Asuka Langley Soryu

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Asuka Langley Soryu
Neon Genesis Evangelion character
Asukka13.jpg
First appearance"Asuka Strikes!"
Created byGainax
Hideaki Anno
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Voiced byJapanese:
Yūko Miyamura
English:
Tiffany Grant (ADV Films dub, Rebuild)
Stephanie McKeon (Netflix dub)
In-universe information
AliasAsuka Shikinami Langley (Rebuild)[1]
SpeciesHuman
GenderFemale
TitleSecond Child
Captain (Rebuild)
RelativesKyoko Zeppelin Soryu (mother)
Ryoji Kaji (guardian)
Misato Katsuragi (guardian)
NationalityGerman-American

Asuka Langley Soryu (惣流・アスカ・ラングレー, Sōryū Asuka Rangurē, IPA: [soːɾʲɯː asɯ̥ka ɾaŋɡɯɾeː]) is a fictional character in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. Within the series, she is designated as the Second Child and the pilot of 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 film, and on Gainax's website. Asuka is voiced by Yūko Miyamura in Japanese in all animated appearances and merchandise. In English, Asuka is voiced by Tiffany Grant in the ADV Films dub and by Stephanie McKeon in the Netflix dub. In the Rebuild of Evangelion films, her Japanese surname is changed to Shikinami (式波). In a Newtype poll from March 2010, Asuka was voted as the third most popular female anime character from the 1990s.

Conception[edit]

Early designs for Asuka by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, firstly published in 1993.

In the early design stages of Neon Genesis Evangelion, director Hideaki Anno proposed to include a girl similar to Asuka as the protagonist of the anime. Character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto however was very reluctant to the idea of re-proposing a female character in the lead role after the previous works of Gainax, such as Gunbuster and Nadia; he himself declared: "A robot should be piloted by a trained person, whether it is a woman or not makes no difference, but I cannot understand why a girl should pilot a robot." Sadamoto asked the director to include a boy in the role of main character, thus downgrading her to the role of female co-protagonist. Sadamoto himself modeled the relationship between Asuka and male protagonist Shinji Ikari basing on Nadia and Jean from The Secret of Blue Water. Asuka should have represented "[Shinji's] desire for the female sex", as opposed to Rei Ayanami's "motherhood",[2] and should have been "the idol of Neon Genesis Evangelion".[3] In the initial project she was described as "a determined girl" who tends to adapt to the situation, passionate about video games and who "aspires to become like Ryoji Kaji".[4] In the nineteenth episode, moreover, she would have had to be seriously injured in an attempt to protect Shinji, who would have thus "proved his worth" in an attempt to save her.[5]

For the name of the character Hideaki Anno took inspiration from Asuka Saki (砂姫 明日香, Saki Asuka), protagonist of the manga Super Girl Asuka (超少女明日香, Chō Shōjo Asuka), written by Shinji Wada; for the surname, on the other hand, he merged the names of two ships used in the Second World War, the Japanese World War II aircraft carrier Soryu and the American aircraft carrier Langley.[6][7] Despite her multiethnic origins, however, the production decided to make Asuka's skin the same color as Rei Ayanami, another character with Japanese nationality.[8] To better outline the girl's psychology the director relied on his own personality, making his moods converge in her character.[9][10]

For the German terms used in the scenes with Asuka, Anno asked help to the American member 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.[11] Gainax did not pay attention to the German grammar of the dialogues, believing that the series could never be successful enough to be distributed to native speakers.[12] Anno originally inserted Asuka with the aim of lightening the atmosphere of the series, without foreseeing any particular evolutionary parable of the character. To define her role and outline her psychology, moreover, she chose some recurring lines like "Are you stupid?" or "Chance!" and preferred to act instinctively, without following a plan.[13] During the first airing of the series, moroever, the director began to criticize otaku, Japanese obsessed animation fans, accusing them of being excessively closed and introverted; therefore he changed the atmosphere of the second half of the series, making the plot darker, violent and introspective. The change also reflected on Asuka's story: although she had been introduced in an essentially positive role, the character became increasingly dramatic and introverted, going against the expectations and the pleasure principle of anime fans.[14][15] In the twenty-second episode he decided to focus on the disastrous emotional situation of the girl, harassed by her first menstrual cycle, but, not considering herself capable of exploring such a delicate and feminine theme, he decided to condense everything into a single scene.[16] Also the interpretation of Miyamura and the lack of time that affected the realization of the last two episodes were decisive. During production he therefore decided to insert scenes in which he represented Asuka with simple hand-drawn sketches, remaining extremely satisfied with the result and characterization of the character.[17]

