Theory: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Theory: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Postby synthmachine81 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:09 pm

First of all, sorry but this is going to be a VERY LONG post because I'm doing some character analysis here as well.

For this discussion I'm contemplating only NGE, as I don't care for Rebuild that much and it makes a mess of that concept altogether. The only thing I'll be using from Rebuild is the name they gave to Toji's sister, Sakura, to make the discussion on her easier. However, please note that I consider her on NGE and Rebuild completely different characters.

One curious thing I noticed on EVA is that sibiling dynamics isn't explored that much, as most of the main characters are single children. Maybe this is related to Japan's low birth rate or something, but still, it's a very important aspect of human interactions. The only sibiling relations that are really presented to us are arguably Shinji and Rei, since I consider Rei, in a way at least, Shinji's half sister as she is the result of the mix of Yui Ikari with Lillith, and he's got this sort of envy on her because he thinks Gendo has abandoned him and prefers Rei as this new "perfect" daughter. Then we have Toji and Sakura, and you notice the latter doesn't even physically appear during the whole show. (There's Hikari and her sisters too, but they are barely mentioned and I'm not really going on them now)

This is likely the result of Toji being a secondary character and the riddance the show makes of the school colleagues after episode 23, but still the lack of Sakura's appearance on the show doesn't really diminishes the importance she plays on Toji's character.

Let's dive into Toji a bit. I always hear some people talking about how Kaworu is the most understanding and compassionate of NGE's characters and whatever, and while I won't undermine some of his traits, it makes me sad that most of them will ignore Suzuhara's capacity of empathy.

I think my icon pretty much spoils that Toji is one of my favourite characters on NGE (hell, I think that of the secondaries he's my fave), but I'm going to try to be not so biased on my reading on him as possible.

Sure, Toji has some flaws, but this is NGE, so this is normal for character standards. He's as sexist as a 14 year old Japanese kid can be, he gets into fights easily, he's very stubborn and all of that bully stereotype. But as NGE is about deconstruction, he isn't just your typical comic relief jock character. The first episode we meet him and Kensuke proves that already.

We get to know that it has been a month since the first battle of EVA 01, and that Shinji has managed to keep a low profile on his identity as a pilot. Then we get a discussion of Hikari and Kensuke on how Toji has been missing classes for a while and how Kensuke has to deliver his school papers and etc. And suddenly, our man Suzuhara appears, very grumpy and intimidating at first sight. We get a brief exposition on how his sister got hurt during the battle between EVA 01 and Sachiel, and how his father and grandfather are busy working so he must be there with her in the hospital so she isn't alone.
This tells a lot about his character: He, like the other kids in his class, is motherless and also has distant paternal figures, so the only obvious family bond he shares is with his own little sister, Sakura. So it's pretty understandable, although not excusable, that he gets outraged when he discovers that his new quiet classmate was, in his conception, solely responsible for the tragedy of his own closest relative, and beats him up for that.

Although this scene fits perfectly in the 'Main character gets bullied for unfair reasons' trope, you can still sense more substance here than most of the other scenes related to it. I wouldn't call Toji an actual bully either, considering all of his actions after episode 03 don't really fit the trope. His motivations for beating up Shinji are very clear.

His trust on NERV is very ambiguous, as he blames Shinji for his sister's injuries, but he defends their role on defending Tokyo-3 when Kensuke suggest the chance of them getting killed while being inside the shelter is the same as while being outside. And once he gets inside Shinji's EVA, this view gets even more ambiguous: He empathizes and understand Shinji's struggles for piloting the EVA and the trauma this is causing the boy, and starts trusting him more as their defender, but also is even more skeptical of NERV's nature as they are pressuring a kid of his own age to murder these giant monsters without any experience and barely any trainment at all.

Then we're making a timeskip here to episode 17, when Toji gets picked up as a pilot. Unlike Kensuke, he doesn't romanticize in a bit the idea of piloting an EVA, as he has experienced secondhandedly what it's like and didn't enjoy in a bit. The only reason he agrees to do it, despite his distrust on NERV, is so his sister gets access to better healthcare. Although his motivations aren't still of the "save all humanity" mindset, you could argue that they're more altruistic than Shinji and Asuka's motivations for example. But one thing I always tried making sense is why Toji was the chosen pilot in all people. (And the excuse of plot convenience won't count as you can use for basically anything on EVAlore)

Sure he's got some athletic skills being a jock and all, but Asuka herself was military trained and this is proven worthless once she was unable to bond with her EVA, while Shinji, a lanky kid with no combat skills whatsoever proves to be a more efficient pilot when it comes to killing Angels (of course, with Yui's help, but then the capacity of bonding is present here).

