How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby SpaceBass » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:08 pm

Long post:

"Evangelion is so pretentious."

I agree to some extent. I think especially regarding the constant use of crosses in the series, there were symbols that lacked very much meaning that were just thrown out there. Even if you understood some ofthese symbols, they would be meaningless to you. The End of Evangelion is the part of evangelion I find the most guilty of pretentious symbolism (though I enjoyed it).

Other than that, I find evangelion to ask logical questions about perception of reality, perspective, issues of running away from reality, and so on. It gives out logical (but I must say, debatable) answers to these questions.

An anime I found to be pretentious was Casshern Sins. I don't feel like saying my whole review of that show, but I will say that basically, this show lacked well stated points and was basically just a giant gloom machine with weak messages in general. Evangelion actually gives out themes and messages (that to me, mean a hell of a lot).

"Evangelion is so emo. How could anyone deal with it?"

I think ever evangelion fan has to admit that eva is pretty freaking insufferable at times. All of the protagonists became insanely depressed, and that depression was pushed onto the viewers. Evangelion constantly felt dead and hopeless. And it typically didn't seem like anyone really made any progress against their depression. Most people (like Shinji) never got past their depression in the story, they only did at the very end of it (shown in the last episodes of Eva and EOE).

Shinji is among one of the most difficult to like anime protagonists out there because of his inability to do that tasks that needed to be done due to his own drama such as being too afraid to confront the things around him. It's hard to watch a person like that. Asuka also had similar problems.

But I do get a little upset when I see people dismiss eva solely as "emo-gelion." This is because as I said before, at least all of the problems with the characters became addressed and solved. They didn't make the viewer sit through eva dealing with these depressed characters only for them to never get their crap together. It created distinct points and themes about dealing with obstacles in life and pretty much everything presented in the show.

Not to mention, I think from an angle, all of the issues the characters had were logical. It wasn't just them being badly depicted characters, the reason why they got to be the way they are made sense. They weren't complete emos.


That's at least how I feel to both of those statements. How I respond to people who say them? I just say something like "I disagree, but I have to admit Eva is a pretty hard show to watch. I get what you're saying." I don't look at them like they're some lower level being.
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Postby Tribblepoo » Fri Aug 23, 2013 5:03 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ey0wvGiAH9g
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Postby Guy Nacks » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:16 pm

I'd argue and point out how revolutionary NGE was to the medium and how much it is hailed as an artistic achievement amongst other things.


I'd then say that if they really want pretentious, then they should watch Rebuild.
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby moongyu » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:56 am

View Original PostEVAfacepalm wrote:This is just something I thought I'd ask after looking through comments on Eva-related stuff. What's your personal counter-argument (if any, ignoring them is valid too) to claims that the show is "pretentious", "emo", or, "overrated"?


My response is usually along the lines of "it's just a show". It has no responsibility of being happy and fun but y'know it's your opinion and all. I liked the show.

I always find that having an argument between a fan of X (specifically shows) and a non-fan is perhaps one of the most headache inducing things to do online. If I was having a discussion about the quality of NGE between a friend then we'll talk it out but things remain a lot more civil.

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Postby Stillborn » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:05 am

I tell them they are right, and direct them here, so they could be laughed at.
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby TheCarkolum » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:36 pm

Pretentious? Well, it depends. In plot terms, I guess it's too ambitious rather than pretentious.

Emo? Well, from ep 18 pretty much, yeah. But just Asuka and Shinji.

Overrated? NO. No, no, no. I'm so sick of that word! First, overrated by whom? Because NGE has a ton of haters. So, stop using that word, it's meaningless by this point.
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby Kendrix » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:58 pm

I just shake my head & wonder again why people assume that everything they don't understand is done "to show off". That's what pretentious means isn't it? "Giving the appearance of intelligence & depht to show off". Never mind that the author is as self-depecating as they come and that no one forces you to watch or like the show.

Don't get why an author would do something? Don't see the point in it? It must be to show off!
Somehow that seems even more evitable than "He genuinely tried to do deep & failed" or "He tried to do deep but I disagree with his point" or" whatever he did it just isn't my cup of tea".



Same thing when someone goes "Lets try to be objective & logical about this" & the answer is "You just say that to show off & act superior, no one REALLY cares about logic."
Sure no one's perfectly objective & logical, but we can try?
And how does showing off enter into it? Why not say "Your logic is wrong", why the stipulation of insincerity & ill motive by default?

Why is it so hard to believe that someone might care about logic or depht for is own sake? Not everyone always wants to show off.

That says more about the person saying it than the thing being critizised.
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby The Flying Fortress » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:53 pm

View Original PostThe Eva Monkey wrote:But it is pretentious, emo, and overrated. It's also really good despite all of that.

We can close this topic now.

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby OtherNigel » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:13 pm

"If something is complex and confusing, it's not automatically pretentious. Bakka."

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby Chuckman » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:27 pm

People use the word pretentious too much. It's losing its meaning, and become a synonym for obnoxious, obtuse, etc. Evangelion can be roundly criticized for many things but it's not pretending to be something it isn't.

