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Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Written by Arion on Monday, April 29 2013 and posted in Reviews

Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Asuka Langley Soryu

“For most children, their first self-motivated act is to rebel against their guardian. It’s a validation of their own existence, as well as a test of the guardian”, says doctor Ritsuko Akagi. The permanent fight against authority seems to be a constant of adolescence. Shinji Ikari has already rebelled by trying to run away from NERV. Rei Ayanami, nonetheless, has a fixation with authority: she trusts only in Gendo Ikari –Shinji’s father and the Commander of NERV– her one and only fatherly figure. In many ways, Neon Genesis Evangelion was also a milestone of rebelliousness for me. I remember that although my father loved comic books he had an almost irrational hatred towards manga and anime, which rivaled my mother’s general despise towards all forms of graphic narrative. My passion for Neon Genesis Evangelion was deeply disturbing for both of them but I had to rebel against my guardians… and I did.

But perhaps no one is more of a rebel than Asuka Langley Soryu. She alone defeats an aquatic angel –Gaghiel– by leaping from one transatlantic to another in the middle of the ocean. It takes her only seconds to destroy the threat, thus proving that her control and mastery over her Eva Unit-02 is remarkable. But she is also a very energetic girl and so very competitive, certainly, she’s the opposite of Shinji and Rei. When Shinji tells Rei that he doesn’t know if he’ll get along with the new girl, Ayanami replies with her usual pragmatism: she’ll get along with her, if she’s ordered to. 


Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Shinji & Asuka 

From the very beginning of this volume (which includes stages 20 through 26: “Asuka Comes to Japan”, “The Un-invited”,“Asuka Attacks”, “Try, Try Again”, “Dissonance”, “Shall We Dance” and “One Moment, One Heart”) a cat and mouse game takes place between Asuka and Shinji, clearly, she’s the dominant one, and the boy feels overpowered by a girl that is so hot that she instantly becomes the object of desire of every male around her. But for all her brilliance and superior intelligence, Asuka is still a 14 year-old girl. And she is always trying to mock Shinji in such juvenile ways that it is refreshing to see her doing so.

And soon, a new angel –Israfel– arrives. With the ability to duplicate itself and attack in unison, it is a formidable foe. Shinji and Asuka cannot defeat it, no matter how try they hard, unless they learn first to attack together in perfect harmony: they must be one mind in two bodies. And in order to accomplish that, Misato orders them to live together, to sleep and wake up at the same time, and to dance, over and over again, until they reach a perfect coordination of movements. This is no easy task, I understood Shinji’s problem right away: you see, I also hated to dance. At the same time, I found Asuka’s complaints hilarious. At first, she refuses to share her bedroom with a member of the opposite sex, alleging that Shinji might get horny in the middle of the night and assault her. Such feeble argument makes Misato laugh, and she affirms that the boy wouldn’t have the guts to do so. 


Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Eva Unit-02 / Eva Unidad 02

Is Misato right in assuming that Shinji poses no real sexual threat to Asuka’s integrity? The first thing that Asuka does is test Shinji. She enters the room wearing nothing but a towel and asks Shinji if he wants to see her naked. The teenaged boy reacts very nervously, and refuses to participate in this erotic foreplay. But why is that? Is it out of an old-fashioned sense of chivalry? Is it pure prudishness? There is something deliciously ambiguous about the way Shinji carries himself around Asuka. And I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is something about him that makes me think that –in a similar situation–  I would have reacted pretty much in the same way, but then again, I wouldn’t be the only one…   

Eventually, Shinji and Asuka learn how to be one mind in two bodies. And it is thanks to what they have accomplished together that they are able to kill the dual angel. I used to feel slightly uncomfortable with Asuka when I first watched the anime. Now, seeing her again after so many years, I’ve grown very fond of her. In fact, she reminds me of one of my best friends: she lives in Belgium now, but her energy and enthusiasm are always with me.
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Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Asuka pinching Shinji / Asuka pellizcando a Shinji

