Reviews for Relapse
FirelordBKM chapter 5 . 3/30
skyf0x chapter 16 . 12/18/2023
This skit, as well as all the other previous ones in the story, serves as a great addition to the main course. The cherries on the cake. Not all cherries may be the same in flavour, some may be with pits, but they all perform their function to perfection.

Given where this chapter sits in relation to the rest of the story, it's safe to assume that something like this could have served as the perfect ending for the story. Especially if we're only looking at the scene with Shinji and Asuka. All the right emotions are right there, they all hit the mark, don't linger, and have a certain "last word" weight to them. Especially with words like that at the end of the chapter.

However, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on the reader), the story has unclosed gestalts that it has provided itself. It would be wrong to plant one idea or another during the course of the narrative and not finalise them. It's fun to ponder things like unfinished arcs, since this chapter itself starts with something like that.

And for me personally, the whole Ritsuko thing seemed a bit odd. The first thing that came to mind was the comparison to when there's a "punchline" but there was no "set-up" for it. It felt the same with the details regarding Ritsuko. Maybe it's just me who can't grasp the idea that Shinji, for whatever reason, so easily replaced Misato in his life in some way with Ritsuko. The story tried its best to show the long-running drama and discord with the one (Misato) who was supposed to fulfil the role of mother/big sister/mentor. And on the other hand, somehow, the story instantly introduces another character (Ritsuko) who apparently is now dear to Shinji in a similar way, given the hints and word choices here. And given the specifics and dynamics of the relationship between the characters, it seems out of place. Like extra touches on a painting that no one asked for.

Also Ritsuko's remark about the angels not bringing emotional trauma seemed at least a little bit strange and wrong too, but that's just a silly nitpicking already.

I loved this letter from Shinji. There was something heartfelt about it, something adult Shinji-like. The melancholy and sweet bitterness won't go away, but the vibe of finality in every word that Shinji wrote presents us with a different wrapper, making us think. The most beautiful, important and meaningful thing here is a seemingly simple phrase. And no, I don't mean the last lines. "Don't be scared" is what really touched me. When Shinji says something like that to Asuka, you can immediately and automatically feel it on several levels. It's easy to see Shinji as the scared boy and Asuka as the brave girl, many fans do. That's why it's important to emphasise that this approach isn't quite right, because Asuka was as scared as anyone else. It's just that no one has ever tried to encourage her to do better in this regards, because people expect her to be completely different. And it's so important that Shinji is the one saying words like that.

It's in those simple words that you can see both the essence of the original character dynamics and their development in the fanfics. Emotional maturation, when one isn't afraid to open up and point out the obvious by asking for something related to a painful topic, and the other is willing to accept this simple fact - that she too may be afraid of something, despite being "Asuka". It's in little things like this that the most important moments in stories for me are hidden. They say so much. And I really hope I can find more of something like that in the ending of the story, or the future works.
AlternatexReality212 chapter 16 . 11/5/2023
This might be the best exploration of Asuka and Shinji post third impact I've ever seen. I've always wanted something like more bite and trauma and spite between them yet also something healing. This was so great I fucked up my sleep cause I couldn't put it down. Something about them both feeling betrayed by the other with the other relationships yet still trying really hard and just letting the other dish it out is so good.

Asuka specifically. She showed up after seven years ready to do whatever it took. Im about to finish this story soon and I'm already sad. I'll fucking read everything else you write. Well done man. This is fantastic
Born2Walken chapter 16 . 10/7/2023
Chapter 14 Spoilers Ahead

“Relapse is so good it’ll make your dick fall off” - Born2walken

My friend, I've finally done it after months of slowly reading, analyzing and reviewing this story to the best of my abilities, I've at last finally caught up and have come to its current conclusion until the epilogue. This story as I’ve said before has moved and touched me in ways most stories can only dream of doing. A great testament to how much I currently love a fic is if it’s world is in the back of my mind when I think of Eva and Asushin in general and after reading so many great fics it’s sadly getting harder and harder for a fic to captivate me the same way I use to be when I read Genocide and Scar tissue. This story however has been in my thoughts constantly since I started it all the way back in April and considering how much harder it is to get me this invested in an Eva story as I was way back when is no small feat and a sign that this story was something special. As absolutely fucking bananas it could get and how insanely dark it often felt this story is the more sweepingly romantic then honestly any Asushin one I’ve read so far and it’s the kind of intense love story that can really make one feel truly inspired and believe you can really find happiness if you let the right people in. It’s a true honest to god love story in every sense of the word that feels like a testament to the beauty of this ship and a reminder on why we ship it in the first place. I have to say out of all the short skit chapters this one might just be my favorite as despite its very short length it gives a beautiful emotional gut punch that leaves you truly touched and relieved for how everything turned out how it did.

First off we open up with a huge reveal of Ritsuko’s current whereabouts and her current mental state. She has been mentioned a few times in passing prior but to first time readers I’m sure this can come off as a really cool surprise. What we see of Rits is essentially a more somber version of her fate in the end of Scar Tissue as she’s locked in a cell but this time with no Maya or really anybody to comfort her. Yet what’s really powerful and bittersweet to see is how she has been able to have such a beautiful resolve all these years with no one but maybe Shinji to bond with. And speaking of it's a really interesting reveal that Shinji has shockingly become more close to Ritsuko then he has been with Misato. This is a very interesting idea that could only work with specific events like you laid out in this story but here it actually makes sense as unlike Misato, Ritsuko actually understands Asuka and knows more than anyone that she’s really not to blame for the tragedies that occurs because in reality the fault is entirely that of Nerv and the trauma they inflicted on the two pilots. I also really love how she’s been helping the two she wronged the most in the shadows as a strange but valid guardian angel. The fact that Shinji was not only able to forgive her but also actually hug her and care for her when he was still at his most lost speaks true volumes on the young man’s character.

This whole fic feels as if it’s a testament and a love letter to Shinji’s under-appreciated resolve and character, something this skit illustrates in spades. Ritsuko is honestly someone I really hope you explore further in the epilogue and perhaps maybe even give a chance to live the rest of her days in house arrest. Also again I love the commentary on people who clearly didn’t get the message of EOE. As for the main part of this skit, it’s an absolute Doozy that hit me way harder than I ever expected it would. Getting an in depth look at the letter that really inspired Asuka to make an extra effort in forgiving her parents is something I feel was necessary to see and fits perfectly for this little short. The letter starts pretty humorous as it’s cute how Shinji tries not to curse but it slowly gets more sadly beautiful and gut punching as it goes on. The line that said he only feels like himself when he thinks of Asuka hits like a ton bricks as it illustrates how he’s essentially only lasted as long as he did because of Asuka’s memory and the same is certainly true for her as well. It’s really heartbreakingly beautiful to see how even at his lowest and when he should be his most bitter and hateful he begs her to live as happy of a life as possible for her sake. Shinji is understandably in the option that he will very likely die soon and this letter feels as if it's a last goodbye in which he parts wisdom upon the one he cares for the most. The fact he’s so at peace with the idea she’s doing better despite the truth being the opposite and simply hoping that one day she may visit his grave tears me apart as looking back we know just how much of a Hail Mary it was that everything worked out the way it did.

The plea for her not to be scared and to accept her parents while she still has them is all the more powerful coming from Shinji who knows more than anyone the hardships in not having them. It really says something that despite all his supposed bitterness and hate he states towards them and how they have literally been torturing him mentally for years he still deep down misses his own parents and wishes he could see them again proving that without a doubt that he has the biggest heart in this story. Again this letter hit me like a truck and it’s Shinji as a character at his best, the literal definition of selflessness. This entire story has felt like a huge cathartic sign of relief for these two and their future together and having it all cap off with the two for the first time in the entire story saying I love you to each other was wonderful. And so there you have I’ve finally reached the current end and it really was an amazing journey through what feels like your very soul. On a personal note I’m happy I decided to read Relapse last outta of the big three of your fics. After getting to know you over the past year in a half I’ve been able to understand you and understand why this fic is you’re most personally beloved out of all your work. If Scar Tissue was you pouring out your soul as a young 20 year old this is an older and more mature you pouring even more of your soul into a story. As I’m currently writing this review I’m proud to say that you have succeeded in being sober for over an entire year and while you were not nearly as bad as Shinji’s case you are definitely in a happier and healthier place and I like to think that this story is very much a journey for you as it is for Shinji and Asuka. The fact your wife and loved ones have helped you in times of need and supported you in your brave decision to live without alcohol is very much proof that this is not only a Asushin story but also in some ways ironically your story dramatized for full effect and incorporated into something you love dearly which is the bond that these two characters have with one another. Ian Fleming the creator of James Bond once said that everything I write has a hint of truth to it and I feel that is very much the case for your stories. Often big criticisms fanfics tend to get are the fact that often the author will needlessly self-insert themselves into the story to disappointing results. You however are successful at towing that fine line and making it work as your Shinji isn’t you but has your soul and he faces many of the struggles you know all too well about.

This fic is a good of example of a fic drawing from the authors real life experiences as you can read. I can certainly understand why this is your wife’s favorite fic as it’s got part of her soul placed into it too. For this and more this I feel that this fic is one of the greatest examples of why Asushin is to me personally the most powerful and beautifully fulfilling ship in all of anime and really any media I know of. It’s in many ways the ultimate example of love conquering the greatest of our demons and the great hope that love can save even the most broken of souls. Thank you again for opening your heart and sharing your story in such a beautiful and powerful way for us to enjoy. Ever sense reading Scar Tissue I had always thought it be awesome to be your friend and now amazingly we talk online every other day and always make each other laugh and hype each other up. This and more makes me feel privileged to gotten to know and befriend what is perhaps my favorite fanfic author and one of my favorite authors period. Congratulations on a year and a half of somberly brother I love you crazy bastard and I can’t wait for the epilogue. Just make sure it has none of that poly shit its either Asushin or fuck your mother!
Born2Walken chapter 15 . 10/5/2023
Chapter 13b (Spoiler Alert)

“When I fall in love It will be forever or I’ll never fall in love” - Nat King Cole

Here we are brother, at the end of the road where we partake in the sweetest victory lap yet as our happy new couple has finally succeeded in becoming fully comfortable around each other as every little secret and confession has been revealed and through it all the two's bond has only continued to grow. This is as happy as you can see Asuka and Shinji together in fanfics but unlike other stories the climb to get here was so insanely steep and torturous that it’s on a whole new level of cathartic as far as payoff is concerned. We have walked into the depths of hell with these two and together we have climbed out with them into the true heaven that these two so desperately deserve and longed for and finally after 7 nightmarish years the two are finally being rewarded for the unimaginable hell they endured during their time as pilots.

