Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:24 pm

Tried posting some actually worthwhile comments about production lore:

https://wiki.evageeks.org/FGC:Episode_15_Cut_018
https://wiki.evageeks.org/FGC:Episode_21_Cut_019 (expanded commentary part)

Ursus, is the cult you mention here supposed to be Aum Shinrikyo as well?

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Wed Mar 30, 2022 9:35 pm

Those comments are pretty good! By the way, you ought to get a kick out of this page, which I robo-translated last year from a Japanese website. It's a perfect example of one of those "juicy Japanese sources that [had] never been translated into English" -

https://wiki.evageeks.org/Investigation ... nd_Fantasy

View Original PostDr. Nick wrote:
Ursus, is the cult you mention here supposed to be Aum Shinrikyo as well?


Yes, that's them. I'll edit the comment and name them explicitly.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Thu Apr 07, 2022 7:13 am

Episode 23 for realz this time:

046:
For all the power and influence they wield, Seele seems to be completely in the dark about what might be motivating Gendo, or Yui for that matter.

060:
This scene exemplifies why Evangelion is sometimes said to belong in the mecha subgenre of "hybrid robot". In classic super robot shows, the robot is an extension of the hero's willpower, and the stronger their heroic emotions, the better the machine performs. Usually this is metaphorical of course, but some shows do contextualize this by making emotions or willpower the actual in-universe power source or motive mechanism. GaoGaiGar with its appropriately green-glowing G-stones is a classic heroic super robot formulation of this, and Evangelion earns its hybrid status by combining this type of ludicrous in-universe science with unnervingly realistic depictions of the human condition at its lowest. So, when the mech is emotion-driven and the pilot is in a state of deep depression-borne passivity, we get the anticlimax of cut 113.

And of course, this borrowing from both sides of the aisle goes on: Asuka's awakening and big rampage in episode 25' is a very super robot moment; her getting skewered and eaten only moments after is mean-spirited real robot territory (or perhaps more correctly Tomino territory).

061:
The episode with the big origins infodump comes with plenty of DNA imagery, not to mention penetration, pregnancy and birth imagery.

082:
All this rifle is good for is producing goofy "Doink!" sound effects.

088:
Assimilation is Armisael's monster-of-the-week gimmick, but in Fafner it's the whole show, with even the smallest goombas of the Festum collective being hug-happy fusionists. No wonder the franchise is well-liked by mecha nightmare fuel connoisseurs.

122:
Remember this effect? In episode 20 (cut 244) it signaled Shinji identifying the person next to him. It's the same usage here.

130:
So, what is Armisael's motivation for doing this? Being the last of Adam's children, did it come to the realization that their side has lost and therefore just came to torture the Eva pilots by sharing its pain? Cut 158 shows that it launches after Eva-01 immediately after Shinji activates the AT Field, whilst ignoring Asuka because she doesn't get her field up, so it isn't just targeting Rei.

One theory, courtesy of the additional DC scenes, is that Armisael is somehow trying to resurrect its dead siblings, but more about that in a bit.

142:
I have mixed feelings about the Angel resurrection theory. Sure, Armisael is the Angel of the womb and the pregnancy imagery is unmissable, but on the other hand, there isn't that much evidence that Armisael has somehow absorbed all of the previous Angel souls within itself. We see inside the soul space within its core while it’s communicating with Rei, and there's nobody else there.

Furthermore, if Armisael had such a resurrection ability, why would it need to assimilate an Eva unit to bring its siblings back to life? Angels can by all accounts generate matter from nothing (Sandalphon being the best example), so I doubt it would need Adam-derived biomass from elsewhere. Does it need to hijack Unit-00's core for the resurrection to happen? But so far, the rule has been one core, one resident soul, and the tower features all of the Angels.

For all we know, the Angel tower could be a simple side effect of the assimilation (the purpose of which is unclear as well). Perhaps it's just Armisael's memories of its brethren made flesh, or perhaps it's some kind of defiant signal aimed at humans. Who knows, insert your own theory here. And finally, the pregnancy imagery could simply be symbolic lead-up to Rei III being born; after all, the Angel tower is like a grotesque back hump tumor, whereas it's Eva-00's core that forms the pregnant belly so to speak.

352:
A bit of an EoE dress rehearsal here as well, as Rei basically rejects a mini-Instrumentality on offer.

353:
As horrifying as this whole sequence is, Armisael's moe girl shriek when yoinked never fails to make me smile.

378 (after Ursus):
Even if the location made sense, it's not much of a city destruction sequence. The explosion doesn't really look appreciably different from all the other Angel death explosions, and you're just supposed to infer its gigantic scale during the one second the buildings are visible. But I also understand why the DC version doesn't add any gratuitous nuke porn here (even though that is definitely Anno's jam): the focus is kept on Rei freaking dying.

