Shinji and Asuka's Relationship

From EvaWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Asuka Langley Soryu is only introduced in episode 8 and drastically changes the tone of the narrative. Her appearance is what the fanbase marks as the separation between the first story arc, Introduction Arc (episodes 1-6), and the second, Action Arc (8-14). ref>Episode 7, Jet Alone’s, is interpreted as a transition episode.</ref>

Her interactions with Shinji soon become a point of constant tension, implying closeness and feelings of hate, anger and jealousy. Thus, it is up to the viewer to critically analyze their motivations and explore the unspoken side of their actions.

The purpose of this article is to make an in-depth analysis of the aspects that permeate this relationship, its evolution, nuances and parallels with other characters, in order to find an answer to the questions raised by the fanbase over the years.

A Couple?

The show never presents them as some kind of "official couple". Actually, what the series usually does is use these characters to explore themes related to affection, sexuality and human interactions in general.

Shinji and Asuka deal with the world and themselves in unique ways and at times this leads to conflict, both at home and at work. Misato sees this and decides it's better for them to live together. This, in turn, leads to chaotic moments, as their relationship perfectly depicts the Hedgehog's Dilemma, which is one of the show's central pillars.

Some of their scenes together incorporate elements of romantic comedy, following the pattern established in the Action Arc of reducing the story's dramatic curve in favor of a bittersweet narrative, with Asuka assuming a position of comic relief underpinned by her “difficult personality”. However, even with this apparent toughness, her weaknesses eventually become apparent and Shinji is able to see ways approach her and build a tolerable friendship. To strengthen this "romantic comedy" vibe, the show introduces scenes in which the two of them find themselves in funny and disastrous situations.

An example would be in Episode 09. Misato has momentarily substituted Rei for Asuka in the synchro-attack training and Rei aces it the first try. After Asuka runs from the room Hikari says to Shinji: "Go after her! You made a girl cry!".

The scene has a romantic comedy content to Hikari's speech, as it implies Shinji's responsibility for Asuka's reaction, since a boy cannot disappoint a girl, even if the fault is not directly his, according to the trope.

The classmates always know first

The pause in the second image before they deny their relationship typically shows that Toji's observation is correct. They are quarreling like a married couple.

This is also supported in a more subtextual manner via clever use of cuts during important moments to establish a parallel between the Shinji and Asuka relationship and that of Misato and Kaji. In episode 11 both pairs end up in compromising positions. And, while Shinji and Asuka come to a turning a point (the kiss in Episode 15), at the very same time, Misato and Kaji are able to rekindle their relationship and enjoy brief intimacy. However, this is not the case between Shinji and Asuka. They both tend to pull away after this kiss, and Asuka starts having bigger problems with her self-confidence, which affects not only her relationship with Shinji, but all the other characters as well.

As stated earlier, Shinji and Asuka differ in their ways of dealing with situations, but they also have their counterparts in terms of thought and the kind of traumas they have, making them two sides of the same coin: equal, but opposites, and this duality is played along during their interactions of the show.

Having lost their mothers at an early age and the subsequent neglect by their fathers, both experienced very similar trauma, but developed opposite defence mechanisms, as they are too afraid of being abandoned again. Namely, while Shinji runs away from people and isolates himself in order to avoid intimacy and the risk of rejection and to always stay in his comfort zone, Asuka pushes them away from her with arrogance and abrasiveness, trying to cultivate a false image of herself that keeps her from facing reality.

Therefore, miscommunication is always present in their interactions towards each other. Shinji is unable to get closer to Asuka because he is paralyzed by inaction and his incapacity to understand other feelings and Asuka isn't able to get closer to Shinji in a proper way because she is also afraid and her way to interact with the world and avoid suffering is to always communicate in dubious or angry ways.

From this perspective, it can be said that Asuka uses Shinji as a tool to achieve her goals with Misato, Kaji, and other adults. On the other hand, she also insists on denying him as someone close enough, or even similar to her. As a defense mechanism for her own trauma, she insists on presenting herself as aloof from Shinji's issues and indifferent to his problems, becoming more hostile to him as he starts to surpass her synchronization rates and manages win crucial battles while she is failing. However, under that façade, she also seems to have genuine concern about him and also high expectations as she wants him to take initiative, and later, notice her and give her some affection, as it is shown in episode 22 and also in the movie The End of Evangelion.

Also, regarding Shinji, while he displays early obvious physical attraction to Asuka – trying to kiss her during the last night of the synchronization training in Episode 9, blushing and trying to hide an erection in the running gag of “thermal expansion” in Episode 10 – and even presents some unusual behavior of confrontation and friendly rivalry towards Asuka’s remarks and teasing, Shinji is still oblivious about how to interact with Asuka and other people, seeking help from Kaji in that matter (episode 17). However, after the events of the latter part of the show starts to happen, Shinji once again got retracted into his own shell, basically losing all of the character development that he achieved during the show in terms of interacting with other people, as his usual quiet and passive approach to those matters weren’t enough anymore, especially towards Asuka.

Two sides of the same coin

Having faced similar trauma in their childhood, Shinji and Asuka develop opposite defense mechanisms.

Finally, they are the only two characters present in the final scene of End of Evangelion, as their interactions there are emblematic of the themes of the story coming full-circle, especially throughout this movie. Interestingly, a definitive answer to the initial question is not given, being left open, accompanying the enigmatic feelings that accompany the entire memorable final sequence.

Nonetheless, the ending waves to the fact that they have gone through a process of growth and change, and that accepting each other is part of a better future. Despite its ambiguity, the ending is still very optimistic for them, reflecting feelings valid for all humanity.

In-depth analysis

Episode 8

Here begins our analysis, in the episode that introduces the character to the series. Asuka Langley Soryu, the representative of Nerv 3rd Branch, in Germany, with her Eva-02. Asuka has her first contact with the characters from the moment they arrive on the battleship that transports her. Misato brought Shinji and his two schoolmates, Kensuke Aida and Toji Suzuhara. to accompany shipping. Her first reaction is to impose herself in front of the visitors, stepping on top of Toji's flying cap and slapping all three boys for seeing her panties because of the wind. At that moment, her need to impose dominance in front of others becomes clear, and she presents negative stimuli and rejection even when the boys are not responsible for what happened.

She then sets out to find out who Third Children is, and, with the first impression being that this would be Toji, is somewhat disappointed to discover that it is Shinji, who looks quite vulnerable at first sight. Later on, the episode introduces Ryoji Kaji, Asuka's ex-guardian and for whom she shows a great admiration, if not a platonic passion. However, it is soon revealed that Kaji had a past with Misato, which embarrasses both Asuka and Shinji. It is during an exchange between the two that Asuka learns about Shinji's surprisingly high synchronization, first saying she is not impressed, she then resolves to establish initial contact with him to compare their abilities, and demonstrate her high operational and technical knowledge of the Evangelions. What should have been just a demonstration of dominance on the part of Asuka turns out to be a real battle, due to the appearance of Gaghiel. Asuka again uses the situation to test his abilities in front of Shinji, and even forces him to use his plugsuit and try to speak German. At all times, she wants to demonstrate in control of the situation, and that she has a greater potential than Shinji, because she is trained and has a more advanced Evangelion model. She reluctantly ends up accepting some of Shinji's initiatives during the battle, so that their joint effort manages to defeat the enemy. However, she never easily accepts his words, and is especially annoyed to see him try to pilot her Eva. Her delimitation of space and ownership is also part of the concepts she clings to to demarcate her strong and dominant personality. With these elements, the episode efficiently marks some of the main points of Asuka's behavior.

In the end, when the boys thought they had gotten rid of the character, it is revealed that she was enrolled in the same class as them, establishing that new fruits of this relationship would develop.

Asuka is Not Impressed
"Pleased to meet you...NOT"
You’re telling me that I lost to this puppy?
Asuka Shows off Eva-02.

Episode 9

Following her introduction, and being the first episode in the traditional setting, this chapter sets out the changes that Asuka brings to the environment with her dwelling, and the impacts it has on the relationships among the characters.

As previously revealed, Asuka now attends Shinji's school. At school, his presence is highlighted. Being a foreign and beautiful girl, she draws the attention of many boys, and is the result of the curiosity of the entire school community. Despite this, she treats everything as mere formalism or irritation, and just concentrates on establishing dominance over Shinji (greeting him in German with "Guten Morgen" and waiting for an answer in the same language) and trying to establish contact with Rei. Shinji, for on the other hand, he acts with some discomfort, feeling his space invaded by this strange presence, but still trying to be friendly, as if out of obligation.

