Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Thu Aug 18, 2022 12:06 pm

Now that I finally have some time for myself and Ursus has said things are not closed, I'll try to push out my comments for the final two episodes in a pellet-pooping fashion.

Episode 25:

003:
Now that the series has finally gone full art-house, we should briefly tackle the big production side question: why is the ending so art-house? Just by watching the show, it should be clear that we're dealing with a singularly director-driven, deeply personal work. It is also a famously well-known fact that the said director has claimed there was nothing wrong with the TV ending, as immortalized by his "Too bad" statement that probably cemented his auteur bonafides.

Then again, it's no secret that the show had major production issues towards the end. The creators talk about this meltdown rather coyly, but they have no qualms admitting that they weren't able to follow the originally intended script. As detailed in the EoE movie pamphlet (AKA the Red Cross Book):

The movie ep.25 "Air" is based on the script already in place during TV production originally intended for TV Ep.25. Because of various problems during production, this script was not used and the TV Ep.25 "The Ending World" was done in a same way as TV Ep.26 in which the drama was developed within an internal mind universe. Because of this, it could be said that this ep.25 is a return to the original intended story. In contrast, the movie ep.26, when compared with TV Ep.26, contains much more content on the story and plot, thus deepening the theme brought out in TV.


It should therefore be uncontroversial to say that the last two television episodes are quickly cobbled-together replacement things that share a family resemblance with the more mundane clip show episodes of the era. But as with all artistic things, it's the reception that matters, and these two episodes were infamy boosters of the highest caliber. Consider a parallel world where the production issues weren't so overwhelming and the intended story scenario stayed on track, resulting in an EoE-lite TV ending, with perhaps two or three compilation movies afterwards. Somehow I doubt Evangelion would have gained the same levels of cult following in that situation.

010 (or anywhere really in this episode - feel free to move):
We've mentioned Tomino's Space Runaway Ideon a couple of times, but it bears pointing out here how similar the endings of the two shows ended up being production-wise as well.

Ideon got the famous Sunrise axe and its episode count was chopped just as its plot was starting to hit its endgame. This resulted in the TV show going out with a really unsatisfying whimper - imagine, if you will, if Anno had had roughly two minutes of runtime to cram his TV ending in, and you'll get the idea. After a fan backlash, an ending redo was greenlit for Ideon in the format of two movies, the first one, A Contact, recapping the TV series, and the latter one, Be Invoked, turning those final two minutes into a spectacularly violent apocalyptic mind trip of movie, complete with a short live-action sequence. While Eva's TV ending is almost entirely introspection, a little bit of this Ideon DNA leaks in during the parts where we get to glimpse the real world and the proto-EoE happening behind the scenes (or behind the stage in this case).

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Sun Aug 21, 2022 12:40 pm

Episode 25 cont'd:

004:
It’s easy to ask, how could have Anno been happy with an end result as rushed and messy as this? Here we once again must step outside of the in-universe narrative and look at what Anno was hoping to achieve with Evangelion. Going back to Krystian Woznicki's interview with Hiroki Azuma, the director's socially conscious motives are laid out as such:

In other interviews [mit einschlaegigen Animemagazinen] he says that in the beginning of making >>Evangelion<< he wanted to enlarge the number of otaku. It was some kind of master plan for "otakuzation" in order to break the closedness. But towards the end [of the production process] he had to break that pattern and to diffuse it.


This otakuzation plan will immediately ring familiar to anyone who has watched Otaku on Video, but the 180 messaging swerve was something new and radical. And certainly, Eva's TV ending was a jolt to the system and definitely broke some of patterns in the anime industry at least. The controversy over it was still hot and fresh in 1996 when Anno did his "Too bad" mic drop. The End of Evangelion wasn't out yet, so as far as the confused audiences were concerned, these two episodes were it. From our vantage point a quarter century later these otaku-reforming pretensions look like a massive dud, and Anno of course went on to pick up his mic to do a fancier mic drop with EoE, only to later pick it up again and so on. But in its original context, "Too bad" makes sense - Anno got his thesis statement out and managed to say what he wanted to say, let the reaction be whatever.

110:
These real world snippets are probably a major reason why this ending was perceived as so unsatisfying when it originally aired. They signal that the show hasn't yet abandoned its surface plot, but then in episode 26 real world remains completely absent even though Shinji's final wish is to return to it.

