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

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

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Postby Zusuchan » Sat Nov 27, 2021 4:17 am

Your comments have been added, Dr. Nick.

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

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Postby UrsusArctos » Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:25 pm

Minor housekeeping stuff - I split Dr. Nick's comments on Episode 19 and Zusuchan's response into the Episode 19 thread. Episode 19 gets its own commentary thread because it has a translated script (courtesy of Quiddity).

This thread exists for the other episodes because the script for those isn't translated yet, and whatever comments are made here are without the benefit of a script to explain little things like character actions or scene descriptions that are, in some instances, beneficial or worthy of comment. Hence any Episode 20 comments and the like go in here.

I know I'm not around at all these days except for maybe once a month, but I am very grateful to everyone who continues to be a part of the commentary. Thank you all! :kaos_bow:
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Sun Dec 19, 2021 6:18 pm

(Late addition)
Episode 09 Cut 323:

Notice the small cultural detail: Shinji uses chopsticks, but Asuka, having lived in Germany, eats with a fork.

******

Episode 20:

013:
There's a little bit of missed visual storytelling potential here. Maya may complain about the chairs, but in practical terms the secondary control center is indistinguishable from the original; it would better drive home Nerv's precarious situation if the secondary one had the same layout but was otherwise noticeably smaller and dingier. Our heroes have had their battle bridge knocked out, and there are still some presumably very strong Angels to deal with.

024:
[The dialogue order appears to be messed up.]

029:
Kaji points out Gendo's disturbing lack of concern for his son, but considering that Gendo's plan for the Human Instrumentality does involve combining everyone's souls into one, he might just see this as Shinji skipping the queue. Staying prematurely tanged inside Eva-01 also means that Shinji will definitely stay safe until the Third Impact and the soul fusion. Nerv would be out one pilot, but I guess Gendo assumes the newly S2-powered Yui will be able to handle the remaining Angels by herself if need be.

035 (after Ursus):
This is such a fun bullshit science retcon - the show is basically fanwanking itself. But as much of a crude fix as it is, it does make weird amounts of sense. Like it or not, it's been established since episode 2 that with soul magic it is possible to reconstitute non-organic matter. Why does Shinji subconsciously "pseudo-substantiate" a plug suit for himself? Because at this point in time, being an Eva pilot is an important part of his self-image and sense of self-worth (see scenes 06 & 07 later in this episode). And of course, thanks to this convenient mechanism, the very final scene of EoE doesn't get derailed by Asuka being naked and Shinji wearing a post-apocalyptic loincloth.

058:
In this episode of Fullmetal Evangelion, Ritsuko breaks the human transmutation taboo.

079:
Hey, I remember this scene from Ranma ½!

086:
[Rei's line "Why do you hate your father?" is missing.]

184A:
It's clearly Instrumentality foreshadowing, but I wonder if this particular visual depiction helped to fuel the old and very wrong "Asuka-Rei-Misato amalgamation" theory. If you remember this theory being discussed with any seriousness, with eye color analysis and everything, you may call yourself an old guard Evangelion fan.

270:
"One of these young people is killing the other."

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

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Postby UrsusArctos » Wed Dec 22, 2021 12:34 am

Comments added, dialogue order fixed, and Rei's missing line added. Thanks, Dr. Nick!
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby dzzthink » Fri Jan 07, 2022 8:25 pm

Ep 11

029 0.008 off the theoretical value seems like a scientifically acceptable margin of error.

066 I like the lighting effect and shimmering heat waves in this shot. The ever-present cicada screeches are also very evocative of simple urban life in an Asian country.

082: That's quite an interesting theory. It was never clear who caused the blackout, I guess. It wouldn't be surprising for Kaji to pull that stunt while stuck in an elevator with Misato.

141: perhaps so as he comments on the lukewarm water. This method actually works quite well as the feet have good circulation. In this instance, it is one of the many great visual gags in the episode.

163: I read a theory in the forums, that Rei's good sense of direction along these corridors comes from having lived at Nerv all her life.

167: throughout this episode, Asuka berates and dismisses Shinji for his philosophical dialogues. He does have a good point in questioning what these Angels are and their motives since they always seem to be attacking Nerv at one specific place.

188: *sarcastic clapping*

211: Rei's response is quite intriguing. One would assume her position is quite established, but here she acknowledges her inessentiality without question.

219: In the silence of the room, Rei probably heard what Asuka said but she remain cool and collected, focused only on the mission at hand.