"Para la mayoría de los niños, su primer acto de motivación propia es rebelarse contra su guardián. Es una validación de su existencia, así como una prueba para el guardián", dice la doctora Ritsuko Akagi. La permanente pelea contra la autoridad parece ser una constante de la adolescencia. Shinji Ikari ya se ha rebelado al tratar de huir de NERV. Rei Ayanami, no obstante, tiene una fijación con la autoridad: confía sólo en Gendo Ikari –el padre de Shinji y el comandante de NERV– su única figura paterna. En cierto modo, Neon Genesis Evangelion también fue un hito de rebeldía para mí. Recuerdo que aunque mi padre amaba los cómics tenía un odio casi irracional hacia el manga y el anime, que rivalizaba con el desprecio generalizado de mi madre hacia toda forma de narrativa gráfica. Mi pasión por Neon Genesis Evangelion era muy perturbadora para ambos, pero yo tenía que rebelarme contra mis guardianes y eso fue lo que hice.
Sin embargo tal vez nadie es más rebelde que Asuka Langley Soryu. Ella sola derrota a un ángel acuático –Gaghiel– saltando de un transatlántico a otro en medio del océano. Le lleva sólo segundos destruir la amenaza, demostrando así que su control y dominio del Eva Unidad-02 es sobresaliente. Pero ella también en una chica muy enérgica y muy competitiva, ciertamente, es lo opuesto a Shinji y Rei. Cuando Shinji le dice a Rei que no sabe si se llevará bien con la chica recién llegada, Ayanami responde con su usual pragmatismo: se llevará bien con la nueva, si es que así se lo ordenan.


Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Shinji and Asuka in harmony / Shinji y Asuka en armonía

Desde el inicio de este volumen (que incluye las etapas 20 a 26: "Asuka llega a Japón", "El no invitado", "Asuka ataca", "Intenta, intenta de nuevo", "Disonancia", "Bailaremos" y "Un momento, un corazón"), se desarrolla un juego del gato y el ratón entre Asuka y Shinji, es claro que ella es la dominante, y el chico se siente abrumado por una chica tan sensual que instantáneamente se convierte en el objeto de deseo para todos los machos a su alrededor. A pesar de su lucidez e inteligencia, Asuka todavía es una niña de 14 años. Y siempre está tratando de burlarse de Shinji de maneras tan juveniles como refrescantes. 

Y pronto, un nuevo ángel  –Israfel– llega. Con la habilidad de duplicarse a sí mismo y atacar al unísono, es un enemigo formidable. Shinji y Asuka no pueden vencerlo, sin importar lo mucho que se esfuercen, a menos que aprendan primero a atacar juntos en perfecta armonía: ellos deben ser una mente en dos cuerpos. Y para lograrlo, Misato les ordena que vivan juntos, que duerman juntos y que se despierten al mismo tiempo, y que dancen, una y otra vez, hasta que alcancen una perfecta coordinación de movimientos. Esta no es una tarea fácil, entendí los problemas de Shinji en un segundo: verán, yo también odiaba bailar. Al mismo tiempo, me reí muchísimo con las quejas de Asuka. Al principio, ella se rehúsa a compartir el mismo dormitorio con un miembro del sexo opuesto, alegando que Shinji podría ponerse cachondo en medio de la noche y abusar de ella. Tan endeble argumento provoca la risa en Misato, quien afirma que el muchacho no tendría los cojones de hacer algo así. 


Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 4 - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Watching the Battle: Gendo Ikari, Ritsuko Akagi & Misato Katsuragi /
Mirando la batalla: Gendo Ikari, Ritsuko Akagi y Misato Katsuragi

¿Misato tiene la razón al asumir que Shinji no representa ninguna amenaza sexual a la integridad de Asuka? Lo primero que Asuka hace es poner a prueba a Shinji. Ella entra en la habitación usando solamente una toalla y le pregunta a Shinji si quiere verla desnuda. El adolescente reacciona muy nerviosamente, y se rehúsa a participar en este juego preliminar erótico. Pero, ¿por qué? ¿Es por una caballerosidad pasada de moda? ¿Es por puro pudor? Hay algo deliciosamente ambiguo en la forma en la que Shinji se comporta con Asuka. Y es difícil discernir lo que sucede pero hay algo en él que me hace pensar que –en una situación similar– yo hubiera reaccionado del mismo modo pero, desde luego, no habría sido el único...
Eventualmente, Shinji y Asuka aprenden cómo ser una mente en dos cuerpos. Y es gracias a lo que han logrado juntos que son capaces de matar al ángel dual. Solía sentirme ligeramente incómodo con Asuka la primera vez que vi el anime. Ahora, al verla de nuevo después de tantos años, la aprecio mucho más que antes. De hecho, me recuerda a una de mis mejores amigas: ahora ella vive en Bélgica, pero su energía y entusiasmo siempre están conmigo.

Originally Published at http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2013/04/neon-genesis-evangelion-vol-4-yoshiyuki.html


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About the Author - Arion


Arion, who is either from Chile or New York (it’s not really clear) writes a blog that the Outhouse steals on a regular basis.  Arion is by far the nicest of all the staff writers and the most well behaved only having been banned from one country.  One thing we really appreciate about Aroin is that he writes his reviews in English and Spanish and we hope someday he’ll translate this blurb for us.  We’re not so good at languages, just look at how well we write in English if you need proof.  You should bookmark Arion’s blog -  http://artbyarion.blogspot.com – and actually look at it.  There will be a quiz at the end of every month.

 


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