Can someone please explain the symbolism in this series?

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Postby Trajan » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:09 pm

This is why I don’t like symbolism debates. Eva is supposed to mean whatever you want it to per Word of God, if you believe the whole story is some sort of allegory, I respect your beliefs. If you think it’s a realistic work of fiction with a mystic atmosphere, I also respect your beliefs. I think I’m sort of in the middle of all this, the allusions and imagery help add to the meaning of the work but a lot of it is in there for aesthetic value. The problem is we have the two camps both trying to convince the other side of something the other will never accept, so it just turns into a lot of opinion bashing at best and a flame war at worst. I would prefer to handle specific instances of symbols, allusions rather than try to group all of it into a “does it mean anything?” topic.

Sorry about the mini-rant, I just wanted to add my opinion. BTW, I think about 35% of it is actually meaningful.
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Postby Carl Horn » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:31 pm

View Original PostTrajan wrote:This is why I don’t like symbolism debates. Eva is supposed to mean whatever you want it to per Word of God, if you believe the whole story is some sort of allegory, I respect your beliefs. If you think it’s a realistic work of fiction with a mystic atmosphere, I also respect your beliefs. I think I’m sort of in the middle of all this, the allusions and imagery help add to the meaning of the work but a lot of it is in there for aesthetic value. The problem is we have the two camps both trying to convince the other side of something the other will never accept, so it just turns into a lot of opinion bashing at best and a flame war at worst. I would prefer to handle specific instances of symbols, allusions rather than try to group all of it into a “does it mean anything?” topic.

Sorry about the mini-rant, I just wanted to add my opinion. BTW, I think about 35% of it is actually meaningful.


I should say that I don't think that the single correct way to view Evangelion is through its religious elements; it isn't even the main way that I personally look at the series. Evangelion (a bit like real life) is about a whole lot of different things, including fan service and Pen-Pen. It was the creation of various people with different ideas about the series. And of course, by now there are several different versions of Evangelion itself. Maybe the problem arises when people try to come up with a grand unified theory to "explain Evangelion," because that will likely mean in order to make it work, they will have to disregard much of the "raw data;" i.e., scenes that don't relate to their theory.

Because in the past there may have been theories that sought to give a theological rigor, as it were, to Evangelion, there has also been, to my mind, an overreaction to those theories, insisting that Evangelion's religious elements have no story meaning whatsoever. What I'm trying to do, basically, is advocate that Evangelion be evaluated for its actual content--whatever is in it, is in it. I have no objection to people preferring to focus on some aspects of the series and not talk about others; where I object is when people start saying, in order to understand Evangelion, we must eliminate certain scenes from our consideration. To me, this is the "fan edit" approach to "understanding" Evangelion; not the series is actually is, but a cut-down version of the series made to fit a theory.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:26 am

View Original PostTrajan wrote:This is why I don’t like symbolism debates. Eva is supposed to mean whatever you want it to... The problem is we have the two camps both trying to convince the other side of something the other will never accept,
Here's the problem, Trajan; it's not that we have two camps trying to convince each other, the problem is that one of those camps positively refuses to address the evidence set forth by the others. Do you know that nobody on this forum has ever, ever, actually responded to my interpretations and refuted anything I've said? Not once. That's a fact. Yet people still persist in saying the religious symbolism has no meaning. You know why? Well, their entire reason for saying so resides in this rock solid logic:

1. We don't understand how allusions work in literature.
2. We don't/can't see any meaning behind the Christian symbolism.
3. We don't want to take the time to address others' interpretations of them.
4. Tsurumaki said "we chose them to lo look cool and they have no religious meaning."
5. Ergo, they are meaningless and only there to look cool.

So, basically, ignorance, ignorance, ignorance, and the misinterpretation of a quote are all that's needed for the "other" side to come to the conclusion that the symbolism is meaningless. Now, call me crazy, but I'd rather side with with the people who have actually taken the time to point out the meaningful connections between the symbolism and the narrative, themes, characters, etc. than the people who have shut their brain off, refuse to address those interpretations, and fall back on an ambiguous quote to "prove" their side.

Normally, I'm perfectly open to people interpreting NGE quite freely. If they want to read this or that into it, that's fine, as long as they present a compelling case with sound logic. But I'm so adamant about this topic because I think there is absolutely NO sound argument or reason behind the "the symbolism is meaningless" side, and this is especially doubled when that side has completely failed to address any interpretations put forth by the other side.

View Original PostCarl Horn wrote:Because in the past there may have been theories that sought to give a theological rigor, as it were, to Evangelion, there has also been, to my mind, an overreaction to those theories, insisting that Evangelion's religious elements have no story meaning whatsoever. What I'm trying to do, basically, is advocate that Evangelion be evaluated for its actual content--whatever is in it, is in it. I have no objection to people preferring to focus on some aspects of the series and not talk about others; where I object is when people start saying, in order to understand Evangelion, we must eliminate certain scenes from our consideration. To me, this is the "fan edit" approach to "understanding" Evangelion; not the series is actually is, but a cut-down version of the series made to fit a theory.
Again, I have to commend Carl Horn for cogently summing up so many of my feelings of this issue. You're able to say what I've been saying for a long time with a lot more eloquence and restraint (probably because you haven't had to deal so frequently with the ignorant, bullheaded opposition).

@Allemann  SPOILER: Show
View Original PostAllemann wrote:Why should I? And what does this have to do with religious symbolism?
My point was simply this: there are TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONS of things in NGE that aren't explicitly spelled out for us that require a high degree of interpretation based on the facts (what is ACTUALLY shown) as they're presented, combined with a high degree of inductive logical "piecing together" of what often amounts to as shreds of evidence. Saying that all such interpretations are "creating internally consistent but fully subjective interpretations" is beyond absurd.