224: Asuka directs a piece of dialogue; Shinji naturally looks up in response (and he would have to see where he was going anyway); Asuka unleashes a brutal flurry of kicks into his face. A true leader, indeed.

345: even the part where Misato tells Kaji not to look up her skirt mimics the previous scene with Asuka and Shinji (224)

348 I thought this was a quote Rei may have read from her books but it's actually something she says philosophically. This sort of plays into the theme of running away from pain in the series, as well as the irony in how it leads to more consequences. Similarly, there is a connection here between man's quest for light and Nerv's tragic quest to gain control of fate through the instrumentality project, which can also be narrowed down to Gendo's wish to reunite with Yui.
"Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything is constructive." - 1 Corinthians 10:23

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

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Postby Dr. Nick » Tue Jan 25, 2022 10:22 pm

Episode 21: If my character motivation analysis goes off the rails anywhere, do point it out so that I don't end up looking stupid.

305:
So, here is the dedicated backstory / lore dump episode. Obviously, with Evangelion the real meat is in the psychologically introspective character work and general mindfuckery, and the deeplore exists to prop those things up. Consequently, a certain subset of fans chooses to ignore the superficial science fiction trappings wholesale, but for my money that's a bit extreme of an attitude. Classic-era Gainax was the consummate otaku studio (they literally made a mockumentary spoof about themselves highlighting what massive geeks they are), and it shows in the finished product - a lot of thought and care was put in the lore, and although the full picture remains tantalizingly fragmentary even with this episode, it's a worthwhile aspect of Evangelion to engage with.

306A:
Kiel's voiceover provides a brief window into his nihilistic worldview. If everyone is just out for themselves for egoistic reasons, isn't Seele perfectly justified in pursuing immortality and almost-godhood for their small clique?

003:
Kaji is showing some truly grim determination - he knows he's dealing with an all-powerful, world-ending conspiracy no one person can topple. I find it fascinating that his exit happens in the same episode that finally starts revealing some key player motivations, but more about that a bit later.

019 (after Mbryo):
Oddly, the Seele members other than Kiel use goofy voice changers in this scene, even though Fuyutsuki knows the identities of 40% of the monoliths thanks to being present at the Human Instrumentality Committee meetings. The monoliths speak with unscrambled voices later in episode 23 and in EoE.

And since we're talking about Seele, I personally feel like this is the place where the show's sometimes frustrating lore vagueness actually works the best. Seele is a thinly-sketched group of antagonists, basically just "the cabal" with "the evil plan" and some cool, ominous visual signifiers. It's a simple canned trope, but it's also a future-proofed trope since the group is too featureless to be seen as an expy for any specific real-world thing. This also helps to keep the show clear from any harmful real-world conspiracy theories, although the early fandom kind of went there with the wild (and completely unsupported) "Kiel is the Wandering Jew" theory.

030:
A GIGANTIC plot point is understatedly spelled out: this is the made-up science that makes NGE's plot happen. In that sense, it's somewhat comparable to Minovsky physics in the original Gundam.

The basics of Evangelion's soul science are of course recycled from another Tomino series, Space Runaway Ideon, wherein a temperamental hivesoul called the Ide resides within the titular robot and serves as the all-powerful cosmic horror macguffin over which the two factions fight. Anno puts his prequelist spin to this, with the Third Impact being an event that can potentially create such a cosmic being.

034:
We're given important glimpses of her backstory, but Yui still remains mysterious to this day. The potentially extracanonical revelation that she's the daughter of an influential member of Seele feels like an important puzzle piece that should've been in the show proper, as it explains how this random young scientist knows about the conspiracy she then sets out to thwart. But when we start considering the details of her plan, things get highly speculative. For example, does Yui choose to let herself become Unit-01's resident soul and then manipulate the proceedings during 3I to her liking simply because it's the only option, and stopping Seele outright is impossible even for her? Is her becoming a living monument to humanity's existence just her making the best out of an unfortunate situation, a consolation prize of sorts ("I will go along with the flow of things.")? Because if she prioritized the monument thing over shutting the Third Impact down cold, that is morally suspect. It's no wonder that "Yui is a stealth villain" is a pretty popular fan theory.

Similarly, consider the cold pragmatist/sociopath reading of this line: is Yui implying "I need to have a child (who'll become an Eva pilot I can manipulate) for my plan to work"? Seele doesn't yet have a practical roadmap to their end goal, but is Yui, being a scientist, ahead of the old religious weirdos? Has she already foreseen pilotable biomechs at this point in time?

