Difference between revisions of "Theory and Analysis:Final Scene in End of Evangelion"

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==Conclusion==
 
==Conclusion==
  
Nonetheless, the fact that she has chosen to lay by Shinji's side at her own initiative and chosen to react to him with open affection, instead of aggression and hostility like she has done many times before, symbolizes, at least, the beginning of her growth. Because Asuka is now able to accept herself, she is now able to accept him as well, instead of pushing him and other people away out of fear of intimacy and rejection, much like Shinji, unable to accept himself, ran away from people in order to avoid the pain inherent to human connections. Not only does this make Shinji stop as he has realized that it is indeed Asuka and he is indeed in real life, Shinji, who has realized he can find worth is himself and is now willing to reach out to other people, is taken aback by this sign of compassion, which mirrors Yui's own caress a few minutes earlier in the movie as he leaving [[Instrumentality]], it also shows how overwhelmed he is to be accepted himself, and might be ashamed of the way he has treated Asuka.  
+
Nonetheless, the fact that she has chosen to lay by Shinji's side at her own initiative and chosen to react to him with open affection, instead of aggression and hostility like she has done many times before, symbolizes, at least, the beginning of her growth. Because Asuka is now able to accept herself, she is now able to accept him as well, instead of pushing him and other people away out of fear of intimacy and rejection, much like Shinji, unable to accept himself, ran away from people in order to avoid the pain inherent to human connections. Not only does this make Shinji stop as he has realized that it is indeed Asuka and he is indeed in real life, Shinji, who has realized he can find worth is himself and is now willing to reach out to other people,<ref>'''24. Opening of a Dream (Piano – Leave It To Version)'''<br>''Shinji’s independence that he bid farewell to his mother and chose to live in the world of others despite the fact that he would hurt others is portrayed in this song with a somewhat sad piano solo. It is as if it suggested the relationship between the project of EVANGELION and the audiences.'' - [https://forum.evageeks.org/post/453875/Refrain-of-Evangelion-booklet-transcript-at-long-last/ Refrain of Evangelion booklet interview]</ref> is taken aback by this sign of compassion, which mirrors Yui's own caress a few minutes earlier in the movie as he leaving [[Instrumentality]], it also shows how overwhelmed he is to be accepted himself, and might be ashamed of the way he has treated Asuka.  
  
 
[[File:End_of_Evangelion_Psalms_Example_Page.jpg|The final page from [[End of Evangelion Psalms]] compares Asuka and Shinji's choking scene to their kiss scene from Episode 15, by juxtaposing it with their dialogue.|thumb|left|160px]]
 
[[File:End_of_Evangelion_Psalms_Example_Page.jpg|The final page from [[End of Evangelion Psalms]] compares Asuka and Shinji's choking scene to their kiss scene from Episode 15, by juxtaposing it with their dialogue.|thumb|left|160px]]

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The final scene of End of Evangelion is, to this day, still hotly debated. It is a culmination of the story's themes and narrative in just a few, earth-shattering minutes, with Shinji's attempt to choke Asuka contrasted with her unexpected response. This article, however, will deal with the more objective aspects of this scene that can easily go unnoticed even to the most observant of viewers, thanks to its cryptic and deliberately ambiguous construction. There are, however, several details present in this scene that can help elucidate Shinji's state of mind.

Passage of Time

Rust in Misato's cross. There also seems to be a Yebisu beer can in the top right.
"Mysterious" pieces of wood, with one of them broken in half
Moon cycles

After rejecting Instrumentality, Shinji is seen emerging in the Sea of LCL. In the following scene, Shinji sees Rei, and seems shocked to see her there, and even more so when he realizes Asuka is there. As Shinji notices the girl, he moves towards her and begins to strangle her, without a clear reason. The generally accepted interpretation is that he was trying to determine whether she was real or if they were still experiencing Instrumentality.[1] Shinji's state of mind can seem a bit jarring, as he seemed content and willing to face the future just a few minutes earlier in the movie as he said goodbye to his mother Yui, even if he was still uncertain he could achieve happiness.

