Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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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Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby PSIWasHere » Fri Aug 13, 2021 12:51 pm

Ever since 2.0 I've found Mari's inclusion both annoying and confusing for a multitude of reasons, mostly relating to her characterisation and how I believe she destroys a sort of dynamic between Rei and Asuka due to both her design and personality. While I hold certain belief's that Mari's inclusion overall is generally something I dislike, that doesn't mean that I don't wish to not understand her point.

So, really, what is there to her? throughout the rebuild series it just seems as if she's kind of a 'weird girl' archetype with a lot of uncomfortable sexualisation and little rhyme or reason to both her motivations and end-game, sure she has character but it feels so uncertain and to my mind at least now, half-baked. I don't understand why Mari and Shinji are both in some sort of relationship in the newly created world, they have such little interaction throughout all of rebuild, or is that the point? Is Mari relevant to him then because he has barely any prior chemistry towards her during rebuild signifying that it truly is different considering this is supposed to be a world exempt of Evangelion? Really, I'm not looking for anything specific here, just some insight or maybe things I've overlooked or something.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby RussianRiz » Fri Aug 13, 2021 12:59 pm

Mari wasn't conceived by Anno, so the point of the character is very much she being a external element inside the Eva universe. In the terms of the movie, she is a remnant of reality for Shinji and the audience.

My personal thoughts? The ending Shinji x Mari is just to not give ammo for any more waifu wars. Rei is not a option for Shinji and Asuka is past. Mari is present.

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby PSIWasHere » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:11 pm

View Original PostRussianRiz wrote: The ending Shinji x Mari is just to not give ammo for any more waifu wars. Rei is not a option for Shinji and Asuka is past. Mari is present.


I understand this resolution in terms of what it means for the fanbase, and truthfully, I really dislike the whole 'waifu' side of the fanbase, but I personally think I would much prefer a more cohesive and understandable narrative than one built for the sake of destroying something that I feel shouldn't concern them. Evangelion has been trivialised due to people and their whole waifu complex, that much is assured, but I feel those people who do flanderize the characters for the sake of them being a 'waifu' do a good enough job reducing themselves of credibility and legitimacy already, I don't think Evangelion needs to make that a point, you know?
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby Raikyu » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:20 pm

Assuming that MariShin is canon, it's really hard to take it seriously, considering that she is like 45 years old. On the other side, Asuka is 28, so it will be weird whatever the winner of the waifu wars is.

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby RussianRiz » Fri Aug 13, 2021 1:30 pm

View Original PostPSIWasHere wrote: I don't think Evangelion needs to make that a point, you know?


I understand what you say, but I would go futher and say that is part of the job of Evangelion to go through it too. Those themes are inherently part of its universe and a commentary of the staff about this subject is complementary to the message of the series per se.

Now, I don't think the insertion of Mari in NTE affects the coherence of the narrative. The vague-ism is not unfamiliar in the franchise. Her job becomes clearer in this movie with the needed elements to understand who she was and what she can do. It's a bit more than we know about Yui, for example. So, it doesn't bother me at all, but I can sympathize in saying that I don't care very much to the character at all.

Raikyu, lol. At the end of the movie, Shinji seems to be an adult too. The gap between 45 and 28 is not that strange for adults.

Merged double post - Blockio
Last edited by RussianRiz on Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby Blockio » Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:23 pm

My reading of Mari is similar to that of Riz; she represents change, and moving on from a stale framework.

Thnk of it this way; when 01 and 13 fight, they have the souls of Rei and Asuka respectively in them, and Gendo goes out of his way to tell both Shinji and the audience that this is a fight that has no winner; not too long after that, Mari comes along bringing an entirely new element in the equation, thereby breaking the stalemate.
That also reflects in the final scene; she takes off the choker, removing from Shinji the thing that kept him anchored in the past.

Her role in-universe is definitely a bit less straightforward than that, but from a metanarrative persepctive, I like her a lot
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby Polo » Fri Aug 13, 2021 2:54 pm

For me Mari is more like a guide for the other kids. She's older than them and more mature. All the time she's presented as an extroverted person, always smiling and being playful with Shinji and Asuka. But in the middle of her games she's also pushing them to grow. There are scenes when she seems to be playing with Asuka but at the same time is influencing her to accept her feelings. She also tells Asuka that she wishes to read all the books in the world, even though that's impossible. In that scene she's teaching Asuka that they should never give up on their goals even if they seem impossible.
At the end I don't think his relationship with Shiji in the new world necessarily involves something romantic. Mari is teaching Shinji to accept himself, to connect with others and to be happy. In other words, Mari is teaching Shinji to be like her, and that's what we see at the end, a more extroverted Shinji, being playful wih Mari and finally smiling while running to the new world.

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby BeauNavire » Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:12 pm

She makes for a much more interesting addition to the movies when you realize that they're about the unfolding drama of history and Shinji's quest for self-consciousness and recognition.

Every impact is an eschatological "step" or sublation of that particular world order towards the apocalypse (positive apocalypse in the sense of the complete reuniting of man & god). Asuka and Mari both present obstacles in the way of Shinji's revolutionary potential, making them essentially reactionary characters. Asuka is completely defined by her suffering and her instrumentalization. She does not exist outside of her bondage. Mari is interesting because she is also reactionary in this way, but for different reasons; she is an anime character in a movie full of human beings.

