Is NGE in Accord with the Classic "Hero's Journey"

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:42 pm

Campbell chose universal themes that appear in myths, and the hero's journey is one of them. It's no more western than it is eastern. Although details may differ, the framework of the story is identical from place to place: we who watch the details miss out on it.

NGE and the hero's journey? Difficult to answer, although "Into the belly of the beast" becomes rather literal when the entry plug is inserted into the Eva.
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Postby NemZ » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:35 pm

It definately follows the outline, then subverts it wickedly.

Essentially the problem is that Shinji is perhaps the worst possible non-villain choice one could make in selecting a hero to bear the fate of the world. Several times throughout the show he hits the departure/initiation step but then screws it up or learns nothing of value to bring back (blacks out / goes berzerk, thus he doesn't actually even pass several of the trials)... or does so, but doesn't bother to share this knowledge ("Hey Asuka, is your mom in your eva too?").

The movie takes this to the extreme, where not only does his refusal to step up to the challenge result in the end of the world, but all he finally learns from the experience is something that he should have known anyway: it's okay to be yourself. In fact he more or less takes away that knowledge from the rest of the world in the process of learning it himself. Way to go, hero...
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Postby BLACKANGEL32076 » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:59 pm

Eva Yojimbo wrote:
BLACKANGEL32076 wrote:The biggest problem I have with the very first post is that we are applying a western idea/ideal of the "hero" to something that is made for Japanese by Japanese.
I said this earlier, but I don't think the "hero's journey" myth is exactly "new" in the East. To think this would be to say that in the East Homer isn't known like he is over here, which I think is probably untrue. Now, I'm not saying The East doesn't have its own traditions that aren't rooted in these more Western concepts, but understand that world culture has invaded everywhere so it's harder to say that a Western concept has no place in an Eastern work, especially when that Eastern work has a crapload of allusions and references to Western works both superficial and more subtle. Japan has been "Westernizing" themselves since the late 40s and likely even before that, and much of their art deals with that very thing.


True, however at that point one has to ask just how Westernized is Eva, or Anno himself.
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Postby DrIkari » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:29 pm

That particular template doesn't appear to aply to NGE.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:43 pm

BLACKANGEL32076 wrote:True, however at that point one has to ask just how Westernized is Eva, or Anno himself.
Do consider that Anno, in being an Otaku (even if an ex-one) is drawing heavily from anime that was influenced by Western animation. So again, the line isn't so clear.
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Postby AsukaChan » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:10 pm

I apologize in advance for bringing this topic back up, but I'm really glad I searched for it before I posted something new, and I'd like to offer my opinion (lawl).

I just had a discussion about this, and I really got to thinking. While the other person I was talking to completely saw the hero's journey in Eva, I did not.

His viewpoint was not as detailed as the one supplied by Yojimbo, but on a very generalized level. It was that Shinji, despite the fact that he did not want to pilot Eva, eventually did so and achieved his "destiny".

The way I see it, Eva does not fit the hero's journey. And before I explain why, let me explain the guidelines I'm working within. Two instructors I've had in school have taught the hero's journey and explained it in simple terms:

First is that the "hero" generally lacks parents and is raised by a "mere mortal", or someone that is not on the level of their lofty parents.

Secondly, the hero must resist the pain and "evil" within himself and overcome and step up into his full potential. That's the important part, and both of them used the example of Jesus in that (not to offend, but as a look as a STORY). Jesus was supposed to be the son of God, but was raised by mere humans, resisted the temptations of the Devil, and eventually ascended to his true potential.. that is, as something with divine properties. That, in my class anyway, was viewed to be the "ultimate" hero's journey. The Lion King and Zelda were lesser examples.. but I digress.

Under that definition, I do not feel NGE fits the hero's journey (by my interpretation of the events). While we can see the Gendo and Yui were in positions of power in comparison to Shinji's guardian before Misato as well as Misato herself AND that he has the typical tragic past usually associated with a lot of popular heroes, he does not fit the second piece of criteria (in my opinion).

I saw his actions surrounding Instrumentality to be.. well.. selfish. I did not see him coming around like, say, Simba in the Lion King. Simba, after all, put aside everything to face his past and do what he needed to do. And by that I mean that despite the pain and betrayal and his own selfish motives, he did was right for others and he was completely unselfish.
I did not feel that Shinji did that. This was especially clear when he said that he wished everyone would just not exist and go away. Also, in EoE with Asuka appearing there, that also appeared selfish in my opinion, as the first thing I thought when I saw her there was that he only needed her to ask her for help again! That's the main reason I cannot see Shinji as a hero, by any classical definition. I didn't feel like he "saved the day" or helped anyone out, really. He could barely help himself, let alone the others. Yes, I think they realized truths about themselves while being around them, but that's hardly help in any kind of heroic way..

I realize that my examples do not explain the relationship of the other characters to Shinji like Yojimbo's did, but then again my knowledge is very limited. I just happened to have my class this evening and I thought about it in the limited context she presented the material to us. So that's my two cents. XD
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:01 pm

You do make an excellent point of how Shinji was selfish in Instrumentality. Although Shinji was able to sort of overcome the weakness he was feeling by rejecting it in the end, while it was actually happening, he let his bitterness get in the way of doing the right thing.

Compare that to say, Gurren Lagann, where despite everything that happens to Simon, he doesn't give up in the end and believes in himself as Kamina told him to.
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Re: Is NGE in Accord with the Classic "Hero's Journey&q

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Postby Gypsy » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:39 pm

Eva Yojimbo wrote:(re: "Crossing the First Threshold")
In this case I guess the "crossing the first threshold" would be getting into Eva for the first time?


