The World Ending
It’s because of Gendo that Rei exists. It’s because of him that she has a soul. Like Kowaru, she wants her life to end. Yet, no matter how many times she may die, Rei will return. Gendo will return her to life.
This series has had its good points and its bad points. It’s suffered from last-second saving the day. This episode is interesting in that it’s basically a giant info dump about the characters, but it’s presented in such a way. Setting aside that the animation budget for this episode must have been nicely low, it fills in the gaps in the viewer’s knowledge of the characters. Each character has to come to grip with the self within themself, and come to understand who they truly are, and why they are.
For Asuka, this means discovering why she puts herself out there. She was a precocious child, but she didn’t want to lose her mother, and she lost her mother. Like Shinji, allowing herself to get close to another would only mean allowing herself to be hurt by another. But, because she believes she is unneeded, she also must be needed by those around her. She puts herself out there as the best, and takes the front position in battle, to prove her worth, to prove the need for her. When she failed to perform, when Shinji outdid her, when Rei saved her, there was nothing left. There is no reason for Asuka to live if there is no need for her.
I think Asuka is my favorite character of the series.
I’ll have to see the final episode to reserve judgement. This episode has events too uncertain to comment on.