The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition").
The third installment debuted in Japan on November 17, 2012.

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The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Joseki » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:18 pm

I found a two part article on an italian Eva site, links at the bottom, about the game of shogi in the three movies. Some parts of it were already well known, like Gendo = King/ruler of humanity, but there were also details and connections that I didn't read here. Here's a quick summary. Some terms may be wrong since I've no idea of how to play shogi.



Pieces

- Knight: in 1.0, right after Shinji returns to NERV after his brief escape, Fuyutsuki is learning to play shogi while chatting about how Shinji acted as expected, the piece he moves is the "knight".
The knight can only move forward, it can't turn back, it's always faced with a choice, going left or right, and it's unique being the only piece that can jump over the enemies.
"Eva is a story of repetition. It is a story where our protagonist faces the same situation many times over and determinedly picks himself back up again. It is a story of the will to move forward, even if only a little".
Shinji is always chosing between two option, stay or leave, fight or give up, save Rei or run away...
Shinji is unique as an impact trigger.
A knight usually have a princess to save, Asuka is called "princess" by Mari, and Shinji is urged to "save the princess".

- King: Gendo is called by Kaworu "king of Lilin". It's the piece that commands the other, he doesn't do much, he plans. Gendo plans a lot in the movies, he's the king of mankind in its battle against the angels.
In every game of shogi there are two kings but they are not equal, the "king general" is reserved to the reigning champion while the "joweled general" is given to the challenger.
In the first act of Q Misato is in charge of WILLE and the famous "you'll do nothing" scene it's an obvious callback to the reunion between Shinji and Gendo in 1.0 (and also Shinji and Gendo's reunion later in the movie). Misato is the "joweled general", Gendo is the "king general". WILLE is challenging NERV.

- 4 lances: every player can use two lances, so there are four lances in every game. Four are also the lances showed in 2.0.
[The article says something regarding the ability of the lance to stop the other player's movements like the lance of Cassius stopped N3I or the Longinus stopped Mark.06 but I'm not sure of how it works]

- 9 pawns: nine pawns are given to the two players, they can move only move one square forward and they are all equals.
Kaworu came out of the fifth coffin in a group of nine on the surface of the Moon. He gets on the scene in an epic way, but he's deceived and killed like a sacrifical piece for Gendo's plan.
Rei of course in another valid candidate. She's made in serie, she has no soul.
[I also noticed that she pilots Mark 09 in Q]



Mechanics

- Promotion: if a piece can make it to the furthest one-third of the board can be promoted and it's powered up. Misato and Kaji have an higher grade in the rebuilds compared to NGE.

- Capture: an enemy piece can be captured and used against the other player. In 2.0 Mari is fighting an angel captured by SEELE. This capture will be useful later as we are shown in Q the Nemesis Serie, something very similar to the angels (cores and rainbows too) controlled by SEELE.

- Drops: when a captured piece is used it's "a drop". In 2.0 basically every new character is dropped. Asuka comes from the sky inside Eva 02, Mari is litteraly dropped over Shinji with a parachute, Sahaquiel fall from orbit, Eva 03 is moved by air and Kaworu too came from the Moon.

- Repetition: [I'll quote Wikipedia here] "If the same game position occurs four times with the same player to move, either player loses if his or her moves during the repetition (sennichite) are all checks (perpetual check), otherwise the game is considered a draw. However, in Shogi a draw is not counted for. Players have to restart their game(s) until a winner is declared".
The number four it's a constant in the rebuilds. If an impact will happen in Shin Eva it will be the fourth, called Final impact in the preview, and it will cause the end of everything.
[INSERT PREFERRED LOOP THEORY HERE]



Fuyutsuki v Shinji

- Shinji is a newbie compared to Fuyutsuki, he barely knows the rules. He knows them as much as he knows the world he lives in after the 14 years sleep.

- The game was rigged from the start: Fuyutsuki tells Shinji he will not use the gold general, the rook and the bishop. Usually the experienced player doesn't use the rook, the bishop and the lances. The lances will be crucial to Gendo's plan later in the movie, that's why he keeps them.

