Did Last A actually happen?

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Did Last A actually happen?

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Postby FelipeFritschF » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:55 pm

I assume most people here are aware of EoE's two discarded endings, Last A and Last B. While Last B was far more bleak than the the ending we got, Last A is still somewhat similar to One More Final, with the most noticeable difference being Asuka's final line being altered.

SPOILER: Show
Last A

You already know the beginning of this one (a beach, petrified headless Evas, etc).
Thew, we see the graves Shinji made (it's stated by Anno it was _he_ who made them). The names of all main Eva characters are written on them, except for "Ayanami Rei".
We then see Asuka's grave.
And Asuka's foot kicking it to the ground. ^^;
(you can still see these graves in the actual ending... no names, but there is Misato's pendant nailed on one of them, and an other has been kicked down ^^ )
We then see Shinji and Asuka on the beach... and you know that scene, too (but this draft demonstrates that Shinji and Asuka didn't just wake up there after Third Impact... they've been living here for some times... meaning they _could_ be the two only humans willing to return, after all... ^^; )
When Shinji starts crying, Asuka was supposed to say something like "Idiot. No way I'll let you kill me" ("idiot" was removed in the storyboards... and the whole line was modified, eventually).

Then, the ending music (so, there was one... ^^ ) was supposed to begin, and the staff credits were to appear (Anno suggests a horizontal scrolling, like in GunBuster, I guess).
We were to see Eva-01 lying on the Moon, and woman's hair showing from its broken mask (but her face remains unseen).
Behind Eva-01, you could see Earth, entirely red.
And the Black Moon, destroyed.
The camera goes to the sun, then to the stars.
Credits end.
"Shûgeki" ("the end").


However, there's one thing that still catches my eye:

Image

The graves are still around. Like in Last A, we can't see if there's anything written in them (I suppose Shinji simply had no means of writing or carving any names), but they are still there, even the one with Misato's pendant. And one of them is still broken in half.

So, to fill in the gaps, what I propose is this:

- Lilith "dies", Shinji re-materializes in the Sea of LCL, he swims/walks to the beach, and spends some time there (duh), enough time to gather some wood and erect these graves.

- Last A happens, or at least in part. Asuka herself returns from Instrumentality, she goes to the beach (instead of just materializing by his side), and finds the markers Shinji set in her and the other character's memory. Immediately she assumes Shinji thinks she's dead, so she kicks the marker with her name to signify she's alive. She finds Shinji asleep on the ground. Instead of waking him up, she decides to sit and sleep by his side. Maybe she even says"Idiot. No way I'll let you kill me", but not loud enough to wake him up.

- "One More Final: I need you" happens. Shinji wakes up, gets a brief glimpse at Quantum Rei, and is surprised to find Asuka by his side. He chokes her, she caresses him, he stops.

- I've also heard that the the EoE poster is canon, can anyone confirm this? If it is, it would mean that at the very least Shinji still got up, Asuka sat, and both of them spent some time looking at the horizon and Lilith's head.

This has some interesting implications because I think it further debunks the shipp-y theory that Shinji somehow made Asuka go back (which contradicts Yui's statements), but instead that Asuka came back on her own, kicked her own presumed grave and even chose to stay with Shinji. Which isn't shipp-y at all, mind you.

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Postby Reichu » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:43 pm

This has, naturally, come up any number of times over the forum's history. I'm inclined to agree that things happened essentially as you describe. I've encountered nothing else that works as well and takes all things into account. As it so happens, the final version of the script explicitly describes the burnt pieces of wood as grave markers that have been lined up, and specifies that one has been kicked out. If Last A is ignored as a reference, then you just have to make something from scratch for why the graves are there and one is "kicked down" -- what's the point?

Just a couple of things:

- I'm not sure how Asuka's discarded final line would make sense in a pre-strangling context. When has she ever let him (not) kill her before? Keep in mind that in when the previous strangling scene happens, Asuka is already dead, and the strangling is therefore a visual symbol for something a bit more metaphysical (similar to how Shinji and Asuka don't actually have sex; that's just a metaphor for all barriers being down between them).

