: Many thanks for taking a look! You bring up some great points, and I definitely need to investigate further, just in case there's anything to be found. (You made your edits surreptitiously while I was composing this post, so this post only refers to what you originally wrote.)
Yui is somewhat inscrutable in NGE, and to this day there isn't a consensus on what her actual plans consisted of. With NTE so far giving us even less information about her directly, I don't feel especially
good about our prospects -- as fans trying to anticipate the direction this will go -- right now.
There are some possible avenues of exploration that I see. One involves the idea that Yui herself is an artificial being and/or is some kind of "demi-Lilin" herself. The first bit of evidence for this is her name; there is something strange going on with the -namis, and Yui is the first of them (Yui Ayanami). There's a little more about this here
. The second piece of evidence is Yui's experiment. First there is the fact that she is considered qualified to attempt to pilot an Eva in the first place, combined with the halo she generates while she enters the core.
As per my arguments in another thread, the eventual five main Eva pilots we get are artificial beings with some kind of direct link to the beings they bond with. Their existence does not exclude the possibility of other "transitional" beings being created before them, however. In fact, it would make more sense if the technology used to create the pilots didn't come out of nowhere, but was gradually refined over time, via successive experiments involving Lilin.
Yui's halo does seem as though it is being generated with the assistance of the equipment she's wearing: between the two images I've provided above, her "crown of thorns" (Eva
using that particular Jesus imagery was going to happen sooner or later, eh?) can be seen to have twelve spikes on it altogether, and the halo appears to have twelve trailing lines under it as well. However, it's important to consider the possibility that Yui can only use this technology to generate a halo because there is something special about her in the first place. The pilots provide an analogy: they use technology to pilot the Evas, but not just anyone would be able to hop into the plug and do what they do. The halo becomes even more interesting because, short of perhaps the giant sealing pillar, we never see another example of a halo being technologically generated. Even entities that you'd think should be able to manifest them, like Shinji when he's turning into energy, or Kaworu period
, never do. (Eva-01's halo in fact comes from Yui's presence and not Shinji's, as proven by the Wunder generating two halos without Shinji being present in Eva-01. The first comes from Yui, the second from Rei.) Something strange is going on.
The weirdness deepens further:
- Eva-01 is being compared to Nadia
's Adam. Both giant artificial humans. Adam was created is by an ancient civilization, and chances seem quite high that Eva-01 was as well (though it wouldn't have been called "Eva-01" back then).
- There is a mysterious sculpture in episode 8 of Nadia that has the same "crossed arms" pose as Adam. I'm not sure what the sculpture specifically represents, but it's used as an example of Atlantean art, if nothing else. Another "giant being" + "creation of ancient civilization" association.
- Yui during her test is doing the "crossed arms" pose, which is... suspicious. She's further identified with Adam, however subtly, by the fact that she's flanked by rings from above (halo) and below (circular platform).
- Eva-13 is cross-referenced with both Yui (crossed arms + devices with red circles and triangles on wrists) and with Nadia's Adam and mysterious sculpture of a giant. The Nadia references feel straightforward enough: as with Eva-01 being compared to Adam, Eva-13 is implied to hail from an ancient technological past. The Yui reference is rather boggling to me. She obviously isn't in Eva-13, since we know she's still inside Eva-01, so the best guess I have is that some kind of analogy is being made in terms of core-based technology -- this is something I would have to unpack elsewhere. But in any case, Yui is being compared to a technological monstrosity that she doesn't seem to have a DIRECT connection to, which is quite interesting.
tl;dr: Yui, for some reason or another, is being visually associated with creations of an ancient civilization (Atlantis from Nadia), one of them being the first human being ever made; two of the Adamsian Evas from NTE; A/angels (halo and wings); and Jesus (via her "crown of thorns"). Another bit of weirdness I could point out is that Yui is also a Virgin Mary figure, on account of being the mother of a god incarnate (Shinji).
