Shin Seiki Evangelion - 23: Tear

Title:Shin Seiki Evangelion
Episode:23: Tear
Misato has shut herself away as she mourns for Kaji, and Asuka is staying with her friend Hikari. She vows she will never pilot an Eva again, that her life isn't worth living, and that she hates everyone--especially herself. Gendou is being questioned by the Committee about his decision to employ the Lance of Longinus, when he's informed that another Angel has been detected. Unit 00 is sent to intercept, and Gendou orders Unit 02 sent out as well, if only as a decoy. The Angel makes physical contact with Unit 00, "corroding" it's biological parts. Rei senses another presence within 00, possibly the Angel...
Stretch: I copied these lines from the English subtitles of the standard ADV edition (not the Director's Cut):

"Does my soul want to become one with Ikari?" --Rei

Which Ikari family member does she refer to--Shinji, who is trying to rescue her, Gendou, her longtime father figure, or maybe even Yui?

[Devil Doll: Rei never met Yui (as she's the result of Yui's accident but perhaps not even aware of that), and she would address Gendou as "Commander Ikari", so she must refer to Shinji here (Rei and Shinji always address each other by their family names while Shinji and Asuka use each other's first name). And as a result of this new emotion she sacrifices her life for Shinji (aware of her clone nature, of course).]

"I thought he (Gendou) would be smart enough to understand our intentions in releasing Fuyutsuki" --SEELE

So Kaji didn't free Fuyutsuki of his own will, but rather was following SEELE's orders? Just what message was SEELE trying to send to Gendou (because I clearly am not smart enough to understand it's intentions)? Something like "If we can abduct Fuyutsuki, we can abduct you, too, so don't screw with us"? Is the voice labelled "SEELE 01" that of chairman Keel/Kiel?

[Devil Doll: Releasing Fuyutsuki means that SEELE needs him as a possible replacement for Gendou, as noone else would be capable of leading NERV in this late stage of the Human Complementation Project (not even Ritsuko who doesn't know the "truth"). If SEELE trusted Gendou they might as well have kept Fuyutsuki, just to make clear they don't tolerate another failure by Gendou, but they need Fuyutsuki's loyality (which they fail to get, Kouzou is loyal to Yui more than to anyone else) to eventually control Gendou. Yes, SEELE 01 is Kiel Lorenz.]

"We have to find another pawn to use against Ikari. One who knows the facts" --SEELE

To replace Kaji, who SEELE considers it's original "pawn"?

[Devil Doll: Yes. A Fuyutsuki loyal to SEELE would be able to sabotage Gendou's scenario.]

"Keep this top secret. Retrieve the plug and destroy all the parts" --Ritsuko

To hide the fate of Rei--whether she's alive or dead?

[Devil Doll: To hide the nature of Rei so that the third clone can be used without causing questions by those who've seen the dead body of Rei II.]

"No, I don't know the facts. Probably because I'm the third one" --Rei

Does she mean she's the third clone that was intended as an Eva pilot? Apparently, Naoko Akagi strangled the original one just before committing suicide, and that would suggest the second one did indeed perish when she self-destructed Eva 00 to destroy the Angel.

[Devil Doll: Exactly. Remember how many times Rei mentioned "there will always be a replacement for me", and remember the closing scene of episode 15 (Rei floating in a tube, with Gendou watching): Rei knows her own nature, it's just that a part of her memory is lost during the transfer of her soul into the next clone (and no, we never learn about the technical details of that procedure... maybe they just install the latest backup? ;-). Rei's wording should be: "No, I don't remember that happening."]

"I'm seeing this for the first time, but it feels familiar" --Rei

It sounds like this is indeed a new Rei clone. But didn't Shinji meet a bandaged Rei who had seemingly survived after all? Or was that the third Rei, with fake injuries to keep him from learning the truth about her nature as a clone? According to the DVD character notes, Rei really did destroy herself.

[Devil Doll: Wouldn't it cause questions if Rei had survived the episode 23 battle without even a scratch? Those bandages are fake of course - Gendou's primary skill is disguise, as the SEELE people say at one occasion. But yes, that was Rei III already - which just so happens to be the name of this episode... see the display during the 12th minute.
Also note the display on Ritsuko's remote control when she destroys the clones, which reads: "Rei 04-14: release destrudo" - this shows that Rei III must be the active clone at this moment. (For details about "destrudo", the "self-destructive impulse", opposite of "libido", please read the works of E. Weiss and Sigmund Freud.)]

"That's right, status quo for the First Child" --Gendou

Does Gendou mean "pretend nothing has changed, to hide the fact that Rei has been replaced by another clone"?

[Devil Doll: Yes. But note that "First Child" is a translation error - the official wording (in the Japanese version) is "First Children" (yes, English and plural), hinting at the clone nature of the first EVA pilot. (And can we be sure that the other pilots aren't clones as well?)]

"But the fact that Rei's alive could cause trouble with Chairman Keel" --Fuyutsuki

Did Rei really survive after all, or does Fuyutsuki mean the fact that another clone of Rei is alive might make Keel suspicious. Or does Keel already know about the use of clones by NERV?

