Komm Susser Tod

Perspective and interpretation
anime, criticism, NGE, music
2010-11-052013-04-03 draft certainty: likely importance: 0


(EoE) can be split cleanly into 2 halves: the action half in which NERV is con­quered by SEELE, every­one dies, and Shinji & EVA-01 are cor­ralled into the SEELE rit­u­al; and the intro­spec­tive half which ends with the infa­mous ‘kimochi warui’ scene.

There is some pre­lim­i­nary intro­spec­tive mate­r­ial from some other char­ac­ters’ per­spec­tives, but the exact pivot is a fight scene set in Mis­ato’s apart­ment between Asuka and Shinji1. It’s a dis­turb­ing scene to watch. It’s not clear whether this is a mem­o­ry, a tele­pathic con­ver­sa­tion2, or a prod­uct of Shinji - or Asuka’s! - imag­i­na­tion. Both char­ac­ters are frayed, at their lim­its. Pow­er­ful emo­tions and mem­o­ries are at play here; this scene is per­haps the sin­gle great­est exam­ple of the in Evan­ge­lion. It also points out the hedge­hog’s dilemma which we might have missed in the pre­vi­ous scenes. Asuka had fought to pre­vent SEELE’s con­quest, and had been utterly defeat­ed; through­out the fight, Mis­ato tries to get Shinji to help Asuka in the fight, but Shinji delays until it is too late - betray­ing Asuka3 and Mis­ato’s expec­ta­tions. If you count on oth­ers, they can let you down and hurt you.

Scene context

With that in mind, let’s look at Bochan_bird’s trans­la­tion of “Episode 26: Sin­cerely Yours/I need you”:

Shinji: “But it makes me afraid… Afraid that I won’t be needed again some­day. It makes me uneasy! It wor­ries me! Let me hear your voice! Inter­act with me!! Care about me!”

[Sh­inji and Asuka in Mis­ato’s apart­ment - Asuka sit­ting deject­edly at table]

Shinji: “I want to help you in some way… and to be with you for­ev­er.”

Asuka: “Then, don’t do any­thing. Don’t come near me any­more… Because all you ever do is hurt me.”

Shinji: “Asuka, help me! You’re… you’re the only one that can!”

Asuka: “Liar…”

[Sh­inji cringes]

Asuka: “To you, any­body will do!”

[Asuka gets up from table and backs Shinji up against the wall]

Asuka: “You’re afraid of Mis­ato and the First… and of your mother and father, too!”

Shinji: “Asuka…”

Asuka: “You’re only using me as an escape - because that’s the eas­i­est way not to get hurt!”

Shinji: “Asuka, help me!”

Asuka: “Because that’s the eas­i­est way not to get hurt!”

Shinji (des­per­ate­ly): Please, help me!

Asuka (an­gri­ly): “You’ve never really liked any­one!”

[Asuka shoves Shin­ji, who crum­ples to the floor, tak­ing the cof­fee pot with him]

Asuka (an­gri­ly): “You’re all you have! But you’ve never even learned to like your­self!”

[Asuka, while star­ing dis­dain­fully down at Shinji lying help­lessly amidst the spilt cof­fee]

Asuka: “How pathet­ic…”

[Sh­inji slowly gets to his feet]

Shinji (weak­ly): “Help me… Some­body… Some­body help me… Help me… Help me… Me… Help ME!”

[Sh­inji throws the table aside]

Shinji: “Don’t leave me alone! Don’t aban­don me! Don’t kill me!”

[Sh­inji picks up a chair and throws it at Asuka’s feet]

Asuka (cold­ly): “…No…”4

[Sh­inji stran­gles Asuka as “Komm, süsser Tod” (“Come Sweet Death”) begins to play]

Allusions

Part of the trou­ble inter­pret­ing this scene is that Anno is a very good direc­tor and a mas­ter of call­backs and allu­sions and vari­a­tions - but one man’s allu­sion is another man’s mot juste.

For exam­ple, when Shinji Ikari says only Asuka can help him and she replies “Liar”, it’s the same sin­gle-­word reply that Rit­suko Akagi gave Gendo Ikari just before he shot & killed her. Sig­nif­i­cant?

In the pre­vi­ous half of EoE, as she lay dying, Mis­ato muses that

“If I knew it would end this way… I would’ve done like Asuka said… And changed the car­pet… Right, Pen-pen?”

Spilt cof­fee cer­tainly could ruin a car­pet, and both Asuka and Pen-pen wit­ness the spilling; so is this Anno telling us that this scene is a mem­ory set way back before TV episode 23 or 24?

