The Second Try

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Written and illustrated by Jimmy Wolk.

After Third Impact, Shinji and Asuka are the only humans left in the whole world, and they must carry on with only each other. And against all odds, they do, overcoming their own psychoses and insecurities and becoming better humans through it. Then one morning, they both wake up to find that mankind has returned, they are in their younger bodies and living in Misato's apartment again, and only they have any memories of what has happened, and what is happening again, the little world they built for themselves destroyed.

And now they have to go through their most trying ordeals once more in the Evas, and try to change history, while simultaneously deflecting suspicions of their changes, and coping with the loss of their old life.

The realm of Eva fics has numerous Post-Third Impact and Peggy Sue stories of varying quality. The Second Try has both plotlines, but ya know what? It works. The story has Asuka and Shinji change vastly from how they were in the series, but in small ways, so that Shinji is still Shinji and not Chuck Norris or The Chessmaster, and Asuka is still Asuka and not Belldandy or Ty Lee, and the reasons for these changes are organic and make sense in context for the characters.

The Author has since begun a sequel webmanga called Aki-chan's Life. It picks up right where the story leaves off. (Or rather, a week or two before the story actually ends.) Another fic of his, The Ikaris, now has his own page.


Tropes used in The Second Try include:
  • Absurdly Youthful Parents: It's not really clear how old Asuka and Shinji were when she gave birth to Aki. They had lost track of time since the Third-impact and only really started counting again after her birth. However, Shinji speculates that a year-and-a-half to two years passed before that, which would have put their age somewhere around 15 to 16.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: Asuka and Shinji discuss this during one of the "flashback" chapters.
  • After the End: All named chapters before "Repeat" are set here.
  • Anachronic Order: The story alternates its chapters between the Peggy Sue and Post-Third Impact storylines.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The start of the last chapter "end" shows the events of the last day from Rei's viewpoint.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best In People: Both Shinji and Asuka become much more confident and capable people after Third Impact.
  • The Atoner: Shinji and Asuka to a degree.
  • Babies Ever After: Misato is revealed to be preggers with Kaji's baby in the epilogue.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Aki.
    • Note that this trope is shown in a much more realistic light. The pregnancy initially put a huge strain on Shinji's and Asuka's relationship (Asuka never wanted a child due to her fears of being replaced; Shinji was scared out of his wits due to his own issues with his father), and both had to do some serious soul searching to get to the point where they were emotionally prepared to be parents. Even after the birth, they had to work hard, make mistakes, and ran into situations they were not prepared for.
  • Badass Bookworm: Both Asuka and Shinji have to become this in order to survive the post-Third Impact world, since they're the only humans left on the planet.
  • Baka: Asuka loves to call Shinji this. Especially after they get married.
    • Hilariously, it's also one of Aki's first words (Asuka was trying to get her to say 'Papa'.)
  • Battle Couple: Shinji and Asuka, even more than in the original series now they are serious about fighting and want to support and help each other. It even is noted by Kaworu.
    • In second-to-last episode:

Asuka (to Shinji): "I'll handle them. These guys aren't the real problem after all. Just take care of my cable, okay?"
Shinji (smiling weakly and nodding): "Of course."

    • And later in the same episode:

General: "Concentrate all fire on that power cable!"
Comm-Officer: "It's no use, Sir! Purple's guarding it!"

