A new teacher called Kaoru Miyazaki starts to work in Shinji, Asuka and Rei's school. His lessons and advice motivate the Children to look at things differently and consider other possibilities, and help them to mature and be slightly readier to face their future trials. At the same time, someone is influencing Gendo's scenario in little ways, making subtle changes. And Gendo is determined to find out who it is and put a stop to that person’s interference.
Higher Learning is one of the classics of Evangelion fanfiction, and one of the first Peggy Sue Eva fics.
It has nothing to do with the Higher Learning film.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Unusual example because Shinji did not quit because he was bitter but because he was hopeful. When NERV developed the dummy plug system Shinji thought they did not need him anymore. So that he decided to leave in order to start a new life. When he was ready to leave, though, Zeruel came along and proved the dummy plugs were useless, so that Shinji returned hurriedly to kick its butt.
- Adaptation Induced Plothole: Kaoru manages to synch with Unit 04. This should be impossible due to how the Evas work.
- After the End: In the original timeline, the humanity has been wiped out and Shinji and Asuka has to raise a family on their own on a devastated world. The epilogue happens after Third Impact: the humanity has been wiped out during Instrumentality, but Shinji's choices allow people returning, and the world is slowly recovering.
- Anger Born of Worry: Asuka towards Shinji after his nervous breakdown. Gets so bad that Misato has to pull one rather forceful Sorkin Relationship Moment.
- Antagonistic Offspring: In the future Kaoru comes from, Shinji and Asuka's son killed her mother for never-explained reasons.
- Attention Whore: Asuka was one at the beginning. However she gradually mellowed down after hooking up with Shinji.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: At the beginning of the story Shinji and Asuka argue a lot and are unwilling to admit their feelings at each other. Gradually the tension between they mellows down, they get together around chapter 5 they got together, and their relationship becomes more civil. They start to act like Kouji and Sayaka rather Lina and Gourry, and they still fight every so often, but their arguments are more good-natured.
- Beneath the Mask: Asuka was actually a nice, caring girl underneath her harsh mask. After opening up to Shinji she lets her real self out more often, and it annoys Shinji that his classmates think they have a chance with her now they’ve realized she’s not a complete bitch.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- The final encounter with Kaworu Nagisa plays out much differently, thanks to this. While Rei, in Unit-00, is watching from above with a sniper rifle, Toji Suzuhara in Unit-03 leaps down and flattens Unit-02, taking it out of Kaworu's control and forcing him to face Shinji alone.
- The arrival of Kaoru and Kaji in the restored Unit-04 helps change the course of Asuka's infamous last stand against the MP Evas.
- The Big Damn Kiss: In the last episode Shinji has been searching Asuka for a long while in the Instrumentality (an amalgam of all human souls). During a talk with other souls, Shinji begins playing a song that he and Asuka played a while ago... and the music guides her back to him. Both teens play together for a while. Then Shinji walks towards her, cups her chin, and they embrace and kiss in the center of Instrumentality.
- Birthday Beginning: The story begins on Shinji's 16th birthday. The first scenes feature Shinji making a celebratory meal, and later that day Shinji meets his new teacher who will change his outlook greatly and for the best.
- Birthday Episode: This story has two episodes: chapter 1 begins with Shinji making a special meal to celebrate his birthday; and in chapter 43 it's Asuka's sixteenth birthday and the cast gathers to throw a party and cheer her up.
- Blood Knight: Subverted. Asuka was one per canon. She trained during one decade and loved fighting. However she fought enemies were too powerful to her or against which her skills were useless. After fighting Arael and getting Mind Raped she broke down, but she bounced back when the MP-Evas struck.
- Break the Cutie: Although Shinji had suffered a lot due to his missing mother and abusive father, Kaoru helped him to try and to get over his traumas and develop a more optimistic outlook. But even so Shinji still got to see Asuka breaking down and collapsing, and many of his friends getting hurt.
