The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby NemZ » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:39 pm

I think it's just symbolic, both for the 'alone in a crowd' reasons and because little Shinji had a long train ride all by himself when Gendo abandoned him. Trains are rather universal symbols of Shinji's lonliness in the show, though the circumstances change... some times he's being sent away, other times he's going of his own will, and occationally (such as in this case) he just feels like he's on a train because he's isolated from everyone else by his outrage and his mind is fixed on a single course of action.

That's basically his whole problem. Shinji needs to free himself of these trains of thought that can only go forwards or backwards down a predetermined track and start considering all the other life directions that are equally viable.
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Postby Atropos » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:56 pm

We went this far, and nobody mentioned Final Fantasy VII? I'm impressed.
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The train, therefore, represents Shinji's perceived lack of agency, as plotters and pawns alike toss him about with no regard for his personal feelings...only for them to suddenly demand that he take action at the end of the show, when he is so broken that he is unable to do anything.

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Postby Chuckman » Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:50 pm

The train took him away from his father and brought him back. He tries to escape on the train but he always ends up coming back.

It represents indecision as much as limited possibilities. The train is a place of ambiguity for him. He wants to get on or get off or ride it to the end of the line or go back.

The train has no destination, either. When he runs away and boards the train he's not going anywhere. It represents movement without travel.
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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby AWinters » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:09 am

I'd be interested to know if an answer was ever found for this.

The train only ever appeared when an angel was making contact. I gather that when an angel makes contact, they don't communicate. They just provide a setting with a place you consider a comfort zone that allows you to communicate with yourself while they silently prompt and observe.

It seemed to be a clear and steady pattern until Toji found himself on the train too - with no apparent angel intervention.
Not only that, but he was hearing things that he wouldn't have known about, which suggests that rather than looking at "the Shinji who exists in your mind", he was observing the real Shinji on this occasion.

That one scene uprooted everything I thought I knew about the train scenes. Their meaning seemed so blatant until then.

Then there's the rebuild series in which there's no pattern or reason to the train scenes. They just happen when Shinji needs to reflect on something. I can only guess that time around, it's a place he imagines rather than a place he physically sees.

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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby Reichu » Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:23 am

The ones in NTE ("Rebuild") have a pretty established pattern, in fact.

1) Shinji loses unconsciousness inside Eva-01 after 4th Angel battle-> train sequence -> wakes up with a start in hospital bed
2) Shinji loses unconsciousness inside Eva-01 after 6th Angel's attack -> train sequence -> wakes up with a start in hospital bed
3) Shinji loses unconsciousness inside Eva-01 after failed attack on Nerv HQ after 9th Angel defeated -> train sequence -> wakes up with a start in hospital bed

Things change in Q, with Shinji having two "jolt awake" moments after losing consciousness inside Eva-01's plug for 14 years and then again while carried to New HQ in Mk.9's palm, but no train sequence accompanying them. The reason for this is answered by the fact that Shinji's visions represented, in some sense, both his mother's womb (consider the empty train car when we overhear the "Shinji or Rei?" flashback dialogue) and the inside of Eva-01, and as of Q, Shinji is no longer connected to Eva-01.

I've been meaning to apply myself to figuring out that Toji sequence from #19, but I haven't gotten around to it, unfortunately.
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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby AWinters » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:11 am

View Original PostReichu wrote:The ones in NTE ("Rebuild") have a pretty established pattern, in fact.

1) Shinji loses unconsciousness inside Eva-01 after 4th Angel battle-> train sequence -> wakes up with a start in hospital bed
2) Shinji loses unconsciousness inside Eva-01 after 6th Angel's attack -> train sequence -> wakes up with a start in hospital bed
3) Shinji loses unconsciousness inside Eva-01 after failed attack on Nerv HQ after 9th Angel defeated -> train sequence -> wakes up with a start in hospital bed

Things change in Q, with Shinji having two "jolt awake" moments after losing consciousness inside Eva-01's plug for 14 years and then again while carried to New HQ in Eva-00's palm, but no train sequence accompanying them. The reason for this is answered by the fact that Shinji's visions represented, in some sense, both his mother's womb (consider the empty train car when we over the "Shinji or Rei?" flashback dialogue) and the inside of Eva-01, and as of Q, Shinji is no longer connected to Eva-01.

I've been meaning to apply myself to figuring out that Toji sequence from #19, but I haven't gotten around to it, unfortunately.


Thank you for clearing that up. That just leaves Toji's train experience as the only one that falls outside of the pattern.

When thinking this over I've been referring to the train experiences, instrumentality and all visions like them as "angel mind probes" to generalise all these experiences as one category and I believe they are the angels' way of exploring the human mind.

The following questions are hypothetical for provoking thought, but feel free to comment on anything.

I would assume that an angel is making contact with him somehow, but which one? And where is it?
Is LCL used as contact fluid for mind probes? (If I remember rightly, contact had only been made when a pilot was in LCL).
Was Shinji still in LCL during this vision? As long as Shinji is in LCL and undergoing an angel mind probe, can Toji be included just for being unconscious?

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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby AWinters » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:16 am

Here's a thought: was Toji dying?

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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby thewayneiac » Mon Aug 24, 2020 9:45 pm

View Original PostAWinters wrote:Here's a thought: was Toji dying?


No, because Toji didn't die in the anime,
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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby pwhodges » Tue Aug 25, 2020 4:46 am

But it is suggested that he only survived in the anime because the tv station objected to him dying.
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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby AWinters » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:08 am

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:But it is suggested that he only survived in the anime because the tv station objected to him dying.


Do you think Toji's train scene could have been a sneaky and discreet way of killing him off without the network needing to know?

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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby Reichu » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:14 am

View Original PostAWinters wrote:Do you think Toji's train scene could have been a sneaky and discreet way of killing him off without the network needing to know?

You see him in the hospital talking to Hikari after the Bardiel incident. He's down a limb but he's not clearly not dead. If that's still not enough, however...

Episode 22 wrote:HIKARI:
Asuka didn't come either. And Suzuhara's still in the hospital.



Episode 24 wrote:Shinji (MONO):
Everyone, including Toji and Kensuke, lost their homes and left.
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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby AWinters » Tue Aug 25, 2020 7:43 am

Fair point. Just exploring potential explanations for the train scene that happened without contact.

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Re: The Train (Episode 19)

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Postby dzzthink » Tue Aug 25, 2020 5:01 pm

Not sure why but Toji being on that train is always a very vivid scene in my mind. When I watched the series during early childhood I really thought Shinji killed Toji so I was glad he was still ok later (probably not the best thing to watch as a kid).


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