Masturbating on top of a comatose body

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Masturbating on top of a comatose body

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Postby Felipe » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:05 pm

I feel like the opening scene of EoE is a symbol of Eva's dedicated fans who hated the original TV Ending: still thinking and theorizing about it, even after the series was through, hating the message of the last episodes of self-acceptance and acceptance of the pain of being alive.

Just as Shinji doesn't care that Asuka is, for all intents and purposes practically dead and uses her to have an orgasm, the fans didn't really care about Anno's message and wanted to (both literally and metaphorically) jerk off to giant robot fights, girls in tight jumpsuits and their MILF fantasies. It's like Anno's saying (well fuck you if you didn't like Instrumentality from the point of view of inside Shinji's mind.

Am I just thinking too hard about it?
Huh.

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Postby SimplyMason0 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:44 pm

The fapping scene was present in the original drafts but done more differently(he does it in his room instead of being right next to her). There was some foreshadowing in the early episodes so there was a point to it rather than just fan hatred. So it wasn't because fans hated the TV ending atleast.

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Postby user-02 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:11 pm

I don't think you're overthinking it at all, actually. The scene has multiple interpretations, albeit some more of a stretch than others:

1) Irony. Asuka had been flaunting her breasts to Shinji repeatedly, almost begging to be objectified (in her misguided attempt to project maturity and adulthood). And Shinji had never really paid attention, until now, when they are unintentionally laid bare to him, and when viewing them is a deep violation.

2) Critical commentary about the viewer, as personified by Shinji. I don't see this as a glaring "fuck you," so much as a bait and switch. Anno gives his pervy fanboys the ultimate fanservice moment, then follows it up with a heavy dose of judgment and shame ("I'm so fucked up"). Also possible: critical self-commentary from Anno.

3) Shinji's character arc. Shinji has had a very hard time opening up to people, and he's had an especially frustrating time connecting with Asuka -- the one person he came so close to connecting with on several occasions. In this scene, he finally notices Asuka as a woman, with all of the attendant sexual temptations that come along with that realization. He has lost his innocence. Later on, he'll need to reconcile his two views of Asuka -- as a confused little girl, and as a sexualized woman -- into something of a more holistic appraisal and appreciation.

4) Symbolic commentary about the futility of human connection. Shinji and Asuka had been something of a classic "will they or won't they?" pseudo-couple throughout the series. But instead of getting together, they move past one another.

Etc.

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Postby Lavinius » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:25 am

I feel as if the straight reading is the most valid. Shinji explains the meaning of the scene himself: at that point, he is the lowest. He has done something so feeble and sickening, yet common, and Instrumentality is coming.
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Postby Merkaba » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:51 am

How is it sickening or shameful? It's no different than fapping to a girl on the internet who, when she decided to star in that porn, had no clue who would be watching her.

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Postby Lavinius » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:56 am

View Original PostMerkaba wrote:How is it sickening or shameful? It's no different than fapping to a girl on the internet who, when she decided to star in that porn, had no clue who would be watching her.


If that is how thou interpretest it, then it isn't. But that is the clear intended meaning.
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Postby Merkaba » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:03 am

So the way in which I should derive meaning in my life is completely contingent upon the "intended meaning" of someone else?

EDIT: What I just said sounds completely dickish. Sorry. :-/

So... Let me just say that I'm advocating Shinji jerking it over top of an unconscious Asuka.

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Postby SimplyMason0 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:09 am

View Original PostMerkaba wrote:How is it sickening or shameful? It's no different than fapping to a girl on the internet who, when she decided to star in that porn, had no clue who would be watching her.


TOTALLY different

A porn star made the valid choice to be like that and well, not in a coma

Asuka was in a coma unable to do anything. So she couldn't er, "consent".

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Postby Lavinius » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:11 am

View Original PostMerkaba wrote:So the way in which I should derive meaning in my life is completely contingent upon the "intended meaning" of someone else?


No, that's just what the intended meaning of the scene was.
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Postby Merkaba » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:12 am

That porn star made a choice to be videotaped while having sex. She didn't choose who would be watching her.

Asuka made a choice to be a pilot. She didn't choose, however, to be placed in a garment that would have her breasts easily exposed if moved by a frantic young boy.

It's the same principle.

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Postby Anonymous_Evafan » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:26 am

Asuka's reaction aside I'm certain what Shinji did constitutes sexual assault in most if not all civilized countries...
Oh, but God forbid any of these theories have any validity! After all, we are just brainwashing innocent people with Reichu's fanclub propaganda!--Trigger's Elysium sarcasm for the masses!