I wish I could say I was done, but there's one more thing. Kudos to UrsusArctos for noticing this.
Compositionally, it looks a bit like a cross-shaped horn is emerging from Yui's forehead. The "horn" aspect brings to mind Eva-01, of course, but what about the "cross" aspect? In NTE, crosses are often associated with control / restraint, or with divinity. Here, it could easily be both. The cross symbolically piercing her forehead suggests that Yui's "third eye", as it were, is normally closed, and under certain circumstances her potential can be unleashed. Think of the Topless from Gunbuster 2
, who normally wear a seal over a specific spot on their forehead, and rip it off in order to release their psychic powers. In this case, the "Crown of Thorns", along with perhaps other elements of Yui's get-up such as the wings, unlock Yui's abilities. They figuratively remove the cross-seal from her third eye and let her potential express itself. Yui's "Topless" status enables her, then, to interface with a core, which in turn enables her to merge with Eva-01.
Yui may not be the only "enhanced human" (outside of the main pilot quintet), either. Addressing that bit of weirdness is part of my substantial backlog. It's hard to understate just how weird these movies are, along with the sheer exuberance with which they embrace "leaning hard on NGE while fearlessly diverging from NGE".
The implications here that both Yui and Fuyutsuki have statuses that are significantly altered from NGE make it profoundly difficult to rely upon NGE in any appreciable way for guidance. (About the extent of its usefulness is "check and see if any of the original NGE scheme can be confirmed to exist in some way in NTE, if possible".) Absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.
EDIT: I'm not sure I can agree with the main thrust of your "metanarrative" argument. Anno has made NTE much more similar to Nadia than NGE ever was in countless ways, but, in terms of what you're saying, he's using the pilots to link the distant past with the present day. Similar to how Nadia's Atlantean heritage eventually needed to be discussed in her show, so too will the connection between the pilots and Gods of Old -- it would make little sense to leave something so important about the young leads 100% implied. The utility of "Gargutsuki" here is that he will force the point; he will make that ancient past matter in a completely unavoidable way to the present. You express doubts about the past mattering to the present, but Gendo chose to have a son who is the embodiment of an ancient god. Everything is connected; everything matters. The truth of the past cannot be escaped.
Many of your points are based on incredibly specific assumptions about the implementation of "Gargutsuki". My argument is basically just that 'this is a thing that will exist', not 'it will take up x% of the film's runtime' and so on. So it's difficult for me to argue against many of these -- I'm in essence arguing against your own very delicately nuanced perception of how the movie should happen, not
defending claims I myself have made, which frames the discussion in a way I would prefer to avoid if possible.
But suffice it to say, NTE has never needed to "focus" much on the people actually driving the plot. This has been the case from the very start, and Q takes it to the next level. (Shinji is the focus of Q, but almost everything that happens in the film is completely beyond his understanding or control.) Anno is a master of doing an incredible amount with very little. Consider how in NGE, Yui is the master driver of the actual plot, and she has an incredibly limited number of 'actual lines' and otherwise acts upon the plot through "mecha action" and the like. I have no
doubt whatsoever about Anno's ability to pull off what I've suggested.
I actually do
think that the "climax" of the movie will be the realization of Gendo's goal. (The main thesis of my "deep lore" thread is the same as my guess regarding Gendo's end game for a reason!) The "twist" involving Fuyutsuki would emerge much earlier in the film -- see also the arrangement of cuts in trailer #2, and the placement of Gendo & Eva-13 vs. "evil Fuyutsuki" & Rei. As I believe I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, Fuyutsuki emerging as a common threat to both Gendo and Wille would provide an ideal set-up for the reconciliation of Gendo and Shinji. In other words, "Gargutsuki" would play directly into
the emotional core of the film series, not away from it.
Gendo has been a brutally abusive father, creating Shinji for the entire purpose of manipulating him as part of a master plan, and these manipulations include things like 'brainwashing' and memory erasure. What poetic justice, then, if Gendo himself just ended up being a piece on Fuyutsuki's game board, and Shinji were in a possible position to help his father? Gendo would finally understand what he had put Shinji through. This could also be a double whammy whereby Gendo experiences Rei's suffering, as well. Check it out:
Now, the fact that these images were displayed publicly at the khara expo probably means this exact idea won't be in the film, but it could nonetheless hint at part of the creative team's overall thought process. Eva-13 is in bondage. There's a device resembling part of the components to Rei's special facility, and the probes from this thing are literally piercing 13's head. (You can see them emerging out the other side.) This brings to mind Rei Q's use of the special facility. She implies that she gets her orders from Seele through that device, i.e., commands are implanted directly into her brain. So what's being implied in this concept art is that Eva-13 is getting directives implanted straight into its head. Interestingly, part of this involves its eyes being gouged out. In the final movie, I would honestly not be surprised to see post-Gendo Eva-13 formally crucified onto the old control system (it's a big red cross, after all) and mutilated (mostly off-screen) in interesting ways. It would also be neat to see some
form of brainwashing technology used on Eva-13, for the "poetic justice" reasons I've mentioned.
To bring this back round to the Gendo/Fuyutsuki issue, let me paste in something I wrote elsewhere (as part of a conversation):
It was suggested to me that Mk.10 would be eyeless (so the X actually just opens up into a horrific maw), which could tie into it having an "anti-Seele" mark for a "third eye". The mark in some sense could represent the agenda / "vision" of Fuyutsuki (it's totally going to be him), and the message here is that the only "eyes" his servants get are the ones he provides -- they "see" only in terms of Fuyu's goals. This sort of imagery has been used before -- Lilith's real eyes getting gauged out with bolts that have the Seele mark on the bolt head, for instance. The 3rd Angel getting most of its soft tissues stripped off, including the eyes; it too has a Seele mark where a "third eye" would be, meaning it directly anticipates Mk.10.
In simple symbolic terms, eyelessness = blindness = being forced to follow a path set by someone else. Lilith has no eyes; she's just part of The Plan and has no agency of her own. The 04 series have no heads, therefore no eyes; they appear to be controlled by Fuyutsuki. Likewise with the Failures. They don't do anything; they're either frozen or drift around aimlessly in the "orbit" of the Black Moon. The 3rd Angel has no eyes; it's violated with a "pseudo entry plug", likely a predecessor to the Seele Program tech. The 12th Angel has no eyes, not even when it becomes a giant head; heavily implied that it was loaded with a Seele Program in the past; no agency of its own. (In connection with this, the 12th Angel is visually revealed to us by showing it eat through 06's eyes
. Gross.) Seele have no eyes (even the skulls inside their monoliths just have empty eye sockets); they follow those scrolls which came from who knows where (I used to think Seele wrote them, but now I think they "received" them somehow) and who knows if they actually think for themselves; they were also "blind" in that they let themselves be killed off by traitors.
Gendo's eyes are covered with a visor, and we don't know if he has any real ones left underneath. It's super heavily foreshadowed that he's going to sacrifice himself and become part of Eva-13. No more agency. (The Eva will need to be kept in a state of careful control because Gendo won't be the only soul in there and there's no guarantee he can establish dominance or anything.) This will be even better if Fuyutsuki gouges out Eva-13's eyes, which would both acknowledge the fact that Eva-13 is currently Lilith's resurrected body, and make it gruesomely clear that Gendo is completely under Fuyutsuki's thumb.
(Also, in the same way that the coreification of Earth relates heavily to human-caused environmental disaster, the entire situation I describe, with backward-looking leadership displacing its forward-looking counterpart, is brutally
topical. Merging Fuyutsuki, who is a sort of "memetic loser' in NGE, with an over-the-top fascist despot like Gargoyle provides a pretty damn good way to provide meta references, great entertainment, and social commentary at the same time. I would honestly be disappointed if this ideal opportunity weren't seized with both hands.)
I will respond further to Shun later, but first... sleep.