- Break the Haughty: Asuka was bold and arrogant at the beginning. All of it was a façade to hide her many insecurities and neuroses, though. She gained emotional stability when she hooked up with Shinji, but for the same reason she got severely upset when he was in danger or when he left for a while. Then she was Mind Raped by Arael and her self-confidence crumbled down. Asuka spent the rest of the history depressed and clinging to Shinji in order to not lose it completely. She was so soul-weary and her self-esteem was so shattered that she would rather die with Shinji to get into her Eva again and fight for her life.
- Broken Ace: Asuka was her team's ace pilot and was also more heavily traumatized than her teammates due to being an orphan with abandonment and self-esteem issues. Kaoru tried to encourage her to reach out to others, and his adviced helped her for a while, but the final battles broke her very badly.
- Broken Bird: When they got together Shinji learnt that Asuka's aggressive, stubborn and fearless behaviour had its origin in her childhood's tragedies -which mirror his own- and her desire and need to overcome them. When she got a severe breakdown he tried to reassure her by reminding her that she taught him to fight back when you are hurt.
- Broken Pedestal: Maya idolizes Ritsuko. After Maya learns about the Rei clones in the basement Ritsuko asks her: "You still think that I am wonderful?". Maya was disappointed, but even so she still looked up to Ritsuko.
- Brother–Sister Incest: In the original timeline after the Third Impact Shinji and Asuka's son and daughter had a relationship. Their daughter got pregnant and gave birth to Kaoru.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Shinji was afraid of confessing Asuka because he is a shy kid who did not think she liked him. Asuka was frightened of confessing Shinji because she is afraid of opening up to other people, and he had ignored all hints she dropped. It took a bottle of sake for them reaching each other out and blurting their feelings out.
- Chekhov's Gun: Asuka and Shinji play ‘‘Kanon D-Dur Quartet’’ while practicing for a school’s concert in episode twenty. Thirty chapters later Shinji has unsuccessfully been trying to find Asuka in the Instrumentality for a long time. Then he plays Kanon D-Dur Quartet… and she finds him at last.
- The Chessmaster:
- Kaoru is trying to save humankind from Gendo and SEELE's plans. But in order to achieve that goal he works in the shade, manipulates and deceives people. He feels guilty about it, even though he is trying to save everybody.
- Gendo proves to be better at it, though, when he realizes the pilot's teacher is up to something, so he has Kaoru abducted and puts a bullet in his knee.
- Combat Pragmatist: Invoked and reinforced in chapter forty-eight's prologue: "Bring a bat to a fist fight. Bring a knife to a bat fight. Bring a gun to a knife fight. Run the hell away from a gun fight."
- Conveniently an Orphan: All Eva pilots (Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Touji) lost their mothers a while before becoming pilots. Kaoru's parents also died a while before the beginning of the story.
- Cruel to Be Kind: Right before the Final Battle Asuka is so depressed and mind-broken that she would rather dying instead of fighting for her life. Not knowing what else to do, Shinji puts Misato's gun to his head and threatens to blow his brains out unless she reacts and fights back. It works.Shinji: "Nine bullets. I'm sure there will be plenty enough for you. You're not much of the Shakespeare type, so I don't think you'll use them on yourself. But...if you want to join me, or fight, you'll still have the choice.
Shinji: What? You want to ask me to die with you? You know what? Kaoru may have been right... he told me that this had all happened before.
Asuka: What... what are you saying? Shinji... I... I thought...
Shinji: What if it's my fault, Asuka? What if everything is happening because of me? Because of Unit-01? If I am the thing that's holding you back... and making you give up, then I will fix that right now.
Asuka: Shinji... I just wanted us to be...
Shinji: For the last week, the only thing on my mind is trying to figure out how to get you back. How to make you fight back. Like you taught me to. If I'm just a bandage to make it hurt less, then I'd rather you have to sew yourself up.
Asuka: You...I was only...
