Evangelion TV Series and End of Evangelion spoilers.
Well, well...you've stumbled upon the 'why Asuka' section of Pride, Honor and Strength. I know that a lot of people who come here will actually already like Asuka. That's not why I made this section of the page though ^_^ so if you like Asuka and you don't really feel like reading this...you can skip off to other sections of the page. However...for those of you that don't feel too fondly toward Asuka, or just don't care about her at all...I made this section of the website for you. And, of course, for all those people who like her who actually felt like reading this section.
By no means am I going to try to force you to like Asuka, if you don't already. Please don't send me e-mail that bitches at me for trying to make you like her...that's not what I'm doing. I simply want to explain to you why I think Asuka is one of the best characters in Evangelion, and, more importantly, why I created this small shrine to her. I know that there are a lot of people who hate Asuka...it's pretty hard to be neutral toward her, in my opinion. Usually you either love her (or like her a lot) or you hate her. I can basically split Evangelion watchers into those two categories. A few don't fall in there...but almost everyone does. Why is there such a large group of people that hate Asuka? Why is there another large group that likes her?
I'm going to try to explain that, as well as why I myself like her.
Asuka, first and foremost, has a fiery attitude. She charges into situations, she screams and yells, and pilots her Evangelion without fear of anything. She is truly a proud person, and often tries to be the center of attention - and succeeds. She often wields her pride and uses it as a weapon, sometimes striking down the feelings of others. Asuka thinks differently from almost all the other characters in the series - with her "Act and ask questions later" mentality, she'll either annoy the hell out of you or make you choose her as one of your favorite characters in the series. Asuka is never afraid - though she hates loneliness, though she hates the idea that she might not be loved by those around her, she is never truly afraid. While Shinji is often assaulted by the demons of his mind, Asuka successfully holds her past behind a tall barrier, one that can only be brought down by an Angel. Asuka charges straight into the battle with Israfel, splitting it in half with her halberd before Shinji has half a chance to fight it. She strives to be the best she can be, and for most of the series succeeds like no one else has before. It seems that Shinji is taking the wussy way out and is deciding to fight from a few hundred feet away with his gun, while Asuka charges the Angel head-on, but it's just a huge difference in battle strategies, believe it or not. Asuka's strategy shows her amazing bravery, while Shinji's tactics show that he would rather stay on the safe side and attack from a distance.
Some people like Asuka because of her almost-inability to fear. Her bravery and pride show both that she is a strong girl and that it's unlikely that anyone would be able to beat her. In the manga, Asuka isn't only good at piloting an Evangelion...she's not a bad street fighter either. (Ha, I'd like to see her in one of those games! ^_^) She is perfectly able to defend herself against anyone and anything.
Her bravery might also annoy people. Watching Asuka charge into the battle with Israfel, seeing her disobey orders and launch Evangelion Unit-02 when Rei was supposed to take point during the battle with Arael...I can see how Asuka could annoy someone. She doesn't listen to orders unless she agrees with them, she's bossy, and she seems too damn brave for her own good. It's true. She is too brave - her bravery and her need to be the best is actually her undoing. When she launches Evangelion Unit-02 during Arael's attack, her fate is almost sealed. When she chooses to battle the Eva Series by herself and recklessly charges into battle during End of Evangelion, her Evangelion is torn apart and it's a mystery as to whether or not Asuka herself died.
Asuka's constant bickering with and attacking of Shinji probably annoys people, especially people who treasure Shinji-kun as their favorite character. Asuka isn't maliciously trying to hurt Shinji - she's usually just joking around with him, and his submissiveness often plains pisses her off. He never fights other people's decisions, and that seems to grate against Asuka's nerves. When Asuka becomes depressed near the end of the TV series, she takes her anger out on him because he's the only person she can turn to. When Kaji died, her depression and anger was only made worse.