[Devil Doll: We can't be sure about what SEELE knows via Kaji and what they don't. Then again, Kaworu is most likely a clone made by SEELE, so they use the same technology Fuyutsuki used to "create" Rei (inadvertantly back then). But NERV apparently doesn't know that which is why most of them are fooled by Kaworu in episode 24; then again note that even Ritsuko correctly guesses Kaworu's true nature.]

"Man found God, and they tried to pick him up. For that, man was punished. That was fifteen years ago, and the God they found disappeared. Then man tried to resurrect God with his own hands, and created Adam. From Adam, Man created what resembles God, Himself. That is Eva!" --Ritsuko

In other words, she sees the Second Impact as a "punishment" for tampering with "God"? And "the God they found" "disappeared" by being blown to bits? But then there wouldn't be anything left to "resurrect", would there? And where did Lilith come from, and how did it wind up beneath NERV headquarters?

[Devil Doll: Sounds like a translation error. It should be: "Back then, man tried to resurrect that god - and that was Adam." (It's not as if humans made Adam, they just happened to find him "sleeping" in Antactica fifteen years ago and tried to experiment with him.) "From Adam, man created a human being as to become similar to God - and that was EVA." (EVA was a human created by humans, just like humans were created by God, thus creating EVA put humankind on the same level as God.) Ritsuko sees the Second Impact as a punishment for humans trying to compete with God.
Ritsuko (who knows the difference between Adam and Lilith, being the Chief Engineer of the EVA project) doesn't know what happened to Adam after the Second Impact (being neither a member of SEELE nor one of the Committee) - but we do: SEELE salvaged and kept Adam (he "vanished"), Kaji stole the Adam embryo from them, and Gendou had Adam implanted into his hand.
As for Lilith, it's actually vice versa: The location where Lilith had been found, a.k.a. the "Black Moon", has become the NERV headquarter, as explained in EOE.]

"Yes, they are human. We put supposedly mindless human souls in Eva. All the souls were salvaged souls. Rei is the only container that can hold the souls. The souls are born only in Rei. The room of Guaf is empty. These are empty containers. They have no souls. So, I want to destroy them because I hate them" --Ritsuko

By "salvaged" souls, I take it she means souls of people who have died. "Mindless human souls" is confusing, because how do you seperate someone's mind from their soul? Maybe the original Japanese term was something more like "life force". When she describes them as supposedly mindless souls, does that mean they turned out to still retain their minds after all? What is the "Room of Guaf"?

[Devil Doll: Looks like the translation of your copy is messed up here, and note that your quote mixes up two different issues (EVAs and clones). The German dub has Ritsuko say: "Each EVA contains a soul... souls that we salvaged, no - we stole them." (EVA-01 didn't have a soul until Yui merged with it; the NERV techies were able to form the body of a "human" EVA but not to create a soul for it, so they took the souls of women whom they had access to.) "As opposed to that, the Rei clones are just bred for being replacement parts. As souls are something unique, there was just one for Rei in the Chamber of Gaf, thus only one Rei can be alive at a time. They're just vessels, so I'll destroy them because I hate them."
The "Chamber of Gaf/Guf" is taken from the Kabbalah, where it is the Chamber of Souls ("Guf Ha-Neschamot" in Hebrew, there's a German movie of this title); whenever a child is born it gets a soul from there, and when there are no more souls and the first child without a soul is born that means the End of the World. Which, in a way, has happened in NGE already because EVAs are human beings without a soul. That Chamber of Gaf is where the salvaged souls of the mothers of EVA pilots must have been kept until being used for EVAs. Note that the Chamber of Gaf has been opened shortly before the Second Impact as we learn at the beginning of the Director's Cut version of episode 21.]

"They're not men. They are things with human form. But I lost to these dolls! I couldn't win him! I could stand any humiliation for him. I don't care how wretched I become!" --Ritsuko

Is Ritsuko talking about Gendou? She wanted to have an affair with him just like her mother did? But he cared more for Rei than for her?

[Devil Doll: My translation of Ritsuko's line would be: "They're no humans, they only have their shape. And I even lost to them! I never had a chance to win. Thinking about him I could stand any insult - but to know these empty vessels means more to him than me, that's the ultimate humilitation."
Ritsuku has an affair with Gendou already - for years! (Remember the end of episode 20 where Ritsuko critisizes Misato: "Now Shinji has been salvaged all she thinks about is a guy. Well, who am I to blame her for that..."; and note that Ritsuko blames herself at the end of episode 23: "I'm so stupid... just like my mother." You'll hear it more explicitly in episode 24 though.) Being sent to SEELE by Gendou for being questioned instead of Rei is the ultimate humiliation for Ritsuko (showing that even Rei is more important to Gendou than his lover); she lost to Rei because all that Gendou cares for is being reunited with Yui (for which Rei will be a key, as you'll see in EOE: Rei's role will be to "hold the souls", once they're without their A.T. fields).]
Ritsuko makes a big difference between EVAs (whom she considers human) and the Rei clones (whom she thinks of as "empty vessels" that will never be able to hold their own soul). As she read Naoko's notes about the Yui incident (while trying to salvage Shinji) she must know about the nature of Rei and her link to Yui.

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