[Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

For serious and at times in-depth discussions only.

Moderator: Board Staff

ElKaizerX
Embryo
User avatar
Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 14, 2018
Location: Neon Valley

[Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby ElKaizerX » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:50 pm

I've been a long, long time lurker, but didn't have the guts to contribute before. This forum, wiki, and site in general, has been a massive help in understanding the frustratingly beautiful and inspiring puzzle that is Eva, which has been and continues to be a massive influence on my life. I recently started a project that pulls ideas from Eva, Blade Runner, Xenogears, and The Matrix, and so I re-watched the entire series and up to 3.33 in one glorious week with my partner. Being her first time watching, she enjoyed it but was left with a flood of questions. I gladly answered all that I could, but one of the questions lingered. Given the many exhaustive analyses I've read and watched of Eva I understood Eva to have a very convoluted meta aspect to it, but in thinking of an answer to the subject question, I realized how in our face the metaness really is. Wall of text inbound.

In Eva, the "Human" race, or better the Lilin, ends up being designated the final Angel making them no different than the monsters they've been fighting. I feel this solidifies that although Angels and Humans look different and are made of different materials, particle-wave matter vs particle matter, they are all called humans because they represent aspects of Evangelion's creators, represented by the unseen and barely eluded to First Ancestral Race that created Lilith and Adam, and us, the audience, who are human. The fact that the audience is reminded of the common ancestry of Angels and Lilin fairly often leads me to think that Anno and the others are deliberately showing their meta-hand in order to guide the audience to ultimately see Evangelion as a story about the importance (dangers?) of storytelling in relation to humanity, and how through positive sharing of feelings above storytelling we can better empathize and connect with others.

The term Angels is ultimately synonymous with human in Evangelion because all the characters are metaphorical aspects of human psychology. The Angels represent our human impulses and basic emotions, which like the immortality granted from the tree of life, exists in all of us and will outlive us individually. Also like the Angels, impulses, act almost on pure logic and drive. The Lilin, who ultimately are designated an Angel, on the other hand, ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and either represent our individuality, power of choice, morality, or more generally the ability to imagine.

Combine the Angels and Lilin, the tree of life and tree of knowledge, and you produce a being similar to those of the first ancestral race, a god in Evangelion, which represent the creators and audience of the show. We are beings that have in reality eaten from both trees and have the power to create something from nothing. Our selves exist in the real and the imaginary space where stories and many other things in the collective unconscious exist. However, we continuously struggle with doubt and other self-defeating emotions, our own personal Angels, that Anno wanted to help guide us out of through Evangelion. His own interesting therapy. I now feel, more than ever, Evangelion is meant as an inspiring message or gospel, despite some of its bleaker moments, to those conflicted, basically all of humanity, in order to help transcend our self.

I know such a message isn't entirely unique storytelling, but after reflecting on the answer I feel Evangelion truly deserves its masterwork status beyond its surface popularity due to how it uses various deep rooted symbols and psychology (a delicious dose of religious madness, monsters and robots doesn't hurt) to create a meta-story, a story about the importance of storytelling/art/expression in relation to us, in order to help guide us to overcome our personal internal conflicts through connecting with others via artistic creations.

Then again I could be thinking a bit too much about the media I consume.

TL;DR Angels, which Lilin are a part of, are called humans because they represent aspects of the creators and the audience who are, yup, human. All this is to show the audience that Eva is just a story, an empathy machine, trying to get us to open up to others.

Cybermat47
Clockiel
Clockiel
User avatar
Age: 19
Posts: 418
Joined: Jun 20, 2017
Location: NSW, Australia
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Cybermat47 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:21 am

This post made me realise something pretty important.

A major theme of Evangelion is the difficulty we have in understanding others. And the Angels are the ultimate manifestation of that. We don’t understand them at all, not even their biology. We don’t even know that they’re Human until EoE.

The Angels probably don’t understand us, either. We’re just an obstacle in the way of Lilith for them. For the ones looking for her, anyway - some of the Angels seem more interested in understanding the people they mindrape, forcibly breaking down the barriers seperating them from other Humans.
Reichu wrote:It’s all weird and phallic.


My fanfics:
Evangelion 2.9: You Will (Not) Survive
Godzilla VS Evangelion: Who Will Know?