140:
A confirmation that Reis II through III were unaware of their true nature, at least up until Kaworu.

142:
Distilled here, the becoming real human storyline of every Rei clone since. Or, what if Pinocchio but moe?

153:
Inkblots? Wait, is the show psychoanalyzing ''me''?

161:
Rei III's fear of ceasing to exist packs more punch if the mind backup theory is true and she's dealing with a genuinely lost a sliver of her life from the days preceding Rei II's death.

162:
Was this self-destructive streak just a result of subconscious pressure exerted by Lilith's soul wishing to return to her true body? After all, the ascended, reunified Lilith-Rei, however you may call her, sort of sticks around after all is said and done, even if outside of linear time.

168:
Despite her "yes" in cut 172, this cut feels like it's setting up Rei's betrayal of Gendo in 26'.

176:
If you're into tracking event concurrency between the two endings, it seems pretty clear that episode 25 ends with tangification, and this earlier scene marks the beginning of the pre-Instrumentality mind-meld, starting from Yui's question "What do you wish for?". One scene in both endings - Shinji seeing Misato and Kaji's college sexy times - confirms that actual mind-melding is happening, because Shinji wouldn't know of that particular memory otherwise.

188 (after Tines):
It's either that or mind-meld shenanigans. Is this Misato learning the final truth about the Human Instrumentality Project while being dead and waiting for her soul to be collected?

192:
One of Evangelion's cultural legacies was supercharging the popularity of humanity-merging villain schemes in anime. Instrumentality-like scenarios popped up in a lot things, perhaps most famously in several big budget omnipandering Sunrise shows in the oughties. Watching this scene again after many years, it feels oddly refreshing to see a vanilla version of it described in simple, blunt terms here, and again in the beginning of episode 26.

195:
As Anno's originally envisioned deuteragonist, Misato still gets a fairly lengthy mind interrogation.

198:
Although this "one's perception of others" thing has been well set up before, it may at first seem like a weird complication to bring up when actual mind-meld/telepathy is already taking place. But that's what makes the ramp-up stages of Instrumentality, where AT Fields have broken down but soul unification is yet to happen, such a confusing and traumatic thing: you're stuck in your personal hell while it's crashing into and being invaded by other people's personal hells. I feel this is best visualized in cuts 305-306.


******

Episode 26:

011:
This recycled shot is here, I believe, to signify that tangification has happened, and Shinji too has again been reduced into a juice box fitting form.

043:
In a more classically heroic narrative, this would be the protagonist's defiant "Speak for yourself!" moment.

065 (after Ursus):
The visuals are absolutely used to link non-existence through Instrumentality with suicide; see cuts 013 and 077.

157-158:
It seems to me these two cuts could spell out why Shinji and Asuka where the first two individuals in EoE to rematerialize from the soup. Was it partly driven by their rejection of a hated parent, now also in the soup? Does the confusing state of partial mind-meld persist in the sea of LCL?

222-2:
Some remarkable sakuga cuts by Yoh Yoshinari, the man behind many a hype Studio Trigger moment.

223 (after Ursus):
This remarkable sequence illustrates a thematic parallel. It's about the individual's potential to remake themselves, and the visuals link it to the Angels' incredible shape-shifting abilities that seem only limited by their imaginations. This is humanity's version of the same power, and that's an almost starry-eyedly optimistic message.

235:
A childhood friend? Oof, that can nullify even the First Girl Wins rule, especially now that we've genre-shifted from a mecha show into a teen romcom. Asuka is definitely being painted as the designated loser.

243:
A familiar building, but now fully populated.

252 (after Ursus):
RIAO is the true creepy, uncanny Rei that Anno wanted. She's like a Rei skinwalker.

315:
It's not an instant process, or even guaranteed to succeed, but the potential is there.

316:
In the real world, it's the Giant Nude Rei that's cracking apart.

331:
Curiously, Kaworu is not part of the congratulations crew. This is much rectified in EoE.