The first fight of the episode, against the angel Israfel, turns out to be a quick loss. Asuka and Shinji are employed together, but she proceeds to charge the opponent on her own, forcing Shinji to cover her, with the sole purpose of proving to him and everyone else her superiority. Her rash decision leads them both to a defeat when the angel proves capable of duplicating itself. After the battle, Shinji is nervous, trying to counteract Asuka warning about the recklessness of her behavior, which causes an argument between them, as Asuka does not accept that Shinji has control or dominant position over the environment or the battle strategies, either because he is inexperienced, or because she is much more qualified. The two of them are interrupted by receiving an earful from Fuyutsuki. That’s when Misato decides to make them train to reach better synchronization with each other, and they start living together.

Misato's decision is based on the idea that, by living together and learning to share space, objects and daily life, the two will be able to improve their synchronicity during combat operations, and probably also learn to deal with their differences in temperament. At a certain point, both are even obliged to wear the same clothes, so that the synchronization is done as accurately as possible.

Their training, which is basically a dance game, is watched by Hikari, Toji, Kensuke and Rei, as well as Misato. The result is disastrous, and Asuka says she is unable to do so because of Shinji. Misato then asks Rei to try in place of Asuka, which results in a perfect synchronization. The situation reverses for Asuka, showing that she was the one who was out of sync. With the shock of reality, she runs away, disappointed. Hikari pities her and blames Shinji for hurting her feelings, saying that he should go after her. Talking alone with Shinji, Asuka expresses anger towards Misato and Rei, saying that she must overcome them as a matter of pride, and that Shinji doesn't understand this, even though he is a man. Shinji looks at her in confusion, but smiles when he sees her efforts. The next days, the training proceeds smoothly, with the two having seemingly succeded in finding coordination.

The evening before the fight, Asuka and Shinji are left alone at home by Misato. After hinting at them being alone for the night, Asuka, without giving Shinji the opportunity to respond, proceeds to take her futon away from the living room bringing it to Misato's room and shutting the door. She then compares said door to the "unbreakable Walls of Jericho", ordering Shinji not to enter. This scene in question will be later referenced by the mind-violation sequence in episode 22, implying that in fact she would like some comfort in the face of the anxiety of the upcoming battle. However, her inability to accept the idea of relying on others pushed her to shut herself inside Misato's room instead of seeking Shinji's company. This being said, the "Walls of Jericho" could then be a reference to Asuka needing someone to push through her barriers and truly understand her. The events of that night strengthen this argument. Asuka, sleepwalking, goes to the bathroom, and then, instead of returning to the next room, she lies down next to Shinji. Shinji follows everything awake, as he was listening to music (not wanting to wake up or get Asuka's attention, he pretends to be asleep). Shinji is stunned at her for a moment and ends up trying to kiss her, only to then be interrupted by Asuka crying and calling for her mother. He then realizes that she also keeps demons for herself.

In any case, the battle of the next day proves to be a victory, as they succeed in reaching harmony through the training. However, the timing was not perfect, with them failing to land. The two fight and exchange accusations at the end of the episode, with Asuka alluding to last night's episode but later denying it. Shinji is again irritated by Asuka's pretension to him. This moment demonstrates that their relationship has not yet been harmonized, as the internal barriers of each one bar a true and sincere approach.


Asuka pretends to be fine, leaving Shinji alone in the living room. In truth she had been feeling lonely and in need of company.

Episode 10

This episode deals with some peculiarities of Shinji and Asuka's relationship with Misato, and their behavior in relation to everyday variables. The two kids won't be able to attend the school trip, as pilots have to be ready for emergencies. Taking note of this, Asuka expresses her disappointment and tries to get Shinji to support her. Shinji, on the other hand seems to be resigned, and to have already foreseen this situation. Asuka mokes him for his passive behavior, again expressing displeasure about his (lack of) masculinity.

As a consolation for not being able to go on the school trip, the three pilots (including Rei) go to the swimming pool. There, Asuka tries to get Shinji's attention, and starts a conversation about his homework. She manages to resolve it easily, and reveals that she just has difficulty reading the kanji. She is already graduated, although she is in the same class as Shinji.[1]. During this interaction, she even starts provoking him with her swimsuit, explaining to him the basics of thermal expansion using her breasts as an example. Shinji detours, embarrassed, and Asuka is once again frustrated by her lack of initiative. At this point, it's clear that Asuka would like to see a little more interest from Shinji. His constant passivity leaves her with no room for validation of her personality. Later, she proceeds to call for Shinji's attention again as she dives in the swimming pool. Shinji just sighs, looking rather frustrated with Asuka's constant initiatives.

Asuka then volunteers to fight Sandalphon in a volcano. For this, she needs special clothing to withstand the heat. Resistant at first, she accepts the mission, only to not let Rei pass in front of her. It's also worth noting that she's also afraid that Kaji will see her in this kind of embarrassing situation, considering that she shows interest in him as an adult role model whose involvement might make her look grown up too, but just as uncomfortable would it be to stand behind a person she judges unfit, like Rei Ayanami.

At the mission location, Asuka begins to be submerged, and Misato orders her to do so at levels critical to her well-being. At this point, it is clear that Misato also has her agenda in front of the angels, and that, as much as she may have some affection for the children, she understands their role as tools for that purpose. Asuka then begins combat as the angel, having difficulties after taking critical damage in the safety cables. She then appears to accept her end. However, Shinji, without hesitation, comes to her rescue in Eva-01, despite it not being fitted with protective equipment, and grabs Eva-02 before it can drift away. At first completely surprised at Shinji's rescue, Asuka quickly gathers herself enough to make a token attempt at keeping up appearances, quietly calling Shinji a "fool" and a "show-off", but her expression plainly shows her being grateful, smiling at his act. This moment makes it clear how Shinji would not easily accept a person's discard, even though he has mixed feelings about Asuka and her attitude in this point of the story. In any case, this was one of the incentives Asuka sought in Shinji, and it certainly pleased her that he decided to act at such a crucial moment, where her life was at risk. Similar moments will appear in the future, but the characters' actions will drastically diverge, based on their mental state or mundane and operational conditions.

Episodes 11 to 14

These episodes are focused on the more traditional structure of Monster-of-the-Week, and, because of that, they keep a slightly more linear formula, without major deviations for character development. That said, the interactions that exist between the pilots in these episodes add one or two noteworthy highlights.

On episode 11, Asuka tries to establish a leadership role over the other two pilots, but has little success with this as Rei, even being quiet and expressionless, manages to handle the situation much more successfully than her. Shinji, in this situation, stands between two girls and tries not to antagonize either of them, as he’s already being used to Asuka's bossy profile. Fortunately, they are successful in putting together a strategy in the face of the threat of the angel Matarael, which demonstrates value in Asuka's ideas, although they can often be misled by her inconvenient personality.

Episode 12 demonstrates Shinji doing well on the sync tests, which annoys Asuka deeply, as she feels like she's being left behind. Shinji, on the other hand, is embarrassed to make Asuka so angry, as he doesn't want to be a bother to anyone. A party is organized at Misato's house due to her promotion, which Kaji attends, and makes Asuka angrier even more out of jealousy.

When they go to battle, the pilots learn about the high danger of the mission, given the nature of the angel. Misato promises them to eat meat, in which Shinji and Asuka feign excitement, but later comment on how silly it was. Heading into the fight, the two talk about the reason for piloting the Evangelions, as Asuka comments on her desire to be the best. She is surprised that Shinji has already talked about it with Rei before, commenting on it. Anyway, she just comments on how simple they are in their desires. After winning the battle, everyone goes to eat meat as promised, and Shinji is deeply pleased to have been congratulated by his father, to which Asuka comments what an idiot he is. At this point, it's already noticeable how Asuka is somewhat envious of Shinji's merits and personality (and a bit of Rei as well), and so tends to downplay it or get defensive. Anyway, they already act with greater confidence among themselves and it can be said that they nurture a certain friendship.

Her behavior in the next two episodes also hints at that mood, with little comments about Shinji's growth and Rei's nature.

Episode 15

This episode changes everything. From this point on, Asuka's personality is no longer just a caricature and becomes something solid, which causes her pain and suffering, although it is also her support in dealing with others.

