The Tape Player's true purpose

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition").
The third installment debuted in Japan on November 17, 2012.

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Yomber
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The Tape Player's true purpose

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Postby Yomber » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:36 am

Hi, is it only me that clearly thinks that the tape player has some super significance that will make our minds blow apart in Evangelion 3.0+1.0 ?

The tape player's number has always been with the show. During emotional encounters or situations that seems to be very dire. The tape number has always increased by one and almost never gone back*.

Shinji, says he listens to the same song every time, but even he thought in one scene that there was something strange when there was an other song which he almost didn't even know about.

The secret importance of this value is that he always listens to the "newer" song. Meaning it could be symbolic to his progression in life and for who he is.

At the end of Evangelion 3.0 despite of Rei being a clone, probably knowing nothing about who he really is. Even she found the tape being important to Shinji. Shinji being super depressed about the whole thing didn't want the tape but she still took it with him

*During Evangelion 3.0, his tape seemed to have reverted by one number and after Kaworu and Shinji had a talk together it increased once again but with "two numbers" this time.
Zankoku- Shounen

Jornophelanthas
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Postby Jornophelanthas » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:22 am

There are several comments to make about the relevance of the music player. The obvious starting point would be its significance in the original NGE series.

1. In NGE, the music player represents Shinji's withdrawing within himself. The tracks loop, and he keeps listening to the entire thing over and over again. We usually see the display showing the switch from track 25 to 26. Incidentally, the NGE anime has 26 episodes. In Rebuild 1.0, the music players fulfills this same function.

2. In Rebuild 2.0, the music player breaks when Mari crashlands on top of Shinji. The next time he tries to use it, we see the display skip to track 27 - which was not on there before - and Shinji comments that it doesn't work anymore. This can be interpreted as an easter egg reference stating that Mari's entrance into the story disrupts the 26-episode NGE continuity, and adds a new element to the story ("episode 27").

3. In Rebuild 2.0, Shinji also mentions (to Kaji) where he got the music player. It was the only item that Gendo left behind when he abandoned Shinji as a child. In Rebuild, Shinji perceives it as his connection with his father - until he actually meets Gendo again. It is noteworthy that Shinji discards the broken music player when he leaves NERV after his violent rejection of Gendo in Rebuild 2.0.

4. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the music player is its connection to Rei. Recall that in Rebuild 1.0 (as in NGE), Rei brings Gendo's broken glasses with her when she pilots, as a good luck charm. These symbolize her attachment to Gendo. (Gendo broke and discarded these glasses when he frantically tried to rescue Rei from her entry plug after the failed Unit-00 activation test.) After Operation Yashima, when Unit-00 is badly damaged trying to protect Unit-01, Shinji franctically tries to rescue Rei from her entry plug (in a manner which is very similar to the aforementioned Gendo scene). In this scene, Rei lets go of Gendo's glasses in order to take Shinji's hand. The glasses are not seen again.
So what does this have to do with the music player? In Rebuild 2.0, after Shinji discards the music player, Rei pilots Unit-00 against the 10th Angel ("Zeruel"), willing to sacrifice herself entirely for Shinji's sake. She brings the music player with her in the entry plug, as a good luck charm. The music player has replaced Gendo's glasses, symbolizing the shift of Rei's devotion from Gendo to Shinji. It now symbolizes Rei's connection to Shinji. At the end of Rebuild 2.0, when Rei and Shinji are reunited against the pure white background of Unit-01's core, the music player can still be seen floating next to them - illustrating that they are closely linked together in their bubble outside of space and time.

5. In Rebuild 3.0, Shinji is retrieved from Unit-01, along with the broken music player, and the music player is returned to him moments before Shinji hears Rei's voice for the first time. All this time, Shinji wants to know where Rei is, whether she is indeed saved. At this point, the music player has switched to symbolize Shinji's attachment to Rei - rather than the other way around.
(In fact, it is my pet theory that when Shinji hears Rei's voice for the first time, it is not Rei Q piloting the Mark-09, but rather a telepathic message from the Rei who is still inside Unit-01's core - made possible by Shinji's possession of the one object that still connects him to her: the music player. [Others even theorize that Rei's soul has materialized in the shape of the music player when Shinji was extracted. I personally don't buy into that, because Ritsuko says the object was closely examined and found to be perfectly ordinary.])

6. In Neo-NERV HQ, Shinji first tries to return the (still broken) music player to Rei Q, who rejects it - and thus his connection to her. This is the first sign that she is not the Rei he seeks.

7. Also at Neo-NERV, Kaworu connects to Shinji through playing music on the piano. Later, when a frustrated Shinji throws the broken music player against the wall, Kaworu repairs the music player, so that it will work again. Shinji is happy with this, and starts listening to it again - to track 28, which was not seen before. The music player now (also) symbolizes Shinji's attachment to Kaworu, and the new track illustrates how the story introduces even more new twists that diverge from NGE, and arguably from Rebuild 2.0 as well ("episode 28"?).

8. When Shinji finally breaks down and realizes Rei Q is not the Rei he saved, he throws away the music player - thus severing his connection to Rei. Kaworu picks it up and gives it back to him, in the moment he convinces Shinji to pilot Unit-13. Shinji brings the music player with him when does. Shinji's shift from Rei to Kaworu is now complete.

9. After Kaworu perishes and Asuka pulls Shinji from the entry plug, he drops the music player without a second thought. This symbolizes how Shinji acknowledges the loss of Kaworu and abandons all hope.

10. Rei Q finds the music player, and it is left ambiguous whether she picks it up. If she does, it forges both a connection between her and Shinji (since she could offer it back to him at some point), and between her and the previous Rei (who cherished it).

---

One final note about the music player. Shinji abandons the device quite frequently. Each time, he does so in a moment of hopelessness and despair. This points out that the music player also symbolizes hope.

To illustrate:
- Before he abandoned it for the first time, Shinji hoped he could have a relationship with his father again.
- Before he abandoned it for the second time, Shinji hoped to reunite with Rei again after rescuing her.
- Before he abandoned it for the third time, Shinji hoped to fix the world together with Kaworu. (When Kaworu convinces Shinji of this last new hope, the music player is shown quite prominently, placed squarely between Kaworu and Shinji on the bed.)

The moments when the two Reis possess the music player are different, because Rei Ayanami herself is a personification of hope - from as soon as NGE and EoE. Rei Q is rather the opposite: she symbolizes the absence of hope. Her presence dashed Shinji's hope when he learned she was not "his" Rei.
- When Rei 2.0 took possession of the music player from the garbage, it symbolized the hope that she could bring about some kind of relief or salvation for Shinji - possibly even that they could be reunited.
- When Rei Q was confronted with the music player, her picking it up could symbolize the growth of her character, and a return of hope/Rei to the world.
Last edited by Jornophelanthas on Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

AuraTwilight
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Postby AuraTwilight » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:13 pm

For the record i still think Rei's soul materializing as the SDAT is fucking hilarious and if it ends up being true then everything about Rebuild of Evangelion was worth it.
J_Faulkner, be warned that some of your statements could be construed as ad hominem attacks. -- Priceless, eternal irony

Anno has perfected the side boob --Gendo'sPapa

unitM
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Postby unitM » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:08 pm

Awesome analysis Jorno.

Jornophelanthas
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Postby Jornophelanthas » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:18 am

I made some minor edits to my previous post, adding some extra clarification on points 4 and 5.


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