How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby AsukaisLiterallyMe » Sat Apr 08, 2023 8:22 pm

View Original PostBernardoCairo wrote:Tsurumaki said in an interview that Mari was created precisely because he couldn't figure out how to create a new ending to Evangelion (that wasn't EOE) without coming up with a new character to twist things up.
Mari is, by all accounts, the embodiment of Shin Evangelion. Her character is very much in line with the worldview the film is centered around. With that in mind, I can't think of a better character to hold Shinji's hand at the end and lead him into a new world.
Do I like or relate to this movie's worldview? Not at all. But I can see why Mari "ending up with Shinji" is thematically in line with what it was proposing.


So basically they're flat out saying she's a plot device.

Neat.

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Postby ChrisTamv » Sun Apr 09, 2023 7:39 am

So basically they're flat out saying she's a plot device.

Neat.


We've known that Mari was written as a symbol and plot device since 2009.

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Blockio » Sun Apr 09, 2023 4:22 pm

This is such a pointlessly reductive take; literally every character in a story is a plot device, it's in the description of what a character in a story is.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby AsukaisLiterallyMe » Sun Apr 09, 2023 5:48 pm

View Original PostChrisTamv wrote:We've known that Mari was written as a symbol and plot device since 2009.

I've been in this fanbase since last April lol

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby dzzthink » Sun Apr 09, 2023 7:28 pm

I kind of understand how Mari is sort of the heroine that saves Shinji from ending up alone at the end of Rebuild, but I still feel she doesn't need to represent anything or serve that role in Evangelion. I would actually have been content with her as Asuka's sidekick, just like how Ritsuko is for Misato. I feel like she is so minor compared to Asuka and Rei that we are almost forced to consider her as a throw-away character or an understudy.

Seeing Mari appear suddenly at the beach to meet Shinji seems like a duplication of Shinji's beach moment with Asuka, which as we all know is a iconic moment in the original EoE. Shinji and Asuka have a shorter and less meaningful moment in thrice compared to EoE, and then they added a second happier beach scene with a different girl, which makes it seem more like a substitution than a culmination.

Shinji serves as his own hero at the end of Evangelion, who is able to traverse into eva imaginary to save both Asuka and Rei 2. I would have been happier if they just ended the movie with Shinji and Asuka on the beach and then them appearing together on the train station. I am not saying this because I favour Asuka as a love interest, I'm just saying that this is a more logical and linear way of story-telling and in the best interest of the fanbase.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Cola-09 » Sun Apr 09, 2023 8:09 pm

View Original Postdzzthink wrote:Shinji serves as his own hero at the end of Evangelion, who is able to traverse into eva imaginary to save both Asuka and Rei 2. I would have been happier if they just ended the movie with Shinji and Asuka on the beach and then them appearing together on the train station. I am not saying this because I favour Asuka as a love interest, I'm just saying that this is a more logical and linear way of story-telling and in the best interest of the fanbase.

Hm, 'best interest of the fanbase' is quite subjective. I personally like the Shinji x Mari outcome much better. The rebuilds are all about breaking the cycle and parting ways with Evangelion. As much as people like to compare them to EoE, they simply are a different interpretation. Asuka moved on with her life in the 14 years, and Shinji finds a way to grow as a person as well. They talked things out and developed a mutual respect for each other.

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Kendrix » Thu Apr 13, 2023 6:00 pm

How many times; It's been confirmed that it wasn't intended as romantic & Anno is outright mad about ppl comparing her to his wife.

I'm annoyed at ppl just treating this as a given & then having big, bristling reactions to it as if it's 100% set in stone.
From how ppl are responding you'd think that Mari was last seen in a wedding dress with a big pregnancy belly. :facepalm:

Why get so mad about something that is at best "up to the interpretation"?
It's like purposefully picking the interpretation that makes you the angriest.


Mari's role is basically
  • to be a contrast figure to the other pilot's attitudes, especially Shinji & Asuka
  • someone for Asuka to talk to (with Asuka as WILLE's only pilot they would have had to make her talk to herself to show her motivations) - Same way Fuyutsuki mostly exists for Gendo to have someone to talk to. This is probably the main reason why she's there judging from how in the 2.0 CR the original plan was for her to "appear from the third part on"
  • a supportive friend for Asuka who understands her, something she didn't get in the OG timeline. As part of the general trend of how TuaT made things happen that the characters never got the chance for originally (Like Shinji actually confronting Gendo) - it's kinda sad to consider that Asuka was so alienated from the others that to give her friends who understand her they had to essentially give her all new relationships through Mari & timeskip Kensuke.
    The person Mari is mostly shown to care about & interact with is Asuka. (this has also been stressed by her VA, I think?)
  • something like the Eagles from LotR in both Q and TuaT, in that she comes in & keeps Shinji from dying anti-climatically after the big emotional crux moment is already over, mostly to make the big, climatic scene before that work. (Kaworu's sacrifice & the whole minus space sequence, respectively)

