NGE's Status as a Work of Art...

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Joseph the PRPD
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Postby Joseph the PRPD » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:26 pm

Now that Anno has, as feared, had his George Lucas moment, I think we can safely say that the idea of NGE being accepted as a work of art has become perfectly fantastickal.


No. When people say "a George Lucas moment" they are commonly referring to the changes he made in the re-releasing of the original Star Wars trilogy. (EX: Greedo shot first!)

What Hideaki Anno is doing with Evangelion now is different. Rebuild of Evangelion is a re-telling not a re-release with minor changes.


oOoOoOo wrote:I lived with a director/film student and an English major, and I had to essentially hold their hands through Evangelion.


Not everyone is the same. You really don't need any experience with anime and/or manga to understand/"appreciate" Evangelion. People can still watch it as another show and have the same feelings and thoughts as someone who does watch a lot of anime or manga.
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Postby oOoOoOo » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:51 pm

I guess my point is this: I do not know anyone who of their own volition watched and enjoyed Evangelion without already being a fan of anime. Princess Mononoke, yes. Evangelion, no.
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Postby Merridian » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:56 pm

Joseph the PRPD wrote: You really don't need any experience with anime and/or manga to understand/"appreciate" Evangelion. People can still watch it as another show and have the same feelings and thoughts as someone who does watch a lot of anime or manga.


Similar to the aforementioned Watchmen allusion, Evangelion analyzes the very genre it’s often grouped under. Just as Moore & Gibbons were looking at how absurd and naïve the very idea of costumed-vigilantes are, Anno deconstructs the preconceptions of how protagonists and villains are supposed to act, and then he forces his audience to reevaluate the archetypes and presumptions associated with the genre.

And one of the reasons people outside the genre DON’T watch Evangelion typically lies in the fact that it’s often dismissed as being just another cartoon where shit blows up and nothing’s accomplished. Then, on the off chance they DO pick it up, the first half of the show spends a LOT of time reinforcing these preconceptions as it establishes the very tropes it eventually tears down. It typically isn’t until Ep. 15 where most people start to realize that it’s worth their time, and that’s if they make it that far.

This kind of stuff is a lot easier to digest if you expect it right off the bat, and it's a lot easier to 'get' when you're already familiar with the things Anno references and dissects.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:23 pm

Ahh, this thread again. I've been meaning to reply to your last post Merridian and have either been perpetually busy or forgotten. Looks like there's some good recent posts though so I'll try to make it a point of replying to them. :)
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Postby Evangelion217 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:33 am

I guess my point is this: I do not know anyone who of their own volition watched and enjoyed Evangelion without already being a fan of anime. Princess Mononoke, yes. Evangelion, no.


This just means you need to get out more. ;)

Until "Evangelion", I stopped watching anime. And to be honest, I wasn't a big fan to begin with. It's because of "Evangelion", that I became an anime fan, and started to fall in love with literature again.

"Evangelion" was essentially made for people who hate anime. It's almost the anti-anime, it's about anime, it deconstructs the medium itself through just one genre.
The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.

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It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby oOoOoOo » Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:53 am

Merridian understands me. ;_;

Evangelion217 wrote:This just means you need to get out more. ;)
No part of "getting out more" involves meeting people who would watch Evangelion of their own volition.
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Postby Evangelion217 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:05 am

No part of "getting out more" involves meeting people who would watch Evangelion of their own volition.


Yes it does. I've talked to plenty of people who weren't educated on anime, but loved "Evangelion." I've also met people who got into anime because of "Evangelion." :)
The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.

"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby Merridian » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:29 am

oOoOoOo wrote: The Beatles were universal (everyone loves them) but were also seminal (everyone was influenced by them). Take Joy Division. While they were a seminal band (U2, Interpol, the Strokes, the Killers all owe their existence to them) they were not that polished or... good.

Well, I actually like Joy Division a LOT more than I’ve ever liked the Beetles, but I see where you’re going with this. I think in the context of this analogy, Evangelion leans towards the Joy Division side of things—it’s short of universal because there’s enough of a crowd that dislikes and/or refuses to see it, but it was seminal enough to have influenced nearly everything within its medium that has come out since its release. I think it’s closer to the mainstream than Joy Division will ever be, since Joy Division borders on that cult-like obscurity (they did have one song that hit the charts… to bad the song that did is one of their worst), but the analogy is still mostly valid.

Synapsid wrote: Eva's postmodern psychological novel elements have already made an impression in contemporary anime... I don't doubt that it won't be one of the most influential in it's genre.

Exactly.

Eva Yojimbo wrote: Ahh, this thread again.

:mwahaha: My thoughts exactly. I’m looking forward to your response(s)!

