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Asuka Langley Sohryu (惣流・アスカ・ラングレー, "Sōryū Asuka Rangurē") is a 14-year-old fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise and one of the main female characters. Asuka is designated as the Second Child ("Second Children" in the original Japanese versions) of the Evangelion Project and pilots the Evangelion Unit-02. Her surname is romanized as Soryu in the English manga and Sohryu in the English version of the TV series, the English version of the anime movie and on Gainax's website.
- 1 Character Overview
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Family
- 4 Character and Relationships
- 5 Movies
- 6 Asuka's interactions with Shinji
- 7 Other Media
- 7.1 Manga adaptation by Sadamoto
- 7.2 Evangelion: ANIMA
- 7.3 Shinji Ikari Raising Project
- 7.4 Neon Genesis Evangelion 2
- 7.5 Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days
- 7.6 Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku
- 7.7 Petit Eva: Evangelion@School
- 7.8 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
- 7.9 Edge Of Spider-Verse
- 8 Character Notes
- 9 Non-franchise Video Games
- 10 References
Asuka is one-quarter Japanese. Asuka is a native of Germany, having been raised there, though her nationality is technically American. Asuka's native language is German, and in both the series and the manga she tends to curse in German. Asuka was born to an American father (unknown) and a German mother (deceased). She is a child prodigy and has earned a university degree in an unspecified field as a teenager; she also speaks fluent Japanese, but has trouble reading and writing kanji. Asuka had years of training starting from a young age to become a pilot for the Evangelion. Asuka is very proud of being an Eva pilot, and near-constantly wears her A10 nerve clips in her hair because she wants everyone around her to know that she is a pilot. Asuka's iconic catch-phrase (always directed at Shinji) was "anta baka?!" (あんたバカァ?!), "anta" being a contraction of "anata" meaning "you" and "baka" literally meaning "fool" or "idiot". The official English voice recording renders this as "What are you, stupid?!"
Character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto explained that he "first designed an Asuka-type girl as the lead character", but felt it might be too similar to previous anime that he and Anno had worked on, such as Gunbuster and Nadia. He suggested to Anno that they change the lead character to a boy, which would be more in keeping with the robot genre. In the initial project, she was described as "a determined girl" who adapts to the situation in which she finds herself, passionate about video games and "aspires to become like Ryoji Kaji". In the nineteenth episode, she would have had to be seriously injured in her attempt to protect Shinji, who would have thus "proved his worth" trying to save her. As Sadamoto and Anno designed the series, Sadamoto came to believe that Asuka would occupy the position of an "'idol' in the Eva world". Asuka should have represented "[Shinji's] desire for the female sex", as opposed to Rei Ayanami's "motherhood", and would have been "the idol of Neon Genesis Evangelion". He also described his belief that the relationship between Asuka and Shinji would be similar to the relationship between Jean, Nadia's love interest and eventual husband in the earlier Nadia. Asuka's personality, as well of those for the other characters, was designed so as to be understood at a glance.
Asuka has long auburn hair and dark blue eyes. Asuka's hair is loose with the flanks held in twin tails with her red Interface Headset. She wears a school uniform as her most iconic outfit, which consisted of a dark blue pleated overall dress over a white button-up blouse with short puffed sleeves, a red bow attached to the collar, white knee socks with red stripes and black Mary Jane shoes. She wears a red watch on her wrist. She also wears outfits such as her pale yellow dress with a lavender choker and red Mary Jane shoes.
Her plugsuit is red, stylized with fancy layers and accents with a 02 symbol printed onto the plugsuit.
Her mother, Kyoko Zeppelin Sohryu, was a scientist of Gehirn's German branch of the Evangelion Project. When Asuka was four years old, Kyoko participated in a contact experiment with Unit-02, similar to the experiment performed by Yui Ikari with Unit-01. She survived the test but became insane, believing that Asuka's doll was her daughter and refusing to acknowledge the real Asuka, referring to her as "that girl over there." She eventually commits suicide by hanging herself; Asuka found her body when she went to tell Kyoko the good news that she had been chosen to become an Eva pilot.
Not many details about Asuka's father are revealed. What is known about his background is only what can be inferred from Asuka's own; namely that he is an American citizen and that his last name is Langley. Following Kyoko's hospitalization, he started an affair with a German doctor in charge of Kyoko's case, and would later marry her shortly after Kyoko's suicide. This new mother is immediately repelled by Asuka's defensive nature, and finds herself unable to become attached to her. While talking to Shinji, Asuka states that she doesn't hate her stepmother, but she feels as if she could never replace her real mother.
During Kyoko's funeral, Asuka's grandmother had said to Asuka that she was "a strong girl", but it was alright if she needed to cry. However, Asuka protested against the idea and told her grandmother that she had to take care of herself from now on. From that day forward, Asuka promised herself that she would never cry again. This causes her to repress a lot of her emotions, not to mention the emotional scarring that came from her mother's illness and death, leaving her twisted and vulnerable towards the end of the series.
Character and Relationships
Asuka is a very proud individual, especially in her piloting, and comes across to others as proud and strong, with a very high opinion of both her appearance (particularly her recently "busty" body) and her skill as an Eva pilot. She is stubborn and finds it difficult to express her true feelings to others. She does not like being looked down upon or told what to do as she wants to be viewed as an adult. She is aggressive and can be very opinionated. However, this personality is a front that protects a very vulnerable and insecure girl, a side which the viewer sees in her dreams or thoughts. She is often violent and intrusive of other people's space, especially Shinji's. She also has a strong need to be self-sufficient, and has a great deal of difficulty dealing with her self-perceived failure when she does need help; as her seiyuu Yuko Miyamura wrote of her experiences playing Asuka:
"Just to let you know, Asuka wasn't the most open-hearted character I've ever met...every time I tried to draw myself in closer synchronization, Asuka would never allow herself to sync with me. Even in the end, she would never step across the line and draw closer to me. The last scene in The End of Evangelion was done, and still she had never stepped across that line and come forward. One day, I figured out that there was a wall in Asuka's heart."
Thus her relationship with Shinji is one of the core aspects of the series, and affects both characters on multiple levels (see next section).
Her best (and seemingly her only close) friend is her class representative, Hikari Horaki. Although Asuka and classmate Toji Suzuhara constantly argue, she gives Hikari advice about pursuing Toji. Asuka is openly infatuated with Ryoji Kaji, her former guardian after her mother died, and makes a number of advances toward him which he politely refuses. For this reason, she envies her and Shinji's guardian, Misato Katsuragi, especially after Misato and Kaji rekindle their romantic relationship. The "Director's Cut" of Episode 24 also shows Asuka violently confronting Shinji and saying he's lying when he tells her that Kaji is dead. She also initially tries to befriend Rei Ayanami, but Rei is uninterested. Asuka interprets this as arrogance, and starts to developed deep antipathy towards her. In the English dub, she calls her "wonder girl". In Episode 22, they share an elevator ride in which Rei tells her she needs to open herself to her Eva as Asuka's synch scores are falling, but Asuka violently lashes out, and calls her "the Commander's doll", clearly projecting Rei onto her mother's doll and her own hatred of them.
In her early appearances, Asuka has a high synchronization ratio and displays exceptional skill as an Eva pilot. She is also very aggressive and confident in battle, which works both for and against her as the series progresses. After being defeated in battle by the Angel Zeruel, Asuka's self-confidence (and, correspondingly, her sync ratio and effectiveness as a pilot) begins to dwindle. This comes to a head in Episode 22, when the Angel Arael appears. Burdened by increasingly poor results in synchronization tests, Asuka is infuriated when she is ordered to serve as backup for Rei. She launches herself in Unit-02 and tries to attack the Angel alone but is overwhelmed by its attack, which forces her to relive the painful memories of her past and causes her to suffer a mental and emotional breakdown, and is unable to even activate her Eva in the following episode. Asuka runs away from home, and is eventually found by NERV in a bath tub, starving and near death, as without being able to pilot, Asuka believes she has no reason left to live.
The End of Evangelion
In The End of Evangelion, Asuka is placed inside Unit-02 for protection from the Japanese Strategic Self Defense Forces assault on the GeoFront. With Unit-02 submerged in a lake and bombarded by depth charges, Asuka declares that she does not want to die and, in a moment of clarity, realizes that her mother's soul is carried within the Eva and has been protecting her all along. She regains her self-identity, engages and defeats the JSSDF, and is later confronted by the Mass Produced Evas. During the battle, she successfully disables all nine opponents; however, Unit-02's power runs out, and the MP Evas' S² Engines allow them to remain functional even after being severely damaged and/or mutilated. They proceed to eviscerate and dismember Unit-02 using their Spear of Longinus replicas, thus causing Asuka's body to actually suffer the wounds inflicted to the machine and apparently killing her (her Entry Plug is never seen being destroyed, but the NERV staff appear to believe she's dead). During this final assault, Asuka is briefly able to reactivate Unit-02 through pure fury, but only enough for it to move its arm slightly, nowhere near the full "Berserker" mode that Shinji is able to achieve. Her final words before death are a whispered "I'll kill you", repeated more and more frantically. Inside Instrumentality, Asuka also demands that Shinji give himself to her, but Shinji is unwilling to give back any affection himself. Asuka confronts Shinji as he desperately asks for help and says he wants to stay with her forever, but Asuka rejects him, claiming he only wants to use her as an escape. Outraged, Shinji chokes her. She is the second person to come back from Instrumentality at the conclusion of the movie, after Shinji rejects it. Asuka caresses Shinji tenderly in a manner reminiscent of Yui, which stops him from choking her again. Asuka's final line is "kimochi warui", roughly translated as "How disgusting".
Asuka's interactions with Shinji
Throughout the series, Shinji carries out a deceptively straightforward relationship with Asuka, who is going through puberty and deeply confused and uncertain:
"The thing I would like to say to the friend in my heart is, "Asuka, you're just a fourteen-year-old kid, aren't you?" Fourteen is a time of life when you are thrown against the wall of life. You are forced to learn. It's puberty, where you decide what kind of life you're going to live, right? Evangelion came to its climax just as you hit that point, but after that, what would your choices be, Asuka? What good would you try to do? What kind of adult would you grow into?"
Shinji and Asuka are seemingly attracted to each other, but neither is able to properly express their feelings. Asuka's overbearing attitude and inability to admit her vulnerabilities keeps her from opening up to Shinji. In the episodes shortly after their first meeting, she seems to enjoy flirting with him and teasing him sexually. Nonetheless, it is through her that Shinji finds the confidence he needed to work hard at synchronizing his movements with hers to defeat the Angel Israfel in Episode 9. She and Shinji kiss in Episode 15, but she almost suffocates him by holding his nose shut, not realizing this was making Shinji even more hesitant. As the series progresses and her abilities as a pilot diminish, the resulting damage to her ego causes her to become increasingly blunt to Shinji, as she feels insecure by Shinji's improving performance, something she feels is unearned as Asuka herself has trained her entire life for piloting Eva, unlike Shinji. The Director's Cut of Episode 22 reveals that, despite her actions, she still wants Shinji's affections and is saddened, frustrated and angered by his shying away from her (unable to recognize that her taunts and aggression are keeping him from getting close to her), and has interpreted his earlier passiveness and lack of reaction as conscious rejection. During Arael's attack on her psyche, when she thinks about Shinji, she states (internally),
"Why are you there damn you?! You don't do anything! You won't help me! You won't even hold me!"
These lines are juxtaposed with Shinji, for instance, rescuing her from the volcano in Episode 10, paying attention to her, showing the clash between Shinji's actions and Asuka's expectations, even as Asuka has difficulty accepting Shinji and recognizing his own insecurities, as well as Asuka's many provocations - like when she tried to tease him in Episode 9, only to be frustrated at him not picking up on her advances. She also seems to be very jealous of Shinji's friendship with Rei, which deepens her disgust toward Rei and fuels her venom toward her, especially in the later episodes.
The fractured state of Asuka and Shinji's relationship becomes a key factor on events in The End of Evangelion. Had Shinji been in a better state of mind, it is very possible he and Asuka could have defeated the Evas and stopped Third Impact altogether, a fact that greatly benefits SEELE. At the start of the movie, Shinji is shown with Asuka in her hospital room, begging her for help and trying to rouse her from unconsciousness. He accidentally pulls loose her vital sign monitors, exposing her breasts; he masturbates to this sight, but afterward is horrified and disgusted with himself for doing so. His guilt and increased self-loathing add to his previous traumas and cause him to become so uncaring of his own existence that he does not resist when the invading JSSDF soldiers try to kill him. This forces Misato to save him and to try to rouse him from this state so that he can escape the GeoFront in Unit-01. The beginning of the trauma of seeing the mangled remains of Unit-02 in the hands of the MP Evas causes Shinji to enter to panic, and he enters Instrumentality as Yui asks him what he wishes for and he has a vision of a woman's clutched breasts.
Asuka loudly proclaims she can't stand the sight of him, but Shinji replies that it is because he is just like her, as she is implied to be in some sort of sexual fantasy or activity inside Instrumentality with him. Asuka then confronts him on his masturbation at the hospital earlier, claiming that not only she knows about it, but that it is, in fact, a habit, and she dares him to do it again in front of her. Asuka claims she wants Shinji all for herself or nothing at all, demanding his reciprocity and commitment. Shinji, however, replies that he cannot understand Asuka because she won't tell him anything. In a scene reminiscent of their kiss scene in Episode 15, he begs Asuka for help, stating he is afraid of Misato and Rei, while also revealing his true feelings for Asuka ("I want to help you, and I want to stay with you forever...You're the only person who can help me."). However, Asuka refuses, claiming he is only using her as an escape. Overwhelmed with his own hopelessness upon her refusing, Shinji loses control and strangles her.
However, in the aftermath of the film's finale, Shinji appears on a beach with none other than Asuka, the first person after him to return from Instrumentality. He tries to strangle her; she does not physically resist him, but instead lifts her hand to stroke his face - incidentally, as Yui had done earlier before as Shinji rejected Instrumentality. At this he collapses, weeping onto her, and as the film ends she says, "気持ち悪い。" ("Kimochi warui", translated into English in the subtitles as "how disgusting" in the dub, alternatively "I feel sick"). The exact meaning of the symbolism in this scene, as well as the intended meaning of Asuka’s final words, are unclear and heavily debated. As the series ends there, the specifics of her and Shinji's subsequent lives are left up to the audience. Official artwork seen on posters and DVD boxes for The End of Evangelion depicts Shinji and Asuka looking out over the ruins of the world. It is implied that this occurs very soon after the final scene. Asuka's exact feelings towards Shinji are contradictory, as she seeks love and support from him, but refuses to show it, and Shinji has difficulty reciprocating, due to their mutual misunderstandings. She displays much interest toward him and gets jealous of Rei's interactions with Shinji. In contrast to the simple "favourable feelings" Shinji has with most other characters, Evangelion Chronicle describes their relationship as "complex feelings" and "love and hate." Hideaki Anno has also written a song about their relationship, which was fully produced and recorded, but ultimately unused, in favor of Komm, süsser Tod.
Manga adaptation by Sadamoto
In the manga adaptation by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Asuka is somewhat tamer than her anime counterpart. Though self-centered (seemingly even more so than in the anime), she's on slightly better terms with Shinji. She first appears in volume 4 of the series. She also has blonde hair instead of the auburn/red-head from the series.
There were many changes to the sequence of events concerning her. In the anime, her first battle (against Gaghiel) took up an entire episode and included an (arguably vital) assist from Shinji. In the manga, her solo defeat of the angel is only briefly mentioned in a video clip about her shown by Dr. Ritsuko Akagi to Misato, Rei, and Shinji.
Shinji's first actual meeting with Asuka is also depicted differently. In the anime, their first meeting is aboard the naval carrier Over the Rainbow, and Asuka allows Shinji into the cockpit of Unit-02 while she fights Gaghiel. In the manga, Shinji, Toji, and Kensuke first encounter Asuka at an arcade, where she is unable to grab the toy she wants from the machine she is playing. She then notices the boys staring at her and demands a "viewing fee" from them for seeing her panties (100 yen, as opposed to the anime in which Toji's "viewing fee" is a slap across the face). She and Toji begin to quarrel, and then Asuka accidentally bumps into a thug and is threatened by his gang. Asuka then proceeds to single-handedly take on—and defeat—the entire gang. Shinji is punched in the face by one of the thugs during the melee, and not until he arrives at NERV headquarters does he learn that the girl he has just met is in fact Asuka.
In the fight against Israfel, instead of staying in Misato's apartment, she is put in a special room with Shinji, monitored via a hidden camera by Misato. Also, her background is changed so that she is actually a test-tube baby. Asuka's mother and her husband were unable to conceive a child, and divorced after he had an affair. When he re-married and was able to have a daughter with his new wife, Kyoko decided to be artificially inseminated. The result was Asuka. Asuka's "father" is barely mentioned, though she claims that he was a renowned scientist and that the sperm bank was part of a eugenics program. However, despite her knowledge of her "father's" achievements, Asuka still suffers from an inferiority complex. In her mind, the circumstances of her conception mean that she is nothing more than spare parts or that she is artificial in nature, although she puts another spin on this while talking about it with Shinji. The feelings of inferiority that accompany these opinions are what drive her to overachieve and overcompensate. Also, Asuka has repressed the memories of her mother's death, making Arael's attack on her psyche especially traumatic; it is revealed that at some point before her mother's suicide, she tried to strangle Asuka.
The manga re-imagines the infamous hospital opening scene from The End of Evangelion with Asuka and Shinji, beginning much the same way it does in the movie. However, from here it diverges incredibly. Shinji shouts that the Asuka he wants isn't the girl lying before him and Asuka seems to awaken from her coma and temporarily strangles Shinji. Luckily, NERV hospital staff separate the two and Shinji is led out as Asuka angrily screams that she hates everybody. Shinji breaks down crying over this and is traumatized by what she said to him.
The manga also re-imagines the battle between Asuka and the MP Evangelions from the End of Evangelion. While she is defeated by the MP Evangelions, neither her nor Unit-02 suffer the same fate as they do in the movie. Just when the MP Evangelions are about to finish her off, Shinji arrives in Unit-01 and defeats them. While initially wondering if Shinji was waiting for the right moment to appear, she is grateful that Shinji saved her. However, just when they thought it was over, the MP Evangelions reactivate due to them having S2 Engines Afterwards, Asuka watches as Unit-01 fully awakens, is stopped by the Lance of Longinus, which returned to Earth, and is crucified by the MP Evangelions. She then tearfully watches as the MP Evangelions drag Unit-01, with Shinji still in it, into the atmosphere and begin the Third Impact. Her transition guide is Kaji, which she takes to mean that Kaji loved her all along. She then reverts to LCL.
The final stage of the manga depicts a re-imagined world after Shinji rejected Instrumentality, a world in which none of the Children appear to have been Evangelion pilots. After disembarking a train at a station in Tokyo, Shinji hears a cry for help from the train carriage: a girl is unable to disembark due to the crowd of people getting on. Shinji grabs hold of her hand and manages to pull her through the crowd and onto the platform: the girl is revealed to be Asuka. As they introduce themselves, they both experience a strong feeling of déjà vu, as if they have met before. After an awkward moment, Asuka gives Shinji a special "thank you" by thanking him in German ''("Danke schön!")'' before each goes off on their own way.
Asuka as a human
Asuka, who's 17 in Evangelion: ANIMA, has fully recovered from her mental trauma she suffered during the end of the anime. She's now very cheerful and cares a lot for Shinji and even for Rei, something that would have been unbelievable 3 years ago. She still pilots Unit-02 which is later modified into the Evangelion Unit-02 Type II.
Asuka as an Evangelion Synthesis
When Asuka (piloting her Eva-02 Allegorica) got infected by some unknown ancient living organisms during her fight against Armaros on the Moon, she somehow merged with her Eva, resulting in the creation of a Human-Evangelion Synthesis.
The best description for her would be that of a giant woman with Evangelion-like details throughout her body than an Eva per se. She sports an all-red armor, despite the fact that Asuka was using the silver-armored Eva-02 Allegorica at the time of her infection. She still uses the Allegorica but the unit is now part of her own body, being her "hair". That means that she is now able to fly whenever she wants. She also still has an Entry Plug, even though it is virtually useless.
The main problem for this entity is her behavior. She has more or less the mentality of a baby, toying with tanks and having next to no knowledge about the world.
She was nicknamed "Crimson A1" by NERV JAPAN, much to Hikari's dismay. The latter told the others to call her "Asuka" in order to return her to her former human self. After a failed attempt to bring back Asuka to her normal self, she was absorbed into another dimension.
She would later come back as an enemy as the Torwartα1'. The latter has virtually the same appearance as Crimson A1 but with a black and a much darker red color scheme. Near the ending, Asuka is reverted back to human form.
Shinji Ikari Raising Project
Main article: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project
In this manga version, Asuka is a childhood friend of Shinji's. Although she still makes fun of him, she's also shown to have romantic feelings for him. As such, she was jealous when Rei joined them in school. The two of them dispute his attention for the remainder of the manga.
Neon Genesis Evangelion 2
Main article: Neon Genesis Evangelions
In this video-game, Asuka is heavily featured throughout the story and its many alternative scenarios. She is a playable character in Scenario 02 of the PS2 version, and Scenario 04 of the PSP version.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days
Main article: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days
Similarly to SIRP, Asuka is Shinji's childhood friend and has strong feelings for him. They constantly get into fights and Asuka is shown to be jealous of Rei and particularly Kaworu. At one point, Shinji is invited to play a concerto with Kaworu but he decides to take care of a sick Asuka instead. Her feelings of inferiority are preserved, and she tries to overcompensate, as she is especially violent in the earlier chapters of the series, but mellows out eventually. She and Shinji eventually realize their feelings and declare their feelings for one another, and by the ending are adjusting to being a couple.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku
Main article: Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku
Asuka is generally the same as she is depicted in the original manga and routinely teases Shinji. She is an artificially created child, like Rei and Kaworu. She is the only one of the three to have had parents or go to school prior to her current one. It is later revealed that on one of her first assignments, Asuka was forced to kill her mother after Angels took possession of her body. Despite her hatred of Angels, she still befriends Kaworu after he reveals his true heritage to her. Unlike other versions, she also seems to get along well with Rei, and is visibly upset when Rei is shot by Gendo. At the end of the series, she is shown attending school alongside Shinji and Rei, starting up a normal life after Gendo's death and the defeat of the Angels.
Petit Eva: Evangelion@School
Main article: Petit Eva: Evangelion@School
In Petit Eva, Asuka is also shown to be Shinji's childhood friend, constantly getting into fights. She is very energetic. In the Nintendo DS videogame adaptation, she also shows romantic interest in him and almost kisses him before being interrupted by Kensuke filming them and the rest of the cast watching them.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
In the 2007 anime Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, Asuka, alongside Rei, as well other female characters from other Gainax works, appear in episode 6, dressed in bunny outfits working in a bathhouse. However, it is revealed by the end of the episode that those girls were instead beastmen in disguise.
Other characters include Mahoro from Mahoromatic, Nono, and Lal'c from Diebuster.
Edge Of Spider-Verse
Asuka makes a cameo appearance alongside Kaworu, Rei and Shinji in the fifth chapter of Marvel's Edge of Spider-Verse storyline, as classmates of Peni Parker.
Asuka's Japanese surname comes from the Japanese WWII aircraft carrier Souryuu. Her German surname comes from the American aircraft carrier Langley, also from WWII, while her mother's name refers to the nearly completed Nazi German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin. Her first name comes from Asuka Saki (砂姫 明日香, "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 (和田 慎二, "Wada Shinji"). Her mother's first name, "Kyoko", also comes from that manga's character Kyoko Aoi (葵 今日子, "Aoi Kyoko"). "明日 Asu" means "tomorrow" and "今日 Kyo" means "today" in Japanese.
For the German terms used in the scenes with Asuka, Anno asked for help from an American employee of Gainax, Michael House, who exploited his basic knowledge of the language, acquired in high school, and a Japanese-German dictionary from a local library. Gainax did not pay attention to the dialogues' German grammar, believing the series would never be successful enough to be distributed to native German speakers. Anno originally placed Asuka with a clear-cut personality, but the character rapidly gained his affection and he spontaneously started to develop her further. He says the character was truly born when he created the "Are you stupid?" line. Asuka eventually became his favorite character. Miyamura had originally auditioned for the role of Rei.
Asuka's story reflected the changes in the latter half of the series: although she had been introduced in an essentially positive role, her character became increasingly dramatic and introverted, going against the expectations and the pleasure principle of anime fans. In the twenty-second episode, Anno focused on the girl's disastrous emotional situation, harassed by her first menstrual cycle, but not considering herself capable of exploring such a delicate and feminine theme, he condensed everything into a single scene. The author's original intent was a long live action segment for the film, with different content than the final version. The original segment focused on Asuka. In the alternate universe, Shinji would never have existed; walking the streets of Tokyo-2, however, Asuka would hear his voice calling her. Sadamoto conceived their dance training in the manga as akin to a "kiss", underlining their psychological connection, in place of kiss scene in Episode 15. Asuka would be Shinji's symbol for his longing for the opposite sex, differently from Rei's "motherly" existence.
In a Newtype poll from March 2010, Asuka was voted as the third most popular female anime character from the 1990s. The June 2010 issue of Newtype ranked Asuka Shikinami Langley No. 8 in its monthly top 10 character survey. One reviewer describes her fatal flaw as "excessive Pride", noting that her mother goes insane after taking a test pilot experience on herself just as Asuka suffers a mental breakdown or contamination when challenging the 16th Angel herself. Mike Crandol, also of ANN, states that "Again it is Asuka that it is most interesting to consider in this [semi-romantic] light. Sensing a kindred soul beneath her aggressive exterior (or perhaps admiring the determination he lacks), Shinji comes to love her, but does not know how to express it. Likewise, it is hinted that Asuka has similarly romantic feelings for Shinji, but her ego prevents her from admitting it even to herself." Pete Harcoff of Anime Critic described Asuka as providing much of the comic relief, while also being an "annoying snot". IGN ranked her as the 13th greatest anime character of all time, saying that "On the surface, she's a simple character. ... But as the series progresses we see that her pride is a cover for deeper emotions and deep, deep psychological problems." Japanese critic Manabu Tsuribe considers that End of Evangelion was concluded by Shinji finding "an other" in her. For Hiroki Azuma, Asuka was the "symbol of the outside" in the world of Evangelion, taking Shinji away from his comfort zone in the "Nerv family", in contrast to Rei, who'd play an "imaginary healing" role, Asuka would be an independent person in reality. Japanese band speena wrote a song about their relationship, "ジレンマ" (Dillema), on her having love/hate relationship with his despite her feelings.
Asuka was initially less successful and popular than Rei, however over time Rei's popularity gave in to Asuka's, particularly with the release of Evangelion 3.0. She is consistently ranked the most popular character in merchandising sales. Asuka is also credited as being highly influential in establishing the tsundere archetype in subsequent anime.
Non-franchise Video Games
Asuka appears in the Super Robot Wars game series, where she often butts heads with equally hot-headed and intelligent Kouji Kabuto, the pilot of Mazinger Z and Mazinkaiser. She is also implied to have developed crushes on famous heroes, such as Char Aznable (in the guise of Quattro Bageena) and Amuro Ray. However, the writers of the Super Robot Wars are evidently believers in Asuka and Shinji's suppressed feelings for each other. For example, in Super Robot Wars Alpha, Asuka jealously seizes a bouquet of roses Shinji meant for Lynn Minmei. In Super Robot Wars Alpha 3, she snaps Shinji out of his depressed state during the battle with the mass-produced Evas by declaring that she could not be with someone who'd simply lie down and die.
In KOF: Maximum Impact 2 the character Leona Heidern has an alternate costume that resembles Asuka's plug suit. She also has a costume that resembles Rei.
- EVA If it weren't for Sadamoto – Redux Translation of interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto about designing the series.: "An easily recognizable silhouette is also important, but I designed the characters so that their personalities could be more or less understood at a glance. For example, even the color and length of the hair expresses personality. 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."
