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I'm confused about a conversation in Pacific Rim beween Newt and Hannibal Chow.

It's previous established that eyes can become bloodshot and damaged when a drift goes wrong (or perhaps it's too much strain).

  • The early Jaeger Pilots have bloodshot eyes
  • Newt's first attempt to drift with a kaiju left him with a bloodshot eye

When Hannibal is discussing drifting with a kaiju he shows his eye to Newt (01:14:55), it's also damaged and he says

I tried it once... once!

However he previously suggested that the reason there's a double event (and the kaiju is looking for Newt) is because

Maybe that's because no one has ever drifted with one before!

Which suggests to me that he didn't attempt a kaiju drift... So I'm unclear, what did he only try once? Is he referring to drifting or perhaps going to a public refuge?

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It seemed obvious to me that he was talking about going to a public refuge. –  Michael Stern Jan 19 at 15:15
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Stupid question, Liath ... Where about in the movie is this scene? –  Paulster2 Jan 19 at 23:17
    
@Paulster2. sorry - it stuck in my mind as a very major scene (he's only in a few). I'll update –  Liath Jan 20 at 7:33
    
@MichaelStern, see that was my thought but then why show his destroyed eye (which is used to represent drift damage) –  Liath Jan 20 at 7:35
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You need to relook at Fikko's answer ... I believe he is correct. –  Paulster2 Jan 21 at 12:17
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Hannibal was talking about the public bunker. He never tried to drift with Kaijus. After saying the sentence, he opened his glasses to reveal a scarred eye, presumably caused by his time in public bunker-falling debris, perhaps?

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Don't think so. When he first hears about the successful drift, he immediately checks the eyes. How would he know or why would he do that? –  Mario Jan 20 at 12:25
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Actually, Fikko3107 is right. Chow is talking about going to a public shelter just once. At first I thought it was about drifting, but there isn't anything to imply this in what he's talking about here. When Chow removes the glasses, it's the scar he's talking about. He has lost one eye after going to a public shelter and suffering from the Kaiju attack. Later on, when Newt confronts Chow after the Kaiju attack, we hear Newt call Chow a "one eyed wonder" or some such. Nobody else lost an eye to drifting, why should Chow? He is referring to his own personal encounter, not to drifting. –  Paulster2 Jan 21 at 12:14
    
Thanks @Paulster2 and Fikko great explanation! –  Liath Jan 21 at 12:19
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From my understanding he tried to drift with one, but somehow lacked the knowledge and/or just the right "material" (or equipment). He didn't get it 100% working/right.

Earlier in the movie they introduce the concept of compatibility/synchronicity, so this might have been an additional factor here.

Edit:

After watching the specific scenes again I'd even think that Hannibal didn't plan on revealing his little secret, but then did so due to anger (and possibly fear as well).

For those wanting to see the important scenes on their own, they start at 01:08:00 (Hannibal notices the eye damage) and 01:14:55 (Hannibal reveals his own eyes; both times are from the Region 2 BD).

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I like this answer better than the accepted one. Of course Hannibal keeps secrets, so it's not like he'd tell somebody about it. Especially since it turns out to have such bad consequences (i.e. the Kaijus knowing what the human knows.) Besides, why would a visit to a shelter damage your eye? –  Mr Lister Feb 3 at 10:33
    
Falling debris that hits your head can damage your eyes, even if it's no direct/frontal hit. But at the same time I think it would contradict Hannibal's reactions (immediately looking for the eyes). I guess there's no 100% logical/perfect answer to this question, partially due to Hannibal's character alone. –  Mario Feb 3 at 22:07
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