Asuka Langley Sohryu

Evangelion ScreenshotName: Asuka Langley Sohryu
Age: 14
Birthday: December 4, 2001
Sex: Female
Classification: The Second Child
Piloting: Evangelion Unit-02

Asuka Langley Sohryu is the Second Child and the designated pilot of Evangelion Unit-02. She is German but with an American father and a half-Japanese and half-German mother. Unlike Rei or Shinji, Asuka has a fiercely independent, energetic, and often arrogant personality that most find either overbearing or refreshing. However, Asuka is not without her reasons for being the way she is.

Evangelion ScreenshotAsuka's mother, Kyouko Zeppelin Sohryu, was a lead scientist on Project E at the Germany branch when she suffered a complete mental collapse following a contact experiment with Evangelion Unit-02. Her hold on reality lost, she came to believe that Asuka's doll was in fact her daughter, failing to even acknowledge the real Asuka's presence. Her condition eventually led her to hang herself and the doll, leaving Asuka to find her body.

The incident had a devastating effect on Asuka's young mind, leaving deep emotional scars. Asuka promised herself never to cry again, and her egoistic personality and superiority complex are in fact defense mechanisms she employs not only to keep others away, but also to reassure herself of her own self worth, which in secret, she does not feel she has.

Unstable Ego

Evangelion ScreenshotHaving graduated from college at the age of 14, Asuka is a highly intelligent, driven child. Unlike the other children, she is also proud to be an Evangelion pilot, and often boasts about her superior abilities and higher Sync Ratio. It is this need to feed her unstable ego that often causes her to belittle and abuse Shinji Ikari, the Third Child and pilot of Evangelion Unit-01. She sees Shinji as competition to her skills as a pilot.

Having been replaced by a doll in the eyes of her insane mother, Asuka also harbors a deep rooted resentment towards dolls. Rei Ayanami, the Second Child and pilot of Evangelion Unit-00, is often the target of that resentment as her obedience, lack of emotion, and poor social skills make her seem like a doll in Asuka's eyes. Asuka also sees Rei as competition for Shinji's attention/affection, even though she violently suppresses those emotions.

Evangelion ScreenshotAfter a string of defeats, Asuka's mental state begins to deteriorate. At the battle against Arael, the Fifteenth Angel, her mind is violated, forcing her to relive many of her most painful memories. Already in a fragile mental state, the incident is enough to trigger her complete mental breakdown.

Towards the end of the series Asuka loses her will to live, and is no longer able to synchronize with Evangelion Unit-02. She is instead hospitalized in a comatose state, and is as replaced as the pilot of Evangelion Unit-02 by Kaworu Nagisa, the Fifth Child.

It is not until The End of Evangelion that Asuka recovers by accepting that she does not want to die. It is then that she realizes it was in fact her mother that always looked out for her inside Evangelion Unit-02. By coming to terms with this, Asuka finally regains consciousness, brutally lashing out against the attacking Strategic Self Defense Force and SEELE's Mass Production Evangelion Units 05-13.

Analysis

  • Origin of the name Asuka Langley Sohryu

    Asuka's surname originates from World War II naval vessels. Soryu was a Japanese Soryu-class aircraft carrier and was sunk in 1942 by American dive bombers. The USS Langley was an American Langley-class aircraft carrier named in honor of Samuel Pierpont Langley, an American astronomer, physicist, aeronautics pioneer and aircraft engineer. The USS Langley was sunk in 1942 by her escorts after sustaining heavy damage from Japanese bombers.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Cluster B)

    Asuka's behavior is consistent with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a psychological condition characterized by an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity, the need for excessive admiration or adulation, and a distinct lack of empathy, all of which are present in a variety of contexts. A narcissistic individual has a basic sense of inferiority, and when rejected displays excessive anger or shame. Under the feelings of inferiority is a preoccupation with fantasies of outstanding achievement, ideal love, and an aimless orientation toward superficial interests.
  • The Id of Freudian Psychology Theory

    The first three Children (Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley Sohryu, Shinji Ikari), are thought to represent the three divisions of the human psyche according to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Asuka is associated with the Id, which acts as a drive for primitive desires or behavior such as hunger, aggression, and sex. The Id is in effect a reservoir of need-gratification impulses and primitive instinctual drives operating on the dynamics of the pleasure principle. In essence, the Id is driven by instant gratification or release without concern for external exigencies (such as socially-imposed norms or taboos). This being the case, the Id stands in opposition to the Super-Ego (Rei Ayanami).
  • Romanization of Asuka Langley Sohryu

    Due to the romanization process (the representation of a different writing system using the Roman alphabet by the use of transliteration or transcription) that is used to translate Japanese into English, at times subtle variances in spelling have been observed. These variances typically involve silent vowels and have little to no bearing on pronunciation. In this case, Asuka Langley Sohryu is also often simplified into Asuka Langley Soryu. Both variances refer to the same character.
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Last Updated
July 11, 2014
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