Voice[edit]

Tiffany Grant voiced Asuka in the first English dub

Asuka's character is voiced by the seiyū Yūko Miyamura in all her appearances in the original series, as well as the later films, spin-offs, video games[18][19] and the new Rebuild of Evangelion film series. The only exception is an introspective scene from the twenty-second episode, in which she was voiced by the other female members of the original cast, such as Kotono Mitsuishi, Megumi Hayashibara, Miki Nagasawa, Yuriko Yamaguchi and Junko Iwao.[20] According to Miyamura, Asuka's dubbing proved to be difficult. For several years she wished to "erase Evangelion" and forget her experience with it.[21] Towards the end of the first broadcast, in fact, the seiyū suffered from bulimia and found herself in a disastrous psychic state, similar to that of Asuka's character.[22] Despite the numerous problems that her work was causing her, however, she tried to fulfill her task, remaining until the end.[23] The voice actress, despite the difficulties, identified herself so much to follow a conversation course in German, decide some lines of the girl and define some details, such as the cloth puppet in the shape of a monkey featured in some flashbacks.[24][25] One of her ideas, for example, were the German sentences that Asuka utters in the twenty-second episode of the series in a telephone conversation with her stepmother.[26]

When dubbing the last scene of The End of Evangelion (1997), in which Shinji Ikari strangles Asuka, Shinji's voice actress Megumi Ogata physically imitated her gesture and strangled her colleague. Because of her agitation, he squeezed her neck too hard, risking not to make her recite the other lines of the film well.[27] With Ogata's gesture Miyamura was finally able to produce realistic sounds of a strangulation, thanking her colleague for her availability.[28] Anno based the scene on a fact that actually happened to an acquaintance of his. The woman was strangled by a malicious man, but, when she was about to be killed, she stroked him for no reason. When the man stopped squeezing her neck, the woman regained a cold attitude,[29] speaking the words that Asuka would have said to Shinji in the original script: "I can't stand the idea of being killed by someone like you" (あんたなんかに殺されるのは真っ平よ).[30][31] Dissatisfied with Miyamura's interpretation, Anno asked her to imagine a stranger sneaking into her room, who could rape her at any time but who prefers to masturbate by watching her sleep. The director also asked her what she would say about her if she woke up suddenly, noticing what had happened. Miyamura, disgusted by the scene, replied by saying Kimochi warui (気持ち 悪い, "How disgusting" or "I feel sick"). After the conversation, Anno changed the punchline by echoing the voice actress's reaction.[32] Further difficulties arose during the dubbing sessions for the film Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012), third installment of the Rebuild saga, set fourteen years after the previous movies. According to Miyamura herself, the scenario made her feel "very confused feelings" and "a constant feeling of lightheadedness." Hideaki Anno himself did not explain the plot and setting of the film to her, complicating her work.[33]

In English, Asuka is voiced by Tiffany Grant in the ADV Films dub and by Stephanie McKeon in the Netflix dub.[34] Grant felt that playing Asuka was "refreshing", as "she says the most horrible things to people, things that you'd like to say to people and can't get away with".[35]

Appearances[edit]

In Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series[edit]