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby The Divine Emperor » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:10 pm

My response would be something to this effect: "Pretentious? No, but its reach often exceeds its grasp. This is a flaw, but it does not necessarily equate to 'pretension'."

To elaborate: "pretentious" is defined by Wiktionary as "marked by an unwarranted claim to importance or distinction" or as referring to something that is ostentatious. I never got the sense of either of these things from NGE, even at its most willfully avant-garde or "emo". Anno's character-driven innigkeit and stylistic mould-breaking in the latter half of the series does not seem to come from a place of self-conscious ostentation, but from truthful desperation. If this is the case, that would dispense of NGE being pretentious according to the second definition of the adjective.

Does it make "unwarranted claims to importance or distinction"? As I was but a wee lad at the time of NGE's premiere, I cannot recall how it was marketed or perceived in Japan at the time, but I have never heard that it made an inordinately big noise about itself; its stature seems to have grown in hindsight, and without much in the way of exertion on Studio Gainax's part. I will defer to the more knowledgeable on this matter, but without any highfaluting claims being made by the show itself or its creators during its run as some kind of genre-breaking masterpiece (at least that I am aware of), I would not call NGE pretentious under this definition. (The New Theatrical Edition, sadly, is a different story.)

You can criticize NGE on a number of counts, but it is not what I would deem pretentious.
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:33 am

I think it's important to note who says Eva is pretentious, and why they may think that. Eva uses a lot of Christian iconography in its basic aesthetic. We've got cross-shaped explosions, Adam, Lilith, Angels, giant beings nailed to red crosses, and even the show's named translates into "Gospel for a New Century" or "Birth of a New Gospel," depending on which version of the title you're looking at. To Western audiences, who either have a strong faith in Christianity or simply have a better cursory knowledge of it than Eastern civilizations would, these icons immediately mean more to them than they probably should in the context of Eva. The word "Gospel" or any word coming from "Evangelism" can only be used in reference to it uses and meanings in the Christian Bible. This trend persists in even a historical context. In Western civilization the cross is only viewed in reference to Jesus and his death on that cross. It's rarely used to be the symbol of public displays of Roman capital punishment. (Heck, even the word "Bible" is simply Greek for "Book," and that word can't even be used in the English language to reference anything other than the Christian Bible.) As a result, when a Western audience sees all of these images in a TV show they immediately expect it to have a greater significance to the narrative other than "Evangelion is the simply name of the cyborg because it sounds cool," or "Lilith is nailed to a cross simply because it looks cool." (Lilith doesn't die for anyone's sins. That's Kaworu's job.) So, it's easy to see how a Western audience might see these images and have a completely different expectation for them than the show has, and therefore call the show "pretentious."

To a Japanese audience, these images don't mean anything more to them than, say, what the images of Norse mythology means to American audiences today. If a Norseman from centuries ago somehow found himself suddenly living in the 21st Century and decided to watch The Avengers while he was here, he might be expecting Loki to give birth to an eight-legged horse at some point in one of the movies, and within context of The Avengers that's a crazy stupid expectation to have. Likewise, expecting the Roman crosses to have a Biblical meaning in a show that isn't written within a Biblical context is also a crazy stupid expectation to have while watching Evangelion. To a Japanese audience, the only thing pretentious about Eva might be the last two episodes of the TV show. (And even then, I'm not sure if they actually do find those episodes pretentious.)

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby Reichu » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:23 am

Nitpick: Lilith is from Judaism, not Christianity.

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby CommanderFish » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:11 pm

Reichu wrote:Nitpick: Lilith is from Judaism, not Christianity.

Every time. :toothy:

FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:(Lilith doesn't die for anyone's sins. That's Kaworu's job.)

Well, she kinda does. They both do, come the End of Evangelion.
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:39 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Nitpick: Lilith is from Judaism, not Christianity.

Aye, that I know. It's still an Ambrahamic religion, though, so it has a bit more Western recognizability than it does a Far East Asian recognizability.

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby Reichu » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:06 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Aye, that I know. It's still an Ambrahamic religion, though

But you said "Christian" very specifically. Not "Abrahamic". No excuses, mister! :tongueflap:

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:26 pm

I shall commence whipping myself. 39 lashes with a wet noodle.
Last edited by FreakyFilmFan4ever on Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby pwhodges » Thu Jul 20, 2017 5:52 pm

You could just say it's pretentious making such a fuss over it! :tongue:
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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby Reichu » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:10 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:You could just say it's pretentious making such a fuss over it! :tongue:

Ah, but that would be assuming that I am a stickler for details because I hope to gain some kind of undeserved social esteem as a result! On the contrary -- I so value knowledge that, for its sake, I am willing to risk being viewed as a vile, self-important pedant.

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Re: How do You Respond to People Saying Eva is Pretentious?

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Postby imprimatur13 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:14 am

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:I shall commence whipping myself. 39 slashes with a wet noodle.

I like that. That's a pretty obscure reference... :thumbsup:
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