192 (after Ursus):
The armor plating must have been impeccably fixed after Zeruel, considering the Geofront doesn't spring any leaks. One would assume the shafts of the retractable buildings would cause an issue, but let's chalk this up to lightsaber logic.

195 (after Ursus):
Kentucky Fried Rei and Asuka's bath time in the next episode are two important scenes where the improved visual fidelity of the Renewal remasters really helped fandom to figure out what's actually going on. Before, you couldn't tell with certainty that it is indeed Rei's charred hand and arm at the bottom. The important lore implication is that her soul stayed with her dead body, and Nerv had to use some sort of technical means to transfer it to a new empty clone body, thus creating Rei III; her soul didn't just automatically jump into the next body like in Quantum Leap. Rei's soul is of course special, but in EoE it is confirmed that souls of normal humans linger with their earthly remains like this as well.

235:
Considering the AT Field hax we've seen in the series so far, Rei surviving with just minor injuries isn't even that far-fetched of a cover story. Let's remember that not that far back Ritsuko planned to drop 992 N2 bombs on unsuspecting Shinji.

255:
Broadly speaking each new Rei inherits the memories of the previous one (Rei III knows who Shinji is and so on), but it's unclear whether there is some information loss involved, or if this is a synching issue with the new body.

259:
Why is Ritsuko naked here? The implications are extremely dark. [This needs a link to Shin-seiki's "Ritsuko was raped" theory. Apparently there's no dedicated T&A page for it, so I guess the original thread needs to be linked instead?]

272.
Misato has fully inherited Kaji's "truth at all costs" attitude.

297:
You'd think these wall and floor scrawlings might be related to medicine/chemistry, but instead they're mostly about quantum mechanics (plus TiD2 being titanium deuteride and 7iD2 being apparently nonsense). These references together with the bookending Reis have led fans to theorize that Rei is a non-linear quantum state being. As nuts as it sounds, it's probably one of the less controversial fan theories!

305:
Notice how the room is circular and the glowing nucleobase letters form another circle-shaped DNA reference.

307:
We are barreling towards a particularly obtuse infodump, but this scene actually does provide a concrete answer to one question: are there empty Rei clones inside dummy plugs? The answer is no, as the tank clone bodies listed on Ritsuko's remote control start from number 4, and Reis 1-3 are accounted for.

317 (after Ursus):
Even if we ignore her omissions, this explanation is a headache-inducing information turducken. Firstly, she frames the events of Second Impact in religious terms like a Seele true believer, and then breathlessly ties the creation and soul mechanics of Evas together with the birth of Rei, whilst also namedropping Guf, which is to this day just a big question mark really. Of course, this blather makes sense from a character writing standpoint when you consider Ritsuko's mental state after what she's been through, but it's also the sort of infodump that sends lore idiots like me playing with spreadsheets instead of fully immersing in the narrative and theme.

Then again, there's a counterexample, the mid-1990s OVA Key the Metal Idol, which also deals with some pretty heady metaphysical scifi concepts. Being somewhat of an experimental title with variable episode lengths, it chooses to explain its lore exhaustively with, I kid you not, an uninterrupted 90-minute- long exposition dump. While NGE is too vaguely minimalistic for my tastes when explaining its practical metaphysics (hence all the bonkers fandom misconceptions), I concede a more clear-cut mystery-annihilating explainer wouldn't fit the show's by this point aggressively oppressive atmosphere.

334:
Misato's final lines here pull double duty by being audience-directed as well. While the Commentary Project is primarily meant to be a breezy run-through of the text of Evangelion, it bears acknowledging that this is a show that was, one way or the other, meant to shake up the otaku culture in Japan.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sat Apr 09, 2022 3:29 pm

View Original PostDr. Nick wrote:353:
As horrifying as this whole sequence is, Armisael's moe girl shriek when yoinked never fails to make me smile.


Shouldn't this be Cut 360? That's when Armisael gets yoinked.


259:
Why is Ritsuko naked here? The implications are extremely dark. [This needs a link to Shin-seiki's "Ritsuko was raped" theory. Apparently there's no dedicated T&A page for it, so I guess the original thread needs to be linked instead?]


Let me take a look at it later, because this caused no end of controversy when it came up and it's possibly why it was never given a T&A page. A link to the original thread would be appropriate, yes.

