (despite her popularity with them), possibly to enhance her own image of "maturity". For this same reason, Asuka prefers to chase after the adult Ryoji Kaji though he ignores her advances.
Episode 22 demonstrates that Asuka also tries to appear totally independent in order to distance herself from the sadness caused by her mother’s death, swearing that she would never cry again. Episode 25, however, reveals that Asuka really doesn’t want to be alone, that retreating from others didn’t cure her pain. Despite her outer strength, Asuka does not have inner happiness.
End of Evangelion
In Episode 25', Asuka appeared to have regained her power through contact with her mother’s soul, however, the extent of Asuka's control over Unit-02's actions is a matter of debate.
During pre-Third Impact Instrumentality, Asuka told Shinji that she knows how he masturbated by her bedside at the start of Episode 25', and told him to "Do it again like usual... I'll even stand here and watch." But she also said that if she couldn’t have Shinji all to herself, she didn’t want anything from him, indicating that she wanted to possess him utterly. In Pre-Instrumentality, Asuka also told Shinji to stay away--for all he ever did was hurt her--and accused him of only going to her for help because she was the person who would hurt him the least.
Although Asuka was the first person to return to human form after Shinji rejected Instrumentality, it was unclear why she did this. She may have been motivated by a strong will to live, or merely a desire not to be so close to others’ souls, as one of her lines towards Shinji in Pre-Instrumentality was, "But, if I have to be with you, I'd rather die!"
Despite wearing bandages that coincide with her final battle injuries in the final scene of The End of Evangelion, the fact Asuka was able to move her right arm and caress Shinji's cheek suggests she imagined herself in her own heart as healed. Asuka caressing Shinji's cheek is a noted as a sign that she may have changed for the better.
In Other Media
"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
Apart from having a different shade of hair color (more of a strawberry blonde), Asuka's personality and origins are vastly different from those seen in the anime. In the manga she is a test-tube baby, proud of being "The product of an elite sperm and an elite egg". She is also trained in the martial arts, and single-handedly beats up a group of thugs who threaten her and Shinji. Her family situation is also different- the issue of her father, Langley, is never brought up, but as in the anime, she does want her mother's attention and love. She was actually throttled by her dysfunctional mother, and later "reenacts" this with Shinji when hospitalized.
Unlike the anime, where Shinji develops romantic feelings for her very quickly, Sadamoto's Shinji thinks of Asuka as "a real bitch", and his relationship with her is one of with a disagreeable coworker but gradually evolves into something of a friend, with romantic feelings hinted toward the end. Similar to the anime, when they first meet in the manga, Shinji calls her "Soryu", and later "Asuka", her first name implying a greater degree of intimacy. However, after Kaworu's death, Shinji comes to visit Asuka in the hospital, similar to The End of Evangelion. He confesses his need for Asuka, saying, "The Asuka I want to protect isn't this empty shell!" She wakes up from her sedated state after this, and begins to choke Shinji, screaming about how she "hates everyone."
In Rebuild of Evangelion
- Going by Asuka's birthday, she is actually 13 for the majority of the series, as opposed to 14 (the "official age" for Eva pilots). Curiously enough, her age is provided as 14 in official materials, even, in some instances, right in juxtaposition with her birthday (e.g., Evangelion Chronicle)!
- In Episode 08, Asuka's voice actress, Yuko Miyamura, noticeably struggles to pronounce Asuka's extended piece of German dialogue as she is starting up Eva-02. The English voice actress for Asuka, Tiffany Grant, quickly recites the German startup list much more fluidly. Aside from the fact that Tiffany Grant speaks German in real life, English and German are fairly closely related languages, while German is entirely alien to a speaker of Japanese. In the original Japanese track, Asuka actually speaks German only at two distinct points in the entire series: in Episode 08 when Asuka recites Eva 02's startup checklist, and later in Episode 22 when she has a phone conversation in German with her stepmother. For the English dub, Tiffany Grant (aided by her ability to speak German in real life) inserted many German words and phrases into Asuka's dialogue throughout the series.
- Theories float around on whether or not Asuka tried to kill herself, taking note the red surrounding her.
- She tells Shinji of this in Episode 10.
- Characters in the Japanese writing system that are borrowed from Chinese and represent words, as opposed to hiragana and katakana, which represent syllables.
- Platinum Vol 2 Episode Commentary. Retrieved 2011/03/03.
- "Anta baka?" becomes a trademark line delivered by Asuka, and is such a fan favorite that her voice actress often includes the phrase when signing autographs or when giving TV interviews. The best translation is "Are you stupid?". Throughout the series and End of Evangelion, "Anta baka" is said 14 times, "baka" by itself is said 8 times and "baka Shinji" ("Stupid Shinji") is said 9 times.
- See Theory and Analysis:Shinji and Asuka's Relationship for more details.
- See the locker full of ignored love letters in Episode 09.
|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|