But then, EVA 03's coming to Japan wasn't anticipated by NERV. As a matter of fact, it was very rushed and the staff makes very clear their lack of preparation in some expository dialogue.
And even though we learn that the Marduk Institute is fake and all possible pilots have been preselected based on certain criteria, it raises a question: If EVAs 03 and 04 weren't involved in the explosion and all the bureaucracy towards transporting them to Japan was well sorted out, wouldn't the whole Marduk farse still be played out? Because I see no reason not to happen, honestly.

Anyway, you might have understood by far where I'm trying to get in: EVA 03's soul is likely Sakura Suzuhara and the need of a mother's soul isn't really exclusive to get an EVA working.

This is actually proven by Rei herself, although most people would consider her an anomaly. But as Toji, the soul of her EVA isn't explicitly stated as Shinji and Asuka's. The most popular theories are Rei I and Naoko Akagi, and a third option is that EVA 00 has no soul at all, but for this analysis I'm considering Rei I as it makes sense to me and it's the most popular option. But as anyone can notice, EVA 00 is very unstable, and most people will atribute this to Rei not having a mother.

And don't get me wrong, I actually think a mother's soul provides the best bond of all, considering all the maternal themes contained in EVA, especially the "Mother is the First Other" thing. But in times of rush, other things will do as well.
We have no reason to think NERV is really unaware of Toji and Sakura's situation. He even explicitly states it on the TV news during a segment of episode 14's long and infame recap that takes nearly half of it. And he was preselected as a pilot after all, of course they would have previously all his data stored, including the fact he had a sister.

During the time EVA 03 was brought to Japan, most of the Angels had been killed, so it wasn't like they would need it in long term. It's not impossible to assume they would take advantage of Toji's situation in order to get a pilot and a soul for his EVA very quickly without having to deal with all the bureaucracy. Unless you think they store dead mother souls' in a fridge inside the GeoFront. And this wouldn't be even the most morally damaged thing NERV has done, neither it's a premise too absurd to assume. Remember, this is the same agency that just threw all the responsibility of piloting a giant armoured thing on the back of a 14 year old kid without even having previously trained him. And considering that it was Ritsuko who chose Toji as a pilot, it makes more sense.

Like I said, the bond of a mother's soul is stronger than any other else as it's shown by NGE's themes, but it doesn't mean all other bonding possibilities are impossible. And Toji's bond with his sister is clearly very strong, kinda like in Grave of the Fireflies. Also I don't rule out the possibility of Toji's mother being the initial soul assigned in case he was ever chosen as a pilot, but if NERV only intended to use her soul and no one else's, I don't see why they couldn't have choosen anyone else other than Toji as a pilot. Apart from plot conveniences, of course.

This also explains why EVA 03 gets possessed so easily by Bardiel. Sakura, apart from being Toji's sister and not his mother, was heavily hospitalized and likely had no idea about the EVA synchronizing thing, unlike Yui, Kyoko and arguably even Rei I. Also like the latter, she was just a little girl, and occupied more the place of the protegee rather than the protector in her relationship with Toji. Considering these factors, it's very easy to understand why she would easily give in the possession while the other EVAs have resisted it. EVA 02's battle with Arael doesn't count as it invaded Asuka's mind directly, and Kaworu explicitly states that he's only able to control the same unit telepathically as its soul in hide.

Now let's get the counterarguments:

"But Rei is an artificial human and a partial clone of Lillith, the progenitor of humanity, so it makes her universally compatible with anyone, while Toji is a regular boy."

- I agree that Rei has some wildcards on her sleeve when we are going to analyze her synchronizing abilities, but if you are going to really analyze the Lillith argument for her universal compatibility, she would be a very distant ancestor of this generation of humanity, rather than directly their mother. Also considering she also has Yui's DNA, it messes up even more things.

"But Shinji's and Asuka's mothers are the souls of their EVAs, therefore wouldn't make sense for Toji's mom being a soul too?"