Asuka starts out calling Kaji, pretending to be at risk, just to get his attention. The lack of an answer leaves her disappointed, and she sees it as an indication of her estrangement and the loss of a safe haven (remembering that Kaji was her then guardian until they moved to Japan). Hikari then asks her to go on a blind date, which she agrees to. However, the date proves to be a failure and Asuka dumps the guy because she deems him "boring". She doesn't show any remorse about leaving her date alone, saying she only cares about Kaji’s reactions.

When Asuka gets back home, she finds Shinji playing the cello, in which she compliments him. Shinji, however, diminishes his own ability and says that he only keeps playing because no one asked him to stop, to which Asuka comments jokingly, almost as if in a pitying tone.

Misato calls to say that she will be late from the wedding party she was at. Shinji reacts naturally, but upon learning the fact, Asuka is very upset, especially because of the company of Kaji. She feels betrayed that he is paying more attention to his ex-girlfriend than to her. Scenes of a re-engagement between Misato and Kaji are shown, and then, as a parallel, the children are shown. As the two are waiting for Misato's return, Asuka asks Shinji to kiss, because she is bored, she says. Shinji, as usual with Asuka, tries to assume a dominant pose, as if wanting to awaken a "manhood" that she charges him with. The kiss, however, is rather chaotic, with Shinji holding his breath so as not to disturb Asuka, and thus not having any corresponding attitude in the act. Asuka looks down and runs to the bathroom, whereupon she shouts that she will never kiss again to pass the time.

The moment, however, takes on new meanings when analyzing the scenes present in the director's cut of episode 22, which revisits the moment. There, it is shown that Asuka was seeking some correspondence from Shinji for affection and support, as Kaji's figure was far away. Kaji was supposed to set up as a father figure for Asuka, but she takes advantage of his image to model herself as an adult, and tries to force some closer relationship to show herself as superior and well-developed. Kaji's constant denials in Japan make her fall into disillusionment with him, and only Shinji remains, who, despite having values and personality quite different from hers, is someone close and worthy of some admiration, as he has good results piloting the Evangelion and a justification she understands, although she denies it (acceptance by others, through Evangelion, is the reason for both, but Asuka covers it up with a layer of self-promotion, while Shinji is legitimate in saying he just wants to be accepted and praised).

The duality of the scene makes it apparent how Asuka hides many of her true feelings, and that Shinji is too passive to try to understand her any better, accepting her negative response as if it were natural, and as if it is beyond his power to change that. Asuka is unable to tell the truth for fear of rejection, and Shinji is unable to think beyond words, accepting suggestions as if they were orders and never imposing his will. The two, therefore, suffer in silence, and hurt each other by deflecting the truth that they could help each other if they were sincere.

When Kaji finally arrives home with Misato, Asuka quickly puts up a smile and tries to get him to spend some time with her, in yet another failed attempt to regain your attention. However, she smells Misato's perfume on his jacket and realizes something happened between them. Immediately letting go of him, she freezes up. Shinji, who was observing the scene, notices from Asuka's expression that something is wrong and inquires to her well being, only to have her irately blame their kiss as the cause of her pain, before she runs off to her room. Asuka is totally unable to tell the truth and express her displeasure. As seen, Asuka's behavior is cyclical. It starts with a rejection, she lies to hide the feeling, then gets rejected again, and ends with another lie.

In the Newtype Film Book Volume 5, there is the following comment about the scene: "Why does Asuka want to kiss Shinji? Even assuming she was spiteful of Kaji, one doesn't understand the real underlying motive. After the kiss, Asuka states: "I did it just to kill time." She yells, as if to make Shinji perceive it and to confirm it to herself, as if she wants to hide some embarrassment"[2].

From that moment on, the relationship of the two characters, and especially Asuka's mental state, only tends to wither away, which will result in serious consequences for both characters.

Misunderstood Intentions

Shinji believes Asuka's lie that her kiss was just to relieve boredom, but once again in Ep. 22 we find it meant a lot more.

Episode 16

This episode will show excerpts from Asuka's frustrations with Shinji's steady growth and success in missions, as well as the effect of recent events on Shinji's self-esteem. The opening scene takes place at Misato's place, where Asuka becomes irritable and Shinji has the immediate reaction of apologizing, which generates a reaction of animosity from Asuka. Misato defends Shinji's behavior, and Asuka says she's being too soft on him, and blames the fact that she's dating Kaji for it. She leaves the scene saying she is disgusted with both of them.

The sync tests again show Shinji improving on the tests, this time beating Asuka. Misato congratulates him, which makes him very happy. Asuka is shown to be quite annoyed by this fact. She tries to talk the matter over with Rei, seeking some support, but is ignored, which also frustrates her with Rei's constant indifferentism.

This constant defeats, from Kaji to Misato, from Shinji not living up to her expectations, and the synchronization test, deeply shake Asuka's ego, as she is losing the elements that supported her self-esteem. She is running out of options on how to validate herself as a useful and competent person, and feels left behind.

During the fight against Leliel, Asuka adopts a sarcastic posture, pointing out that Shinji can handle the situation well enough, as he is the leader of the tests. To her surprise, Shinji accepts the challenge, being covered in confidence. Shinji takes the lead, assuming a macho posture (exactly as Asuka charged him previously), this time weaving negative comments from Asuka and Misato, while Ritsuko is amazed at his sudden maturation. However, his reckless attitude results in him falling into the angel's trap. Shinji despairs, asking Misato for help. Asuka runs to try to rescue him, commenting that it's no use doing well in the sync results if you keep doing poorly in battles. However, as the angel progresses, she and Rei are forced to withdraw.

During the time that Shinji is absorbed, Asuka adopts an acting stance, making snide remarks about how his overconfidence only led to this situation. Such comments annoy Rei, who tries to extract from her the reason for piloting the Eva, in which she reinforces that she is only doing it for self-validation. Misato assures Asuka that she will scold Shinji when he returns.

From Shinji's perspective, we are shown the way Leliel uses it to communicate with the pilot. He enters Shinji's psyche through his memories and adopting his childlike figure. As it will become usual in the series, we are shown the train scenario. There, Shinji is invaded by thoughts about his motivations and his relationship with his father. He also has visions of Asuka reminding him of his self-deprecating thoughts, as if agreeing with this statement.

Finally, with the help of his mother, he manages to break free from Leliel's prison, being released thanks to Eva-01's Berserk. The vision of the Evangelion destroying the angel from within torments everyone watching the scene, especially Asuka, who is terrified by the fact that she is piloting such a horrifying weapon.

With Shinji's safe return, Misato hugs him in tears and relief, to which Asuka enviously comments "Weren’t you going to scold him?". At the hospital, Shinji receives Rei's visit, and as she leaves, we notice that Asuka was hiding behind the door. Shinji laughs as he realizes that she cares for him too, and is just too resistant to showing it openly.

Episodes 17 and 18

These two episodes focus on preparations for integrating the Fourth Children and the surrounding characters' reaction to the flow of information. Especially, Toji Suzuhara, the chosen child, has a lot of prominence, and certain scenes serve to extract parallels and reactions from Asuka and Shinji.

At the beginning of the episode 17, Shinji and Asuka have an argument in the classroom over the lunch, in which Toji compares them to a married couple, eliciting laughter from the class. The two are embarrassed and deny it, adding yet another romantic comedy tone to the characters' relationship.

Afterwards, Asuka takes another lunge at Kaji, trying to force herself close to him, playing the good girl. Kaji, however, doesn't pay much attention, being more concerned about his work. Asuka doesn't give up easily and clings to Kaji, irritating him. At this point, she looks at the computer screen and discovers the identity of the Fourth Children, having a reaction of surprise and fury that takes her out of the guise of a good girl.

Perhaps it's interesting to say that, in parallel to Asuka's turmoil of chaotic feelings, and Shinji's constant resentment, Toji and Hikari have a somewhat healthy approach in these two episodes, coming together through legitimate concern and sincere dialogue, showing that both they have personalities that allow them to be more assertive about their needs. This is one of the few examples of a healthy relationship that we see in the show, and it is interesting that it appears and develops after the failed attempts between Shinji and Asuka.

In episode 18, it is revealed that Asuka is avoiding Misato, out of jealousy over her approach to Kaji. Misato is well aware of this fact and shields Shinji from further information. Considering the recent events, it can be said that Asuka also notices Misato's preference for Shinji, which also distances her from the guardian.

A little later, after class, Asuka is talking to Hikari, proving to be avoiding Shinji as well. She criticizes the fact that Shinji is so dense and clueless about everything that's going on around him, showing herself to be quite affected by it, especially after they kissed. In particular, the kiss seems to have been proof to Asuka that Shinji is an idiot for complete lack of awareness of how to relate to people.