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Shinji and Asuka are brought back because they just happened to make an off-handed wish for Aki to have friends. Needless to say, Shinji doesn't take this excuse very well.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Played with. Living on their own had helped Shinji and Asuka grow past this point, but when they return to the past, they try enacting this trope to avoid arousing suspicion. The key word there is Try.
  • Berserk Button: Taunt Asuka with her daughter's name or threaten to harm Shinji in front of her. Come on! I dare you!
    • Likewise, Shinji doesn't take too kindly towards anyone who tries/threatens to harm Asuka. While he's pretty good at keeping his cool, some MP Evas found out the hard way what happens if this button gets pressed too hard. Stupid bastards never saw it coming.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Once again, Shinji. More so than in the original timeline, as he's no longer plagued by crippling insecurities. Exemplified in his rematch with the 13th angel. He keeps calm during the fight, retains control of his EVA when Gendo tries to activate the Dummy Plug, and after Rei safely extracts the Entry plug from Unit 03, proceeds to use his prog knife to (literally) tear it apart before destroying it by repeatedly stabbing the core.
  • Big Good: Kaoru of all people. What pushes him into this territory is that not only did he make so that Third Impact was averted, he made it so that Aki could grow up normally with her parents. He's still a bit of a dick but saving all 3 billion people on earth allows you to be.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Asuka and Aki speak a lot of German, including several children's songs. Which makes sense, since both the characters and the author are German.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Discussed but ultimately averted.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Shinji finally snaps at Gendo during The Final.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Gendo confronts Shinji about his conversation with Asuka during the attack by the 15th Angel, Shinji tells him exactly what's going on. Gendo promptly dismisses his son's warnings as the ravings of a mad child...which is then revealed to have been a ploy by Gendo. He believed what he heard, all right, and it sent him into deep despair over never seeing Yui again.
  • Character Development: Some of the best development for Shinji and Asuka in all of fan fiction takes place during the Post-Third Impact chapters.
  • The Chessmaster: Averted. Shinji and Asuka are not Gendo Ikari.
    • Though they do have some small successes here and there, such as pushing Toji and Hikari to becoming a couple.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "Anonymous" letter that Shinji slips into Misato's jacket during chapter 3. Misato finds it during the aftermath of the battle with the 14th angel, and leads to her learning of Shinji and Asuka's secret.
  • Children Are Innocent: So innocent that they can convince Asuka to save the world and keep Rei from destroying it.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Asuka was one in the original series (part of her animosity towards Rei was due to her misconception of Shinji liked Rei instead of her). Her jealousy had mellowed down due to she feeling more confident about herself and their relationship; however, she was completely hostile towards Kaworu and she warned him she wanted him nowhere near from her husband.
  • Convenient Coma: Gendo falls into one after his suicide attempt. It's mostly convenient for Shinji, as he uses to explain what happened at the end of the story, but it ends with the possibility he may never recover.
  • Curtain Fic: It's debatable how much "finding food and shelter" and "maintaining the homestead's defenses" can be considered normal chores, but the post-Third Impact chapters do qualify, in a weird post-apocalyptic sort of way.
  • Cuteness Overload: Rei, of all people, is hit by this. Meeting and being befriended by Aki is what finally convinces her to ditch Gendo's plan. Although, in the following webcomic, Aki causes this in pretty much everyone.
  • Damned By Faint Praise: Rei resorts to this to critique a drawing of her. It works because the artist is only three.
  • Dead Guy, Junior: Discussed but ultimately averted. Shinji and Asuka don't want their child to have to try to live under the shadow of someone they're named after.
  • Death by Childbirth: The author leads the audience into thinking that Asuka died giving birth to Aki, even though it's a Foregone Conclusion that she survives.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Subverted twice. Once during the rematch with Arael, and the second when Shinji thinks Asuka's dead, almost starting Third Impact again.
    • Played straight with Gendo, after the realizes Rei isn't going to help him. He promptly decided to commit suicide.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Chapter 11. Yep, Asuka just punched Kaworu in the gut.
    • Better yet, in the same chapter she gets the drop on him after he takes control of EVA-02 and uses it to tear apart NERV to get to Lilith. Unbeknownst to him, she hid herself inside Unit-02, and overrides his control right as Shinji makes his appearance in EVA-01. Kaworu is so surprised at this that he actually drops his usual smile for a look of pure shock.
  • Driven to Suicide: When Gendo arrives in Terminal Dogma and finds that Rei isn't there he tries to kill himself in a last ditch attempt to be with Yui again. It doesn't work.
  • Didn't See That Coming: SEELE's reaction to Toji appearing by piloting Jet Alone and the death of the first MP-EVA. Their following argument gets so heated that they don't even notice that someone is missing.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma: After the defeat of the Seventeenth Angel, Shinji visits a sleeping Asuka in the hospital, and unlike what he did in the original timeline, he kisses her. Asuka wakes up during the kiss and jokingly tells maybe he should have tried that the last time instead.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Well, yeah.
  • Everyone Can See It: Humorously inverted this time around. The rest of this cast assume this is the case with Asuka and Shinji. However, no one has any idea that, not only are they a couple, but they are also lovers, have been married for over 5 years, and raised a child together.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: No. No, they are not.
  • Falling Into the Cockpit: In chapter 2 Asuka wants to drive a car for first time. Shinji thinks it is not a good idea, but she argues if she is able to drive a Humongous Mecha, she is able to drive a car. Shortly after she finds out that... nope. She is not able.
  • Fiery Redhead: Asuka mellows out considerably in the post-TI chapters, but still retains this as part of her personality.