A briefly flashed shot of the kitchen from Shin­ji’s per­spec­tive is in Evangelion:DEATH(true)²; Bren­dan Jamieson describes the shot:

“I noticed some­thing very dis­turb­ing dur­ing the scene where Shinji first meets Kaworu on the beach. There is a very quick cut of Asuka flashed and look­ing at it now I am pos­i­tive it is a view of Asuka from Shin­ji’s per­spec­tive in the cof­fee-pot scene. The cut is of the cam­era look­ing down upon Asuka, sit­ting at the din­ner table - head in hands - from her left. This would be exactly how Shinji would have seen her in the EoE scene. The whole thing seems very pecu­liar to me”5

SSD pro­vides the screen­shots; despite the uncanny visual sim­i­lar­i­ty, it seems Jamieson’s cuts are actu­ally of Mis­ato & Asuka mourn­ing Kaji’s death - but not quite exactly as one might expect. Per­haps, as SSD remarks, they are “one of the many ‘twisted retakes’ EoE’s Pre-In­stru­men­tal­ity and Instru­men­tal­ity proper alludes to. Another being the Episode 15 kiss scene.” Bren­dan, on bal­ance, thinks that the scene is not real:

There are sev­eral cels from that scene used in episode 23, Spe­cial Edi­tion (as well as some frames from the Rei/Lilith being). These are added dur­ing the sequence when Shinji tells Asuka that Kaji is dead (or at least, “not com­ing back”). Assum­ing this scene from EoE was real - it is only log­i­cal to pre­sume they would have been edited into the Japan­ese release as all the other scenes were…So you’re say­ing Shinji tried to stran­gle Asuka? I can see a post-Ka­woru Shinji doing that; but any time before that is ridicu­lously out of char­ac­ter.

The scene is too off-beat… too sur­re­al. Con­sid­er­ing the cir­cum­stances, I think it’s sim­ply a phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion, via Com­ple­men­ta­tion, of Shin­ji’s inabil­ity to relate to, and inter­act with, oth­ers.

Some say it is set in the real world:

In the cli­max of End of Evan­ge­lion, one char­ac­ter per­forms a shock­ing act against anoth­er, and there has been some audi­ence spec­u­la­tion, based on the abstract and inter­nal nature of said finale, whether the inci­dent actu­ally occurs in the “real world” of the nar­ra­tive. How­ev­er, in one of the last tele­vi­sion episodes, a series of brief, near still images of a dis­rupted kitchen (in par­tic­u­lar, a lin­ger­ing shot of an over-­turned cof­fee pot lying par­tially out of frame) imply heav­ily that the inci­dent truly hap­pens, and thus makes it all the more dev­as­tat­ing. In the final moments of the film, the inci­dent is all but reen­act­ed, and while the set­ting has changed, the ani­ma­tion returns to a sim­i­lar series of still images (de­tail­ing the state of the world) to recall that moment.6

This is pos­si­ble. In this scene, Asuka and Shinji are in the kitchen and Asuka is wear­ing a yel­low shirt; 2 of the added scenes in D&R (in­serted into the Direc­tor’s Cut) put them in the kitchen with Asuka wear­ing a yel­low shirt, and it is known that those added D&R scenes were being writ­ten simul­ta­ne­ously with EoE’s plot.7 On the other hand, another com­menter points out that the clothes are the same as a chrono­log­i­cally ear­lier scene and argues that this rep­e­ti­tion is indica­tive of mem­o­ries being min­gled and the scene not being real.8

On the other hand, Asuka’s coma puts some severe lim­i­ta­tions on her inter­ac­tions with other char­ac­ters; nei­ther Shinji nor Asuka seem to be des­per­ate enough before EoE for such a vio­lent inter­ac­tion; nor is it clear why Asuka would call for Shinji in the final fight if she had pre­vi­ously (as depicted in the hypo­thet­i­cal flash­back) told Shinji to leave her alone,9 and like­wise why would Shinji ask the uncon­scious Asuka for help in the ear­lier infa­mous ‘hos­pi­tal mas­tur­ba­tion’ EoE scene?10 Fur­ther, many scenes are not obvi­ously ‘dream sequences’, yet must be - for exam­ple, D&R has unex­plained scenes of Asuka, Shin­ji, and Kaworu play­ing clas­si­cal Bach pieces TODO: was it Bach? togeth­er, despite the fact that Kaworu was intro­duced after Asuka was put into a coma.

Why does Shinji say “Don’t kill me!” when he’s the one phys­i­cally attack­ing peo­ple? Is this linked to the defeated Asuka’s final inco­her­ent words to her SEELE ene­mies, “Kill you all… I’ll kill you… I’ll kill you all”?

Nor is allu­sions con­fined to lyrics. Musi­cal­ly, KsT seems to ref­er­ence over parts of Eva:

“But it’s impor­tant to note that Komm Susser Tod’s pro­gres­sion changes ~2:10 and never really returns to the Pachel­bel thing. No doubt its included in the film due to its ‘cover’ of Canon (not to men­tion the lyri­cal sub­ject mat­ter), and it cer­tainly refers to Canon’s ear­lier usage in Death [& Rebirth] (par­tic­u­larly the infer­ences to Instru­men­tal­ity dur­ing the rehearsal part­s).”11

EoTV

One par­tic­u­larly promi­nent allu­sion is the pre­vi­ous end­ing. Fol­low­ing a SSD sug­ges­tion, Mr. Tines points out that the end of the scene (‘Shinji: “Don’t leave me alone! Don’t aban­don me! Don’t kill me!”’) strongly echoes an ear­lier scene in episode 25:

Asuka: So I’ll live alone.
But I don’t want that.
It’s painful.
I don’t wanna be alone.
I don’t wanna be alone.
I don’t wanna be alone!

