Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination 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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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby nerv bae » Mon Nov 13, 2023 11:07 pm

View Original PostBernardoCairo wrote:To answer everyone, I think there's supporting evidence that we're following two different Asukas on that particular sequence.
The first one we see smirking right after finishing her simulation. The other, who shows up right after, doesn't appear that happy though (despite having achieved identical results to her other self). This is the Asuka we see mirroring Ritsuko from EOE. She is miserable and can't escape (we literally see this happening). She was born in a frozen wasteland. She doesn't have free will and she knows it. Those trees she stares at? Those are like her and the others. They're all the same and they're all dying. So why was she so grim after the simulation while her other self was relieved? Because she knows she's succeeding. And that means everybody else is dying. In the end, only two Asukas remained. Which of the two survived? Which of the two is our Asuka? We don't really know and I think that's the ambiguity at play here. Remember, Asuka knows about all the other clones.

I hadn't imagined that we're following two clones during Asuka's instrumentality sequence. It's an intriguing idea, but what exactly is the supporting evidence for this? I agree with you that the sequence shows Asuka with changing facial expressions, but I don't think these actually support the appearance of two clones in the sequence very well. Besides facial expressions, what else is there? One clue might be the apparent helmet change in the post-smirk scene you refer to, but I don't think we can rest the entire case on it:

SPOILER: Show
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View Original PostBernardoCairo wrote:Again, I do think that when she said "I'm not like them! I'm special" and "you can only count on yourself, Asuka" she was talking about the other Shikinamis, not Shinji and Rei.

When did Asuka say "I'm not like them! I'm special"? That line isn't in the screencaps I posted above. Is there a translation issue with the Prime english subtitles, or does the line appear in a difference scene? Oops, I had dubtitles on for the screencaps I posted above. The actual Prime subtitles match your language:

SPOILER: Show
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View Original PostBernardoCairo wrote:(kudos to my friend Reichu for helping me wrap my head around this scene way back in 2021)

I would like to read Reichu's take on this scene, but I don't think it's on her site archive. Please let me know if it's available online somewhere!

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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby Axx°N N. » Tue Nov 14, 2023 4:40 pm

I think the "following two Asukas" read of Instrumentality is credible only because, due to the nature of Instrumentality, you can extrapolate any number of abstract reads--it's a literal mindstream. For instance there's an inherent ambiguity to whether what we see is supposed to function as literal flashback, or if it's imbued with subjectivity, and thus inherently loaded with a sort of unreliable narrator quality. Or in other words, if it's metatextual and thus meant to pragmatically function as audience exposition, or if it's more of a memory dive, and dedicated to the functions of memory--which, in real life, are often misremembered and painted by personal bias. Kensuke showing up as a big handpuppet is an obvious intrusion, and a clear line in the sand between memory itself and exploration of memory from a present vantage point ... but what if he's not the only intrusion? The literalism and the symbolism become confused by premise alone.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby BernardoCairo » Thu Nov 16, 2023 1:32 pm

nerv bae wrote:Besides facial expressions, what else is there?

Well, there's actually a lot more stuff. I focused on the facial expressions to give you a better idea of how the scene is unfolding. But there's more supporting evidence, of course.
I reached out to Reichu to help me explain it better to you and here are some interesting points she raised.
There's the Asuka curled up dejectedly next to the balance beam right around the time we see the rejection letter, and then glaring at some unseen person(s) with a combination of fear and defiance. Likely one of the clones that was killed for 'not fulfilling performance requirements'.
Then there's the two identical simulations running at the same time we're down to two Asukas.
Different session numbers, but everything is happening exactly the same way. Provides the best hint into what the experiment was really about.
And it makes sense that we see the two surviving Asukas after that (with the two different-style helmets).

Take a look at the session numbers yourself:
SPOILER: Show
Image
2199 ≠ 2200


Right now, our theory is that the Asuka we see smirking is our Asuka and the miserable one is Ori Asuka. As Reichu points out:
The one in the shittier equipment looks super stressed out when the simulation starts. If she's not the original, her survival is not guaranteed, as it were. Hence the smirk of relief at the end.

