• Reichu

Secrets of the Ayanami Series: Pt. 2

Updated: Jan 2

Following up on part 1, I'll now document and analyze the content that was cut from Fuyutsuki's scene with Shinji in Q. Translation is once again by me.

C-0863

The lights behind Shinji turn on and another manufacturing plant appears.

Lined up on a conveyor belt are empty(?) capsules(?).

Fuyutsuki: “The replica that brought you here is an Ayanami model prepared as Mk.09's provisional pilot,”

C-0864

Close-up of the label listing.

“prototype #6. Yui-kun's data isn't being transferred to it, so”

C-0865

Close-up of Fuyutsuki.

“I suppose even Ikari has no interest ”

C-0866

Shinji (with Fuyutsuki in foreground).

His hand is trembling...

“That replica is running on Seele's program. It is not our"

C-0867

Close-up of Shinji’s trembling finger.

[The pile of shogi pieces] is leveled completely.

"concern.”


[Note: The question marks in “empty(?) capsules(?)” are part of the original text.]

To preface: I suspect these cuts were removed not because the information contained therein stopped being true, but because they simply weren't needed in the moment. The details on Rei 6 in the dialogue, and the bounty of information about the Ayanami Series present in the onscreen listing, are not really germane to Shinji and his immediate drama. Right now, he cares about what happened to “his” Rei, not about the impostor who’s walking around Nerv HQ. And that said, ever since Shin’s second trailer dropped, it’s been easy to imagine that Fuyutsuki will get a second major “subjecting unfortunate Eva pilot to exposition-dump in creepiest part of Nerv HQ” scene -- one where Rei 6 gets subjected to the truth, and Fuyutsuki doesn’t even attempt to show restraint or compassion this time around. Such an occasion would be the perfect opportunity to reintegrate the cut material, and I hope it happens.

"You see? You're a doll, #6. Nothing more."

There's a lot of juicy and less-known details to discuss, so my commentary will be much more extensive than Part 1. Let's begin.

C-0863

The lights behind Shinji turn on and another manufacturing plant appears.

Lined up on a conveyor belt are empty(?) capsules(?).

So here we would have seen that the entire area surrounding the shogi board is either a creepy red void with an Eva control rack hanging in it, or it’s dedicated to the manufacture of the Ayanami Series. Bizarre setup, but I suppose it's pretty mild where the downright Eldritch New Nerv HQ is concerned. A bit of a pity this was cut, as it would have provided some much-needed in-film context for the assemblage of Rei heads behind Fuyutsuki (which can be easily mistaken for a collection of grotesque trophies in a display case... and maybe that’s 100% on purpose), but I suppose as long as we return to this location in Shin, it will all work out.


"Lab-grown humans inside glass capsules" is a stock sci-fi and horror visual trope which I'm sure you've encountered many times before. You may have even seen it in a prior Anno work!

(I personally suspect this scene from episode 37 of Nadia has a very high chance of getting channeled into the creepy Fuyutsuki / Rei scene, but that's neither here nor there...)


The storyboard notes don’t seem to be questioning whether something should be on the conveyor belt; there’s just uncertainty about what the containers ought to be (capsules, or something other than capsules) and whether they will have (presumably) clones in them or not. Very mysterious.

C-0863 (ctd.)

Fuyutsuki: “The replica that brought you here is an Ayanami model prepared as Mk.09's provisional pilot,”

An interesting bit of text, as his specifying “Ayanami model” implies that there exist “replicas” outside of the Ayanami Series. (Hinting at the contents of those mysterious caskets on the Moon, perhaps?) Additionally, while we already knew from Mari that this Rei was “Seele’s provisional pilot”, we aren’t told in the final film that she was “prepared” specifically for Mark.09. What could that possibly entail? And, on that note… why is she “provisional”? In what sense is she temporary or makeshift?

C-0864

Close-up of the label listing.

“prototype #6.

There is so much going on in the listing that it will have its own subsection at the end.


So… prototype #6? Meaning… Rei Q / Tentative Name: Rei Ayanami / Kuronami / Etc. actually has a number after all?!? I somewhat begrudge Q for withholding this from us, as “Rei 6” is far more elegant than the alternatives. For NGE, we were always able to refer to specific Reis by their number, so suddenly not being able to do that was very annoying. Is there any particular significance to the number 6, you might wonder? NTE engages in some fairly straightforward number games, and dabbles freely in numerology (especially the Biblical kind), so the answer is "probably", but that's best looked at in a dedicated article.

C-0864 (ctd.)

“Yui-kun's data isn't being transferred to it, so”

C-0865

Close-up of Fuyutsuki.

“I suppose even Ikari has no interest."