Evangelion217 wrote: I've talked to plenty of people who weren't educated on anime, but loved "Evangelion."

I’ve met plenty of people who had never read comics before, yet they still enjoyed Watchmen. That doesn’t mean that they understood the critiques on the medium and genre that Moore & Gibbons were presenting, it just means that they liked some of the other things that were brought out with the work. Evangelion’s the same way, but I think it’s easier for someone who already watches anime to get into Evangelion because of its initial reliance on established tropes.

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Postby oOoOoOo » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:49 am

Merridian wrote:I think in the context of this analogy, Evangelion leans towards the Joy Division side of things—it’s short of universal because there’s enough of a crowd that dislikes and/or refuses to see it, but it was seminal enough to have influenced nearly everything within its medium that has come out since its release.
Yeah, I think we're in agreement there. I dig Joy Division, but New Order is definitely more polished. After all, early post-punk was very... dirty, punky, etc. And yes, Evangelion is more mainstream within anime, although it is probably as obscure to the mainstream West as Joy Division is. That is, music geeks like Joy Division the way anime geeks like Evangelion.

Evangelion217 wrote:
No part of "getting out more" involves meeting people who would watch Evangelion of their own volition.


Yes it does. I've talked to plenty of people who weren't educated on anime, but loved "Evangelion." I've also met people who got into anime because of "Evangelion." :)
I'm guessing New York is one of those magical places where (to make a cruel generalization) attractive, extroverted, social people are interested in geekesque subcultures. Where I'm from, these sorts of people do not watch anime, let alone something like Evangelion. When I "get out more" I'm... uh... getting out of the house and going to public places. You know, places where anime fans don't gather. ^_~
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Postby VoidEater » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:29 pm

I hadn't watched any anime before Evangelion somewhere around 2000.

Unless you count Gigantor, Astroboy, 008, Kimba, Amazing 3. But that was almost 50 years ago. I don't consider myself well versed in anime and anime per se isn't my thing - I can now see, though, how the form allows the expression of NGE.
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Postby Joseph the PRPD » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:59 pm

oOoOoOo wrote:I'm guessing New York is one of those magical places where (to make a cruel generalization) attractive, extroverted, social people are interested in geekesque subcultures.


lol no.
From what I know, not a very large number are into anime and what not here. Maybe a small majority of the pop. but not a large number. And the people who are into anime and what not are mostly Narutards.
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Postby oOoOoOo » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:07 pm

PRPD-kun, that was sort of what I thought. 217 may be exaggerating.
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Postby Evangelion217 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:52 am

Evangelion’s the same way, but I think it’s easier for someone who already watches anime to get into Evangelion because of its initial reliance on established tropes.


I think students of cinema are able to get into "Evangelion" a lot easier. Sure, most anime fans have seen it, and many of them either like it, admire it, or love it. But I bet half of them don't even know what their looking at.


When you make 2 successive posts in a thread, that's called double posting

I'm guessing New York is one of those magical places where (to make a cruel generalization) attractive, extroverted, social people are interested in geekesque subcultures.


Yup, many of us NY anime fans do go outside, we do party, we socialize, we get laid, and we enjoy life most of the time when were not working from 9 to 5.

Not to my surprise, I've talked to anime fans who got into the medium because of "Evangelion." I got BACK into the medium once I saw "EVA." So my experience was different. You don't need to be educated on the medium to enjoy "Eva", you just need to be educated on cinema, art, and literature.
The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.

"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby oOoOoOo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:00 am

It might be safe to say, 217, that your confusion about Evangelion's broader acceptance is based around the unique subculture you are a part of. I would hazard to guess that in most of the West, anime is something restricted to social invalids. Where I live, openly liking anime lowers your chances of having sex with attractive people.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:25 am

On this whole "Do people outside anime see NGE" thing... I really don't know. I might put it like this; you really need to have some level of interest in anime - that initial thing that piques your curiosity about the form - before you can see it. There isn't going to be major advertisement or people talking about it and you're unlikely to see it by chance on TV or the internet, so you have to actually GO TO IT. The thing is, though, that if you DO research anime at all, NGE will be one of the first titles to come up. So even an anime neophyte has a good chance of seeing NGE as one of the first titles they see.

However, I do know many who have come here and said they saw NGE referenced or saw a clip on something completely unrelated and simply thought to themselves that it looked interesting and decided to check it out based on that. I won't deny there's a definite bias and strong, ignorant stereotypes about anime in the West (in general) and many, many people have absolutely ZERO interest in anything anime. They may see something like Spirited Away or Bebop but ONLY because it's marketed more towards them. NGE is very much a product of its culture and medium so I can see a certain kind of limiting appeal through no fault of its own. And people outside it can certainly find it appealing on any number of levels (characters, drama, action, mysteries, etc.) that have nothing to do with its more limiting contexts.

