Short answer: When Shinji realized that Asuka was there with him at the end of evangelion, he choked her because after they turned back into separate human bodies, Shinji still hated how Asuka hurt him with by exposing all of his weaknesses while they were still one being. As he is choking her, he cries because he feels guilt cause he fully understands Asuka now because they both underwent the instrumentality project.
Let’s go through the events that took place during the Third Impact to find more details on why Shinji decided to choke Asuka. Let’s Go!
What did Shinji go through during the Third Impact?
Just before Third Impact happened, Mass production EVAs attacked Tokyo-3. At this time though, Shinji had already decided to stop being a part of NERV. He decided that piloting a EVA only brought him pain and sadness. As much as possible, he didn’t want to get back in the EVA and who could blame him? The fear alone of having to fight an angel would have been enough for anyone to be hesitant. And let’s not forget about the pressure Misato and the others keep putting on him. We would’ve crumbled from all that pressure if I was Shinji as well.
What’s more is that during this time, Shinji sees people he know die like Misato and Kaji. With all this weighing on his heart, we totally understand why Shinji didn’t want to pilot the EVA unit 01 and just sat there by himself. It was all too much for a 14 year old boy to take in. However, the soul of his mother takes control of the EVA and gave Shinji a sign that hope is still here. He decides to pilot it and the EVA takes to the skies with new wings on its back. However, what awaited Shinji was the sight of his friend and comrade being eaten by the Mass Production EVAs.
This took another heavy toll on Shinji’s heart. He couldn’t accept that Asuka was dead. I mean come on, anyone would be in shock if they just witnessed their friend die. But Shinji knew he had to accept reality and when Shinji finally acknowledged that Asuka had died, he felt a strong psychological pain, which caused an increase in the synchronization rate in Eva unit 01. Somehow, the Longinus Spear returned to Earth, reacting to Eva Unit 01 going berserk. The spear, Eva mass production, and Eva unit 01 became one, forming the Tree of Life. Shinji experiences some kind of scenario in his mind at the tree of life, and as a result, Rei concludes that Shinji’s wish was to live in a world where there was no pain. Therefore, the Human Instrumentality Project began by Rei absorbing the Tree of Life and creating an anti A.T. Field that was strong enough to destroy all of the human forms. All of the humans become LCL and they are gathered into one form, making their consciousnesses one.
Shinji then instantly regrets wishing for his version of Human Instrumentality. because Shinji observed that Instrumentality was a lonely type of existence. He understood that his previous associations and relationships in the pre-Instrumentality world gave him true happiness. So, even at the cost of getting hurt once again, Shinji asked for another chance to experience that happiness by being with humans and chose to reject Instrumentality to allow himself to get that chance. And so, Shinji finally returned to his human form and came back to earth. The final scene showed him strangling Asuka without giving any explanation.
What Asuka was going through during the Third Impact?
Unlike Shinji, Asuka didn’t survive when Third Impact started because Asuka fought the Mass Production Evas. Although her ability to pilot the Evangelion was formidable, she fought not only one unit but nine. Because she was outnumbered, the Eva Mass Production managed to win against by penetrating through her Eva unit A.T. Fields using a replica of the Longinus Spear and ended up piercing her eye with it. Afterwards, she was incapacitated by the replica spear and the Eva Mass Production brutally ate her alive until Eva unit 02’s internal organs came out. Asuka’s last words were “I will kill you” which meant that her grudge against Eva Mass Production was huge. Her great desire here is what allowed her to able to turn back into human form after the Human Instrumentality Project was completed.
How Shinji and Asuka affect each other
Throughout the series, Shinji’s relationship with Asuka is very complicated as the two have opposite personalities. Shinji is more of a passive and cowardly person, while Asuka is brave and her ego is very high. Although the two have opposite personalities, Shinji sees Asuka as an inspiring brave woman. As a result, Shinji uses Asuka as an escape and as a source of his need for affection, just as Asuka uses Shinji as a source of attention and for validation that she is great and independent. Asuka and Shinji like each other, but when things go wrong, they don’t communicate at all. This is because of their distaste for themselves.
Why Shinji chokes Asuka?
At the End of Evangelion, Shinji strangles Asuka not only in the last scene of the film but also before the Third Impact begins there is another scene where Shinji strangles Asuka angrily. Not many people talk about the scene where Shinji strangles Asuka before the Third Impact. Let’s separate the two and explain each part.
Near the beginning of the Third Impact:
This scene occurred in Shinji’s mind after he turned into the Tree of Life with Eva unit 01. In Shinji’s mind, we see that Asuka is sitting in Misato’s apartment. Shinji then approached her and spoke to her, begging her to help him. As we mentioned earlier, Shinji uses Asuka as an escape from his fear of abandonment and for the affection he strives for. Asuka refuses Shinji because she doesn’t want him to use her as an escape. Asuka then bombards Shinji with truths about all his weaknesses. She corners him and even pushes him. Shinji hates how she’s treating him and reacts by strangling her. At this point, Shinji’s version of the Human Instrumentality started.
Ending scene/post-Third Impact:
As we mentioned earlier, Shinji regrets wanting his version of Third Impact, so he wants to return to human form again. Shinji believed that Human Instrumentality was a lonely type of existence because many aspects were removed when human consciousness became one. Shinji just wanted another chance to live as a human even though he would be hurt again. After that, Shinji was able to become human again and returned to Earth, he ended up lying beside Asuka. Remembering all the hurt she caused him, he suddenly strangled her. But as he is strangling her, he is crying. This is because before they became human again, they were one being and they fully understood each other. Shinji feels guilty about hurting her but at the same time hates how she knows all his weaknesses.
Why Asuka caressed Shinji’s face?
While Shinji strangles Asuka after becoming human again, Asuka responds by caressing Shinji’s face and saying “how disgusting”. This is because when they were one being during the instrumentality, Asuka finally understood Shinji. All the hurt and pain he was going through, Asuka felt and understood it as well. So when Shinji was choking her, she just caressed Shinji’s face to let him know that she was real, as well as an act of caring and or pity for Shinji. As she caresses his face, Asuka says her famous line, as a way for Shinji to know and understand that she was the real Asuka.
Our final thoughts:
Shinji regrets his version of Third Impact because he finds that instrumentality is a lonely kind of existence. Shinji realized that he wants to become human again and return to Earth. After that, he ended up next to Asuka lying on the beach, and he suddenly strangled her. This action meant Shinji was angry at how Asuka knew all his weaknesses. He was also mad at how she treated him even though he was just asking for her help. However, Asuka responded by caressing Shinji’s face, which was a sign that told him that she was real, as well as that she finally understood all the pain and suffering that Shinji was going through.
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If you want to read more about Darling in the Fraxx in general, then you can click here to check out all of our Darling in the Franxx articles.
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