Asuka is first only mentioned as an incredible pilot, the Second Children, and a university graduate. Her defeat of an angel at sea is only seen as recorded footage. She first appears anonymously, spotted by Toji, Kensuke and Shinji playing at a game. Realising that they were trying to look at her panties, she charges them 100 yen each so that she can continue her game. After knocking a man and ruining his game, she ends up in a fight with the man’s friends.
She is soon properly introduced to Shinji and Rei at NERV headquarters, but expresses some disbelief that Shinji is the Third Children. While having lunch with Rei, Misato and Shinji, Asuka downplays her skills so as to appear humble. As soon as Kaji appears she shows immediate interest, grabbing his arm and looking at him with puppy-eyes. She is soon enrolled in the same school as Shinji and Rei. She reveals to Shinji that she knows the truth about the Second Impact, and tells him their job is to prevent Third Impact.
Asuka is sortied with Shinji to fight against the new angel threat and takes the offensive, slicing the angel in half very quickly. It regenerates very quickly into two angels, however, and both pilots are defeated. As a result of this fiasco she is forced to train with Shinji until the angel resurfaces, so that they can react in perfect harmony. Despite their shared protestations, Misato still puts them through this training. The training involves learning a dance to act in perfect harmony, and Asuka seems to warm to the idea when she learns Kaji chose the music and did the choreography.
The two pilots eventually begin to bond, and Asuka reveals to Shinji that she is a test-tube baby that never knew her real father. She considers herself a ‘special person’ as a result. Later, in her sleep, she whispers to her lost mother and Shinji thinks she might be a normal girl despite her arrogance. Despite this bonding the training still doesn’t go perfectly, causing Misato to ask Rei to step in. After seeing Shinji and Rei perform the dance perfectly, Asuka runs off.
She talks with Shinji briefly, but ignores his advice to relax. Asuka decides to try the training one last time, however, and works through the night with Shinji to make the dance perfect. She has to be grabbed by Misato when the angel arrives earlier than expected, but the battle goes off flawlessly. She and Shinji’s Evas crash on landing and she forgives him for this, but both fall asleep before they can be recovered.
She asked Misato if she could move in with her, and Misato accepted. She’s moved into Shinji’s room. When Kensuke orders a celebration for her move and Misato’s promotion to major, she invites Hikari over so that the party isn’t ‘lame’. She is ecstatic when Kaji arrives, but not as thrilled about his gift for her from Matsushiro. The party continues, with Misato telling Asuka she doesn’t need to be a good girl all the time anymore.
Later, she interrupts Kaji and Misato as they were about to kiss and acts more irritable than normal the following day. During the Eva-run to catch the angel falling from orbit, it is Asuka who stabs at its core with the progressive knife and kills it. Afterwards, when NERV headquarters suffers a blackout, Asuka tries to assume leadership. Due to the fact that Rei knows the layout of the complex better, she reluctantly surrendered this leadership to her. They find the command centre and discover that Kaji and Misato are missing, which inspires Asuka to grab Shinji and wander back into the darkness to find them.
While trying to find Kaji and Misato, Asuka asks Shinji about his relationship with Rei. When Shinji babbles that it’s not like that, Asuka suggests that they kiss. As they lean in a set of lift doors open, revealing Kaji and Misato. The next day Asuka convinces Shinji to go and see Kaji and explain to him what was going on, thinking that he might have gotten the wrong impression about the two pilots’ near kiss. She hands Shinji a letter to give him, which makes it seem like Shinji forced her.
She is watching TV with Shinji, and tells him that the reason Hikari is asking about Toji is because she likes him. At school she takes Hikari aside and talks to her about Toji. She asks Shinji what Hikari could do to get closer to Toji, and he suggests that Hikari could make him a lunch. Figuring that she should tell Kaji about her feelings, she convinces him she’s not a child anymore. He tells her that, as an adult, he can’t return her feelings. She confronts him about his feelings for Misato, but is immediately distracted by data revealing Toji as the Fourth Children.