343:
As much as I don't want to make a downer comment here, this is something that must be mentioned now at the end, as it relates to the Japanese audience's reaction to this original, first ending of Evangelion. The Aum Shinrikyo saga has been a constant background presence whenever we’ve talked about the show’s messy production, and this story ends with a pretty depressing twist, as originally discussed on the Evangelion Mailing list back in 1999. Many people in Japan supposedly hated the ending because "it smacked of the same kind of brainwashing seen from things like Aum", but there's an more disturbing dimension to this, as relayed by translator Bochan Bird, a famous name in the early English-speaking Evangelion fandom who had lived in Japan in the late nineties. Although the leader Shoko Asahara was convicted and ultimate executed for his crimes, that was not the end of the cult he had started, and Aum continued its activities under new management - and as part of these activities, ''it used Evangelion as a recuitment tool'':

[...] they [Aum recruiters] did show scenes and episodes from Evangelion (introspective scenes, etc.) at recruiting/training seminars. In fact, that was part of the draw for the seminars -- the cult would distribute fliers saying that there would be an airing of Evangelion at a certain place and time (ie: piggy-backing on Eva's popularity), and then when unsuspecting (and mostly younger) victims showed up they would try to equate some of their teachings with the soul-searching in the show and 'recruit' them.


As ironic as it would be, could one create an Evangelion-based cult, even a new religion, by exploiting the otaku that have internalized all the wrong messages from it? Well, there was the Church of Nerv in India... And according to an interview segment translated by the Evageeks forum member 1731298478, Anno has considered the possibility:

I really hate the fact that animation - or at least "Evangelion," the work I've been doing - has become merely a "place of refuge." Nothing but a place where one escapes from reality - by becoming deeply absorbed in it, [people] simply ran from the pain of reality, and from there was hardly anything that came back to reality. To that extent I feel like [the work] did not arrive [at reality]. Steadily the number of people taking refuge [in the work] increases, and if this keeps up, in the extreme case, it would become a religion. It would become the same [situation as with] the Aum adherents and Shoko Asahara. Perhaps, if I did things correctly, I would have had the potential to become the founder of a new religion, but I hate [that idea]. For clutching at straws [lit. "grasping at a spider's web"], one person is enough.


What is Evangelion these days? Reboot-sequels, spin-offs and truly depraved amounts of merchandise, a cynic might answer. But at least Anno has enough integrity that we’ve been spared from an Evangelion-flavored Scientology.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby gelflinghand » Tue Aug 23, 2022 1:54 am

Episode 26 cut 287:

UrsusArctos: I'm curious to know what all the Japanese text says.


The Japanese text is the shooting script (or whatever you call the animation equivalent) for the current scene - shots 281 to 287.

The top row describes what the shot should show, from right to left (but don't put too much confidence in the accuracy of my translation): "Rei"; "Asuka breaks in"; "Rei is annoyed"; "Asuka"; "Hikari stands up warningly"; "Misato-sensei"; "Show full classroom, everyone laughing. Pan slowly." The pan over the script replaces the planned shot of the classroom. The handwritten note at the bottom left reads "RED don't start"; maybe this is an instruction to the animators to not start drawing the classroom, though it's placed next to Shinji's dialogue.

The bottom row is the dialogue to accompany each shot, from Rei: "You! You're the panty-peeker..." to Shinji: "I get it, this is also a possible world." The handwritten text over 281-286 says "no mouth movements". Misato: "I want to know too. Please continue." is a handwritten addition, followed by Everyone:"(laughter, followed by ad libs)".

