Theory and Analysis:Kaworu in Eva 3.0

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"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
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Kaworu Nagisa is very prominent in Evangelion 3.0, easily his most significant appearance in any Evangelion work in the history of the franchise. He has a crucial role in the movie, serving as the main catalyst for Shinji's own actions in the movie, as he provides explanations for the state of the world to Shinji, provides him a new hope in the form of his plan to pull the Spears, and his death also drives Shinji to a state of despondency similar to the one he was in at the beginning of End of Evangelion after Kaworu's own death in Episode 24 in the original series.

However, despite him being presented as seemingly an all-good character whose only preoccupation, as he states, is Shinji's happiness, further examination of the story as well as relating it to grander thematic motifs elsewhere in the movies brings into question just what Kaworu means by that, Kaworu's questionable methods and interpretation of Shinji himself, including manipulation of Shinji that seems to be far more extensive and deliberate than anything he did in the original series, brought into question by multiple inconsistencies in Kaworu's lines and actions, both in relation to evidence present in the movie and other character's statements, particularly when Shinji, as a surrogate of the audience, is not present.

Several other evidence, references and plot points also suggest that Kaworu's version of events is purposely limited and even biased, which allows Shinji and by extension a large portion of the audience that are put in his shoes to fill in the blanks without Kaworu having to do or say anything else. This has resulted in the fandom creating several different notions that might not actually be true. Notably, there is no reason to believe Shinji is the only person responsible for Third Impact or even that he is at all exclusively blamed for it, and instead many other actors, including Kaworu himself, are at play, a fact that apparently all other characters, including characters that used be largely unaware pawns like Asuka and Mari seem to be fully aware of, except for Shinji himself. Eva 3.0 very effectively matches Shinji's own limited, childish and even biased perspective with the audience's by serving as their surrogate, and this effect is thus replicated in the reception of the film.

Unlike what Shinji and a large portion of the audience assume, Kaworu does not seem to want at all to fix the world. Instead, it is likely Kaworu, in pursuit of Shinji's supposed happiness - as seen by Kaworu without ever asking for Shinji's opinion, has his goals much more aligned with Seele this time around, and is somehow working to make Instrumentality happen in a way that might benefit Kaworu himself most of all, despite indications that Shinji would not agree with this if he knew. This article seeks to present and examine this evidence.

Still undergoing construction, excerpts from the forum thread will be edited later, dialogue standardized to the official release, and images added.

Thematic significance and build-up

Under construction.

Links to SEELE

Under construction.


Firstly, there is something I always tough odd during the fight between Asuka and Shinji : why Kaworu never tried to help Shinji in trying to reason Asuka? I understand that he was deep in thoughts because he felt something was wrong... but right in front of him there was a German fury hellbent on skewering them with a giant glaive, and his partner had all the difficulties on the world to keep her at bay because he didn't wanted to harm her, and their magical drones were being destroyed one behind the other!

Basically during that battle Shinji wanted to make understand to Asuka that he didn't wanted to destroy the world with the spears, but to actually save it, and her answers where interesting :

Firstly when Shinji tells her that he's indeed piloting and that will change the world by doing it, she responds : 01:09:15 {Asuka} If that's how it is, don't pilot! Secondly, when Asuka asks if Shinji wants to cause 3I again, Shinji responds that no, he don't want to finish the world, but to save it with the spears, then Asuka leans back, scowls at him and deliver that line : 01:10:16 {Asuka} You really *are* a little brat.

The way these two lines are said, it looks like Asuka don't see Shinji as an enemy, but as someone who said something really wrong and/or stupid, and can't believe he actually said that. It looks like Asuka knows, or think she knows what will happen if Shinji pull out the spears.

Now let's go back in time, when Kaworu explained his plan to Shinji in his room :

01:02:34 {Kaworu} Ikari Shinji-kun, your only hope lies with the two Spears left at the Impact epicenter in Dogma.

01:02:41 {Kaworu} They are the keys to invoking the Instrumentality Project.

01:02:45 {Kaworu} We should take those Spears for ourselves.

01:02:48 {Kaworu} That way, Nerv can no longer trigger the Fourth Impact,

01:02:52 {Kaworu} And if we use them together with Eva-13, we can even repair the world.

By NERV, Kaworu was probably designing SEELE, as he though that Gendo, and thus neo-NERV, came back to following SEELE's scenario, if not he wouldn't have been so much surprised by Gendo's little trick with the spears. Anyway, what's important is that apparently the two spears a essential to trigger Instrumentality.