Asuka is present at the battle against the Eva 03 Angel (labelled Eighth Angel), and comments that they have to help Toji if he’s still in the Eva. She is the first pilot to be taken down, but Shigeru Aoba comments that she managed to safely escape from her Eva.
Asuka is seen talking to Rei about Shinji after the Eva 03 battle, stating that she thinks he won’t be able to pilot anymore. She is sortied against the Ninth Angel in the GeoFront, confident that she’s capable of defeating the angel by herself. Her weapons aren’t capable of penetrating it’s AT Field, and she’s defeated when the Eva’s arms and head are sliced off. She is alright physically after the battle, but she hates that Shinji had to rescue her.
She is present at the salvage operation, wondering what’s going to happen to Shinji. Kaji asks if she’s worried, but she denies it and reiterates her love for Kaji. Later, Shinji sees an image of Asuka in the Eva trying to convince him to return.
Asuka asks Misato who left the message, and was irritable when she didn’t tell her. She took some of this out on Shinji when he returned from the hospital, but relented when she realised he knew even less than she did.
Later, she receives a call from her stepmother. After the call she ran into her room and lay down sadly.
Volume 9 begins with a flashback to when Asuka was chosen to be a pilot, asking her mother to notice her. The scene then cuts to the present, with Asuka lamenting that she only ever managed to defeat one angel by herself. Her recent defeats by the past two angels hasn’t done anything to help her pride.
She meets with Kaworu in the ladies room, much to her disgust, and becomes increasingly irate as he tells her she’s not opening her heart to the Eva. She faints and has to be taken to the infirmary. She begins to feel better soon, and expresses disbelief that the angels are still attacking. She is initially assigned as Rei’s backup in the operation to attack the angel, but defies orders and takes Rei’s position instead.
The Tenth Angel attacks her mind, causing Asuka to fire erratically. After it penetrates her memories, she sees flashes of her past – her mother telling her that she’s special and has to be better than the daughter of her fathers new wife. She was made to fill the hole in her mother’s heart because she couldn’t have the child of the man she loved. After being involved in an experiment and becoming it’s subject, her mother fell into insanity and even tried to strangle her daughter before committing suicide.
As a result of the damage to her mind in this battle, Asuka is placed in a comatose state and held in NERV’s hospital. In her absence, Kaworu Nagisa is made the acting pilot of Eva 02.
Asuka briefly appears during Rei’s contamination scene, the subject of Rei’s jealousy due to the attention Shinji pays her by visiting her at the hospital.
She is in the hospital during the final angel’s attack.
After the death of the final angel, Shinji visits her and breaks down before her. During this she snaps out of her coma and attacks him. While she is restrained and sedated by medical staff, Asuka shouts that she hates everyone.
Asuka is seen in Eva 02 and stashed in the lake. When the lake is barraged with explosives, Asuka is shocked back into a semblance of her normal self. She encounters the spirit of her mother within the Eva and, due to the realisation that her mother did and continues to love her, Eva 02 re-activates so as to attack the invasion forces. After destroying the aerial forces Asuka is forced to contend with the finished Eva series.
She runs out of time to defeat the Eva series, and finds herself being beaten and her Eva devoured. Just as she seems to be defeated, Eva 01 appears. Due to Eva 02’s inability to continue fighting, she is helpless as Shinji battles the Eva series.
Intelligence: Asuka is stated to be a genius, having graduated University at age 15. She is only attending school to learn Kanji. In the anime she easily solved a physics problem Shinji was having trouble with.
Appearance: Asuka is considered attractive, especially by boys her own age. (in the anime her locker is filled with love letters). Asuka herself considers herself attractive and takes pride in her appearance. Whether Shinji considers her attractive is debatable as he never openly states it.
Arrogance: Asuka has overwhelming pride due to her issues with her mother. This pride extends to every facet of her life, but especially to EVA piloting. This drive to be the best pilot defines her very sense of being and when she finds herself outstripped by Shinji, it leads to her complete mental breakdown.
Mental condition: Asuka, (like Shinji) has a fragile mental state with her entire being caught up with piloting. It is only when she realizes her mother is the resident soul of her EVA and has been watching over her that she comes back to herself