Instead, Shinji seems somewhat unstable and fraught, as attempting to strangle Asuka again seems like quite an extreme action. It is interesting to note that time inside Instrumentality itself is relative, and the sequences presented in the movie don't follow a completely linear fashion, thus, while Instrumentality itself takes less than an hour inside the movie, it is entirely possible that Shinji experienced weeks, months or even decades inside Instrumentality, and only returned to the real world much later, and might have spent some time alone in the beach before Asuka showed up, as some elements in the scene indicate:

  • Misato's cross is rusted, or more specifically, the nail that is holding it. It has been suggested that this could merely be blood washed over on the cross, as LCL is said to resemble blood multiple times. However, the fact that rust is specifically falling from the nail is telling, because it means that either there has been enough time for a nail to rust, or, alternatively, if Shinji found the nail already rusted, the water or humidity could have made the rust spill on the cross. Regardless, there needs to at least have been enough time for the rust to drip down in the first place.
  • There are several pieces of wood of an unexplained nature. Shinji states that the reason he wants to return to the real world is that he wants to see his friends and the people he loves again because at least there he will know his feelings are real, even if he risks rejection and failure. As explained below, those are actually grave markers Shinji has erected in memory of the other major characters, though Rei and Kaworu are not included.[2] Presumably, the one with Misato's cross is supposed to represent Misato. Shinji might have believed, for a time, that nobody was coming back and he was doomed to be alone, so finding Asuka on the beach would come as a surprise because it would have proven him wrong. This could also explain why he decided to choke her - to find out if she was real. A perfect "doll" Asuka inside Instrumentality would not react, and accept any of his wishes, including killing her, as inside Instrumentality there is no individuality, thus Asuka might not have a will of her own. But not only does she react, but she also does so with compassion. This proves to Shinji that he is no longer alone, and that she is indeed real.
  • The moon cycles change between the first post-Impact scene when Lilith is dying to the ending scene. They seem to indicate at least two weeks have passed between those scenes. Admittedly, it is possible that the Moon was merely being seen from another angle, and this would give the viewer a different impression of the actual cycle it was in, so it is not very strong evidence.

It is still hard to pinpoint a specific timeframe, but Shinji would take at least a few hours to gather wood and erect the grave markers. Unlike the moon cycles, this is actually mentioned in the storyboards, so we can be certain at least this happened.

Discarded endings

See also: Resources:End of Evangelion Screenplays

End of Evangelion has two discarded endings, Last A and Last B. While the Last B ending was far bleaker than the ending present in the final movie, Last A is still very similar to the one in EoE, with the most noticeable difference being Asuka's final line being altered.

Shinji resurfacing in the Sea of LCL. Note he looks much more solemn.
Asuka and Shinji laying on the beach.
Shinji when he gets a glimpse of Rei, and notices Asuka by his side. He is clearly surprised and disturbed, very different from his more calm look when emerging from Instrumentality.
Shinji, again surprised as Asuka caresses him. This seems to wake him up from his stupor.

Last A
You already know the beginning of this one (a beach, petrified headless Evas, etc).
Then, we see the graves Shinji made (it's stated by Anno it was _he_ who made them). The names of all main Eva characters are written on them, except for "Ayanami Rei".
We then see Asuka's grave.
And Asuka's foot kicking it to the ground. ^^;
(you can still see these graves in the actual ending... no names, but there is Misato's pendant nailed on one of them, and another has been kicked down ^^ )
We then see Shinji and Asuka on the beach... and you know that scene, too (but this draft demonstrates that Shinji and Asuka didn't just wake up there after Third Impact... they've been living here for some times... meaning they _could_ be the two only humans willing to return, after all... ^^; )
When Shinji starts crying, Asuka was supposed to say something like "Idiot No way I'll let you kill me" ("idiot" was removed in the storyboards... and the whole line was modified, eventually).[3]
Then, the ending music (so, there was one... ^^ ) was supposed to begin, and the staff credits were to appear (Anno suggests a horizontal scrolling, like in GunBuster, I guess).
We were to see Eva-01 lying on the Moon, and woman's hair showing from its broken mask (but her face remains unseen).
Behind Eva-01, you could see Earth, entirely red.
And the Black Moon, destroyed.
The camera goes to the sun, then to the stars.
Credits end.