Shinji: Don’t leave me.

Misato: Don’t desert me.

Asuka: Don’t kill me.

What is almost as inter­est­ing is the dia­logue that imme­di­ately fol­lows the 3 allud­ed-to lines:

Shinji: What’s this?

Misato: This is the Instru­men­tal­ity of Man project that your father has been work­ing on.

Asuka: Out of many truths, this is one.

Misato: That’s the result you want­ed.

Shinji: I want­ed?

Rei: Yes.
Destruc­tion, the world where nobody was saved.

Shinji: NO. It’s that nobody saved me.

Ritsuko: Nobody can save you.

Ryouji: This is what you want­ed.

Asuka: Destruc­tion, Death, the return to noth­ing­ness, all of these did you wish for.

Misato: This is real­i­ty.

Shinji: What’s real­i­ty?

Rei: Your world.

Makoto: With time, with space, with other peo­ple, a world of your own.

Shigeru: The world where how to accept things and how to per­ceive things is absolutely up to you.

Maya: It’s your world, only given to you now,

Imme­di­ately after the stran­gu­la­tion in the EoE scene and Shin­ji’s descent into despair, every­one is forcibly joined into one being and EoE begins the dream-­like intro­spec­tion; imme­di­ately after the anal­o­gous 3 lines in the EoTV scene, the voices begin talk­ing about the destruc­tion of the world that Shinji wished for and his con­trol over every­thing. The par­al­lel is strik­ing.

“Komm, suesser Tod”

The song “Komm, süsser Tod” (KsT) over­laps the scene only briefly as we segue to an ‘exter­nal’ view of the planet earth and human­ity del­i­quesc­ing to form a sin­gu­lar enti­ty, but if we’re not cer­tain what the scene means just from the text, we have to look to the lyrics - it would be log­i­cal if the lyrics described the con­se­quences of what seems to be Asuka’s com­plete rejec­tion of Shin­ji.

The movie ver­sion is in Eng­lish; report­edly Anno penned the lyrics in Japan­ese and had them trans­lated for the singer, Ari­anne12, to per­form.

The music itself is not help­ful; many have noted that it sounds improb­a­bly cheer­ful and also rhyth­mi­cally sim­i­lar to the Beat­les’ “”. The lyrics seems to be about sui­cide - quite a con­trast! This con­trast is, how­ev­er, an Anno trade­mark. He pre­vi­ously used it in episode 24 where Beethoven’s cel­e­bra­tory played as Shinji kills his friend, and the cheer­ful song/tragic event tech­nique is used not once but twice in Rebuild 2.013.

Lyrics

The ulti­mate Eng­lish adap­ta­tion is quite dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal lyrics Hideaki Anno appar­ently gave the trans­la­tor, Mike Wyz­gows­ki. It’s easy to dis­count the Eng­lish lyrics as being less ‘orig­i­nal’ and per­haps only reflect­ing Wyz­gowk­ski’s views, but both ver­sions are worth look­ing at; the Eng­lish tran­scrip­tion (omit­ting repeated lines):

I know, I know I've let you down
I've been a fool to myself
I thought that I could
live for no one else
But now through all the hurt & pain
It's time for me to respect
the ones you love
mean more than anything
So with sadness in my heart
(I) feel the best thing I could do
is end it all
and leave forever
what's done is done it feels so bad
what once was happy now is sad
I'll never love again
my world is ending

I wish that I could turn back time
'cause now the guilt is all mine
can't live without
the trust from those you love
I know we can't forget the past
you can't forget love & pride
because of that, it's killing me inside

It all returns to nothing, it all comes tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down
It all returns to nothing, I just keep letting me down, letting me down, letting me down
In my heart of hearts
I know that I called never love again
I've lost everything
everything
everything that matters to me, matters in this world

Those lyrics are dif­fer­ent enough that we can’t really com­pare them on a line by line basis, but we have 3 trans­la­tions of Anno’s Japan­ese lyrics:

Bochan_bird Rachel Clark Refrain of Evan­ge­lion14
I feel uneasy. I’m uneasy. I feel uneasy.
I feel uneasy. I’m uneasy. I feel uneasy.
I’m afraid of being hated by every­one. I’m afraid of being dis­liked by every­one. I’m afraid of being hated by peo­ple.
I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m afraid of being hurt.
But I’m more afraid of hurt­ing other peo­ple. But I’m even more afraid of hurt­ing other peo­ple. But I’m even more afraid of hurt­ing other peo­ple.
But I end up hurt­ing (them). But I’ve already hurt them. But I hurt them.
I hurt the peo­ple I like/love. I’ve already hurt the peo­ple who mat­ter most to me. I hurt the peo­ple I love.
That’s why I won’t like peo­ple. That’s why I can’t let myself like other peo­ple. There­fore I don’t fall in love.
That’s why I hurt myself. That’s why I hurt myself. So I hurt myself instead.
Because I’m scared. And so, I am dis­liked15. I don’t like myself.
Because I hate (my­self) very much. And so, I am hat­ed. I hate myself.
I must­n’t come to like (other peo­ple). I must­n’t let myself like any­one. I must­n’t fall in love.
That’s why I hurt myself. That’s why I hurt myself. So I hurt myself.
Ten­der­ness is extremely cru­el. Ten­der­ness is the great­est cru­elty Kind­ness is so cru­el.
If I yield my heart, I will be broken/destroyed. If I entrust my heart to anoth­er, I’ll be dev­as­tated in the end If I entrust my heart to oth­ers, I will be destroyed.
If our hearts touch, that per­son will be hurt. If another heart touches my own, that per­son will be hurt If our hearts cross, that per­son will16 get hurt.
So, I have no recourse but to be broken/destroyed. And so, I can only be dev­as­tated So, I have to destroy myself.
No recourse but to return to noth­ing. All I can do is return to noth­ing I have to return to noth­ing.
Let’s17 return to noth­ing. Let me return to noth­ing I shall return to noth­ing.
Let’s return to noth­ing. Let me return to noth­ing I shall return to noth­ing.
That is the place filled with ten­der­ness. It is a place filled with ten­der­ness This is the place filled with kind­ness.
That is the place with­out the pain of truth. A place with­out the pain of real­ity There is no real pain.
The place with­out waver­ing of the heart. Where my heart will not trem­ble. There is no waver­ing heart.
Let’s return to noth­ing. [Let me return to noth­ing] Let’s return to noth­ing.
Let’s return to noth­ing where there are no oth­ers.
Let’s return to noth­ing.
Let’s return to noth­ing.
Let’s return to noth­ing - where
I don’t get hurt….(re­peat)

Analysis

For Asuka POV:

  • the female singer sug­gests an Asuka POV
  • title is Ger­man, and Ger­man is some­times linked to Asuka
  • the loss of pride also sug­gest Asuka
  • Asuka at some points in TV seems to be sui­ci­dal, which works with the pos­si­bil­ity this scene is a mem­ory

For Shinji POV:

  • the loss of love sug­gest Shin­ji, who was rejected (weak point, since in this scene Asuka seems to have sim­ply given up on Shinji and aban­doned her own love for Shin­ji).
  • the con­stant men­tion of ‘let­ting down’ seems most con­sis­tent with Shinji (one could argue Asuka let peo­ple down by not defeat­ing SEELE sin­gle-hand­ed­ly, but Shinji is even more of a fail­ure)
  • Shinji has a long his­tory of fail­ure and run­ning away, con­sis­tent with ‘I keep let­ting me down’, while Asuka’s his­tory of fail­ure is rel­a­tively short and con­cen­trated towards the end of the TV series.
  • ‘I thought I could live for no one else’ applies much bet­ter to Shin­ji, who tries to avoid every­one com­plete­ly, and not so well to Asuka with her repeated efforts to con­nect with Shinji and her crush on Kaji
  • The gen­eral sui­ci­dal tone (‘leave for­ever’) does­n’t fit with EoE Asuka’s actions & words - she seems to want very much to not die - but does with Shinji (de­scribed by Anno as a boy who does­n’t even have the courage to com­mit sui­cide18)
  • the speaker ‘can’t live with­out the trust of those you love’ and is end­ing it all, log­i­cally imply­ing (modus tol­lens) they lack said trust, but in the scene Shinji offers pretty uncon­di­tional trust to Asuka and Asuka offers him no trust at all and wishes he would go away; this is con­sis­tent with Shinji being the speaker and incon­sis­tent with Asuka being the speak­er.
  • Masayuki, TV assis­tant direc­tor & Death direc­tor, edited some musi­cal videos. If KsT were from Asuka’s POV, one would think it much more likely that Masayuki would have set the Asuka-­cen­tric video to KsT rather than any other song. But he chose to set it to another song, “Tamashii no Refrain” (TnF; trans­la­tion)19; a weak obser­va­tion is that the lyrics of TnF do not seem con­sis­tent with a sui­ci­dal Asuka, given lines like “For the sake of being born, shine like a star once more!” or “Please come back into these arms, for the sake of a chance meet­ing. / Mir­a­cles will be cre­at­ed, no mat­ter how many times…”