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Sat Aug 27, 2022 4:24 pm

Ep 23

003: I like the nice touches in this beginning scene. Misato's beer cans, Asuka's video games, and Ritsuko's cigarettes - they are all trying to distract themselves from their pain. This is what depression looks like.
015: Notice that we see each of the characters, Misato, Shinji, Asuka and Ritsuko, from behind in their opening moments and do not see their front faces. Misato and Ritsuko are also hunched in front of their desks in a dimly lit room. They are clearly despondent and hiding from the world.
066: crying over the death of Kaji seems like a reasonable excuse.
134: Only Rei would know that 'there are many of us'. She is essentially having a conversation with an Angel that knows her deepest darkest secrets and is being mocked for them.
142: This is a pretty disturbing scene and pretty close to something from a Cronenberg horror movie. I'm going to throw up.
357: Notice that the reversal of an AT-field is equivalent to Rei containing the Angel and containing her hidden secrets and feelings. The AT-field and the operation of Evas seem to have some psychological links, as even Asuka's Eva won't operate when she closes her heart from it.
377: Not sure if this giant Rei bares some similarities with the EoE giant rei-like Lillith. Perhaps it is the Angel mimicking Rei in her final moments.
213: poor Shinji. If he wasn't completely isolated at the start of this episode, I can understand he must feel numb at this point. Rei if anything was his confidant and someone he felt a kinship with.
215: Misato gets a lot of hate for being rather creepy to Shinji in this scene (see here for an excellent analysis on this topic: https://wiki.evageeks.org/Theory_and_An ... lationship). I think she is just desperately lonely and depressed and seeking some kind of companionship with Shinji. She may have misread the situation or rather projected her need for affection onto Shinji (much like how she does for her need to destroy all angels).
223: Misato admits to herself that she can not comfort others as she herself is not in any reasonable state to do so.
236: Funny how Rei has her right eye bandaged similar to episode 4. The clone is obviously not injured so is this just how Nerv thinks injured people are supposed to look? I'd be surprised if Shinji actually bought it.
239: The gap between them is an obvious sign of their relationship, where Shinji seems to notice something not quite right about Rei.
252: A lot of mysterious things to unpack here. Though Rei III is a clone, she begins crushing the memento that was cherished so much by the previous Rei. Rei III even feels confused by her tears, as if she only faintly remembers the memories from Rei II. In the end, we see that Rei III betrays Gendo in EoE and this scene here might be an early sign that Rei III does not have the same perceptions as the previous Rei. Though we see little of this Rei, there is a lot of mystery around what she retains from the previous and who she actually is.
266: How many beers has Misato drunk in this episode?
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sat Aug 27, 2022 6:19 pm

Wow, I come back after a week and there's a heck of a lot of stuff to add - and I'm running low on time to do it all!

@Dr Nick : At first glance, your comments seem to be fine. Feel free to add them on yourself if you have time, because it might take me a while to get those onboard.

@dzzthink: Thank you for your comments - it's been a few months since you posted here! It might take me a while to add them now, if someone else doesn't do the job first.

View Original Postgelflinghand wrote:The Japanese text is the shooting script (or whatever you call the animation equivalent) for the current scene - shots 281 to 287.


Should've thought about that, especially since the cut numbers are actually marked on the top of the page... -o-;

Thank you so much for your translation! It doesn't matter if the translation isn't complete or fully accurate, what you've put up is more than enough to understand what it says. I've added yours to the scene in question.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Sun Aug 28, 2022 9:34 am

Cool, thanks. No need to get these comments immediately on the site. I must admit I lost track of time and only got around to these given the extra day from the UK bank holidays.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sun Sep 04, 2022 8:24 pm

Done with whatever I could do...

It's weird to think that Dr. Nick's finished adding his comments on the series. Since Tines added his a full year ago, that just leaves thewayneiac as the last remaining (semi-active) member of the old Eva Commentary Project to add his comments.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby midoriyoh » Mon Sep 05, 2022 8:34 pm

Episode 25-

Cut 083B:
But why does Shinji have "no choice" but to pilot the Eva and kill Kaworu? His answers in the next scene are very revealing - “Because everyone tells me to pilot it.”. “If I pilot it, everyone praises me!” This conversation started with Shinji adamant that he needed to kill Kaworu out of unselfish sense of duty, but the longer it goes on, the more it becomes clear that the actual reason why Kaworu is dead is that Shinji couldn't bear not being praised by others for piloting the Eva. Of course, it was Shinji's duty to do it too - but as repulsive as he finds this thought, deep down he can't avoid admitting that it wasn't unselfish duty that motivated him.

Cut 112:
“So, you're seeking to find yourself in others.” - something to this effect was said to Shinji already in Episode 16 Cut 204. The fundamental error both Asuka and Shinji make is that they conflate their actual selves with "selves in other people's minds" and therefore, the high or low opinion of other people about those "selves in others' minds" becomes for Asuka and Shinji the measure of their actual selves' worth. Since those "selves in other people's minds" are always out of one's control, anxiety, need for approval and inability to accept oneself follow.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Parkagirl » Sat Sep 10, 2022 9:05 pm

17-241: Hikari is humming "Fly Me to the Moon" here!

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Parkagirl » Sun Sep 11, 2022 7:38 am

View Original PostParkagirl wrote:17-241: Hikari is humming "Fly Me to the Moon" here!