Shinji: Then GET IN THAT PLUG!
- Death Glare: Gendo gives Ritsuko a very subtle one after she betrays him and spills secrets to Maya.That small frown instilled more pure terror in her heart than she had ever known in her life.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Shinji liked Asuka, but she was fiery, rude and unapproachable due to her past traumas. With a good amount of advice (and a bottle of sake) Shinji manages to connect with her and starts to defrost her, although she apologises for not being able to open up to him yet.
- Distant Finale: The last scene happens over two years after the Final Battle, and features Shinji and Asuka waking up and walking together to their college. Their dialogue and thoughts tells what has happened to all characters and mankind after Third Impact.
- Eldritch Abomination: The giant aliens Angels of the original series also show up here. Special mention goes to Bardiel, since he was defeated in a very different way, and he was unable to hijack Unit-03. Its true body resembled a black, amorphous stormcloud.
- Emotionless Girl: Rei was pretty emotionless at the beginning. After listening to her new teacher's lessons she gradually gets better, and learns to recognize and display her emotions more openly, although she kept being quiet and cool. She stopped seeing herself as expendable, though, and one of her clones sacrificed herself to give her a chance to keep living.
- Expendable Clone: Double subverted. After a while and thanks to her new teacher's teachings, Rei stops seeing herself as expendable. However, because she did not want to die, she replaced herself with other Rei clone during a battle. Rei III accepted to sacrifice herself so that Rei II kept living.
- Faking the Dead: Ritsuko, Maya and Rei devise a complicated plot involving one of the clones of Rei to trick Gendo into believing that someone who stood in the way is dead.
- Fiery Redhead: Asuka's personality mellows down a bit after the first chapters but she still retains her fiery temper and her overflowing passion.
- Final Battle: After Tabris' death, the JSSDF invasion happens. Misato must guide Shinji and a depressed Asuka to the Eva's cages, and both teenagers must fight the final battle against the MP-Evas together with Touji. Kaoru and Kaji join them riding Unit-04.
- For Want Of A Nail: The nail is Shinji, Asuka and Rei getting a new teacher (actually a time-traveler). Their lessons teach them to look things from a different perspective and open their minds to new possibilities. Thanks to it the three kids become somewhat saner and more stable and eventually Shinji helps everyone to reject Instrumentality.
- Gainax Ending: Inverted. The prologue makes no sense after reading the story. Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato are gathered around a dying Kaoru, who reflects about each one of them and wonders if he has been successful and Shinji will not have to do the same thing he did. That scene feels like foreshadowing, but it is not foreshadowing anything. That scene never happens. Those characters never are together in the same scene, Kaoru does not die, and his thoughts make no sense given what happened.
- Grand Finale: The final arc is six-chapters-long. After the death of the Final Messenger, SEELE's forces invade the Geofront, intending to kill everyone and put Instrumentality in motion. Shinji and Asuka fight for last time in their Evangelions as they struggle to solve their remainder psychological issues. Kaoru finally reveals his identity and his backstory. Despite everything what the heroes did, humankind goes through Instrumentality, and Shinji has to make a choice. The last scene happens several months later, featuring Shinji and Asuka going to school while humanking is gradually returning and rebuilding their world.
- Gratuitous Japanese: Asuka -and some other characters- uses "baka" ("idiot") the whole time. Sometimes she even adds an honorific to the word (such as when she calls Shinji her "baka-chan" or "baka-kun").
- Happily Married: Kaoru told that, even though they had troubles and hardships, Asuka and Shinji were very happy together after getting married in his timeline.
- Heroic BSoD:
- After her Mind Rape, Asuka was broken and subdued for a long while.
- Shinji had several nervous breakdowns throughout the history, the final one happening right before Third Impact.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rei III replaces Rei II right before the battle against the Sixteenth to give the latter a chance to keep living. As a reward, Rei II shares her memories with Rei III in the last moments before her death, and Rei III dies happy, knowing exactly what she's giving her life to protect.
