Asuka is the Second Child ('Second Children' in the Japanese versions of NGE), who pilots Evangelion Unit 02. She is from Germany, but with an American father and a half-German, half-Japanese mother. In the Rebuild of Evangelion series of movies, her name is changed to Asuka Langley Shikinami.
Her mother, Kyoko Zeppelin Souryuu, went insane after an Eva-related experiment and began to believe that a doll that resembled Asuka was, in fact, her daughter, to the point that she refused to acknowledge the real Asuka. Kyoko Zeppelin Souryuu committed suicide on the very day that Asuka was chosen to become an Eva pilot. On that day, Asuka promised herself that she would never cry again. This event gives her an innate hatred of dolls and all things that she perceives to be doll-like, especially Rei. Despite those feelings Asuka shows no hesitation when required to cooperate with Rei when necessary, proving her to be committed and professional regarding her duties as an Eva pilot.
Asuka's father later remarried a woman for whom Asuka feels no affection. Asuka feels the need to verbally and sometimes physically lash out at everyone around her, except to her unrequited crush, Kaji, who is Misato's ex-boyfriend and more than twice Asuka's age. On her better days, however, she can be quite cheerful and friendly.
Like Shinji, Asuka also has a difficulty being close to people, except unlike Shinji, who shells himself, Asuka's coping mechanism is over-aggressiveness and so she unintentionally hurts people she likes, pushing them away and thus sinking further into loneliness and self resentment. This issue is referred to as the "hedgehog's dilemma" and is a recurring motif in the story.
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