- The final scene is not called "One More Final: I Need You". What you're seeing before the final scene is the second title card for episode 26', displaying the English title (in contrast to the Japanese title, Magokoro o, kimi ni, which was displayed much earlier). Every Eva episode has two titles, and this one is no different. "One More Final" is not an Engrishy way of saying "epilogue", but a reference to Magokoro o's TV ending counterpart, which has the secondary title, "Finale: Take Care of Yourself". That is: if the TV ending is the "Finale", the theatrical ending is "One More Final(e)".

You can see, I hope, how the two titles are complementary (Take Care of Yourself vs. I Need You) -- the thematic importance of which is lost or muddled if OMF:INY is mistaken for the only time NGE puts a title to a single scene. Now, I'm sure that title card was positioned before the epilogue on purpose, but this is for reasons of thematic resonance, not because it is slapping a name on the epilogue.


...It also occurs to me that the way "last" is used in "Last A/B" is a specifically Japanese thing, where in English you would instead say "last (whatever)", "ending", or "conclusion". I guess nobody has said anything because it makes just enough sense to shrug it off and roll with it.
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Re: Did Last A actually happen?

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Postby Joseki » Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:18 pm

Was Shinji sleeping when we see him near Asuka? I always imagined that they saw eachother at some point, presumably while Shinji was erecting the graves, then decided to lay down and stargaze while reflecting/contemplating, all without saying a word until their first real verbal/phisical exchange, the strangling/kimochi warui scene.

I also think that EoE's poster is somewhat canon: is not like they had really much more to do while waiting for others to come back. I guess it would also be the realization of Asuka's desire of having Shinji all for herself, in the same "twisted" way that Shinji's come back to reality is the realization of his desire to leave in the real world no matter how hard it may be.
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Re: Did Last A actually happen?

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Postby Reichu » Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:32 pm

The graves had been there for at least a little while already. You can see rust from the nail washed onto Misato's cross. It's also my distinct impression that Shinji was spacing out and didn't realize Asuka was there at first; he only notices her after he turns his head to look at Rei. And even then, it takes another moment for his eyes to actually focus on Asuka.

The EoE poster can't be taken totally literally since GNR's split head is not going to right itself like that. As for the two kiddies looking out to sea, it would be rather weird if that DIDN'T happen at some point... (I mean, think about it.)
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Postby DawkingsDD » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:07 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:The graves had been there for at least a little while already. You can see rust from the nail washed onto Misato's cross.


I don't know if I can quite buy that, for rust to build up would imply a very long while has passed not just a "little while". The entire prospect of rejecting Instrumentality only to fail at the end seems unfitting in a way.

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Postby Reichu » Thu Apr 20, 2017 1:56 am

Why assume that Shinji used a brand new nail?
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Postby Chuckman » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:45 pm

Could it not be a bloodstain, rather than rust?

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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:51 pm

Didn't somebody who paid a lot of attention to the cycles of the moon determine that between the first post-impact scene and the ending choking scene roughly two weeks had elapsed, based on the phases of the moon ? Rust can build up in that amount of time.

edit:
Image

If you were to imagine the image on the left being viewed from a more earthly angle, the moon would either be a sliver or a completely new moon. The final image shows a full moon. It may actually be more like a month that has passed.

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Postby Reichu » Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:49 pm

Shinji just used whatever pieces of charred wood he found lying around. Finding old nails in wooden boards isn't an extraordinary event, last I was aware. (Typically, you have to be careful around unfamiliar scraps of wood, lest you be glad you got your tetanus shot.) Regardless of how long Shinji's been sitting around on the beach, the nail was probably there to start with.
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Re: Did Last A actually happen?

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:37 pm

View Original PostChuckman wrote:Could it not be a bloodstain, rather than rust?


Haven't seen that angle brought up before. Interesting.