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Postby SimplyMason0 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:28 am

View Original PostMerkaba wrote:That porn star made a choice to be videotaped while having sex. She didn't choose who would be watching her.

Asuka made a choice to be a pilot. She didn't choose, however, to be placed in a garment that would have her breasts easily exposed if moved by a frantic young boy.

It's the same principle.


...I don't think "Somebody might fap to you if your in a coma due to suicidal depression" is in the job description for piloting an Eva.

Risking your life and health yeah, possibly. However this is the case where being a pilot is irrelevant.

Porn star, it is in job description.

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Postby Merkaba » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:32 am

How did he sexually assault her? He never touched her. Do you need consent from every girl you're going to masturbate to?
"Gee, Mary Sue. I really do enjoy our math class together. Say, do you think I can masturbate to the thought of you before I fall asleep tonight?"

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Postby Chuckman » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:35 am

This informative video will explain the masturbation scene, aka That Scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsqJFIJ5lLs

You've hit the nail on the head- for its surface meaning. EoE is a very weird movie with a very weird relationship between text and subext; their "normal" positions are often reversed.

That Scene is packed full of meaning. The most obvious is the one you've already deciphered. It's a criticism of the sexualization of the pilots. When Shinji jerks off to her, Asuka is posed like she would be on a dakamakura. While no one has so far had the poor taste to duplicate her situation there on a pillow, she represents herself and Rei, who is often depicted in such art in bandages to heighten her sense of vulnerability.

The most obvious interpretation of this scene is a direct commentary to the audience. It's so brilliantly structured, it's amazing. Note that it begins in a third person view, with Shinji shaking Asuka by the shoulder- a common image for waking someone up and for attempting to wake someone who will not respond.

There's lots of other, subtle imagery here. The scene is immediately preceded by a bag of blood falling in water, and the ripples disrupt the reflection of the sun, symbolically connected to Asuka. As Shinji wakes her, he makes a back and forth motion with his hand (on his shoulder) is bent over her, and the hospital equipment makes slurpy slopping sounds. While he's begging her to "help him" the focus is on the IV bag, suggesting again that he's only concerned for himself and ignoring her suffering. At the same time, he's begging for her to help and we're looking at a container full of orange liquid.

There's a brief shot of the flourescent light, standing in for the Sun- Shinji is ignoring the sun, the symbol of Asuka's true self and inner beauty, and devotes his attention to her body instead.

While he's actually masturbating, we see the IV bag (Instrumenality) and a locked door, suggesting the ultimate moment of separation between them. (The doorknob is interesting in itself- it's centered on the dooknob, surrounded by a pattern of screws that mimics the MPEs surrounding Unit One during the Red Earth Ceremony, and Unit One acts as the gatekeeper, effectively being the door that Shinji opens. Lot of foreshadowing here)

When the act is completed, we see the consequences through Shinji's eyes- we are Shinji, the film is saying This is You.

Vitally, during this moment of self pity and judgment, Shinji's hand, his self, is in focus and Asuka is blurred. This isn't a mere matter of composition- if Anno had wished for us to see Asuka in her moment of supreme vulnerability with clarity and focus he simply could have switched the angles again, but we remained focus on Shinji and his act.

The same way he does. Even in this supposed moment of realization, he's still only worried about himself, thinking "this thing I have done has tainted me" and unconcerned for how she feels.

Note also that Shinji, in the final shot before the title, is separated from the machines and devices hooked up to Asuka by the bed and her body- his sexual lust for her (the bed and her exposed breasts) has taken precedence over actual care for her (the machines monitoring her condition and keeping her alive- these beeping automatons care more than he does).

The deeper meanings tie into what the masturbation actually means; it is not merely the act in itself. Eva uses the hand as a symbol for the self. (Consider the scene where Unit One shields Shinj- Yui is the Eva, placing herself in harm's way to guide Shinji, but also keeping him away from Light. This is one of many subtle hints that Yui's actions and plan are more destructive than they appear). Shinji is soiling his self (i.e. getting spooge all over it) by using Asuka without her consent. The whole point of the masturbation and Instrumentality Asuka's fixation on it is that it's a transgressive act where Shinji uses people for his own pleasure without offering anything in return, which is his entire MO, not just sexually. He treats everyone like that, and his actions are calculated to make himself feel better. It's not simply a criticism of masturbating over her; that she is specifically right there is vitally important.

He stops trying to wake her up and jerks off instead. That is his key transgression, not that he felt sexual attraction to her and it drove him to fulfill a physical need but that he gave up on her.