"Shûgeki" ("the end").

Unlike Last B, Last A does not clash with the ending as present on EoE at all, except for Asuka's final line - changed when Anno asked for Yuko Miyamura's (Asuka's voice actress) suggestion, as he was still unsatisfied with this line, which lacks the ambiguity and duality of the final line.[4][5][6] However, the graves are still around, and the final storyboards still refer to them as such.[7][8] As such, adding to the evidence present above, it is also possible to extrapolate the meaning for these elements in the scene from Last A that are still present:

  • Lilith "dies", Shinji re-materializes in the Sea of LCL, he swims/walks to the beach, and spends some time there, enough time to gather some wood and erect these graves. He also finds a nail and uses it to fix Misato's cross on one of them.
  • Last A happens, or at least in part. Asuka herself returns from Instrumentality, she goes to the beach (instead of just materializing by his side), and finds the markers Shinji set in her and the other character's memory. Immediately she assumes Shinji thinks she's dead, so she kicks the marker with her name[9] to signify she's alive, as well as her will to live.
  • She finds Shinji asleep on the ground. Instead of waking him up, kicking him or yelling at him, she decides to sit and sleep by his side.
  • The actual ending scene happens: Shinji wakes up - the camera seems to be in the first person momentarily, as Shinji is looking upwards to the sky, but then it quickly pans to the side, as if he is turning his head. Shinji then gets a brief glimpse at Quantum Rei, and is surprised to find Asuka by his side. He chokes her, she caresses him, he stops.[10]
  • There are also unconfirmed claims that the EoE poster is canon (see the image below, as it does parallel Episode 22 clearly) , which would seem to indicate that Shinji at the very least got off Asuka, got up, Asuka sat up, and both of them spent some time looking at the horizon and Lilith's head.

This has some implications as it contradicts other theories that Asuka merely materialized out of nowhere because Shinji willed it or because Rei somehow "gave" her to him as companionship, instead, she returned out of her own free will, which reinforces Yui's earlier statement about how anyone can come back, as long as they have the will to do so and to imagine themselves back in their original forms - although according to this[1], Asuka was the one Shinji had "hoped/wished for". However, the fact that Asuka imagines herself with her arm bandaged seems to indicate she is not completely healed yet, much like Shinji's fraught mental state does.

Conclusion

Nonetheless, the fact that she has chosen to lay by Shinji's side at her own initiative and chosen to react to him with open affection, instead of aggression and hostility like she has done many times before, symbolizes, at least, the beginning of her growth. Because Asuka is now able to accept herself, she is now able to accept him as well, instead of pushing him and other people away out of fear of intimacy and rejection, much like Shinji, unable to accept himself, ran away from people in order to avoid the pain inherent to human connections. Not only does this make Shinji stop as he has realized that it is indeed Asuka and he is indeed in real life, Shinji, who has realized he can find worth is himself and is now willing to reach out to other people,[11] is taken aback by this sign of compassion, which mirrors Yui's own caress a few minutes earlier in the movie as he leaving Instrumentality, it also shows how overwhelmed he is to be accepted himself, and might be ashamed of the way he has treated Asuka.

The final page from End of Evangelion Psalms compares Asuka and Shinji's choking scene to their kiss scene from Episode 15, by juxtaposing it with their dialogue.
In Episode 22, above, Shinji is physically distant from Asuka, they are divided by a physical object, and Shinji is visibly tense as he is unable to comfort a visibly crying and furious Asuka. The poster for End of Evangelion directly parallels this scene, except that this time Asuka and Shinji are close to one another, and seem much more relaxed and at ease with each other, the barrier between them, physical and otherwise, gone. Perhaps a sign of better things to come.