- He's Back!:
- After the dummy plugs were tested successfully Shinji believed he was no longer needed and he was free to start his own life far from NERV, so he left. However, when Zeruel came along and started to blast Tokyo-3, Shinji returned to fight it.
- In chapter 48 Asuka finally recovers from her breakdown. When she emerges with her giant robot and faces her enemies, she says:"I'm back."
- High-School Sweethearts: Shinji and Asuka went to the same middle school and they liked each other but they could not connect due to their troubles and their different ways to deal with their psychological issues. However a new teacher encouraged them to look things from another perspective and they slowly grew closer and eventually became a couple.
- Hopeless Suitor:
- Asuka to Kaji at the beginning. After the fifth chapter she and Shinji became a couple and she forgot about her crush.
- Kaoru to Misato. He pursued Misato for a while, but it was soon clear that she would only love Kaji.
- Hot-Blooded: Subverted. Asuka is very passionate, hot-tempered and loud at the beginning. However her mental stabilty deteriorated due to constant warfare and after getting Mind Raped she becomes sadder and more depressed.
- Humongous Mecha: The bio-mechanical Evangelions. Unlike in canon, though, Unit-03 is not destroyed and it takes part in the last battles, and Unit-04 also makes an appearance When Kaoru pilots it.
- Imaginary Love Triangle: Shinji and Asuka loved each other. However, after half-hearing -and severely misunderstanding- a conversation between Asuka and their teacher Kaoru, he thought the older man had seduced Asuka. He spent several days depreseed and on the verge of a nervous break-down until he finally confronted Asuka and she said him he had gotten upset about nothing because nothing had happened between her and Kaoru.
- I Miss Mom: This came up during Instrumentality, when Shinji and Asuka met their mothers again and they got to tell them how much they had missed them.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: When Misato realizes her wards Shinji and Asuka have just had sex her immediate reaction is to reach for a beer and pray to the gods of birth control.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Asuka acted as an arrogant girl so that nobody noticed how insecure she was. However she gradually stopped trying so hard to stand out When she started dating Shinji.
- Insult of Endearment: In chapter 5 an inhebriated Asuka declares Shinji is HER baka (idiot). From that point she calls him his "sweet idiot", her "little dummy Shinji" and the like."You're just trying to be nice." She sighed. "You are a sweet baka, but you are still a baka."
"No I am not. Kaji is the baka!" Shinji defended.
Suddenly, Asuka sat up, grabbed the collar of his shirt and looked right into his eyes. Tears were forming in hers. "No."
He swallowed hard. "Asuka...?"
"YOU are my Baka." She said softly. A tear finally did escape the corner of her eye, and she sniffed. "Not Kaji. YOU are..." she smiled slightly, letting his collar go. "My Baka Shinji."
- Interrupted Intimacy: In chapter 16 Shinji and Asuka are about to have sex in the tub... and Misato comes home right when Shinji is about to enter the bathroom, leading both teenagers to hurriedly pretend that nothing was happening.
- In Vino Veritas: After drinking a whole bottle of sake Asuka got drunk enough to confess Shinji she liked him.Fifth Lesson: In wine, there is truth.
- Kid from the Future: Subverted. Kaoru is a descendant of Shinji and Asuka; however, he is not their child but their grandchild, and he is an adult.
- The Kid with the Remote Control: Evangelions can only be piloted by kids can synch with the souls trapped inside the robots. Shinji, Asuka and Touji could synch with their Evas because their mother's souls were inside, although neither of them found out during the War. Rei could -barely- activate Unit 00 because a piece of her soul was inside it. Kaoru is a strange case because he could pilot Unit 04, despite of being unrelated to the soul within.
- Kissing Under the Influence: In chapter 5 Shinji and Asuka get drunk while Misato is away. After spending a while joking and talking gibberish, Asuka says Shinji is hers, she hugs him and they kiss.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After their accidental kiss, Asuka and Kaoru apologize to each other and agree that it never happened and they will not speak about it ever again.