Now back to WILLE and the fight in Lilith's chamber : WILLE seems to have learned a lot of things about SEELE's plans, and indeed when the DSS Choker detected a unknown until then pattern blue(Kaworu's), Mari looked very surprised:

01:16:13 {Mari} Blood type blue from the DSS Choker?

01:16:15 {Mari} But there shouldn't *be* a Thirteenth!

The number and order of apparition of the Angel are consigned in the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls. The fact that Mari, a member of WILLE, know at least that there should be only twelve Angel is a sign that she must know about the SDSS, indeed if someone wants to fight SEELE knowing about these scrolls is of vital importance since all of SEELE's scenario is based on them. Added to Asuka's behavior toward Shinji, that could imply that WILLE knows how SEELE wants to launch Instrumentality, by using the two spears and a awakened Evangelion.

So the logical conclusion is that Asuka and Mari didn't saw Shinji as an enemy willingly working for neo-NERV and SEELE, but as a "neutral party" being manipulated by the bad guys, who made him think that he can be an hero and save the world if he retrieve the two magical spears. Except that Shinji already knows what NERV intends to do with the spears, and he's actually trying with Kaworu to double-cross them... so then, why did Kaworu said nothing? Why didn't he at least tried to corroborate Shinji's claims that they aren't trying to finish 3I's job? The guy is obsessed by Shinji, he must be one of the people who knows the most how Shinji works, even if he was deep in thoughts, he should have seen how much having to defend against Asuka was putting him dangerously close to the edge, and should have at least tried something to defuse the situation before it ends up completely out of control. Instead of that, he kept talking only to Shinji via the internal communication system, as if he absolutely wanted to make Shinji stop without having to interact with anyone else.

Half Truths

First when he told Shinji his responsibility in triggering N3I, his words were at the very least fairly ambiguous :

00:51:48 {Kaworu} Ikari Shinji-kun,

00:51:50 {Kaworu} once Awakened, Eva-01 opened the Door of Guf

00:51:55 {Kaworu} and became the trigger for Third Impact.

00:51:58 {Kaworu} Lilin call it Near Third Impact.

00:52:02 {Kaworu} It was all initiated by you.

Many people noted that Kaworu's explanations could have two meanings, even the 3.33 FAQ acknowledged this :

* Is there a difference between "Near Third Impact" and "Third Impact"? Did a separate thing called "Third Impact" ever happen?

Kaworu's expositional dialogue to Shinji superficially seems to treat the two terms as synonyms: "Ikari Shinji-kun, once Awakened, Eva-01 opened the Door of Guf and became the trigger for Third Impact. Lilin call it Near Third Impact."[2] In other words: "Something called Third Impact happened, and the Lilin decide to put a 'Near' in front for some reason."

However, the film visually establishes innumerable developments that could only have occurred after Eva-01 was frozen by the Spear of Cassius at the end of 2.0, very heavily suggesting that Third Impact eventually did continue. Kaworu's words, therefore, might indicate that Eva-01's Near Third Impact was the initial trigger for the Third Impact that followed.

He never specifies what exactly he meant, although that meant a big difference for Shinji : is Kaworu saying that trying to save Rei immediately brought this hellish landscape, or did he meant that what happened was the the first event in a chain that led to an actual 3I, and so that indirectly it could be considered his fault? When Shinji respond that he never wished any of this to happen, that he was just saving Rei, nothing else(confirming that he wasn't even conscious of what was happening since the moment he tried to reach Rei, when the light turned blue), Kaworu responds were still as ambiguous :

00:52:09 {Shinji} You're wrong!

00:52:10 {Shinji} All I wanted to do was save Ayanami!

00:52:16 {Kaworu} True, but that was the catalyst.

The catalyst, not the cause, according to a dictionary(Wiktionary in this case), a catalyst is "A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed in the process." If we follow this definition, the EVA-01, and Shinji, didn't caused Third Impact, but "enhanced it", meaning that someone or something triggered the Impact and that by the presence in the vicinity of an awakened Evangelion, "boosted" it. That would be an explanation of how 3I could have caused so cataclysmic damages to the whole planet, while 4 ADAMs at it "only" could affect the South Pole and the oceans.

And again :

00:52:52 {Shinji} I had nothing to do with it!

00:52:54 {Kaworu} You may deny it, but humanity thinks otherwise.