There are lot of important points on this matter. I'm going to use Naoko Akagi's personality imprinted on MAGI as an example: All three MAGI supercomputers were based on three aspects of her personality: Her as a scientist, her as a mother and her as a woman. Also the fact that Kyoko's motherly traits were used as the soul for EVA 02 highlights that they make this separation of roles.
We always look at the fact that both Yui and Kyoko are women and mothers to our main pilots, but we tend to overlook a thing: both are also scientists deeply involved in Gehirn/NERV's EVA project, therefore the fact that both serve as souls for the EVAs of their respective children isn't much of a surprise. Considering also that Yui joined EVA 01 by her own will and Asuka's father likely wasn't even involved in the project, it explains why it wasn't him or Gendo serving as the souls of the EVAs instead. Plus both Shinji and Asuka are single children, and even if they had sibilings, I doubt Yui or Kyoko would allow for them to be used as test subjects, as their first motherly instinct would be of protecting their offspring.
But Ritsuko on other hand isn't a mother and has already some very questionable morals, which makes more belieable that she would use Sakura as the soul for EVA 03.

And to finish my argument, on a narrative perspective it makes more sense to be Toji's sister since she actually plays a role despite not appearing at all, similar to the impact Dr. Katsuragi and Kyoko play respectively on Misato and Asuka despite not even having their faces shown clearly. Toji's mother is only mentioned once to never be mentioned again afterwards, her character means nothing to the narrative.

Anyway, comments?

EDIT: I added theory to the title because I'm aware of the highly speculative nature of my analysis, since NGE doesn't give much to work with that. But I hope we can still discuss it as an interesting possibility or whatever.
Last edited by synthmachine81 on Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Postby Lyrical » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:26 pm

Sakura can't be the soul for EVA-03. She's still alive. Touji only became a pilot to assure that NERV would provide her with medical care, and even if EVA-03 hadn't been taken over, Touji would've noticed if she went insane from losing part of her soul like Kyouko the second he saw her post-Contact Experiment, so it wouldn't have been a smart move for NERV. There's also no point in going out of their way to use her soul if they have Mrs. Suzuhara's available already, which they must because the entire purpose of the class Touji and Shinji are in is to be potential Eva pilots. In any case, you're challenging the need for a mother's soul, but you haven't actually given evidence to suggest that it's not needed, you've just made speculations. It seems more like you're trying to force Sakura's presence into the Eva than like there's any real reason to think that she's in there.

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Re: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Postby synthmachine81 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:27 am

View Original PostLyrical wrote: In any case, you're challenging the need for a mother's soul, but you haven't actually given evidence to suggest that it's not needed, you've just made speculations.


Yes I needed to fill in some blanks in order to connect the dots, but lots of topic discussions here on things that are not well cleared out on the anime will also rely on some speculation from the users parts. So it's a sin of my part but not a terrible one. (just read the banner of this forum lmao)

The main point is that we don't know how these souls are transfered into the EVAs, and also why was especifically Toji the one chosen as a pilot instead of anyone else. (again, aside from plot conveniences) How they store the mothers souls isn't clear either, but considering the Geofront is constantly attacked by Angels and they were after Adam and not some random dead mothers, they probably would be safer being stored somewhere else.

On Sakura's wellbeing, we also don't know how she is physically, but considering Toji said she was crushed by the wreckage of a building, we can at least assume that she would be heavily sedated for a while. The poor kid suffered a lot. Months passed and her conditions didn't seem to improve that much since she was still hospitalized. She could have been easily sedated again by the NERV medical staff.

I agree that this theory relies a lot on speculation since Toji is left out of the picture after episode 19, but it's not completely impossible since a lot is left open for us viewers.

[quote="Lyrical#869609" ]There's also no point in going out of their way to use her soul if they have Mrs. Suzuhara's available already, which they must because the entire purpose of the class Touji and Shinji are in is to be potential Eva pilots.[/quote]

I developed this idea mostly because of the rush they had into getting a pilot and how irrelevant Toji's mom is to the narrative. If the EVAs had come on the right time they were anticipated, they would likely have played out all that Marduk bullshit in order to not raise suspicion. But the need they had to get an EVA on field was bigger, which was the reason it became possessed by Bardiel.