- Lighter and Softer: To canon. A new teacher starts teaching the Children. Their lessons help the three traumatized pilots to consider new possibilities and open up, leading to a better ending.
- Love Confession: In chapter five after having got too many drinks Shinji and Asuka are hammered. Shinji jokes Kaji is an idiot and all of sudden Asuka cries and tells Kaji is not an idiot. Shinji is an idiot... HER idiot. That was the point where they tentatively began to have a real relationship.
- Love Interest: Shinji and Asuka are each other's love interest.
- Lovely Angels: Asuka and Rei were part of a squad of Humongous Mecha pilots. Asuka was more focused on physical combat whereas Rei was a sniper, and both had undergone a decade of training. However their teamwork was poor due to their clashing personalities. Then they got a new teacher taught them to open up to others, and their combat effectiveness improved.
- Love Triangle: Misato and Kaji liked each other even after breaking up many years ago, but they were wary about restarting their relationship. Then Misato met her pilots' new teach, Kaoru, and she liked him. He felt drawn to her and they started out a short-lived relationship.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Subverted. In a chapter Shinji and Asuka are making out in Misato’s living room and they are about to have sex in the tub, but Misato comes home early, forcing them to stop and pretend nothing was happening. Many chapters later Asuka wants to try the tub again, but Shinji says he has been told it is not a good idea so they opt for Shinji's bedroom.
- Manipulative Bastard: Gendo ruthlessly manipulated everyone to achieve his goals… and he was not happy when he realized that there was another manipulative bastard in the town who had been plotting against him completely undetected for a good while.
- The Men in Black: NERV's Section-2 agents. They were seen escorting Gendo when he went to have "words" with Kaoru. Their role and modus operandi was explored a bit when Shinji left NERV for a short while.
- Mind Rape: Asuka goes through one, like in canon. Unusually, the ordeal is seen from Arael's point of view. And the Eldritch Abomination is also sickened with its actions, but Arael thinks that it is sadly necessary for the good of everyone, including the own Children's -and including Asuka's-. He must test them and they must succeed so that they become stronger if they want mankind survives.
- Mind Screw: Shinji -and everyone- goes through one in the last chapter when Instrumentality happens. Shinji sees strange, confusing imagery and wades through the memories and thoughts of countless people as he looks for Asuka and tries to understand why he is alive. Meanwhile his family and acquaintances talk about themselves, Kaoru finally explains who he was and whence he came, and he meets new people.
- Missing Mom: Asuka and Shinji's mothers died when they were very young. Their teacher Kaoru also lost her mother and grandmother when he was a child, before the beginning of the history.
- Mistaken for Cheating: After partially overhearing a conversation between Asuka and their teacher where he apologises for overstepping his boundaries and she replies it was not his fault, Shinji thinks Asuka is cheating on him. In reality nothing happened between them.
- Moment Killer: While Misato is working Shinji and Asuka are making out in her apartment. They are right about to take things to the next level when Misato comes home all of sudden and they have to stop pretend they were doing nothing.
- Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight: Invoked in the prologue to chapter 48:Lesson 48: [Bring a bat to a fist fight. Bring a knife to a bat fight. Bring a gun to a knife fight. Run the hell away from a gun fight.]
- Noodle Incident: Kaoru explains that there was a fight during a celebration and his father murdered Asuka. He never explained what caused the fight or his father’s motives.
- No Social Skills: Neither of the three main characters -Shinji, Asuka and Rei- has social skills whatsoever. And their new teacher Kaoru is determined to change that.
- Offing the Offspring: Done indirectly. In the original timeline Shinji locked his son into the Geofront after the latter murdered his wife Asuka. Since they never saw him again Kaoru thinks that he probably died down there.