To the reader it feels as if both them and us have gone 15 rounds and like Rocky we were able to stay standing when that last bell finally rings, a feeling that all of your Eva stories excel at providing but this one maybe more than any other you have done might just be the most fulfilling example yet. However this half of the final chapter doesn’t start with our main characters but rather their childhood friends. Your final pre epilogue scene with Hikari and Toji is a great one and very fitting for this story. They aren’t as close as Shinji and Asuka yet because they can’t be as they simply need more time. However the steps they take here make them feel as if they are crossing mountains in just a simple afternoon and you really get a sense that like our main couple these two will find their true happiness with each other sooner than later. Little Rei really shines here just like with Dmitri’s brother in Scar Tissue, you have a surprising ability to write very cute characters when the story calls for it and Rei might be the cutest Eva fic toddler I’ve seen since Aki in 2nd try. The fact she is essentially pulling everyone closer together mentally and literally physically with her beautifully innocent nature is really heartwarming and it maybe even feels as if her name sake is working from beyond the grave to bring all the people she cared the most for together. Also calling Kensuke uncle creepo was amazing. Back in Germany I found the dinner scene to be a delight as it serves as a great showcase for Asuka and how far she’s come as a person. The Asuka we see here is the polar opposite of the one that’s been living in her father’s mansion all these years and we come to realize even when dealing with Shinji at his worst she was in a much better place if just because she was by his side.

It’s pretty wild and very sweet that we see how Asuka is able to give her dad a second hug and admit that over the recent years he’s actually been a good father to her which even a month ago she probably would have never admitted. Love how she’s partially influenced by Shinji to reach out more to him and her step mother showing the two only bring the best outta each other and her telling Kyoko’s literal ghosts to give her old man a break is a true sight to see. Speaking of Kyoko, it's an interesting thought on if she is actually a ghost or a figure of all their imagination like Shinji and his mother; it’s a cool decision for the reader to decide for themselves that adds to the story nicely. Also really love the idea that if Shinji were to see Gendo again he would punch him but would hug him afterwards as after everything he’s been through by losing Asuka for 7 years he can sadly understand his father little better showing how he too is really starting to learn to forgive as well as Asuka has. Also as seemingly over cute as it seems I adored the fact the two sing Fly Me To The Mother Fucking Moon to each other. You would think you see this lot more in fics and I’m sure it happened in a lot of older ones but honestly can’t think of one where either sings it to each other. It honestly made me smile as again I’m a sucker for classic love songs in general but it’s also in theme with the two lovebirds as music is a very vital part of their relationship as it is in all of your work. The image of Asuka twirling and dropping clothes into bags while singing is her being so free and alive and unlike the glorious dance scene from chapter 5 Asuka has now achieved what she set out to do and is living in pure bliss. Seeing Shinji feel like the luckiest man on earth as he holds Asuka’s diploma which was achieved in order to help heal him gives you a glorious sense of comfort, you really can adore just how cute the two are here.

It’s really fitting that Shinji’s final dream sequences is a beautiful one that fully puts the impact of Asuka in his life into perspective as we see a trip down memory lane with them as kids in Misato’s apartment, Shinji alone and fully lost in his coffin/home and lastly that same home becoming a place of love and comfort with him coming home to his girlfriend playing loud rock music and giving him an energetic greetings. It all comes to life as if you were watching unfold in movie and I love it. I really liked how you brought up again the often overused and lame take that the two are actually toxic for each other now that they are an established couple. I feel that people who come to this conclusion often lack imagination as just because their relationship isn’t something that is very common doesn't make the two being together not valid as it’s about a special specific pair of people who went through unimaginable childhoods and experiences where against all odds and normal psychological logic the two make themselves better in every way imaginable. Their relationship isn’t the norm nor should it be but that’s exactly why it’s so impactful and more interesting than most pairings. The therapist said it perfectly when he said normally you both would be toxic together but considering your strange and unimaginable past and experiences particularly during the 3rd impact you two are a very special exception to the rule as he concludes that both are complementary to each other in every way.

It’s what true fans of this pairing understand fully but something that many people sadly still can get a grasp on despite it being a major focus in EOE of all things. It’s also so sweet to see how effortlessly the two can tease and make each other smile. The fact that the beginning of this fic only took place a-little over a month ago from this point is nothing short of amazing and a true miracle, a real labor of love on both their parts. Also the line of Shinji complementing the view, I love it! When Shinji comes to the conclusion that for the first time in his life that he is actually looking forward to the future and what it has in store, it feels like the young man was blind and now for the first time can finally see and that revelation coming from this fic especially, really feels special. Out of all the Eva fics I’ve read Shinji in this story was the most lost and broken then I’ve ever seen him be and as I said earlier has also suffered probably more than any version I’ve read of him and therefore there was more longing for him to find the light in the darkness then any fic I can remember reading in recent memory and as you always do you made all the hell worth it with a glorious ending. What’s even more beautiful as Peter reminds us is that constantly throughout the hellish 7 years post 3rd impact he has still found a way to become an even better and selfless person. Feeding the homeless, denying money and putting it to build the city back up and his constant good deeds for people including a surprising reveal that he helped hook Kensuke up show he’s always been the beautiful person we can now see as clear as day. The whole Peter and Shinji heart to heart is a lot of fun while also telling us that not only has he earned Mr. Langley’s approval but has also gained a father-like figure in how Misato became his surrogate mother.

It’s a bond you never imagined taking place but in the world of Relapse even those who have done the unthinkable can earn redemption if they seek to truly fix themselves for the ones they love. Also the teasing Peter inflicts is wonderful and more uncomfortable than any threat he could make on his now son in law. The final present and letter scene reminded me that there are many gifts and letters we still haven’t seen that they have given each other. It’s sad to not get to experience them with our happy couple but at the same time it’s kind of cool how they are kept private for the two's eyes only which allows you to interpret them as you wish. The steak knives are a great gift and the beginning of Asuka’s letter is hilarious while being very Asuka. I know you were debating possibly having Mortiz show up for Shinji to really test his progress and self-control but honestly I’m happy you decided to not do it as honestly I think it wouldn’t flow well with this positive victory lap tone this final chapter has. The sack of shit served his purpose and focusing on Asuka’s parents is way more interesting and fulfilling anyways. Besides after the Kensuke scene from the last chapter it honestly feels that it would very much have been a very been there, done that type of scene. At last we come to the final official scene of the story not counting the short skit next and the epilogue you plan to make and honestly it really delivers on all fronts. It’s a really simple yet incredibly beautiful and cathartic payoff to the last unresolved hurdle the two loves have yet to conquer and that’s learning to forgive Misato.

Not sure if this was intentional but Misato being the last person they both have to make peace with is strangely very fitting she was the one that brought them together under one roof all those years ago after all and in making peace with her it almost feels as if the two are finally fully letting go of the shackles of the past and in doing so they are now fully ready to start there new life together. As for the scene in question it was my favorite part in maybe the entire chapter and a glorious payoff from the horrors of the first few chapters. First off I really enjoyed the fact it’s all from Misato’s POV and we feel her deep yet understandable nervousness as she knows this probably is her last chance she'll get to be in her former wards lives. It's very sweet to see how despite all her horrible mistakes you remind us she always had the best intentions. Once again Rei serves as the spiritual glue that brings everyone together, a generation born after Eva and a representation of a brighter future ahead. I love how cute she is with Asuka and we see the trip to Germany did both her and Shinji’s wonders in clearing their heads so they could be in a better head space to accept both Misato and Kaji into their lives. Asuka hugging both of them really speaks volumes and you can really feel a sense that while the wounds will take a long time to heal, the two women are going to absolutely make a conscious effort to rekindle their relationship for both Shinji and themselves. Shinji in turn shaking Kaji’s hand and apologizing for their last encounter is another wonderful moment but it’s nothing to Shinji holding up little Rei and showing to her mother that he for the first time in his difficult life is truly happy.

For Misato she probably has never experienced her Shinji even remotely close to this level of peace and content and as she with tears in her eyes hugs him we are essentially getting closure to the very beginning of all of Eva in Shinji’s and Misato’s odd but special bond. For Misato this is a dream come true and an unimaginable miracle as for the first time ever Shinji the real Shinji has come home. This was one unbelievably amazing ride of a story that I’m so happy I saved for last. I’m aware that you plan on an epilogue and I can hardly wait to see more beautiful moments from this world and this version of these beloved characters, but even if that wasn’t going to happen and this was all we got the final skit included for ending I be ok with it as this really ends all the major plot threads very nicely. All that’s really left to see is to know about all the wonderful memories the two will make in this new life of theirs. Out of all your stories I really think this is my favorite and I really mean it when I say it’s a story that will stay with me for the rest of my life. While I still have one more short skit left to cover I can easily say that this ending right here is my favorite one you have written yet and the fact we are getting even more in the future feels like a real treat!
Born2Walken chapter 14 . 10/2/2023
Chapter 13a (Spoiler Alert)

"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them." - Bruce Lee

Db you devilish bastard just when I thought you couldn’t crush my heart anymore with this story you always find new and unique ways to do so though now they have a positive spin to them considering how well our couple is doing. First off I like how you stop the clock and allow us to see in real time the two's first full day in Germany and show us the two’s honest reaction to it now that they have settled into their surroundings, particularly Shinji. Speaking of it’s fitting that you start this chapter right off the gate with Peter and Shinji's first ever single conversation between just the two. It’s really nice to see that you put a lot of color into Asuka’s father and he’s not just some snobby rich jerk off that most fics paint him out to be. The conversation is interesting as Peter both tries to compliment, make comfortable, and play the intimidating dad all in one conversation. Peter is definitely teasing him but it’s in a playful sort of way that feels like he’s trying to just get to know him.