Blockio
Clockiel
Clockiel
User avatar
Age: 19
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 03, 2017
Location: the Land of NERV's third branch
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Blockio » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:47 am

View Original PostCybermat47 wrote:A major theme of Evangelion is the difficulty we have in understanding others. And the Angels are the ultimate manifestation of that. We don’t understand them at all, not even their biology. We don’t even know that they’re Human until EoE.


Really? Was it all the way until EoE until someone pointed that out? (I mean yeah, it was EoE where it was first said explicitly, but Im pretty sure that there have been enough strong hints towards the relations between humans, evas and angels in the series)
Why don't you save the Princess next time instead of being such a baby? She would love it and maybe you could get a sweet kiss. ~ sadly not Mari in Q (Joseki)

What about titty-ten? ~ Reichu

ElKaizerX
Embryo
User avatar
Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 14, 2018
Location: Neon Valley

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby ElKaizerX » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:47 pm

View Original PostCybermat47 wrote:The Angels probably don’t understand us, either. We’re just an obstacle in the way of Lilith for them. For the ones looking for her, anyway - some of the Angels seem more interested in understanding the people they mindrape, forcibly breaking down the barriers seperating them from other Humans.


They certainly act like non-sentient machines driven only by pure programming lacking the capacity for morality.

View Original PostBlockio wrote:Really? Was it all the way until EoE until someone pointed that out? (I mean yeah, it was EoE where it was first said explicitly, but Im pretty sure that there have been enough strong hints towards the relations between humans, evas and angels in the series)


You're right. I think we get the first hints of the Lilin-Angel connection from Ritsuko when she analyzes Shamshel's remains, I believe, in episode 5.

I also think there are hints to Lilin-Angels representing separate aspects of humanity in the blood type/wave pattern designations. Throughout the show most angels are designated pattern blue, while other colors pop up now and then. And IIRC in EoE it's mentioned that EVA-01 reached pattern red shortly before (after?) referring to its god status as she ate from both trees at that point. I don't want to get too crazy with color theory, but I think they chose those specific colors for a clear reason. Blue typically denotes coldness, pure logic, machine-like, while red is usually associated with emotion, passion, and humanity in general given our red blood. EVA-01 going pattern red as she becomes a god makes a bit of sense if she is essentially transcending her dimension and gaining the creative power of us, the creators and audience.
Last edited by ElKaizerX on Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Blockio
Clockiel
Clockiel
User avatar
Age: 19
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 03, 2017
Location: the Land of NERV's third branch
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Blockio » Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:52 pm

View Original PostElKaizerX wrote:I don't want to get too crazy with color theory, but I think they chose those specific colors for a clear reason. Blue typically denotes coldness, pure logic, machine-like, while red is usually associated with emotion, passion, and humanity in general given our red blood. EVA-01 going pattern red as she becomes a god makes a bit of sense if she is essentially transcending her dimension and gaining the creative power of us, the creators and audience.

Thats not "going too crazy" at all by the standards of this forum... and yeah, it really does make sense. Ive been thinking about why blue of all colors (my guess was something with nobility, blue blood and everything, but that didnt make sense upon the slightest bit of inspection), but never got to the whole cold part... probably because I forgot about pattern red entirely :shrug:
Why don't you save the Princess next time instead of being such a baby? She would love it and maybe you could get a sweet kiss. ~ sadly not Mari in Q (Joseki)

What about titty-ten? ~ Reichu

Cybermat47
Clockiel
Clockiel
User avatar
Age: 19
Posts: 418
Joined: Jun 20, 2017
Location: NSW, Australia
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Cybermat47 » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:55 pm

View Original PostElKaizerX wrote:They certainly act like non-sentient machines driven only by pure programming lacking the capacity for morality.


Not really. Sachiel falls back in surprise when he’s first shot, and later cocks his head out of curiosity at a rocket barrage. When Sandalphon “attacks” Asuka, he may just be sucking on her, like a baby sucks things out of curiosity. To my knowledge, Sandalphon’s motivations have been left ambiguous, but the fact that he produces the sound of a Human baby before hatching certainly reinforces this interpretation.

Leliel seems more concerned with having a chat with Shinji than making contact with Lilith. Zeruel takes a detour from going straight to Lilith in order to kill everyone at Nerv’s command centre, which could have been motivated by sadism. Arael doesn’t even go near Lilith, but simply invades and explores Asuka’s mind. Armisael speaks at length with Rei about their shared feelings of loneliness. And, of course, we have Tabris.
Reichu wrote:It’s all weird and phallic.