Really? I see the guardians of the first threshold as Kaworu (as the first -excluding Yui, whom I assume Shinji barely remembers - person to accept and love Shinji. Also, as the individual who lays down the big revelation that everything is not as it seems - "Wait, you're not Adam, you're Lilith!", etc.) and Ayanami (EOE, either before or after the ascension of the Black Egg, especially during the exploding-into-Tang sequence).

["The Belly of the Whale"] certainly seems to echo with Shinji being "swallowed into the unknown abyss" in ep. 16, 20, and EoE.
I can see where you're going with this part, and agree to an extent, but after really re-reading Campbell's section on "The Belly of the Whale", it seems like the "Belly" could also symbolize Shinji's grief and withdrawal into self after killing Kaworu.

I really like this topic. It got me to look back at The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which is great, because the book confused the living hell out of me when I first read it.
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Eva = Hero's Journey?

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Postby SeanTucker » Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:39 pm

The Village (or Ordinary World)

This isn't explicitly stated in the series to my knowledge, but for the purpose of the discussion let's use Tokyo-3 as our example.


Herald brings the Call to Adventure

Misato acts as the herald when she saves Shinji from Sachiel and brings him to NERV. The Call to Adventure is when Shinji is asked to pilot EVA-01 for the first time.


Refusal of the Call

Shinji chooses not to pilot EVA-01 at first. This changes when an injured Rei is brought out; he changes his mind out of a sense of moral obligation.


From this point, it gets a bit muddled; the "belly of the whale" is arguably the entire story.


Road of Trials

The Angel battles are Shinji's trials along the way, with Kaworu's death being a twisted version of the "brother battle" archetype.

The Nadir is the beginning of EoE, where Shinji is essentially a hopeless wreck.

Everyone acts as the "Goddess/Oracle" archetype during the Instrumentality sequence; they inform Shinji that he can reject Instrumentality.

The Apotheosis is when Shinji makes the choice to reject Instrumentality.

The Ultimate Boon is the final scene, where Shinji gets the reward of time with one of the only two people he truly cares about in the entire cast.

The Return is (presumably) after EoE, when people start coming back from the "dead".
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Postby Themaninblack » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:08 pm

The Hero’s Journey:
A Campbellian Look at the Metaphorical Path to Personal Transformation wrote:
‘The Ultimate Boon’ is the benefit, favor, or blessing that is bestowed on the hero figure. There is a drive for the hero to share the boon with humankind, whether it is an elixir of immortality, a holy grail, true love, perfect knowledge, or the meaning of life. Most prevalent is the recurring theme of Immortality. The hero achieves illumination that there is an indestructible life beyond the physical body. This Immortality is timeless and experienced in the here and now.
Hmmm, I don't think this fits.


...He sets the world back at EoE to give humans a chance to live in the real world, something none of them has done. It fits
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Postby asukafan11 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:10 pm

BLACKANGEL32076 wrote:The biggest problem I have with the very first post is that we are applying a western idea/ideal of the "hero" to something that is made for Japanese by Japanese.

the man who wrote and compiled that lived and worked in Japan for a long time. he's no stranger to eastern culture.
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Postby Ornette » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:39 am

asukafan11 wrote:
BLACKANGEL32076 wrote:The biggest problem I have with the very first post is that we are applying a western idea/ideal of the "hero" to something that is made for Japanese by Japanese.

the man who wrote and compiled that lived and worked in Japan for a long time. he's no stranger to eastern culture.

Are you talking about the author of the essay or EvaYojimbo? The essay doesn't make any comparisons to "hero" in the context of eastern culture (not that she seems to have lived and worked in Japan for a long time), EvaYojimbo is doing that, and I don't think he lives or works in Japan. Last I checked, he lives in Oklahoma.

You should read the rest of the thread or stop bumping old threads.

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Postby asukafan11 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:07 pm

[quote="Ornette
Are you talking about the author of the essay or EvaYojimbo? The essay doesn't make any comparisons to "hero" in the context of eastern culture (not that she seems to have lived and worked in Japan for a long time), EvaYojimbo is doing that, and I don't think he lives or works in Japan. Last I checked, he lives in Oklahoma.

You should read the rest of the thread or stop bumping old threads.[/quote]
no, i'm talking about joe campell.
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Postby Ornette » Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:08 pm

The post you replied to was referring to the first post (EvaYojimbo's), which quoted from an essay written by Lynne Milum. Jimbo was using that essay to make hero comparisons with Eva. The essay happened to be based on some of Cambell's works, but he's not the one doing the comparison that BLACKANGEL32076 had an issue with. Eitherway, that line of discussion is pretty dead for now, since neither of them have been around here for a while.

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Postby Angel of Will » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:20 pm

I'm listening to The Hero with a Thousand Faces currently.

I've noted that whether intentionally or not, Evangelion's conclusion to Shinji's journey is an inversion of that of the Hero's Journey on all 3 counts:

-The Father receives retribution instead of reconciliation. (Gendo is eaten by Unit-01)
-The 'Sacred Marriage' is divorced. (Shinji says "This is wrong," and pulls Rei out of himself.)
-The Hero pronounces "I am Me," instead of "I am That." (in episode 26)
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Postby Chuckman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:58 pm

Shinji took the left hand path.
the prophecy is true

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