The Asuka we see carrying the different helmet (which is pretty much identical to that of Unit 05's by the way) looks oddly emotionless for someone who is supposed to be fighting for her own survival. So maybe she isn't. She is the original that all the other Asukas are trying to copy in their training sessions.
SPOILER: Show
Image
This isn't really the face of someone who is afraid of dying in case of failure
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby Axx°N N. » Thu Nov 16, 2023 1:52 pm

This feels like the theory rests on the basis that one person can't both smile and frown. I'd counter and suggest that survival of the tests ahead of other candidates would require a conditioning into cold perfection. There's no reason it can't be read as A-->B instead of A=always fatigued, B=never fatigued. Occam's Razor would suggest that it's an obvious statement that duress can lead to relief.

The two helmets thing can also be explained any number of ways. I'd wager per the above that cold Asuka = successful Asuka, that the second helmet is part of advancing to a next part of training. So it's not two different helmets attending two different Asukas, it's just sequential from the first test into a glimpse of a next one. We see her in sequentially occurring outfits after this, so this might just be part of it and where it begins.

I also don't see how the session number lends evidence for anything; why can't it be that one Asuka is undergoing multiple repetitive sessions? Wouldn't the dehumanization a trained clone experiences have something to do with not just redundancy in form and purpose, but an extremely mechanical routine? Treated like a robot, or a program.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby BernardoCairo » Thu Nov 16, 2023 2:15 pm

Before writing, just watch the actual scene with the context I gave you and you'll see how well it matches what's happening. You can contest anything with the kind of approach you're using and make it seem like a stretch. But for anyone familiar with NTE, it's a well-known fact that much of its most important bits of lore lie in its details.
And no. The facial expression is just one element that the scene uses to create a direct contrast between the two Asukas, and not the central element of the theory. Also, the two training sessions are happening simultaneously and this is quite obvious from the way the scene plays out. The fact that they are mirrors of each other, despite not being the same, and that identical results were recorded should tell something to you, considering that it is literally a clone factory.
There are other details, of course. For example, Asuka mentioning both "mama" and "papa" (their absence of all things). Clones don't really have mothers and fathers, and remember, they know they are clones there. Suggesting that this is probably Ori Asuka too.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby Axx°N N. » Thu Nov 16, 2023 2:34 pm

I actually had the film up while I read your post and while I wrote mine, I just don't agree with the conclusion. I'm not saying it's a stretch, I think it's overlaying a logic onto the sequence of events--I'm just saying that there are alternate takes that do the same just as effectively. I don't think disagreeing with the theory amounts to saying "there are no lore bits hidden in details," it's just a disagreement on an interpretation of what those details mean.

It's an interesting and well-argued theory, I just think language like "the two training sessions are happening simultaneously and this is quite obvious" is more objective than the theory calls for. Unless you can argue why it's not instead happening at different times, which I don't see enough evidence for.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby C.T.1290 » Thu Nov 16, 2023 9:43 pm

View Original PostBernardoCairo wrote:There are other details, of course. For example, Asuka mentioning both "mama" and "papa" (their absence of all things). Clones don't really have mothers and fathers, and remember, they know they are clones there. Suggesting that this is probably Ori Asuka too.

But since Asuka was cloned from the Ori Asuka, then wouldn’t she be biologically related to the original’s mama and papa? I think it’s the one thing she deserves, a real family.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby nerv bae » Fri Nov 17, 2023 1:44 pm

View Original PostBernardoCairo wrote:Take a look at the session numbers yourself:
SPOILER: Show
Image
2199 ≠ 2200

I appreciate you checking in with Reichu about this, and I will try to sit back and soak up the broader aspects of this theory holistically this weekend, but in this reply I'll focus only on the Simulation Take numbers. I have struggled to understand the difference between Takes 2199 and 2200 for years, and I'm not satisfied that they're meant to identify two different simulation "sessions", such as a first session by Asuka 0278 and a second (whether or not occurring at the same time) by Asuka 0313.

