Bagheera wrote:It's more accurate to say the DC edits can change how you interpret the older material, not that they necessarily do.
While that's a reasonable assessment for some of the changes (off the top of my head, you could
reasonably infer Asuka's feelings for Shinji without the added focus given in 22', or you could not
) it overlooks the fact that some of the changes in the DC episodes are not only additions, but revisions
which drastically complicate their relationship with the OA episodes. From seemingly innocuous background details in 23'--such as the elevator shaft in Terminal Dogma evolving from a stylized wallpaper of neon double helices into a decaying honeycomb, and the unceremonious Eva dumping ground re-imagined as an elaborate Sephiroth shaped death-pit--all the way up to the lake scene in 24' and the rewritten Seele dialogue during Kaworu's descent: details which complicate both their motives and, following the logic of the OA episode, can only be read as a gaping plot hole.
It's tricky. I wonder if people exposed to the DC episodes first go into the OA versions with different biases.
Eliaskar wrote:This is the first i've seen of people being purists and prefering the OA versions, why is that? I don't understand, if the DC versions add more material and improve the quality of the animation, how could they be worse?
While part of me wants to say the DC episodes and EoE, being Anno's final utterance on the subject of Eva, ought to take precedent over the OA episodes, another part of me thinks the revised material isn't only a clarification of the original ending, but a response
to it. They each have fundamentally distinct forms of underlying logic which lead them to two noticeably different conclusions. Not that I want to be willfully obscurantist here, because my reading of both EoE and EoTV is that they, more or less, depict the same events
, but several factors--could be Anno's emotional state, the reaction to EoTV and D&R, being allowed more time with the material and thus finding connections he previously had not made--lead to Anno coloring those two versions of the same events in radically different light.
Thus far the bulk of the debate between EoE and EoTV is that, because they differ so drastically emotionally they must show different outcomes, or because they're both about rejecting instrumentality, you could somehow fit EoTV into gaps between EoE. Neither is a position I would take. What I find counterproductive about this debate is that we're only discussing the endings with the mordantly inefficient geek vocabulary, and not taking into account the realities of the creative process. One isn't more canon than the other, the revisions aren't retcons, and the two don't diverge into alternate universes. (If anything were to come after them, say Rebuild sequel theory being correct, then this would be a debate worth having in terms of that later, derivative work, but thus far, each ends only in itself.)
Shinji's self-actualization in EoTV results in a wave of literal earth-shattering joy, while in EoE it's far more guarded, almost resigned. Much of the traumatic material from EoE being (excised is a poor word, so...) simply not present, combined with Shinji allowed a triumphant victory over his own self-loathing, leaves EoTV a happy ending which is, emotionally speaking at least, comparatively unambiguous. The true OA episodes having a distinctly more cutesy, cartoon-like art style reflects this comparative easiness in a subtle way. What EoTV says is 'Come out of your shell, it's worth it to live in the real world. Your friends will love you and everyone will be happy. What EoE says is 'Come out of your shell. Life is hard. People are difficult. You're always going to doubt yourself, and change is painful, but ultimately rewarding.' Frankly, I think that one ending builds off the other in this not quite contradictory, but definitely asterisk-affixing way is emotionally honest. That first step out of depression does feel triumphant. Keeping it at bay is hard. You do frequently come close to relapse. It can be a real trial to stay out of that quagmire, and sometimes it's unavoidable and you doubt yourself over and over. More than anything, I would argue the difference in tone between the two endings represents Anno's evolution not only as an artist, but a person.
I'm reminded of William Faulkner, who wrote in the final volume of his 23-years-in-the-making Snopes trilogy that he noticed several contradictions between this last book and the previous two, but asked that you kindly overlook them because his understanding of not only his characters, but the human condition
, had changed significantly in that time. This is to the say nothing of his masterpiece The Sound and the Fury
, which has at least three different versions, due to the possible inclusion of an appendix he wrote twenty years later. The original is obliquely Freudian, regarded as a difficult novel for its stream of consciousness, time displaced narrative and abrupt ending. The appendix, written in Faulkner's later densely historical style greatly expands upon the lineage and life of the central family, clarifies certain events, but misremembers others. (Does young Quentin climb down a drainpipe or a tree branch, to steal her uncle Jason's savings? Is it hidden in the closet, or the dresser drawer?) It contains conflicted readings of half the central cast. Characters who are spiteful are painted as rational, characters who are Oedipal is painted as honor-bound. It's a grafted limb with a self-contained sense of instability, and--if you let it--can fundamentally alter your reading of a text whose gradual reveal of information was already so controlled, any sudden change is radically transformative. The first reprinting included the appendix first, as a stylized obituary, and it front-loads the reader with the life and death of every character, leaving them with perhaps too firm a material foundation on which to delve into the isolation of their subjective experience. It was later reprinted with the appendix at the end, giving it final say in a grimly ironic way. You can argue the appendix as a different work from the original novel, or you could argue it as the long delayed final chapter. Regardless, it doesn't change the fact that you now have three versions of the same novel, and none of them are more valid than any other. Who decides? Academics? Publishers? The version with the appendix first is out of print. Who's going to stop you from reading the appendix first anyway? There's precedent for it.
For me at least, the only honest way to read Eva is semi-pluralistically. Whenever I rewatch it, part of me feels obligated to do it in the order of 1-26, then 21'-24' (sometimes with Death, because that's a piece I haven't entirely made up my mind about) & finishing with EoE. In some ways, the DC edits & EoE exist in a nebulous space between rewrite and derivative work, because of that tantalizing mixture of clarification and contradiction. They exist knowing episodes 21-26 already formed a completed movement, maybe something of an abberance wrought by circumstance, but undoubtedly with a life of their own. Thus, no longer compromised by lack of resources, Anno could expand upon his original intended ending, but it would be done beneath the specter of his previously completed ending. Taking that into account, you could make the argument that the DC cuts in some odd way continue from both episode 20 and from 26, spiraling back onto themselves in a self-elevating matter but that could be difficult for the overly-literal minded to wrap their heads around, so I will expound no further upon what I hope is this last tantalizing detail.