Neon Genesis Evangelion might have been a mecha series but what it portrayed was so much bigger and deeper of a plot. Action and animation in Evangelion are deeply praised. Even personally, I love the sci-fi angle of the anime. However, what keeps me absolutely hooked on it is the dynamic of the different characters and the bond between them. None of it is common, but each of them is relatable and understandable. This can be explained as nothing more than genius character building that paves the path for an outstanding anime. Asushin is a popular ship in the Evangelion universe. People love them but also are conflicted about it, especially due to one particular scene that puts Shinji in a particularly dark spot. What did Shinji do to Asuka that had fans feeling so conflicted?
Shinji is probably not the best example of an average human. He has issues that go way back into his past, and the same goes for Asuka. While we appreciate backstories, Evangelion’s backstories often tend to dig out several dark corners of humanity. Villains in Evangelion are not evil because they enjoy it but because they have reasons which, although wrong, make sense. In this complicated plot, we come across Shinji, someone who can be interpreted into so many things and yet be far from being completely understood.
What is this infamous scene about that made fans flip so much? What did Shinji do to Asuka? Here are all the answers you are looking for.
One thing that we find out is that Asuka, despite not always conveying it with words, was genuinely interested in Shinji. But the fear of getting rejected held her back. Throughout the series, we do get massive hints about her feelings for Shinji as she gets jealous. However, later, we are given a complete confirmation of our doubts too. But it’s not only Asuka who is trying to reach out to Shinji. We see several hints that point towards Shinji’s feelings towards Asuka too. Shinji is perhaps the most complicated character, so showing his emotions does not come easily to him. Despite this, we can see his emotions as he tries to rely on her as his savior.
The relationship between Asuka and Shinji plays an important part in Shinji’s outbreak of wiping out humanity, among many others. It seems like Asuka’s rejection pulled the trigger that had been holding Shinji back from completely losing his mind. With Asuka’s disappearance from his life, he breaks free from all chains of sanity and succumbs to his instincts, thus destroying the world in the process.
After the world has succumbed to nothingness, Asuka and Shinji stand in the vast emptiness. Shinji strangles Asuka, but once he becomes aware, he stops as Asuka touches his cheek. This is indeed a deep scene, even if it seems vague. Asuka and Shinji stand as the only last two beings, both bestowed with the heavy traumas of ending the world. Having seen the entire series, clearly, both of them do not handle trauma well. Irrelevant to what they did or what had happened, they are the only two left, literally.
Shinji was pretty clear about his feelings towards the end as well. Fans had often wondered who he would end up with, and it turns out that he only wanted Asuka. Of course, viewers were fascinated until they saw what Shinji did. What did Shinji do to Asuka, you ask? After Asuka attempts suicide, she lies unconscious in the hospital. Shinji desperately asks her to wake up, but she does not. As he tries again, he ends up exposing her breasts, which turn him on. As he stands next to her unconscious, tattered body, Shinji touches himself. Once done, he says, “I’m f*cked up”.
Summing it up as ‘because he was h*rny’ does not feel nearly right. While that is indefinitely true, it does not mark as normal behavior for a person to jerk off to an injured body. Shinji was attracted to Asuka, but he was also unable to express himself. The best he could do was express it sexually. There is no justification for what Shinji did. It was sickening to a large extent. But seeing his history, it seems like something an emotionally incapable person like Shinji might do.