In the simulation sequence, we're shown wireframe action through seven different cameras, CAM:01 through CAM:07, such that each camera shows a six-second scenario in which a red-wireframe Eva 02 defeats two blue-wireframe enemies α and β, the timer resets, and then shows an eleven-second scenario in which Eva 02 defeats eight more enemies. Only four cameras are active in the six-second scenario, but all seven are active in the following eleven-second scenario. We're also shown a nervous Asuka before the six-second scenario, an Asuka's trigger finger during the eleven second scenario, and finally a smiling Asuka after the eleven-second scenario.

There are two reasons I'm not satisfied that the entire simulation sequence, with its Takes 2199 and 2200 and its six- and eleven-second scenarios, is meant to identify different sessions by different Asukas:

1) I'm convinced the wireframe action depicted through all seven cameras is perfectly, totally identical. That is, although we see the action from seven different perspective, each is always showing us exactly the same combat taking place.

Admittedly, I do think it's possible that the simulated blue-wireframe enemies would behave exactly the same way even across multiple sessions with multiple Asukas, because they are probably implemented as computer programs. But I just don't think two Asukas would interact identically with computer-program enemies across every session. Even though they would both be attempting to win the battle royale by behaving perfectly, each clone will still behave a little differently. After all, that's how all but one (or two) are eliminated!

Do we see identical sequences in other parts of the franchise? Sure: In NGE Asuka and Shinji learn to fight in unison to defeat Israfel, and that episode probably show Units 01 and 02 mirrored and acting identically. In NTE, earlier in 3+1 Asuka and Mari might have similar mirrored visuals when their Evas are diving on neo-NERV HQ over the pole. So, I'm happy to look for and recognize mirrored or identical imagery in the franchise where the animators are deliberately showing us "two are one" somehow. But in this simulation sequence, the action is too perfectly identical for me to believe in the two sessions interpretation. It's much simpler to believe that all seven cameras are showing us six- and eleven-second scenarios in a single session by a single Asuka.

2) One of the cameras migrates leftward from Take 2200 to 2199 in the eleven-second scenario. During the earlier six-second scenario, we only see four cameras: CAM:01 and CAM:03 stay on the left side with Take 2199, and CAM:02 and CAM:04 stay on the right side with Take 2200. However, after the timer resets to zero, the eleven-second scenario starts by showing us all seven cameras: CAM:01 and CAM:06 on the left side with Take 2199, and CAMs:02 through :05 and :07 on the right side with Take 2200. We see the trigger pull, and then when we return to the cameras (now reduced back down to four in total) CAM:03 has migrated from Take 2200 leftward to Take 2199. It doesn't make any sense to me that CAM:03 would migrate between Takes if they're actually showing different sessions, especially different sessions happening at the same time. Why would the animators show this camera migration if they wanted to communicate the idea of different sessions with different Asukas?

SPOILER: Show
Six-second scenario, four cameras from start to finish, no camera migration.
Image

Eleven-second scenario before the trigger pull, showing all seven cameras.
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Eleven-second scenario after the trigger pull, showing four cameras. CAM:03 has migrated leftward from Take 2200 to 2199.
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In summary, I find myself unable to ascribe any significance to the Simulation Take labels in the simulation sequence. They might as well say Left and Right instead, or Previous Page and Next Page as though this is a web user interface. If the animators really wanted to show us different "sessions" with different Asukas, they would have done so in a different way.

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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby BernardoCairo » Fri Nov 17, 2023 4:43 pm

Axx°N N. wrote:I don't think disagreeing with the theory amounts to saying "there are no lore bits hidden in details," it's just a disagreement on an interpretation of what those details mean.

I 100% agree with you on this.
I didn't ask you to watch it out of bad faith. I just know that some of these things don't seem that right on paper, but they make a lot more sense when you see them in action.
It's not a fully fledged theory right now. I in fact changed my mind on some things from my first post to the second. But I think it makes sense and there's a possibility. It's not like I'm 100% right or anything.

@nerv bae
Those are some valid points you mentioned. I'm going to stop for a moment and think about them. I'm waiting for your input on the rest.
All I have to say for now is that maybe they didn't wanted to shove the different training sessions in our faces. It's a subtle scene really.

