The Last Train Station Scene

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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The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby aboose » Mon Aug 16, 2021 1:30 am

If this thread is too similar to another, I apologize.

I wanted to create a discussion forum about the last train station scene. The reason is because I think people are jumping to a lot of conclusions about what it is and what Anno intended it to be -- I won't go into that per se.

I wanted to know what people's takes were on what this scene is. Immediately preceding it, Shinji is ejected from Unit 01 by Yui and is theoretically stranded in Anti-Universe. Due to his choice, he says goodbye to all Evangelion as the souls fall to Earth and regain their life forms. Yui enacts Shinji's wish and destroys all traces of Eva. Shinji is lost, then Mari calls to him and he wakes up. We then immediately get the cut to the station. Shinji is sitting there, aged up (theoretically, age 28 implying he is no longer stuck in the age freeze due to piloting Eva in this alternative reality). He still has the DSS choker on. Mari comes up to him and they interact. He makes a joke back to her referencing a line she previously said, implying that he still has memories of their interactions in the past. He clearly recognizes her. She takes the DSS choker off of him, and he does not react, implying he understands what she is doing. This also implies that they jumped straight from Shinji's final act in Anti-Universe to this reality -- as opposed to another theory where the old reality is completely deleted and they relive their lives in the "real world" they have landed in. Mari grabs Shinji's hand and they happily run up the platform, embracing their new life without Eva and leaving Eva behind.

Broken down scene by scene, here are significant happenings:
- Evangelions are destroyed and disappeared from the world.
- Souls are dropped from the GNR head and land on the ground. There is a montage implying that people seem to regain consciousness, with footsteps in the village.
- Shinji and Mari rendezvous in anti-universe and the final evangelions disappear from existence
- Mari calls out to Shinji
- It cuts to Shinji "gasping / coming to" -- the background
Shinji  SPOILER: Show
Image
appears to be the station.
- We see a cut showing Kaworu and Rei interacting, with Shinji facing them but not interacting with them at all
- Asuka sitting alone, as opposed to with Kensuke or anyone else
- The camera zooms in on Kaworu/Rei as the train passes in front of them
- Mari comes up behind Shinji and does the same "guess who" game with him as she has done before
- He immediately recognizes her and repeats back the same line she said to him previously -- he has retained memories of the prior events that happened
- Mari smells him and comments that he smells like an adult, possibly a reference to Shinji's prior inability to grow up and make adult choices which led to a schism between him and his father as well as those around him.
- Shinji is unphased and makes a flirty/jokey comment about Mari's cuteness and Mari responds sarcastically flirty back.
- Mari reaches for the DSS choker and Shinji does not flinch or react at all. She then removes it, implying he knows and understands what she is doing and what the object is.
- The DSS choker still being on Shinji implies, along with the gasp scene above, that Shinji and Mari have just "teleported" to this reality from the Anti-Universe as a result of the choice of eliminating all Eva -- no time has passed and remnants of that old reality still remain. Shinji/Mari at minimum remember everything in the old reality, and physical goods like the DSS choker have also translated over.
- Mari takes Shinji's hand and they run up the station platform into the real world, leaving the Evangelion world behind with no questions.


On why this scene may not be what it appears to be
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this and if I misinterpreted anything. I think there is a lot of implied information here in a very short amount of time, both in terms of lore as well as character interactions. I know people immediately saw this scene and are claiming various ships, but to me that doesn't fully make sense. First of all, Kaworu and Rei being a ship is just random and isn't foreshadowed at all in the movies -- I'm not denying it, I just don't see why it has to be the case. Further, Asuka isn't seen with Kensuke. It seems more likely that the people at the station have all "landed" in this reality at this station after being ejected from Unit 01. It is unclear if Asuka/Rei/Kaworu have retained their prior memories. Shinji and Mari are indeed flirty, but based on their interactions previous to this, they had no romantic connection. Shinji addresses Mari as "Mari-san" which is relatively formal, seconds before the station scene when she reaches him at the beach. I get more of an impression of Shinji showing off his grown adultness than a scene of actual romantic interaction. Also, if this scene were meant to be a shipping scene, then Asuka would appear with Kensuke.