Humanity thinks what : that Shinji is the direct trigger of 3I that destroyed the world(maybe they effectively thought that), or that he was the potential first piece of an apocalyptic domino fall, which could explain why WILLE tried to "protect him" from neo-NERV(that was what Misato said :"you're to be kept in our protection") instead of just putting a bullet in his brain if they thought he really didn't gave a shit about the world and knew that an Impact was starting, but didn't cared.

And that's not the only thing he's been ambiguous about, when he to convince Shinji to pilot EVA-13 with him :

01:01:26 {Shinji} You showed me it yourself, Nagisa-kun.

01:01:29 {Shinji} The blood-red world I can't do anything about...

01:01:32 {Kaworu} That which was changed by Eva can be restored by Eva in turn.''

According to our great pal Reichu here, the literal translation was "changed again" instead of "restored". A change can be many things, a restoration, or a modification into something else.

And again a little later :

01:02:45 {Kaworu} We should take those Spears for ourselves.

01:02:48 {Kaworu} That way, Nerv can no longer trigger the Fourth Impact,

01:02:52 {Kaworu} And if we use them together with Eva-13, we can even repair the world.

Here again, after some clarifications by the great Reichu, what was literally said was "世界の修復も可能だ = sekai no shuufuku mo kanou da = even the repairing/mending of the world is possible".

Kaworu never said "you and me together, we're gonna to repair the world", but that "if we retrieve the spears, with the spears a lot of thing can be done, repairing the world being one of them, he said that line on a "neutral tone", stating that it's one of the things the two spears can do, but he never said that's what he intend to do with Shinji.


Now let's come back again in time, when Kaworu explained to Shinji what happened to the world : 00:50:55 {Kaworu} Mass extinctions are not unusual on this planet.

00:50:58 {Kaworu} In fact, they help drive evolution.

00:51:02 {Kaworu} Life has always changed itself to adapt to the world around it.

00:51:08 {Kaworu} However, Lilin change not themselves, but the world.

00:51:15 {Kaworu} So they brought the rite of artificial evolution unto themselves.

00:51:21 {Kaworu} Old life is offered in sacrifice,

00:51:23 {Kaworu} so that new beings blessed with the Fruit of Life may be created.

00:51:29 {Kaworu} All this is an act of extinction that has been programmed since time immemorial.

00:51:33 {Kaworu} Nerv call it the Human Instrumentality Project.

And back to his conversation in Shinji's room :

01:02:34 {Kaworu} Ikari Shinji-kun, your only hope lies with the two Spears left at the Impact epicenter in Dogma.

01:02:41 {Kaworu} They are the keys to invoking the Instrumentality Project.

01:02:45 {Kaworu} We should take those Spears for ourselves.

01:02:48 {Kaworu} That way, Nerv can no longer trigger the Fourth Impact,

01:02:52 {Kaworu} And if we use them together with Eva-13, we can even repair the world.

Kaworu actually never, ever mentions SEELE to Shinji, not once. Why? Saying to Shinji that Gendo is working for a secret organization wouldn't have changed Shinji's resolve to stop his father. Instead of that, by always citing NERV when talking about who is trying to bring Instrumentality and who Kaworu is trying to thwart by keeping the spears for themselves, and since by that point NERV = Gendo(and Fuyutsuki), Kaworu is turning Shinji against Gendo, but not SEELE, as Shinji didn't even know they exist.

Kaworu's motives

In NGE, Kaworu's reason to betray SEELE was that after learning more about the Lilin, he fell in love with them, their culture, their achievements, and thought that SEELE was in the wrong path in trying to erase all of this under the unification of Instrumentality. In the manga, his betrayal comes from his will to chose his death, his "only freedom", on his own terms, so basically out of spite against SEELE, and besides he told Shinji that even if he makes contact with Lilith, the Third Impact that would follow wouldn't annihilate mankind, but make it evolve into something else. But here in Rebuild, what is Kaworu's sole motivation? Shinji's happiness. Why is he betraying SEELE? For Shinji's happiness... but is he really betraying SEELE, after all we only saw him talking about thwarting NERV(=Gendo)'s plans, he never talks about SEELE. And when he talked about the "rite of artificial evolution" that the Lilin brought into themselves, he said that it "has been programmed since time immemorial", like it was mankind's destiny. But not once did he said that SEELE's "rite of artificial evolution"(i.e. Instrumentality) was wrong, unlike in NGE, he only talked about NERV.