- Old Flame: Kaji and Misato. They were playing the Will They or Won't They? game for a while until they got together after Kaji got almost assassinated.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In chapter 34, during a tense confrontation, Kaoru manages to get cool, stone-faced Gendo shocked and confused. Kaji stepped back when he saw that because he did not know what to expect.Gendo's eyes widened behind their glass shields. Kaji had never seen such a reaction, and took a step back, not knowing what to expect.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Shinji and Asuka went through a lot after their mothers demises. Their new teacher, though, helped them to see matters from a different perspective and realize they did not have to be alone. Later, when he talks to Shinji, he does not beat around the bush when he tells that he and Asuka had led very tragic lives.
- Parental Substitute: Misato was Shinji and Asuka's surrogate guardian. During a heated argument with other character she blurts out she cares more about her kids than about NERV or anything else.
- Peggy Sue: Unlike most of Eva time travel fics, the Peggy Sue is not one of the pilots, and he is influencing the story’s events in indirect and subtle ways, mainly showing the pilots what they need to understand in order to endure their ordeals.
- The Power of Rock:
- Shinji uses his cello’s music during Instrumentality to draw many souls back to the physical world and guide Asuka back to him.
- The Power of Classical Music is one of the factors in Rei's decision to start living for herself.
- Red Is Heroic: Asuka is a Fiery Redhead, wears a red plugsuit and rides a red robot.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Asuka and Shinji were this for a long time. They were always together, and Asuka was the hot-headed, enthusiastic Red Oni and Shinji the quiet, meek Blue Oni. This changed after Asuka's Mind Rape, and she became silent and gloomy.
- Relationship Upgrade: Shinji and Asuka got together in chapter 5, in which the consumption of a whole bottle of sake led to a mutual Love Confession. Between the final scene and the epilogue they got married.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Pen Pen. Yes, he returned to the past and he remembered everything.
- Robeast: The cast fights the giant aliens called Angels per canon. Unlike canon, though, Bardiel got killed before having the chance to seize Unit-03, and the pilots never met it.
- Science-Fiction Fanfic: Humongous Mecha, alien invaders, Time Travel, After the End scenarios...
- Secret Relationship: After getting together, Shinji and Asuka kept their relationship secret for a while until Shinji left right before the battle against Zeruel. Upon seeing Asuka's sobbing reaction, Misato figured it out.
- Self-Made Orphan: In the original timeline Asuka got murdered by her own son. In turn, Shinji and Kaoru locked him into what was left of the Geofront. Kaoru thinks that his father died down there.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The constant, brutal battles against giant, super-powerful aliens as well as her Mind Rape wore Asuka's psyche down to the point that she was permanently depressed and barely functional at the end of the war.
- Ship Sinking: Whatever relationship that Misato and Kaoru had crashed down when Shinji left NERV temporarily and Misato blamed Kaoru for it. Their relationship died definitely when Kaji reunited with Misato after nearly getting assassinated.
- Ship Tease: In the first chapter Pen Pen ponders that, not matter how much Shinji complains about Asuka, he would never want her to leave. There were a good number of other hints between Shinji and Asuka before getting together in chapter 5.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: In chapter 15 Shinji is trying to apologise to Asuka for accusing her of cheating on him, when she cuts him off and says him "Shut up and kiss me!":"I'm so sorry, Asuka-chan! OW! Really! I'm sorry!"
Asuka sighed and stopped smacking him. "Shut up and kiss me before I change my mind." she grabbed him by his shirt and hauled him in before he knew what was happening.
- Signature Headgear: Asuka's iconic red hair clips are actually a plot point. When Shinji sank inside Leliel Asuka was scared, upset, angry and she did not know what to do. Not knowing who else talk to, she visited her teacher Kaoru seeking counsel and reassurance. She dropped her hair clips during her visit and Kaoru threw them away when he found them. A while later Kaji found them in his trash, thought wrongly he had hurt her or taken advantage of her and almost shot him.