  • Foregone Conclusion: A minor one at the end of chapter 6, the author makes it seem like Asuka has died from the strain of childbirth...about 4 years before she and Shinji get thrown back in time. She, of course, turns out to be fine a paragraph later.
    • Played straight in the otherwise heartwarming Chapter 8. Despite the happy times that Shinji and Asuka spent with their daughter, the audience already knows that Aki was erased from existence when the time line was rewound. The chapter (and chapter 6) also hints at another one that combines with Adult Fear. They're still the only people left on the planet, even after several years. Little Aki will grow up without any friends; and, what will happen to her once her parents are gone? Their happiness will not last forever, nor does the future look bright.
      • These are then averted (subverted?) when it turns out that Aki had been sent into the past as well, appearing a few days after Kaoru's death. Tears are shed as she's reunited with her parents, Aki has been given a chance to live a normal life, and they all finally earn their happy ending.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Asuka delivers this trope almost word for word in chapter 2, thankfully without the slapping.
    • Note that had this occurred before the Third Impact, she would have slapped him. She was probably afraid to (given what happened during Instrumentality, and the fact he's the only other person left on earth).
  • Gilligan Cut: From "I'm sure, as long as we (Aki and Asuka) have each other, there's nothing that could hurt us." to "Ah! Aki, you're hurting Mama!"
  • Good Parents: Against all odds, Shinji and Asuka become this, and they both lampshade it repeatedly.
  • Happily Married: Shinji and Asuka Ikari, though they don't tell anyone about their status.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Shinji very much wants his redhead, gorgeous, Tsundere wife.
  • Hidden Depths: Rei is apparently quite the artist.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Lampshaded by the author in the notes for chapter 6. He say's that it's "almost blasphemy that he didn't make Aki a chibi-Asuka".
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All odd-numbered chapters are numbered from 12th to 17th to represent the Angel fought, while even-numbered chapters are named with a single word on its major theme.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Aki and Rei.
  • In Medias Res: A lot happens after that last scene of End of Evangelion, but that gets revealed later on. The story starts within a couple days of the battle of the Twelfth Angel.
  • Ironic Echo: "Do not ask questions you don't really want to hear the answer to."
  • Karmic Death: Chairman Kihl of SEELE. Most evil man in the series. Has been manipulating things behind the scenes probably since he was a young man. Cooked up Second Impact and the plan for his version of Third Impact to essentially escape Death, which he's afraid of. Dies of a heart attack off-screen when the MP-Evas start dropping for real.
  • Kid From the Future: Aki gets sent back in time about a day before SEELE launches their attack on NERV. Of course, her parents were already aware of her existence, having been sent back in time themselves.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Played both straight and averted. Asuka didn't want to have a baby, even to the point where she was starving herself in a misguided attempt to induce a miscarriage (which, Shinji later noted, put her in more danger than the baby). However, once she sees the first ultrasound that changes. The aversion comes with Aki being born alive and healthy.
    • Surprise Pregnancy: Asuka had also tried to keep her pregnancy a secret from Shinji. He only found out by chance when he was picking up their trash after a rat had ripped open a bag and discovered the positive test. Needless to say, he was not happy.
    • But We Used a Condom: They're not really sure how it happened, as Asuka had been on The Pill when she got pregnant. Asuka claims that the drugs were expired while Shinji suspects that she forgot to be consistent in taking it. Of course, it's also possible they fell into that small percentile where it doesn't work, something Shinji Lampshades with a weary "we've beaten worse odds before".
  • Little No: Asuka to Shinji in survive: "HATE ME! LEAVE ME! KILL ME!". Shinji's answer? "No..."
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Hilariously inverted. After being revealed the secret, Misato mutters Shinji and Asuka used to bicker Like an Old Married Couple before, but now they are one, they act like newfound lovebirds. Shinji and Asuka explain that is partially because they are hormone-driven teenagers again... without Belligerent Sexual Tension separating them.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Shinji and Asuka are this for each other.
  • Mama Bear: Asuka is fiercely protective of her post-Third-Impact family (both Aki and Shinji), to the point that, in The Final, she made an attempt to strangle Gendo when he tried to interrogate her about them (and she came damn near close to succeeding; Gendo even seemed to be a bit unnerved).
  • The Matchmaker: Shinji and Askua act as this for Hikari and Toji. Hikari thinks she's acting as this for Asuka and Shinji.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Smile when you're happy, cry when you're sad..."
  • Mind Rape: Asuka once again suffers this at the hands of the 15th angel, but this time it's even worse.
  • Mind Screw: In the author's own words, it wouldn't be Evangelion without it. This includes a bizarre and slightly disturbing rehash of the Gainax Ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion in chapter four, "Love."
    • Another minor one occurs in "end" with Shinji wondering how Aki made it back from the future. However as Asuka puts it: "Tell you what, Shinji," a wide grin sprawled over her face while they walked up the stairs. "I don't give a damn. She's back and that's all that matters to me."
  • No Export for You: In an incredibly rare aversion for fanfiction, this story is available to read in several other languages, which right now include German, Spanish, and Polish.
  • Oh Crap: From the audience when they learn that Gendo and Fuyutsuki learn something they shouldn't have after the Arael fight.
  • Older Than They Look/Wise Beyond Their Years: Shinji and Asuka, after they return to the past, are mentally in their early 20s. However, they have the emotional maturity of a person at least 10 years older than that.
  • One Steve Limit: See Dead Guy, Junior above.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: A rather important plot point revolves around Shinji and Asuka trying to act like their old selves so as to not arouse suspicion. However, they are not the most convincing actors and most of their friends note that they are acting odd (Asuka is bad at hiding her emotions, while Shinji is bad about remembering to be careful with words or actions). Rei pretty much spells it out in chapter 3 in a conversation with Toji.

