Death String Quartet, Quantum Rei, and Misconceptions (split from General)

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Death String Quartet, Quantum Rei, and Misconceptions (split from General)

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Postby Zusuchan » Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:56 am

Sorry for the double-post, but since this is a bit of an important issue that required some more detail, I thought another post was a better way of getting my point across.

In the "List of Common Misconceptions" page, one of the misconceptions listed is ''Death's string quartet scenes take place in the actual timeline". I would like to contest this-a theory I have is that the string quartet scenes do take place in the actual timeline, it's just that the characters we see there aren't Rei, Asuka, Shinji and Kaworu, but rather different people with different names who simply look like, sound like and potentially have some bare characteristic similarities with the four pilots of NGE. For one thing Anno gives a very concrete time and place to this scene which wouldn't make sense if it was simply intended as a surrealistic endeavor and there is no link made whatsoever between them and Shinji/Rei/Asuka/Kaworu unlike other times in Death when there are links made between the same character at different times and whatnot by clearly referring to those characters as "she" and "he". We don't ever get a clear look at anyone's face either which only reinforces the idea. We don't see Not-Rei's eyes and eyebrows and and while her skin looks pale-ish at first sight, then looking at the frame where we get see her most clearly closely reveals that some light is actually illuminating her face and is the likeliest reason for it appearing so white.

Take a look:

SPOILER: Show
Image


There's clearly light there and if you still have qualms, check out this:

SPOILER: Show
Image


This is the clearest look we get at Not-Shinji's face and when you look at it, you can see a part of his face being roughly the same white as Not-Rei's and it is even more clearly illuminated by light. Not-Rei might still have pale skin, but juxtaposing those two images it's just as possible she doesn't and I'd argue that's what's going on. We don't even get to see Not-Kaworu's face or skin.



So besides from the fact that effort appears to be made to both fit the string quartet scenes into the NGE timeline and to prove those are not the actual characters we know, I'm guessing that Anno intended for them to be real people in the real NGE timeline, not some surrealistic linking device or an AU event. Why? Well, it's still a linking device per se, showing us the events leading up to Instrumentality, but why give us these new characters remains a good question. But I think my point stands.

I think that we should delete "string quartet scenes real" and replace it with "string quartet scenes show Shinji/Rei/Asuka/Kaworu''', since that would be a misconception still.

FreakyFilmFan4ever probably discussed it a lot more clearly and concisely than I did here: thread/16342/NGE-and-EoE-Different-Endings-or-Different-Canons/40/#p736430

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Postby Blockio » Thu Oct 22, 2020 7:29 am

I'm not 100% sure what to think of that. I see where you're coming from, definitely, but at the same time the thing as a whole seems like a bit too out of left field to me; maybe it's just the way it's worded, since the base assumption of "these are different people" I don't necessarily disagree with
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Postby Zusuchan » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:03 am

Maybe it is how I worded it-I probably spent less time writing that post up than I should have. I still believe in my thesis though.

By the way, did you read what FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote about it? I thought that he wrote a very good dissertation on the reality of the string quartet scenes -as a matter of fact, I "stole" the majority of my points from him!

Edit: Mistook Freaky's gender for "she" for some reason. Fixed it now.

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Postby UrsusArctos » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:09 am

View Original PostZusuchan wrote:By the way, did you read what FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote about it? I thought that she wrote a very good dissertation on the reality of the string quartet scenes -as a matter of fact, I "stole" the majority of my points from her!


This is interesting, and I think this could go into a Theory and Analysis Page on the Wiki, rather than "Common Misconceptions".

Oh, by the way, Freaky is a he. :wink:
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Postby Zusuchan » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:23 am

Well, perhaps I (or someone else) should make such a page, eh? It is interesting and there are potential merits to it.

The problem is that if we don't change the "Common Misconceptions" page people who look at it will still think that Death's string quartet scenes don't take place in the actual timeline even though they do. Whereas we could then add " Death's string quartet scenes feature Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Kaworu'' since that is a potential misconception that could arise.

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Postby FelipeFritschF » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:31 pm

Considering Death was made by Masayuki, not Anno proper, I'm not sure what to make of this as far as authorial intent goes. Might wanna check the D&R credits, I don't recall exactly how Anno was involved there, if at all.