- Fuyutsuki moves a piece than declares that Shinji will lose in 31 moves. 31 minutes later Kaworu dies.

- The match is resetted.

- Fuyutsuki pile up the pieces in the middle of the board and they start picking up their army one piece at the time.

- Shinji picks a promoted pawn. Fuyutsuki gives the photo to Shinji.

- Fuyutsuki picks a promoted knight and tells Shinji about Yui's death. Shinji is the knight, but at this point he could be a "promoted knight". [The article here links another theory on Shinji's nature. Basically after the Zeruel incident he may no longer be a mere human but something more]

- Shinji picks a pawn and the pile crumbles. Everything that Shinji believed to know was destroyed.
It's important to notice that the first piece Shinji picked was a promoted pawn while the second piece was a simple pawn. It could be reference to Kaworu being declassed from first to thirteenth angel or Shinji's feeling for Rei: she was unique, now she's just one of many clones.

- Fuyutsuki picks the king, Gendo, then he picks all the missing pieces.

- Shinji resign. He's crushed both on the board and psychologically. In the last shot of the board we see Fuyutsuki's pieces all set up and Shinji's pieces casually scattered.



Source: (1) (2)

The articles are easily readable if translated in english by Google translate (I tried and to me it seemed okay).
I used the search function and all I've found about the Shogi was this vague post dating January 2013.



SPOILER: Show
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Last edited by Joseki on Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Sachi » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:46 pm

I've not seen this comparison before. Very interesting stuff. Thank you for sharing.
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby CommanderFish » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:05 pm

Joseki wrote:- Repetition: [I'll quote Wikipedia here] "If the same game position occurs four times with the same player to move, either player loses if his or her moves during the repetition (sennichite) are all checks (perpetual check), otherwise the game is considered a draw. However, in Shogi a draw is not counted for. Players have to restart their game(s) until a winner is declared".

I swear to God, Anno...

Honestly, this seems just way too convenient to not be deliberate. 4 lances literally in the film, Gendo called the "king of lilin", 9 coffins on the moon; and then Fuyutsuki specifically playing Shogi. We all know Anno has a habit of just pouring symbolism over goddamn everything, so I'd be more surprised if he didn't have a bigger reason for putting Shogi in there. And if all this is true... "repetition" forcing a "restart" after "four times"...

I mean, I know most people here frown upon the idea of NTE being any type of sequel, and that's fine. You all would likely know a lot better because you've all had four years to analyze it. But I've my own ideas surrounding NTE's potential sequelhood and I suppose things like this just make me question how--and maybe why--a lot of people here are so closed off to the very notion.

Mind you, I definitely have to elaborate on my theories here sometime, otherwise no one will believe me when I say I was right the whole time. :wink:
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Sachi » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:55 pm

I don't buy sequel theory, but don't mind the idea of the loop theory. The best result is breaking the cycle, and for Shinji to choose to live in this new world, rather than starting over, which he may be given the option to do. In relation to Shogi, he needs to not make the fourth repetition, but instead figure out a new strategy.
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby CommanderFish » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:31 pm

Sachi wrote:The best result is breaking the cycle
[...]
In relation to Shogi, he needs to not make the fourth repetition, but instead figure out a new strategy.

That much we can agree on. And I'll honestly be more surprised if Anno doesn't do this in some form.
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Postby Stillborn » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:10 am

I'm more likely to believe that Shinji understands that he is not supposed to make any strategy at all since he sucks at pretty much every decision he makes and just allow himself to be used as a piece by more experienced player. Probably Misato. That's the only way he will not fuck something up - By following others instructions to the letter.
Out of his own free will of course, because otherwise he doesn't learned enerything and needs to be broken errr developed some more (insert sarcatic eye roll here).
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Zoop » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:42 am

It would help if people would explain things to Shinji. The guy is obviously very troubled, lets stick him in a multi-billion apocalypse-machine, what could go wrong, right? Most of the time Shinji simply doens't know what the hell is going on, no wonder he keeps making the wrong decisions.