- So Proud of You: In the last chapter Yui and later Gendo tell Shinji that they are proud of him.
- Sorkin Relationship Moment: As Shinji is going through a nervous breakdown Asuka gets worried, ergo she gets very angry with him. It gets so bad that Misato has to intervene rather forcefully so that they make up with each other.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: At the beginning of the history Asuka pretends to be a tough, bold girl does not need anybody. However, as the war goes on her traumas get worse and the mask shatters progressively until she shows herself as a depressed, sad girl clings to Shinji desperately because she thinks she has nothing else.
- Spanner in the Works: Gendo’s plan started to unravel when a teacher offered counseling to the Children.
- The Stations of the Canon: The story begins between Shinji and Asuka’s botched first kiss and the attack of the Twelfth Angel, going through the main canon events from that point. There're several important differences, though: Bardiel got killed before hijacking Unit-03. Hence, Touji became the Fourth Child and the dummy plug tragedy did not happen.
- Supernaturally Young Parent: Kaoru is in his twenties. Shinji and Asuka are his grandparents and they are sixteen. Time Travel is involved.
- Surprise Incest: While Shinji was stuck into the Twelfth Angel Asuka turned to Kaoru to have a shoulder to cry on. After he spent a while reassuring her, she felt something familiar on him and kissed him on impulse. Right away she felt guilty, got scared and ran away. At the next morning Kaoru apologized and said he would resign if she wanted, but she said not and apologized in turn. They never brought it up again, not even when Kaoru confessed that he was her GRANDSON.
- Talking in Bed: After Asuka got Mind Raped by Arael, Shinji and she talked about her feelings and their relationship while they lay on bed and Shinji tried to reassure her.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Zigzagged with Asuka and Kaoru:
- Asuka thought their new teacher, Kaoru, was pretty hot, but her feelings were nothing but a short-lived crush, vanished when she and Shinji got together.
- However, when Shinji got swallowed by Leliel, she turned to Kaoru to vent her worry and grief. He held her while she cried and reassured her everything would be fine. Impulsively and unthinkingly she kissed him. Then she realized what she had just done, freaked out and ran away. Later Kaoru apologised and offered to quit his job to show his repentance, but Asuka replied it was not his fault and both agreed to not talk about it ever again.
- HOWEVER, Shinji overheard their conversation and thought something had happened between them. He became distressed and spent several days on the verge of a break-down until he finally confronted her about it. She went pretty mad because he had worried about nothing and thought she had cheated on him.
- HOWEVER, several months later Shinji and Kaoru talk during Instrumentality and Kaoru reveals that in order to get ready to try to change the future he had to see inside Shinji's soul and relive all his memories, including Shinji's love towards Asuka. It was so intense that for a while Kaoru pretended he was Shinji and Asuka his wife. However he got over it when he travelled to the past.
- That Came Out Wrong: When Misato explains Ritsuko that Shinji and Asuka are practicing for a concert, she uses sentences such like "They're at it every night" or "Sometimes they ask me to join in". As a result, Ritsuko completely misunderstands what Misato is talking about.
- That Didn't Happen: During a scene where Kaoru is consoling a severely distraught and emotionally devastated Asuka, she kissed him on impulse. She regretted it straight after, got scared and ran away. The next time they met they apologized each other and agreed it was a stupid mistake and it did not happen.
- Their First Time: Although they had been making out for a long while, after Asuka's Mind Rape Shinji and she talk and decide to sleep together for the first time. Later on Shinji stresses that he was not taking advantage of her — it was both their decision.
- There Are No Therapists: Since neither of the pilots had any therapy in spite of their blatant psychological traumas and the pressure and distress associated with being Child Soldiers, Kaoru's plan to avert Third Impact was becoming his teacher and giving them therapy and counseling surreptitiously.