It seems Asuka may have gotten some of her mood swings from her old man or maybe he’s playing it up as it's hard to tell which is a nice detail. What’s really cool is just how well Shinji handles himself. He's come such a long way in composing himself around others and becoming the charming young man his past tried so desperately to avoid him becoming. Shinji barfing after was a sad but fitting reminder that Shinji is very much out of his element bringing up a neat theme that most Asushin fics never considered covering in that the difference in the environments both pilots grew up in. There’s a big theme in this story that home is where in the heart is hence where you are loved. Dave Chappelle once said that some of the most unhappy people he’s ever met happen to have a ton of money and when covid hit these people were forced to contend with their life choices which many were not happy with. Not that money makes you miserable rather it doesn’t feed the soul like being with someone who loves you unconditionally. Sadly Shinji who still is learning to love himself feels so out of place in such an overwhelming luxurious home and feels as if he’s tainting the Langley name. Yet I love how Asuka adores him because he is the exact opposite of her upbringing hence the opposite of someone like Mortiz. You also almost get a feeling he feels Kyoko's ghost in the house though it’s probably not the case. Again I love how Asuka says they can leave her home and go back to Japan whenever making his wellbeing a priority. Also it’s really cute to see Shinji act like his old self and to Asuka it’s actually a relief to see when she once was infuriated by it way back when.

The scene with Kaji and Misato shows the former will definitely be the more civil and level headed of the two when dealing with the two former pilots moving forward. It makes sense as he was always less of an emotional mess than his wife and it’s nice to see that despite your hate for the man you still somehow always do him justice hehe. I really enjoyed the flashback of Peter trying to connect with Asuka for maybe the first time ever before she goes off to Thailand to heal at her lowest point. You really get a sense that this is him desperately trying to right an impossible wrong that he can never amend yet can maybe make it all easier for his daughter. The following scene flows perfectly with maybe the first legit heartwarming moment the father and daughter have had probably ever or definitely since Kyoko had died. Love how you show how finding happiness can make one forgive others easier as Asuka has now started forgiving herself hence can start to forgive others. The revelation she only just started trying to look pretty again for her baka is really sweet yet also shows how much her priorities have changed over the years from the series and how healing Shinji and being with him has become her new become the best pilot and be universally beloved goal, a incredibly cathartic payoff to her character arc!

It’s also lovely to see that while he may be giving his daughter up to Shinji and she will become a part of his life in many other more fulfilling ways, they will be closer than ever and he will finally become a valuable part of Asuka’s life. The Limo ride immediately after is pure waff and I loved it! Asuka being adorably Asuka about her dad while holding onto Shinji’s arm the way she used to do for Kaji is a sight to behold and Fritz and Shinji’s teasing of her is absolutely amazing. Fritz really is the MPV of the older adult characters in this story and I can only hope he and Shinji will continue to tease their favorite redhead till the end of time. Coming to the university is both sweet and bittersweet as Shinji is understandably shocked that the entire school is thrilled to see them together at last. A really sweet detail that both foreshadows a big reveal coming up but also a stand in for us the readers feeling overjoyed that the two have finally found happiness with each other. It’s bittersweet in how unless the other half of the chapter shows otherwise that Asuka still really has no real friends at home that are actively trying to support him every step of the way like Shinji does. Essentially she’s pretty much exactly where she was before she left to japan in the series prior which is a sadly fitting reveal that makes it all the more clear why she is not trying at all to live with Shinji in Germany. One line in particular that hit me like a ton of bricks is Asuka saying how Shinji was the first person who ever told her they enjoyed talking too her, a fact that really paints the tragedy of Asuka so well. Despite her looks, intelligence and charm she has always been a friendless outcast and a brilliant example of don’t judge a book by its cover. The whole university scene reminded me about another factor of why I adore this ship so much in that these two are very much an adorably awkward couple of misfits that can only really become whole when with each other and how the most beautiful bonds sometimes come from the most unlikely people.

The real meat of this first half of the chapter really is the fated therapist scene, you had been casually building up this fateful meeting for a while with Asuka mentioning to Shinji that she wanted them to meet many times and I’m happy to say the scene delivers way more than I originally suspected. First off the tension of Shinji's hate of therapists is done well and revealing that Asuka’s therapist is actually former scientist working under Seele is a neat twist. The fact he was the man who tried to treat Kyoko and left Seele because of his virtues makes him the perfect person to give Asuka closure on her mother as he more than anyone on the planet understands what actually happened to Kyoko and why it happened. A normal psychiatrist could never dream of being able to understand the foreign concept of losing one’s actual soul to a god like machine, furthermore he may be the only therapist that can truly understand a Eva pilot hence he's able to help one because he knows exactly what they went through. It’s a great reveal that shows why this man was able to achieve what countless others failed to do with Shinji. But what happens next is what really hits like a truck and that is the tape Asuka has her therapist play for Shinji hence the real reason she brought him to the university in the first place. It’s a true punch in the gut seeing Asuka’s younger self so destroyed over her horrible mistake.

What’s even better is that she’s talking to Kensuke and he of all people is calling her completely on the fact that everything is far from ok and no matter how terrible she feels about it she has to learn that there will be horrible consequences for what happened. You can just see how she is already completely broken from the 3rd impact and is now entering a whole new level of mental torment, guilt. Yet it’s so beautiful to see even as far back as right after the incident Asuka swore to fix the wrong she made and save Shinji. It is this reason that rather than being disgusting like Asuka thought he would Shinji rather feels truly touched as it all sets in that all the hell she went through including the tortures health classes that would make her sick to her stomach were all for him and because she cared about him more than anything, the complete opposite of what he originally thought. It also makes some sense how terrified she was that Misato would take revenge for what she did to her surrogate son and the fact she stopped the first phone call she made to him accidentally is truly tragic as it perhaps kept them from fixing what happened right there and then. Asuka refusing to show herself or even speak directly to Shinji till she figures out exactly how she can fully save him, while not at all a good idea, is still beautifully Asuka and in her own strange way the ultimate sign of devotion from her to someone. This scene also does a good job of trying to make the reader see Kensuke in a more positive light as he really had Shinji’s best interests here and the tape does more to help heal their relationship than any apology from him would do. This sadly isn’t enough to make me like him in this story as he’s still a major creep even now but the Kensuke we see on that tape feels like the Kensuke from the show, someone who wouldn’t let a girl get in the way of his friendship with someone who needs it as much as Shinji.

If the scene couldn’t get any better Shinji is able to read her like a book and proceeds to immediately combat her fears in saying despite how she believes he’ll wake up and fully understand all the terrible things she’s done and leave her he ensures her that he will never do such a thing and that the promise he made on the balcony was a a declaration he will never weaver on. The way he kisses her and laughs and continues to charm the ever living shit out of Asuka is a sight to behold. When I look back and think of just how much hell these two endured it really breaks my heart hence why I’m so grateful these last couple of chapters have been beautiful victory laps for these two beautiful souls. Lastly the therapist quote at the end is so brilliant in that it essentially defines this story in one short paragraph. He’s right on the money with the fact that without each other the two would’ve probably never taken the path to get healthy showing how beautifully selfless people can be when we love someone enough. Can’t wait to see how you finish up this final chapter, whatever happens I know I won’t be disappointed!
Wing Zero Alchemist chapter 16 . 10/2/2023
This was ridiculously sweet, but also feels. I love how you portray Ritsuko, always have, but this one in particular is great.

Shinji's letter went hard. Ow. Was a very stupid decision to read this first thing in the morning. Now I'm gonna be all in my head all day. But that sweet little ending made it worth it.

Thanks, man.
Guest chapter 16 . 9/28/2023
Hello Born2Walken, thank you. Nice to meet you. I was very surprised: words to Mrs. DB.
...really a nice idea ;)

Am I Mrs. Deathbringer? Really? ...mmh, what does my love call me? ;)

Oh yes, I love my DB. Everything from A to Z. He is my summer day.

I fly with his hugs, kisses, words, stories, love and humor. I'm a crazy woman - he's a crazy man: that's perfect :)
With him Im complete, just happy and grateful. Without him it's like leaving a sailing ship in the middle of the sea without wind for months...

Yes, he is a fantastic author and a unique, wonderful, great man. He also inspires me with everything he writes, says and does. And if I can also inspire and support him, I will be very happy.

Goodbye and all the best,
Mrs. Deathbringer
(or a magical creature, the sun, a bumblebee, a lizard or a completely normal woman who wants to eat delicious food all the time? ;) Maybe just a guest who would like to write a few words?
Perhaps a warm woman who wants to give meaning to every day, sows seeds and flowers in nature, live with everything living – especially when her husband is near her and she feels his hand in hers?).
Born2Walken chapter 1 . 9/22/2023
To the wife of the man who wrote the greatest Naruto Fanfic ever

Now we come to the section of the review where I turn my attention to not Deathbringer but the real head of your household, the one and only Mrs. Deathbringer! Mrs. Db I just have to say it's a true honor to bestow upon you this cringe ass review! I’m not sure how much you pay attention to your husband's online work and activity but as wild as it might seem your man is actually kind of a rock star in our demented little community of Evangelion fans who enjoy the aspect of an old anime called Asushin shipping. He probably doesn’t say so to you but he actually wrote the 3rd most favorable Asushin fanfic ever on and has written multiple fics that have received between 200 to over 600 reviews.

Now obviously you're very own Latin JRR Tolkien isn’t actually financially compensated for achieving such feats so as a married man who has hobbies and interests that makes his wife roll her eyes and contemplate her life's decisions myself it truly touches my heart and puts a big smile on my face when I heard that it was actually you who was mostly responsible for writing the big love scene in what is without a doubt your husbands most treasured and most personal work yet. I’m sure you already know this but your husband has a great many fans some so touched by his stories that they actually drew some fantastic artwork for said stories and of course your husband being the grateful jungle dwelling Latin Hunter S Thompson he is was unable to say no to requests made by such dedicated fans to include a glorious love scene into his magnum opus. Now this unfortunately puts him at a dilemma as he absolutely hates writing smut and was constantly telling me that he was dreading doing so for this story, oh the dreaded agony.

Anyways long story short during his time of great need and creative sorrow you came down from Valhalla and heroically rode in as his knight in shining armor and said I’m taking it from here babe go smoke a joint and punch the bag too Eminem. You then proceeded to write what has to be my favorite love scene I’ve read in recent memory. Not only is it a great little scene of true passion and cathartic emotional payoff between a couple of heartbreakingly emotionally broken but beautiful individuals, it also feels very much in line with a story that probably wasn’t even going to originally have a love scene. You accomplished this by showing both restraint and deep beautiful and honest emotions. You see I’m not sure if you are all familiar with the curse that men like me and your dear husband have forsaken upon ourselves that is the Eva fanfic community but funny enough sex scenes in fanfics often go one of two ways, one the author wants to keep it PG and fades to black or thinks that having characters in fiction partake in sex in their stories is cringe and beneath them or on the other side of the spectrum you got guys who pardon my French write sexual...things...with one hand on the keyboard and the other on their Johnson and well I’m sure you can imagine the results for those stories. Not to try to bash either approach but sadly both rarely reach a happy medium of a beautiful love scene that’s passionate but not overly gratuitous aka a happy medium.

And this is where you come in like Gandalf riding down to the rescue at Helms Deep as you truly have found a glorious happy medium where we see not just some vivid sexual act but a truly cathartic and heartwarming moment of passion between two characters which I’m not sure if you’ve read your husband’s work but are in desperate need to get thrown I freaking bone in life and experience some actual fucking physical happiness. As a weird ship obsessed fic reader who quotes Tropic Thunder and Joey Diaz blow stories with your husband online I can tell you as completely wild, crazy and violent as your husband’s stories can be, they never fail to touch my and many others soul in ways I can't really explain and this story in particular has been emotionally affecting me personally for about the entire summer. Now as concerned as you probably are for the fact your husband actually talks to a very strange person as myself you should know that I have been looking forward to this section of the story since I started this wild and beautiful tale and I’m happy to say it exceeded my expectations and then some. I’m very happy you were able to convince South American George RR Martin to let you write such an important scene. First off I adore how the role play is both romantic and really sweet but also appropriately awkward and a little nerve wracking for both parties involved. It’s not at all some perfect unrealistic sex scene but a scene of two broken people who have just found true happiness exploring and becoming one with each other.

Seeing Shinji being worried and careful not to hurt his girlfriend while Asuka lets him know she feels completely safe around him is another wonderful way for this story to have the two further open up and become completely comfortable around each other. Despite it not technically being either of their first times it really feels like it’s the case with how slow and intimate the whole ordeal feels and it’s all the more sweepingly romantic for it. It really is a special scene that shows that all the unimaginable hell the two went through was not in vain and that these two former lost souls can finally know what true happiness and love really is. Lastly, at the very end where they hold each other while singing Joe Cocker's “You are so beautiful to me” until they fall asleep brought light into my very soul. I adore classic love songs and that song in particular has a special place in my heart as it was the song my wife danced with her father to at our wedding. But anyways if me talking this much about a sex scene involving two fictional characters makes you worry for my sanity then your thoughts are absolutely valid but it’s also worth noting that the more I talk about this scene the more uncomfortable and embarrassed your husband will be become so the way I see it it's a win win! In all seriousness though I think having someone with a feminine touch who is not necessarily into the fan fics to write a very heart warming and realistic love scene really paid off and allowed said scene to contribute to the story much more than your hubby initially thought it would prior to your involvement of course.

So what I’m saying is... Let’s keep this money train going! Your husband writes the long stories, you add the glorious sex scenes against his wishes, I handle marking and we can make some real mother fucking money here! I'll throw all my savings into this endeavor because as god as my witness I will fulfill my dream of owning a private jet so I can lecture people on climate change as I fly on it five days a week. We can even add the cringe as fuck Malcolm X inspired tag line I made for your husband "Asushin by any means necessary!" to the jet! Anyways before you put a restraining order between me and your husband I just wanted to thank you for supporting our favorite fanfic author as he continues making stories that give us so much joy and help us get through the craziness of life with how inspiring they are. They really do brighten mine and countless others' lives and he often doesn't give himself the credit he deserves. But anyways this has been Born2Walken Goodnight and Fuck You San Diego hopefully we will be blessed with your writing talents in the near future!

PS: If you want to take part in my brilliant money scheme contact me at rent is too damn don't worry Db Senpai doesn't have to know he'll thank us later when you're able to buy an Italian themed villa on Mars next door from Elon Musk. Make space great again!
Born2Walken chapter 13 . 9/22/2023
Chapter 12 b Spoilers

“Because of you, I am who I am. You are everything I’ve ever wanted, hoped for, and dreamed of.”

A quote I found which I feel really emphasizes the themes of this story and chapter specifically. Db you more than deliver on the beautiful soul healing waff that this story has been desperately leading up to and it all just keeps getting better and better. The payoffs this chapter alone delivers are some of the most well-earned, deserved, and cathartic I’ve seen in any story of fiction. It really feels like we were lost in a dark tunnel and we finally found the light at the end! First off of course we do have to address the beginning here that sadly is one of my least favorite parts of the story and that is Kensuke. I understand he was never a real threat to Shinji and Asuka’s relationship and technically helped if in a creepy way but by god does it rub me off the wrong way here mostly because of the fact that he still feels jealousy towards Shinji when he’s so close to getting literally married. Yes he knows it’s wrong and he’s not proud of it but at this point I just felt that element to him should have disappeared completely with the closure he got from Asuka earlier and he should just be focused on making it up to his friend.

If he wasn’t just about to get hitched I’d probably be a lot more forgiving about it. It’s honestly again a minor personal grip I have because I’m probably way too ship centered but I figured you want to hear my honest thoughts on the matter. Still the opening scene is very well done and it highlights just how much amazing progress Shinji's made in such an unbelievable short time especially considering just how furious he is at his former friend. The fact that Shinji is actually able to say one day he will be able to look past their beef and he just has to wait till he essentially heals more is incredibly mature and shows Shinji is ready to start forgiving the world that wronged him. In Ken’s defense the near hand crush was definitely over the top and not necessary but I won’t deny it’s not satisfying and also Shinji maybe needed to do it to banish his stupid lingering thoughts on Asuka. Kinda disappointed we don’t get a valid excuse for Asuka's terrible idea but she’s far from perfect so I can let it go. The scene that follows plays with our expectations initially making us worry with Shinji being a little too aggressive and it quickly turns into a cathartic display of passion as the scene works as another test of the two’s control of how their inner aggressions are gonna lead to something beautiful for once very soon. The Tool tickets were a great call back too earlier in the story and I love how Shinji’s kindness and acceptance of Asuka is now keeping her mother’s visions away.

The use of the most famous song from the King himself is a great choice of a song. I adore the fact the two hum and sing classic love songs as I myself grew up adoring the romantic ballads of old so it hits me specifically hard in the feels. The training scene provides some fun humor while also illustrating how Asuka was serious when she says she wants to share her life and stay by Shinji’s side for the rest of their lives in every way possible. It’s really cute to see the two try to get back in shape together and is a great callback to episode 9 as like that episode displayed, they are at their best when they are a team unit. Also love how Asuka is able to get Shinji to switch immediately from grumpy and sarcastic smart ass to the innocent stuttering Shinji of old while in turn Shinji handles Asuka angry moods with ease and always can cheer her up despite her protest. Also a lot of cool foreshadowing to Shinji finally meeting Asuka’s dad as we learn the man has actually been an admirer of his for a while. I also really enjoyed how you made it clear on what Shinji really values in a partner as coming to the realization that despite how much he failed her Asuka was able to forgive her father despite the obvious difficult it took makes him even more attracted to her and it’s wonderful to know as we know is also the same with Asuka’s feelings for him in turn. Another really neat payoff is seeing the innocent child and the shadow in his mind actually acting in his best interest and helping him when prior they held him back, they are both true parts of who he is and it’s really cool to see them be used the way they should be in making him a better man.

The first scene with Peter was done quite well and we get a sense right away that this is a man who despite what the series might leave you to believe does truly love his daughter and had clearly been desperately trying to fix his terrible mistakes from the past this whole time. My favorite part of the scene was him stating that Kyoko would’ve loved Shinji; a great contrast to Shinji’s statement about what Yui’s thought would have been on Asuka. Misato and Shinji's forthcoming meeting is both a sweet but mostly a sobering sad affair and honestly it had to be when taking Misato's prior failures to account. Misato unfortunately handles herself very similarly to when she and Asuka meet and doesn’t hold back her feelings which is a double edge sword as while Shinji does appreciate honesty she diffidently is way to direct in her word to Shinji showing she sadly hasn’t got a clue how to communicate with him anymore. It’s really disheartening to see just how bad she fucked up with Shinji as the drunken fit she had at him way back is despicable. It sadly does make sense she did everything to make Shinji forget about Asuka after what happened though and despite me hoping she would've been a better guardian in Shinji’s most desperate time of need, what actually happens is sadly a very likely possibility. Still it’s really sweet to see little Rei give the two a chance in fixing their broken relationship and Shinji telling her to apologize to Kaji for him speaks volumes. In the immediate scene after, Misato and Rei visiting Shinji and Asuka is very similar in tone and it feels very appropriate. It’s wonderful to know even when he was at his worst Shinji was able to form a beautiful bond with little Rei and I’m honestly hoping to see a little more interaction between the little gremlin and her uncle Shinji in the future.

The atmosphere however is even more tense then when Shinji met with Misato by himself and you get a real sense it’s gonna take possibly years for Misato to make it up to her two former wards and it might've been even impossible to do so if Rei wasn’t in the equation. Really this adds to what is the final challenge for our couple in this story, learning to forgive those other than each other despite how much they failed them and to learn how to function normally in society so that they may live a beautiful simple life. After a time skip of two weeks of healing and loving each other we end the chapter with the first stages of the final arc of the story which is their fated trip to Germany where Shinji can be introduced to Asuka’s family and friends all while making a grand tour of Asuka’s past before their new life fully living together officially begins. Shinji’s panic attack at the airport while very sad to witness is ironically one of the chapters most heartwarming moments as we see Asuka is able to switch between normal Asuka to loving care taker on a dime when Shinji needs her to and the whole scene servers as essentially a giant hug of relief for our worries for Shinji wellbeing. It’s there to remind us that yes the road will be challenging and certain traumas can never simply disappear but despite this Shinji will never be alone again as he has the most beautiful bond imaginable to lean on when things get difficult and the same can be said about Asuka as well.

Asuka is so fucking wonderful and sweet as she's comforting Shinji and her quote of saying screw whoever is looking or judging as they have no idea what you went through and how strong you are hits me on a primal level and is a life lesson that I sometimes need to tell myself in life as well as I’m sure it is the same with you. Again your heart just can’t help but go out for Shinji here and you just want to comfort and tell him it will be all ok just like Asuka does. Also love how Asuka combats Shinji’s sad but enduring embarrassment by saying they can always leave whenever they want aka he’ll never be forced to do something against his will again. The whole airport and airplane scene is all great stuff and I adore it. The first meeting with Shinji and Peter is done very well. First off I really love the decision to make it be told from Peter’s perspective as we see what our happy couple looks from a far thru his eyes and we see just how happy Asuka really is now. Really happy there’s no unnecessary drama and it’s played as a really nice little slice of life as the purpose of this latter half of the story is to show the two’s progress not create more drama. I can’t tell you how much I fucking love how Peter considers Shinji his son in law already. It’s really awesome to see how much he actually appreciates Shinji for everything he’s done for his daughter rather than being protective of her like many love stories often do with parent characters.

It will be interesting if we see glimpses of the flawed man he was in the past later on but right now his understanding and happiness for his daughter is another big sigh of relief. It's also really cool that Asuka and Shinji are also unknowingly healing him too, like everyone important in their lives. Lastly I just have to say Shinji finding the food containers from his restaurant in Asuka’s closet made my heart freaking melt you bastard. Little details like this really illustrate well how the two were able to never fully lose hope in seeing each other again this whole time. Db again I have to say you really were a man of your word here with delivering an incredibly satisfying payoff from the unimaginable hardships the two have persevered through. Not gonna lie it’s going to be hard to top the epic highs of this chapter but I think you may just find a way to do so. Till next time brother!
Born2Walken chapter 12 . 9/8/2023
Chapter 12 part 1 Spoilers

“You call it madness, but I call it love.” – Don Byas

A quote that I think defines Asushin, especially your interpretation of Asushin to a tee and how sometimes the most beautiful bonds are the ones many don’t understand. Well brother it’s been a long way coming but feels so satisfying to finally arrive here at the brighter section of the story where there's no great threat or final battle to partake in, only the simple task of your two love birds teaching each other how to be fully happy. To say I was looking forward to this section of the story was an understatement not to say that it was worth skipping ahead too, in fact quite the opposite as the highs we see here hit 10x harder because everything the two and in a way us the reader has endured till this point. The fact that we’re just getting into this section and already I have a giant dumb grin on my face while reading tells you everything you need to know on how you knocked it out of the park with the build up to this moment and I’m beyond excited to finally read it. It’s also very noticeable that you took a different approach with this chapter in splitting into 2 parts and it’s an interesting choice.

Honestly I don’t think it really makes a huge difference for most readers but I will say it definitely makes the chapters less overwhelming to read through and does allow for some breathing room so I like it and understand why you decided to try it out. We start off the chapter with Kensuke in a moment that effectively sets up the mid chapter cliff hanger. I am sorry to say but I still haven’t really warmed up to Kensuke in that fic which may actually be the idea with the rebuild commentary. He’s written well here and truthfully he didn’t do something as shitty as what Toji did to Hikari but weirdly to me Toji is still so much more likable here. Probably cause Toji truly is very much endearing here and doesn’t doubt for a second he fucked up where Kensuke knows he’s in the wrong but still just comes off as kind of a creep with Asuka and keeping Shinji completely in the dark about Asuka probably wasn’t the best idea. He does, I can imagine, serve as a good test for Shinji to learn to forgive and let his hate go.

We next get a wild reveal that Shinji technically had somewhat of a conversation on the phone with Asuka right after the Mari mess except Shinji was too far gone and high to actually remember it, once again a incredible tragic and bittersweet moment that shows Asuka did actually reach out and always had him on her mind. Think it’s neat that Shinji still can’t really tell if he imagined it or not and we don’t know when Asuka will actually tell him. Immediately we witness the two’s interaction upon waking up from the emotional roller coaster that was the last third of chapter 11 and right away we are gloriously treated with Shinji doing everything possible to remind Asuka that he does forgive her, love her and most importantly will never push her away. Like with everything in this fic realistic doubts and fears don’t disappear overnight and it’s very smart to have Asuka still be very scared and unsure of the situation. Ever since Mari’s death Asuka has been fully convinced Shinji would never forgive her so it makes complete sense she is so on edge. It’s awesome how Shinji is able to sense this right away and immediately kiss's her and how Asuka of all people acts adorably timid and shy.

Despite the fact that Shinji is of course scared too and still unsure why he’s taking the Mari news so well he beautifully doesn’t dare to look back as he’s fully made his mind and he is fully taking on his responsibility to repay back Asuka and in a way himself by making her happy and save her from herself with his love. He fully knows she will have to live with this guilt for the rest of her life and he must be there to help her carry the weight. Love how he makes Asuka understand by stating he’s more upset how she was pushed so far on his behalf just how she was saddened Shinji would assault and fight others in defending her honor. Krista is also fantastic here as a crude guide into helping Shinji best comfort Asuka. Her texts messages are both hilarious and on point and you can tell she is the sister figure that takes Rei’s place in Shinji’s life. Maybe the best part of this first part is seeing how charming and playful Shinji is here and how much he teases his Asuka, the whole scene where he teases the reveal of his scarf he made for her is wonderful as we see him charm, annoy and make Asuka feel more at ease all at the same time and shows wonderful chemistry between the two. The scarf is a cool idea to further illustrate the turbulent yet still beautiful relationship. No matter how much Shinji wanted to, he could never get rid of the scarf hence his love for Asuka.

I haven’t even begun to mention how spectacular the kissing scenes are here as they illustrate two lost broken souls who have finally, after 22 years of life, find an oasis of happiness in the desert and every kiss feels like they just climbed another mountain. Also think it was really smart to have them take their time and enjoy the innocent early stages of their relationship. Krista's humorous questioning of if the two have banged yet almost feels like a stand-in for the reader as they are asking for a long awaited love scene even if just off camera. However the fact that you are handling this budding love very dedicatedly while moving at a fast pace by skipping over time so we see only the best moments of the two easing into their new found happiness is a fantastic choice. It’s really sweepingly romantic as little details of Asuka adorably hugging Shinji from behind as if he was about to leave forever really tug at the heart strings and make me so happy to read. It’s also really funny and sweet how much Asuka is confused by Shinji’s ideal boyfriend-like behavior as now she’s just as shocked as Shinji was when she accepted him unconditionally.

Fritz’s once again is great and I really enjoyed the small but vital details of their relationship and how he became the father figure Kaji could never be for her and the fact that he finally after years gets to see her happy for the first is a wonderful sight to see. Also really enjoyed the closure you gave for Yui as the horrid visions of her Shinji had not been actually her and she did care for him despite her many flaws. It’s a beautiful sign of relief that he can start a new sane life of peace. The Toji stuff here is also great as Hikari’s family deservedly puts him through the wringer for his past bullshit. The whole waiting outside Hikari door for half a day felt very old fashioned but in a good way as it’s both sweet, funny and shows Toji has finally found his way in like his friends. Again despite his horrible fuck up you can’t help but love him here as he’s truly endearing. Also liked the hand clenching bit where we see how Shinji has taken a signature action of weakness and turned into an almost superpower-like quality. It’s a neat way of showing that despite his edges he’s still the same old Shinji while at the same time being someone even more wonderful.

The Krista Asuka scene was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be as the two have an interesting dynamic that shows that way later down the line they may also become close friends. Also I’m fully convinced Asuka’s is mispronouncing her name on purpose at this point lol. Toji’s graduation really felt like a healthier and happier blast from the past as the four friends go back to their familiar roles. For Asuka and Shinji in particular this a wonderful sight to witness as the two are finally allowed to actually act their age, a sober fact that’s both sad but more so hopeful as I’m so excited that the two can finally have a beautifully normal life. However the show stopper here is the brilliant piece of bliss that was the simple act of Asuka taking Shinji’s genuine laughter in as if it was a drug, this alone is worth all the hell we and the two loves have endured at this point and its beauty is immeasurable. Finally however we come to the cliff hanger and the last hurdle the pair will have to face together, to forgive those around them to truly live without hate.

While Kensuke and Shinji had to meet up at some point sooner than later I honestly don’t think Asuka handled this well at all and should have left early before Kensuke got there cause unfortunately Shinji really just isn’t ready yet to forgive him yet and she’s kinda putting the three into a dangerous situation. Though at the same time they are adults and Shinji should have expected that Kensuke would show up to his best friend's graduation but still. Ironically it’s kind of funny as it is scary that Shinji drags the two out like silly children and I’m happy you don’t make it seem like disaster is coming rather just some serious heart to heart. All in all I absolutely fucking loved this section and it’s only technically half of a chapter. I’m overjoyed to finally have reached the golden part of this story and so far all the hell’s been worth it!
Born2Walken chapter 11 . 8/19/2023
Chapter 11 Spoilers

Well it’s about mother fucking time brother after 11 chapters of brutal uphill climbing we finally get a true kiss that is not only the product of your two former pilots finally ready to start a real romance but a true testament of how they both finally found peace with each other and forgive each other for their sins. I said it before but I have to mention again just how deeply this story has affected me. It’s been a very, very long time since I have been so emotionally attached and invested in a story like this to the point my stomach is in knots whenever I’m reading. As overdramatic as I’m sure I sound I think it’s a true testament to the power of your writing as I feel this way despite knowing full well how this and really any Deathbringer story is going to go and knowing there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

This is truly a case of the story being about the journey not simply about the final outcome. You succeeded with flying colors in making me feel Asuka’s anxiousness as the time to come clean about Mari is just around the corner. It’s bittersweet how we have done a complete 180 from the normal dynamic of this story with Shinji being the everlasting source of positivity and devotion while Asuka is defeated and struggles to enjoy Shinji’s company as now she believes it’s too good to be true and must be stopped before it’s too late and he gets hurt. The fact that Shinji is being so sweet and being everything she hoped he would become and more while she dreadfully contemplates the confrontation makes it all the more heart wrenching. We come to a slightly shocking understanding that Asuka never thought she and Shinji were going to be a couple once she came clean and fully anticipated that he would both hate and want nothing to do with her and would simply watch over him in the shadows. The fact Asuka put her heart and soul into saving Shinji and give up any chance of a normal life to protect him knowing he likely end up resenting her in the end is somehow even more brave then her stand against Lilith and shows what kind of person she has become, a true poler upset from her selfish former self.

