How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby Lavinius » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:45 am

The pretense is met, and so there never was one.

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Postby Paranoid » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:05 am

View Original PostCJD wrote:...I don't.


Best answer right there.
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Postby Nyanlathotep » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:58 am

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Postby SpiredWarrior » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:11 pm

When I first watched Eva, I thought the Christian imagery such as Sachiel's cross-shaped explosions, was a bit forced, and I can understand why people would think it's pretentious. But the imagery and the constant mention of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Seeds of Life, while still a part of the plot, is not the biggest part of it. That honor goes to Shinji, Rei, and Asuka, which leads me to the cries that the series is "emo". And I suppose it is, but there is a reason for it. Take the first parts of EoE for instance. If you were forced to kill one of the only people that genuinely liked you for who you are, you'd be depressed too. So calling the series "emo" isn't incorrect, but it is unnecessary.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:05 pm

I don't respond to comments on the net that Eva is pretentious. Especially comments on sites like YouTube. That's just a den of loud idiots trying to get the most liked comment under a certain video.

If it's a comment made on a site where the users tend to encourage intelligent discussion from each other, then they probably wouldn't have made that claim in the first place after watching the entire series.

But if did make that claim on a site that usually practices constructive conversation, then you just tell them that the inclusion of any sort of imagery, religious or not, does not always equal pretention. After all, Eva simply uses Christian imagery in the same way we used imagery from African religions back in the 30's or norse mythology in stories like Thor. Which, in that sense, there's nothing pretentious about it. It builds up it own mythology using those images in order to convey certain themes that the series itself establishes early on, rather than trying to force any thoughts about God and Holiness in a narrative that has nothing to do with it.

Remember, Pretension is attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed. If all the cross-shaped images in Eva are there only to carry across a theme of sacrifice, which is establish in Episode 12 with Misato's necklace draped over the scar reminding her of her father's sacrifice so she might survive 3rd Impact, then that's all it means to the narrative. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less. The audience isn't asked to take anymore meaning from that image, so the audience shouldn't take anymore meaning from that image.

In that sense I don't even think that it's "2 DEEP 4 U." In fact, the opposite problem seems to be occurring. The accuser is obviously trying to read way too much into the symbolism of the show, therefore he's making it pretentious only to him. Responding in a "2 DEEP 4 U" fashion suggests that everything he's reading too much into is probably contextually accurate to the show, despite the show not reinforcing any of those ideas; which actually would make Eva pretentious.

Speaking of pretentions, the "Mythology of Evangelion" documentaries presented by Matt Greenfield exemplify this point exactly. He goes on about Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" mono-myth as if it's something deep and important, the be-all-end-all of understanding Eva, when really it's common knowledge to everyone who's studied screenwriting. On the other hand most of those who haven't studied screenwriting and don't know what that is, it's merely something that goes by in a film unnoticed and therefore unimportant to their perception of the film.

For example, most casual film goers don't care if the mono-myth is important to the script of Star Wars, they just like it because of "the heroic underdog" and "rescuing the princess" and "lightsabers" and "space ships" and "stuff" and "things." Likewise most casual viewers of Eva don't care if subverting that mono-myth important to the show, they just like (or don't like it) it because there's "monsters" and "girls" and "tragedy" and "intensity" and "stuff" and "things." By referencing Joseph Campbell's mono-myth the way he does, Greenfield is trying to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed by the mono-myth, making him the "pretentious Eva fan." In the end it's probably viewers like him that make Eva seem pretentious to most people, even when the show itself isn't.
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Postby Nyanlathotep » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:55 pm

I rarely get the word "pretentious" thrown at it in reference to the judeo-christian symbolism. I do a lot of theatre work, so it's usually from people who know something. Eventually, the arguments usually come down to art versus escapism, and a lot of them can't seem to grasp the fact that the show is made for an audience that doesn't happen to be them, and assume it's therefore just the creator failing to make something with audience appeal.

Sometimes, people like stories that are crazy and complex and have things to explore and argue about on a thematic level. And Anno isn't trying to be Rand. He's not trying to be Orwell. By all accounts it's the opposite of pretentious; it exceeds what it sent out to do.