The part that is confusing is that we see scenes where humans return to earth from GNR head. People seem to land on the ground and return to the world as seen here:
SPOILER: Show
Image


The escape pods from WILLE are also there (scene with pen-pen) implying that people are returning to the "same" earth that we see here, at the same time:
SPOILER: Show
Image


There are also clips in that montage showing that the remnants of Eva are still in the world -- an entry plug is shown near Kensuke's house:
SPOILER: Show
Image


And yet Shinji and co seem to "blip" to a reality that is completely clear of any devastation. It seems like he lands in the "real world" completely detached from any Eva reality. It's hard for me to comprehend how that goes together with the images above. It is my assumption as well that Shinji has no strong feeling of needing to interact with Kaworu/Rei/Asuka in that moment because he literally had just spoken to each of them prior to this event. So the 5 of them ejected from Unit 01 and landed in this "real world" place but the rest of humanity lands down from GNR head and rebuilds society, and both are happening at the same time?

It's also unclear to me what exactly happens with Mari and Shinji. Shinji is losing touch from reality. Mari appears and brings color back into Shinji's life as he is lost in the anti-universe. That's obviously some sort of metaphor, but if Shinji is lost here and Mari finds him, and then the Evangelion disappear, how do they blip to the station? Maybe this is impossible to answer, but it's interesting fruit for thought. I'm fully aware of the meta-commentary that the movie is making in this entire sequence, but I do still think it's interesting to try to understand the literal things happening on the screen.

Not sure what this all means. Still trying to figure it out in my head.
Last edited by aboose on Mon Aug 16, 2021 1:59 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon Aug 16, 2021 1:39 am

View Original Postaboose wrote:And yet Shinji and co seem to "blip" to a reality that is completely clear of any devastation. It seems like he lands in the "real world" completely detached from any Eva reality.
Early on, I read a suggestion that what we saw was Shinji remaining in Minus Space, with Mari arriving just as the gate closed.
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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Xuan14 » Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:35 am

I doubt if the scene is in the "real world". I would prefer that the scene is about Mari sending Shinji back to the "Village-3 World", just like Shinji sending Asuka, Kaworu and Rei, so it is still in the Minus Space. Their running to the outside world together is like a contrast to the door closing, leaving Shinji in the Minus World when other pilots left.
As Gendo introduced that what people see in the Minus World is a virtual environment based on their own memories and that different people sees different things in it, my further hypothesis is that the station scene is not what Shinji sees, but what Anno sees :devil: , because the station is the train station of the city of Ube, Anno's hometown, and they added some buildings from his childhood, which now no longer exist. Anno and we viewers run back to our reality in that scene, while Shinji and Mari running to their reality. Maybe in their eyes, everything is different there. :tongue:

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby gchristnsn » Mon Aug 16, 2021 4:15 am

Shinji clearly states that he will create a new world using the lance and the God's power. It is convenient to think about this as a multiverse, since Asuka departed to the original part of the Universe where EVAs have existed. Because causality brought by EVAs is erased from Shinji's new world, he begins to exist there as if EVAs didn't exist at all, so he is a normal adult human, who has no curse of EVA.
What Anno had shown at the motion capture studio is called metafiction (it presents in all versions of Evangelion), and may imply that making his decision, Shinji resides not in the anti-Universe, but above the multiverse. Such tinkering with causality at this level may be experienced as the loops of time by Kaworu at the original Universe, who, being an angel, also should exist above the level of Universe.
Last edited by gchristnsn on Mon Aug 16, 2021 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby pir2confusion » Mon Aug 16, 2021 4:32 am