I’m sure you know a sim­i­lar thing hap­pens with ‘Komm, Susser Todd’. The song’s clap­ping makes you want to clap along, and the repeat­ing of the cho­rus at the end makes you sing along. The cho­rus is short and very catchy, built of two five word sen­tences (‘It all comes tum­bling down’ and ‘I just keep let­ting me down’), but the repeat cho­rus cuts it down to shorter sen­tences (‘Let­ting me down’ and ‘Tum­bling down’). That makes the song all the more catchy and seduc­tive, makes you want to sing and clap along. KST was com­posed by Anno him­self, and is the song that plays dur­ing Third Impact. By singing along and clap­ping along, you ‘give up your indi­vid­u­al­ity’ and become instead of a lis­tener another singer, you join the group. Also, the singing and clap­ping makes you feel like you can’t always tell your voice from the singers, and like Rei says, the Sea of LCL is an ambigu­ous world, where you can’t tell where you begin and oth­ers end.

http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?p=40517#40517

TODO: http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?p=57638#57638

“Everything You’ve Ever Dreamed”

KsT was not always going to be the EoE fea­ture song; the Refrain of Evan­ge­lion OST notes say that there was a com­peti­tor, “Every­thing You’ve Ever Dreamed” (EYED), which was like­wise penned by Anno & translated/heavily adapted by Mike Wyz­gows­ki.

Why KsT was cho­sen over EYED is unclear. SSD remarks that

“Oh, and it’s under­stand­able why KST was used in terms of scene-­match­ing and tempo com­pared to EYED. Although it was the other song option for Instru­men­tal­i­ty, Every­thing You’ve Ever Dreamed is too slow-tem­poed (also it’s a minute or two shorter than KST), though some of the music fits the scenes when you play the sequence and song togeth­er.”20

Let’s com­pare Rachel Clark’s trans­la­tion of Anno’s lyrics and Refrain of Evan­ge­lion:

Rachel Clark Refrain of Evan­ge­lion
CHORUS: What did you do to that girl? What did you do to her? (cho­rus)
CHORUS: What did you want to do to her? What did you want to do to her? (cho­rus)
I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to kiss her.
But I was hurt. But instead I got hurt.
She brought pain to my heart. I hurt my feel­ings.
Even so, But,
I hurt that girl’s heart, as well. I also hurt her feel­ing.
I inflicted the great­est hurt upon her. I hurt her much more.
I hurt her with kind­ness. My kind­ness hurt her.
CHORUS: Did hurt­ing her bring you sor­row? Were you sad by hurt­ing her? (cho­rus)
CHORUS: Did hurt­ing her bring you pain? Did you suf­fer by hurt­ing her? (cho­rus)
No. No.
Hurt­ing her gave me plea­sure. I was happy to hurt her.
Hurt­ing her gave me delight. I enjoy hurt­ing her.
Because she would­n’t accept me. So, she won’t for­give me.
I don’t even accept myself. I won’t for­give me either.
I haven’t since I felt the pain in my heart. Because I learned of heartache
CHORUS: If that’s so, why do you live? Then, why are you liv­ing? (cho­rus)
If only I would die. You should be dead.
CHORUS: Die. Die. Die. Die. Die, die, die, die. (cho­rus)
Why am I still liv­ing? Why are you still liv­ing?
Because I’m still alive. Because I’m still alive.
But that girl has­n’t met me. But, I can’t meet her.
I want to meet her, but I don’t. Although I want to see her, I don’t.
The strength to meet her isn’t there. I don’t have the strength to see her.
I’ve been hurt more often than I hurt oth­ers, but I’m not accept­ed. Since I hurt her, I should get hurt even more to be for­giv­en.
This is my pun­ish­ment. This is my pun­ish­ment.21
Death will not become my redemp­tion. Death can’t atone for my sin.
For the sake of my redemp­tion, I live. I’m liv­ing for my atone­ment.
CHORUS: You go on liv­ing, but you don’t care. It’s okay to con­tinue your life. (cho­rus)
CHORUS: Self­ish­ly, you go on liv­ing, but you don’t care. I don’t care how you con­tinue your life at your own con­ve­nience.
But how do you intend to make up for every­thing? But, how are you aton­ing for your sin?
…I don’t under­stand. … I don’t know.

As one can see, the gen­eral tone of defeat, res­ig­na­tion, and sui­cide is present as well. We might be over-in­ter­pret­ing KsT on its own, but when both can­di­dates sug­gest this inter­pre­ta­tion, we are on solid ground.

Context

The sequences imme­di­ately after KsT are con­fus­ing mon­tages and live-ac­tion clip­shows. It’s not clear what’s going on, and this is a point at which many peo­ple seem to sim­ply give up and wait for the movie to ter­mi­nate on the beach; Shin­ji’s dia­logue with Rei seems like pure gib­ber­ish. But it turns out that we are lack­ing a huge puz­zle piece - the live-ac­tion clips were drawn from a longer cut live-ac­tion sequence which had made it all the way to film­ing. Is this impor­tant?