Finally at home, the two will have Kaji's company tonight, as Misato is out on account of the new Eva’s arrival. Asuka and Shinji show aloofness, Shinji tries to start a conversation, talking about the new pilot, and Asuka then realizes that Shinji doesn't know his identity yet. She thinks for a moment, and decides not to tell Shinji, in order to preserve him. Kaji then enters the room, and Asuka expresses how happy she should be that he's there tonight, but she can't feel anything. It is noticeable, therefore, that Kaji's constant withdrawal has affected Asuka, and that she also feels divided as to what to think of Shinji, both angering his limitation and preserving him from further suffering. Asuka sounds annoyed that Toji is the new pilot because she doesn't want to compete with another one of the kids, especially someone she has such an unpleasant relationship with. Part of this may also be concern given Toji's proximity to Hikari and Shinji himself. Lying down, Shinji and Kaji talk about relationships, whereupon he asks about Misato. Kaji kindly explains his point of view, in which Shinji shows frustration at not being able to understand how relationships between people work.

During the Evangelion activation operation, Bardiel contamination is revealed, leaving Toji trapped inside the Unit. The pilots are called into battle, in which Shinji is quite wary of attacking, knowing there is someone else on the other side. Asuka tries to tell the truth, but is attacked before she can. Shinji doesn't react during the entire fight, afraid to attack, then forcing Gendo to activate the Dummy Plug, which violently defeats the enemy. Shinji finds himself heartbroken at the end of the episode, realizing that he is too far away to understand his father or any other people around him. Misato tries to ask for forgiveness, but is interrupted when Shinji finally discovers the truth, and screams in despair.

Episodes 19 and 20

Shinji is enraged by the events of the previous episode, and is sedated as a security measure. At the hospital, he lies in bed next to Toji. Asuka and Rei stand outside, and Asuka comments that he probably won't recover from what happened.

Hikari is sitting next to Toji's bed and when he wakes up she shows a tsundere attitude, probably influenced by being walking with Asuka. She denies being worried about him, even though her physical presence and her confession to Asuka proves otherwise. Hikari and Toji, interestingly, play a role they both delegate to Asuka and Shinji in previous episodes: that of a couple. Whether Hikari and Toji saw Asuka and Shinji as a couple, or were they just playing with the closeness between the two, the fact is that they themselves absorbed this dynamic and became closer to each other.

Shinji decides to abandon his role as pilot, and leave Tokyo-3. During his departure, however, an angel attack begins, and he is forced to move around in search of safety. Chaotically, he watches Asuka and Rei fight and being easily defeated. He comes across Kaji in a hedonistic posture, Kaji encourages him to think about his role in the world and the things he can do. He then decides to pilot again, defeating the angel in pure fury. This, however, awakens Eva-01, and as a consequence, he is absorbed into the Unit. The next episode explores the fruits of that experience.

Episode 20 bears huge similarities to the scenes shown in the second part of EoE, Episode 26'. It is a first look of what instrumentality would be: an intrapersonal analysis, without the presence of physical bodies, where the mind has free movement between memories, desires and thoughts.

Yet, in the outside world, the characters deal with the consequences of Shinji's absorption. Asuka looks pretty confused. She is furious that Misato calls to let her know Rei is okay, and laments that she couldn't do anything against the angel. Again, frustration grows inside her at being overcome by Shinji. Her self-hatred begins to show up.

In Shinji's world, reflections on the people he knows begin to emerge. He is confused as to who his enemy really is: the angels or his father. More, he reflects on his relationship with the women in his life: Rei, Misato and Asuka. His relentless pursuit of acceptance and congratulation, and lack of pleasing answers. He has sexually suggestive visions, wondering if this is the kind of recognition he wants. He wants to become one with these women, wants to join his body and mind with them, so that perhaps he can understand and be understood. In EoE, Shinji will describe his relationship with women as chaotic due to their ambiguity. Ambiguous, however, is also the kind of recognition he seeks, being mixed between feelings of maternal affection and repressed sexuality.

His relationship with Asuka over the last few episodes is concrete proof of this: he has advances and relapses, not knowing what to do about her. He tried to kiss her, then he didn't kiss her back, he saved her, but he didn't try to build a friendship. His fights with her were based more on incompatibility with her morals than a need to impose his point of view. When he got tired, however, he stopped fighting, and resigned himself to it, but left it that way. Asuka shows aggression, jealousy and envy towards him, but he doesn't look for the reason, feels guilty and tries to disappear. When he disappears, however, they need him. Shinji doesn't understand people, and he doesn't understand his own needs. That way he can't grow.

Attempts to rescue Shinji from inside Eva-01 are flawed, as he appears to be in acceptance with the world he finds himself in. His mother finally reveals herself, and he seems to have an insight into the role he wants to play in the world, so he finally returns to the material world.

Episode 22’

An entire episode dedicated to Asuka. Here, we will watch her downfall, resulting from the whole psychic process she was going through, until reaching her exhaustion in the fight against the angel, which leaves her with deep scars.

The episode opens with a flashback of Asuka and Kaji arriving in Japan. They are lying down looking at the night sky. Asuka strikes up a conversation with a worried Kaji, anticipating the risks he will face. Kaji tries to cheer Asuka up by saying that she will meet new people in Japan, and make new relationships. Asuka then says she's not interested in boys her age. She rolls over to the body and says she only loves him. Kaji ignores the girl's initiatives, as she says she's ready to kiss and "the stuff after that". Kaji's answer is simple: "you are still a child", to which Asuka protests opening her dress, trying to show a developed body, which, in fact, she doesn't have. Flashes of scenes from later episodes are shown, followed by a torn doll in the neck, stained with drops of blood.

These opening scenes present the sexual tension that Asuka goes through. Her sexuality begins to mature and she associates this with growing up, becoming an adult. Given her role in the world, she had the need to seek a certain maturity from an early age, and she associates this with also validating herself as an adult, given the independence that this gives, overcoming the stage of total dependence of a child on the their parents. Kaji is a guardian figure for Asuka, supposed to function as her father, but she denies that role, refusing the idea of being treated like someone dependent. She really wants to be validated as an adult, to have all her suffering accepted as a condition for her rapid growth. She does not fully understand the tensions involved in the “adult world”, such as sexuality and professional and hierarchical commitments, so she refers to the next stages after kissing as "stuff after that", expressing exactly her naivete about the topic. Kaji is fully aware of the kind of affection Asuka wants to build with him, but ignores it, encouraging her to pursue interests typical of her age. After the flash of images, the decapitated doll is shown, revealing the origin of Asuka's traumas. [3]

The next flashback shows her childhood, the illness and then early death of her mother, her father's new wife, and how she resolves to close herself off to all the pain. We are then shown that she was thinking about these themes during a sync test, and that her results are dropping dramatically. Asuka's constant defeats seem to be bringing her back to bad memories, as a way of reminding her why she does what she does. However, the result is just more pressure on her shoulders, which is wearing her down.

At the station, Asuka is trying to call Kaji (who was killed in Episode 21) when she sees Shinji and Rei talking on the other side. She is upset that being trapped in Eva for a month hasn't changed Shinji's usual behavior. Perhaps, she wanted to see that he also suffers, and is affected by the burdens of the situations they face. Shinji always seems to accept everything with the same expression. Asuka cannot visualize the different way in which he handles his burden and she feels even further behind him, being she tormented by the past.

At home, Misato, Shinji and Asuka eat in silence, being mentally distant from each other. Everyone has something to deal with. The phone rings, and Asuka refuses to answer, believing it to be a call from Kaji to Misato, which she denies. Shinji decides to answer it, in which he hands the phone to Asuka, saying it’s her mother. She picks up the phone violently, and when she answers, she changes her attitude and language, speaking a friendly German. The two speak for a long time, which Shinji watches intently, seeming considerate of Asuka's well-being, and also curious about the fact that she has a mother When the call ends, Asuka confesses that the conversation was an appearance, and that she doesn't really like her stepmother. Then, she regrets having confided such personal matters to Shinji. In a moment off guard, she demonstrates confidence in him to bring up such a subject, but soon remembers that he is a rival, and pushes him away again. [4].

During the bath, Asuka is again depressed, given her menstruation. She openly expresses wanting to be away from Shinji and Misato, given the vulnerable situation in which she finds herself and how both represent an aspect that hurt her, that of rivalry (for Kaji, and as a pilot). In a tantrum, she then confides her deepest secret: she actually hates herself, and so turns others away. Misato listens attentively, with a look of concern.

