Three + One, and Going Home
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
In this unscheduled, quick 'n' dirty post, I’m going to talk about what the “3.0+1.0” (in "Evangelion:3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time") could mean, plus a little something extra, so scroll down a bit if you don’t need the explanatory context. Since this is a quicky, a lot of concepts will get dropped and not properly qualified. If there’s anything in particular you want to see explained in more detail sooner rather than later, feel free to shoot me a request. I also apologize profusely for the tweets not displaying properly; at the moment, I have no idea how to fix this. Let's begin...
Today at 8:10 AM in Japan, work on Shin Evangelion wrapped up. This doesn’t change much for me personally — I’ve been an “it comes out when it comes out, I have plenty to do in the meantime” type — but the palpable excitement in the fandom is a delight to see. It’s unreal how close we are to finally getting Shin. (Or to getting spoilers for it, anyway…)
There have been a couple of other Tweets in the past couple of days that have spurred on the imagination a bit. First I’ll look at a great find that user intermediateO made on the EvaGeeks Forum. (Major kudos to them.) For some context:
As explained by the khara twitter, the “05:” at the beginning of the time code indicates the number of the “roll”. (This is a relic of when physical film was still used, but even in the digital age, it’s handy to keep the movie in manageable chunks.) The text says this is the Shin Evangelion Gekijouban D-part, thus the first four rolls are: Avant 1 and 2 on roll 1, then A-Part through C-Part each having their own roll. Curiously, Roll 5 seems to go until just before the credit roll (エンドロール前まで）, so there must be at least one more roll.
Here is a photo taken by Anno of the very last frame of the movie (the "kutsubutsu"), which marks "end of reel" and, according to khara2, we won't get to see. (It looks like a sealed envelope; a tweet by ZeroStars points out it also resembles Mk.10’s face. ) There’s a time code in the lower right, difficult to see… and it seems to suggest that there are in fact nine rolls total! What could this mean? IntermediateO suggests that the movie is actually split into two parts, the “3.0” part and the “1.0” part — and each of them is comprised of an A-Part through a D-Part! Here is their suggestion verbatim (source):
Roll 1 - Avant 01 & Avant 02
Roll 2 - A-Part
Roll 3 - B-Part
Roll 4 - C-Part
Roll 5 - D-Part + Credits
Roll 6 - A'-Part
Roll 7 - B'-Part
Roll 8 - C'-Part
Roll 9 - D'-Part
I’m confused as to why they assign the credits to Roll 5, since, unless my brain is betraying me, エンドロール前まで would mean “up to before the staff roll”, meaning the roll would end right before. But that minor quibble aside, this is a great deduction, and I’d like to expand upon it.
So, just assuming this is true, splitting the movie into two parts echoes the structure of The End of Evangelion somewhat. (EoE was slightly different in that it only had A, B, C, and D parts — A and B comprising episode 25’, C and D comprising episode 26’.) Very early in NTE’s development, there was also talk of the third and fourth installments being a double feature, and at the time it was easy to assume it would be an EoE-type deal where it was really just one movie with two sections. So perhaps that idea survived after all; it was simply delayed on account of New Theatrical getting extended one entire film’s runtime longer than originally planned.
On a related note, there’s been a lot of speculation over the years about what the “3.0+1.0” in the international title could mean. My favorite suggestion originates from Sachi, and he explains it well here. Below, I’ll provide a summary supplemented with thoughts of my own.
We know there are four beings called “Adams” that were present at Second Impact. All four seem to still exist in some form during the time frame of the films, and their identities can be narrowed down to Eva-01, Mark.06, Eva 13, and the Key of Nebuchadnezzar. (More recent work I’ve done suggests that things aren’t quite as tidy as this, but for the purposes of this post the extra details wouldn’t make any difference at all.) Seele reveal in Ha that their goal is to create a being called the True Evangelion, or 真のエヴァンゲリオン (shin no Evangelion). Sounds familiar, right? One of the possible readings for the final film’s title is a shortened version of this phrase (if the シン of シン・エヴァンゲリオン is read as 真, you get 真・エヴァンゲリオン), and this is surely no accident. In Seele’s view, this True Evangelion is to function as a resurrected form of Lilith. Problem is, Lilith’s soul is stuck in Eva-01, and Seele kinda need that. (Once you know this, a lot of things fall into place, like why Gendo needed Eva-01 to do her thing before Mark.06 showed up, and why Mark.09 was so focused upon the Wunder’s engine during Fourth Impact.)