I am still thinking and will probably change as I think more but, I am convinced Mari is a lot more then she appears. Mari engineered the situation to end up here jumping out of the world. The fact that grown up Asuka and Shinja are drawn in the same adult style but both react to Mari and it isn't Shinji who is the last to see Asuka but Mari appears before her when she is ejected. I keep thinking about the coda symbol and how it is a jump out of the repeating symbol featured in the title but could also be nothing.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Archer » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:06 am

My interpretation is that the “new world” that was created is inside the anti-universe, and that it is indeed supposed to be the “real world” (e.g. a fictionalized version of “our world”). The thing that immediately stuck out to me was the zoom out to a distinctly 3D-looking and not-cel-shaded environment that almost looked live-action, which suggests to me that they’re still inside the anti-universe. Shinji was saying goodbye to everyone and sending them to this world, not the outside universe, which explains why Rei and Kaworu are present, since they straight up shouldn’t exist in a world without Evas (for hopefully obvious reasons).

I think straight up just rewriting the universe would erase the struggles of those who were trying to rebuild society, and I think the shots of the post-Instrumentality outside universe are specifically there to suggest to us that this isn’t what’s happening. Also, I think the movie suggests that the pilots, as they are, will never really be able to integrate back into “normal” society - shown metaphorically with Rei, who can’t live for long without NERV, or literally with Asuka, who can’t see herself as the same as the villagers.

Normally this kind of ending would really bother me, but honestly it kind of works for me here. I don’t see the world Shinji created as a fantasy world a la the Ep 26 AU, which is explicitly all in his head. I think this world he created is at least as real as any other fictional world.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Konja7 » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:29 am

View Original PostArcher wrote:or literally with Asuka, who can’t see herself as the same as the villagers.


However, the case with Asuka is different. We see she gains an adult body and return to Earth at the end of his Instrumentality.

That's why Asuka's apparently appearance in the Epilogue/New World is pretty weird.


That said, unlike Kaworu and Rei, Shinji doesn't see directly Asuka in the Epilogue. Maybe the redhead woman in the Epilogue isn't exactly the Asuka we know.
Last edited by Konja7 on Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Axx°N N. » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:32 am

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:However, the case with Asuka is different. We see she gains an adult body and return to Earth at the end of his Instrumentality.

That's why her apparently appearance in the Epilogue (if this is a new World) is pretty weird.

Actually, and I might be remembering this wrong, but wasn't her waking up outside Kensuke's house shown before the plug is ejected? I don't know what that implies or anything, but I found the sequencing weird.
Last edited by Axx°N N. on Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Konja7 » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:39 am

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:Actually, and I might be remembering this wrong, but doesn't her waking up outside Kensuke's house shown before the plug is ejected? I don't know what that implies or anything, but I found the sequencing weird.

Asuka wakes up inside the plug, before this is ejected to Earth. This scene should be to show that Asuka has an adult body in the real world too (not only Imaginary/Instrumentality).

After that, we see the empty plug on outside Kensuke's house. This scene implies that Asuka arrived safely and must be with Kensuke.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Archer » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:44 am

lol, I must have totally missed her showing back up in the main universe. I’ll be honest, I ALSO didn’t notice her on the train platform, probably because the camera didn’t focus on her like it did with Rei and Kaworu I’ll definitely have to give it a rewatch (maybe without subtitles) to notice the details. Another possibility is that “our” Asuka ends back up in the real world, and the “original” Asuka who may or may not be dissolved in Unit-2 was transported to the new world.

But regardless of who stays in what universe, I think the only consistent explanation is that there ARE two “worlds” - the Eva-free world Shinji created (presumably inside the anti-universe) and the world the Rebuilds have taken place in this far, which is now also Eva-free but still bears its scars.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby pir2confusion » Mon Aug 16, 2021 5:49 am

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:
View Original PostAxx°N N.#928875 wrote:Actually, and I might be remembering this wrong, but doesn't her waking up outside Kensuke's house shown before the plug is ejected? I don't know what that implies or anything, but I found the sequencing weird.

Asuka wakes up inside the plug, before this is ejected to Earth. This scene should be to show that Asuka has an adult body in the real world too (not only Imaginary/Instrumentality).