We saw glimpses here and there but we finally see the old Shinji fully come out of hiding and allow himself to be his true self around Asuka as he partakes in all the romantic planning he once did before they were separated. Perhaps an even bigger personal victory for his well being is the fact that Shinji for the first time in god knows when actually is excited for company to come another 180 from the first half of this story. A lot more lighter moments here in this chapter singling the likely brighter change of place this fic is beginning and I’m all about it. However we still get little reminders of how bleak things were just a little while ago such as Couch's story of Shinji actually nearly killing him. You also make it clear that Asuka saw Shinji as a true diamond in the rough, and always saw the beautiful person underneath when everyone else had lost all hope. A truly powerful statement about love and acceptance that is something that will be touched on again later. Ashley and Hikari’s visit was a very sweet section that put an indefinite closure on the horrific events that began this story. It’s so gratifying to see Shinji be so kind and caring to this innocent girl who doesn’t even know how to truly thank Shinji for such a sacrifice. I also love how at peace our boy is with how things turned out as we finally understood the story's true purpose in wounding Shinji. Having him not being able to physically run away is a valid way to keep him grounded in a way that he knows all too well was the only reason he didn’t abandon Asuka’s help by running back to drugs. I won’t lie that it does rub me off the wrong way that both Couch and Toji drink in front of Shinji, yes he will have to be get use to people drinking around him anyways but even if it doesn’t affect him at all it’s not a smart thing to do to someone like Shinji right after he has just got sober, really only a minor grip though. The Hikari and Asuka scenes were among the best of any I’ve read with the two and were really sweet with Hikari’s affection towards her and how awkward Asuka gets by it. Something else I applaud you for doing in this story is the fact you basically put the same level of care and love into all the side scenes of the rest of the Eva cast that you do Asuka and Shinji. This is likely shown the best during the exceptional dinner scene between Toji and Hikari. After chapters of build off the tense scene really pays off and fills in the remaining blanks of that crazy love triangle of two years ago. It’s really cool how Shinji’s friends grow and take the correct steps to become happy like he and Asuka are doing and it really feels like everyone is settling their demons of the past to finally focus on the brighter future Shinji stopped instrumentality for. I think I would even go as far as say their dinner scene would be the most well written and emotionally impactful scene written specifically between Hikari and Toji I’ve ever seen in any fanfic I’ve read. This extra effort to the supporting cast only adds to the quality of this story as a great piece of Eva storytelling. Little waffle loving Rei really is adorable here and really like how she represents the hope of not only Shinji connecting with her parents but also a hope for a brighter future without Eva. Misato being touched by a picture of Shinji smiling pretty much says it all how hard these seven years have been. The Kaji scene was like so many in this fic, very unique and emotionally tense. Considering how she latches on to him in the show it’s kinda refreshing seeing Asuka be antagonistic towards her former guardian as just like Misato he’s completely failed her and in some ways was even worse then even Misato. Kaji kinda surprisingly doesn’t seem to hold back when confronting her making for a rather tense scene but what’s even more surprising is how Asuka is really just getting closure and Kaji isn’t really a valid part of her life anymore, ironically this is all the better for them moving forward. The scar scene was hilarious and had some nice build up leading to it. The image of him stained in blood but smiling at how much she’s grown is both funny, sweet and a sign of a brighter future to come. The last third of this chapter is as tense as any in this story and it truly feels like the final large hurdle the two must cross.
You put us in a mixed state of mind that’s equally sweet and sad as Shinji goes all out on a perfect dinner date that Asuka knows will end the tragedy but wants Shinji to have one last lovely memory of the two of them. It makes for a very bittersweet read. The further details from Shinji's planned date from seven years ago are so sweet, from finding the specific TV to writing instructions to a store owner because he could barely talk. It’s also cool to see more detail on Asuka and her dads relationship and how he actually has been actively atoning and trying to redeem himself for his terrible actions and lack of parenting to Asuka prior to the series. I also love how Asuka is so driven to get Shinji to make amends with Misato despite her own hatred of the women showing just how dedicated she is in making him happy and healthy. Shinji's vague info about their rocky relationship sadly makes a lot of sense as Misato was so broken she was unable to truly help Shinji especially in his current mental state. Still it’s very disappointing how much she dropped the ball with promises she knew she couldn’t keep as like everyone in his life she’s let him down. As for the confession scene oh boy was that a doozy and as heartbreaking as it was it once again shows just how selfless and brave of a person Asuka has become. I think it might just be the most impactful confession moment I’ve read or seen anywhere in a very long time, I applaud the hell out of your description of Shinji mentally taking in this earth shattering news and it all feels completely real. The tension here might be some of the best in the story as despite Shinji’s initial shock to soon turned horror, he knows despite the terrible act she did he could never hurt or stop loving her. It’s sad beyond words to see the great and proud Asuka be willing to actually let Shinji hurt or maybe even kill her if he so chooses and I love how Shinji without even thinking gets furious at even the idea of her leaving unless she actually wanted to. This whole scene is brilliant because you have been setting it up for so long at this point that we the readers have been dreading this final hurdle of their past they must face.

Shinji giving himself space to think things over and come to terms with what Asuka did is very much his shining moment of bravery that Asuka had a chapter before but unlike that moment this test a long grueling task of soul searching and making a clear and definitive decision on if he is to be healthy and be with Asuka or once again run away into misery. I think it’s very Shinji that rather than think Asuka is a monster and want nothing to do with her like she thought he would, he rather blames himself as always and believes he himself has tainted the ideal image he had for Asuka. It’s a very interesting, unique and intense conflict for a relationship to have and is in line with the unorthodox greatness of this fic. With Mari’s disgusting words in the background we have Shinji completely break down in an excellently written panic attack where he nearly succumbs to darkness right before his three friends arrive. I love how they all give him a good amount of space and stay with him for the night as he thinks things over rather than force him to go back home to not do something stupid. Shinji is as always it way too hard on himself as far as feeling like he ruined Asuka but the fact remains that he very much does have to come to terms with the fact that his ideal image of Asuka isn’t necessarily true and like him she also has her own demons she must carry.

As extreme of a scenario as it is, it very much is a wonderful lesson that loving someone means you most love them unconditionally and you have to accept someone's flaws if you are to be together with them. I really applaud how mature this scene really is as in a lesser story Asuka would have to win back his trust or something along those lines but here have Shinji simply thinking it over and deciding he’s willing to make everything work and not run away. Also really happy you didn’t have them break apart for a short time as they have suffered so much already and it’s so mature that Shinji takes simply one night to process and understand what he really wants from life rather than add unnecessary drama. What also makes this a very tense situation is that Shinji has literally just gotten somber and is still extremely vulnerable to getting drunk or high like he always has when facing adversity for the past seven years. However unlike before when he detoxed two years ago, getting sober with Asuka and pulling through together makes him more willing to be brave and make it all not be in vain, again a fantastic story element. We really see him think over all options to the ultra depressing idea they would slowly start to drift apart and leave each other once healthy, a choice that while sounding smart on paper to a outsider is indeed a choice that would leave them both in deep regret and melancholy while also being the definition of anticlimactic. The moment Shinji realizes he wants no part of that and decides he wants to fully listen to his heart and spend his life with Asuka despite the risks is this fics answer to the anime's congratulations scene and I love how Shinji threatens his friends not to clap lol. What happens next is beyond awesome and feels like the biggest breakthrough we have gotten so far as Shinji bravely with Asuka in hand throws all of his emergency drugs down the toilet.

I love how the entire scene feels like a farewell to his toxic past and lifestyle while also saying goodbye to Mari for good. It’s both beautiful and a little bittersweet as despite fully knowing the road ahead of staying sober will be a challenging one, he knows it will be worth it to be with the love of his life. It’s great how every substance and every bottle that gets thrown down the drain is described as another weight being thrown off his shoulders and I love how he feels relieved after it’s all done. The final scene on the balcony is just perfect from Shinji saying what are you stupid, to stating that without a doubt he wants to spend the rest of his life with Asuka, and most importantly FINALLY a kiss! A perfect way to finish the chapter and conquer one of the darkest hurdles of the story. I’m beyond excited for what is to come next as these versions of Asuka and Shinji deserve true happiness perhaps more than any I’ve witnessed in all media. Really excited to see Shinji come to terms with everyone else in his life and get some S tier WAFF with his new girlfriend! PS: The poem Jackson gives Shinji is wonderful and is a beautiful piece of you and your father's soul that you allowed us to cherish.
Born2Walken chapter 10 . 8/13/2023
Chapter 10 Spoilers

Wow such a tour de force in such a small amount of words this was another great little skit that like the last one fully expands on an ending scene from the previous chapter. Like I said previously, the idea of Shinji reading one of her angry letters to her as opposed to the other way around is an awesome idea and gives us an even more detailed look at how far Shinji has come in just his first day of being sober. It’s so adorable seeing the tables be turned and Asuka being the one embarrassed by her former self. Despite the cute set up this skit is much more somber and melancholy than the last one as we see Asuka at essentially her lowest since coming back to Japan. Now that Shinji has finally become sober and after the Lilith incident all her drive and energy is spent and she is left with nothing but the guilt of the past and the dread of coming clean about Mari. She had been motivated only by helping him for so long that now that her job is essentially complete she is simply left to her own miserable lack of worth. Despite the fact that everything is most likely going to end up ok in the end like all your stories do this chapter does do a fantastic job increasing my anxiety about when Asuka will have to come clean with that last secret and how it will most likely be the finale great hurdle they face in coming to terms with their past. It’s truly bittersweet how similar her letter is to Shinji’s prior as we know how upset she is at him for always getting hurt but more importantly how terrible she feels and just like Shinji has been living an absolutely miserable life all these years. I especially love the detail you add about how miserable she was every morning, a complete 180 from how she is every morning when she wakes up with Shinji, which says so much. It’s also soul crushing to find out Asuka has called Shinji multiple times just to hear his voice and was somehow able to keep him from ever finding out.

