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The titles of the first 3 movies of Rebuild of Evangelion are:

  1. You Are (Not) Alone
  2. You Can (Not) Advance
  3. You Can (Not) Redo

I am wondering what is the purpose and/or meaning of the inclusion of (Not) in the titles.

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Spoilers:

It's because of the duality of the theme in each of the movies.

In the first movie, one of the main themes is Shinji feeling alone or abandoned. Yet, he's made friends at school and in Misato, yet still feels alone and isolated (mostly because of Eva and his responsibilities). He is alone yet he is not alone.

In the second movie, it's about Shinji being able to move on. He's faced with the conflict with his father, Gendo, and with the conflict with Asuka, and later the conflict involving Rei. When it seems he has the chance to advance or move on, by having a dinner planned with his father, reconciling and getting to know Asuka, or preventing one of his last friends from dying in Rei, his hopes are dashed. An activation accident ends the dinner plans, which through his refusal, ends up with (what he thinks at the time) Asuka getting killed, and finally after saving Rei, he's unwittingly started 3rd impact. So he has advanced, yet he has not.

In the third movie, the theme is him fixing what he's done wrong, or a "Redo". The majority of the movie is to set him up by showing how much wrong he has inflicted on the world, and then giving him a chance to "Redo" it, or reset it. The chance ends up not working, and in the end, he's made everything even worse. So given the chance for him to "Redo", it ends up that he can not.

So ultimately, the titles are just some clever way of expressing this duality of themes in each of the first 3 movies.

  • As for the You can (not) Redo, I ve saw it more as Shinji wanting to redo his action to fix his mistakes, and ending up repeating the exact same mistakes. You can not Redo the past, but you can redo your mistakes. – DrakaSAN Apr 22 '16 at 11:17
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1- The braces (...) in English means it's optional, you can read it and consider it, or ignore it. So as @JonLin said, it's a duality.

2- Evangelion story heavily emphasis on viewer's open interpretation. Any/All answer is correct.

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