[addendum] ...which could be interpreted as reinforcing what we've just learned in this episode: she's smitten with Toji.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sun Sep 11, 2022 10:29 am

Comments added. Thanks, midoriyoh and Parkagirl!

View Original PostParkagirl wrote:17-241: Hikari is humming "Fly Me to the Moon" here!


...No kidding?!? I don't have my DVDs with me now so I can't confirm that "Fly Me to the Moon" is indeed what she's humming, but if she is...well, that's quite a surprise that it took so long for anyone to point that out. I don't think this ever came up on the forum before.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Parkagirl » Sun Sep 11, 2022 11:46 pm

Consolidated multiple posts into one - Ursus

14-047: I wonder why Misato's HUD appearance here is 'un-mirrored', as if she's talking to the audience. In other scenes [including some before this one that I can't seem to find now] -- e.g. Episode 18, Cut 150 -- the HUD is 'mirrored' so as to be readable from the pilot's perspective.

18-316: Here, too, we hear Hikari humming "Fly Me to the Moon" as she prepares to cook.

18-335: Shinji's scream bleeds all the way into the end credits, and overlaps with the beginning of "Fly Me to the Moon". I can't recall any previous episodes in which the audio extends beyond the final cut like this...?

12-091: This particular cut struck me as one of the signs that the production budget might be getting tight, with a relatively significant duration/amount of dialogue for very little motion. Also: no need to animate mouths moving for all that dialogue, because it's a shot from behind.

Episode 21:

Cuts 291-304: "Fly Me to the Moon" plays over this whole scene. This time, it's a very slow, stripped-down, and solemn instrumental piano version. Kaji to Misato: "...in other words, I love you".

23-264: This cut shows the same sign we saw earlier on the exterior of Misato's bedroom door (see 23-006). In ADV's DVD (Perfect Collection, non-Platinum) version, English translations are set in white text over most of the Japanese text that comes up throughout the show; in 23-006, the sign is translated as "I'm on duty, Sorry, but leave me alone." (which is close enough to the translation that's been provided here: “Sorry, but don't bother me. Working”).

. . . so it's weird to me that in this latter shot of the same sign, the white translation text simply reads "Ayanami" this time around. Oops!


[addendum, 9/14/22]

24-105: Interpreting 'first contact' literally as Yui's contact experiment, “You go to such extremes to avoid first contact" is Shinji's backstory contained in one statement.

25-192: Ritsuko's line here echo's Rei's philosophical musing in cut 11-348.



[addendum, 9/15/22]

Episode 8, cuts 215-221: There is a parallel here with flashbacks in Episode 21 in which Gendo conveniently leaves Antarctica right before Second Impact.

[Comment to moderators: please forgive me as I'm still learning about how this forum works. Is it problematic to include in the commentary spoilers from later episodes?]
Last edited by Parkagirl on Thu Sep 15, 2022 1:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Tue Sep 13, 2022 12:25 pm

Parkagirl - please don't multiple post because that can cause a thread to become very cluttered. If yours is the last post in a thread, just edit your previous post with the new information. It's best to add a new post only after someone else has already posted (and therefore seen your previous posts). Thanks!

For that matter, I'll get down to adding your comments later in the week, maybe over the weekend. Feel free to consolidate all your remaining comments in one post unless someone else decides to add more new comments.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Sat Sep 24, 2022 5:23 pm

Ep 09
My goodness, this episode took forever to comment on for some reason. I also lost track of which episodes I had already covered.