Asuka's final line, "kimochi warui" can be translated as "I feel sick" or "How disgusting". It is an expression used many times before to express shock, discomfort or disapproval - for instance, when Shinji is first immersed in LCL in Episode 1 and in a sense embraced by Yui, and when Asuka complains about sharing a bathtub, and a house with Misato and Shinji in Episode 22, as she is unwilling to belong.[12][13] Because of its unclear meaning, it is hard to say whether she's referring to Shinji, herself, or soothing else. Asuka might be expressing disapproval at the situation they are in and Shinji acting meekly again. It might also be interpreted as how strange it feels for her to finally accept another person, something which so far has terrified her.[14] This does not change the fact, however, that she has just chosen to show him compassion, to give him a chance and lay by his side. When hostility would have been a far easier choice - and the fact that she has kicked her gravemarker implies she might not actually be in a frail and weak state as some assume, she has instead chosen comprehension and compassion, she took a risk, just like Shinji did by choosing to return to reality, as Asuka has. The ambivalence and duality in this scene represent the fact that they are not yet completely healthy and changed, but are beginning to open themselves to this change. The movie leaves open where they will go from there, if they can grow and learn to love themselves or not, but even after all the grievous death and destruction throughout the movie, and even though they are still only starting to grow, it still gives them this hope, as long as they pursue it. For better or worse, they at least now have each other.[15][16]

The fact that Asuka and Shinji will have to work in other to achieve happiness and even survival is reflected even in other ways: it could take a while before civilization can rebuild, if anyone even comes back in the first place, so they will inevitably have to deal with each other and at least come to terms with one another in other to survive: ultimately, whether Shinji and Asuka can grow and be happy also depends on whether the viewer thinks humanity can go back and learn from its mistakes - it is entirely possible that no one will come back, or that very few will. Much like Shinji and Asuka can grow and change, this also applies to humanity and even the world at large: it is impossible to even know for sure about the physical state of the world and its fauna and flora, availability of food and clean water, the preservation of buildings and infrastructure, etc. It is uncertain where they are, as well - possibly on the outskirts of the ruins of Tokyo-3, which has been flooded after Rei self-destroyed her Eva and later when the Black Moon emerged and created a crater. The physical damage might be limited to Tokyo-3's vicinity, or beyond, similarly to how Second Impact seems to have limited physical damage and LCL in the water to Antarctica.[17]

All possibilities are open: as Shinji has learned (and presumably Asuka as well), even if reality is harsh and uncomfortable, if he does not try to break out of the cycle of misery, despair and escapism which has encompassed him, he will only have the certainty of more failure and more suffering. However, if he decides to face reality and face the risk of rejection and failure, even if he will not have the certainty of success and attaining happiness, that is still the only way he can be happy in the first place.[18]

See also

Theory and Analysis:Shinji and Asuka's Relationship - One More Final

Theory and Analysis:List of Common Misconceptions - The Adam & Eve Scenario

Resources:End of Evangelion Screenplays

This article was mostly built out of the following forum threads, please refer to them:

Passage of Time (EoE Final Scene)

Did Last A actually happen?

Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Evangelion Cardass Masters "Shinji renounced the world where all hearts had melted into one and accepted each other unconditionally. His desire... to live with 'others' -- other hearts that would sometimes reject him, even deny him. That is why the first thing he did after coming to his senses was to place his hands around Asuka's neck. To feel the existence of an 'other'. To confirm (make sure of) rejection and denial."
    "In the sea of LCL, Shinji wished for a world with other people. He desired to meet them again, even if it meant he would be hurt and betrayed. And just as he had hoped/wanted, Asuka was present in the new world. Only Asuka was there beside him. The girl who he had hurt, and by whom he had been hurt. But even so, she was the one he had hoped/wished for...."
    "Neither Yui, Rei nor Misato could do as a woman for Shinji. Asuka alone was the only girl on equal footing with him. So, Shinji desired/sought after Asuka. "I'm afraid of Misato and Ayanami." However, Shinji's crude affection only hurt her. In the end, he used her as an object of lust/desire to soothe/ console himself..."
    , H-11
  2. This probably indicates Shinji considers Rei and Kaworu to be alive, even though they are in what is effectively another plane of existence inside Instrumentality, so he hasn't erected markers in their memory. However, Shinji hadn't, at that point, seen Quantum Rei yet, and still seemed to consider his other friends to be dead, and himself to be alone.
  3. Miyamura's original recording of this line is available on the Evangelion Blu-ray collection as part of the bonus material.
  4. Interview with Yuko Miyamura (BS AnimeYAWA) "I had been thinking directors should convey their ideal how the show should be to us. But Anno pitches us questions such as "What do you think for yourself if things went on such and such ways to you?" After recording all the lines of the movie, I was called to the studio because the final line needed to be revised. Ogata came there too as it was Asuka and Shinji's scene. Asuka's final line was "Anta nankani korosareru nowa mappira yo!" in the film scenario. Anno didn't live with my line no matter how many times I tried. Ogata and I were at a loss of how we should play what Anno wanted to express; she even tried to ride on me and choke me to meet his demand. He must have been pursuing reality. Concerning the final line we adopted, I'm not sure whether I should say about it in fact. At last Anno asked me "Miyamura, just imagine you are sleeping in your bed and a stranger sneaks into your room. He can rape you anytime as you are asleep but he doesn't. Instead, he masturbates looking at you, when you wake up and know what he did to you. What do you think you would say?" I had been thinking he was a strange man, but at that moment I felt disgusting. So I told him that I thought "Disgusting". And then he sighed and said "... thought as much." He said. " I thought as much. "
  5. According to Megumi Ogata, Shinji's voice actress, the scene itself was modeled on a experience of a female friend of Anno's. - 『井手功二のエヴァンゲリオンフォーエヴァー』(アミューズブックス)
  6. Ogata actually choking Miyamura for the EoE scenes was clearly consensual, despite rumours to the contrary.
    MO: I'm delighted that you think I sounded natural as if I was doing ad-libs. I don't remember doing anything experimental. There was a time when I actually pushed Yuko Miyamura to the floor to strangle her during the last scene of the "Evangelion" movie in which Shinji strangles Asuka. I couldn't act very well in playing that scene. I was so agitated that I strangled her too hard, making it impossible for her to say her lines for a while. Of course, I apologized to her for doing that. I almost killed her. - Statements by Evangelion Staff - Megumi Ogata on fandom and choking Yuko Miyamura
    CF: Did Megumi Ogata (Shinji) really strangle you while recording the voices for the End Of Evangelion to get a realistic performance?
    YM: Yes, she did. I tried many times to make it sound like I was being strangled, but I couldn’t get it right. So, Megumi Ogata helped me make realistic sounds by actually strangling me. She’s nice isn’t she!? - Gold Coast Film Festival 2010
  7. Olivier Hague says they are described as resembling gravemarkers in both the storyboards and the after-recording script.
  8. Olivier Hague: "the storyboard states that "_only_ one of them has been kicked"... looks the fact that there's just one kicked pole is important"
  9. The draft clearly mentions "Asuka's tombstone" being kicked, it seems we would have even seen her actually kicking it.
  10. Some speculate that the unused but fully produced song Everything You've Ever Dreamed (written by Anno) was going to be used as a credits song. It seems to allude to this very scene:
    Did she promise you the world and did that
    Girl just throw your love away
    Leave you like a lonely solitare
    With just despair for company
    Do you think you'd find revenge so sweet
    Make it so your hearts will never beat
    Squeeze the very last and dying breath from
    Everything you've ever dreamed
  11. 24. Opening of a Dream (Piano – Leave It To Version)
    Shinji’s independence that he bid farewell to his mother and chose to live in the world of others despite the fact that he would hurt others is portrayed in this song with a somewhat sad piano solo. It is as if it suggested the relationship between the project of EVANGELION and the audiences. - Refrain of Evangelion booklet interview