That more than justifies putting her in, though in a way Anno & co shot themselves in the foot by not anticipating the "New Character!!!" hype setting up too big expectations.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby AsukaisLiterallyMe » Thu Apr 13, 2023 8:00 pm

We've beat this dead horse so much that we've managed to bury it and plant flowers on its final resting place.

But, how would you read that ending as anything other than romantic?

Anno's wife is irrelevant here, Mari is not her; but the ending heavily implies a romantic attachment.

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Postby Axx°N N. » Thu Apr 13, 2023 8:39 pm

View Original PostKendrix wrote:Why get so mad about something that is at best "up to the interpretation"?
It's like purposefully picking the interpretation that makes you the angriest.

Probably because the anger is at least interesting and because that section of the film is leaving many viewers with little else to take away. That part of the film is strangely devised, and I'm not sure its novelty benefits the viewing experience. What isn't obvious is weirdly obscure, what isn't obscure is weirdly obvious.

To my mind a big priority in crafting a story, especially one with bits of intended confusion and alienation, is to avoid feeding unintended readings as much as possible. If they didn't want a romantic suggestion they chose the worst possible series of dialogue and imagery, and that doesn't just go for the ending, it goes for the entirety of Shinji and Mari's interactions across the films. You're forgetting in your list of Mari's functions the constant leering fanservice, which renders much of her interaction with Shinji since they first meet focused on hormonal smells and tit talk.

Honestly, I find the reaction by Anno & co to be confusing and misguided. They say Eva is (and always was) up to interpretation ... except this one specific thing that digesting the very end of the franchise relies on to apparently function. On one hand, if Eva is supposed to be up to interpretation, and you can argue that the way the scene was devised was to keep it ambiguous if it was romantic or not ... doesn't that mean people who took issue with the romantic angle aren't wholesale incorrect in their perception and reaction? On what grounds should they be denied their reading if it was textually credible enough to be a looming suggestive aspect?

Like, I understand because I've read the interviews what was not the intent. But to watch that section with its intent in mind gives me a whole lot of nothing. I don't see the intent reflected in the execution to the point that I can say it was well communicated.

How many people are going to read the interviews, and should they be required to if it's apparently necessary in order to view it appropriately?

I understand the frustration at the superficiality of some of the response, but I don't think the blame can't be slung a bit at the film itself.

Eva isn't a stranger to widespread misconceptions, but in the past I felt it unfortunate because the narrative (as is accepted by EGF as the best supported interpretations) was more interesting and nuanced than what I took to be somewhat undermining fanwank.

But in this case, I really don't blame anyone walking away ill-conceived from a scene that, for many, itself seems exactly that.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby AsukaisLiterallyMe » Thu Apr 13, 2023 8:46 pm

What was the intended point of the scene?

I don't believe I've run into it while rewatching it and reading through a few pages of this thread.

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Axx°N N. » Thu Apr 13, 2023 8:53 pm

View Original PostAsukaisLiterallyMe wrote:What was the intended point of the scene?

I guess I phrased that awkwardly. I meant to highlight that what's been made obvious in interviews is that it isn't romantic or a surrogate for Anno & Moyoco. Watching it as non-romantic is what gives me little of interest to parse. I've read a bunch of non-romantic, sprawling interpretations, I've made my own, and none of them thrill me. I personally require more from Mari than for her to be a vague embodiment of positivity, and don't find that anything they did with her makes up for the lack of characterization or demeaning fanservice.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby AsukaisLiterallyMe » Thu Apr 13, 2023 8:57 pm

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:
View Original PostAsukaisLiterallyMe#940317 wrote:What was the intended point of the scene?

I guess I phrased that awkwardly. I meant to highlight that what's been made obvious in interviews is that it isn't romantic or a surrogate for Anno & Moyoco. Watching it as non-romantic is what gives me little of interest to parse. I've read a bunch of non-romantic, sprawling interpretations, I've made my own, and none of them thrill me. I personally require more from Mari than for her to be a vague embodiment of positivity, and don't find that anything they did with her makes up for the lack of characterization or demeaning fanservice.


Ah, gotcha.

Yes, the ending made me feel empty and not in a good way either.

