Okay, I’ve made this argument many times on IRC and in random threads here and there since Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22: You can (not) advance came out, so I thought I’d lay it all out right here.
The new Evangelion ‘Rebuild’ movies are not a retelling of the series, they are a sequel. The events of these movies occur after the original End of Evangelion movie, and I’m about to show you why that is obvious to me.
The What and Why-For of it:
Shinji rejected instrumentality and in that single instant in which he was basically in control of all living things, and effectively reality, opted to reboot the world. So, the events of the new movies play out as if the series never happened, but nonetheless takes place after the events of the series and End of Evangelion.
Seas of Blood
The seas are red. The opening shot of rolling red surf is almost identical to a shot in the last few minutes of End of Evangelion. An alternate explanation however is that they are picking up more details from scripture this time and the seas have been red since Second Impact. (A fact supported by EVA2.22) Revelation 16:3 says “And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.” Though given the additional evidence, I’m willing to go as far as ‘It happened in EoE, and was hand-waved in the rebooted reality as having happened during Second Impact.’
The line of blood across the moon occurred in End of Evangelion; it was arterial spray from ‘Giant Naked Rei’. There is no other possible explanation for this.
The Mass Production EVAs
The outskirts of Tokyo3 show evidence of the remains of the Mass Produced EVA units, some of which descended from Low-Earth Orbit, crucified, and run through with duplicates of the Lance of Longinus. Remember that no angels had surfaced since Second Impact, and no EVA unit had been successfully activated yet, so there’s no explanation for EVA/Angel-sized chalk outlines and depressions in the bloodied ruins surrounding Tokyo3.
There is no evidence that the soul of Ikari Yui resides in EVA Unit 01. None of the instances of Unit 01 acting on its own to protect Shinji are present. This fits with Shinji bidding farewell to his mother, as Unit 01 drifted out into space, and the light going out of its eyes. There are two small holes in this theory however; the original berserker incident is left almost completely untouched, and when the Dummy Plug won’t initialize, Gendo still says his original “Why are you refusing me, Yui?” line. But neither of those are definitive proof of anything and could very well be red herrings.
Damn-near all of Kaworu’s dialogue up to this point seem to indicate that he is conscious of the fact that this is not the first time these events have played out. It’s a common trait given to him in various media that he sometimes says things relevant to different continuities, and occasionally breaks the fourth wall, so that’s pretty normal.
“If Shinji could remake the world as he wanted, why is he still suffering?”
This is a good question. There are a several theories. It could be social commentary by Hideaki Anno about how screwed up youth are today; think “If you could make the world however you wanted, you’d choose to still be miserable!” Or, Shinji realized that if he had a ‘normal life’, he’d never meet any of these people who he cares about. Maybe he simply wanted to ‘try again’; he seems to be getting better. Asuka is treating him (marginally) better. He’s managed to get closer to Ayanami, who is acting a lot more human now. He is close to maybe getting along with his father better. And he certainly manned-up to save Ayanami, all on his own. Of course, maybe Shinji’s just…Shinji…and it never occurred to him to try and be happy.
“Why would it be a sequel? And if so, why wouldn’t they just say it? This is pretty convoluted, man.”
We’re talking about Hideaki Anno. You know damned well he hates EVA fans and just wants our money. Also, he’s batshit insane. In all seriousness though, why not? It adds depth to the lore that isn’t immediately apparent and makes it so old fans get more out of it, while new fans don’t have to go back and watch the series.