The next day, Asuka’s results are bordering on minimal, causing Ritsuko to consider dismissing her. Misato argues about the menstruation, but Ritsuko says the problem goes deeper, being related to her psyche. Asuka complains in the bathroom about the fact that she is menstruating, saying that she doesn't want to have children and so she shouldn't be having this.

Then, one of the most iconic scenes in the anime happens. Asuka and Rei take the same elevator, in which they spend 50 seconds in real time not saying anything to each other. Then Rei breaks the silence, advising her to open her heart. Asuka reacts with fury and downplays Rei's words. She quickly puts Shinji at the heart of the matter, saying that no matter what they do, he will always solve their problems. She confesses her hatred for Rei and storms out after slapping Rei in the face after she says she would die for Gendo Ikari. Ironically, Asuka heed Rei's advice and then went to talk to her Eva, hoping to open her heart.

An angel attack begins, and Asuka is ordered to be Rei's backup, which she denies and goes into battle. Asuka is soon overcome by the angel and they starts the mental attack (dubbed by the fanbase as “mindrape sequence”). Asuka begs the angel not to invade her mind, and flash images swarm across the screen, demonstrating its content. Words like "tod" (death in German), "sex", "Nein" (no) appear in quick frames, showing what the angel captures from Asuka's mind at that moment. Asuka's mental infection progresses exponentially, and she suffers enormously. Misato despairs of saving her, asking her to back off, but she refuses. After some more exposure time, the angel succeeds in entering Asuka's mind. Images from her childhood are shown to her in third person, just as it was for Shinji when he was inside Leliel. She tries to fight the pressure of the memories, but her mother's devastating speeches throw her off balance. She has a confusion of her identity, hearing other people's voices in her body, and denying these images as her own. Afterwards, she has a vision of walking through a crowd, in which she asks Kaji for help. Memories tangle, and Kaji's rejection juxtaposes Shinji's image.

With Shinji in mind, Asuka's true intent at various times in the previous episodes is revealed. In the "Wall of Jericho" scene, she is frustrated and alone. The text says "you won't do anything, you won't help me!" even with memories of her being saved from the lava. Her intentions are revealed in the kissing scene. She says "you won't even hold me!"[5] while she looks sad in the bathroom when she says she's disgusted. Asuka actually wanted some correspondence from Shinji, probably strong enough to replace her need for the figure of Kaji. Shinji, however, did not fulfill this role, being too passive for her needs. Shinji's posture, in not seeming affected by the situations around him, creates a false sense of rejection towards her, when in fact he is equally confused and divided, as shown in episode 20. [6]

The angel tries to make more contact with Asuka, in which she tries to reassure her independence, saying that she will live on her own. Flashes of images of close people appear, while she denies help from other people. The angel calls her a liar and attacks her mind again. More text flashes appear as Asuka howls in pain. In the real world, she looks exhausted and says she's defiled, begging for Kaji's help. Finally, the bridge decides to use the Lance of Longinus to defeat the angel, putting Rei in charge.

Asuka is removed from Eva and placed in a containment zone, Shinji stands nearby, outside, and tries to talk to her. Asuka sharply cuts him off, and says that, of all people, she was saved by Rei, which offends her deeply. The episode ends with her enacting her hatred of everyone.

For a theoretical insight into flash scenes and their meaning through montage, see also: Theory and Analysis:Film Montage Theory in Evangelion.

Asuka constantly lying to herself
Asuka before confessing her feelings to Kaji.
Asuka sees Shinji speaking to Rei
Asuka realizes she is confiding in Shinji after her phonecall from her stepmother.

Episodes 23' and 24'

The latest events have enormously shaken the spirits and self-esteem in Misato's place. She is listening to Kaji's phone messages, looking for a meaning to move forward, Asuka left home to no longer have to face Shinji and Misato after the humiliation she suffered in the previous episode. Shinji, confused, wonders if she will come back.

Asuka took shelter at Hikari's house, and spends her days playing video games. She no longer demonstrates her former personality, being unrecognizable. She speaks softly, in an unconventional tone, and doesn't take her eyes off the screen. In bed, Asuka asks if she's being a nuisance, and says she's lost her purpose. Again, she reaffirms that she hates everything, but on top of that, she hates herself the most. Hikari says she did what she could, and Asuka starts to cry, feeling that this isn't enough.

The last battle was the ultimate deconstruction of Asuka's entire life purpose. She, who has lived her whole life seeing the Eva as a way to express herself to the world, finds herself in a situation where her efforts are not enough, and, worst of all, she was surpassed by other people. First, by Shinji, the one in whom she had pinned hopes of possible comfort, but who disappointed her with his naivete and indifference. Then by Rei, who represents everything she struggles with: a person she sees as totally passive and domesticated, who just takes orders and expresses no affection. A doll, the fruit of her hatred. The pain of being rendered useless in her purpose, as well as the feeling of being scorned by Kaji, Misato and Shinji, is too much for her to handle. The angel's attack, exposing her deepest fears and defiling her ego, was the last straw. She seeks shelter in the only person she trusts and feels reciprocated: Hikari, but tries to keep a safe distance, to avoid further injuries.

The next day, there is another angel attack. Asuka, Shinji and Rei are brought in for the operation. Gendo doesn't want Shinji to fight given Eva-01's exposure to the S² Organ. Asuka tries to activate her Eva, but it's useless. Only Rei remains to fight, being defeated. As a last resort, she sacrifices herself to prevent the angel's advance.

Rei's death shakes Shinji. Without her, he lost all the bases of normality he had managed to establish in Tokyo-3. Misato is depressed and isolated due to Kaji's death, Asuka left home, and his father used him to hurt Toji. Rei was the only one left, and now she was dead. In a short hope, he comes to know that she was alive, but is surprised by her sudden change. Ritsuko reveals the truth to her and Misato, and he loses all his support base.

These events leave Shinji mentally vulnerable, to the point where he put all his faith and hope in Kaworu, who appears in the next episode.

With everyone far away, Shinji finds himself in need of some source of comfort, which Kaworu performs well, being a kind and caring person. It's enough for Shinji to ignore all current problems, trying to alienate himself from the harsh reality his friends face. He refuses to accept the suffering of others, as he finds himself without tools to help them. As the title of episode 21 says, "he was aware that he was just a child".

At the beginning of the episode, a flashback of Asuka shows her finding her mother dead, soon after being selected to be the pilot of Eva-02. Then, another flashback, with Shinji revealing to her Kaji's death. Finally, we have a scene from the present time: Asuka is lying in a filthy bathtub in a destroyed house. She is naked and completely vulnerable, surrendered. Her clothes are folded on a chair beside her, a Japanese tradition in the face of consented death, of leaving all belongings organized. The scene says it all: Asuka has given up on living, and is awaiting death. She can't stand the shame of defeat anymore and doesn't want to be anyone's weight, not even Hikari. She got tired, the purpose of her life is over. The two flashbacks demonstrate the lack of support she has: Asuka lost her mother very early, just as her life's destiny was defined, and recently she also lost her guardian, a father figure with whom she wanted to play a adult role. And worse: she learned through Shinji, her rival and the one who belittled her feelings.

Asuka is only saved thanks to the search of NERV Intelligence, who locate and rescue her. As she is no longer usefull as a pilot, she will be replaced by Fifth Children: Kaworu Nagisa. Which, as mentioned above, creates a bond with Shinji, based on his fragility and escape from reality. Kaworu eventually reveals himself to be the last angel, and forces Shinji to kill him. Such an event destroys Shinji, making it clear that he cannot escape reality, however painful it may be. He tried to close himself off from the pain, his own and of others, and only betrayed himself.

At this point, Asuka and Shinji completely got out of sync with each other. Although they once trusted each other, now all that remains is the feelings of fear and resentment. Asuka sees Shinji as someone who has betrayed her expectations and trust, and Shinji turns away from Asuka because he doesn't know how to help her. He is actually afraid of hurting her even more. Such feelings will be evidenced in End of Evangelion.

Episodes 25 and 26

These episodes, which demonstrate the characters within Instrumentality, will serve as a psychotherapeutic component of them, reviewing the main themes that make up their personalities and behavior. For Asuka and Shinji, this is a key element in understanding the closeness and similarities between the two characters.