I am going to make a parallel with Gendo's plan. His intents were to use Rei II as a medium of a fusion between Adam and Lillith in order to control Third Impact. However, Rei II was killed and Gendo did not have time to doctrinate Rei III to follow his agenda, but the need of fulfilling his objectives was bigger, so he used Rei III anyway, and then his plan was ruined. I am not saying that this is a direct parallel to what happened to Toji (though the fact that both lose limbs during the process is curious), but to state that this wouldn't be the only time the anime has explored the idea that a secondhand replacement in an all well thought scheme will ruin it altogether.
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Re: Theory: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Postby Lyrical » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:24 am

The main point is that we don't know how these souls are transfered into the EVAs, and also why was especifically Toji the one chosen as a pilot instead of anyone else.


Contact experiments. The soul is inserted into the Eva via the Entry Plug. A soul can be transferred from one vessel to another even if the original vessel is already dead; we know this because of Rei.

How they store the mothers souls isn't clear either, but considering the Geofront is constantly attacked by Angels and they were after Adam and not some random dead mothers, they probably would be safer being stored somewhere else.


If the EVAs had come on the right time they were anticipated, they would likely have played out all that Marduk bullshit in order to not raise suspicion. But the need they had to get an EVA on field was bigger, which was the reason it became possessed by Bardiel.


You're strawmanning a little here. You're saying that they would have kept the souls elsewhere for safety, but as you yourself noted, they have a very good reason to keep the souls at Japan's branch: emergencies. You also have to remember that Gendou and Ritsuko are both technically in opposition to SEELE and SEELE has control of NERV at large; there isn't any other location where they can store the souls without risking losing control of them should SEELE figure them out too soon. Finally, keeping Sakura at NERV was Touji's request, not something Ritsuko offered. They didn't know they would have access to her until they had already decided to approach Touji and by all accounts preparing a core that contains Sakura's soul would therefore have taken longer than prepping literally any other.

On Sakura's wellbeing, we also don't know how she is physically, but considering Toji said she was crushed by the wreckage of a building, we can at least assume that she would be heavily sedated for a while. The poor kid suffered a lot. Months passed and her conditions didn't seem to improve that much since she was still hospitalized. She could have been easily sedated again by the NERV medical staff.


Are you actually suggesting that NERV is going to be able to hide Sakura missing her soul from Toji forever? When they're specifically supposed to help her get better? (Even if you entertain the idea of them just keeping her sedated forever, surely Toji and the Suzuharas would notice that her condition was only getting worse and call it quits with NERV?) And even if they could, once again, why bother. Sure, you're saying that there was a rush job involved, but that doesn't seem likely because there's no real reason to keep the souls elsewhere. Nowhere on the planet is safer than Tokyo-3 and if the Angels break through Tokyo-3 then everything is fucked anyway. Asking why they keep the mothers' souls at NERV is like asking why they keep the MAGI at NERV.

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Re: Theory: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Postby Sachi » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:29 am

There are several context clues we can use to determine that Unit-03 is Toji's mother.

1) The Class of 2-A is revealed to be specially gathered together due to their potential as Eva pilots. There is a commonality among all of them that qualifies them.

2) The precedent for mothers is already strongly established with Yui and Kyoko in Units 01 and 02 respectively. Unit-00 is a bit more complicated, but fits in perfectly when we consider that the resident soul is Rei I, and given Rei's origins as Lilith, the universal mother of mankind, this explains why Shinji is able to sync with Unit-00 as well. Then there's Rei's connection with Yui, that may also assist in this cross-synchronization.

3) Kensuke explicitly tells Shinji he has no mother. Specifically, he reveals this when he's saying how jealous he is of Shinji being an Eva pilot. This establishes a commonality between Kensuke and the pilots.

4) Hikari explains that she cooks for her two sisters because there's nobody in her family that can. Hikari has taken up the mother role in her household, heavily inferring that her own mother is not around.

5) When Hikari offers to start making lunches for Toji, she notes that he's always buying lunch at school. This must indicate that there's no one at home to make him lunches, also heavily inferring he has no mother.

So, it would seem the show presents to us enough information to put these clues together. Between the reveal that everyone in Class 2-A has something in common that qualifies them as pilots, and clues indicating that nobody has a mom, it's a fairly safe assumption that Unit-03 is Toji's mom.
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Re: Theory: EVA 03's soul + Are Mothers' souls really the only ones who are able to bond with pilots?

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Postby thewayneiac » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:32 pm

The trouble here is that they imply that Touji has no mother for a reason. This information is consistent with his fitting into the "Pilots Mother" scenario. If Unit-03 has his sister's soul, why bother telling us he has no mother? Also, if "Sakura" had taken a sudden turn for the worst, wouldn't the audience be given that information through Touji?
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