038 (after Mbryo):
I would assume it's simply a matter of Yui being an active resident soul who went in willingly and knows what she's doing. She's able to reason, plan ahead and apply her knowledge, whereas the other poor souls in other cores are trapped and mostly dormant. Even if they're able to exert their will, as in the (admittedly very special) case of Unit-00, it's just blindly lashing out; momentarily destructive, but not a threat to Seele's plans.

040 (after Mbryo):
When discussing Seele's plan, CI's text kind of wobbles between godhood and near-godhood. More than anything, Seele's dismay at Yui's little stunt feels like a hypocritical case of "godhood for me and not for thee".

057:
Gendo might have initially viewed Yui as a means to an end, but he ended up falling for her for real. But did Yui genuinely have feelings for him? It's a relevant question to ask, especially since we don't get any scenes with just the two of them together. Heck, this episode shows more chemistry between Gendo/Naoko and even Fuyutsuki/Yui. But considering the structure of the episode and how these flashbacks are paired with the tragic final moments of Misato and Kaji's relationship, the parallelism might indicate that the ultimate answer is yes. Kaji loves Misato but is still willing to leave her by doing the self-sacrificing thing in order to save the world, so perhaps this was the case with Yui as well.

061:
Talking about mystery motivations, according to CI, Gendo married Yui so that he could become a member of Seele himself. But as an outsider, he obviously wouldn't have been initiated into Seele's deep secrets until he was in, and I doubt Yui spilled the beans ahead of time, as they would've probably been under the heaviest of surveillance while dating. So what was Gendo's goal then prior to his initiation? Was he simply after power as a member of a secret society?

076:
The clout the Ikari family name carries is another small thing that has more weight to it if Yui is indeed the daughter of a Seele bigwig.

079:
The curiously Rei-looking angel on the card is perhaps the cutest bit of foreshadowing in the whole series.

087:
Gendo is being particularly malevolent here. He's at the ground zero of the disaster his organization intentionally caused, saying "it's no big deal, bro". Before the shock of Yui's "death" caused him to secretly distance himself from Seele's plans, he seems to have been a bona fide villain.

326:
Is the White Moon name-checked anywhere in the series proper, by the way?

124:
Yup, Gendo's a villain.

133:
"You don't actually think they spent $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?"

136:
Remember cut 086: Seele is not a totally secret organization. They've needed to come out of the shadows somewhat in order to start in earnest working towards their end goal, which they earlier considered "naught but the pipe dreams of their ancestors". Scientists like Fuyutsuki know about the organization, and it has a terrible reputation. And despite this, Naoko Akagi happily jumps in with the creepy Kabbalistic cult simply because it's a cool research opportunity. She exemplifies the sort of myopically fixated scientist Kiel was lambasting in the opening flashback, and she stands in contrast to Yui and Fuyutsuki, who are scientists who see the bigger picture and take appropriate action to prevent wrongdoing.

333:
Here begins the big important flashback scene of the episode and the whole show. It's so important, in fact, that we return to it in the penultimate scene of EoE, just before One More Final. The two central pieces of information it reveals are: 1) Yui has her own conspiracy running inside Seele's bigger conspiracy, and she's recruited Fuyutsuki into it, and 2), Gendo is not aware of this. At this point in time, he's still Seele's loyal toady.

334:
The "final tragedy" line might seem a little odd, considering this discussion happens between two people who are both in the know. Sure, Seele and Gehirn exist, as an intermediate step, to prevent an Angel-triggered version of 3I from happening, but does it really fundamentally matter to some random person if they're annihilated in an Angel 3I or in Seele's custom 3I a week or so later? But as we see later in cut 178, the Human Instrumentality Project doesn't exist yet as a concrete plan, so for now Seele's immediate focus probably is in preparing for Angel-killing. Yui, however, is ahead of the game and has realized that the path Seele is on won't mean anything good for humanity at large, and that humanity now includes a child of her own.

336A:
Fuyutsuki was about to go all whistleblower on Seele. Did Yui recruit him into her anti-Seele operation in order to save his life, as he would've surely been quickly snuffed out if he tried to go public with what he knows? Anyway, Fuyutsuki finds her plan better, so he pretends to bend the knee and returns the incriminating data to Gendo.