Asuka Langley Sōryū was born on December 4, 2001.[36] She is the daughter of Dr. Sōryū Kyōko Zeppelin, an employee of a research center named Gehirn. She has German and Japanese blood and US citizenship.[37] In 2005, her mother participated in a contact experiment with Unit-02, but due to an accident, suffered a severe mental breakdown, becoming permanently hospitalized. The mental injuries incurred during the failed experiment also render her unable to recognize her own child. Asuka is deeply hurt by her mother's behavior, who speaks to a doll believing it to be her daughter. A while later, Asuka is chosen as the Second Child and Unit-02's official pilot.[38][39] Hoping that her selection could cause her mother to recognize her again, she excitedly runs to her room to announce the news, only to find her corpse hanging from the ceiling.[40] Shocked and traumatized by her mother's suicide, Asuka adopts her self-affirmation as the only reason to be, participating in countless training sessions in order to become a pilot and meet other people's expectations.[41]

At the age of fourteen, she graduates from her German university. Asuka leaves Germany soon after, accompanied by her guardian Ryoji Kaji and Unit-02, on board a United Nations aircraft carrier escorted by numerous warships there to protect the Eva. During the trip, she meets Shinji Ikari, Third Child and pilot of Unit-01, and her new classmates Tōji and Kensuke. The United Nations fleet is then attacked by Gaghiel, the sixth Angel.[42] Recognizing this event as a good chance to demonstrate her skills, Asuka independently decides to activate her Eva, coercing Shinji into joining her in the entry plug.[43] Despite struggling to work together and the Eva not yet being equipped to operate underwater, the two Children manage to destroy the enemy. She is later placed in class 2-A of Tokyo-3 first municipal middle school.[44], living with Shinji under Misato Katsuragi's care.[45][46] She also continuously teases him about his passivity and perceived lack of manliness, but gradually comes to respect and like him as they fight Angels together, though she is rarely able to express these feelings. However, following a series of Angel battles in which Shinji outperforms her, she increasingly grows unable to continue to suppress her traumatized psyche, drastically lowering her sync ratio with Unit-02 in the process.[47][48] This comes to a head in episode 22, when the Angel Arael attacks and Asuka, burdened by her continually worsening performance in synchronization tests, is infuriated by being ordered to serve as backup to Rei. She defies this order and tries to attack the Angel alone, but is overwhelmed by the Angel's attack, a beam that penetrates her mental barrier and forces her to relive her darkest memories. As a result of this, Asuka loses all will to live and spends time aimlessly roaming the streets of Tokyo-3. She is eventually found by Nerv personnel, naked and starving herself in the bathtub of a ruined building. The main series ends with her lying in a hospital bed in a catatonic state.[49][50]

In The End of Evangelion film[edit]

In The End of Evangelion, as the Japanese Strategic Self-Defense Force invade Nerv headquarters, Asuka is placed inside Unit-02, which is then submerged in a lake for her own protection. As she is bombarded by depth charges, Asuka wakes up, declares that she does not want to die, and, in a moment of clarity, realizes that her mother's soul is within the Eva and has been protecting her all along. Her self-identity regained, she emerges and defeats the JSSDF, before encountering nine mechas named mass-produced Evas.[51] Though she successfully disables all nine opponents, Unit-02's power runs out and the near infinite power of the mass-produced Evas allow them to eviscerate and dismember Unit-02.[52] Seeing Asuka's destroyed Evangelion makes Shinji go into a frenzy, which eventually culminates in him starting a catastrophic event named Third Impact. Shinji and Asuka have an extended dream-like sequence inside Instrumentality; Asuka claims she can't stand the sight of him, but Shinji responds that it is because he is just like her. Shinji claims he wants to understand her, but she refuses. He is furious at this rejection, and lashes out by choking her. After Shinji rejects Instrumentality, she is the second person to return some time after Shinji in the film's final scene, her injuries sustained in battle against the Mass-Produced Evas covered in bandages. Shinji begins to strangle the seemingly comatose Asuka, but stops when she caresses his face. She then says one of her most famous sentences: "Kimochi warui" ("I feel sick" or "How disgusting") with a cold voice.[53]

Rebuild of Evangelion[edit]

