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?”↩︎