Asuka and Shinji (Relationship)

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Shinji is attracted to Asuka, though the reasoning for this is not explicitly stated. He may simply find her attractive, which at their age with puberty could be the only reason. However, it might be that her bullying sometimes causes Shinji to bite back at her, and he views Asuka, in a strange fashion, as a source of strength, one that he misses when Asuka is laid low by her encounter with Arael. However, the only times Shinji directly expresses his feelings for Asuka are when he tried to kiss her as she slept,[1], when he masturbated at the accidental exposure of the then-comatose girl's breasts[2], and in the Ep. 26' Pre-instrumentality sequence when he says "I want to help you somehow and be with you forever".[3]