It makes sense Asuka never told Shinji her plan in case she failed which would give him false hope which is sadly very Asuka, I also like how Shinji states that she should have done so anyways false hope or not. We can also really see Asuka is testing the waters for the eventual reveal of Mari’s fate as again the bane of both their existence is brought up. It’s reassuring to see a healthier Shinji laugh off the idea that Asuka getting in the way of him and Mari was a bad thing and states how even if she wasn’t in the picture Mari was a monster who essentially wanted to keep him away from anyone he cared about. Yet we still see how much Asuka regrets not being there to save Shinji from her. This letter leads to Shinji having a wonderful understanding of just how unbelievably wrong he had been about Asuka all this time and how he has always been in her heart and mind this whole time. Like the previous skit there are so many lovely little details that hit the mark like both admitted to feeling like they were cheating when with other people, Shinji’s vision’s final seemly coming to an end, the glorious look of a upset looking vision of Yui, going back to commenting on each other’s scars and Shinji dreaming about the same vision that Asuka had that saved her life. My favorite moment though has to have been Asuka sleepwalking and calling for Shinji in German. I can’t even begin to describe how fucking cute it is that Shinji talks to her back in German and puts her back to sleep with him all while not waking her up it’s enough to put a big smile on anyone’s face. Lastly it’s fitting that Shinji is finally starting to contemplate on if they’re actually a couple or not and considering they have just gone through becoming sober together and don’t plan on leaving each other it feels right. It’s something that I’m really excited for the next chapter to explore. Lastly the small little moment of Shinji introducing himself to the neighbors is a very sweet call back to all the times they've been worried for him and is a lovely first step in a healthy Shinji actually daring to put himself out there and dare to have friends. Can’t wait for the next chapter and for the scars of that bitch Mari to be finally put to rest till next time!
Born2Walken chapter 9 . 8/12/2023
Chapter 9 Spoilers

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Wow this chapter had a lot of expectations and issues for our two leads to have to combat and I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint! So many events and so much progress is made here that it’s honestly going to be hard to talk about everything but I will try. First off we appropriately start right where we left off as we are put into a whirlwind of emotions and visions as we go into Shinji’s broken head and see bits and pieces of Asuka and Toji going through the grueling task of making him throw up pills. We next cut to Shinji waking up to another intense Misato and Asuka argument where Misato is, to be fair, understandably furious and is claiming she will end Asuka’s attempts at making Shinji sober. To Misato’s credit Asuka should’ve had someone watch over Shinji if she was to go out and get groceries or hell she could’ve had Fritz go get them. But Misato is also completely clueless on just how much progress Asuka is actually making with Shinji’s wellbeing and making her leave would only make things 10x worse, something she clearly has failed to find out and understand. Either way we got a huge conflict in which Asuka is very close to being forced to be taken away from Shinji and she very well may of been taken away by force if Shinji hadn’t grabbed Misato’s arm and menacingly told her to go away, a fitting far cry from last time Shinji and Misato were together in the hospital and she told Shinji to his horror that Asuka would be helping him. When Shinji wakes up again we see the whole effect of Shinji’s stunt on Asuka as she is exhausted and completely worried but beautifully her iron will has only gotten stronger and she only strengthened her resolve in saving him. I absolutely adore how selfless both former pilots are to each other here and after a near death relapse all Shinji can think about is tearing Moritz apart for the horrible stunt he pulled while Asuka is absolutely livid he would let such a low life piece of shit make him slip up. To be fair in his broken condition it’s really not too shocking to me this caused him to relapse but the story does make a valid point that at the end of the day Shinji was once again running away and sadly was in a way looking for a perfect excuse to push Asuka away for what he thinks is for her own good. The stakes are truly at the highest point here as Shinji withdraws are now to be twice as bad and he’s yet to find out that Asuka is also starting the process of her own withdrawals.

Things look pretty sour as Shinji feels this will finally be the point where Asuka leaves and the voices are biding their time in what will be their greatest assault yet but Asuka wonderfully reminds Shinji that she never had him promise her to never slip up but to simply try to get better. It’s an appropriate and hopeful statement for anyone helping someone recover from addiction as one always has to be prepared for the very likely possibility of slip ups and it was unlikely Shinji wasn’t going to slip up at least a little. It also proves despite his best efforts Asuka clearly isn’t going anywhere no matter what he does. We then get a tense conversation in the kitchen where they both talk about each other’s gripes with their former partners. With his relations with Mari we see that in a very sadly ironic way was very similar to the one sided relationship between Gendo and Ritsuko the only difference is it’s a case where the female is taking advantage of the male as we see Mari’s love was toxic as you can get. Asuka also is stubborn in her beliefs that Moritz’s was entirely her fault and the fault should be entirely placed on her. While this is understandably hard for Shinji to accept, Asuka makes a very valid point of Shinji punishing Moritz won’t actually solve anything but rather just add to his never ending guilt and make him more likely to relapse. It’s so bittersweet seeing the two basically have a face off in selflessness as Shinji asked why can’t she just stay away and be safe while Asuka brings up the beautiful point that she’s been supposedly safe for 7 years and tired of being safe and rather wants to be happy, again such a beautiful statement about finding happiness and daring to get out of your comfort zone to make one’s life better. From this we essentially realize what that giant bag of drugs was for as they are essentially an emergency stash to keep Shinji from hurting anyone he cares about particularly Asuka. With Asuka’s resolve to stay and help we really see Shinji fall apart and have Asuka comfort him in a scene that makes you want to reach out and hug Shinji yourself as we see just how hurt this poor young man is. It’s also lovely to see the neighbors pray for Shinji as we see again that he has so many people that actually care and are rooting for him. The next scene is a satisfying scene of Volkov absolutely destroying Moritz’s bodyguards and we come to the realization of just how dangerous Shinji really is if he’s actually able to beat someone as inhuman as the polish giant, it’s a wonderful scare tactic to humble the little shit and I love how all he gets is one punch to get the idea of how much he fucked up and is willing to put down the booze once and for all. We then get to really see the effects of Asuka’s seemingly crazy idea of going through withdrawal with Shinji, but we get to that later but we really get a tense atmosphere as both are going through hell and both are at their worst in a very stressful situation in which they can barely keep it together.

There are moments where they are legitimately nasty to one another but what this chapter wonderfully does is always make them make up and work through every fight they have showing how strong they really have become against all odds. Both are fittingly getting bombarded with anxiety and horrible visions and what makes it all the worse is that Asuka knows the time to come clean about Mari is coming soon and she appropriately believes she will lose Shinji forever. Despite the pace and passage of time being faster than previous chapters we still feel like we are right in the trenches with both of them and as such feel their pain and anxiety. Considering all the hell they went through in cannon and everything they endured in those seven years watching them in such a state is truly heart wrenching to read and you are truly desperate in seeing them overcome this hell. Thankfully there’s so much hope here and you truly shine as a master of making one invested in the main characters. Little moments of them forgiving each other and Shinji throwing a pillow at the visions add so much weight and heart here. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was so invested in a story from any medium. The Misato moment is very well done and it’s good to finally see a glimpse into her life at home as she seems to finally be able to make a normal happy life for herself but is living in guilt as she should as she failed her two wards in getting there. She understandably is confused and upset at how Shinji lashed out at her but she again doesn’t really have a right to judge as she’s clearly never bothered to or checkup personally on Shinji since Asuka has started treating him, perhaps because she felt he needed space but even still. Little Rei is absolutely adorable and I love how she calls Shinji uncle and Toji uncle monkey lol. The fact she bonded with Shinji over his cooking shows that she can also be a great source of light in his life. We get another great deep dive into Asuka’s mind and a flashback of her falling apart in guilt right after she’s killed Mari and how it’s what finally leads her to get help. We see that she needed those two years to get healthy and prepare to help Shinji as she probably would’ve made things worse if she came in as her broken self.

Honestly what I feel she should’ve done was call and explain her plan and that she would be coming when she was ready but this is Asuka and she sadly is still a wreck even as she gets better. It’s also telling that when Asuka saw the incoming car 7 years ago she most likely saw the lance from EOE and this probably was one the reasons she pushed Shinji away. She’s truly put herself in very intense situations as Shinji is weaker than ever and every time she falls asleep if even for a moment can lead to absolute disaster. This is even more difficult considering her own withdrawals which to now finally address the elephant in the room that is Asuka’s wild plan. I think it’s safe to say that in real life having someone treat another person while they are both going through withdrawal is a terrible idea and would likely never happen (at least in the states) as so much could go wrong. However to the story's credit while this is trying to be as realistic as possible these are still both two people who have had unimaginable experiences and have been through trauma worse than any normal person can ever imagine and they also are no strangers to defying all odds. In a way I can see where Asuka’s coming from as it’s really not right for her not to be sober as Shinji is trying to do so and as the story has made a clear point their bond is not a normal one that you can simply compare to the norm. In an ironic and melancholy way it’s very much their synch training all over again which in the show was a seemingly silly idea that leads them to defeating an angel and here the idea is still crazy but also sweepingly romantic. Also I’m happy you make a clear point of how wild of a gamble this is as Shinji himself is at first livid about the whole plan and thinks it’s crazy. His comparison with her to Gendo while more than harsh has some truth to it, although in Asuka’s case her not coming clean is done entirely to save him rather than use him. As crazy as it sounds the idea is honestly thematically appropriate for this story and honestly feels right with the two’s a million to one underdog story so I do think it ultimately works especially since the fact you added the hesitation from Shinji and the other characters. It’s also worth mentioning that both former pilots have gotten sober before and failed to stay that way so honestly this while a huge gamble feels like it’s worth a try and thankfully it miraculously works! We finally get some long awaited scenes with your favorite character Kaji and again despite your personal destine for the character you always write him very well.