Every work is made under con­straints but that does­n’t mean we should applaud every deci­sion which had to be made. EoE seems to have been under time con­straints just like the TV series, given the delays and very weird release sched­ule, so it’s pos­si­ble that that was why the full live-ac­tion sequence was cut and an incom­pre­hen­si­ble set of clips used instead. I don’t see what’s inessen­tial about it: EoTV also used anime and crayon and ran­dom stuff, and also included a full alter­nate world sequence.

This is impor­tant: EoTV also had an alter­nate world, even if it was ani­mated and not live-ac­tion like EoE’s. I think there is clear par­al­lelism: both alter­nate worlds take place in the last episode (episode 26 and 26’ respec­tive­ly), both take place not ter­ri­bly long before the end, and both seem to trig­ger a deci­sion or real­iza­tion by Shin­ji. Both sequences served a didac­tic pur­pose: in EoTV, it showed Shinji that he could live in a world with­out EVA and in EoE, it took it a step even fur­ther and showed Shinji a com­pletely ordi­nary world with­out EVA, NERV, Sec­ond Impact and with­out any of his rela­tion­ships with other peo­ple.

I admit that it’s much eas­ier to under­stand the EoTV alter­nate real­ity sequence than the EoE one, since episode 26 lays out the mean­ing very explic­it­ly:

Shinji: “I get it, this is also a pos­si­ble world. One pos­si­bil­ity that’s in me. The me right now is not exactly who I am. All sorts of me’s are pos­si­ble. That’s right. A me that’s not an Eva pilot is pos­si­ble too.”

“When you think of it that way, this world of real­ity isn’t so bad.”

S: “The world of real­ity might not be so bad. But I hate myself.”

“It’s you that per­ceives real­ity as bad and unpleas­ant. It’s you who’s mis­taken real­ity for the truth. Your per­spec­tive on real­ity and the impor­tance you place on real­i­ty, the slight­est dif­fer­ence in these things will greatly change the world inside your mind.” …

S: “I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it’s okay for me to be here! That’s right! I’m me, noth­ing more, noth­ing less! I’m me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it’s okay for me to be here!”

“Con­grat­u­la­tions!” etc

The EoE one is located close to the end like the EoTV one - it was to be placed around the ‘I hate you’ dia­logue and it exits into the Shin­ji-Rei dis­cus­sion in the Sea of LCL which then leads to the beach and the end of the film. Like the EoTV one, it seems to be some sort of real­iza­tion for Shin­ji; he dis­cusses ‘real­ity’ and ‘truth’ and ‘dreams’ and ‘illu­sion’ with Rei (note that in both EoTV and EoE, there’s some rather con­fus­ing uses of the words ‘truth’ and ‘real­ity’ in the Eng­lish trans­la­tions, which sug­gests that we may be miss­ing the intended mean­ing entirely because we’re read­ing in the usual mean­ings) and finally Shinji rejects the Sea of LCL.

At the end of the EoE sequence, Rei tells Shinji that the alter­nate world is just a ‘con­ve­nient dream’. Shinji asks whether that’s bad, Shinji defends dreams, Rei tells him that he’s mis­us­ing the word dream and this world is an illu­sion and escape from real­i­ty. Switch­ing back to the final EoE script, Shinji admits he does­n’t under­stand real­ity or hap­pi­ness, real­izes that the world is ‘empty’ and a dis­tor­tion of the real world; Rei tells him fur­ther that his dream is in the real world. Then we go into the Sea of LCL dia­logue which we all know, in which Shinji seems to take a stoic view­point and accept that the real world sucks but it’s real so he will endure it. The draft of EoE which had the full sequence seems to put it much more harshly than the final script, going by Olivier Hague’s trans­lated snip­pets:

Shinji's voice: “I’m sor­ry, Ayana­mi. I’ll return to where I used to be. There may be nobody there, by now, but I’ll return. I guess there is noth­ing good for me, there, never was and never will be, but I’ll return. Because it’s the place I belong and I have to live in.”

That descrip­tion of life is almost as pes­simistic and despair­ing as the Last B end­ing:

…We then see Shinji lying on the beach. His right hand is hold­ing a white one. “I’ll never see them again.” “It’s bet­ter to think of it this way.” “I’m still alive, so I’ll keep on liv­ing.” He squeezes the hand hard­er. Then, he sees Rei (like in the actual episode and Last A). We even­tu­ally see that there is nobody lying near Shin­ji. Just a white arm with­out the rest of the body…

At this point, I have to won­der: why? In EoTV, his break­through is under­stand­able: he’s real­ized he can live his life in other ways and be hap­py. But in EoE, there is no such break­through and the sequence serves a dif­fer­ent role in some­how con­vinc­ing Shinji that really exist­ing and being real is more impor­tant than any­thing else, and so he should go on liv­ing even though there is ‘noth­ing good for me, never was, and never will be’ - to say noth­ing of the shock­ing Last B.