I'll plant another flower on this poor horse; Mari being a plot device could have been more interesting if the near end reveals were made earlier and actually explored, not to mention showing more of her and Asuka's relationship.

But no.

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Konja7 » Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:09 pm

I interpret the scene between Shinji and Mari as romantic. I just don't see the issue with the flirting.

The staff have said that the scene was not created with a necessarily romantic intention, but they have not said that it should not be interpreted that way.

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Postby dzzthink » Fri Apr 14, 2023 3:47 pm

Of course and that was their intention all along. Not to say that their intentions were malicious but these days cinema and art in general requires a certain ambiguity and provocation at the ending, to make it stand out from other movies and memorable, and the way they do it is to confuse the audience and leave them guessing. To be honest anime in general is saturated with ambiguous endings and I am not entirely sure why they can't just tie up loose ends and resolve peacefully.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby ChrisTamv » Sat Apr 15, 2023 7:51 am

View Original PostAsukaisLiterallyMe wrote:What was the intended point of the scene?


To show the Shinji - centered results of the "destruction" of Eva(s). To show where he ended up, to confirm his growth once again by explicitly contrasting the middle of the film and showing him as an overall happier individual who can now casually joke around with other people, even women.

But at the same time it is meant to be very bittersweet. Not only based on the virtue that it's the final ending to Eva, but also because Shinji is separated from everyone he loves in the end, who he misses so much to the point that he sees visions of them across the tracks, with all that implies.

At the very end, there's nothing left of Eva, not even the art style, as Shinji takes the initiative this time and the image smoothly transitions to completely live action footage. Again, with all that implies for Shinji, Anno, and the viewer.

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Postby AsukaisLiterallyMe » Sun Apr 16, 2023 6:42 pm

On the nose that sounds interesting, but I couldn't consider it bittersweet (nor did it hit any notes for me) as he got the waifu in his Jesuschrist afterlife.

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby ChrisTamv » Mon Apr 17, 2023 2:00 pm

View Original PostAsukaisLiterallyMe wrote:On the nose that sounds interesting, but I couldn't consider it bittersweet (nor did it hit any notes for me) as he got the waifu in his Jesuschrist afterlife.


At the cost of everyone he loves either being dead or a universe apart from him XD

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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Kendrix » Mon Apr 17, 2023 3:02 pm

View Original PostAsukaisLiterallyMe wrote:but the ending heavily implies a romantic attachment.


How? Because a girl & a boy are standing next to each other?


View Original Postdzzthink wrote: To be honest anime in general is saturated with ambiguous endings and I am not entirely sure why they can't just tie up loose ends and resolve peacefully.


Personal taste, but I much prefer this to american media that spoonfeeds you the meaning with heavy-handed unsubtlety & everyone talks like they're trying to get a good grade in therapy

Whatever happened to artistry?

View Original PostAsukaisLiterallyMe wrote:What was the intended point of the scene?


Isn't that obvious from the dialogue?

The scene is about Shinji's growth, Mari is just an essentially interchangeable messenger. Her lines could go to Misato if she hasn't been blown up a few scenes earlier. I suppose it is Mari because as a contrast figure she is sort of an embodiment/symbol of strength, perseverance & optimism, and it is in that function that she gets those lines.
The entire show is full of such 'symbolic role contrast' type scenes - see Rei as death (but also hope) and Asuka as 'harsh truth' (but also life) , Misato & Ritsuko as optimist vs cynic, Gendo and Shinji as pragmatism vs sentiment, and so on.

So what's going on in the last scene? What does Mari do, in her capacity as personified Strength/Optimism/Change?

- She symbolically welcomes Shinji into the world of grownups (you know... the theme of the whole tetralogy)
- She declares that he has successfully redeemed himself by taking off the DSS choker (the last two movies were about his guilt for his mistakes)
- Instead of being flustered by her teasing, he fires back after the initial consternation, to show he's more confident now (it's called an expository contrast)
- they hopefully run toward the future / their newfound freedom

So it's a nice little coda or recap 'summarizing' Shinji's progress on the issues he's been struggling with:
- Lacking good adult rolemodels:
Touji & Kensuke filled in for that, even Misato kinda came around a bit in the end, & Shinji was inspired to be more responsible by learning from Touji's approach to dealing with feelings of guilt.
(Hence Mari says he 'smells grown up'.)
- responsibility:
He went of his own accord to confront the problems by going back on the Wunder.
(His debt is paid - off comes the DSS choker. )
Being 'trapped by destiny':
Not just by erasing the need for EVAs with FAR magic, but in a more mundane way by breaking his old patterns, such as trying to actually communicate with Gendo & Asuka, willingly taking on responsibility, wanting to help Kaworu rather than just one-sidedly relying on him, and so on.
(so he is free to have his own life & whatever job he needs this suit for)
- lacking confidence
This one took the longest, but by the end of the movie he's pretty much seen it all.
(Hard to be flustered by Mari's teasing when he's just talked down an omnicidal mastermind from ending the world.)