I'm also not sure if Death's overall canonicity was ever directly mentioned in official material. It's probably worth mentioning something about it on the wiki too, if it isn't. We might wanna discuss how this relates to overall canon afterwards. I've also realised this isn't made very clear in the What is Canon page, which I've been looking to rewrite for a while. If D&R was intended specifically as something promotional (it is a recap, after all) it might not have received Anno's attention so it might not be considered primary canon. I also haven't read that whole thread and I would be surprised if this wasn't discussed before.

But that Refrain of Evangelion reference is quite interesting, and the specific wording is quite telling, and does support your theory.

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Postby Zusuchan » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:00 am

The credits are...confusing. We know that Masayuki was the person responsible for the Death section, with Tsurumaki the one for the Rebirth one, which would mean that Anno didn't do anything besides from writing Rebirth. Except he's also credited as a director for the entire film, most likely because he was "chief director" of NGE and should therefore be credited in any recap film. This however does not shed any light whatsoever on just how much Anno worked on the film actually. I do think that just randomly introducing a couple of musicians in the way it was done was probably something insitgated by Anno, since I can't imagine Masayuki doing something so weird for no reason-then again he reportedly left EoE's production for a while to go fishing, so I don't know.

I do think that Death is canon-it was a part of Revival of Evangelion after all, which is canon and I don't think the nature of being a recap film has exactly denied any other recap film its canonicity unless they feature something that couldn't have ever happened in the original work-which isn't something we're talking about here. Death (True) 2 was even included on Netflix and seems to be on the upcoming GKids Blu-Ray release as well. So it would be very strange if it wasn't canon, in my opinion, considering that it is supposedly important enough to be released alongside both NGE and EoE. Which could be due to that having been an important project and also something akin to "completionism", but I don't think Revival of Evangelion, for example, has the same kind of importance for Khara. Considering its nature, this isn't probably a good argument, but oh well.

First-tier canon is also "The anime itself and its scripts/storyboards'' and if Death doesn't fall under that somehow, well...

I think ultimately whether Anno wanted the musicians to be there or not doesn't matter since he obviously considered them alright enough of a touch to let them stay canon. That's just my opinion, of course...

Also turns out that the whole "What is canon?" thing hasn't been talked about in this thread, I think. I did, like, skim through it.

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Postby Literary Eagle » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:02 am

The official book The Essential Evangelion Chronicle: Side B has a short column with the title "18 Months Prior to the Destruction of the Seventeenth Angel". This column says:

Before the Third Angel attacked, a quartet of boys and girls gathered in the school auditorium of the Third Middle School in Tokyo-2 to perform "Pachelbel's Canon". These young musicians bore an uncanny resemblance to the four Children upon whom the world's fate would come to rest.


There's also a small screenshot included, and next to this screenshot it says:

The boy referred to as Ikari played the cello, while the reticent girl played the viola. The cheerful girl and the boy who arrived last each played a violin.


I hope that helps! Although it does raise the question of why "the cheerful girl" seems to be wearing those piloting hair clips if she's not Asuka. -o-;
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Postby Zusuchan » Fri Oct 23, 2020 11:05 am

Yes, it does help! It's an official supplemental source that supports what we have in Death so nice catch!

More interesting to note that Not-Asuka is referred to as "cheerful", heh.

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Postby FelipeFritschF » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:55 pm

Okay, that's probably enough. I guess ratify the Common Misconceptions page for now and then do a T&A when you have the time. You could already put a "see also" for a future article like I did with one of items in the CM page, which in that case would have been written by Reichu one day.

EDIT: Also, here's one of my favourite analysis threads for anyone interested: thread/13017/The-Eva-Pilot-Quartet/

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Postby Blockio » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:40 pm

Oh, that really is fascinating, that they even went out of their way to provide an exact(ish) location
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Postby Lavinius » Mon Oct 26, 2020 2:44 pm

The idea of the pilots all having doppelgangers who exist for just this one event is really weird, and I'd be inclined to interpret it as a prefiguration or omen of Instrumentality, the same sort of thing as the ghostly Reis. This also explains why Touji is absent (even though the clipshow has a Touji section)- he doesn't occupy a major role in Instrumentality, while Rei, Kaworu, & Shinji oversee the proceedings and Asuka is obviously just second to this level.
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Postby Zusuchan » Tue Oct 27, 2020 7:30 am

It is weird and strange and in terms of pure logic, doesn't make a lot of sense-but everything I see leads me to the conclusion that these doppelgangers do actually exist in the NGE world. Why else give us such a concrete time and place for the string quartet scenes, why else make sure we never saw their faces etc. In terms of pure story, the string quartet scenes still serve as something of a prefiguration/omen to Instrumentality, but that doesn't break them out of also having been a real occurrence in-universe. Touji not being there...well, the principal three protagonists of the OG story are Shinji, Asuka and Rei. Not-Kaworu doesn't just represent Kaworu and his important role in the story, but also the side characters with some importance, of which Touji is one.