At the conclusion of Q, Lilith’s soul remains within Eva-01, an Adams. As Eva-01 is a single Adams (yes, I know that sounds funny; blame Anno), not fused to any other, Eva-01 is our “1.0”. (And funny enough, “EVA-01” can be seen written on many of the production materials for Jo instead of “EVA:1.0”, suggesting that the films were going to style the international titles after Eva designations at one point. That gets kind of weird after “EVA-02” so it’s probably for the best it was dropped…) Furthering this connection is the fact that Eva-01 debuts in Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone and features prominently in the film.
And our "3.0"? That’s Evangelion 13. It’s three Adams in one, or, at least, it will be. First of all, it’s itself, which is one Adams. Second, it absorbs Mark.06. That probably sounds quite strange, since there’s a lot of weird merging and transmutations happening in between the recognizable Mark.06 that’s left behind when Lilith goes “pop” and the compressed ball of core that Eva 13 eats. Like, how can there possibly be any Mark.06 left after all that? NTE has this covered with its “living data” motif. While not fully understood, it might work something along the lines of: LCL is capable of transferring data, and core is able to store and even substantiate it under the right conditions. Which is to say that Mark.06’s essential information was not lost; it was simply bundled together with Lilith’s and taken into Eva 13 for safekeeping. So that’s two Adams inside Eva 13. What about the third?
This will likely get taken care of early in Shin Eva. It is very, very heavily hinted that Gendo will “sacrifice his very soul” to Evangelion 13,
...joining Kaworu as a permanent resident, and completing Eva 13’s transformation into Eva-01’s counterpart. (Eva-01 is the first, Eva 13 is the last; Eva-01 contains Yui and Rei/Lilith, Eva 13 will contain Gendo and Kaworu/Adam; Eva-01 has Lilith’s spiritual aspect, Eva 13 has Lilith’s physical aspect; both are purple, horned Evas; together they have seven eyes total; and I could go on.) But before that happens, Gendo is likely to use the Key of Nebuchadnezzar at last. He’s been holding onto that thing for two movies and this is his big moment, after all. Since the key is a syringe connected to a nervous system, it feels somewhat inevitable that using the key will mean sucking all that nervous tissue into the capsule portion and then injecting it into himself. (I hope I’m wrong and it’s even weirder than that.) In any case, with Nebby likely to constitute a remnant of Adam (as in First Angel Adam, who is confusingly one of the Adams), Gendo will bring that missing piece into Eva 13 with him, and then we will be at three Adams altogether.
And so, the “3.0” refers to Eva-13, for being three Adams in one. And same as before, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo is the film where Eva 13 debuts and features prominently.
Going back to the idea that the film will be divided into two parts, a "3.0" and a "1.0", allow me to make a proposal. The “3.0” part will “focus” on Eva 13: it being prepared for Final Impact and at last setting it off, Wille struggling to reach the Impact’s epicenter in order to stop Eva 13, and perhaps ending with a fateful encounter on the other side of the Gates between Wille’s Evas and the Final Executor. The “1.0” part would involve Eva-01 returning to the spotlight.
In order for this second development to take place, something bad inevitably has to happen to Asuka and Mari first. So we have another potential EoE parallel right there. Shin’s “3.0” could be, like episode 25', an action extravaganza that ends in tragedy, with Eva 8+2 defeated by Eva 13 and both Asuka and Mari getting absorbed (on account of them being the incarnations of two Adams), which would parallel the Soryus' gruesome end at the hands (and mouths) of the mass-produced Eva Series. Shin’s “1.0” could likewise begin as episode 26' did, with Eva-01 rising again, Shinji in tow. Since the film is called 3.0 plus 1.0, Eva-01 isn’t going to stop the Impact; she’s going to join it, by merging with Eva 13 and producing the True Evangelion… just as planned. Three films' worth of densely layered esoteric foreshadowing suggests that this part of the film will be a mindfuck of an experience, and for my part I hope it's so overwhelmingly, spectacularly weird that it haunts my mind for weeks (at least).
In full disclosure, I have no expectation that Shin will be some mere retread of EoE -- the similarities would perform important metatextual functions, but that's as far as they would go. The way Shin ends may (may) be less of an overt downer than EoE, but with any luck it will be one of those "your mileage may vary" things that fans will fiercely disagree upon until the end of time.
(As a further point of clarification: I believe that the final film's two titles were deliberately designed to evoke many possible interpretations capable of mutually existing without conflict. This idea should be fairly noncontroversial, really. So, what I offer here is simply meant to be one of those many possibilities. I personally find it one of the more interesting ones since it links the two titles together. ((The only other attempt at doing this that I've seen is a proposal by EVA-FAN_ch.)) That is, "3.0 + 1.0" = "True Evangelion"; and I have an expanded version of the idea that accounts for the "Thrice Upon a Time" part as well. )
The next thing I want to comment on is this video posted by Shiro Sagisu. It’s a recording session for a new version of “Kokyou e…” (故郷へ…), or “Going Home”, the BGM that plays in Nadia’s final episode as the gang returns to Earth from orbit. Sagisu’s tweet is full of sentence fragments, so if he actually says what the new version is for, I honestly can’t tell. The recording could possibly be for Nadia’s 30th Anniversary, but, just for fun, I’ll assume it’s actually for Shin Eva and Sagisu is using Nadia’s anniversary for plausible deniability. In that case, does this tell us anything about how the movie could end?