It's not that he is incapable of making right decisions, its just that he rarely had any information at all.

This always bugged me about NGE/NTE, just tell the damn kid what he is doing and why.
Of course this is all according to Gendo's plans (in NTE even moreso), but the everything in 3.33 is pretty much Wille's fault. If they would have just briefed him properly...

Shinji can make strategies, I don't see why he wouldn't be supposed to.
Just give him the facts so he can make informed choices.

If Shinji is at fault, it's due to his ignorance / naivity. Then again, no one ever tells him anything, so can you really blame him for it?

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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby pwhodges » Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:55 am

View Original PostZoop wrote:everything in 3.33 is pretty much Wille's fault. If they would have just briefed him properly...

You should acknowledge that they were starting to, once they'd satisfied themselves who/what he was - but they were attacked, and then he was grabbed away from them, before they could give him proper explanations.
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Reichu » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:19 am

View Original PostZoop wrote:The guy is obviously very troubled, lets stick him in a multi-billion apocalypse-machine, what could go wrong, right?

That was Gendo's doing. Wille expressly wanted to keep Shinji far away from Evas, precisely because they knew what would happen.

Most of the time Shinji simply doens't know what the hell is going on, no wonder he keeps making the wrong decisions.

And when he is finally "debriefed" in gruesome detail -- by Fuyutsuki -- he undergoes obvious psychological trauma and is easily taken advantage of by Kaworu... then proceeds to demonstrate that he's still in no position to be making any kind of decision (aside from shitty, irrational ones) and triggers yet another Impact. Wille's approach, to explain things to him in a staggered manner, would have been the far healthier and more effective option, IF Gendo hadn't messed it all up. If you're going to blame anyone, blame him.

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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby robersora » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:36 am

I like this idea a lot! Thanks for sharing.
It may not reveal some brand-new, groundbreaking information, but it does show that some of those things (9 coffins, 4 lances) are put there with purpose, if only metatextually. I mean they look cool too, but if their existence is reinforced with some actual meaning that's a good sign that all those movies together will have one overarching theme.

@Sequel: NTE is a sequel, but only in thematically as opposed to narratively. All those visual hints on those charts floating around the internet are there to reinforce this idea. This is not a sequel in the sense of a new arc in One Piece. It's one possible version of Evangelion, as shown in Episode 26, but with more than 10 years in between - commenting on that what has come before.
It is my firm believe, that the real story of Eva has never been the narrative - the narrative is only one part to convey something Anno wants to communicate.
And if he was inspired by Shogi to tell a piece of it, or if only to justify visual ideas that's cool with me. It's certainly interesting.
Let's just hope the 4h part continues this conversation appropriately.
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Zoop » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:39 am

@Reichu

I agree partly, ofcourse its all Gendo's masterplan.

But with Wille I mean how he was treated. He doesn't know what has happened (neither do we, the viewers), but apparantly everyone on the base tries really hard to make Shinji feel he is unwanted. Misato, the mother figure, is cold and tells him he wont be doing anything.

Then, Eva 9 attacks, and then its suddenly time to tell him about Nerv and Wille? Great timing there! They should have started with that.

Fuyu is the first to be actually honest with him, and it fcks him up good. Quite logical, if he had known these things so much earlier, he probably wouldn't even be there at Nerv.

I dunno, I just really hated this about 3.33, all the drama and ensuing apocalypse is all caused by misinformation. In NGE and the first movies, it was Gendo directly keeping Shinji in the dark. He's not around at Wille, Wille did his work for him. So Gendo got lucky with Wille's incompetence, which makes it a lot less believable for me.

- Sorry for getting offtopic

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Postby Stillborn » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:48 am

According to him, WILLE acted within his expectations. So maybe he wasnt lucky. Maybe he properly assumed that WILLE will be petty and that even if they DO try to spill some information, they will do it in condescending manner (we know something you don't so we will treat you like dangerous retard) that will push Shinji away.
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Postby Zoop » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:00 am

Exactly, but how (would he really scheme this big apocalyptic masterplan purely on an assumption?)? If there was just a hint of Gendo's influence at Wille (maybe there is, but we havent spotted it yet) then I could believe that.