343:
Going back to the "Yui is a stealth villain" fan theory I mentioned in cut 34 - yeah, I don't subscribe to it. Yui has to make grievously difficult decisions, but the show depicts her as a hero. Just compare the serene mood of this scene with the eerie tilted-shadows vibe of the scene starting from cut 178. The latter is functionally almost the same scene, except this time it's Gendo confiding in Fuyutsuki about his spanking new conspiracy within Seele's conspiracy, but the visual language is totally different and full of menace.

179 (after eldomtom2):
How to square these contradictions, knowing that Seele's end goal of eternal existence in near-godhood is a thing the cult has dreamt of for centuries? If I were to fanwank it, I take it means Gendo designed the practical roadmap of executing their religious woo, of course in line with his own secret goal of getting back together with Yui.

181 (before the editor's note I guess?):
Notice what's not happening in this scene: Fuyutsuki stays steadfastly with team Yui and doesn't reveal her plans to Gendo even when he seems to be going truly off the deep end now.

209:
Spot the Gunbuster easter egg.

236:
Leave it to Gendo to badly socialize a child. If we're tracking Lilith's soul right, Rei I doesn't even have the "nuts because of split soul" excuse for her behavior like Kyoko does because at this point in time her soul should still be intact. The splitting presumably happened after her murder, once her soul had been sucked out of her corpse. The trauma of this murder is also presumably what triggers Unit-00's berserk incidents.

349:
Another rare instance of Engrish (lebel).

278:
So, who killed Kaji? Apparently, just some random Nerv/Seele goon. The "Misato did it" theory was such a stupid early fandom dead end that even the creators themselves took action to kneecap it, as seen in the next cut.

294:
Kaji at least had the final luxury of leaving this message. Yui couldn't do anything like that because she couldn't draw any suspicion to her deadly accident potentially being no accident at all.

Also, why is Kaji referring to his melons as a flower? Is it just supposed to be a cute surprise for Misato when she finds the place, or am I missing something?

******

Edit: Fixed the percentage. The Human Instrumentality Committee has five members.
Last edited by Dr. Nick on Wed Jan 26, 2022 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

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Postby UrsusArctos » Wed Jan 26, 2022 10:48 am

Went ahead and added the comments, including the character motivation analysis - which IMHO seems to be good enough. I included a few additional comments of my own (PM me if you spot any obvious howlers in those)

For Cut 181 I put your comment in after the Editor's Note, because I thought it made more sense below it rather than above. After all, referencing the mysterious "kami e no michi" is pretty much a sure sign of a guy who's going off the deep end.
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Re: Commentary: General (Episodes 09-18;20-26)

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Postby Dr. Nick » Wed Jan 26, 2022 9:06 pm

Thank you, looking good. A lot of this is really speculative by necessity, but I think it should be apparent from the comments.

I'd like to add the following who-knows-what expansion to my comment in cut 181:

Now, Gendo is a smart guy, and he figures out what Yui is planning to do by letting herself be absorbed in the Eva. Perhaps the realization set in after the salvage attempt failed - Yui wants to stay in the core. Knowing this, he's not surprised or shocked whenever Unit-01 takes independent action. In effect, Gendo's Human Instrumentality Project plan just builds a selfishly motivated extra conspiracy on top of Yui's conspiracy within Seele's conspiracy (whew!): if successful, Seele's ultimate goal is thwarted like Yui wanted, but the Instrumentality process allows Gendo to slip in and be with Yui like he wanted.

Here too there are of course some extra mysteries. For example, Gendo susses out Yui's motives, but does he stay unaware of Fuyutsuki's position as Yui's co-conspirator? I would assume so, as I doubt Gendo would be particularly merciful towards a person who, by inaction, allowed Yui to be ripped away from him. And did Yui foresee how losing her would change Gendo as a person? Did she count on him crafting his own extra conspiracy to run parallel with hers, helping hers along? That is the sort of masterminding that brings us right back to sociopath Yui.

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

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Postby UrsusArctos » Wed Jan 26, 2022 9:32 pm

That makes sense to me, it's a really good observation and it clashes tremendously with the maternal image of Yui with toddler Shinji, talking to Fuyutsuki beside Ashinoko. I've added that and an additional comment of my own under the collapsible comments in that cut. Let me know if this seems good.
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The main point of idiocy is for the smart to have their lulz. Without human idiocy, trolling would not exist, and that's uncool, since a large part of my entertainment consists of mocking the absurdity and dumbassery of the world, especially the Internet.-MaggotMaster


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