014 Despite her popularity, Asuka really only talks to Hikari and Shinji during school.
027 Pretty funny how Asuka deliberately decides to climb up on a higher platform and obscure Rei's book with her shadow.
059: Love the dialogue between Shinji and Asuka during this episode, as Shinji cowers in the corner of his own screen.
103: The looney-tune style of the Eva's feet in the air is pretty funny.
107: I also don't think Asuka has much of an argument here. It's clear that their lack of cooperation led to their defeat.
132: I think that Ritsuko also realizes Misato's weakness of letting her emotions affect her judgment. She later gets into arguments with Misato in future episodes over this.
134: Huh I never noticed the DHL truck.
150: Not sure if the intention of them living together was solely for this mission as they continue to cohabit afterward. Also, note that Misato seems to be carrying a boombox or musical equipment, which may be used later.
155: Asuka and Shinji are perfectly mirrored and in sync in this scene.
174: The irony of them being in perfect sync with each other as they speak.
208: Asuka has a habit of standing above others with her hands on her hips (Cut 027).
317: Looks like they are about to kiss in this scene.
324: They went from physical abuse on day 8 to eating together and sharing music on day 10. I assume this was Shinji's music and not something they were ordered to listen to for the purpose of the mission. No easy task for Shinji to open up like this as he does not let anyone hear his music in the series except in this scene. He's gotten pretty far with Asuka to get to this stage.
218: Indeed! There seems to be a moment of awkwardness after Asuka's non-verbal communication that she has grown affection for Shinji during their time together. I can't blame Shinji for missing this, although it does seem like they have grown close.
235: The way his eyes pop out is hilarious. The big question: was Asuka sleepwalking or was she so tired that she mistook Shinji's bed for hers? It would be hard for someone sleepwalking to use the toilet. Was Asuka deeply in need of company after a nightmare involving her mother and subconsciously went to Shinji for comfort?
311: Interesting that Asuka was semi-conscious enough to realize Shinji was about to kiss her. Was she even asleep? She seems to be feigning that she didn't know. This whole dialogue seems like she is angry at their faulty landing and Shinji's passiveness.
"Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive." - 1 Corinthians 10:23

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Parkagirl » Mon Sep 26, 2022 12:02 am

23-063: I love these 'action shots' of Rei in her entry plug, i.e. all the times we get to see her craning her neck to get a better view of the target. Without getting into too much analysis, I see these cuts as kind of humanizing for Rei. We see brief glimpses of her trying, rather than a truly lifeless and all-knowing robot-girl calmly sitting there and acting as if on autopilot.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby midoriyoh » Tue Nov 15, 2022 8:08 pm

Episode 26-

Cut 128:
There is an error in Wiki's script here - it just repeats "That's why I'm happy" from Cut 126, in this cut it should read "But it doesn't make me happy". Quite important to understand the sequence that follows!

Cut 189:
“They're all just things that represent me.”, “They're all merely what other people recognize as me.” - ten episodes after Leliel talked with him about "selves in other's minds", then without much effect, Shinji finally gets it. Words like "just" and "merely" show a drastic change in Shinji's self-image, considering that a few scenes ago he was putting all his worth in the way he is seen by others.

Cut 229:
“The very first other person is your mother.” Shinji wishing farewell to his mother before leaving Instrumentality is very symbolic in this context - it resembles birth, when one first separates oneself from mother and thus for the first time recognizes "other" human existence.

Cut 242B:
The date of Gendo's newspaper is "September 2016". Perhaps that's how much time has passed in Instrumentality already.

Cut 293:
Weird and confusing wording. "Reality" seems to mean the state of the world and one's mind at a given moment - or at least, that's how that word was used in the sequence from the end of Scene 06 through the Scene 07, which was about the way "reality" is changed both by one's free will and by the influence of things and people outside of oneself. Going by Cuts 296-299, "truth" seems to mean one's perception of reality.

Cut 311:
There is a tendency in the fandom to excuse Shinji or justify his actions, but what Rei says is true - Shinji's self-hate causes him to have a warped attitude towards others, and we see this warped attitude make him to do genuine harm to other people (in this respect, Gendo is similar to him). EoE delves much deeper into this, especially in the coffee table conversation with Asuka. That emphasis also makes it understandable why EoE starts the way it does - whatever else you can say about that scene, it really drives home the point that Shinji harms those around him, in a way that can't be dismissed or excused by the viewer.