But just to say "they acted like i thought they would" to justify the whole ordeal, feels a bit cheap

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Postby pwhodges » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:17 am

He did that at the end of Ha as well, though. We are just supposed to see him as that able to manipulate people (or at least predict their reactions). It marks him out as a hate figure, while using him as a device to point out that we need to think about why actually people behaved as they did.
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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Stillborn » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:31 am

View Original PostZoop wrote:Exactly, but how (would he really scheme this big apocalyptic masterplan purely on an assumption?)? If there was just a hint of Gendo's influence at Wille (maybe there is, but we havent spotted it yet) then I could believe that.

But just to say "they acted like i thought they would" to justify the whole ordeal, feels a bit cheap


I'm not talking about him influenting the outcome. I'm talking about Gendo knowing enough about WILLE members that he could just lay back and let them do his work. He doesn't needed to do anything. He just expected them to act petty towards his son.
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Postby Zoop » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:48 am

And I meant I'm not buying that, UNLESS he is influencing the outcome somehow (or already knows the outcome, like he can actually see the future or something)

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Re: The game of Shogi: a view on characters and plot in Rebuild

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Postby Joseki » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:56 am

View Original PostStillborn wrote:I'm not talking about him influenting the outcome. I'm talking about Gendo knowing enough about WILLE members that he could just lay back and let them do his work. He doesn't needed to do anything. He just expected them to act petty towards his son.


It doesn't require masterful thinking to suppose that Misato and Asuka would flip out once they are placed face to face with Shinji.
Misato saw him as a son, she was responsible for him and he almost destroyed the world (which in the Japanese culture makes it morally her fault I think, I'm not quite sure) and lives in a world where everything constantly remind her of him.
Asuka was already aggressive enough the first time they met for no virtually no reason, adding an untold romantic feeling for him, a nearly fatal incident and 14 years of him not being around to the mix will surely makes thing worse.

Mark.09 painted as Unit 00 piloted by Rei was probably enough anyway to convince him that Misato and co. were lying. I think the 99.9% of us would fall for that trap, especially after being told that 14 years have passed, but your friend is still 14 years old like you are, and that your other friend is dead while standing right in front of you.
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Postby Zoop » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:29 am

Unless they would have just explained it beforehand, like Rei is really gone, but there are others, they are in control of Nerv which is now the badguy. And presto, Shinji would think twice letting Mark9 take him.

I really don't buy that Gendo would assume (the whole plan hinges on this) that Wille would alienate him and that a new Rei would be able to easily snatch him away.

Anyway, Ive made my point, we've gone pretty offtopic here

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Postby Joseki » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:37 am

You know that one of your friend being a clone of your mom and dead is a bit hard to believe when that same friend is talking to you in that precise moment, right?

The timing of all of this is extremely fortunate but Gendo is that kind of character that has everything "planned" and all goes as he whish and you just roll with it. He had a similar timing back in 1.0, it creates a compelling and emotional scene so it works.
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Postby Sachi » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:30 pm

Gendo's talent is that he knows how people will react and behave. A skilled chess master can predict the flow of the game several turns ahead of time, and will attempt to use their knowledge of the opponent against them in order to lure them into certain moves, allowing themselves to get into an optimal position. Beyond that, they can adapt to changing situations, will often have more than one method of execution and likely a list of contingencies. This won't rely on the opponent making a specific path of decisions, but rather relies on knowing the general direction your opponent would wish to take, and the many possible paths they may take to get there.

With this in mind, at the very least, Gendo was counting on Wille not being entirely hospitable with Shinji, as well as with Shinji's obsession with Rei and the rejection he'd feel by not being needed to pilot an Eva. He knew Shinji would feel alienated in this position, and would be lured by Rei Q to follow her back to Nerv.
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"So you are saying it's the human heart that throws the world into confusion."


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