Correction: It's been on the wiki since 2008 and has a dedicated T&A page under the title "Ritsuko's Interrogation", which includes a link back to Shin-seiki's old thread -
https://wiki.evageeks.org/Theory_and_An ... errogation
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Mon Apr 11, 2022 9:09 am

Thank you for fixing those issues. And I like what you did with cut 334, since I was wondering where might be a good place to slip in that bit about Murakami. Obviously the most noticeable overt reference is the character names, and that's mentioned early on in episode 7 commentary, but focusing on the context of the work makes sense here when we're nearing the finale of Evangelion, where the surface-level story gives way to the thesis statement of the show.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Thu Apr 14, 2022 1:35 pm

Episode 24:

014B:
Notice the scene transition trick here, with the sound effect (slap) from the next scene overwriting the expected audio (door slamming shut). This same slap transition was later used in Death to overwrite the gunshot in Kaji's death scene, which left the English-language dubbing team flabbergasted.

020:
Before the Renewal remastering, what little blood we see here wasn't properly visible, and many fan debates were had over "Wait, did she actually...?" The folded clothes were actually a bigger giveaway that this was indeed a suicide attempt.

025:
This map shows the outlying urban areas of Tokyo-3 that were spared from Eva-00's explosion.

037:
[The translation is missing "What are you doing, Father?]

041:
Ritsuko is probably the most clear-cut expy of an Ideon character in Evangelion, her original being Sheryl Formosa, the lady scientist who snaps spectacularly in the concluding movie. Even their character designs are fairly similar, but although their final character beats are the same, the motivations are inverted: Sheryl meets her end trying to awaken the Ide in a crazed act of self-preservation, whereas Ritsuko goes out attempting a spiteful murder-suicide.

048 (after Ursus):
After central Tokyo-3 was poofed out of existence in an anticlimactic way in the last episode, this one attempts to make the scale of the destruction more concrete. And the desolation in view of course matches what Shinji is feeling at the moment.

049:
Shinji puts into words why this episode miraculously works, even though Kaworu has so little screen time: Shinji is just that desperate for non-messed-up human contact.

053 (after Ursus):
It's a fascinating idea, a sort of fan reconstruction of what looks like a missing piece of character parallelism. After all, it's Shinji and Misato who are the two protagonists of the story, and since the clone of Shinji's parent became a vessel for a progenitor being's soul, it would be a cool late series twist if it was revealed that the same was true for Misato as well. It would be a huge thing. But such revelation never happens, so the idea remains a ghost of a plot point. In a way, it's the Eva fandom's version of Jar Jar Binks being a secret Sith lord.

089:
Didn't Int Division 2 inform Misato that Asuka is hospitalized in a comatose state? Seems like a big deal.

[Why are there repeated cuts between Scenes 04 & 05?]

102:
I'm just going to broach this topic very briefly since the Commentary Project has unfortunately never had any real Ikuhara experts on board (nor any Ultraman experts either, which is a huge flaw), but it's a well-know bit of industry lore that Anno and the Revolutionary Girl Utena director Kunihiko Ikuhara are good friends, and it's been rumored that Anno based Kaworu more or less on Ikuhara. Ikuhara's own take is that he wasn't the inspiration for the character, but the public bath scene was based on a particular situation with the two of them at an onsen.

105 (before Tines I guess):
Kaworu preaching to the audience of one, and Anno to the audience of many.

112 (after Ursus):
And that took two girls.

114:
We'll discuss more about what exactly Seele is attempting in this episode soon enough, but here's one idea to ponder at this point: Did Seele send Kaworu to intentionally drive Shinji over the edge by betraying him? After all, in EoE they say in their ritual chant, "Through the destruction of the ego of Evangelion Unit 01's pilot, humanity shall now undergo Instrumentality", which suggests they are relying on mindbroken Shinji as a linchpin of their plan, hoping he'll choose instrumentality (or death, if you want to be negative about it) when offered.

319:
Oh boy, this scene. As much as I generally like the DC additions, this lake scene is just incongruous in so many ways.
- It introduces the apparent plot hole of Kaworu being informed of where Adam's body actually is.
- It features a wrong number of Seele monoliths.
- Even the art direction is busted, as the angel statue's visual consistency just goes out of the window. In the original on-air scene, it looks like a plausible bit of public art, whereas in here it's this grotesque foreshadowing monster.

And since the scene in question is a later addition, the usual production crunch explanation doesn't hold water. Was some new staff brought over to take care of this particular sequence?

327 (after Ursus):
As wild as the idea of the monoliths representing Angel souls is, it doesn't make much sense. Why would they need disguises in the first place, since they're clearly invisible to humans? And why would they disguise themselves as Seele, taking on the form of their enemy? It's not like the show is lacking in ways to depict disembodied spirits. My take is that this is indeed supposed to be Kaworu's recollection of his mission briefing, and the wrong number of monoliths is simply an intentionally continuity-breaking artistic choice, à la Eva-02's redesign in EoE.