My fanfics:
Evangelion 2.9: You Will (Not) Survive
Godzilla VS Evangelion: Who Will Know?

StrokeMeGoat
Lilith
User avatar
Age: 26
Posts: 121
Joined: Jan 30, 2016
Location: Indiana
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby StrokeMeGoat » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:19 pm

At least on some level, you can't ignore the religious lore must have at least some significant influence on the decision and the symbolism intended by it. If you read up on Kabbalism in particular, Angels (or more accurately, "messengers" is what the ancient Hebrew for angel translates to) are divine emanations of God. The rank/order they fall into and their roles as the manifestation and execution of the Divine Will depends on the specific Sefirot or emanation the reside in.

When it is said that man was created in God's image, it is meant that mankind is literally given form in the image of Adam Kadmon, which is the supreme essence of man that God's infinite potential formed in the first Sefirot, Keter. This is why mankind is divine in nature and rule above all other animals. In that sense, we are like Angels, only we possess the most awareness and have free will because we reside in the lowest of the divine emanations in the physical world. Angels themselves are more or less autonomous executors of God's will, only gaining conscious awareness of any kind the lower they reside in the Sefira in the Tree of Life.

Given Adam Kadmon is the embodiment of God's psyche and identity, a parallel can be drawn between conscious human existence and the creation of existence and the sustaining there of, along with God as an entity itself. Our world and our perception of its existence is a result of our own psyche. Adam Kadmon is essentially the equivalent of what you might consider our id, or at least our concept of and perception and recognition of ourselves as individuals. The Tree of Life and the various Divine Emanations necessary for existence to continue being are merely the structure whose function is to differentiate God's infinite, pure, whole essence so that objects and the physical world may be separated from one another.

This is not unlike the mental process our minds go through to produce cognitive awareness of our reality. and to make distinctions between that which is us, that which isn't, and that which isn't everything else either. Just like how the Angels lack or gain more conscious awareness the lower you get on the Tree of Life, so to our mind has totally unconscious processes that are responsible for autonomic nervous system function and our sustained ability to live, semi-conscious thoughts/feels/perceptions/associations that influence our behavior, and more or less fully conscious awareness that grants us the freedom of will to choose how we ultimately act. You might be inclined to jump to the conclusion that the Judeo-Christian concepts of God (Kabbalism in particular) are actually just identifying the process by which our mentally constructed model and perceptions of reality are emerging as a result of cognitive brain function, but this is where a bit of Hermeticism comes in.

I mean, what I just said is a distinct possibility, but one of the core principles in Hermeticism is "As Above, So Below"--which is to say, the nature of existence and its manifestation/continued creation is and must be the same for all things that exist, no matter the levels of degree in their ever changing state of being. Thus, you would not only expect for the identical nature between how our consciousness and existence functions, but it indeed could not happen any other way. Angels, or messengers, therefore, can be conisdered symbolic representations of shared phenomena and processes that take place within our own minds and how we perceive reality.

Just as the Angels are aspects of God--manifestations and "servants" of His Divine Will--the Angels within us are merely aspects of ourselves. They are human, but they do not possess the knowledge of good and evil themselves. That knowledge is only capable of being known and understood by those who have conscious awareness of reality and self to such a degree that they are capable of maliciously harming or selflessly helping others like them with the knowledge and intent to do so. In other words, they have a sense of morality: they know better.

Judging by the remarkable degree of introspection required to produce episodes 25&26, along with EOE, I'm assuming Anno came to realize all this at least on some level.

VUX
Gaghiel
Gaghiel
Posts: 360
Joined: Jan 16, 2018
Location: In a galaxy far far away
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby VUX » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:23 am

Some say that they don't understand the angels, sort of reminds me of the Orz, these fish looking weirdos that talk about special sause. :irked:
"When life gives you problems..., get into the robot!"

"We VUX wanted peace with humans, until they day that insult was thrown"
"Where's you're ogrelord now laddeh?" Drek

ElKaizerX
Embryo
User avatar
Posts: 18
Joined: Jan 14, 2018
Location: Neon Valley

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby ElKaizerX » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:22 am

View Original PostStrokeMeGoat wrote: Angels, or messengers, therefore, can be conisdered symbolic representations of shared phenomena and processes that take place within our own minds and how we perceive reality.