Rei: "He (Shinji) is acting different lately. Soryu as well. Both have improved their social skills. Ikari is not as timid in the presence of other people. Soryu's aggressiveness has calmed down enough to accept the presence of people she had declared to hate, including myself. However, most of the time, they are trying to convince everyone that these changes are not existent. They also seem to possess a greater knowledge than before."

    • The only reason they manage to keep the facade up is because no one would suspect that they were actually a couple, much less the other absurdities of their story.
  • Papa Wolf: Shinji, like Asuka above, is very protective of his post-Third-Impact family, though he keeps his cool better than Asuka...most of the time.
  • Peggy Sue: Arguably deconstructed when it turns out that Shinji and Asuka had a child who was erased from existence.
    • However Kaoru, who was behind the whole plot, took her the same time he pulled Shinji and Asuka. He just made it so she appeared after it was all over.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Asuka and Shinji were like this in the original series, but their relationship becomes a more mellow version of this trope in the post-Third-Impact chapters.
  • The Reveal: See Wham! Line.
  • Saying Too Much: An interesting version. In Chapter 5, after the battle with the 14th angel, Misato finds (a little too late) an "Anonymous" note from Shinji, meant to warn her about EVA 03 being possessed by the 13th angel... That he had written out by hand. She, of course, recognizes his handwriting, and a quick peek at his schoolwork confirms that he wrote it. She then remembers his and Asuka's odd behavior, and realizes that Asuka may know something about the letter. When she confronts Asuka, who is extremely distraught at the time (for very good reasons), Asuka breaks down and lets the facade drop. They later divulge their secret to her.
  • Sleep Cute: Quite a few times in Chapter Four.
  • Talking to the Dead: Shinji and Asuka do this in After-TI chapters. Although instead of a grave, they go to the LCL sea.
  • Taking You with Me: EVA-02's self-destruction against the MP-EVAs. Subverted in that Asuka ejects in time.
  • Technical Virgin: A literal example. In "The Final" Asuka points out that it is technically her first time due to Mental Time Travel.
  • Tempting Fate: Asuka hangs a lampshade on how it's bad luck to propose before the final battle. She even compares it to Retirony.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Exploited by Kaoru to make sure that Aki is reunited with her parents.
  • WAFF: Ironically, a lot of After the End chapters can get like this, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's the opposite, it's a good thing. A very, very good thing.
  • Wham! Line: The end of chapter 5.

Shinji: "We had a child."

  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Lilith is destroyed and Gendo shoots himself in the head, it's never revealed what happened with ADAM being implanted in his hand.
    • Gendo, when he partially wakes up, notes that he can't feel his right arm. Hmmm...