I admit I didn't spare this line another thought based on the previous translation by "Numbers-kun", which was, "As Yui-kun's information has not been transferred to it, it seems not to interest Ikari." However, when I took a look at the Japanese myself, things suddenly looked very different. The old translation leaves an impression like, "Because Yui's data wasn't transferred to Rei 6, Gendo isn't interested in her". But unless I'm gravely mistaken, it's actually the other way around! I.e., Fuyutsuki is really saying something like, “Ikari can’t muster up enough interest in this clone to bother putting Yui’s data into it”. It's subtle, but the difference is huge.


Fuyutsuki phrases the first clause’s verb as a continuous action — “isn’t being transferred”, 転送されていない — which suggests to me that it’s something Fuyutsuki’s been expecting Gendo to do, and it comes as a surprise (by way of delayed realization) that he hasn’t, hence why he emphasizes “Ikari” with the particle も (mo, “even”). This interpretation feels consistent with the state of things in Q. We see that Gendo, in contrast to his characterization in the first two films, has become completely withdrawn -- symbolized by his visor, which creates a much more complete "spiritual barrier" than his glasses ever did -- and cares only about his self-appointed destiny, not at all about the here and now. Fuyutsuki's behavior in the film shows that he's finally had enough of Gendo's shit; and, interestingly, these feelings seem to have been stirred up by the reappearance of Shinji after fourteen years. Which is to say that Fuyutsuki may have let himself turn numb in the years after Near Third Impact, but finally he is "waking up" and realizing he is not okay with how things are.


In the absence of the cut dialogue, it was easy to interpret this line from earlier


“Yui-kun vanished here [where her experiment happened], and all that remains is her data within the Ayanami Series.”


...as referring to biological data, i.e., to genetic information. "Yui-kun's data isn't being transferred to it" makes it clear that Fuyutsuki is actually referring to psychological data -- but it feels like it introduces a very glaringly obvious issue. If Yui-kun’s data must be actively transferred to each replica, that means the Ayanami Series doesn't possess it innately. So then in what sense does Yui's data remain within the Ayanami Series? Wouldn't it "remain" wherever it's being stored before it's transferred into the replicas? Unless…… “Ayanami Series” doesn’t refer exclusively to physical replicas of Yui. More on that in the next section.

C-0866~67

Shinji (with Fuyutsuki in foreground).

His hand is trembling...

“That replica is running on Seele's program.

It is not our concern.”

“That replica is running on Seele's program.” Damn, talk about a doozy of a line. A lot to unpack here. I'm going to take a closer look in a separate article: Rei 6: The Programmable Human.


Note that Fuyutsuki only bothers mentioning Seele’s stewardship of this clone as an afterthought. The way his thoughts are ordered here almost makes me think that he's rationalizing Gendo's (and perhaps his own) behavior toward Rei 6. That is to say, this Rei being "Seele's" is not the real reason that Gendo is uninterested in her; it's just an excuse Fuyutsuki is coming up with off the cuff. It's relevant information, sure, but it's an excuse all the same.

C0864 would have spoiled us with a frame full of information about the Ayanami Series. Even with that annoying ketsuban ("missing number") sticker in the way, there's a lot to be gleaned from this one scribbly thumbnail, whether it casts new light on the first three films or enables exciting predictions about what awaits us in Shin Eva. It's hard to even know where to begin!


If you're a little lost at what you're looking at here: there are three "super-columns" of values, with five rows apiece. To orient yourself, focus on the listing of numbers that increases by increments of 1. (So, the three columns that begin with 00, 05, and 10.) We can assume this is the set of ordinals for the Ayanami Series. I'll gradually go over everything else and what it could possibly mean.

Right off the bat, we can see that the parallels with the Eva Series are further cemented, as the numbering starts at 00 and continues to 13, then tops off with ∞ (“infinity” — bringing the Failures of Infinity to mind). Some of the numbers are paired via right arrow (→) to yet another number, which I can only assume is the ordinal of the Evangelion that a specific Rei is assigned to. Even though the Reis that would help confirm this idea beyond a shadow of a doubt are covered up with the ketsuban, I think it's a pretty safe guess.


A Rei’s number having a circle around it presumably means she is still "active", whereas the numbers that are crossed out no longer are. If the latter is true, that sure is a long line of failures running from 08 to 12. Did they die in action? Were they scrapped for some reason? What happened? And why do 10 through 12 have tentative Eva assignments, while 08 and 09 don’t? So many questions.


(EDIT: Kendrix suggests here that this lineup of Reis may have been lost when Ritsuko defected to Wille, in a parallel of Ritsuko destroying the clones -- or letting them destroy themselves, same difference -- in episode 23. It's a good idea, and I wish I'd thought of it!)