Shinji is tormented by Kaworu's death, he begs for help and claims he had no choice but to kill him. He had no choice, as this is his role: to defeat the angels. Even so, he doesn't feel accepted by others, he feels alone, with no one to say he did the right thing. On the contrary, he killed the one who praised him. When he asks for compliments, Asuka comes up and says he's been lying to himself. Piloting the Eva is not about pleasing others, it's about pleasing yourself, as she does. As she judges him for pursuing a false happiness, Rei appears and compares the two. Then, the focus of the scene shifts to Asuka, who is once again inside Eva-02. She remains depressed, calling Eva and herself a piece of junk, and saying it's useless to everyone. Rei, playing the same role Asuka was playing with Shinji, says she was just looking for others' approval.

Both Shinji and Asuka suffer from Separation Anxiety. According to psychology, separation anxiety is a disorder where the child is very afraid of separating from their parents, becoming anxious and refusing to go away from them. [7] In the context of the series, the parents are represented by the Evas, and how the relationship of the pilots with them is difficult, as piloting the units is the only form of validation they find. Without the Evas, both Shinji and Asuka find themselves empty on purpose, and lose their communication channels with the world. The problem is that piloting the Evas is a painful and destructive process, and they both know it well, as they point out to each other.

A little later in the episode, Asuka has memories of her stepmother, by whom she feels rejected, as she is more interested in her father than in being her new mother. She also has memories of her mother, depressed and catatonic, just before her death, and her ignoring Asuka as a daughter, treating a doll as if it were the girl. Asuka thus decided not to be passive to the wishes of others, seeking independence, and rejects the image of a "doll" given the traumatic context with her mother. Even so, it is clear that she needs the approval of others, which punctuates the contradiction in her life. She seeks validation through Eva, and wants to be understood as strong and determined, but at the same time, she needs others to be seen that way, she needs approval, just like Shinji. The only difference is the way they both express their loneliness to the world. Shinji seeks Eva to feel good about others, and thus feel good about himself. Asuka seeks Eva to feel good about herself, and thus gain the admiration of others. In both cases, there is society, and the other, involved, and their incompatibility with their inner world is the great source of frustration for both. The way she feels helpless is what generates Asuka's hatred of everything, and that dependence generates self-hatred. Finally, Asuka admits that she doesn't want to be alone, as Shinji and Misato appear and clamor not to be alone either.

All three, despite living together, were unable to build bridges with each other to feel the necessary trust to support each other. They failed to build a family bond, even though they had the opportunity to do so. Even though Misato feels affection for both of them that can be compared to that of a mother for her children, her confusion at the maelstrom of emotions that enveloped her from Kaji to Nerv affected her in such a way that it alienated her from both of them. Shinji's failure was to be afraid to open up to others, and Asuka's was to hide everything she felt and needed, from both Misato and Shinji.

Episode 26 continues the self-analysis, and Shinji and Asuka reflect their fear of existing. The lines of the two characters overlap, as it is now known that they are both more similar than they wanted to demonstrate. Instrumentality is justified by people's fear of facing pain and frustration. Insecurity permeates their hearts, and with that the way out is to become one, in a static and painless world.

Both characters agree that it is through Eva that they find their identity. Outside the Eva, they find nothing, no sustenance in their lives. And that's the justification for their separation anxiety. They confuse this emptiness with hate coming from the world, when in fact it is an internalized feeling that resonates in their hearts and feeds back in a destructive way. Again, Asuka and Shinji see each other through the past. Both feel rejected by their parents, and seek the comfort of a close figure. Both want a cure for their loneliness, but they can't deal with their own dilemmas.

Finally, Shinji understands that his view of the world is moldable through the perspectives on which he looks at life. An alternate reality is then constructed, where Asuka is a childhood friend with whom he has a similar relationship to the series, but where there is greater trust between them.

Like the series, this alternate reality copies tropes of a school comedy, and makes the proximity between the characters the target of jokes and implications about the kind of intimacy they have. When Rei emerges and catches Shinji's attention, Asuka becomes uncomfortable and irritable, which triggers an argument between the two girls.[8]

Between scenes, a frame from one of the desks appears, with the inscriptions of Asuka and Shinji's names. This is another school anime trope, called Aiai-gasa, or "Love Umbrella". One of several versions of Aiai-gasa is writing the names of two people under an umbrella, implying that they are in a loving relationship. This can be done either by bullying/ teasing or by one of those involved. There are also notes and scribbles on the table, with words like "anta-baka" and “how lewd”, imply that Asuka saw the drawing and scribbled over it in embarrassment. Alternatively, she might have written at a discreet moment and then scribbled to get the class's attention. Both are common situations in the genre, and also match the "tsundere" profile associated with Asuka. [9]

Seeing this alternate reality convinces Shinji that he can live in the real world if he comes to see things from a new perspective, but for that he needs to learn to accept himself. One of the last lines of the episode, “but I might be able to love myself”, is said by Shinji, Asuka and Rei, according to the script. Giving the conclusion that the three characters reached the end of their dilemmas, through the same answer: what they needed was to learn to deal with themselves, so they could open up to the world, and build healthy relationships. In this alternate reality, Shinji and Asuka have always been friends, and the approximations between them are treated in a light and relaxed vibe, not in the destructive and tense way that happened in reality.

This ending conveys the message of understanding among people through self-acceptance. Something fundamental for both Shinji and Asuka. End of Evangelion will also explore this message, but through a new approach, much more raw and dark, which will allow new analyzes about these two characters.

End of Evangelion

Episode 25’

The film opens with the infamous hospital scene. Shinji, desperate and lost after Kaworu's death, seeks out Asuka. He thinks she is the only one who can still give him some normalcy. Misato is completely immersed in finding out about Seele, and what he'd learned about Rei had scared him. Only Asuka is left, only she can give him some comfort. But Asuka is in induced sleep, given her recent trauma. Shinji is desperate for attention, and pulls her so that her breasts are exposed. Shinji masturbates for her, then moans. Such decision marks the character a lot, as it puts his morality in check. Knowing now that he has no one to lean on, and that his form of comfort can manifest itself in aggression and abuse, Shinji slowly begins to give up on living.

Shinji's attitude towards Asuka can be interpreted in different ways. Firstly, it is known that Shinji feels some attraction to Asuka, given previous interactions with her. The relationship between them, however, was quite troubled given the constant frustrations generated by one side or the other. Furthermore, Shinji is desperate for some comfort, and sees the moment as a way to release his tension. Immediately afterward, he feels remorse, knowing that what he did was dirty and abusive, given Asuka's condition of total vulnerability.

Shinji was never honest with Asuka about feeling some attraction to her, he masked that even when she brought it up (episode 9). The attitude at the hospital is a fulfillment of a fantasy, but it also becomes a pillar of his downfall. Asuka's reactions to Shinji's attitude and personality in general will be explored further in the second half of the film.

During the attack on Nerv, Misato and the rest of the crew mobilize to protect the children. Asuka is transferred to Eva-02 and left safely at the bottom of the lake. Shinji is missing, and Misato personally goes to get him. Shinji, as already said, has given up on living, and is catatonic amidst the chaos. Misato has to defend him all the way. Shinji starts to react when he learns from the radio that Asuka has awakened and is fighting the enemy, but he still can't force himself to act. Asuka, on the other hand, has regained consciousness after her mother's contact with her soul. She fights with vigor, like never before, and complains about Shinji's absence to help her. Apparently, by reconnecting with a sense of life, she was able to overcome Shinji's grudge, and was willing to collaborate with him.

The situation becomes tense on Nerv and it becomes clear to Misato that she won't survive. She once again tries to convince. Misato kisses him, says goodbye and then dies. Shinji remains static when he sees that Eva-01 is covered in bakelite. Asuka continues to fight the MPEs, but is eventually overcome by the creatures' power. She is cruelly murdered, having her left eye and right arm severely injured, and then being impaled. Just after Asuka's death, Eva-01 moves.[10] The unit is fully awake, with visible wings. The unit flies, scaring anyone who sees it. Shinji then has a vision of how destroyed Eva-02 is, and finally realizes what happened to Asuka. He screams in horror.

Episode 26’

In this final episode, Asuka and Shinji are at the forefront, serving as the ultimate illustration of humanity's dilemmas and fate. Almost all of its entirety takes place during Instrumentality, as well as the traditional episodes 25 and 26. Therefore, all the content shown is a symbolic interpretation of the unconscious contents of the characters, amidst the great unification of their minds and hearts through Third Impact. Their minds were joined, and thus the thoughts and memories of one character are present in another, as time and space became irrelevant, and the cognition of all beings became one. Shinji has access to Misato's memories, and Asuka has access to Shinji's thoughts, for example. The barriers of all the characters' hearts have been broken down, and now they can be honest with themselves and others once and for all. That's why this chapter is so important to Asuka and Shinji. Because, through it, we will know the true meanings that one has for the other.