In the Rebuild of Evangelion saga, Asuka makes her first appearance in the second film, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (2009). Several changes have been made to her character, such as her family name being changed from Sōryū (惣流) to Shikinami (式波),[54][55] continuing the Japanese maritime vessel naming convention. The name change was the result of a precise choice by Hideaki Anno, who said he had somehow changed the background of the character. During the film the girl, who at Nerv has the role of captain, faces the seventh angel with her Eva-02 and is designated pilot of the Eva-03, whereas in the original series her role was Tōji Suzuhara. In the course of events, she also often plays video games and tries to cook something for Shinji. Asuka Shikinami, compared to her original counterpart, seems even more open and vulnerable: in one of the scenes of the film, for example, she confides in someone for the first time talking genuinely about her feelings with Misato, she does not feel any infatuation with Ryōji Kaji and maintains a more affectionate and peaceful relationship with Shinji. During the production phase, to better illustrate the evolutionary parable of the character, the screenwriter Yōji Enokido has added a night scene in which the girl, feeling alone, enters without permission in her partner's room, sleeping with him. At the beginning of the film, the young woman strongly refuses any kind of contact with other people and Shinji, only to feel strong jealousy towards her and a certain interest in her feelings. Asuka eventually survives Unit-03's, but is last seen in urgent care.[56]

In Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012), third installment of the saga, Asuka is initially part of the rescue operation for Unit-01, which is stranded in space, and is now working together with Mari supporting her piloting Unit-08. After fighting off an initial attack by Nerv, Asuka confronts Shinji in his holding cell and tells him fourteen years have passed. Asuka is biologically twentyeight years old but hasn't physically aged thanks to what she calls "the curse of the Evas", and she's wearing an eyepatch which glows blue. Asuka, again supported by Mari, confronts Shinji and Kaworu Nagisa and eventually self-destructs her Eva during the fight. Later, an exhausted Asuka briefly complains that Shinji is running away from his problems and, irritated at his lack of response, starts walking away. She grabs Shinji's wrist and they start moving along the ruins of Tokyo-3, followed by Rei Ayanami.[57]

In other media[edit]

Asuka on the cover of Volume 4 of the manga (Japanese printing).

Asuka appeared in many manga series based on the anime, including Neon Genesis Evangelion by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. The events in this manga series mirror those of the anime with some divergences apparent. Asuka appears as a main character in the series and is depicted, for the most part, similarly to her anime counterpart, with some slight changes. In the manga, she is a-test tube baby and mantains a more childish and immature attitude, unlike her attempts at being considered an adult in the series. She also has blonde hair, unlike the series' red. She meets Shinji in Tokyo-3, having already defeated the Angel Gaghiel on her own. Her relationship with Shinji is less developed than in the series and initially more hostile, though they still mellow out over time. Unlike in the series, Asuka does manage to survive her fight agaiinst the Mass-production Evas, but this does not stop Third Impact. Asuka and Shinji are the only characters meet again in the ending's new world, with only a faint recollection of one another.

Asuka appears in various manga spin-offs including the Shinji Ikari Raising Project and Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse with varying changes to her personality and characterization, including more romantic stories like Angelic Days. Asuka is usually more psychologically stable. Most of these portray Asuka as Shinji's childhood friend, similarly to the alternative universe from episode 26, and have her fight for Shinji's attentions with other characters, mainly Rei. She is older and more mature in Evangelion Anima, having developed a strong friendship with Shinji and even Rei.

Asuka appeared in several videogames based on the original animated series and medias not related to the Evangelion franchise, including Monster Strike,[58] Super Robot Wars,[59] Tales of Zestiria,[60] Puzzle & Dragons,[61] Keri hime sweets, Summons Board,[62][63] Puyopuyo!! Quest[64] and in an official Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion cross-over episode.[65] She also made appearances in various video games alongside other Evangelion characters such as in Neon Genesis Evangelion for the Nintendo 64 as well as the popular cross-over video game franchise Super Robot Wars, where she often butts heads with the equally hot-headed and intelligent Kouji Kabuto, the pilot of Mazinger Z and Mazinkaiser. Asuka is a potential romantic option in all Evangelion videogames that include such an option, such as Girlfriend of Steel 2nd and Shinji Ikari Raising Project, often, but not always, alongside Rei and other characters. A number of official art and merchandising depicts her an Shinji in romantic situations, similar to other characters. 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, in Super Robot Wars Alpha, Asuka jealously seizes a bouquet of roses from Shinji meant for Lynn Minmay. 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 would simply lie down and die. Asuka also appears in the crossover Transformers x Evangelion. She piloted Ava-1 to intercept the Angel possessed Starscream calling himself Angel-scream, her Ava was scanned by the Autobot leader Optimus Prime and he gains her Ava's size and colors, she with the help of Optimus Prime and the other Autobots defeat Angel-scream[66]