By the ''ghostly Reis", you mean Rei's appearing to Shinji in the beginning of ep.1, then at the end of EoE and also during Shinji's internal mindscape discussions, right? Well, in that case I think that's actually Rei III or, as she's also known, "Quantum Rei". Basically, after becoming Lilith, she can now go anywhere in time she wants and shows herself in the form of Rei sometimes as well. The wiki has a great page on this: https://wiki.evageeks.org/Theory_and_An ... _Mechanics

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Postby Lavinius » Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:43 pm

View Original PostZusuchan wrote:It is weird and strange and in terms of pure logic, doesn't make a lot of sense-but everything I see leads me to the conclusion that these doppelgangers do actually exist in the NGE world. Why else give us such a concrete time and place for the string quartet scenes, why else make sure we never saw their faces etc. In terms of pure story, the string quartet scenes still serve as something of a prefiguration/omen to Instrumentality, but that doesn't break them out of also having been a real occurrence in-universe.

I am saying that it was a real occurence- that on that specific date, several ghostly images assembled in that specific face and performed the actions. The idea of there being several accidental cosplayers who are never seen or mentioned again and who barely do anything is what's bizarre to me, when there are plentiful other omens & prophecies of Instrumentality we can see this as another example of.

By the ''ghostly Reis", you mean Rei's appearing to Shinji in the beginning of ep.1, then at the end of EoE and also during Shinji's internal mindscape discussions, right? Well, in that case I think that's actually Rei III or, as she's also known, "Quantum Rei". Basically, after becoming Lilith, she can now go anywhere in time she wants and shows herself in the form of Rei sometimes as well. The wiki has a great page on this: https://wiki.evageeks.org/Theory_and_An ... _Mechanics

I'm well aware of that theory and have always viciously objected to it. There's absolutely no reason to think that Lilith can time travel- none of the Angels could time travel with their Fruits of Life; Yui, once she became a god just as Lilith did, apparently couldn't time travel either; no character ever proposes time travel... Indeed, the one reference to time travel I can think of, the lyrics of Komm Süßer Tod, would seem to indicate that it's the one certain thing Lilith / Instrumentality can't do.

There is some sort of prescience & prophecy going on in Eva; certainly omens which prefigure the future exist. But to explain that by "Lilith can travel through time" for absolutely no reason isn't necessary at all. That sort of thing regularly exists in science fiction (Dune, for instance, or Star Wars), as well as in most religions, without time travel therefore being posited.
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Postby Zusuchan » Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:40 pm

Lavinius wrote:
I am saying that it was a real occurence

Ah. In that case, pardon me. Your theory is...interesting and intriguing, but I personally don't buy it-not with the info I currently have. Do you have any elaborations? For me the idea of a bunch of ghostly apparitions just appearing out of nowhere in order to perform a specific set of actions or whatever seems even stranger and more illogical than the idea of actual human breathing doppelgängers. Of course, surrealism and abstraction is a thing and Anno has never been particularly quiet about using it if necessary. But I still don't buy it.

Re: Rei, well, once again, you're possibly right. But I once again doubt it: the lyrics of "Komm Süsser Tod'' are in my mind about Shinji's mental state (acting like a kind of externalizer for his ideas and possibly even thought processes at that time) and don't offer clues about GNR's potential capabilities. I still think Rei just becoming akin to a quantum particle in this instance is the most logical idea. It explains why she appears in ep. 1 and the idea of her "watching" over mankind makes sense. But well, there's no definite answer either way.

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Postby Lavinius » Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:33 pm

View Original PostZusuchan wrote:Ah. In that case, pardon me. Your theory is...interesting and intriguing, but I personally don't buy it-not with the info I currently have. Do you have any elaborations? For me the idea of a bunch of ghostly apparitions just appearing out of nowhere in order to perform a specific set of actions or whatever seems even stranger and more illogical than the idea of actual human breathing doppelgängers. Of course, surrealism and abstraction is a thing and Anno has never been particularly quiet about using it if necessary. But I still don't buy it.