Meantime, if the former (circle = "active") is true, that raises even more weird questions, on account of… well, check out #2! She’s the one who got absorbed into Eva-01. She no longer has a body! Fuyutsuki did make that weird comment about Rei 2 being “stored” inside Eva-01, though, so does that qualify as still being operational in some sense? For an even bigger brain-twister, check out #3 below her — also circled. Now, if we reconstruct the ordinal of the Eva she’s assigned to, based on what’s peeking out from under the ketsuban,

Reconstruction, Step 1

the only possibility is “06”. Rei 3, piloting Mark.06? And still somehow active inside it? That can’t be right, can it?


Well… Kaworu says Mark.06 was altered to function autonomously, but this doesn’t rule out the presence of a pilot — Rei 6 and Mark.09 are proof of that. Derantor also pointed out to me how Rei 3 being inside Mark.06 makes perfect sense in a meta way, since it adds yet another EoE parallel to the many others implied to have occurred during the timeskip. In this case, we’d have Rei 3 once again reuniting with Lilith… just not in quite the same way she did before. (Rather than merging with Lilith directly, she would be doing so indirectly, via Mark.06 and the 12th Angel.) Rei 3 would presumably count as still active for the same reason that Rei 2 does — that is, at the time this scene takes place, her data is still intact somewhere inside Mark.06.


In accordance with the logic that seems to be at play with Rei 3, I've tentatively assigned Rei 2 to Eva-01 in the reconstruction.


Between Reis 05 and 08, we would find 06 and 07. Rei 06 is assigned to Mk.09, leaving Rei 7 a complete mystery. Perhaps one mystery can be matched up with another, and Rei 7 was the pilot of the mysterious Eva Mark.07. (I say “Mark” because the chances of it being anything else are basically nil. You really think Seele would let those plebs at Nerv use their beloved number 7?)

Reconstruction, Step 2

It can’t be proven, of course, but I think it’s a rather reasonable deduction. "7+7" is a motif that appears elsewhere, for example:

(Both of Lilith's eye sockets have a heptagonal nail head engraved with the seven-eyed sigil of Seele.)


The first two entries in the listing, 00 and 01, are set apart from the other numbers via dividing lines. 00 seems utterly unique, being the only one prefaced with “REI:” (the others use “Re:” instead, suggesting they're in some way "referring" back to 00), having its numeral wrapped in both a circle and a triangle, and given the status “OK” rather than an Eva assignment. What could possibly explain this? Now’s the time to return to that thought from earlier about how the Ayanami Series might not exclusively refer to “physical replicas of Yui”. Specifically, the thing called “Rei 00” might be Rei's mysterious facility!

(In other words, this.)

If true, this would perfectly explain why it's given a unique position within the Ayanami Series. The "OK" status immediately makes sense. And the seeming conflict in Fuyutsuki's lines clears up, as well. How so? Let's take a look. From Eva Jo, Funimation subtitles:


FUYUTSUKI:

Your son ultimately behaved exactly as planned.


GENDO:

Yes. Next, I'll have him get closer to Rei.

The plan will remain unchanged.

The script we've had since 14 years ago...


FUYUTSUKI:

Children with destiny built into them...

It's too cruel.

This dialogue directly implies that Rei's existence was planned all along. We also know from Q that Yui and Rei being inside Eva-01 was planned as well. From this, it can be deduced that Yui knew full well that Rei would be created before she undertook her experiment, and thus she could have engaged in preparations -- such as creating a full backup of her data within a machine. This could have been dubbed "Rei 00", the very first installment of the Ayanami Series.


Pretty wacky, right? Well… It’s worth keeping in mind that the facility replaces the dummy plug plant from NGE. Remember what the only Rei dummy plug that was produced was called?

So on top of everything else, there absolutely is a meta basis for this "Rei 00 = the facility" idea. Moving right along...


NTE’s Rei 01 is a complete mystery and I don’t have a good guess as to why she’s set apart from the others. My associates and I have considered some wacky shit, like "Eva-01 is Rei 01", but the number appears to be crossed out here, so that can't be right. It could be that Rei 1 in NTE is actually fairly close to the NGE version, and she's been rendered "inactive" for similar reasons, but at the moment I can't think of any way to test this idea.