The clos­est it comes to really explain­ing is imme­di­ately backped­dling on the lack of good things by hav­ing Yui claim that “It will be alright. All life­forms have the power to restore them­selves……and the wish to live. If you decide to live, any­where can be heav­en……be­cause you’re alive. There will be chances to be happy every­where. As long as the Sun, Moon and Earth exist……it will be alright.”

Can this ten­sion between the 2 sequences, and the dia­logues and mes­sages of EoE and EoTV, be resolved if we can nail down what exactly Anno means by ‘dream’, ‘real­ity’, and ‘hap­pi­ness’? Maybe.

I have to say that even if the ten­sion were resolved, the deliv­ery of the mes­sage in EoTV was far more effec­tive than EoE. Read­ing online, I see few peo­ple who seem to have been helped by EoE, while EoTV did help peo­ple (some of whose mes­sages are shown in EoE). Anno talks of admin­is­ter­ing chil­dren “poi­son” to help them learn to deal with the painful real world; yet I won­der if EoE goes over­board on the poi­son.

But Shin­ji’s pes­simism and escape into a dream, and his choice to then reject assim­i­la­tion and a form of sui­cide, con­firms the orig­i­nal inter­pre­ta­tion of the KsT scene and in fact gives us a gen­eral sketch of EoE: rejected by the world and Asuka (pre-K­sT), he escapes into Instru­men­tal­ity (KsT), but with Rei/Instrumentality’s help and the alter­nate world (cut live-ac­tion sequence), comes to a realization/breakthrough (Sea of LCL) and returns to real­ity (the beach).

And with this stoic pes­si­mal view­point in mind, the three EoE end­ings (fi­nal, Last A, and Last B) are no longer sur­pris­ingly dark. In reverse order - the real world sucks, and a dis­mem­bered Rei limb is merely real­is­tic; the real world sucks so a grave for Mis­ato is merely real­is­tic and his rela­tion­ship with Asuka is strained at best so of course she yells at him; the real world sucks so a pos­si­ble grave for Mis­ato is merely real­is­tic and his rela­tion­ship with Asuka painful enough that he escaped into Instru­men­tal­ity so why not stran­gle her again, since the real one will react and the Instru­men­tal­ity ones won’t.

Rebuild

http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?t=9152

otaku ther­apy using KsT: http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?t=9376

in gen­er­al: http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?t=5091&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

http://web.archive.org/web/20050429190953/evamonkey.com/reichu/misc/reichu_s2works_eyed.html http://web.archive.org/web/20050429191009/evamonkey.com/reichu/misc/reichu_s2works_amaki.html

http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?p=53409#53409 http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?p=53626#53626 http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?p=52064#52064


  1. Tech­ni­cal­ly, Pen-Pen is there as well, but he hides.↩︎

  2. It’s unclear at this point whether Asuka is alive, dead, or some third state.↩︎

  3. One might expect Asuka to be extremely hurt, angry at, and dis­ap­pointed with Shinji after this fail­ure. This is in fact the view­point taken in the series Re-­Take↩︎

  4. Some ver­sions of EoE omit the audio, just plac­ing a visual iya in the cor­ner; this is reflected in some EoE trans­la­tions which sim­ply tran­scribe the “no” with­out attri­bu­tion, such as Yasuyuki Sato’s trans­la­tion. Jesse Smith explains: “This [spo­ken iya] was the orig­i­nal the­atri­cal release, so what hap­pened was they chose to put the cap­tion”iya" in for the Gen­e­sis 0:13/0:14 release, pre­sum­ably to fur­ther empha­size the emo­tional dis­tance between Asuka and Shinji there."↩︎

  5. See also how MDWigs describes the same cuts:

    You don’t know that. You don’t know it did­n’t actu­ally hap­pen.

    Asuka left Mis­ato’s place some­time between Episodes 22 and 23. In the redone episode 24, there is a cut of Asuka learn­ing about Kaji’s death, which hap­pened in the kitchen. Also there is a quick cut in Evan­ge­lion: Death (True)², just before Shinji met Kaoru for the first time, he’s think­ing about Mis­ato, there is a bunch of cuts includ­ing one of Asuka (cry­ing?) in the kitchen of Mis­ato’s apart­ment. It looks like it took place after Asuka heard about Kaji’s death, but before she left the Mis­ato’s place. This cut (sur­pris­ingly absolutely unseen in the whole series, movies includ­ed!) may take place a few sec­onds before the kitchen scene! ^^;

    So the kitchen scene could have indeed hap­pened, which could explain why Asuka did leave Mis­ato’s apart­ment in the end.

    ↩︎
  6. “The Econ­omy of Visual Lan­guage: Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion”, Michael Peter­son↩︎

  7. George Chen points out the 2 pos­si­ble sce­nes:

    “One of the great­est thing that had hap­pened in Evan­ge­lion is Mr. Anno use of sequences like that. If you pay closer atten­tion, you will find that scene could very well be hap­pen at the same time which Shinji and Asuka first kissed or at the time in Gen­e­sis 0:11 which Shinji informed Asuka Kaji’s death (new scenes in the LD). Both scene took place in the kitchen of Mis­ato’s house and with Asuka wear­ing the yel­low t-shirt.”