Characterization and themes[edit]

"Just to let you know, Asuka wasn't the most open-hearted character I've met. When I act Asuka's part, I try to synchronize myself with her 400%. But every time I tried to draw myself in closer synchronization, Asuka would never allow herself to synch with me. Even in the end, she would never step across the line and draw closer to me. One day, I figured out that there was a wall in Asuka's heart.".

Asuka is an energetic,[68] proud[69][70] and enterprising[71] girl with a resolute character.[72] She tends to look down on other people[73] and wants to constantly be at the center of attention.[74][75] Although she normally shows a stubborn and exuberant attitude, in some moments she exhibits a kinder, more sensitive and caring side.[76] Her abrupt and impulsive ways often arouse other people antipathy, since they do not fully understand her real intentions.[77][78] Unlike Shinji and Rei she is extremely proud of her pilot role and engages with great enthusiasm in missions,[79] but despite her apparently strong, aggressive and competitive character, Asuka suffers from the same sense of alienation as her companions.[80] Her ostentatious competitiveness actually originates from her tragic childhood experience, marked by the mental illness and consequent suicide of her mother Kyōko.[81][82] Asuka faced her loss by immersing herself in pride, becoming indisposed to any kind of help or advice and adopting strength and self-affirmation as her only raison d'être.[83][84] Tormented "by the fear of not being necessary",[85] she eventually pilots Unit-02 only to satisfy her intimate desire for acceptance, longing to be considered "an élite pilot who will protect humanity".[86] Her excessive self-confidence leads her to clash with Shinji,[87][88] gradually losing self-confidence[89][90] and becoming psychologically and physically compromised.[91][92] The Fourth Child's selection, Tōji Suzuhara, also contributes to the destruction of her pride.[93][94] After she learns of Kaji's death[95] she questions the meaning of her life and her identity,[96] avoiding any kind of human contact and never meeting the gaze of other people.[97] Overwhelmed by the fear of being alone,[98][99] the young woman shows that she has a great and morbid need for the Eva, even more than her colleague Shinji has. In a scene from the twenty-fifth episode she excoriates the machine as a "worthless piece of junk", but then immediately goes on to admit that "I'm the junk".[100]

Asuka's relationship with Rei Ayanami is equally tormented. She despises Rei by calling her "Miss Perfect" (優等生, yūtōsei) and "mechanical puppet girl".[101][102] In a scene from the 22nd episode Rei confesses to be ready to die for commander Gendō Ikari, provoking Asuka's anger, who slaps her and confesses to having hated her from the first moment they met.[103] Shortly thereafter, Rei helps her during the fight against Arael, an act that destroys her already wounded pride.[104] According to her English voice actresss Tiffany Grant, although Asuka may at first glance appear to be "pushy and loud", spectators can understand her true and profound reasons in the later episodes of the series: "So I think in the end her heart is in the right place but she has a hard time communicating that with her emotions and everything, how she really feels. I mean, she wants to have friends and she wants to be liked".[105]