I got to thinking more about the FAR (Anno et al.) and their progeny (Angels) representing broken off aspects of them and in a meta sense us. Some of the Angels I added a shadow (Berserk/Breaking Point) aspect to their prime drive where I could think to at the moment. I'll be leaning more on the numerical order given in the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls of the NGE timeline as opposed to the Manga or Rebuild:

SPOILER: Show
1: Adam (Kaworu) - Empathy//Burden -- or as SoL - Impulse (Archetype?)
2: Lilith (Rei) - Love//Obedience -- or as SoL - Morality
3: Sachiel - Resilience//Self-Destruction
4: Shamshel - Masculinity (Connecting w/same sex? Bromance?)
5: Ramiel - Concentration
6: Gaghiel - Predatory
7: Israfel - Synergy//Animosity
8: Sandalphon - Innocence//Ignorance
9: Matarael - Persuasion//Acidic
10: Sahaquiel - Authority//Oppression
11: Ireul - Corruption
12: Leliel - Femininity (Connecting w/opposite sex? Platonic companionship?)
13: Bardiel - Humiliation (Betrayal?)
14: Zeruel - Brutality (Efficiency?)
15: Arael - Curiosity//Violation
16: Armisael - Intimacy//Ownership
17: Tabris - Sacrifice
18: Lilin - Individuation (Defiance?)//The Beast


I very well could be missing the mark as my research was pretty hasty and might be indulging in a little confirmation bias. I did notice that Anno seemed to be hiding arguably one of the most well known angels, Satan/Devil/Lucifer, within the Lilin. Given that angel's infamous moment of defiance being similar to what the Lilin embody and the beast being used as a reference for the Evangelion's version of shedding their humanity as well as a shorthand for Satan.

Take all these angels, blend them up real good, flaws and all, and you get a complete FAR individual, a human-being, me and you. A being with the ability to create vast fictional worlds filled with characters (angels) that exist beyond our physical construct of reality and represent various aspects of our humanity. Fictional worlds that if we're not careful enough we can become obsessed with and ultimately lost in, losing site of those around us and shedding our humanity. We're supposed to be the gods of story, the imaginary, not the other way around. If Evangelion really is a meta gospel of hope and a challenge to those lost in otaku culture, or anyone who has a unhealthy inability to separate story from reality really, I see it now more than ever.

Side note: Just saw The Last Jedi. Never was into the franchise, but I actually enjoyed this one more than the others for reasons that link to how I feel about the Eva Rebuild. I had a good laugh at some friends, who are above average fans of Star Wars, that took a hard negative stance (almost zealot-like) against most of the choices to subvert exceptions. I laughed cause it reminded me of my initial reaction to 3.33, which I have since grown to love and noticed a number of story parallels between the two.

JohnBooty
Embryo
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 17, 2018
Gender: Male

Re: [Theory] Why did Anno and NGE's other creators choose to define Angels as Human?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby JohnBooty » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:06 am

I've always seen the "angels = humans" thing as a fairly standard (but enjoyable and highly effective!) storytelling device.

There are a few tropes at work here. Broadly speaking there are just a few ways to make antagonists feel really impactful.

One way to make antagonists impactful is to make them utterly unrelatable. Like the Xenomorphs in Aliens. Their unknowability is terrifying. We don't understand the Xenomorphs, and such a thing is probably not even possible. Initially, this is how the Angels are presented. They are beyond comprehension and this incomprehendability is amplified by the fact that angels don't even resemble each other, let alone us.

Another way to make antagonists impactful is to make them relateable. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this. Usually this is done by exploring the antagonist's motivations. Magneto in X-Men is one example. His tragic origins and experience at Aushwitz help us to empathize and sympathize with him, and we can't help but wonder if maybe we'd make some of the same choices as him if we were in his shoes.

Evangelion combines these two approaches. The Angels are completely bizarre and (besides Kaworu) are totally inhuman. And yet, we're told that they're nearly identical to us. That's... kind of cool. It breaks the "show, don't tell" rule of storytelling, but it does heighten the emotional impact in my opinion.

And as you say, it does invite some introspection. If the Angels are completely bizarre and terrifying, and we are basically Angels, what does that say about us, maaaaan? ::puffs joint:: It adds to the sense of emotional disassociation. Unlike your typical sci-fi/fantasy fight for human survival, where we're fighting for the human race because we're humans, damn it, and nobody's gonna take our Earth... Evangelion tells us that not only are we fighting for humanity's survival, we may not even know what the hell humanity is.


Return to “Evangelion Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests