Always cock sure of herself, and determined to be second to none, Asuka has been a favorite with many NGE fans. She's very cute and passionate about life, throwing herself body and soul into her work as an EVA pilot. She can also be a royal b____ to be around. Her prideful arrogance seems to hide a basic insecurity caused by a tragic family background.
When we first meet Asuka in episode 8, she is accompanying the delivery of Eva-02 from Germany. To her, the Units 00 & 01 are just prototypes, and she is going to be the best Eva pilot in existance. When an angel, swimming under the sea, attacks the ships, Asuka swings into action, finding a place in the ship to change into her plug suit (at left), and taking the Eva-02 into battle by hopscotching onto the decks of the battleships. The battle is unsuccessful however, when the angel leaps from the water onto the ship and clamps Eva-02 in its jaws and then swims off into the sea, with the Eva tethered to the ship by the unit's power line. At the point Asuka learns that she has to cooperate with Shinji (who she took along in the Eva-02) and work with Misato who reals the Eva and the angel back in like a giant fishing line, and then, with the Eva prying the angel's jaws open, Misato rams two battleships down it's gullet, opening fire by remote control, and successfully blowing the angel up. Shinji's friends, who have gotten a very bad first impression of Asuka, are glad that at least they have seen the last of her...until she shows up in their class as a new student.
Asuka grew up without a father. One story is that her mother was a single mother who had herself artificially inseminated from a sperm bank of Nobel prize winners. Her mother was a scientist in the Eva program in Germany. However, when Asuka was young, her mother attempted synchronizing with the Eva she was working on, and the attempt drove her mad. Asuka was left to be raised by others. She visited her mother in the insane asylum, where her mother would talk to a rag doll as if it were Asuka and tell the doll to ignore "that other little girl over there". When she was about 8, Asuka learned that she was accepted into the program to become an Eva pilot. Excitedly she ran to the hospital to tell her mother, only to find that her mother had ripped the head of the rag doll off, and hung herself. Traumatizing as the experience was, it left Asuka determined to succeed where others had failed.
At age 14, at the time of Evangelion, Asuka has already graduated the Universitat in Germany. She is also a fairly decent violinist. In Japan, she is however placed in the high school with Shinji and Rei and other students, where her grades don't fair so well. The lessons are in Japanese. She can understand spoken Japanese well, but can't read or write written Japanese to the extent that allows her to do well in class. But she does manage to make herself popular with the other students, something that Shinji hasn't managed and Rei doesn't care to.
By the end of Evangelion she has been faced with the fact that she is not the best EVA pilot. Her confidence fails her, she loses the ability to synchronize with an EVA at all, and she ends up in the hospital in a coma in the final TV episodes. However in the subsequent movies, she is placed back into her EVA by Misato when NERV is under attack, and wakens to find herself having to deal with attacking Tokyo Defense Forces, and then with multiple attacking second-generation EVA's. She displays a combat skill that shows that she is really second to no one. But her power cable was cut in the battle against the Tokyo Defense Forces. Just before her stored power runs out, her Eva is hit by a manufactured version of the Lance of Longinus. The lance is able to penetrate an angel's or eva's AT field. With the lance penetrating her eva's head, she feels the pain as if it has penetrated her own head. Then eva units 5-13 regenerate from the damage her eva dealt them, and descend upon unit-02, ripping it to shreds. It is a tragic ending for a tragic life.
Or is it? Asuka fans will be glad to know that she makes it back for the very end of the last movie, End of Evangelion. The way I understand what I have been told about this scene (Spoiler Alert! Read no further if you don't want to know about the climactic scene of the last movie!) Asuka and Shinji end up lying on a beach somewhere, washed up out of the seas that have turned into LCL fluid. All of the rest of humanity apparently have joined into one giant godhead through the Human Instrumentality Project. But Shinji, in the one independent thing that he has ever done, rejects the Human Instrumentality Project and is left as the last male human on Earth. Asuka is left with him on the beach (perhaps protected by being inside of Unit-02 during Third Impact). She has bandages on her face and arm that are like the ones Rei sometimes wore, when injured. So now are they the new Adam and Eve for a new Earth that has come about after the Third Impact of the Human Instrumentality Project? Shinji puts his hands on her throat like he's going to strangle her for all the things she's ever said and done to him. Instead of making a cutting remark in an Asuka manner, she reaches up and strokes his cheek, and instead of strangling her, his tears start to fall on her face, before he breaks away from her. Her last comment at the end of the movie has been variously translated as "This feeling sucks," or "This really sucks," or "I feel sick," or "I feel terrible."
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