- Thermal Dissonance: Misato has the misfortune of sitting next to Gendo at the school recital. The ambient temperature drops almost to freezing point when Gendo sees Rei smile and hug Miyazaki-sensei after her successful performance; when he gets up to leave, the cold lingers behind him — to the point that Misato, not having the nerve to look, is under the impression that he's still sitting there.
- Together in Death: Defied in episode 48. Shinji and Asuka are running from soldiers that intend to kill them. Shinji tries to get Asuka in her robot, but Asuka is so mind-broken that she does not want to fight, and she suggests Shinji to let the soldiers find them and die together to be together in death. Shinji replies that he would rather for them living together and forces her to snap out of her depression.Asuka: It's okay, Shinji.[...]We'll be together.[...]Shinji... I love you so much. I don't want to leave you. We can go together. I want to be with you when the world ends.
- Took a Level in Badass: Asuka spent a good while depressed and gloomy due to getting constantly beaten and even mind-raped. Shinji managed to make her snapping out of her depression and encourage her to fight right before the final battle, though, and she tore the MP-Evas apart.
- Took a Level in Cheerfulness: The three pilots are hit with this thanks to Kaoru's lessons and counseling. Shinji becomes hopeful for the future, Asuka gets less angry and less introvert, and Rei starts enjoying her life.
- Took a Level in Idealism: Shinji, Asuka and Rei learn to be more optimistic and more hopeful thanks to their new homeroom teacher's lessons. Shinji particularly realizes he can choose his own future.
- Took a Level in Kindness: When Kaoru starts working in the pilots' school his lessons teach Asuka to be less angry and less confrontational, and help her to open up. Her temper gets nicer and less pushy progressively, to the point she is capable of confessing her feelings to Shinji (after a bottle of sake). From that point she becomes kinder.
- Tsundere: Asuka showed her harsh side at the beginning to hide her vulnerable, fragile self. However Kaoru's lessons helped her to realize she did not need to be afraid and she did not have to push everyone away. After a while she starts showing her nicer side, especially after hooking up with Shinji.
- Uncertain Doom: Kaoru revealed that his father was sealed inside the Geofront in punishment for killing his own mother. Kaoru assumes his father eventually died down there but he can't know for sure since they never checked on him.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: In the first few chapters Shinji and Asuka were frightened of confessing their feelings each other because they were frightened of rejection and pain. In chapter 5, after having gotten a few life lessons of their newest teacher and having downed a whole bottle of sake they got drunk enough to dare to confess each other.
- Villainous Incest: Details are not given, but Shinji and Asuka's son had an incestuous relationship with his sister due to be the only people in the world other than their parents. He was also the one ended up murdering his mother.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Shinji had sought his father’s approval when he was a kid but he stopped caring about it throughout the story. However, in the final scene he is told that his father is proud of him.
- Wham Line:
- In chapter 35:Kaoru: Tell me... how's your hand doing?
- And in the final arc:Kaji: You love your parents that much, do you?
Kaoru: Actually, they're my grandparents.
- In chapter 35:
- What If?: What if after Third Impact, Shinji and Asuka's grandson went back in time and became their teacher to help them with their psychological issues and so averting the end of the world?
- What the Hell, Hero?: After Shinji left, encouraged by his teacher's words, Misato confronted Kaoru about it. When he accused her of treating Shinji as a war tool she said angrily she does not care about NERV and she cares about Shinji more that she will never care about Kaoru, but as long as the war lasts, neither of them has the luxury of leading a normal life.
- When She Smiles: In the prologue, when Kaoru sees Shinji smiling, he thinks: "I would have moved the universe to see that smile."He accepts it without thinking twice, ignoring the blood. I'm not sure, but I think I manage to smile as well, because he suddenly smiles back as he grips my hand with both of his.
I would have moved the universe to see that smile.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final scene happens several years after Third Impact, and explains what happened to the characters and the world in the meantime.
Both lay down their instruments and stood together, eye to eye. Without another word, they embraced in a timeless, silent kiss.