The reason why these past two episodes have been half an hour instead of twenty minutes is because I happened to see the director’s cut which is a pretty happy coincidence. I know that the directors cuts are a lot longer compared to the usual 22 minutes and since the director is adding content to discuss I think it’s a lot better.
We see a flashback of Asuka and Kaji before they see Shinji in episode 8, Kaji says that one of the pilots is a boy and could be her boyfriend but she only has eyes for Kaji, who says she needs to grow up more. She disagrees but there’s not a lot she can do. Being unable to do the things she wishes and failing at them is going to be a trend for Asuka’s struggle in this episode.
We learn that Asuka’s mum committed suicide and maybe treated her like a doll? Also it seems clear that at one point she wanted her to commit suicide with her which is not healthy for a child. She says that she won’t cry because of it, this is what’s probably responsible for her protective outer shell and bottling up her issues.
Asuka’s synch rate is also falling, and I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy at this point. Asuka puts her pride on the outcome of her fights with the angels and as she does worse her mental state becomes worse as well to a point that it’s not her losing but the way she reacts to losing that reduces her synch rate so much.
Another factor shown about her is how inferior she feels towards Shinji and how much she hates Rei. Asuka sees Shinji talking to Rei at the train station and is annoyed by how much he’s recovered, we also learn that he spent a month with no body, and she feels like she’s lost without seeing that it’s results that matter and not the way they’re obtained.
I get the impression that Shinji and Misato act very normally towards each other but Asuka is the person making it awkward because she doesn’t want to interact with the people she hates. Asuka just wants to find any way possible to get ahead of Shinji and I’m definitely not the only one who thought Asuka describing Shinji’s attitude as “Prissy” is a very hypocritical thing to do. The call from Germany that Asuka receives makes me remember the times where she was happier at the start of the show and her transformation is really nice to see. She talks happily to people at home but immediately reacts badly to Shinji later.
Asuka’s home situation is made worse by her outrage for sharing the same living space as the other two and it’s painful for Misato to hear. Asuka says she hates everyone including herself. At the time I thought it might have been hatred or that time of the month but it’s actually implied later that she is on her period!
And then we get a scene of Rei and Asuka in the elevator and it clearly communicates the awkwardness between the two. Asuka was always ahead of Rei but now that this is reversed she doesn’t like her too, neither are the kind of people to confide in the other so it makes sense. This scene is long but for the first time it shows their lack of friendship as well as the size of NERV HQ simultaneously! The two have an argument because Asuka won’t admit her heart is closed to the Eva and this fact makes Asuka’s piloting a whole lot worse. I bet none of you expected that Shinji would become the best pilot out of all of them right at the start of the show!
None of the pilots are in school which is understandable. If you think about it these pilots will die, or receive so much money for their efforts that they won’t need to work again. I wouldn’t be surprised in all of these guys got the nobel peace prize or something like that.
With the pressure of being removed from her position Asuka goes against the angel in the sky and loses badly with a psychological attack against her. This reveals more of her inner turmoil and overloads her with tragic memories which in the end cause her Eva to shut down making her pretty much useless.
Gendo then tells Rei to destroy the angel with the lance of longinus which she throws destroying the angel. But the lance essential to Gendo’s plans is now In orbit and is going to be very difficult to get back, but I bet the angels could do it. Asuka’s strange pride makes her feel terrible due to Rei saving her and I really hope she comes around by the end of the series to realise that results are what’s important.
I feel like these episodes have been getting simpler and going over things that we kind of know already, but they’re still pretty good! The only thing I really missed was that Asuka doesn’t know about Kaji’s death and that’s pretty sad as well.