Reis 04 and 05 are assigned to two Evas that we’ve all been wondering about since Eva-13 was thrust upon us, Mks.11 and 12*. Very interesting how the listing implies that there were two Reis with assigned Evas just chilling out somewhere for the entirety of Q’s runtime; I’m guessing we’ll finally meet them in Shin and find out what they’ve been up to. Curious that Mk.10, which has been confirmed for Shin, is absent from the list; and conversely, Rei 13 is active but she lacks an assignment. This makes me wonder if there’s something a little… different about Mk.10 that has made assigning a pilot difficult, to the point they’ve been stalling to commit their last remaining pre-Infinity Rei, #13, to it. Could the five Reis that came before her be unwitting victims of a volatile Eva? Mk.10 is very likely to be the Second Adams’ Vessel (Mk.09 was the First; more on that here), and Mari was warning Rei 6 about staying in her Eva too long or she’d become [part of] the Adams’ Vessel, which suggests that the Vessels are generally bad news for their pilots... But Mks. 11 and 12 are probably the 3rd and 4th Adams' Vessels, so this explanation only goes so far. I get the feeling there’s a whole story waiting to be told there.


* (Not sure what's going on with the markings after the "12". If this is supposed to be a specific symbol, I can't identify it. The doubled "1" in "10" and other tells makes it look like something had been there before and got partially erased, so I would guess that the stuff after "12" is just left over from that and has no significance. Could be wrong, though.)


With all that out of the way, let’s take a close look at the end of the list: Rei (or Rei Infinity), assigned to a strange symbol that’s circled twice. This is the "JOIN" symbol, sometimes called “bowtie” after its appearance, used in relational algebra. I'm not so good with the maths, so hopefully others out there can use this as a springboard for some neat ideas. Notice how JOIN is an "X" with two additional strokes; given the omnipresence of crosses and "X"es as visual symbols in NTE, I would expect no less of The Master.

The use of a difficult-to-pronounce bit of mathematical notation for an Evangelion designation is reminiscent of how Anno put a difficult-to-pronounce bit of musical notation in the title of Shin Evangelion. Perhaps he changed his mind for the finished movie, but he likes to make things as difficult for us as possible, so I won't count on it.


“Rei Infinity” probably refers to the Rei clones that are being mass-produced, so what could the "JOIN" refer to? Well... there are multiple possibilities.


(2020.12.25 Update: This last section doesn't account for yesterday's new trailer, which unambiguously reveals Shin's mass-produced Evas. I'll update when I have the chance.)


The most obvious one is that it refers to an all-new mass-produced variety of Evas being produced within Nerv HQ, which are needed for Final Impact for... reasons. Q teases at this in various ways, most notably with the shot of countless Eva arms dangling from a conveyor system.

Many other Eva components are seen, often in vast quantities, during this sequence; referencing the script, these are pallet rifles and linear rails, along with electric trains and ordnance cases on a massive conveyor system. The script states that the rifles are discarded, and the linear rails also seem to be. What exactly is going on? Is something being created, or is a massive project being abandoned? Or both? The post-Q Next Time Preview muddles things significantly with its gaggles of camouflage-green Mark.06 lookalikes, but these probably aren't too indicative, since their arms aren't a match for the ones in HQ. (Compare the lower arm stripe to the base color to see what I mean.)

Mk. Not-Appearing-In-Next-Film

Shin's Avant 1 shows that Eva-04 Series units with arms do exist after all, so it's possible that whatever's being manufactured has something to do with them, and not with the Rei heads. So assuming just for the sake of argument that the MP Evas in the NTP are a huge red herring, and that the 04 Series doesn't use human pilots... then what?


Well... could “JOIN” possibly be referring to the Failures of Infinity? “Rei Infinity” goes along with “Failures of Infinity” awfully well. Plus the only Rei Infinity components that we're shown are disembodied heads, whereas the Failures are, without fail (heh), headless. And, rather ominously, the skulls in Central Dogma are said in the storyboards to belong to the Failures of Infinity, and they are obviously Lilin- rather than Eva-shaped. The FoIs also have a prominent presence in Shin judging from trailers #2 and #3. I have no idea how a bunch of mass-produced Rei heads would be used in conjunction with the FoIs, but if the Failures are indeed going to be our “MP Eva” equivalents, I would expect to once again see some horrifying Evas with Rei heads somewhere in Shin. I hope we don’t… but I fear the worst.

Lastly, the connotations of the JOIN symbol itself are precisely what you think they are. Consulting Prim-kun on the matter, he told me:


I would say "Rei ∞ is assigned to a natural join of the Evas within the set defined by the concentric circles", so if they imply infinity then "Rei ∞ is assigned to a super-Eva which consists of the natural join of all Evas".

So I guess in an Eva context, this would mean something like a super-Eva that has within it all the attributes that are common to all of the Evas from which the super-Eva is formed.


Are you getting Diebuster flashbacks, or is it just me?

That's all for now. Many thanks for reading! Next time, part 2 of my analysis of Shin Eva’s third trailer!

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