But part of me hopes that this new generation is going to go a long ways in demolishing such ignorant stereotypes about anime (and comics) in the West. I already see it happening with comics and if people are able to start accepting smarter and smarter comics (and comic book films) then it shouldn't be more difficult to accept smarter and more serious animation.

oOoOoOo wrote:I would hazard to guess that in most of the West, anime is something restricted to social invalids.
Probably depends on where you're coming to it from. Many turn to anime because it feeds their need for fantasy since reality doesn't work out well for them. Others like myself and mj (217) come to NGE as general aesthetes who love the arts; of which there really isn't much of a social stigma attached to AFAIK.
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We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:15 am

This is much more pared down since I think you and I are actually coming to a point of near absolute agreement. But hopefully I didn't truncate your post too much (I read it all and kept finding myself nodding in agreement) and there's still something of interest to discuss.

Merridian wrote:I’ll admit that total subjective comparison is entirely useless when it comes to debating this sort of thing. But I still insist that a level of personal bias leaks through into how much praise someone gives a work of art—especially when the things being debated/compared are already on a common standing ground in terms of technical and thematic depth.
Sure they do. But have you ever really pondered about whether such "objective" standards are really objective and not merely a mass collection of subjective ones that a lot of people just happened to agree on? Does Citizen Kane REALLY have great cinematography or do a lot of people simply think so and thus it becomes a kind of standard? Then again, one certainly doesn't have to limit that to art; you can stretch it to morality, for example.

Merridian wrote:I think a more appropriate assertion would be that canon has simply been fragmented into some kind of hyper-canon—which, from my perspective, means that it’s still up to the individual to decide which works are more important to his/herself.
Well, if we're talking about "last 20 years" recent then we can't really talk about canon but can only predict future canon. Since canon is something that's formed over time, picking it in the present is incredibly hard, because opinions on aesthetics change with the generations and what lasts is generally what gets canonized. It's a bit like planting trees to weather the storm of time; the ones that bend and don't break are the ones you want to tie your trailer to when the hurricane comes.

A good example is if you look it Theyshootpictures top 250 films list and then their 21st century 250 films list; the latter is littered with films that I think range from really mediocre to crappy (to their credit, the top 30 is pretty solid) and will definitely fade away over the years, the former is pretty rock solid and doesn't change much except for slight variations, while the latter can change drastically each time they do it. In a way, it's a bit like looking a variance graph; the shorter the sample amount the more wavy the lines are going to be, the greater the example the more they tend towards expectation and tend to look steady.

Merridian wrote:Maybe the content has been scaled back to make a broader appeal, but the techniques have certainly made it into the mainstream.
And that's typically a product of the creators who tend to be nerds of their mediums who dig through the past and appropriate whatever techniques/devices they find useful. My point was more about the general audience being aware of these things. You wonder just how many people have seen shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, etc. and have never seen Monty Python.

Merridian wrote:there’s still that stigma attached to the monthlies, just as there’s still a stigma attached to current anime.
Well, my point was more that these works are opening up a general public to accepting that masterpieces can actually be made in these force. Logic follows that if some are made at all, then more will be. It only takes a ripple of a few people falling in love with something like Watchmen and then deciding to dig a bit deeper before you have a much larger number of people than normal getting into comics. Of course the monthlies will probably always stay on a level similar to soap operas for kids and nerds because, well, that's generally what they're aimed at.

Merridian wrote:just as Kino’s Journey, Ghost in the Shell S.A.C., and Texnohlyze all received impressive write-ups on sites and in magazines largely unrelated to anime.
I'd actually like to read some of these if you have any links. I always like reading reviews about relatively niche works from places that don't focus on those things.

Merridian wrote:I know what you mean. As far as I’m concerned, unless the artist published his/her notes or commentary on their own piece, the artist can’t expect the interpreter to get every little nuance of their work.
That, plus you also have to consider there's a great amount of unconscious, intuitive creation that goes into art. Artists rarely consciously grasp 100% of what they're saying and how they're saying it (much like people in real life). Then there's works like Paradise Lost which, let's face it, probably wouldn't have nearly the level of scholarly study devoted to it without the very unintended-by-Milton interpretation of Satan as the tragically heroic figure or, as Blake said of him "he was of the Devil's party without knowing it." :grin:

Merridian wrote:I came into contact with a clique of these crazies every day on campus last semester, and they were every bit as unjustified in their beliefs as they were unwilling to accept someone else's opinion.
The thing is that THESE are actually the kind of pretentious elitists that you can still find in the world (that term often gets tossed at anyone who genuinely likes art as anything beyond superficial entertainment) and they're also likely very easy to destroy in debate. They're the kinds that are playing a role out of arrogance and to inflate their ego than out of genuine love and knowledge. I guess I've been lucky in meeting so many genuine aesthetes online that don't fit that description and actually have a broad range of tastes that cross the boundaries of high-art, low-art, canon, non-canon and everywhere in between.