If Kaworu though that Instrumentality indeed was mankind's destiny, and that all that SEELE wanted this time was the "peaceful purification of all souls" brought by Human Instrumentality, why would SEELE's goal be incompatible with Kaworu's objective to make Shinji happy? After all we don't know what he meant by "making Shinji happy", and he was talking about that even before 3.0, where making him happy would simply be letting him fix the world. So what if Kaworu's goal was to make Shinji the center of Instrumentality so that he could temporarily become a god and shape a world to fit to his own definition of happiness. Shinji would create his own happiness, SEELE would have their purification of the soul they wanted so much, and everyone is contented! Sounds crazy? Well remember that Yui had a similar plan for Shinji in NGE and the manga : putting him at the center of Instrumentality, so that he would be the one to decide if mankind should be saved and given the choice to return to reality, or if mankind should be shaped into something else to erase the pain brought by their existence. And Yui had only Shinji's best interests at heart(at least what was his best interests in her head), so why wouldn't Kaworu, someone literally obsessed with making Shinji happy, have a similar plan?

Under that light, the fact that Kaworu never tried to contact Asuka to confirm Shinji's claim and defuse a critical situation, and Asuka's insistence to try to stop EVA-13 by force could be explained by the fact that WILLE know that Kaworu is loyal to SEELE and that even if they manage to make Shinji see reason, Kaworu would continue with the plan(of course, they don't know that Shinji somehow has the capacity to cut Kaworu's control of the EVA)

Future involvement

Last thing, you must all have noticed how SEELE didn't really gave a shit that Gendo betrayed them and turned them off, while implying that he also had something planned to get rid from Kaworu, and their response?

01:17:21 {Seele 01} Our wishes have come to fruition.

01:17:25 {Seele 01} Good.

01:17:26 {Seele 01} All is well now.

01:17:29 {Seele 01} We wish for Human Instrumentality, the peaceful purification of all souls.

By the look of it, they already got what they wanted. You could think that it was Mark.09 about to hijack the Wunder... but frankly, how could the Wunder fit into SEELE's plan to trigger Instrumentality? Maybe they wanted to capture it to have a emergency plan by retrieving EVA-01, but betting everything on the chance that one EVA will be able to hijack a flying fortress protected by other EVAs seems a little flimsy for a bunch of guys who planned Instrumentality for thousands of years, so what could they have been talking about that basically told to Gendo "suck it, we still win little boy!"?...

01:25:41 {Kaworu} We'll meet again, Shinji-kun.

Yep, their "boy" as Gendo calls it is still in the run, and will probably act during Final, as he made it clear to Shinji that they will meet again!

Contradictions with 3.0+1.0 Avant 1

The pillars shown in the first 10 minutes of Evangelion 3.0+1.0 are apparently capable of reversing the core-ification, using technology that has been around for at least 14 years and also present in Shinji's DSS Choker and Asuka's eyepatch, that is, since at least before Shinji himself was absorbed into Unit 01 at the end of Evangelion 2.0. This adds further inconsistency to the idea that Kaworu is trying to fix the world, since he and Nerv likely had the resources to do so, but instead seem to be the perpetrators of the state of things seen in Evangelion 3.0. Instead of helping Wille whose stated goal is to destroy Nerv, prevent Impacts and presumably also fixing the world, Kaworu instead is still working with Nerv, even against Seele. This seems to further reinforce that his goal is not in fact what Shinji thinks it is.

Ultimate motivation, the nature of the Adams and the new Cycle

Main article: Theory and Analysis:Identities of the Adams

It is likely Shinji, Kaworu, Mari and Asuka are the Four Adams that appeared in Second Impact, reborn in Lilim form, with Rei remaining as Lilith. Eva 3.0 alludes to this very clearly with Asuka being dissociated from her humanity, as well as with the so-called Curse of Eva, much like Shinji is outright stated to be losing his humanity at the end of Evangelion 2.0. However, Kaworu seems to be the only one that is fully aware of this, with the possible exception of Mari. Kaworu's ultimate goal seems to be linked to this, as Instrumentality in the Rebuilds is apparently of a different nature narratively, though thematically it seems to retain its thematic association with escapism and stagnancy.

Please refer to this thread:

Notes and References

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

Other questions regarding Eva 3.0 are addressed here: Guides:Evangelion 3.33 FAQ

This article bears the unpleasant designation of "Stub." This is a Bad Thing. Provide a great service to NGE fan-geeks everywhere by making it awesomer!