This particular piece being used for the film’s denouement feels appropriate enough. NTE started turning into a stealth Nadia remake in Q, and it’s hard to imagine the parallels will stop now. Some might have expected “Beyond the River of Time” from Gunbuster, but it’s unclear if Gunbuster music can even be used in NTE free of hassle; and “Going Home” is basically a spiritual recreation of “Beyond the River of Time” anyway. The title of the piece especially stirs the imagination, and, even based on the very little we know about Shin, it already seems like it could fit. In trailer #3, Eva-08 has a gigantic three-stage rocket attached to its back called “Hakone Express 1”,
and both it and Eva-02 are being pushed via halo into the epicenter of Final Impact. They’re going into ??another realm of space?? to deal with Eva 13, and that rocket is their ticket home, back to the Hakone area. (Hakone is the town where Tokyo-3 was built.) Will Wunder will have to “cross over” into Guf space once Asuka and Mari fail? After all is said and done, will Wunder still have an intact crew who find themselves needing to ride whatever’s left of Wunder back to (a hopefully restored) Earth?
But the “going home” theme could extend beyond Earth. Far, far, far beyond Earth. If you check out the inside of the door to Lilith’s chamber in Jo, there’s actually what might be a very cleverly hidden star map. The part that's a lighter red certainly has a Milky Way or nebula kind of look to it. The room is full of floating speckles, but I painstakingly edited out anything that moves, leaving me with a small handful of little dots that didn't, and would thus seem to be markings on the door itself. I then noted anything that seemed to just be a dent in the material of the door, and finally dabbed whatever was left over with white.
Does this configuration mean anything? Possibly not. Is it merely the feverish hallucinations of someone who has spent far too many hours in Photoshop staring at a reddish mote-filled void? Oh, entirely possible. But these films are sneaky and treacherous, so trying out crazy shit like this is part of the fun.
What could this mean? Well, it evokes the “red space” imagery from NGE, which flashed before our eyes near the beginning of every opening sequence, and in EoE was revealed to be the Sea of LCL, a mysterious parallel domain where life originated.
NTE also seems to play around with the idea of multiple “universes” existing perfectly in parallel with our own, with the Gates of Guf providing one possible means of accessing them. Is there a “red universe” somewhere beyond the “event horizon” of the Gates? Could this be where Lilith came from? Could that star map (assuming it is one) lead to a ‘land of the gods’, as it were? The questions are far beyond the scope of this post, but I’ll give you a couple more things to chew on.
When Seele 01 appears before Kaworu on the Moon, the monolith drifts upward until its Seele symbol is actually overlapping part of the Milky Way behind it. (I’ve made the monolith transparent to illustrate, and I've provided a brightened version of the sky as well.) Some kind of hint? If so, the droogies and I haven’t been able to make any further progress.
Another possible tell is that Shinji’s been given a new interest in this iteration: star-gazing. It’s established that Shinji finds the stars comforting. He says it’s because they don’t change, but could there also be another reason? Is part of Shinji yearning for home? Shinji and the other pilots are almost without a doubt the incarnations of divine giants, and, Anno being the nerd he is, has planted hints comparing these giants to specific Ultras. Know what the Ultras’ homeworld is? "The Land of Light". The planet itself is basically a star!
It would be an extremely gutsy move, but I do wonder if part of Shin’s conclusion might involve the gods leaving a renewed Earth behind and going back to where they came from. So if “Going Home” were used, it would take on a double meaning, which Anno really, really likes doing. First you would have "regular people" going back to Earth, and then you’d have the giants going back to their planet. It would be a little like Yui leaving Earth at the end of EoE, only requiring the audience to work nowhere near as hard to find anything positive about the outcome. In the very unlikely case this sort of ending did happen, I feel vaguely doubtful that Shinji would leave Earth, even though he’s the one always looking up at the sky. He’s sort of the Nadia of the story, the kid who’s saddled with an incredible power he doesn’t want to have. Nadia chose to give up the possibility of embracing her Atlantean heritage so she could live a "normal life" with Jean. Will Shinji also elect to give up his power for a life of normalcy? (Hopefully if he did, he wouldn’t be explicitly paired off with anyone. NTE doesn’t need to bother with that poodoo.)
Part 2 of "Secrets of the Ayanami Series" will come tomorrow on schedule. As they might say in Japan, please look forward to it!