5 Ways Asuka Sohryu and Asuka Shikinami Are Different (And 5 Ways They’re The Same)

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the Rebuilding Evangelion tetralogy is the sequel to the mecha anime classic, Studio Gainax’s Neon Genesis Evangelion. Blurring the line between remake and sequel, the films follow the same premise as the original series but branch off into a radically different narrative as they progress.

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One of the most glaring differences is how Rebuild reinvents Asuka Langley Sohryu. Renaming her Asuka Langley Shikinami, Rebuild‘s Asuka shares the same appearance and histrionic, over-achieving personality as Sohryu, but also has many differences with her.

ten Different: they have totally different origins


Origin Asuka

Both Asukas don’t have their stories revealed until late in the game. Sohryu is told via a nightmare in episode 22, “Don’t Be”. Daughter of Gehirn scientist Kyoko Sohryu, Asuka lost her mother’s love after an EVA contact experiment undermined Kyoko’s sanity. One day, Asuka came across her mother hanging from a noose. The scars from this left Asuka wanting to rely on no one until she realized her mother’s soul was inside Unit-02, protecting her all along.

Asuka Shikinami, however, is not Kyoko’s daughter. She has no parents and is instead the last of the Shikinami series clones. As a child, Asuka was jealous of other children who had a love she had never known. In Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Once upon a timeshe finds a new surrogate father figure in Kensuke.

9 The same: they both pilot unit EVA-02


It would not be evangelization without the EVAs themselves. Both Asukas have ambitions to be the greatest EVA pilot of all time and their assigned EVA is Unit-02. Both versions of Unit-02 have some minor aesthetic differences, such as white stripes along Rebuild The abdomen and forearms of Unit-02 which were not present in Neon Genesis.

In both versions, Unit-02 takes the most damage among recurring EVAs. In Neon Genesis, the unit is eventually destroyed by the mass production EVAs. In Rebuildthe unit takes more and more damage through the movies until it’s just a wired head, upper chest, and right arm in purely robotic armor by the end of Once upon a time.


8 Different: Shikinami was the pilot of EVA Unit-03, not Sohryu


Reconstruction of Bardiel

The point of no return for evangelizationThe Descent into Darkness is episode 18, “Ambivalence”. The newly completed Unit-03, piloted by Toji Suzuhara, is hijacked by an angel. Shinji has to watch in horror as a remote-controlled Unit-01 crushes Unit-03 and cripples his friend.

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Evangelion 2.0: You can (not) advance adapts this scene, but Shikinami pilots Unit-03 instead. The event casts a shadow over Asuka’s character for the rest of the series. In Once upon a timeduring WILLE’s final confrontation with NERV, she releases the angel’s soul trapped within her, turning Unit-02 into a god.


7 The same: they are both prodigies


Asuka painting

Asuka Langley Sohryu is a child prodigy. Even before arriving in Japan, she had already graduated from university in her native Germany a year before, all at the age of 13. The only reason she was placed in school alongside the other EVA pilots was for socialization and because she hadn’t yet learned to read kanji.

Considering Asuka’s coping mechanism is perfectionism, it makes sense that she would seek to excel in areas even outside of EVA piloting. Shikinami has a different but equally impressive resume: she is a captain in the European Air Force, despite being only 14 like Sohryu.


6 Different: Shikinami doesn’t have a crush on Kaji


Just as Shinji has a NERV Guardian in Misato Katsuragi, Asuka had one in Ryoji Kaji. While Asuka is placed under Misato’s care once she settles down in Japan, her crush on her former guardian never fades. While Kaji clearly cares about Asuka, he barely deals with her attraction and pushes her away whenever she threatens to cross the boundaries.

In RebuildKaji is only present in the flesh during you can’t move on, and Shikinami never expresses any attraction to him. Considering her different backstory, that makes sense – she doesn’t have the same history with Kaji as Sohryu.


5 The same: They both have the same complicated relationship with Shinji


Evangelion 3.0 Shinji Asuka

Shinji and Asuka’s relationship is largely the same in both Neon Genesis and Rebuild. They have similar fears and anxieties, but they treat them in opposite ways: Shinji is a reserved and passive wallflower who dares not approach anyone, while Asuka is an attention seeker who pushes away those she love. Any potential for understanding and connection is eroded by miscommunication.

In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka invites Shinji to kiss her, but he pulls away from her embrace. In Rebuild, their breaking point is the Unit-03 incident. Still, they manage to break down each other’s walls this time. In Once upon a timethey both admit they’ve had a crush on each other, even though things that have happened since mean they can’t be together.


4 Different: Shikinami becomes friends with Mari, who does not exist in Sohryu’s world


Mari taunts Asuka from her cockpit

the Rebuilt introduce a handful of unparalleled characters in Neon Genesis, first and foremost Mari Illustrious Makinami. Asuka and Mari share no scenes in their first movie, You can not) Advance. Instead, Mari takes over as the pilot of Unit-02 after Asuka falls into a coma during the 9th Angel incident.

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However, in the 14 years between Rebuild 2.0 and 3.0, Asuka and Mari became friends. Both trapped as teenagers thanks to the “curse of Evangelion”, they are the last two EVA pilots for WILLE. They always fight together and even have nicknames for each other: Mari calls Asuka “Princess” while Asuka calls Mari “Four Eyes”.




3 The Same: They both share the same hostility with Rei


Rei and Asuka share an awkward elevator ride in Neon Genesis Evangelion

Asuka’s relationship with Shinji and Misato can be complicated, but her relationship with Rei Ayanami is totally negative. Asuka hates passivity, and only Rei can make Shinji look assertive by comparison. Asuka becomes increasingly mean to Rei while Rei seems indifferent to Sohryu, as she is to most things.

Rebuild recreates the famous awkward elevator scene. This time when Asuka goes to slap Rei, she grabs Asuka’s arm. Their mutual interest in Shinji is also more evident than in Neon Genesis. Asuka even makes Rei admit that Shinji makes her feel “warm and fuzzy” inside and laughs at her because she is unable to realize what it means. Shikinami volunteers to pilot Unit-03 so Rei can host a dinner party for Shinji and Gendo.


2 Different: Shikinami doesn’t hate Sohryu’s dolls


Evangelion Asuka sock puppet

Part of Kyoko Sohryu’s mental illness was talking to a doll like it was Asuka. Even more disturbing, the doll was hanging from a noose in the same room as Kyoko, indicating that Asuka’s mother was attempting a murder-suicide.

One of the ways Asuka’s trauma manifests is in hating dolls and people who let others bend their will, like Shinji and Rei do. In one of the first hints that Shikinami is a different character from Sohryu, she is sometimes shown talking to a doll in bed during you can’t move on.


1 The same: they both suffer from eye injuries


Evangelion Asuka eye injuries

The End of Evangelion is filled with iconic scenes, including Asuka’s battle with the mass-produced EVAs. The battle ends in defeat when a Spear of Longinus spirals into Unit-02’s head. Asuka’s high sync rate means she suffers the same injury.

Even after Asuka returns from Instrumentality, her eye is bandaged. In these last two Rebuild movies, Shikinami sports an eyepatch as a remnant of her possession by the 9th Angel. In Once upon a timeit is revealed that the patch is not hiding a mundane scar, but rather the essence of the Angel still within her.

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