Cut 326:
This episode was an impressive journey. The first scene sets the stage by presenting the idea of Instrumentality - humans cannot be satisfied, because our happiness depends on being wanted and needed by others, which is never secure, because we are independent of each other. That's why we need to lose our individual existences and become a unity, so that the insecurity that comes with being separate beings may disappear. We then take a closer look at the precise way Shinji seeks happiness, and from this angle we reach the topic of running away - we find out that it's something that Shinji refuses to do because it makes others hate him, which is what he fears the most. This is analyzed deeper in Scene 03 - this desperate fear of being hated by others stems from his lack of self-acceptance. This is why Shinji seeks others' approval so hard - since he has none to give himself, he can only get self-worth by having it given to him by others. This is the natural outcome of a self-hating personality. The most effective way to make others praise him is by piloting the Eva, and that's why he ties his whole identity to this. Seeing others praise and accept him soothes the self-hate and is the thing that makes him most happy. But this happiness is very fleeting and uncertain - hence, anxiety. This is the conclusion that we reach in the beginning of Scene 05. We have descended to the source of his troubles - now is the time to resolve them and for Shinji to create a new self-image. Shinji wants a more permanent source of worth, and Yui tells him openly - "Only you can find your own worth". This makes Shinji wonder about who he is, and he reaches the realization that the way he is seen by others, accepted or not, is something separate from his own self. It's only a representation in another person's mind - something independent from him, and not accessible to him. It's foolish to base your self-worth on it. Shinji's actual self is not accessible to others either, only to himself, and for this reason it's foolish to "outsource" the job of making himself understood and accepted to others. Shinji accepts that he is the only person that can truly give Shinji worth, but a new problem appears - he is a very imperfect person, so why should he value himself and be good to himself? The answer is that reality of himself at the moment isn't permanent - it's very malleable, because world itself changes, but more importantly because he has free will, which allows him to shape reality and change it, both inside and outside himself. None of his imperfections are inherent parts of his self - they are merely facts about him at the moment that can change, and he has the power to change them. "So, take care of yourself". One more topic is touched at the end of Scene 07 - while Shinji's free will allows him to define reality, there is a reciprocal relationship - he needs things independent from himself to define him and shape him by being different from him. To put this in other words, the existence of other people allows one to exist more fully than if one were alone. Scene 09 has some more talk about the malleability of reality, and to double down on the theme adds that the perception of this reality is itself malleable. Our understanding of the world is imperfect and shaped by various influences, which makes basing your self-worth on what others think of you even more foolish - in truth, you aren't even basing it on what others think, you are basing it on what you think others think! As irrelevant as it would be if others hated Shinji, that's not even true - it's just Shinji's imperfect perception of the world. At the end of this all, Rei adds one more motivation by reminding Shinji that his lack of self-acceptance is harmful not just to himself, but to other people. The last scene consists of Shinji accepting his independent existence and thus rejecting the whole premise that Instrumentality was based on, at which point the stage around him collapses and congratulations follow.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Fri Nov 25, 2022 6:41 pm

Ep 20

This episode is actually very complex and there are multiple insights given about Shinji's mental state. I'll look forward to getting ep 21, 22, 25, and 26 done at some point but I prefer to go about it in my usual way, which is when I have the time and also as a frenzied midnight scrawl rather than a well-thought and in-depth composition.

015: The calmness and quietness compared to the events of the previous episode are quite eerie, to say the least. This juxtaposition and lack of further information on what happened are similar to when Unit 1 first goes berserk when fighting Sachiel, which then cuts to Shinji waking up in the hospital and the events only being retold in a flashback.

017: It seems like Unit 1’s face was damaged during its fight with Zeruel or maybe when it went berserk. The horn and exterior components may actually just be a type of armour (similar to the samurai Do-maru) and the organic flesh underneath could have been significantly bruised. It’s scary to imagine that Unit one might actually have another face; especially one with that disturbing grin on it.

047: There were definitely huge scientific and medical ethics that were ignored during this whole project. Not only the wanton experimentation on human test subjects but the complete lack of understanding about how Evas behave. They are like a walking Chernobyl disaster waiting to happen.

055: Asuka's appalling disregard for Shinji’s well-being and focus on her own performance is quite shocking considering their previous history together. Although their relationship was rather shaky before, and pretty much ended when Shinji decided to leave Nerv, I can’t help but feel that she should at least have some empathy for Shinji’s condition.

084D: In Shinji’s fever dream, he clearly expresses his resentment toward his father, even going to such lengths as symbolically acting this out through Unit 1’s attack on an Angel.

151: Rei almost acts like an interrogator with the sun shining the spotlight into Shinji’s subconscious.

180: As we journey through Shinji’s thoughts, it is unavoidable that we also see his sexual desires, even though he is relatively self-restrained in the real world. The term one mind and one body is a clear indication of this.

248: His quest to find his mother and her leading him back to the real world is similar to EoE. His mother’s faith and kindness are the key components that drive Shinji’s rebirth, even though they don’t interact directly with each other as mother and child, Shinji observes and hears her as a faint shadow of the mother she once was, along with the hopes and desires she had for him.
"Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive." - 1 Corinthians 10:23


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