The story of New Theatrical Edition occurs within a single, forward-moving timeline that encompasses thousands of years. Within this span of time, a similar series of events -- humans find gods, humans create Evas, Evas destroy Angels, artificial evolution is attempted via Impact -- has played out twice on Earth. The first “loop” involved the Antediluvians (tentative designation), a technologically-advanced race of forerunners who wiped out their civilization through First Impact. The second “loop” involves the successors of the Antediluvians, the Lilin, being guided to a state of advancement by seven surviving ADan representatives (Seele), with the ultimate intention of undoing the damage wrought by First Impact. The Final Impact, the last stage in this purification process, will produce a renewed third take on humanoid sapience for the planet Earth.
^ While extremely simplified, this gives you a general idea of how batshit insane this thread will eventually get. As they say in Japan, “Please look forward to it!”
Table of Contents
Part I. Introduction (Pact Between Man & God)
A. Our Seele Is Different
B. The Covenant
C. Original Sin
D. The Serpent
E1 & E2. Divine Numbers (Background; Lilith's Resurrection & The True God)
E3 & E4. Divine Numbers (Seven Motif; Seele = Seven Eyes)
Part II. Signs of an Ancient World
Part III. Of Purification, Resurrection, and Deification
I. Pact Between Man and God
A. Not Your Mama's Global Conspiracy
When NTE began, it was easy to assume that Seele wasn’t too different from the one we were used to. Sure, there was a different number of monoliths, they appeared only as monoliths from the start, and they now had a “covenant” with Lilith (whatever that meant), but they still seemed pretty much like your average doomsday cult of old men who secretly rule the world.
Then Q dropped a bombshell on us:
Eva 3.0 Dansubs wrote:GENDO:
Though your souls may have taken on a different form,
you are still products of the forbidden fruit.
While it may be possible to live eternally,
death must come to you as it does to us.
In your quest to assist the evolution of those burdened with mortality,
you gave us civilization.
On behalf of all humanity, I express our gratitude.
With your deaths, I will return your souls to where they belong.
A somewhat more literal translation, in case it’s helpful:
Though you have all changed the form of your souls,
you are still creatures blessed with the Fruit of Knowledge.
Though you could have lived for an eternity,
you can escape the fate of death no more than us.
To advance the evolution of the flock burdened by death,
you gave us the gift of civilization.
On behalf of humanity, I thank you.
Let death return your souls to where they belong.
During this scene, the monoliths are “shut off”, which turns them a plain gray color and reveals scans of human brains plus
(Interestingly, the graphic on the back of the monoliths vanishes when they go gray, while the designs on the front stay. This may be worth taking a look at later in the thread.)
There’s a lot to take in here, so let’s go over the implications step by step.
1) Seele are the monoliths, and the monoliths are Seele’s souls.
There’s a very good reason we never saw any Seele members as actual flesh-and-blood people in NTE: their bodies no longer exist. At some point in the past, they ‘changed the shape of their souls’. What this means becomes clear when the monoliths are shut off, and they are revealed to have holographic(?) scans of human brains inside them. This implies not only that their complete brain data exists within the monoliths, but that the neurological network of the brain and the “soul” are the same thing, or close to it. Reinforcing this connection is the fact that the "Seele" (meaning "soul") logo is perfectly contained within the brain portion of the scan.
This brings to mind lore from NGE, wherein digitized personality patterns were effectively “artificial souls”. (This despite the fact that, in NGE, the soul included not only the entirety of the mind, but encoded all data pertaining to the body as well; which is how people are able to reform themselves perfectly from any LCL.) NTE introduces a new angle to the overall concept in terms of the technology used to achieve this. Look at the Seele monoliths very closely and tell me what you see:
No, not the logo (though we’ll go over that later). The core texture! This texture takes on a “corrupted” appearance as of Q, and of course is gone entirely when the monoliths are shut off, but its presence in the first place is pretty significant. “Core texture” is utilized very carefully in these films, and while it’s still quite an open question where the movies are going in terms of the expanded role that they give cores and their constituent material, Anno’s memo regarding the texture provides some insight:
“The soul made material” seems especially pertinent here. It doesn’t provide any kind of solid answer as to what “core” actually is, but it does reinforce the point about Seele transforming their souls. Presumably the monoliths are not a mere digitization or the like, but are their genuine souls, merely converted from one state to another. This would make the core-tech the monoliths use VERY different from the “personality OS” tech of NGE, which only generates a crude copy of a soul at best.
How might this transformation be achieved? Well…
Yui vanishing inside Eva-01 as a result of her bizarre “direct core entry” experiment means that she was completely absorbed by the core. Her “data” was transformed from one state (that of a flesh-and-blood being) to another (information/consciousness inside an Eva’s core). The mysterious case of the SDAT — which was inside Eva-00 when the 10th Angel devoured it, was metaphysically transferred to Eva-01 when it absorbed Eva-00’s core, and was later restored to a physical state —
indicates that “core” can act as a storage medium even where non-biological data is concerned, which is... interesting. With the monoliths having an implied “core” nature, perhaps their “transformation” involved the Seele members being absorbed wholesale into the monoliths, with the result that they continued to exist inside this medium until it was deliberately destroyed. At this point, it's possible their souls returned to their natural form -- the monoliths going gray imply that the life has left them, i.e., the souls have departed.
Another point of reference indicating that “core-tech” as a concept replaces the personality digitization methods of NGE is the DMYSYS. Next to nothing is known about this thing, but design-wise it resembles a spinal column, and where a skull should be it instead has the aptly-named “Head Unit”. This “Head Unit” exhibits core texture when active, suggesting it utilizes the same or similar technology as the Seele monoliths. Its status as a “head” links it to the monoliths further in that they all contain “heads” (see images from earlier).
^ Note "Head Unit" text on unit.
^ Note core texture.
2) Seele are really, really old.
During his speech, Gendo reminds Seele that, despite them moving their souls into resilient core-monoliths, they are still mortal and that death has come for them at last. In other words, these specific individuals have been evading death. But for how long? “You gave us civilization” doesn’t leave much to the imagination. When precisely “actual” civilization began is a bit fuzzy, but, assuming known human history in the NTE universe was mostly similar to ours, the seven members of Seele would probably be at least ~10,000 years old.
3) Seele guided human development.
Seele being a reference to 2001’s monoliths has been taken to its logical conclusion. They are no longer merely agents of human evolution — they are Forerunners as well! The exact extent of their involvement is left vague as hell, but we’re bluntly told that they advanced us to a civilized state for the express purpose of aiding our evolution. This may mean nothing more than what it says on the surface (as in, making Lilin civilized was the evolution they intended to induce), but... considering this is Seele? The odds of their end game for us being “civilization” is less than zero. The implications are quite ominous, really. We’ll look at this more later.
These last two items change the game in NTE significantly. The repercussions of these alteration to the lore are huge. To really pick apart the extent to which “You gave us civilization” matters, and isn’t merely a “wtf moment” that will never come up again, we need to step back and look at a few things:
Who are Seele? What are Seele? And what do they want?
To be continued in the next post! (And, yes, the answers may largely be old news, but I’m just covering all my bases here. Give the thread time to get going...)