First, in sequence of the events of the previous episode, Shinji is horrified to see Asuka dead and her Eva completely destroyed. He finally seems to have lost all the people he cared about, and he couldn't do anything to help her (or, better said, he couldn't feel motivated to). Eva-01's awakening initiates the ritual that precedes Third Impact. Meanwhile, Rei 3, now Lilith, rejects Gendo as the one who will guide humanity's destiny. She decides to reunite with Shinji, and takes the form of Kaworu to calm him down. Yui communicates with Shinji next, and asks him what he wants. Then, the image of female breasts appears superimposed on the image of Shinji. The person in this image appears to be, given the hair type, Asuka. However, it is important to note that, unlike the hospital scene, the breasts here do not appear to have a libidinous, sexual context. The past image is of "comfort in a woman's breasts", similar to a phrase Kaji used earlier. Shinji, now, more than anything, would like to have comfort, and the person closest to him who could provide that would be Asuka.

With that, Instrumentality finally starts, with a childhood scene, where Shinji plays with two dolls, one of them with the voice of Asuka, while the children's mother (who is Misato) waits seated in a chair. This scene symbolizes Tokyo-3 and the figure Shinji created in his head, of a family. The two dolls would be Asuka and Rei, and the mother, Misato. This scene reinforces the image of comfort that Shinji seeks with women, especially Asuka and Misato, establishing a bond of proximity. Unfortunately, he still feels distant from them, and cannot follow them when they leave. He's alone again, and he's frustrated about it.

From here, the explicit exchanges between Shinji and Asuka begin, and we will separate the article according to the meetings. It is worth noting, in advance, that such encounters mimic past scenes from the series, such as the kiss between the two or the moment when Asuka learned of Kaji's death. Now, however, there are no more barriers between the characters, and they can be totally sincere, showing their tenderest feelings, as well as their most primitive.

First exchange

The first exchange between them starts right after the sandbox scene. Asuka, in an animal expression, expresses how irritated she is in Shinji's presence, to which he responds pointing out the similarity between them.

Asuka:"The sight of you makes me so irritated!"

Shinji:"It's because we are similar."

The scene has a character all its own, showing Shinji, apparently naked, with Asuka's hair draped over his body. The symbolism is apparently of sexual engagement. Sex, throughout the film, is what carries the greatest symbolic charge to visually express what instrumentality is all about. If we interpret sex as "the act of two bodies becoming one", instrumentality is "the act of all bodies, hearts and minds becoming one". Therefore, what Shinji and Asuka are witnessing is the joining of both their individualities, so that the barriers that separated them both no longer exist, and now they can demonstrate their true feelings and anguish, removing the masks of their feelings. The sexual act, so tensioned between them, now becomes a variation of their reality. Likewise, Shinji has visions of sex between Misato and Kaji, as Instrumentality allows him to do so. If Misato once wanted to hide this from the children, now she can't, because all barriers have been broken down. It’s notable, although, that though the two of them are shown to be together, neither of their faces are shown in the same shot. In cinematography, such a shot reverse shot technique is often used to imply a disconnect between two characters. That is, even if they are being united by instrumentality, their primitive instincts tend to separate, and generate repulsion between them.

In Jungian terms, we can say that the relationship of the two characters, Shinji and Asuka, now shows itself as it always was: the one of shadows. The Shadow archetype, in Jung's theory, reflects on a part of our personality that is hidden behind our ego. [11] Because Asuka and Shinji are so similar, they see aspects of the shadow archetype in each other, and that would explain the context of this dialogue, where Asuka demonstrates her disgust, and Shinji rightly says it's because they're similar. Asuka sees in Shinji everything she hides, because she feels they are weaknesses. She doesn't want to show that she needs the affection of a family, or that she questions her role in the world as an Evangelion pilot. She does, expecting congratulations. The fact that Shinji overcomes her impacts her so deeply because, for her, he represented everything she discarded in order to be the best. Shinji, on the other hand, sees Asuka's anger at the world for being so chaotic and confused. But he doesn't have the determination and courage to show that aggressiveness, for fear of abandonment.

Second exchange

The second exchange between them parallels the kissing scene. The situation is relived, now from a new perspective. The sexual confusion of the two characters is already established, after they follow the discovery about Misato's sexuality. The reenactment begins with Asuka expressing her anger around Shinji. The latter, on the other hand, remains defensive, claiming to be able to understand Asuka's side. She angrily denies Shinji's attempts to negotiate the situation, venting on him all the frustration she's been building up, expressing his inability to help her.

Asuka: "It's not like you understand me at all. Don't come near me."

Asuka: "You think you understand me? You think you can help me? Now that's really arrogant! You couldn't possibly understand me."

Flashes of the sexual tension existing between the characters reappear. Asuka's body is shown, demonstrating Shinji's desire. The color palette, however, contrasts both. While Asuka emanates a vivid, red color, Shinji emits a depressing blue. They are completely out of sync.

Shinji, however, interrupts, and finally decides to express his true feelings. He expresses being unable to understand Asuka. He recalls the times when she ignored or despised him. The scene changes, and Rei/Lilith appears, asking if Shinji has ever tried to understand her. Here, it is clear that Shinji missed the clear expressions of the feelings of the people around him. He is not able to understand how the subjectivity of others is affected by his actions. As will be said later, he only thinks about himself. Shinji tries to reaffirm, but Asuka interrupts.

Shinji: "There's no way I could understand you. Because you don't say anything, Asuka. You never say anything, and you expect me to understand you, when you don't even talk at all? That's impossible!".

Rei: Ikari, did you really try to understand?

Third exchange

Ultimately, Asuka reminds Shinji of his fantasies with her. Obviously, she now has access to this, through Instrumentality. Upon revealing to the audience, Asuka makes the plural statement, making it explicit that Shinji has not acted sexually (i.e. masturbated) around Asuka only in the hospital situation, but in other situations as well. That is, for all this time, he had a highly repressed sexual component towards the girl. Asuka isn't shaken, and even encourages him to repeat the act, placing her body right next to his. She then says that if she can't have him in its entirety, that is, in all his components and characteristics, she doesn't want anything. Asuka here is expressing that she also has her affectionate interest in Shinji, in a manipulative way, to again demonstrate dominance towards him, who is now vulnerable.

Asuka: "Idiot! I know that I'm your jerk-off fantasy. Go ahead and do it as usual, I'll be here and watch. If you cannot be mine and mine only, I don't even want you.”

Apparently, Asuka demands sincerity and reciprocity from Shinji, so that both can understand each other better. Its dominant aspect comes from the fact that Shinji is still repressing his emotions and feelings in order to remain defensive. When he expressed not understanding her, he was quickly refuted by the idea that he never really tried to understand others.

Shinji then makes a request: be kind to him. The answer comes from the overlap of the three women in his life: Asuka, Misato and Rei. They claim to be kind. Shinji, again, has an angry outburst. He cannot understand the smiles. He makes it clear: he is not able to understand the ambiguity in the attitudes of others.

Shinji: Then, be nice to me...

Asuka/Misato/Rei: We are nice to you.

Shinji: LIARS!! You're all just hiding behind a smile! You just want to keep things ambiguous!

Rei: Because the truth hurts us all... Because it's very, very distressing.

Shinji: But ambiguity only makes me insecure.

Rei: That's just an excuse...

It is interesting to note that Shinji's visions of women are happy images of them naked, as if they were fulfilling his wishes. He denies their smiles, saying they are fake, but accepts their nudity as it fulfills his wishes. Shinji does not accept ambiguity in human relationships, as this does not provide answers to his desires and anxieties. He would like figures of comfort, he wanted the girls to comfort him, and not be affected by their own personal dramas. He wants to nurture his mother's absence with them, but none of them fulfills his wishes. When Misato and Rei were too far away for him to reach, he took advantage of Asuka's vulnerability to nurture this desires. As the exposed breasts in the pre-Instrumentality scene demonstrate, he sought his comfort through her. Shinji therefore rejects ambiguity as it does not serve his purpose. Realizing again his rejection, he begs for help, and again goes after Asuka.