    But ulti­mately Chen thinks the scene is a “what if in Shin­ji’s mind”.↩︎

  8. Bardiel:

    “Also, in ref­er­ence to the Cof­fee Pot Scene, notice that Shinji and Asuka are wear­ing the same cloth­ing they had on dur­ing the”I’m bored, let’s kiss" scene a while back (or am I com­pletely los­ing it?). This seems to lend cre­dence to this being part of Shin­ji’s com­ple­men­ta­tion and not an actual even­t."

    ↩︎
  9. See for exam­ple Patrick Yip’s argu­ment against a flash­back:

    “This is no flash­back. At first I thought the same thing, but when I thought deeper I realised that this just did not fit well in the time line. Shinji was not that low when Asuka was struck dumb (in­ac­tive) by that Angel – then Shinji even tried to help but did­n’t know how. I doubted that they would have got into an argu­ment like that. I think it is an”expe­ri­ence" that he went through in his inner world, with the influ­ence of some exter­nal force so that it feels “real” – some­thing not unlike that alter­na­tive world in TV ep.26, the “hall scene” in TV ep25, or the “train scene” in EOE."

    ↩︎
  10. Jesse­mon:

    “Also, I’ve always thought that the kitchen scene hap­pened in Shin­ji’s head. To me it seems to be a moment in which Shinji makes the real­iza­tion that he and Asuka aren’t going to fig­ure every­thing out. Back at the begin­ning of EoE, Shinji asks Asuka to help him because he knows she can’t answer, so even then he has­n’t faced the truth about their rela­tion­ship. If the kitchen scene had been real, then the mas­tur­ba­tion scene would lose a lit­tle sig­nif­i­cance IMO (b/c Shinji would have already shown the courage to offer help/ask for help from Asuka). The kitchen scene itself is famil­iar because it’s an alter­nate to some­thing that actu­ally hap­pened. Only this time (be­cause it’s in Shin­ji’s head, and not IRL), Shinji does the thing he would have liked to do back then. Unfor­tu­nately his mind forms a pretty depress­ing out­come (though it’s an entirely rea­son­able one), and that’s what ulti­mately causes Shinji to decide that he’s ok with killing every­one.”

    ↩︎
  11. http://forum.evageeks.org/viewtopic.php?p=328736#328736↩︎

  12. Ari­anne is a mys­tery her­self; she is just a name listed as singing KsT and “Every­thing You’ve Ever Dreamed”. Nor does she appear in any­thing else, even things one might expect her to, like the Laserdisc record­ing of the Evan­ge­lion con­cert at the Japan Phil­har­mon­ic.↩︎

  13. eg. 翼をください/“Give Me Wings”↩︎

  14. Sourced from gatot­su911’s tran­scrip­tion of the book­let com­men­tary↩︎

  15. Clark says that Bochan_bird mis­-­translit­er­ates this word as ‘kowaii’/‘scared’ when it is actu­ally ‘kirai’/‘dis­liked’.↩︎

  16. This line is given as “he’ll get hurt” in the book­let; Aza­thoth con­firms that the other trans­la­tions are cor­rect with respect to the kan­ji:

    ’The line is:

    心が触れ合えば、あの人は傷つく

    Bolded is “ano hito”, “that per­son”, which would be more idiomat­i­cally trans­lated as “he” or “she” but isn’t itself a gen­dered word. I would guess the trans­la­tor made the gen­der assump­tion by virtue of the female vocal­ist.’

    ↩︎
  17. Bochan_bird chooses “Let’s”, which is short for “let us”, while Clark spec­i­fies the sin­gu­lar “me”; Japan­ese is not big on pro­nouns, so the orig­i­nal is ambigu­ous. This unfor­tu­nately makes inter­pre­ta­tion a neces­si­ty; Clark’s choice of the sin­gu­lar is prob­a­bly the cor­rect dis­am­bigua­tion because the rest of the lyrics are clearly sin­gu­lar.↩︎

  18. “A cow­ardly young man who feels that his father has aban­doned him, and so he has con­vinced him­self that he is a com­pletely unnec­es­sary per­son, so much so that he can­not even com­mit sui­cide.” Anno, “What Were We Try­ing To Make Here?”, 1995↩︎

  19. See Reichu’s dis­cus­sion.↩︎

  20. This seems to be true. When I watched the KsT scene set to EYED, not a lit­tle of the music seemed to fit the visu­als; even some of Wyz­gowski’s lyrics matched occa­sion­al­ly, like a line about the ‘seven seas’ sync­ing with a brief clip of a swarm of souls which looked like a turn­ing school of fish.↩︎

  21. gatot­su911: “An echo of Gen­do’s final words?”↩︎