Mind you I'm still thinking of her development in 3.0+1.0 and how exactly she gets "saved". I'll have watch the movie a few more times and think it through

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby PSIWasHere » Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:16 pm

View Original PostBeauNavire wrote: I'll have watch the movie a few more times and think it through


Exactly how I feel, Eva in itself is incredibly obtuse but a two and a half hour movie? picking that apart is gonna take me a lot longer than I expected from the rebuilds considering that the rebuilds were an attempt to be more inclusive and understandable in terms of plot execution, It's kind of funny really.
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Postby BeauNavire » Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:24 pm

View Original PostPSIWasHere wrote:considering that the rebuilds were an attempt to be more inclusive and understandable in terms of plot execution, It's kind of funny really.


I can understand that for the first movie but the rebuilds construct a more sophisticated cosmology of world-historical eschatology that surpasses the mostly straightforward bildungsroman story of the 1995 show. Anno probably did have that in mind in the beginning but the interesting part about the rebuilds is that they don't do this. We are watching Anno grow and become more sophisticated in real time, that's what makes it so good.

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby pwhodges » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:10 pm

View Original PostRaikyu wrote:Assuming that MariShin is canon, it's really hard to take it seriously, considering that she is like 45 years old.

Take off the shipping goggles and see her as a mentor for the real world.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby evaunit13 » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:11 pm

View Original PostBeauNavire wrote:I can understand that for the first movie but the rebuilds construct a more sophisticated cosmology of world-historical eschatology that surpasses the mostly straightforward bildungsroman story of the 1995 show. Anno probably did have that in mind in the beginning but the interesting part about the rebuilds is that they don't do this. We are watching Anno grow and become more sophisticated in real time, that's what makes it so good.


I'd argue the inverse: that NTE is the more straightforward bildungsroman story precisely because of Anno's real-time growth stretched over >15 years compared to just a few for NGE, and the shift towards focusing primarily on Shinji's development and relationship with Gendo. Add the fact that the arcs of the other characters are arguably much more developed in NGE, and the original series looks like several concurrent coming-of-age stories.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby hui43210 » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:22 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:
View Original PostRaikyu#928120 wrote:Assuming that MariShin is canon, it's really hard to take it seriously, considering that she is like 45 years old.

Take off the shipping goggles and see her as a mentor for the real world.


Which is the exact purpose she is meant to serve.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby Axx°N N. » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:25 pm

I don't think she works as a "remnant of reality" or symbolism of maturity or the real world, because she's the least realistic and developed character and reality doesn't consist of unvarnished enthusiasm for life or death situations. A more general "change" feels more accurate to me.
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Postby BeauNavire » Fri Aug 13, 2021 5:27 pm

View Original Postevaunit13 wrote:I'd argue the inverse: that NTE is the more straightforward bildungsroman story precisely because of Anno's real-time growth stretched over >15 years compared to just a few for NGE, and the shift towards focusing primarily on Shinji's development and relationship with Gendo. Add the fact that the arcs of the other characters are arguably much more developed in NGE, and the original series looks like several concurrent coming-of-age stories.


I think it's definitely more lucid but I don't think that means that it's somehow simpler

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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby PSIWasHere » Sat Aug 14, 2021 4:41 am

To offer some more food for thought, I ask you all this: Do you think the scene featuring Mari and Shinji in the real world represented romanticism between the two or not?

I've heard arguments pertaining to the ideas that the two were something like a couple, and ideas that they perhaps were not, I'm very interested in seeing what you guys think considering
there seems to be some heavy reasoning backing each side.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby Axx°N N. » Sat Aug 14, 2021 5:16 am

View Original PostPSIWasHere wrote:Do you think the scene featuring Mari and Shinji in the real world represented romanticism between the two or not?

Crossing realities holding hands is such a significantly romantic thing (in all the meanings of the word) that I can't read it any other way. A really simple way to counteract that would have been to feature more than two people doing so, if the scripters were genuinely averse to a romantic read.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby catinajar » Sat Aug 14, 2021 5:31 am

View Original PostBlockio wrote:
Thnk of it this way; when 01 and 13 fight, they have the souls of Rei and Asuka respectively in them, and Gendo goes out of his way to tell both Shinji and the audience that this is a fight that has no winner; not too long after that, Mari comes along bringing an entirely new element in the equation, thereby breaking the stalemate.
That also reflects in the final scene; she takes off the choker, removing from Shinji the thing that kept him anchored in the past.


Exactly this for me. If Shinji HAD to have a ‘waifu’ at the end (which I think was necessary to draw the parallel between Gendo’s happiness and his) it had to be Mari. Rei/Asuka were not options. Kaworu, I’m sorry to say, was never ‘that guy’. Mari broke through the old repetitions of the reality to give ‘a new hope’ if you like. No SW pun intended.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby WILLE_Coyote » Sat Aug 14, 2021 8:34 am

I really would've preferred Shinji being on his own at the train station, but still happy.
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Re: Do I just not understand Mari's point?

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Postby Stuart » Sat Aug 14, 2021 6:43 pm

WILLE_Coyote wrote:I really would've preferred Shinji being on his own at the train station, but still happy.


He had to learn to accept other people though. Being alone wouldn't have fulfilled that part of his character growth.

I've only just watched the film for the first time, but my immediate reaction is that Mari was created in NTE primarily for this very ending. It's an ending which no-one wanted and no-one expected. There are no Shinji x Mari shippers. It's the anti-Eva fan ending, the anti-otaku ending, the "it's time to grow up and move on beyond this cartoon" ending.

Pairing up Shinji with anyone else would have been pandering to one group of shippers at the exclusion of all the others, so Anno paired him off with the one character no-one ships him with.


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