[Analysis] Q, star-gazing.
In today’s Q analysis, I’ll be talking about the star-gazing scene. Under the cut are images, translations of past material etc. I’d also like to apologize for the garbled English and the translations themselves - they were done as literally as possible, so yep, awkward alert, but for accuracy’s sake…
I think a part of the fandom has already noticed, but most of the Kaworu & Shinji scenes in Q are in some way a reference to past franchise entries. A fairly complex star-gazing scene was already featured in 2004’s Shinji Ikari Raising Project game… though far from canon, it remains a fact that the game has been approved by Gainax and voiced by the original cast as well. There’s actually a plenty of Kaworu & Shinji interaction in it, even though certain scenes left me wondering just what the hell the artist was thinking and WILL THIS GET ANY MORE AWKWARD - in those moments, it abandoning the visuals and simply enjoying the voiced interaction is the best way to go. There are multiple story branches featuring Kaworu, from cheery ones to quite depressing versions…
Kaworu (1:04): You’ve become sick of getting hurt, haven’t you… losing the ability to like others, you’ve come to hate yourself. All of the A.T. Fields have tumbled down - having lost their egos, humanity is melting together… and until the very end, I’ll be watching.
As a proof of my love for you.
Someday, the both of us might meet again. When that time comes, it’d be nice if we could stay together.
There’s also another sad ending with a classic scene of transfer student Kaworu being introduced to the class, but in a world that’s never had Shinji in the first place… but anyway, that’s for another time. As for the star gazing scene itself - in Q’s version, Shinji, quite unexpectedly (I’d say almost out of character-ly), invites Kaworu to watch stars with him after Kaworu agrees to help fixing his broken SDAT. Cue Qui veut faire l’ange fait la bête (Who wants to turn the angel into a beast?) in the background.
Kaworu: “It’s getting dark, isn’t it. Let us return for today.”
Shinji: “Hey, what about staying a little longer? To watch the stars!”
Kaworu: “The stars? … Do you like the stars?”
Shinji: “Yeah, ever since I was little, watching the universe’s endless expanse, it’s always awed me… Fourteen years have gone by, but nothing’s changed about that. Compared to that, my existence doesn’t really mean a thing and… that’s calming, somewhat… hah, sorry, I’m not getting myself over very well, am I.”
Kaworu: “Don’t worry, your feelings came through. Rather than change, you desire a stable world. It’s just like you. … It sure is nice, the both of us taking it easy. I didn’t know it could be this pleasant. Thank you, for inviting me.”
Shinji: “No, that’s not really… I just thought, ‘watching stars with Nagisa-kun could be fun,’ —”
Kaworu: “Yes, it’s fun. I really was born to meet you.”
I’ve bolded out some key points of this conversation to which I’ll return in a minute. Up next is a summary of the Shinji Ikari Raising Project star-gazing scene.
In this story branch, Shinji meets Kaworu after everyone’s evacuated from Tokyo-3.
Waiting for him before his apartment complex, Kaworu surprises Shinji as he suddenly invites him out, without specifying where to. Shinji hesitates, as it’s getting quite late, but it seems as that was Kaworu’s intention from the get-go.
Looking at the empty town from a highway together, Kaworu compares it to “the ashen town, Bruges”, featured in Bruges-la-Morte, a novel written by Belgian Georges Rodenbach in 1892. It tells a story “about a widower overcome with grief, who takes refuge in a town called Bruges where he lives amongst the relics of his dead wife.” (Thank you, Wikipedia, Kaworu-kun).
After that, they are seen sitting on a hill. Shinji admires the view and Kaworu remarks that the stars’ visibility is better now because of the lessened light pollution from the town. Then he starts talking about astrology and Greek myths… here, another Wikipedia excerpt that pretty much sums up Kaworu’s talk.
In Greek mythology, Arcas was the son of Zeus and Callisto. Callisto was a nymph in the retinue of the goddess Artemis. Zeus, being a flirtatious god, wanted Callisto for a lover. As she would not be with anyone but Artemis, Zeus cunningly disguised himself as Artemis and seduced Callisto. The child resulting from their union was called Arcas.
… After this occurrence, Arcas became the new king of Arcadia, and the country’s greatest hunter. One day when Arcas went hunting in the woods, he came across his mother. Seeing her son after so long, she went forth to embrace him. Not knowing that the bear was his mother, he went to kill her with an arrow. Zeus, taking pity upon the two, decided to avert the tragedy and put them both up in the heavens, and their constellations are now referred to as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the big and little bears.
Kaworu: “But here’s what I think. Meeting her beloved son for the last time, being able to hold his hand, the mother has achieved her happiness…
Kaworu: “Ah, sorry. I’ve said something strange. The shining star over there is Canopus.”
Canopus is the brightest star in the southern constellation of Carina and Argo Navis, and the second brightest star in the night-time sky, after Sirius. Kaworu goes on talking about who it was named after, Canopus, one of the famous Argonauts adventurers (you know, Jason and his crew?) and noting that it shone brighter in the past and that it’s not as bright in Japan.
Kaworu: “By the way, the length of a star’s life (shining?) span is called “star longevity”. I’m sure Shinji-kun can achieve that. (Hard to translate, he sort of hopes that Shinji will live a long life…?)
Shinji: “Kaworu-kun, you know… it really feels like there’s nothing you don’t know about…”
Kaworu: “Well, it must be the same for you - you know a lot about things you’re interested in, right?”
Kaworu: “It’s simple as that.”
Kaworu: “The wind, huh… it’s gotten a bit cold, hasn’t it. Come here.”
Kaworu: “This way, the both of us will be warm.”
Kaworu: “Watching the stars with someone is always better. They shine much brighter than when you’re alone.”
Shinji: “Have you always been watching them alone… to think that stars could be this pretty, it’s the first time for me as well.”
Kaworu: “Alone, lonely, one always compares himself to the stars of the universe… especially fragile / delicate people like you.”
Bolded key parts again. Do you see the parallels? In SIRS, it was Kaworu who introduced Shinji to the stars and mentioned the “man comparing himself to the stars” comment. In Q, the whole situation reverses itself. It’s almost too much to be a coincidence, though why they chose this particular scene, I’m not sure… even with all this, it’s still somehow hard to believe SIRS!Kaworu has anything to do with Rebuild!Kaworu, but considering the multi-verse nature of the game… uwaah.
Last note, let us ponder over the significance of “stars” to Q’s Kaworu. Spending an unspecified time on the moon, stuck in loops, watching the Earth instead of the stars… and then another fourteen years on Earth, with Shinji floating in Unit 01 in the space… I’m sure he must have watched the sky every night. It actually really surprised me that the beauty-loving Kaworu has never once thought about the stars as “beautiful”, but then I realized, all he saw and thought about when watching them those long fourteen years was probably just Shinji and the anxiety that came with the wait. It reminds me of the Little Prince, you know, “and from now on, whenever you watch the sky, every star will be me laughing - that is my gift to you”.
And after fourteen years, after Shinji’s finally returned, for the first time, he looks at the stars twinkling and thinks “ah, this is nice,” while talking about life in general with Shinji by his side.
Theories, analysis, food for thought! Let’s end it here today - thank you for reading! There are still a few points I want to address in the future, but yep, that’s for another time!
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