The scene is also a very resonant reference; we see this setup (hero trying to wake or care for comatose love interest) a lot. Shinji's not only soiling himself and violating Asuka, he's violating our expectations, our understanding of what the hero should do in that situation: cover her up, continue trying to wake her, find the right combination of words and actions (a kiss, perhaps, the thematic opposite of masturbation) that will wake her up.

On an additional level, it comes early (ehehehehehe) in the film and serves as a warning. This is not a fairy tale. Asuka takes on the role of Sleeping Beauty (hence the strange lighting and washed out colors- not merely indicative of the setting, but evocative of a mysterious and occult mood, the sort of thing you would expect before the hero performs some sort of magic to wake her) and Shinji essentially rapes the concept of Prince Charming.

The scene is also a commentary on gender roles and objectification. More broadly, it's commenting on the way treating female characters (and actual women) as prizes to be won and people whose only role is to be cared for. It's criticizing the viewer for caring too much about which girl Shinji ends up with and it foreshadows later in the film when Shinji is too sucked into his own world to help Asuka when she's dying. The masturbation scene and Asuka's last battle are intimately tied together. The situation is set up so that Shinji will be unable to help her- the Eva is buried and he can't dig it out- but the audience will naturally blame him for not saving the proverbial girl, anyway.

The masturbation scene contextualizes all of that. It criticizes us for knowing she's going to lose and watching anyway, for rooting for the boy to come in and save her rather than her saving herself, for the way we look at her and treat her as an accessory to Shinji rather than a person in her own right (which is what Shinji does, and overcomes in the beach scene, not through his own action but through hers.

Oh, another point- during the hospital scene, Shinji cries on Asuka and she doesn't respond. At the end of the film, he cries on her and she does. In the hospital scene, while he is crying on her shoulder she faces away; they're not really communicating. At the end, they are.

There's a hint of hope and vulnerability if you contextualize kimochi waruii this way. Asuka in the series always runs away and hides her feelings, often yelling into a mirror or a door (either at herself or the separation between her and Shinji), here she expresses herself directly to him even if what she says may be taken as a slight against him.

@Merkaba

It's different if that person is in the room with you. It's absolutely a sexual assault. The film itself reminds us of this when she offers to watch him masturbate on the hell train; it's making it clear to us that his masturbating in her presence is an act that necessitates her consent and he didn't get it because she was unconscious. It's also more than mere mockery; she's telling him that she wants him to feel sexual pleasure, and from her, but not if that's all he's going to use her for. When she says she wants to have all of him or nothing at all, she's not being a crazy obsessive tsundere, she's saying she wants to be part of his emotional landscape and experience all that is Shinji, not just his dick pointed in her direction.

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Postby user-02 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:44 am

^^

Thank you for rerailing this. The thread was starting to take a weird and unproductive turn.

I agree that the scene is chock full of visual symbolism. Lest people dismiss the symbolic interpretation as invalid or unlikely, let me remind them that Eva is nothing if not a series packed to the gills with evocative imagery. (This is a show, after all, that uses improbably cruciform explosions and myriad Kabbalistic references).

While the "straight reading" or literal interpretation is valid, its validity doesn't render invalid some of the more figurative interpretations. Not every metaphorical interpretation is equally valid -- like I said, some are more of a stretch than others -- but literal and figurative layers of interpretation are not mutually exclusive. Especially in Evangelion, of all things.

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Postby Na7e » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:48 am

Jesus Merkaba way to make this thread creepy.

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Postby Merkaba » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:50 am

It's different if that person is in the room with you. It's absolutely a sexual assault.


So if there is a wall in between you, everything is okay?

@Na7e: Look at the title! It was inevitable.

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Postby Anonymous_Evafan » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:52 am

Perhaps it's best this thread was locked, it doesn't appear to be going anywhere good...
Oh, but God forbid any of these theories have any validity! After all, we are just brainwashing innocent people with Reichu's fanclub propaganda!--Trigger's Elysium sarcasm for the masses!

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Postby Merkaba » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:03 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8tLenDOtVI

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Postby riffraff11235 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:52 pm

View Original PostChuckman wrote:While he's actually masturbating, we see the IV bag (Instrumenality) and a locked door, suggesting the ultimate moment of separation between them. (The doorknob is interesting in itself- it's centered on the dooknob, surrounded by a pattern of screws that mimics the MPEs surrounding Unit One during the Red Earth Ceremony, and Unit One acts as the gatekeeper, effectively being the door that Shinji opens. Lot of foreshadowing here)

It's really amazing how people notice things like this. It fits really well thematically. Shinji's at the heart of the locking mechanism, and the MPE "screws" are keeping him from escaping his role. There's also the obvious "Spear of Longinus = Key" thing going on.
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