Merridian wrote:I was abruptly called out as being "one of those art faggots that hates what normal people listen to". Sad part is that I don't even criticize what someone else likes; just mentioning experimental anything is enough to get some people flustered. People are touchy, and I've just learned to stay vague about my interests.
It's a shame you've had to put up with people like that; I count myself lucky I haven't encountered them online or in real life. I think most people who ask about my interests quickly find I'm pretty damn omnivorous when it comes to the arts. Chances are I love something they love and am able to introduce to them 20 things they'll probably love because of it.

Merridian wrote:I’d summarize what I’m trying to say right here: Evangelion is fighting a number of factors when it comes to inclusion within ‘artistic canon’.
And I guess I really agree. Perhaps it's those things even more than what I initially railed about in my OP (about fans keeping in the family and downplaying its artfulness) that scare me about NGE's posterity. Social change can be a very slow thing even when the change is urgent (civil rights), so I really worry about something where people aren't even aware that things DO need to change.

Slightly OT, but I do have two life-long ambitions I want to eventually accomplish with NGE; one is to do a series-long audio commentary and two is to write and hopefully publish an as-comprehensive-as-possible scholarly-like study on the series. I really think the later is one thing that could really boost NGE's standing among the types who have the most to do with getting works canonized. And there's certainly enough of interest in NGE to publish several volumes worth since there's so damn much to cover. It would be a monumental task and I'd certainly have to have help. But... hopefully. :)
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We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby oOoOoOo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:36 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:Probably depends on where you're coming to it from. Many turn to anime because it feeds their need for fantasy since reality doesn't work out well for them. Others like myself and mj (217) come to NGE as general aesthetes who love the arts; of which there really isn't much of a social stigma attached to AFAIK.
It certainly helps that the most common ways to find out about, or acquire anime, are essentially introverted. The internet. Comic book shops. Just about anything else that you could consider "art house" or "indie" in other media would be pushed in more extroverted ways.

People who accept all art forms without question are rare creatures, of course. ^^;
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:56 am

oOoOoOo wrote:It certainly helps that the most common ways to find out about, or acquire anime, are essentially introverted.
I see what you mean, but can't really agree RE the internet. The internet is really a hub for all kinds of people and all kinds of things. Take me; my job (online poker) obviously keeps me on the computer a lot. So during downtime it's easy to turn to message boards or browse Amazon or whatever I feel like doing. Since I love art I'm naturally always on the hunt for new things I might love. I couldn't even tell you how I first found NGE; probably saw it as a recommendation after looking up Akira (which I WAS actually introduced to in school).

Ironically, I am somewhat anti-social, but more out of choice than from any natural introverted geekiness or what have you. I'm fine around people, I have friends, I've had girlfriends, etc. I just don't consider being in society consistently as something that's appealing... more of something I do for a change.

oOoOoOo wrote:People who accept all art forms without question are rare creatures, of course.
Just call me Mew. Yay for obscure Pokemon references...

Random Edit: I can finally going to bed after hitting 3100 posts... Wasn't actually trying to do that, it just happened. Yay for Jungian synchronicity... Ok, this doesn't count, but whatever, I'm tired and rambling. Blahblahblitherblather, oh, bother[/Pooh Bear]
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^ Writing as Jonathan Henderson ^
We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby oOoOoOo » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:18 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:I see what you mean, but can't really agree RE the internet. The internet is really a hub for all kinds of people and all kinds of things. Take me; my job (online poker) obviously keeps me on the computer a lot. So during downtime it's easy to turn to message boards or browse Amazon or whatever I feel like doing. Since I love art I'm naturally always on the hunt for new things I might love. I couldn't even tell you how I first found NGE; probably saw it as a recommendation after looking up Akira (which I WAS actually introduced to in school).
What? o_O The internet is extroversion for introverts, but that doesn't make it extroverted. ^^;
~ O-chan is soooo 2D right now.

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Postby VoidEater » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:25 am

oOoOoOo wrote:The internet is extroversion for introverts, but that doesn't make it extroverted. ^^;

This.
"I would like to see a clown remake of 'Terms of Endearment' or 'The Thorn Birds.' Or maybe a big disaster movie, like 'Towering Inferno.' That's stuff I'd pay to see. Nothing says entertainment more than burning clowns."


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