And if we presume the rust, if it is indeed rust vs. blood, washed onto the cross rather than building up over time, doesn't that suggest the cross doesn't tell us anything about how long Shinji's been there? Going by that alone it would seem 3I could have happened that morning and the cross would look the same (all the more true if that's blood or something else, such as dirt or ash or whatever; if the nail was already in the wood the simple act of getting the cross over the curve in the nail could have put whatever it is that's on the cross, or it could have been smeared by Shinji's hand in the process . . . heck, it could be anything).
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Postby Reichu » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:03 pm

The stain is grayish and is streaking down from the nail itself.

Image

Not blood.
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Postby Chuckman » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:17 pm

Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Reichu? It appears quite black.

I have absolutely no way of proving that is blood, but you have no way of proving it isn't. It totally could be.* I've never considered that before.

Blood from a nail on a cross is a rather fitting image, too.

*Actually it's neither. It's ink.

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Postby pwhodges » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:51 pm

That smear quite simply looks like a rust stain to me, and so I see no reason to try to make it be something else given that it is under an obviously rusty nail exactly as a rust stain would be.

Moreover, even starting with a rusty nail and regular light rain or heavy dews, it would take at least a week or two to get like that - so I can't argue against the common conclusion that Shinji has been around for a little while before Asuka returns (though as usual in anime his clothes are none the worse for wear as a result!).
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Postby Chuckman » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:58 pm

I'm not going to beat this into the ground but you don't see any reason to attach a bloodstain to a nail in a cross?

Bloodstains look like rust anyway.

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Postby pwhodges » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:23 pm

That sounds to me like a misguided application of symbolism for no useful outcome; in this case I believe it's sufficient for a rusty nail to cause a rust stain, thus indicating a modest passage of time. Sometimes, even in Eva, rust is just rust.
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Postby Bagheera » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:32 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:That smear quite simply looks like a rust stain to me, and so I see no reason to try to make it be something else given that it is under an obviously rusty nail exactly as a rust stain would be.


It's one of those situations where I think the common interpretation is perfectly reasonable, but see room for others. And really, the symbolism of a cross stained with a Stigmatic's blood and nailed to a grave marker is pretty dope. I'd certainly be willing to entertain the notion if someone wanted to run with it for some reason.
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Postby pwhodges » Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:57 pm

Symbolism is all very well, but it generally has to lead or guide one towards a useful interpretation to be justified. Otherwise it's just noise - saying "Ooh, it's symbolic!" gets us precisely nowhere. So, what does making the stain blood actually achieve in that scene? Making it rust has an obvious interpretation.
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Postby Bagheera » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:55 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:Symbolism is all very well, but it generally has to lead or guide one towards a useful interpretation to be justified. Otherwise it's just noise - saying "Ooh, it's symbolic!" gets us precisely nowhere. So, what does making the stain blood actually achieve in that scene? Making it rust has an obvious interpretation.


Christ allusions for Shinji? Or perhaps rejection of such as he returns the cross to its former owner? A callback to earlier parts of EoE and the vague religious symbolism running throughout the story? There are lots of possibilities.

Like I said, I think the common reading is fine, but I'm willing to entertain alternatives. Why not?
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Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Reichu » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:07 pm

If you want blood in that scene, look at the neck stub of the one MP Eva. There's your blood.

If Anno wanted to make the nail "bleed", he would have been obvious about it. There's so much red in that scene that when something that's frequently reddish (rust) is depicted as gray instead, one shouldn't have to stretch for intent.
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Postby StrokeMeGoat » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:26 pm

Reichu, while I agree that it's rust (why would it be streaming down from just below the nail in particular if it were a blood smear and not more in the center, there's just no reason to assume it would be blood), your argument about the colors doesn't really hold up.

Image
Picture on the left is dried blood, right is rust. In the dark they'd look similarly desaturated and kind of greyish and brownish. The fact of the matter is that it holds little real symbolic value, and whether or not it's really blood or rust doesn't make a lot of difference. Given what I pointed out by the differences in the moon phases, and nearly a month has elapsed, there's been ample time for rust to form. It's placement with a rusty nail just above it makes it both an obvious and safe assumption to make. To come to the conclusion that it's blood is really stretching it. Not to mention Shinji's hands no longer have the stigmata after impact. We visibly do not see them and he regains his form out of LCL, so why would he still have them?


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