As for the "who wouldn't want to pilot a giant robot and save the world" argument? Yeah; Shinji's life would probably be way better if he got to pilot, say, Gurren Lagann. As it stands, being ordered to pilot something without training and then ending every other fight in the emergency room is not EVERYTHING I'VE EVER HOPED AND DREAMED OF, and people who call Shinji emo and unrealistic are either unrealistic themselves or just dense.
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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:27 am

Last edited by Gendo'sPapa on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:59 am

I generally give the person in question a quizzical look and move on with my life.

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Postby LovelyFangirl » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:01 pm

Oh, sorry. I forgot that you prefer animes where everything is alright and you don't have to think about the stuff. irked
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Postby Madonna » Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:54 am

There are some elements of Eva which I guess are pretentious, for example the use of religious symbolism in quite a superficial way, but I don't mind it, in fact stuff like the aforementioned example end up making the visuals look way cooler.

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Postby Squigsquasher » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:08 am

Punch them in the face and scream "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!"
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Postby Kendrix » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:01 pm

Hm. Prententiousness.

while it certainly exists, I have encounted it more in certain groups of fans and the standarts/ideas they have about, say, music, and how they think their own standarts are absolute/universal, than in actual works of art, a fixation on form rather than essence.

Say that you disagree with the ideas or standards presented in the work, say that you didn't like the way it handled it's concepts/ideas, but to say that "they just put in big words to make it look like it means something"... I dunno, that's a harsh thing you shouldn't say lightly, even a relatively low-brow manga like Naruto will have cost the author years of their life, any work of art that isn't completely commerce--oriented (who will appeal to established things anyway) has the author putting pieces of themselves into it, and then you call it hollow or fake because you don't like it.
It strikes me a very effective way to trample all over all a person is with a single word.

I would generally assume human error ("they made the one or other concept feel a bit forced because they were imperfect writers") or that I simply am not the intended target audience, before calling something ppl invested much time into a cheap lie.

There is such a thing as artwork that opens itself to you through working through it.
You're not going to get EVA, or a Tori Amos CD, on the first watching/listening.
I don't think that makes it inherently better, or other things inherently worse, but it can just be a stimulus that people like.
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Postby Twink » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:36 pm

it's definitely a breath of fresh air compared to the usual animes and shows those making the claims are probably watching.

[s:1p7jztz6]except one time I had a friend who I said should watch eva, because it would be right up her alley, but she just hit me over the head and ignored me.[/s:1p7jztz6]
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Postby Dream » Mon Aug 19, 2013 11:15 am

View Original PostKendrix wrote:Say that you disagree with the ideas or standards presented in the work, say that you didn't like the way it handled it's concepts/ideas, but to say that "they just put in big words to make it look like it means something"... I dunno, that's a harsh thing you shouldn't say lightly, even a relatively low-brow manga like Naruto will have cost the author years of their life, any work of art that isn't completely commerce--oriented (who will appeal to established things anyway) has the author putting pieces of themselves into it, and then you call it hollow or fake because you don't like it.
It strikes me a very effective way to trample all over all a person is with a single word.


It's funny to think that even when i plan on becoming a director i never thought of it that way. Great post. Some parts of it It do give me the impression it's also saying there can be no such thing as a badly done work but that's nitpick.

On-topic: I don't really talk with anyone so i've never found myself in such a situation. Thinking about it i guess i either wouldn't care or, if the person is someone i consider knowledgeable, i would ask for his reasons and debate them if seen fit.
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Postby Katana » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:31 pm

View Original PostLovelyFangirl wrote:Oh, sorry. I forgot that you prefer animes where everything is alright and you don't have to think about the stuff. :irked:
Like what?

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Postby pwhodges » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:47 pm

Azumanga Daioh; Nichijou.
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Postby Ornette » Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:46 pm

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Postby Catamari » Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:30 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:Azumanga Daioh; Nichijou.

Nichijou makes my head hurt.


View Original PostSquigsquasher wrote:Punch them in the face and scream "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!"

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Postby r1cepurin » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:19 pm

I have an older sister who referred to evangelion as "elitest" and "overrated" and I told her that you know....it's critically acclaimed and one of those shows deserving of that praise so yeah I'm not really the argumentive type sorry
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Postby Deva Victrix » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:18 am

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