Ultimately, an extremely important piece of this theory and one that will give us the answers we are looking for lies in HA, since it is in this film that Asuka plays a big role in. Even if what CX said is true from a literal perspective, Asuka from that movie knew she was a clone and had no parents. She didn't count on them or anyone else. She acted completely different from the Asuka we see in these flashbacks. And that's to be expected. The Asuka we know is the survivor, the one who triumphed over everyone. But the one in those flashbacks? Miserable, silent, serious... She looks more like post time skip Asuka than anything else. She acts like I would expect Original Shikinami to do (from that quick scene she appeared in in Shin).
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri Nov 17, 2023 6:45 pm

RE: Asuka’s Facial Expressions, it’s actually more difficult to establish the argument that those are two separate Shikinami clones simply because of all of the jump cutting across time that particular segment engages in. While the insight of the different expressions lends itself nicely to the argument of different Asukas, it can also be lost in the mix of all that time skipping, or even simply categorized as solely a part of the time skipping and nothing else.

Needless to say, my next rewatch is gonna be one hell of a ride with this perspective. I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby AsukaShikinami10 » Sat Nov 18, 2023 3:26 am

I've always have the belief it was the same Shikinami in both scenes. The one who is smiling inside the Eva after completing her training and the other which is walking amongst the Nerv Europe personal; but the difference lies in that in the first scene she was smiling while she succeed with the trials, while in the other scene she was showing her tough side while her monologue expressed how she didn't give a f*** about people badmouthing her as long as she is the one to prove she deserves to live and pilot an Eva; finally showing her alienation from Lilins because she is special (different) from them.

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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby LucAAAs » Tue Nov 21, 2023 9:11 pm

BernardoCairo (oi irmão brasileiro!) does bring up an interesting point with the wings, that also brings into question why in Shin the original Asuka is the one with wings, maybe representing deification or divine contact, as in 2.0 our Asuka is the one contacting an angel, and in Shin its the one in Unit 13. In regards to the position of Original Asuka, two things need to be considered in both sides of the argument: A. Original Asuka gets a core texture when it acquires the wings, implying she is a materialized soul(core) B. Asuka comments on how there is a double entry plug system, so there has to be one person inside entry plug A.

Right now i should be studying for an upcoming test so I unfortunately cant present my thoughts thoroughly, but I noticed in my most recent rewatch of Shin that the child Asuka in the instrumentality flashback has an ID tag on her backpack with the name S. S. Asuka, not being compatible with neither Asuka Langley Soryu or Asuka Langley Shikinami.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby C.T.1290 » Wed Nov 22, 2023 8:38 pm

View Original PostLucAAAs wrote:Right now i should be studying for an upcoming test so I unfortunately cant present my thoughts thoroughly, but I noticed in my most recent rewatch of Shin that the child Asuka in the instrumentality flashback has an ID tag on her backpack with the name S. S. Asuka, not being compatible with neither Asuka Langley Soryu or Asuka Langley Shikinami.
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I think the S.S. stands for Shikinami Series.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby LucAAAs » Wed Nov 22, 2023 9:17 pm

There is a high chance that it is, but I still entertain the idea that this is the original Asuka for a few reasons:
(Note: I do believe that the name Soryu is somewhere in NTE, as it is a pretty obvious omission from NGE that might be hidden somewhere waiting to be found, like some sort of subtle Chekhov gun for Asukas character)

1. All other Asuka clones were shown as teenagers. In NGE we were shown a child Rei clone, but in NTE we never see a child clone with the exception of the small reis in the Q preview from 2.0, a piece of EVA media with debatable canonicity after Q and Shin.

2. The Shikinami clone shown in 2.0 calls herself Asuka Shikinami Langley, indicating that the clones have naming conventions and dont just go by Shikinami Series, although this naming could not happen until a certain age, either settled on by the clone herself or whatever authority was producing them.

3. An ID badge, which is what I assume that is, wouldnt really work if it simply had a name/series code shared by dozens of other people from the same clone line, who, if we go by the Ayanami series pattern, have individual and distinct souls.