But I'm not saying it's surrealistic or abstract- I'm saying the exact opposite, that these are literal, AT-Field-&-Particle-Wave-Matter apparitions with an obvious in-universe source. The existence of this sort of ghostly apparition as a premonition of Instrumentality is very well attested in Eva; EoE is absolutely full of them*. And the four figures involved are specifically the protagonists of the Instrumentality we see in EoE (and Death is supposed to be a prelude to EoE).
(And I should remind you that the word doppelganger, which you keep using, literally means a ghostly apparition, usually prophecying someone's death.)

*One could alternatively see the Rei apparitions before Instrumentality as just Lilith collecting souls as she always does, to maintain the cycle of reincarnation. Of course, these views aren't mutually exclusive and from the text itself it coudl be either or both.

Whereas the idea that there are flesh-&-blood humans who cosplay as the pilots for no reason, and who are never explained, referenced, or seen again seems to me utterly random & nonsensical. They have no relevance to the rest of the narrative, they have no place in the world that's been established, and as for what they're symbolizing- well, perhaps it could be some sort of commentary by Anno on cosplaying fanboys or something, but that sort of explanation is completely unnecessary since there's a straightforward, in-world sci-fi explanation for it.

I wonder if we disagree on this because we have different backgrounds. For me with my knowledge of mythology &c., the idea of ghostly figures appearing before an important event doesn't even need any explanation (though, as I've said, one is provided) at all, that's just the sort of thing that happens in a story like this.

Re: Rei, well, once again, you're possibly right. But I once again doubt it: the lyrics of "Komm Süsser Tod'' are in my mind about Shinji's mental state (acting like a kind of externalizer for his ideas and possibly even thought processes at that time) and don't offer clues about GNR's potential capabilities. I still think Rei just becoming akin to a quantum particle in this instance is the most logical idea. It explains why she appears in ep. 1 and the idea of her "watching" over mankind makes sense. But well, there's no definite answer either way.

My point is that if she could time travel as you posit, I'd think it would come up in the scene where she'd have the motive & ability to do so and where time travel's nonexistence is being lamented.

And Lilith can be watching over mankind and appearing in dreams the whole time in perfectly normal time sequence, and I think she is; there's no reason to imagine she'd need to be traveling back in time or that she could only do this once she'd gotten the Fruit of Life.
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Postby Zusuchan » Wed Oct 28, 2020 10:32 am

Lavinius wrote:
And the four figures involved are specifically the protagonists of the Instrumentality we see in EoE (and Death is supposed to be a prelude to EoE).
(And I should remind you that the word doppelganger, which you keep using, literally means a ghostly apparition, usually prophecying someone's death.)

I don't get it. Maybe I'm just unaware of/looking over some detail, but if they are the protagonists of Instrumentality, then why would they come together 18 months before the events of NGE to play a music piece? Were they unaware of their actual role? Even if it was a real thing in-universe in the way you suggested it, it would still be a surrealistic thing because there's nothing here that makes explicit sense.

It was actually you who started using "doppelgänger", by the way. Though I suppose I have used it a lot in this discussion. Also, doppelgänger literally means either a ghostly apparition or a double of of a living person. If it's an apparition, it's both, but it can technically be a double without being something ghostly. Though you are right in the general-after checking, it does seem that doppelgängers are historically used in fiction and mythology as beings out of the ordinary (ghostly, paranormal, etc.) and there doesn't seem to be a big amount of evidence for their historical real-world existence in a scale larger than a couple of instances we can't still be totally sure about. But seeing that doppelgänger can also mean a biologically-unrelated living double without anything supernatural about them, there's no reason why I can't use that word when talking about the musicians, I think.

Over all, your idea is...interesting and I'm going to have to think about it some more. Feel free to point out more besides from answering my question(s) up above. I might have to rethink my Theory and Analysis page as well. I'll stay with my original statement for now, but I'll make sure to just add your theory there as well.

I wonder if we disagree on this because we have different backgrounds.


Entirely possible. I don't know that much about mythology and you obviously do (or at least know a lot more than me), so the idea of us having different opinions on this at least partially because of our different level of knowledge is logical.

My point is that if she could time travel as you posit, I'd think it would come up in the scene where she'd have the motive & ability to do so and where time travel's nonexistence is being lamented.

And Lilith can be watching over mankind and appearing in dreams the whole time in perfectly normal time sequence, and I think she is; there's no reason to imagine she'd need to be traveling back in time or that she could only do this once she'd gotten the Fruit of Life.


