Asuka has become very comfortable around Shinji, whether she realizes it or not. She’ll make the kind of jokes that she’d smack a guy for agreeing with, but Shinji’s nature leaves her without the reaction she’s looking for. When she calls for him to watch as she drops into the pool (and later into the lava), it doesn’t just show her craving for attention, but for Shinji to pay attention. Rei is a rival, and has no care nor concern. Shinji is a roommate, a partner, a friend, and someone who’ll pay attention to Asuka.
As with the prior episode, it’s Asuka combines both her eagerness and pride to be the one on a mission with her rivalry against Rei. To Asuka, her Eva is hers and hers alone. She wasn’t happy about Shinji co-piloting it, and there’s no way she’ll let Rei anywhere near the cockpit.
Shinji’s saving Asuka should be worth something, somehow. He’s shown concern for both her and Rei, as well as Misato, when in dangerous situations. He’s your average “good guy” here. Poor kid, having to co-exist with the likes of Misato and Asuka. It’s surprising he hasn’t been broken down to sitting in a corner shivering yet.
Following with what makes the series great (from a written standpoint), the ending presents a scar on Misato, and something about Asuka’s past. And Shinji, he once again sees where his father’s orders would leave him, Asuka, and others dead. This series definitely isn’t lacking depth of the characters. It’s still not my kind of series, but the character interactions should be enough to hold my interest throughout.
The collage graduate Asuka’s been getting a lot of screen time. What about Rei?
I took this opportunity to view some scenes in English. Asuka’s voice sounds a bit snobby at times, and annoyingly kiddish at others. I wouldn’t accept this kind of acting in a series dubbed these days. Shinji’s English voice is fine. I notice his mouth doesn’t animate while he tells Asuka that the next question is about thermal expansion. Rei doesn’t speak enough for me to judge her English voice.