Asuka suffers from masculine protest,[106] an expression from Alfred Adler's individual psychology to indicate exaggeratedly masculine tendencies in some tired and rebellious women who protests against traditional female gender role. She sees her male peers merely as rivals and spectators of her abilities,[107] and suffers from a marked emotional complex for male sex, merging a so-called "radical rivalry" and a latent inferiority complex. Her masculine protest is reflected in her strong misandric tendencies, since she's dominated by the need to beat male peers with an obsessive self-affirmation desire. This leads her to continuously attack Shinji's virility,[108][109] directing both interest and open hostility at him.[110][111] Due to their intimate fragility and insecurities Shinji and Asuka are unable to effectively communicate with one another on an emotional level, despite their mutual latent interest.[112][113] Asuka's excessive pride prevents her from admitting—even to herself—that she feels something for Shinji,[114][115] and as events and battles progress her feelings of love and hate intensify and dominate her.[116][117] She kisses Shinji in the fifteenth episode,[118] but when he beats her in synchronization tests she begins to develop a profound inferiority complex towards him.[119] Despite her deep distrust toward most men, she has a deep sense of admiration for her guardian and senpai Ryōji Kaji.[120] Asuka is emotionally dependent on Kaji, since she has a strong subconscious desire to find a reference figure to rely on.[121] Asuka's infatuation also leads her to feel great jealousy for him and she eventually tries to seduce him.[122][123] Asuka's ostentatious self-love represents an act of psychological compensation in order to be recognized in the eyes of other people. After her mother's mental illness she represses her sadness and eventually decides to not cry anymore and behave like an adult with a reaction formation.[124] Her memories related to her past and her mother are repressed and removed from her consciousness during this phase.[125] In the last episodes, Asuka completely loses her self-confidence. She develops a deep disgust toward herself and suffers from separation anxiety.[126][127]

Cultural impact[edit]

Popularity and critical reception[edit]

If you're an anime fan, you've definitely heard of Asuka, even if you haven't watched Evangelion. She's ranked high in popularity polls for a reason, and it's easy to see why. As one of the more dynamic characters in the show, she commands every scene that she's in ... I first saw this series as a teenager myself, and seeing Asuka at her highs and her lows felt extremely validating. There's a lot of truth to be told in the problems that she has .... The story never forces her to become a cleaner version of herself, but lets her have struggles in a way that not many series would allow. She isn't perfect, far from it, and there's a lot of strength to be found in that.

–Noelle Ogawa (Crunchyroll)[128]

Asuka emerged in various polls on best anime pilots[129][130] and female anime characters,[131][132][133] proving popular among both female and male audience.[134][135] In 1996 she ranked third among the "most popular female characters of the moment" in the Anime Grand Prix survey by Animage mangazine, behind Rei Ayanami and Hikaru Shido from Magic Knight Rayearth.[136] In 1997 and 1998 Anime Grand Prixes she also managed to remain among the top 10 female characters; in 1997 she ranked in fourth place, while in 1998 she ranked sixth.[137][138] Asuka also appeared in the monthly surveys of the magazine, remeaning in the top 20 in 1996,[139] 1997[140][141][142] and 1998 polls.[143][144] In 1999 Animage ranked her 40th among the 100 most popular anime characters.[145] Her popularity increased after the release of the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie; in August and September 2009 she emerged in first place and remained the most popular female Neon Genesis Evangelion character in Newtype magazine popularity charts,[146][147] while in October she ranked tenth.[148] In a Newtype poll from March 2010 she was voted as the third most popular female anime character from the 1990s, immediately after Rei Ayanami and Usagi Tsukino from Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.[149] In February 2015, almost twenty years after the show first aired, she again emerged on the magazine's charts in sixth place.[150] In 2017 she ranked 16th among the characters Anime Anime readers would "rather die than marry" with.[151]

Her line "Are you stupid?" (あんたバカ?, Anta baka?) became widely used among hardcore fans since her first appearance in eight episode.[152] Otaku Kart website described her as "one of the most popular female characters in anime history".[153] Asuka divided anime critics, receiving an ambivalent response. Many have criticized his arrogant, surly and authoritarian character.[154] While appreciating her for providing "a good dose of comic relief" to Evangelion, Anime Critic Pete Harcoff described her as "an annoying snot".[155] Raphael See from T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews, who found Neon Genesis Evangelion characterization "a little cliché, or just plain irritating at times", despised Asuka for her arrogant attitude.[156] Anime News Network editor Lynzee Loveridge ranked her seventh among the "worst sore losers" of anime history.[157] IGN critic Ramsey Isler ranked her as the 13th greatest anime character of all time for the realism of her characterization, saying: "She's a tragic character, and a complete train wreck, but that is what makes her so compelling because we just can't help but watch this beautiful disaster unfold".[158] CBR included her among the best anime female pilots,[159] describing her as "the best classic tsundere in shounen anime" and "one of the most fascinating characters in anime".[160][161]