335 (after Ursus):
This would have indeed been an ideal place to establish a link to Dr. Katsuragi if they had that in mind, quick cutting to Misato's memory of him, just like in the scene just minutes earlier when Shinji is connecting the dots between Rei and Yui. Alas, there's nothing.

167:
Even with Unit-02 in tow, Kaworu is effortlessly using his AT Field to facilitate an unhurried descent.

181:
Eva fans have debated the specifics of Seele's gambit in this episode (and Kaworu's motivations in relation to it) over two decades, and nothing seems to stick as a universal consensus. Perhaps they sent Kaworu to die after the twink had outlived his usefulness because only an Evangelion would be able to kill him, but by doing so they risk handing Gendo Adam's soul, which seems reckless. Having Kaworu trigger Third Impact right here right now would negate this drawback, but then again, nothing Seele says in EoE implies they're attempting a do-over after Kaworu's failure, so perhaps this and perhaps that...

The problem with Seele, and on a more meta level with the show itself, is that you can never really be quite certain when they're actually following "the scenario" and when they're just winging it.

218:
Straightforward exposition? In my Evangelion? Truly, this man has to die.

302:
Seeing her old rival give up at the end like this, is Rei perhaps thinking... "Pathetic?"

310 (after Tines):
...which also serves as a callback to Ideon's concluding film Be Invoked, which starts with a recap of a love interest's decapitation.

By the way, just as Rei's soul gets salvaged from her dead versions, we can infer that Gendo had Kaworu's soul drawn out of his corpse and transplanted into his hand fetus, since Kaworu later pops out of Giant Nude Rei.
Last edited by Dr. Nick on Sun Apr 17, 2022 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Thu Apr 14, 2022 5:20 pm

ep 24 sure is an interesting episode and I am very inclined to rewatch it based on these comments in the commentary. I think there are a lot of things we can learn about the characters and fan theories. The interaction between Kaworu and Shinji is one of the most endearing and captivating moments of any anime friendship.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Fri Apr 15, 2022 1:53 am

View Original PostDr. Nick wrote:
[Why are there repeated cuts between Scenes 04 & 05?]



No idea, but it seems that not everything in this episode ported right from the old site. Makes adding comments a lot slower and a lot more troublesome.

101:
[Too much of a crass/groaner joke?]


Too crass and too close to being offensive. Please get rid of it.

102:
I'm just going to broach this topic very briefly since the Commentary Project has unfortunately never had any real Ikuhara experts on board (nor any Ultraman experts either, which is a huge flaw)


Not much in the way of experts on Ideon in general either. I have to search to see who said Eva was a mix between Ideon and Devilman, because it's evident to me now that Evangelion is more of Ideon + Ultraman. And no Gerry Anderson experts either, given the importance of UFO to Nerv. And no Ryu Murakami experts... we've been running this entire project short of folks who were experts in a whole slew of Evangelion influences!
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Literary Eagle » Sat Apr 16, 2022 11:13 am

Episode 24:

114 (after Dr. Nick): The official book The Essential Evangelion Chronicle: Side B says that Kaworu approaching Shinji was not necessary for his mission, and came from a desire for a human relationship. In other words, Kaworu genuinely wanted to form a bond with Shinji, and was not following instructions from Seele to break him. I go into further analysis on Kaworu's motives (including more information from that book) in this article: Space Jesus, Take the Wheel. That article uses the French version of the book, however an English version of the book was released later.

302 (after Dr. Nick): Heh, that's a good joke! Although just in case anyone is actually curious, the official book The Essential Evangelion Chronicle: Side B shows that Rei and Kaworu are not enemies. I discussed that topic in this short article: Teammate, sympathy.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Mon Apr 18, 2022 8:41 am

Very interesting: thank you for the Chronicle inputs! However I should note that it's "Third-Tier Canon" under our canonicity classification and therefore not necessarily a definite answer.

https://wiki.evageeks.org/What_Is_Canon%3F
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Literary Eagle » Mon Apr 18, 2022 8:55 am

My pleasure! There are lots of interesting Evangelion books out there, so I love shining a spotlight on them when I can. ^_^
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Fri May 20, 2022 3:03 pm

Finally got around to rewatching Evangelion 3.33 on Amazon prime and then had some chances to look through some scenes from ep 24. It brought back a lot of interesting thoughts, which I still haven't really processed yet. I thought I'd just post some general musings here as I haven't had a chance to dive into the deeper themes.

ep 24

003 The episode starts almost within Asuka's mind as if we are walking through a door into her subconscious, something that she has hidden from others throughout the series. The similar sunset-like/LCL-orange lighting is reminiscent of Shinji's dream of being on a train after being abandoned by his father.