  12. "Why does Asuka want to kiss Shinji? Even assuming she was spiteful of Kaji, one doesn't understand the real underlying motive. After the kiss, Asuka states: "I did it just to kill time." She yells, as if to make Shinji perceive it and to confirm it to herself, as if she wants to hide some embarrassment" Neon Genesis Evangelion Film Book vol 5, pp. 44–45.
  13. "And likewise, after the kiss scene from Episode Fifteen, "Lies and Silence," there is a new scene showing her looking frustrated after rinsing her mouth. And from Asuka's dialogue that overlaps these scenes, it becomes clear that she has been looking for help and love from Shinji. Episode 22 Platinum Commentaries"
  14. Keep in mind she is also fully aware of his masturbation in the hospital earlier, in fact, she not only tells him to do it again for her to watch, she even implies she knows it is a habit. That is to say, this was not the first time Shinji satisfied herself to her (presumably imaginary) image, even when he was not in moments of desperation. In fact, in one of the earlier EoE drafts, Shinji would just go home after seeing her exposed breasts and then masturbate in his room, thinking of her.
  15. In contrast to the simple "favourable feelings" Shinji has with most other characters, Evangelion Chronicle describes their relationship as "complex feelings" and "love and hate.":
    Shinji/Asuka: Colleague-Complicated Feelings;Colleague-Love/Hate
    Rei/Shinji: Colleague-Favorable;
    Kaworu/Shinji: Colleague-Favorable
    "Proud and assertive, Asuka possessed many strong qualities but lacked the ability to truly control her feelings. [...]It was only after Kaji's death and the Fifteenth Angel's psychological attack that Asuka came to realize Shinji and Kaji both occupied a similar place in her heart. This realization was quite shocking to Asuka, as she had thus far gone out of her way to dismiss and mock Shinji whenever possible.
    Asuka's default behaviour toward Shinji emphasized mockery and distaste, though she couldn't deny also feeling some semblance of romantic interest toward him. When their synchronicity levels "officially" indicated that Shinji was superior to Asuka in some way, she started suffering a kind of psychological instability and had a hard time dealing with the love/hate she felt for him"
    By chance, Asuka observed Rei and Shinji sharing a conversation. Asuka felt a very dark emotion welling up inside of her as she watched Shinji enjoying himself in Rei's company.
    During Instrumentality, Asuka encountered Shinji inside his inner world and told him she didn't need anything if she couldn't have all of him. Despite the significance of this statement, Shinji's response was vague at best and he only sought a place at her side because it was a "comfortable" place to be. Hurt by the notion that she was nothing more than an escape for Shinji, Asuka outright rejected him. As a result, the Human Instrumentality Project did not reach its intended result, and any changes to the relationship between Asuka and Shinji were left unclear.
    "Though Shinji and Asuka are both EVA pilots and living under the same roof、they are polar opposites. Despite their differences、Shinji did feel an attraction to Asuka at certain moments throughout their time together. When Shinji expressed his feelings to Asuka and sought her help during his instrumentality、she outright rejected him. Shinji and Asuka in the new world where the Human Instrumentality Project was not fulfilled Shinji had chosen a world where others existed、and for him Asuka became the first "Other".
    "Asuka Langley Soryu Piloting EVA-02 was Asuka's way of maintaining her self-respect, and it also served to deepen her confusing love/hate for Shinji. Her repeated failures in combat against the Angels during the war had forced Asuka to face her own weaknesses, and though she did make a comeback during SEELE's forced requisition of NERV headquarters, she fell in battle against the mass-production model EVA units. Immediately after Asuka's defeat, the Human Instrumentality Project was activated, Asuka was the first "other" to exist in the new world that was created when Shinji wished for a world where others existed, and she was found lying next to Shinji."

    - The Essential Evangelion Chronicle, Side B
  16. Yuko Miyamura describes Asuka in 2007 as "what we now call a tsundere. It's Shinji that she's interested in as a member of the opposite sex, but she cannot really show it - Miyamura 2007 interview, FLASH EX
  17. Second Impact was an Impact of a very different nature, with an actual physical explosion caused by Adam's partial awakening. The 3 billion dead include subsequent natural disasters like tsunamis (provoked by the explosion itself and possibly the change of the Earth's axis), earthquake and rising sea levels, and conflicts including a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan. The show hints that the post-2I world is politically unstable but perfectly habitable. The "eternal summer" is specifically mentioned as existing in Japan, which means it was probably a result of the change in the axis, and does not necessarily apply to everywhere else. This lack of certainty applies to the post-3I world as well.
  18. "I still don't know where to find happiness...but I'm here, and I will keep wondering why I was born."