- According to Megumi Ogata, Shinji's voice actress, the scene itself was modeled on a experience of a female friend of Anno's. This friend got into an argument with her boyfriend, and at some point he choker her in rage. Instead of reacting violently, this friend felt no fear, hatred or even a need for survivl, but rather a desire to caress him tenderly. In response, her boyfriend lost her grip. However, Anno's friend instead grew cold, and muttered Asuka's line from the EoE draft almost verbatim. Ogata believes this scene was how Anno wanted to "convey different ways how to bring feelings of love to a conclusion that exist in reality. You are you, I am I". Naturally, this reflects on the films f individuality and the duality of reaching out to others present in Eva.
Anno also guided Ogata to treat OMF partly as a separate story: "as something that just exists. As if everything that happened before in the movie is merely a dream that never happened. It is its own narrative unity, something that can fundamentally be taken away from its context in the movie and still be interpreted as a dramatic whole. It is and is not the final scene of EoE."
Furthermore, Ogata asked Anno to help her understand what Anno wanted to convey through the scene and how Shinji is supposed to act. Hearing this, Anno first stands silent and confused for a moment. Then he firmly wraps his arms around himself and hugs himself. This is on the "purpose" of what he is trying to express. As for how Ogata should play Shinji Anno asks her to not play Shinji: " "For this scene alone, I want Ogata to take on and express my feelings rather than Shinji's" - 『井手功二のエヴァンゲリオンフォーエヴァー』（アミューズブックス）
- "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" - Neon Genesis Evangelion Film Book vol 5, pp. 44–45.
- 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. - Episode 22 Commentaries
- In Japanese, "to hold [someone]" is a double entendre of "having sex with". In effect, Asuka is 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. It's a parallel with Gendo and Ritsuko.
- In the expanded Director's Cut version of Episode 22, Anno also took inspiration from a 1996 doujin by author Nobi Nobita called Bridal Veil, which depicted an expanded mindrape scene itself. Curiously, 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 isn't made clear in the doujin, wherein it seems ambiguous if she's talking about Shinji or Kaji. This doujin has been translated on Evageeks and a full scanlation is also available on its thread.
- In the original Japanese, Asuka uses the idiomatic expression "I know you've been using me as a side dish". In Japanese, "using something as a side dish" is an expression for using something or someone for one's erotic fantasies, but with the underlying implication that the person using the "side dish" is too scared to actually act on their feelings. As such, Asuka might even be implying that Shinji could have had the "real thing" before, but hesitated.
- 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" - FLASH EX Eva Feature
- Evangelion Cardass Masters: "Shinji renounced the world where all hearts had melted into one and accepted each other unconditionally. His desire... to live with 'others' -- other hearts that would sometimes reject him, even deny him. That is why the first thing he did after coming to his senses was to place his hands around Asuka's neck. To feel the existence of an 'other'. To confirm (make sure of) rejection and denial." "In the sea of LCL, Shinji wished for a world with other people. He desired to meet them again, even if it meant he would be hurt and betrayed. And just as he had hoped/wanted, Asuka was present in the new world. Only Asuka was there beside him. The girl who he had hurt, and by whom he had been hurt. But even so, she was the one he had hoped/wished for...." "Neither Yui, Rei nor Misato could do as a woman for Shinji. Asuka alone was the only girl on equal footing with him. So, Shinji desired/sought after Asuka. "I'm afraid of Misato and Ayanami." However, Shinji's crude affection only hurt her. In the end, he used her as an object of lust/desire to soothe/ console himself..."
- D-88, D-84, P-66, P-68, H-11, full set here
- Shinji/Asuka: Colleague-Complicated Feelings;Colleague-Love/Hate
"Proud and assertive, Asuka possessed many strong qualities but lacked the ability to truly control her feelings. [...]It was only after Kaji's death and the Fifteenth Angel's psychological attack that Asuka came to realize Shinji and Kaji both occupied a similar place in her heart. This realization was quite shocking to Asuka, as she had thus far gone out of her way to dismiss and mock Shinji whenever possible.
Asuka's default behaviour toward Shinji emphasized mockery and distaste, though she couldn't deny also feeling some semblance of romantic interest toward him. When their synchronicity levels "officially" indicated that Shinji was superior to Asuka in some way, she started suffering a kind of psychological instability and had a hard time dealing with the love/hate she felt for him"
By chance, Asuka observed Rei and Shinji sharing a conversation. Asuka felt a very dark emotion welling up inside of her as she watched Shinji enjoying himself in Rei's company.
During Instrumentality, Asuka encountered Shinji inside his inner world and told him she didn't need anything if she couldn't have all of him. Despite the significance of this statement, Shinji's response was vague at best and he only sought a place at her side because it was a "comfortable" place to be. Hurt by the notion that she was nothing more than an escape for Shinji, Asuka outright rejected him. As a result, the Human Instrumentality Project did not reach its intended result, and any changes to the relationship between Asuka and Shinji were left unclear.