014F It's an interesting transition to see the still image of the coffee pot being in the holder at 14C, followed by it being spilled and evaporating here. What happened during Asuka's and Shinji's argument and who spilled it is left unclear but the events could be similar to EoE.

041 It is quite shocking to see such an independent person being suddenly so reliant on Gendo.

044 I think Shinji still relies on Asuka's companionship despite her coldness. This scene just shows how desperate he is to confide in someone and find a way to express his feelings. Luckily Kaworu arrives on cue.

052 The headless angel also being what he becomes later!

080 While they would always report who Shinji has met, it seems that Kaworu is also a point of interest. This is only one of two instances that they meet, and their relationship does not progress. Makes me wonder if the two of them had worked together, they would have posed a real threat against humanity.

099 Despite his origins, these moments highlight Kaworu's emotional intelligence, which contrasts with Rei's calmness and discipline. He seems genuinely interested in Lilin, often remarking about music and the symbols of people's relationships.

106 Kaworu seems to understand Shinji quite well and makes very bold actions to neutralize the 'AT-field' that Shinji puts around his heart. In this way, Shinji opens up to Kaworu more than he ever has to anyone else.

112 Doesn't help that Kaworu is standing up at this point. Avert your eyes Shinji.

118 Still I can't help but feel like in English, 'like' isn't strong enough to mean Kaworu's like. 'Love' can be too direct to say to someone but it isn't unlikely for someone like Kaworu to really say this to Shinji.

128E: Very interesting statement, suggesting that Rei is aware that she was created again from Nerv's cloning devices but is confused about her existence. This clone even questions her loyalty to Gendo in this scene, as even she is unsure about 'for who' is she being brought back alive for.

128H: Rei is associated with the moon in this shot, much like in the end credits.

144 I think this line (and possibly every other line said by Kaworu) expresses his love for Shinji. Japanese is quite an indirect language, and as Natsume Soseki once said, "I love you" can simply be rephrased to “The moon is beautiful, isn't it?”

327: Seele's number one goal has always been the human instrumentality project, so why collaborate with Adam's successor? The brief to Kaworu does not seem to have a clear goal, they could have easily asked him to assassinate Gendo but instead, it seems they just tricked Kawaoru by sending him to his death via battling the Eva. They also seem to butter him up a bit in this scene.

154 Ode to joy works unbelievably well in this scene.

180: Yes that makes perfect sense. It does seem like the only 'safe' and 'controlled' trigger at this point is unit one. It is interesting that they mention that they won't be using the angels, which suggests that Kaworu was just a pawn in their wider plan.

181: As already mentioned by Dr Nick for scene 114, there is a theory that they needed to push Shinji to his limits. It could be that it is the only way to awaken Unit one to trigger instrumentality. Yui's protective instincts need to be fully activated through the mental anguish of Shinji for unit one to cause an event.

193 This is quite a reused scene, where Shinji looks up as though waking from meditation. Quite fitting as he faces the coldness of reality again.

276: Indeed, since Rei is still relatively loyal to Gendo at this point, she was probably ordered to go there by Gendo. Her AT-field might have been necessary to neutralize Kaworu to some degree.

289: Interesting that Kaworu could have fused to Unit 2 and continued living forever, much like Yui in Unit 1. Also note that although it isn't a direct parallel with Jesus and the Bible, Kaworu chooses to die so that humanity can keep living.

308 Indeed, a very well executed moment, with Shinji holding on to Kaworu out of desperation, anger, fear, and need.
Last edited by dzzthink on Sat May 28, 2022 12:31 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sat May 21, 2022 7:14 pm

View Original Postdzzthink wrote:041 It is quite shocking to see such an independent person being suddenly reliant on one of the most despised characters in this show. Oh, those invisible bonds that tie us together.


:gendo_doom: - "Your lack of faith disturbs me."

More seriously, if you have deeper thoughts about Episode 24 or wish to rethink any portion of your comments, take the time to put them down, and I'll add them all when you're done.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Fri May 27, 2022 8:50 am

Sorry, I didn't mean 'despised', I meant 'sexiest'.

I have made some amends and further comments, for consideration and review. I don't have anything more to add for ep 24 as I feel the more knowledgeable people have already contributed much already, and maybe some more people can clarify the complicated and confusing parts of the episode that I don't even know how to describe.
"Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive." - 1 Corinthians 10:23


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