4. In the previous scene we see that attached to her backpack is a monkey keychain identical to the plush Asuka had in NGE, establishing a parallel between this child Asuka and Soryu, who part of me believes is the progenitor of the Shikinami series in NTE
Image

5. The section this scene is shown, additional impact instrumentality, does reveal the Shikinami Series concept, so this being another representation of the cloning concept is very likely. but this section of the movie serves the greater purpose of being a conclusion for Asukas character arc throughout Evangelion, both as a character in the movie and world and a metaphorical conclusion to the anime tsundere icon Asuka had become. It would be weird to put all the previous details and such a long focus on this little girl if it was just another Asuka clone. It could represent the Asuka we accompany throughout NTE, justifying the focus, but point 2 is an argument against this and, in my personal opinion, this being OG Asuka adds much greater significance to the scene, with her competitiveness and loneliness passing through the Shikinami series like Reis maternal instinct and love for Shinji was "inherited" from Yui by all Ayanami types.

In NTE we learn that the Ayanami clone line is named after Yuis maiden name, a naming convention that could apply to this child Asuka, named Asuka Soryu Shikinami and being the basis for the Shikinami series.
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Nov 22, 2023 9:21 pm

I'm just gonna point out that the only source we have for the appearance of Child Soryu was in Episode 22 of NGE, and she looked completely different than the Child Asuka seen in the Shin Eva flashbacks.

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Postby LucAAAs » Wed Nov 22, 2023 9:35 pm

By Soryu Asuka i dont mean the exact same character as NGE Asuka, but an NTE version of her. Basically all other characters reincarnations have their surnames retained from NGE, the exceptions being Asuka, Yui (A whole other can of worms) and Gendo (Ikari is now his surname, not Yuis). I edited my previous comment to explain why I think the surname Soryu could be in the new movies, but I do concede I personally enjoy the idea and do have some bias towards it. I think the arguments previously postulated are valid and logical, but I am analyzing you guys reactions to better understand how much of my belief in them is emotional lol.

I might not believe that its the same kid as NGE, but I think the different visuals can easily be credited to the more realistically proportioned style of Shin in contrast to the TV series, as both are supposed to be child versions of two Asukas that, while different in personality, are basically identical in body (plus the chunky cold weather apparel makes them appear even more different).

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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby BernardoCairo » Mon Nov 27, 2023 12:12 am

LucAAAs brought some interesting things to the table. I agree that the original's name probably wasn't Shikinami. It's the series name, not the person's name. I feel like this is why Langley was moved to be her last name in NTE. Langley is the name, Shikinami is the series. Switching the order of her surnames is something that stands out even more to me than the change from Soryu to Shikinami. Just why? It's so weird. There must be a reason.
Also, Shikinami is too similar to Ayanami for it to be a coincidence. It must have been chosen on purpose. Sure, Ayanami was the name of Yui and that's why it was chosen. But Rei was probably the first clone to be created, hence why she's the first children. If we consider that the Asuka in the flashbacks is the original, then she could've seen Yui as a child, before the incident with Unit 01 and Rei's subsequent creation. And after that, the clones of this Asuka, who was living in that facility since she was a child, were also created. And then the previous scenes of the two Asukas training come into play to show what happened in the future. The Shikinami series starting before the Ayanami series is something I can't believe happened, especially given the nature of the two series. So that's the way to go in my opinion.
The original Asuka could be named Soryu. I don't know why that wouldn't be the case. It makes sense. But it's not a given. I think the stuffed monkey is an interesting easter egg, by the way. And there is an interview in which Anno said he wanted to develop Asuka's relationship with her mom like the original but that had to be cut due to time constraints, implying that Kyoko was initially planned to appear in the movies in some capacity. So maybe she's still the original Asuka's mom (like Naoko is still Ritsuko's mom, despite having suffered from a similar fate in NTE).
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Re: Original Shikinami scene and the 9th Angel contamination scene

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Postby Blockio » Mon Nov 27, 2023 4:27 pm

Yeah, that's about the best angle that we currently have on this, I feel.
Asuka in the flashback makes an offhand mention to parents if memory serves me; not a concept that any of the Shikis would have a particularily strong connection to, so that suggests that this was said by OriAsu, and that the biological template for the Shiki series was likely conceived and raised following roughly the traditional method (as opposed to being fully lab-grown, the clunky wording is not meant to suggest any specifics about any specifics beyond that).
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