Like, let's actually break the scene down.

The key to understanding all this is twofold:
1) in the minus space sequence the environment & the character's appearances are used to communicate something about their mindsets.
See how going from plugsuit to normal clothes = letting go of one's dependence on the EVAs, or how the train switches from modern to old when Shinji finally starts to "get" Gendo.

2) while Shinji was putting up a brave face, he thought his redemption would cost him his life.
He wanted his friends to get a future, but didn't think he'd get one for himself.
He puts on a brave face in front of Rei (Rei = hope) of how they should both live with a new & improved attitude & she shouldn't worry about him as Mari will probably come get him ... and then he goes straight to spearing himself. He does NOT wait for the rescue team (aka Mari), he thinks his new life according to his new values will be rather short.
Interestingly he does no such pretense in front of Asuka, & outright says "goodbye" like he's not expecting to see her again.

Fortunately, that's when Shinji's parents finally take some long overdue responsibility for the shitty position they put their son into & take the spear in his place.
So Shinji's stranded in minus space on his own for a while.
At this point he's the only one there.
The scenery gets "sketch-like" as a nod to EoTV ("with no one else around you cant recognize your own shape")

But then, Mari shows up, just in the nick of time - and Shinji is * shocked * that she shows up & that they actually sent someone to rescue him, ie, that his efforts actually paid off. Then he goes from shocked to overjoyed & starts running towards Mari.
I'd say the scenery shifts in the exact moment that he starts to believe that he, too, will have a future.

We're shown this shot of a potential future for Rei, Asuka & Kaworu. At this point they are not physically present in minus space anymore, (hence why they're depicted as on the other side of the trails) - its symbolic.

But now it's Shinji's turn, as Mari is instead here to come get him.

Her extended hand is an invitation to seize his potential future, & he firmly grasps it.

This is "pact sealed" handshake, not a romantic handhold.

Romantic handholds are lingered on, often there's a little movement of the fingers clasping the hands even tighter, & even when it's not a "tititaling" scene, you could do a strong visual shorthand by just showing them standing close to each other or with intertwined fingers.

Instead the focus is on energy & dynamicism: 'He is confident now! He's going to carpe diem from now on!

Compare with the handhold with Kaworu from Q - im not getting into the romantic vs platonic can of worm because its irrelevant, but it was an "Emotional bonding" gesture. Its slow, meaningful and lingered on in detail as the wind plays in Kaworu's hair. They are facing each other.

With the ending scene, The gesture is quick & energetic, not lingered on, they don't face each other for long.
When they run, they are far apart: Emphazising dynamism, not closeness. They are running towards the hopeful future!
Shinji's newfound confidence is further emphasized by how he is the one who says "Let's go" & pulls Mari after him, so that she has to hurry to keep up (now visibly shorter than him), soon, he is at the front - 'Mentor' and 'student' have now become equals, he is determined to face his life with his newfound enthusiasm. And that's where it cuts off because that's all we really need to know. The story is complete when Shinji's transformation is complete - exactly the same as the other two endings.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Axx°N N. » Mon Apr 17, 2023 5:28 pm

View Original PostKendrix wrote:Personal taste, but I much prefer this to american media that spoonfeeds you the meaning with heavy-handed unsubtlety & everyone talks like they're trying to get a good grade in therapy

That last bit is how I see all the instrumentality scenes, though. I mean, the dialogue with Kaworu might as well have thrown the term "codependence" in and been about as overt. I prefer ambiguity too, but that's not to say going for ambiguity is always successful.
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Re: How do you feel about Shinji ending up with Mari?

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Postby Konja7 » Mon Apr 17, 2023 6:42 pm

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:That last bit is how I see all the instrumentality scenes, though. I mean, the dialogue with Kaworu might as well have thrown the term "codependence" in and been about as overt. I prefer ambiguity too, but that's not to say going for ambiguity is always successful.

I think Kendrix point is they don't directly say this even if the implications are pretty clear.

There are stories where the dialogue is too forced (it turns into a speech) to convey a message. This doesn't really apply to 3.0+1.0, where the message is pretty clear, but the dialogue is relatively subtle.


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