After that, we see the empty plug on outside Kensuke's house. This scene implies that Asuka arrived safely and must be with Kensuke.


Asuka is wearing the jacket and clothes she had from the village when she wakes up, it seems to be the same fit that she had before she aged to 28. We also never see that anything is in the entry plug or even other people at the village just penguins.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Konja7 » Mon Aug 16, 2021 6:06 am

View Original Postpir2confusion wrote:Asuka is wearing the jacket and clothes she had from the village when she wakes up, it seems to be the same fit that she had before she aged to 28. We also never see that anything is in the entry plug or even other people at the village just penguins.


Asuka's body is too big for the controls of the Entry plug. She has an adult body at that time.

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Postby pir2confusion » Mon Aug 16, 2021 6:16 am

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:Asuka's body is too big for the controls of the Entry plug. She has an adult body at that time.

You probably are right but Asuka is lying down there. Usually they are sitting up like in a chair with their legs bent.

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Postby gchristnsn » Mon Aug 16, 2021 6:45 am

It seems, that she has an adult body only on the "cosmic shore" when Shinji talks with her in the anti-Universe. Her suit is torn, so it does not fit her. This probably means that she is also free from the curse of EVA. But Shinji asks her to hail Kensuke, and she definitely departs to the original Universe in her non-adult form.
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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Konja7 » Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:04 am

View Original Postgchristnsn wrote:But Shinji asks her to hail Kensuke, and she definitely departs to the original Universe in her non-adult form.


As I said, Asuka seems to big for the controls of her entry plug (her legs are too longs).

So, I think she is an adult at that point.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby gchristnsn » Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:32 am

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:As I said, Asuka seems to big for the controls of her entry plug (her legs are too longs).

So, I think she is an adult at that point.


May be. There are some resemblances with her adult eyelashes, which never were shown . But may be she just stretched out.
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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Szmitten » Mon Aug 16, 2021 8:28 am

Months ago when clips were leaking many were watching them in isolation (particularly the train station scene out of the context), but it was actually possible to watch the entire final sequence uninterrupted, so I've had thoughts for a while now.

I don't think it's literal. I think the scene is a remake of the previous scene (Shinji is isolated while everyone is away, Mari arrives to pick him up). As you'd expect, a lot of people visited the station after the movie ended, and it turns out the staircase they run up doesn't lead to the exit, it actually leads to the platform where everyone else is. This isn't unprecedented since we have word from Anno about One More Final not necessarily being literal and to treat it as a standalone entity.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby T. K. Simon » Mon Aug 16, 2021 9:01 am

Shinji made a neon genesis, he created a new world (or reality) in the same line of rebuild.
kaworu, Rei and Asuka do not seem to remember because they are not the same, or so I see it.

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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon Aug 16, 2021 9:05 am

View Original PostSzmitten wrote:the staircase they run up doesn't lead to the exit
You have to watch the first 30 seconds or so Anno documentary to see him doing the same run -- over the railway line and out the station exit.
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Re: The Last Train Station Scene

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Postby pir2confusion » Mon Aug 16, 2021 9:08 am

View Original PostSzmitten wrote:Months ago when clips were leaking many were watching them in isolation (particularly the train station scene out of the context), but it was actually possible to watch the entire final sequence uninterrupted, so I've had thoughts for a while now.

I don't think it's literal. I think the scene is a remake of the previous scene (Shinji is isolated while everyone is away, Mari arrives to pick him up). As you'd expect, a lot of people visited the station after the movie ended, and it turns out the staircase they run up doesn't lead to the exit, it actually leads to the platform where everyone else is. This isn't unprecedented since we have word from Anno about One More Final not necessarily being literal and to treat it as a standalone entity.


But the next shot that follows is of Shinji and Mari leaving the station. It looks like the old brown train is a cg train while the yellow ones are real. I guess the brown one must be the old train that is always shown the mind train and the yellow one is what currently is used. Is any of the rest of the city digitally replaced too?


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