WatchMojo ranked her second among the best mecha pilots in Japanese animation.[162] According to critic Jay Telotte, Asuka "is the first credible multinational character in the history of Japanese SFTV".[163] Crunchyroll and Charapedia also praised her realism and personality.[128][164] Asuka's fight sequence against the Mass-Production Evangelions in The End of Evangelion was particularly well received by critics who felt that it was her definitive moment, as otherwise she remains static for most of the film.[165][166] Praise was also given to Tiffany Grant for her role as Asuka's English voice actress. Mike Crandol of Anime News Network stated that Grant was "her fiery old self as Asuka."[167] Eric Surrell also commented on Asuka's role in Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, stating that "the arrival and sudden dismissal of Asuka was shocking and depressing, especially considering how integral she was to the original Evangelion."[168] Slant Magazine's Simon Abrams, reviewing Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance, negatively saw new Shinji and Asuka's relationship, "which is unfortunate because that bond should have the opportunity to grow in its own time".[169]

Legacy[edit]

Asuka-decorated taxi in Sapporo

Asuka's character has been used for several merchandising items, such as life-size figures,[170] different action figures,[171] guitars,[172] clothes[173][174] and underwear, some of which immediately sold out.[175][176] Her action figures also proved successful, contributing significantly to the revenue of the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise.[177] According to Japanese writer Kazuhisa Fujie, Asuka's figures have become so popular that they have run out of stock and have been put back on the market with a second edition.[178] On February 27, 1997 Kadokawa Shoten published a book dedicated to her, entitled Asuka - Evangelion Photograph (ASUKA-アスカ- 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン文庫写真集).[179] In 2008 BROCCOLI released a videogame entitled Shin Seiki Evangelion: Ayanami Ikusei Keikaku with Asuka Hokan Keikaku (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン 綾波育成計画withアスカ補完計画, lit. "Neon Genesis Evangelion: Ayanami Raising Project with Asuka Supplementing Project"), in which the player takes on the task of looking after Asuka and Rei Ayanami.[180]

Japanese celebrities cosplayed her during concerts or tours, including Saki Inagaki,[181][182] Haruka Shimazaki[183] and singer Hirona Murata.[184] In 2019 Lai Pin-yu, a Taiwanese Democratic Progressive Party and Legislative Yuan member held many election rallies cosplaying Asuka, gaining great popularity.[185] Asuka's character was mentioned and parodied by Excel from Excel Saga and some of her aesthetic and character traits inspired other female characters. Anthony Gramuglia (Comic Book Resources) identified her as one of the most popular and influential examples of the tsundere stereotype, a term used to indicate grumpy, assertive and authoritarian characters, often characterized by a more gentle, empathetic and insecure side, hidden due to stormy past or traumatic experiences. Gramuglia compared Asuna Yūki (Sword Art Online), Rin Tōsaka (Fate/stay night), Kyō Sōma (Fruits Basket) and Taiga Aisaka (Toradora!) to her.[186][187] Critic also compared Mai Shibamura from Gunparade March,[188] Michiru Kinushima from Plastic Memories[189] and D.Va from Overwatch game series to Asuka.[190] Japanese band L'Arc-en-Ciel also took inspiration from Asuka for the song "Anata".[191]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Evangelion 2.0 Complete Records Collection. Khara, Inc. September 2010. ISBN 978-4-905033-00-4.
  2. ^ "貞本義行インタビュー". Newtype (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten: 26–29. December 1997.
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  6. ^ Fujie, Kazuhisa; Foster, Martin (2004). Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Unofficial Guide. United States: DH Publishing, Inc. p. 120. ISBN 0-9745961-4-0.
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