We clearly see that he’s grown as a person since the series and is regretful for his failures with Asuka. Having him and Toji of all people have a well written scene together is a very interesting choice as it’s something I don’t think I’ve ever read in a fic and it makes for some cool back and forth. It’s honestly pretty understandable that Kaji hit Shinji way back when the troubled youth went off the handle in front of his pregnant wife and it’s nice to see how he takes Toji's punch well. Toji for his part also is one the best parts of this chapter and is just awesome. It’s fitting he of all people actually relates to Asuka the most as he himself has been avoiding Hikari and I love how he calls Kaji out on his understandable but still cruel syringe plan. The scene later where he goes to visit Shinji is one of my favorites in the whole fic as he may make the most strides then anyone beside Asuka in Shinji’s recovery at this point and while it’s because of her progress with him that Toji is able to really connect to Shinji it still shows that despite his flaws Toji has such a big heart and Shinji truly means the world to him. The fact he is not only able to settle their differences but also be able to bring Shinji to tears and have him actually be willing to tell him about his visions shows such an amazing amount of progress as Shinji is slowly starting to understand that he does have people who really and truly care for him. I also really enjoyed the mutual camaraderie he and Asuka share as they both definitely bonded in the trenches in a way with the incident of detoxing Shinji. Love the fact Toji moves a few doors down temporarily; showing more than anything he’s truly stepped up as Shinji’s friend. I also loved how Asuka of all people gives him the courage to call Hikari. It’s worth noting how you really tried something new with the dream sequences in this chapter as they are not quite as horrific then we’re used to in your writing but rather more trippy and with great vague like meanings. Asuka’s are about always being anchored by her feelings for Shinji and unable to see him fully despite him always being in her heart and Shinji trying to make it to a train which I imagine is becoming sober and finding happiness yet keeps hitting obstacles along the way. It’s unique and different while also showing how you’ve matured as a writer. The long awaited reveal of the letter Shinji was ashamed of from the previous chapter really pays off here as we get a brutally honest look into Shinji a year ago and his thoughts on Asuka.

I absolutely adore this part and it might be my favorite moment in the chapter as the letter is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking. Shinji describes his feelings towards Asuka in the series to an absolute tee and then goes on to show how angry he was for her absence and lack of contact. The scene of both of them laughing at Shinji grilling Asuka is fantastic as it feels so real to how close friends like that react to each other over old stuff and it shows how comfortable they both have become with one another withdrawing in all. The transition to melancholy is excellent as Shinji describes just how miserable he truly is and how horrible his existence has become and it leads to a heart breaking drunk confession that’s also equal parts a cry for help. Love how they both give each other lovely gifts afterwards. Again there are so many lovely moments spread out here and I’m really glad you decided to speed up the process of withdrawal to just one grueling chapter where we really only see the most important and most heartwarming moments. The hell they are going through is there but it’s not dwelled on as much rather we get a more positive look at going through withdrawal something you almost never see in any story and it really works here as every positive moment means so much more considering it’s coming from two being going through such a hellish process. The fact they are able to continue to solve their differences during such times of struggle is incredible to read as Asuka despite her current condition is able to think of genius ways to get Shinji to open up and come clean about what’s bothering him despite him wanting to not be a bother and try to ignore them. It makes sense that Shinji sees those horrid pictures every time he sees Asuka and how it makes him upset and jealous to no end. As gut wrenching as it is to read the constant moments of the two trying to come to terms with former partners really does add a heavy amount of realism to the story as these issues with these characters in particular wouldn’t be able to be solved overnight. I am legitimately curious how Shinji will deal with the unbearable visions once sober as they were the reason he turned to drugs in the first place.

I forgot to mention previously but the idea that Kyoko was the one who originally thought up the LCL therapy Shinji forgoes is a brilliant little detail and it’s cool how she’s essentially helping save both Asuka and Shinji from beyond the grave in a way. In fact the whole united front that is all pitching in to help Shinji is beautiful and shows it takes a lot of good people who care to truly help someone suffering from addiction. Shinji giving Asuka back her Eva clips was also a really neat way of showing that perhaps Shinji has finally accepted the fact that Asuka is her to stay and won’t be trying to push her away for her own good anymore and that he doesn’t have to cling on to them to keep her memory alive. The most intense part of the chapter and probably the entire story yet has to be the big scene on the balcony. The stage is set with Shinji’s resolve essentially crumbling to pieces as he’s so desperate he actually tries to contact his Yakuza friend for drugs which of course backfires. We see Asuka is again pushing Shinji out of his comfort zone to talk about his trauma again but what sets this conversation apart is that this will be the final hurdle before a dangerous breakthrough is made. The further details you give on Mari and Shinj’s twisted relationship further validate why her death is nothing for the reader to feel sad about besides for Asuka’s sanity's sake as Mari essentially was trying to brainwash him and force herself into Shinji’s life despite the fact that as hard as he tried he felt absolutely nothing for her. Having those goons attempt to molest Shinji is enough of a reason to be happy she died yet Shinji still feels sad for how he hurt her showing us just what kind of person he truly is. Also I’m happy you didn’t go into too much detail with that scene and we only know just enough that Shinji was completely justified in the fact he killed those men. Honestly again it’s an aspect of the story that’s absolutely darker than necessary but it fits into your style storytelling of going through as much hell as humanly possible before reaching the light and as off putting as it is it only effectively adds to your heart going out to Shinji here, also it's just like Berserk which makes it badass! Again it’s honestly astounding how much this version of Shinji has gone through and it’s more than effective in making you worry and feel for this version of him more than any I can think of.

This is especially so when we heartbreakingly see Shinji finally after being numb for so long realize he actually doesn’t want to die and the reality of just how many times he’s been at death's door comes crashing down upon him. After refusing to give any self-love to his own self for the entirety of the story this is perhaps the key moment in Shinji’s journey of self-healing and it hits like a literal sledgehammer when you think back to the bleak opening scene of this fic where Shinji was happily at peace over the fact he was literally bleeding to death. To say he’s been beating a million to one odds constantly is an understatement as we see how Shinji is fully coming to terms with this fact. What happens next is without a doubt Asuka’s bravest and more heroic shining moment in this story and it shows without a doubt how badass this version of her is while also having the biggest stakes in the fic. As sad as it is to see Shinji self-control fly out the window immediately with his whole Lilith stunt, it’s made clear that this is a perfectly normal reaction from such a revelation. Considering it took three grown men to stop Asuka when it happened to her it makes sense that Shinji would be even more desperate. This scene shows more than any in this fic why Asuka was always going to be truly the only one who could save Shinji no matter who or where he gets treated his ability to call upon Lilith makes him nearly impossible to help and it's only because of her previous trauma and prep work that Asuka may just be the only person who can withstand it. It becomes clear here what Lilith does for Shinji as she essentially does what she did to Maya in EOE when Shinji calls upon her and it’s been one of his greatest strengths and weaknesses these past years. Also love how Asuka confronts the Goddess and essentially ensures she's got it from here. It
Sunsetman chapter 6 . 8/10/2023
Most excellent! Gonna cover both 5 and 6 here as there's a lot to get through.

If I can prescribe themes for these two chapters it would be world-building and healing. Seriously, I cannot stress how well crafted these series of events are laid out. We see glimpses of both Shinji and Asuka's experiences in the past 7 years, neither of which is particularly pretty. And while Asuka is taking the initiative to save our favorite pilot, it's quite evident she has some fucked up shit in her closet. Shinji in particular is as far removed from the meek boy he used to be, but deep down he's still that same kid, just boarded up over several walls of self-loathing and bitterness. In both chapters, we see glimpses of his former self, however fleeting, and it's a definite ray of hope in such dark times. Props to your excellent characterization of two as it really does feel natural.

Concerning chapter 5's highlights? Where do I start? Well, the interactions between Shinji and Asuka were a delight of course. We also meet some of Shinji's gym rats and props for giving them such well-defined personalities. A little over the top in some cases but hey, every now and then we come across a ham in our lives. The revelation that Shinji is acquainted with the Yakuza was a surprise but not so much that his experience during Third Impact has given him some supernatural abilities (which I like to be honest). Of course, my personal favorite part of this chapter was the wonderful little "Take That" to the glasses-wearing pilot of the Rebuild films. A 10/10 just for that good sir!

Chapter 6 is an altogether different beast. It starts off with what looks like Shinji falling back into bad habits, but while he does succumb to a brief bout of weakness, Asuka had all her bases covered. Even with her out of the picture most of the day, she still managed to heal his heart to a significant degree and all it took was a few phone calls. Not only that, but it was nice to catch a glimpse into the lives of Toji. Kensuke and Hikari. Rather amusing that of the three, Kensuke is the one who seems to have his life the most well-adjusted (well so long as that unrequited crush doesn't consume him). Also liked how you paired him with Mana. Dunno why but for whatever reason I just like the pairing.

Asuka and Misato ripping each other down a notch was well overdue and I liked it very much. The scene with the yakuza and organ thieves was suitably gruesome but I'd be lying if I didn't enjoy every bit of it. The only bit that had me a little confused was Shinji's mental gloating toward Kensuke around the end. Unless I missed something (which I probably did) I thought the context was that Shinji wasn't aware Kensuke was monitoring him for Asuka or even knew the two had a working relationship. Why would he feel the need to gloat about such a thing if he hasn't spoken to the guy in years or had knowledge of his occupation? A minor grievance but knowing me, I must've missed something.

Anyways that's my review! I'll be sure to whip up more as I continue this story! In the meantime, keep at it!
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