Asuka's hatred of Rei is, I'm sure, another reason why some people don't like her. Rei is, after all, a popular character. Rei's personality is definitely what makes Asuka hate Rei as much as she does. In episodes 21 and 22 of Evangelion, Asuka's painful past was revealed. (Don't worry, I'll link this to Rei in a minute ^_^) Her mother, after a synchronization attempt with Evangelion Unit-02, went insane. After that time, since Asuka's father was so involved in his work, Asuka was ignored. Her mother had a doll which she used as a substitute for her daughter, possibly out of guilt because, even before the synchronization attempt with Unit-02, she hadn't had much time for Asuka. She often referred to Asuka as "That girl over there" when speaking to her doll, and called her doll "Asuka". In the director's edition of Genesis 0:11 (episodes 21 and 22), when Asuka's mother hanged herself, Kyoko also hung the doll, in order to 'take Asuka to heaven with her'. The doll is precisely why I believe Asuka hates Rei so much. Rei is often referred to as a doll by Asuka. She does whatever she's told, is quiet...and strangely, the doll that Kyoko hung looked frighteningly similar to Rei. Rei summons memories of the past to Asuka's mind, and she also acts like the doll that Asuka hated so much, that her mother preferred over her. Gendo obviously prefers Rei over any of the other Children, even though Rei is one of the least useful as an Evangelion Pilot out of all of them. She has a lousy sync ratio and her Evangelion often berserks, leaving Rei incapable of piloting through much of the series. Asuka is probably affected by this, because the 'doll' is Gendo's favorite, just as the doll was favored by Kyoko. (I think this is pretty accurate...if you don't agree with me, please don't yell at me and complain that I'm wrong...I'm not saying I'm 100% right...but it's likely that this is the reason. I'm just doing a character analysis of Asuka, kinda, and this is a fully supported reason as to why Asuka might hate Rei.)
Asuka isn't an uncontrolled bitch who does what she does for no reason. Some people obviously think this...I've met them, I've talked to them, and I've argued with them. I just gave the reasons for her intense hatred of Rei Ayanami, and a little insight as to why she screams at Shinji so much. Asuka doesn't just charge into battle in order to kill the Angel first or some stupid thing like that...it's one of her battle tactics. After all, it isn't Asuka who got sucked into Leliel in Genesis 0:8, that was Shinji being strangely full of self-esteem and being completely irrational. This goes to prove that Asuka isn't the kind of person who is just going to charge into anything without thinking first. She could have done the same thing as Shinji, or she could have moved through Tokyo-3 without trying for stealth at all and have risked being detected by the Angel. However...she didn't. Asuka held back and didn't attack Leliel without knowing what it could do.
I, obviously, like Asuka a lot. She's my favorite character in the entire series of Evangelion, right up there with Misato and Kaoru. I envy her lack of fear in the face of the Angels and I immediately liked her when she was introduced in Genesis 0:4 (episodes 7 and 8). I love her attitude, and though I'm not really like that myself, I can identify with it sometimes. I think it's amazing that Asuka was able to hold out through most of the series - she didn't mentally fall apart until very late in the series, compared to everyone else. (Misato was a mess by the time Kaji died...she was no longer her happy self. The Rei everyone got to know during the series died only a few episodes after Asuka's breakdown, and became a cold and heartless Rei III. Shinji had snapped after the Evangelion Unit-03 battle, when he saw Touji's body in the crushed entry plug. Ritsuko had begun falling apart as well, when she realized that Gendo preferred Rei to her, and was merely using her.) Asuka didn't really get deeply depressed until after the battle with Zeruel, when she was NERV's only hope at the time and was defeated. She felt betrayed that Shinji had come back and saved NERV once more, and was sick that he kept saving the day. After her mind rape by the next Angel, Arael, she finally became just as depressed as the other characters, no longer the strong and fearless girl she had been near the beginning of the series. I was highly impressed that she was able to hold back such a terrible past and was able to overcome it. Her strength and her pride returned amazingly in End of Evangelion, when she woke up in the entry plug of Evangelion Unit-02 and discovered what the AT Field was. Throughout the entire series, until it's late stages, Asuka and Misato had been battling for the #1 place as my favorite Evangelion character, and finally Asuka prevailed somewhere in Genesis 0:10 (episodes 19 and 20). I'm proud to say that Asuka is my favorite character, and I believe I understand her as fully as I'll ever be able to.
I hope that helped you a bit, maybe to understand Asuka, or to help you like her a bit more, even. Please enjoy the rest of the website. ^_^