I've started a draft for a preliminary "In Depth" page on the Sex issue. (I had a clever title for it, which I promptly forgot before I could write it down. Dammit.) I'm basically just going to lay out EVERYTHING that aligns Evas and SoLs with "feminine"/"female". Here is what I've scribbled out so far for the Evas, without any formatting, links, or images, so forgive its unrefined nature. Mostly, I'm just interested in any immediate suggestions, and things that my brain is glossing over at the moment. (Yes, it really DOES happen!)
:goes off to work on SoLs:
In Depth: Of Evas, SoLs, and Ovaries
Once one gets over the fact that the Evas aren't robots after all, but giant humanoids who have been imprisoned via cybernetic invasion of the central nervous system, what is the next stage of inquiry? Why, "what's their sex?", of course!
If something is not "familiarly human", people tend to default to "it". (But see my issues with pronouns here.) Even though the Evas are identified as human (using NGE's redefinition of the term), people still oftentimes cannot look beyond the "alien" exterior, when, in fact, we are SUPPOSED to look beyond it. A subject for elsewhere, though.
Additionally, one of the overarching themes of NGE is the importance of the mother to the human existence, and the Evas are a blatant part of this theme. So, too, are Earth's two Sources of Life, Adam and Lilith. But, if you take everything the show tells you at face value, we are not just being handed "thematic mothers", but "physical females", as well.
Even though the status of these entities as females is not "terribly important" in the grand scheme of things, it's still something that I think should be acknowledged. I certainly do think that if the show is "read" in a straightforward and nondismissive manner -- i.e., you listen to IT and play by ITS rules -- this is one of those things that should be so elementary, once the evidence is laid out and given the nod, that there shouldn't even be any argument.
Since the Evas are given the most coverage, we'll start with them.
But, first off, I would like to point out that the moniker of "Eva" (short for "Evangelion", but also, of relevance here, German for "Eve") ultimately does not count as evidence here. The reason for this is the case of Adam's own name: It is only used in a loose thematic sense that disregards sex; ergo, none of the other esoteric names can be used as a basis for gender. The Evas are only named such because they are, like the Eva/Eve (or Chavvah, if you're a stickler like me) of Genesis, made from the body of Adam. But, on an aside, they seem to have a bit more in common with their Adam than the Eve of Genesis has with hers.
Moving right along.
Japanese uses pronouns far more sparingly than English -- FAR. The pronoun "it" has no direct equivalent, either. The language works much differently in this regard.
In the show, the Evas are almost universally regarded by the cast as mere "things", artificial constructs without sentience -- and the characters who know better would, in most situations, have to maintain this pernicious myth. (Most of the NGE-related publications treat the Evas in a similar manner.) But, incidentally, there ARE two occasions (AFAIK) when a pronoun is actually used: "kanojo", "she". Let me point out straightaway that, no, Japanese ships, et al., are not called "she". Only females. English and Japanese are completely different languages, remember.
The first instance is when EVA-01 goes "batshit crazy" against Zeruel in #19. After Maya informs us of Shinji's synchronization rate, Ritsuko says, "Yahari mezameta no? ...Kanojo ga." That's basically "Japanese-stream-of-thought" talk for, "Does this mean that she has awakened?" Of course, those looking to brush this one off like to assign the "she" Yui's soul specifically and not EVA-01 herself, since Ritsuko doesn't single out which of the two she's referring to. (Even though, technically, Yui and EVA-01 have really been one and the same ever since that fated day in 2004.) Hence, the Eva is still an "it". Good grief.
The second instance is towards the end of #24, once Kaworu has been "captured". He tells Shinji, "Nigouki wa, kimi ni tomete oite moraita kattanda. Sou shinakereba, kanojo to ikitsuzuketa kamoshirenai kara ne." (Phew!) That basically means, "I wanted you to stop EVA-02. Otherwise, I may have gone on living with her." Exactly what he means by this is unimportant here. What's significant is that Kaworu refers to the Eva, specifically, as "she". Kaworu is used in #24 to convey a HUGE amount of information to the audience, so, like everything else, this little tidbit should not be taken lightly, unless one is willing to dismiss everything else...
(2) Female Souls / Mothers and Motherless Children
It's common knowledge that EVA-01's soul is that of Yui Ikari and EVA-02's is that of Soryu Kyoko Zeppelin. Of course, these are the mothers of their respective pilots, Shinji Ikari and Soryu Asuka Langley. The reason for the Mother-Child/Eva-Pilot connection is a matter for elsewhere.
EVA-00 and Rei is an unusual case. EVA-00 contains another manifestation of Rei, her identity as Rei 1. (This is a mess that still hasn't been fully resolved. But the show itself tells us this much, without explaining how, exactly, it is possible.) Rei, in any of her incarnations, does not have a mother as Shinji and Asuka "did". For Rei 2, Rei 1 is the "next best thing", although the EXACT reason for this is something for elsewhere.
Toji, Kensuke, Hikari, and the other students of Class 2-A are "fourth level candidates" -- whatever exactly that denotes, they are potential Eva pilots. Kensuke tells us that he has no mother, and it is heavily intimated that the other two -- and, by extent, the entire class -- are similarly motherless. (NGE does not like to spoonfeed the audience, after all. "Take a hint, guys.") It has been speculated that Nerv has all of their mothers' bodies preserved in storage -- with their souls contained safely -- in case need for them should ever arise. Of course, only one was ever used, owing to the fact that EVA-04 was lost and Seele used a Dummy System for the rest. In any case, it can be safely said that EVA-03 contained Toji's mother, however briefly.
Originally posted on: 17-Jan-2006, 18:01 GMT