"Iroha" Buddhist poem connections to Sakura Nagashi and the themes of NGE

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition"). The final instalment made its debut in Japan on March 8, 2021.

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"Iroha" Buddhist poem connections to Sakura Nagashi and the themes of NGE

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Postby AdamMalkovitch » Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:27 pm

Mouthful of a title I know. But, I recently learned about a Buddhist poem originating in Japan, which is very commonly used as a placeholder during a project's development [I heard about it first as a placeholder graphic in Sonic 3's slot machine bonus stages].
Now this could easily be a coincidence, but the lyrics of Iroha [do poems have lyrics?] match up with some lyrics of Sakura Nagashi, as well as reflecting some of the themes of the Neon Genesis story.

Iroha-

"Although its scent still lingers on
the form of a flower has scattered away
For whom will the glory
of this world remain unchanged?
Arriving today at the yonder side
of the deep mountains of evanescent existence
We shall never allow ourselves to drift away
intoxicated, in the world of shallow dreams."


Sakura Nagashi-

"The flower [that] just bloom[ed] was scattered
「It is so early this year」
[...]
The voice that continues our footsteps to the future
[...]
The flower just bloom was scattered
Maybe it is the sorrow of the grove ... watching it
No matter how afraid, I will not take my eyes off of it
If all the end has love"


I'm thinking Kaworu may be the one "for whom the glory of this world will remain unchanged", as he still had hope that the damage caused by the real Third Impact could be reversed, he still saw potential beauty in the ruined Earth.

A big counterpoint against this is that, historically, Hikaru Utada's lyrics in her commissioned work, like the vocal themes of the Kingdom Hearts games, generally have zero connection to the story of the work. So it is likely that a connection to Sakura Nagashi is coincidence. But Anno is no stranger to incorporating all sorts of religious themes into his works, obviously, and since he's Japanese himself, it's not out of the question that Iroha served as a bit of inspiration for the "world of shallow dreams" of Human Instrumentality.

Sources:
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iroha
Anime Lyrics Library - http://animelyricslibrary.blogspot.com/ ... gashi.html
*snorts L Field corrosion* whaT THE FUCK IS AN EVA

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