Fourth exchange

The last exchange takes shape of Misato's place again. This is a re-enactment of when Shinji tells Asuka about Kaji's death. As we know, such information is one of the elements that lead Asuka to give up on life, given the great importance that Kaji had in her life, whether as a father figure or affectionate interest. In this version of events, Shinji seeks Asuka's help, and promises to help her reciprocally. He promises to stay with her for, and therefore, to truly love her. Asuka, however, rejects him, saying that all he does is hurt her. Shinji insists, saying that she is the only one who can help him.

Asuka:"...Stay away from me, because all you do is hurt me."

Asuka's reaction is to make it clear that he lies, that he is afraid and that he only uses her as an escape. She says he's incapable of loving anyone, not even himself, and throws him to the ground, spilling coffee with him.

Asuka:"You're scared of both Misato and First, and your mother and father..."

Shinji assumes a posture of utter disbelief, and continues to beg for help, receiving one last rejection from Asuka, who is determined not to accept the boy's unilateral conditions. His reaction is to strangle her, also as a symbol of rejection, accompanied by violence. For Shinji, if no one can help him, then no one is of any use to him. "Everyone should die," as he says.

With this final rejection on Asuka's part, and Shinji's inability to understand the wishes of others, he initiates Third Impact once and for all.

One More Final

See also: Theory and Analysis:Final Scene in End of Evangelion

Asuka's acceptance
Shinji surprised to be accepted by Asuka
Asuka looking at Shinji as she caresses him

At the end of the movie, Instrumentality is rejected, and Shinji and Asuka are back in the real world. Seeing Asuka, with her body bandaged, Shinji expresses a certain bizarre expression, as if in a stoic state. He just starts to express some behavior after having a vision of Quantum Rei. Shinji then climbs on Asuka and starts strangling her, increasing the pressure of his fingers on her neck. Asuka visibly suffers, but her reaction is to caress his face, slowly and calmly. Immediately, Shinji releases her and his tears fall onto Asuka's face. He is sobbing, finally sketching a stronger reaction in this sequence, as she is shown with an enigmatic and stoic face. With the scene returning to show the two of them apart, Asuka utters the last sentence of the film: kimochi warui, which can be translated as “I feel sick” or “How disgusting”. The film ends.

The scene has bizarre elements and no easy explanation, which is why we recommend reading its main article. In summary, what can be said is that she expresses feelings of confusion, and then Shinji's relief to find that he has returned to reality, and that Asuka accompanies him, not as an illusion, but as a physical person, just like him. Now, the characters have a new opportunity to discover themselves and learn to deal with others going forward, but they will also have to deal with a world of uncertainty.

They will also have to learn to deal with each other. Asuka's caress, her first expression of genuine affection for another, is a sign of change, and that they can come to understand and be honest with themselves.

Asuka's final line, "kimochi warui", as already said, can be translated as "Disgusting". It is an expression used many times before to express shock, discomfort or disapproval - for instance, when Shinji is first immersed in LCL in Episode 1 and in a sense embraced by Yui, and when Asuka complains about sharing a bathtub, and a house with Misato and Shinji in Episode 22, as she is unwilling to belong. Because of its unclear meaning, it is hard to say whether she's referring to Shinji, herself, or something else. It might be interpreted as how strange it feels for her to finally accept another person, for example. When hostility would have been a far easier choice, she has instead chosen comprehension and compassion, she took a risk, just like Shinji did by choosing to return to reality. [12] So, both are aware of the risks they have taken, and they know they will have to deal with it in new ways. Something that goes along with the series' original ending, too. Shinji understands all of his flaws, but if he is able to love himself, he can move forward, the same for Asuka.

The ambivalence in this scene represent the fact that they did not yet completely changed, but are beginning to open themselves to this. The movie leaves open where they will go from there, if they can grow and learn to love themselves or not, but even after all the grievous death and destruction throughout the movie, and even though they are still only starting to grow, it still gives them this hope, as long as they pursue it.

The fact that both characters are together at the end is a sign that everything they went through in the instrumentality had an effect on their judgments, and that mutual understanding is a possibility. For the first time in their lives, they will likely speak frankly to each other, and will be able to reflect on all that they have been through, and the said and unsaid to each other.


For more information, less accepted alternatives and objections, see [Shinji and Asuka forum thread].

As an interesting aside, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, then Evangelion’s character designer, suggested during the conceptualization of Eva that the relationship between Asuka and Shinji would be similar to the relationship between Jean, Nadia's love interest and eventual husband, in Anno’s previous work, Nadia: the Secret of Blue Water.

“[...] I thought that Asuka would occupy the position of an "idol" in the Eva world, and that [Asuka and] Shinji should be just like the relationship between Nadia and Jean." [13]

In the expanded Director's Cut version of Episode 22, Anno seems to took inspiration from a 1996 doujin by author Nobi Nobita called Bridal Veil, which depicted an expanded mindrape scene itself. While making his own scene, Anno made it clear that Asuka's feelings were directed at Shinji, having supplanted her crush for Kaji. It also adds more lines for Asuka bemoaning Shinji and makes this context even clearer by adding additional past scenes with Asuka and Shinji, like him rescuing her in Episode 10. This doujin has been translated on Evageeks and a full scanlation is also available on its thread:

Yuko Miyamura describes Asuka in 2007 as "what we now call a tsundere. It's Shinji that she's interested in as a member of the opposite sex, but she cannot really show it. [14]

Hideaki Anno has written a song that, depending on the interpretation, can seems to be about Asuka and Shinji relationship. It was fully produced, but ultimately unused in End of Evangelion, in favor of Komm, süsser Tod. See: Everything You've Ever Dreamed.


  1. No further explanation is given for this fact, and one can only speculate that Asuka studies in the same class as Shinji due to the fact that this one concentrates all possible Evangelions pilots. Secondarily, it is an opportunity for her to learn Japanese grammar and socialize with people of her own age.
  2. Source: [Neon Genesis Evangelion Film Book vol 5, pp. 44–45.] (in chinese)
  3. During the production of Evangelion, Hideaki Anno read several psychology books to build his characters and his story, given the approach he wanted to take. That's probably when he got into psychoanalysis, which greatly influences some passages of the work, as seen in episode titles, soundtracks and in the characters' own behavior. This resorting to the doll image, for example, is a way of representing that Asuka's problems originate in her childhood, marked by recurrent frustrations from unresolved situations, given the early departure from her nuclear family. Source: [1]
  4. Evangelion Chronicle describes their relationship in the second half of the series as love/hate on Asuka's part, which indicates that she has a duality as to how she feels about him, considering all the factors that revolve around their relationship. This scene is a good example of this duality. On the one hand, she trusts him, and on the other, she pushes him away, seeing him as a rival. Source: [2]
  5. In Japanese, "to hold someone" can be undertood as a double entendre for "having sex with". In effect, Asuka may be not only lamenting that Shinji won't support her and hold her during the kiss, but that he didn't even at least give her affection through sex. This specific subject is widely discussed on the fanbase, with materials dedicated to the subject, with arguments for both sides, as seen here: [3] [4]. The sentence has other appearances throughout the series, resonating with this dubious meaning, although in more specific cases. For example, in Episode 25, during Misato's Instrumentality section, she is questioned by Ritsuko why she slept with Kaji. Misato replies that "I embraced him because I loved him.". Similarly, in Episode 24, when Ritsuko says to Gendo: "Now that I am not happy even if you hold me. You can do anything you like to my body, as you did at that time.". In the English dub, the context here is more obvious, so it's outright translated as "when you make love to me".
  6. Such observations are reinforced by the comments made available in Platinum Booklets, which are direct translations of the contents present in the re-release of Evangelion 2002, Renewal of Evangelion. The comment is as follows: " [...] And likewise, after the kiss scene from Episode Fifteen, "Lies and Silence," there is a new scene showing her looking frustrated after rinsing her mouth. And from Asuka's dialogue that overlaps these scenes, it becomes clear that she has been looking for help and love from Shinji." Source: [5]
  8. The artistic freedom of ADV's dubbing gave birth to Rei's infamous “are you riding his baloney poney?” phrase.
  9. For more information about the various versions of Aiai-gasa, see:
  10. It is interesting that Yui waited until Asuka's apparent death to move Eva 01. It’s debatable if she chose to let Asuka die or not, and if she wanted to reach Instrumentality. See: Theory and Analysis:Yui's Agenda
  12. "It seems to be modelled after a situation that actually happened to a woman Anno knew. She was being strangled, and at the moment she thought she might be killed—not Anno-san, by the way, just in case—She wanted to caress him, and that's when he came back to reality..." Source: [6]
  14. Miyamura 2007 interview, FLASH EX