Ask John: What Does Asuka’s Final Line Mean?

Question:
What does Asuka mean by the last line in the End of Evangelion movie, “How disgusting”?

Answer:
WARNING: Spoilers Included!

Virtually everyone that’s ever seen even a portion of the Evangelion animation has a personal opinion and interpretation of the story, and the final line of the End of Evangelion animation has been the source of extensive debate among fans. My interpretation is entirely my own, and is presented only as one voice among many.

The End of Evangelion movie concludes with Shinji choking the unconscious Asuka. As Asuka regains consciousness, she focuses her eye on Shinji, touches his face, then says, “Kimochi warui,” a phrase with slightly different meanings depending on context. In a general sense, “kimochi warui” is an expression of distaste.

In fact, I believe that this line is a direct reference to a brief scene contained only in the Japanese home video version of Evangelion TV episode 22. In this sequence that which was never broadcast on Japanese television and is not included in the American Evangelion DVDs, Asuka faces herself in the bathroom mirror and says, in translation:

“Kimochi warui. Who wants to bathe in the same water that Misato and stupid Shinji have bathed in? Who wants to use a washing machine that Misato and stupid Shinji have washed their underwear in? Who wants to sit on a toilet that Misato and stupid Shinji have used? Who wants to breath the same air as Misato and stupid Shinji?”

In this sequence, Asuka essentially says that she is sickened and disgusted by the idea of sharing herself with others; the knowledge that other people exist and have an effect on her. In effect, with this tremendously important sequence, Asuka reveals herself as the antithesis of Shinji and the opposite thematic pole of the Evangelion animation. Throughout the Evangelion animation Shinji is torn between his fear of human relations and companionship and his natural desire for affection, acknowledgement and acceptance. Shinji wants to belong. On the other hand, Asuka is disgusted by social relations and other people. She tries to force herself into interpersonal relationships by kissing Shinji, but even that fails. While Shinji represents the desire for companionship; Asuka represents the desire for isolation.

During the climax of End of Evangelion, The Third Impact reduces all life into a single entity- a sort of primordial soup in which all minds and individualities are shared. The concept of “alone” ceases to exist. But Shinji continues to identifies himself as himself and Asuka as Asuka. In doing so, Shinji and Asuka remain individuals. Shinji strangles Asuka in order to prove to himself that Asuka is distinct and separate from him. She is “other.” This is confirmed in the often cited text from the Evangelion movie series 2 trading card which reads, in translation:

Part II (movies) Drama card D-88
Title: “Kimochi warui”
Small print:
“Shinji renounced the world where all hearts had melted into one and accepted each other unconditionally. His desire… to live with ‘others’ — other hearts that would sometimes reject him, even deny him. That is why the first thing he did after coming to his senses was to place his hands around Asuka’s neck. To feel the existence of an ‘other’. To confirm (make sure of) rejection and denial.”

So at the same time Shinji recognizes that another human being separate and distinct from himself still exists, Asuka also realizes that another human still exists. It is this awareness, more than anything else, that disgusts and sickens her. Asuka’s sublimated desire for absolute “alone-ness,” not isolation but literally being the only being in existence, has been denied. In simple summation, Asuka’s final words are her version of Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous quote, “Hell is other people.”

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One Response to “Ask John: What Does Asuka’s Final Line Mean?”

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