Well, Anno gonna Anno-I don't think there's any direct reason why he should specifically craft a sequence just so to serve us a scene of Lilith gaining an ability to travel in time. He could just give us hints. I do like your idea though-that she always could do that. But why appear as Rei then even earlier? Because they were already deeply connected and Rei looked more like a "human"? Possibly...I'll still stay with "Quantum Rei" for now.

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Postby Lavinius » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:30 am

View Original PostZusuchan wrote:I don't get it. Maybe I'm just unaware of/looking over some detail, but if they are the protagonists of Instrumentality, then why would they come together 18 months before the events of NGE to play a music piece? Were they unaware of their actual role? Even if it was a real thing in-universe in the way you suggested it, it would still be a surrealistic thing because there's nothing here that makes explicit sense.

They're not protagonists of Instrumentality themselves, but ghostly images of them, appearing before the event because the event is so important. It's an omen or prophecy of the event.

And of course, they're playing Instruments, which of course connects it to Instrumentality (which Anno chose as the English translation, so it's certainly a plausible pun for him to make.)

(I do have to wonder if Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality was translated as hokan in Japanese, and that's why he made that odd decision...)

Over all, your idea is...interesting and I'm going to have to think about it some more. Feel free to point out more besides from answering my question(s) up above. I might have to rethink my Theory and Analysis page as well. I'll stay with my original statement for now, but I'll make sure to just add your theory there as well.

Thank you.

Well, Anno gonna Anno-I don't think there's any direct reason why he should specifically craft a sequence just so to serve us a scene of Lilith gaining an ability to travel in time. He could just give us hints. I do like your idea though-that she always could do that. But why appear as Rei then even earlier? Because they were already deeply connected and Rei looked more like a "human"? Possibly...I'll still stay with "Quantum Rei" for now.

Yes, or more accurately because Lilith and Rei are the same.

I just don't comprehend the motive for "quantum Rei"; the only evidence at all there seems to be there is that Rei's old bedroom had quantum terms written on it- but these could mean any number of things; time travel is last association I think of there, quantum entanglement (between Rei and her clones in the dummy plug plant?) being more prominent). There simply isn't any other reference to time travel anywhere else in Eva (except in the music that specifically rejects its possibility). It seems to me to be a thoroughly overcomplicated theory to explain something so easily explicable otherwise.

I should reiterate that if Lilith transcends time, Yui should also (since they're the same class of being), and yet neither she nor Fuyutsuki ever brings up that possibility- they quite clearly expect her to still be subject to linear time even as a god.
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Re: The Wiki Thread (General)

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Postby Zusuchan » Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:58 pm

Lavinius: I guess you've won me over re: Quantum Rei. I now no longer believe in her existence! I still think it's possible (a connection of Lilith and Adam has the potential to open up interesting capabilities, I think), but it does make more sense that Lilith just appears sometime and looks at people weirdly.

Re: Instrumentality, it's possible. Anno is a huge sci-fi nerd.

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Re: The Wiki Thread (General)

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Postby Lavinius » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:54 pm

View Original PostZusuchan wrote:Lavinius: I guess you've won me over re: Quantum Rei. I now no longer believe in her existence! I still think it's possible (a connection of Lilith and Adam has the potential to open up interesting capabilities, I think), but it does make more sense that Lilith just appears sometime and looks at people weirdly.

Re: Instrumentality, it's possible. Anno is a huge sci-fi nerd.

I'm glad. I should clarify that there Lilith-Adam obviously has incomparable knowledge of the past and future. I just don't think she's able to actually project herself back in time, since that's totally unprecedented.

There obviously is prescience of some kind in Eva, but we're only able to infer its existence from the DSS, so trying to analyse how it works is completely hopeless.
SPOILER: Show
(Though if it works by something like Dune rules, that would explain why the outcome of Third Impact is in doubt- a Kwisatz Haderach Qephitsath Hadderech like Lilith-Adam (godlike, masculine-feminine union, in many places at once) or Yui would be shrouded to somone in the past.)


And checking the Japanese Wikipedia, the translation of "Instrumentality of Mankind" is 人類補完機構 Jinrui Hokan Kikou / Human Compementation Organization (vs. 人類補完計画 Jinrui Hokan Keikaku / Human Complementation Project). Someone should edit the page on the Wiki to clarify the connection.
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