"Though Shinji and Asuka are both EVA pilots and living under the same roof、they are polar opposites. Despite their differences、Shinji did feel an attraction to Asuka at certain moments throughout their time together. When Shinji expressed his feelings to Asuka and sought her help during his instrumentality、she outright rejected him. Shinji and Asuka in the new world where the Human Instrumentality Project was not fulfilled Shinji had chosen a world where others existed、and for him Asuka became the first "Other".
"Asuka Langley Soryu Piloting EVA-02 was Asuka's way of maintaining her self-respect, and it also served to deepen her confusing love/hate for Shinji. Her repeated failures in combat against the Angels during the war had forced Asuka to face her own weaknesses, and though she did make a comeback during SEELE's forced requisition of NERV headquarters, she fell in battle against the mass-production model EVA units. Immediately after Asuka's defeat, the Human Instrumentality Project was activated, Asuka was the first "other" to exist in the new world that was created when Shinji wished for a world where others existed, and she was found lying. next to Shinji."
- The Essential Evangelion Chronicle, Side B
- "Shinji meets Rei in the sea of L.C.L. while Human Instrumentality with Unit 01 as a substitute is in progress. Shinji didn't want a world where his boundaries were gone and he was nowhere else. Shinji's eyes tell that he that he will accept the fear of others, the strength of life that moves forward while being frightened can be seen. When their consciousness returned to reality, Shinji and Asuka lie in a world where Human Instrumentality is incomplete.
In the world where Shinji wanted to have others, Asuka became the first stranger, and Shinji reaches out to her [for her neck]. It is difficult to understand Shinji's emotions as he wonders if Asuka is the one who will hurt him or the one who will complement him.
Shinji and Asuka stand alone in a space where no one else is around. In her mental world, Shinji was rejected while expressing her feelings to Asuka and asking her for her salvation, but the relationship between the two can/will* change in the new world." - Evangelion Chronicle Vol. 22, alternate translation from the Japanese
*Translator's notes: "The verb kawaru (変わる) means to change. In this passage, we have kawatte (変わって), which means changed. Add iku (いく) and it means changing. Add nodarou (のだろう) means probably. [The relationship] will probably change. The nature of such indefinite change means it is still likely unclear. So those two sentences basically say the same thing (unclear vs will change). The former wording is used in the English translation of the Essential digest version, while the latter is used in the French translation.
- 24. Opening of a Dream (Piano – Leave It To Version)
Shinji’s independence that he bid farewell to his mother and chose to live in the world of others despite the fact that he would hurt others is portrayed in this song with a somewhat sad piano solo. It is as if it suggested the relationship between the project of EVANGELION and the audiences. - Refrain of Evangelion booklet interview
- It's still a long way off, but what will the end be like? Will it be about the connection between Shinji and Asuka like the anime?
That's the hard part. I don't know how it will turn out yet. I want to make a happy ending, but it's difficult to say what is happy. The movie version is happy in its own way. Humans are nothing when they are born and at the moment of death, so if the process of living is not enjoyable, they cannot live. Shinji had a hard time, but he wanted to live. That's why he's happy. - Sadamoto The Other Side of the Story, Newtype December 1997
- Ogata actually choking Miyamura for the EoE scenes was clearly consensual, despite rumours to the contrary.
- The Indestructible Studio Gainax, ANN
- "I want to be told, "What are you, stupid?" Miyamura and Anno interview, Animage July 1996.
- “Virtual Panel! Meet Hideaki Anno,” Animerica vol.4, no.9
- Sadamoto interview, Newtype 1997
- "An extrapolation of these verses also incorporates the eventual similar 'fate' and punishment of parents and children. With this in mind, the seeming parallels are shocking:...Asuka's mother, after direct (1st level) contact with an Angel, goes 'insane' and eventually kills herself. Asuka, after direct contact with the 16th Angel, as well as an extremely wounded hubris (excessive Pride), has a complete mental breakdown and attempts to commit suicide, but fails; she is effectively 'dead.'" Kenneth Lee, in "The Thin Veneer Known as "Evangelion"", ANN; Lee also describes Asuka in one scene as "completely misanthropic".
- Understanding Evangelion
- Neon Genesis Evangelion
- 25 Greatest Anime Characters
- Prison of Self-consciousness: an Essay on Evangelion "In my view, The End of Evangelion ended on the phase when Shinji, the hero, found Asuka as "the other." For Shinji, Asuka is an ambiguous existence. On the one hand she lectures and inspires him because she minds him, but on the other she is also an existence beyond his control-the other that can never be interiorized. Asuka's ambiguity is also the ambiguity of the work Evangelion as it is."
- https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%82%B8%E3%83%AC%E3%83%B3%E3%83%9E_(speena%E3%81%AE%E6%9B%B2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oklwi4GKrcE
- Creator Hideaki Anno Discusses Rei Versus Asuka
- Eva Store's Character Popularity Poll Yields Surprising Results
- How To Identify Popular Japanese Character Types