My interpretations of the religious symbolism isn't "fully subjective". It's taking what the series gives us and connecting the symbolism to it in meaningful ways using inferential logic. If all this was was some kind of subjective fanwanking then someone, anyone, should be able to punch holes in my interpretations. They should be able to say "yeah, well, this could just as easily mean THIS given what we're shown and THIS would contradict what you say". But nobody (much less you) has done this. Instead, you simply dismiss it without addressing it. How is this even remotely fair? As absurd as your anti-autuerist stance is I still thoroughly addressed that.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:They SOUND cool.
Honorificabilitudinitatibus SOUNDS cool, but Anno and co. didn't use it (nor did they say they selected anything because it sounded cool; picking the name because it sounds complex isn't the same thing).

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Only in Jimbo's world are an assistant director and a voice actor equivocated in terms of contribution to the film.
You missed my point; saying that Tsurumaki contributed to the production isn't the same as saying he was privy to every single creative decision that was ultimately made by Anno either in the writing or directing process. Assistant directors can help directors without knowing the reasons behind why a director is doing something.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:will you now start denying Anno's explanations of various decisions in making NGE-erm, I mean "interpretations" when it doesn't suit your ideology?
Depends on what you mean by "denying". I would think by now I've written enough about my take on the importance of artistic intention. It just defines (and sometimes quite imperfectly even then) intention, but not what's created.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Just another evasion from your side.
What? What am I evading?

View Original PostAllemann wrote:We're aren't (at least not I) talking about any interpretation. We're talking here about your intepretation. And you don't give any reason why we should give weight to your intrepretations, especially when it explicitly contradicts official statements regarding some aspect of NGE. Why listen to Jimbo over to the original staff? Why?
You listen to Jimbo over the original staff because Jimbo's interpretation fits with what we're shown in NGE better than what the staff said. It's as simple as that. My rhetorical question was given to highlight that this is why you would/should listen to ANY interpretation regardless of the source. And my interpretation doesn't even conflict with anything Tsurumaki said. Saying they chose them because they look cool but they don't have religious meaning does not conflict with "they also abstractly conform with many of the series' themes and narrative events". They can do this while looking cool and having no religious meaning.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:I just list official statements on the matter and let them speak for themselves. I try my best not to project me into it, and I contain myself from adding anything over or above it.
Right, so you turn your brain off and listen to what someone else tells you regardless of whether that something else corresponds to the subject at hand. Nothing you said conflicts with what I said about what you're doing. So we're agreed you're not using your brain here?

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Are you such a postmodernist that even the author's ideas behind his works are only interpretations and on equal footing with an interpretation of some fan?
I know enough about art aesthetic theory to know that making such a blanket statement would be stupid. You're basically committing a loaded question fallacy here. I created a whole thread largely designed to addressing this subject, essentially saying that the author's intent is only valuable insofar as it actually corresponds to the actual work. Sometimes, it doesn't, and it may not correspond for a tremendous variety of reasons. Most self-conscious writers/directors don't answer questions about their intention for this very reason; not because they DON'T have any intention, but merely stating their intention doesn't mean that that's actually what ended up in their work. Using stated authorial intent is doubly tricky when you're dealing with people who aren't even the primary creative force, and dealing with statements that don't actually contradict what I've been arguing.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Using adjectives as "one-line", "potentially off-hand", "out-of-context" shows you can't refute the quote
My interpretations that you STILL continue to ignore have refuted to quote if you interpret the quote to mean "the religious symbols are there for looks and nothing more". My interpretation of the quote is more along the lines of what it actually says:

"We chose the religious symbolism because it looks cool." -- That's fine and dandy. Any writer/director can choose symbolism because it looks cool, and then incorporate it in a way that meshes significantly with the work itself. In fact, I imagine this happens more often than writers selectively hunting down symbols just because they match whatever it is they're trying to depict/symbolize. That's the magic of symbols; they can be easily reinterpreted to mean other things depending on the context.

"The symbols have no religious meaning." -- I agree with this part; the symbols have no RELIGIOUS meaning. They do, however, have other meaning.

So, there, I'm not really disagreeing with anything in the quote. What's happening is that you're (likely incorrectly) inferring from the first statement that because the symbols were chosen for their looks, they couldn't have been used in a significant way. This is quite silly given the universal nature of the symbols to begin with.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:But beyond that it doesn't have any additional function.
Well, this is the crux of the debate. Maybe if you could actually address my interpretations you'd have an actual reason for stating this. Accepting what someone else says as absolute fact (based on a shaky inference) and then ignoring all other evidence to the contrary is precisely what Xard said: selective ignorance.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Reinforcement implies prior familiarity with the content, which barely any Japanese has when it comes to Christianity
And you're stating this based on what? How do you know the average Japanese's familiarity with Christianity and The Bible? Xard has stated many times that these symbols and the connected stories would be familiar, so what makes you think they wouldn't be? What's more, it's not just some "average Japanese" person using these symbols, it's Anno, and how do you know how much Anno knows about The Bible, Christianity, and these symbols?

View Original PostAllemann wrote:There's no reinforcement taking place.
Oh, so the Lance of Longinus being a lance that is used to pierce God has nothing to do with how it's used in NGE? You can't see the metaphor between The Magi of the Bible and NGE? You can't see any parallel in Jesus being crucified and sacrificed and Shinji? You can't see any reinforcement in the idea of Genesis being the ultimate origin where we were closer to God? None of these ideas from The Bible reinforce what's happening in NGE, eh?

View Original PostAllemann wrote:And religious symbols can reinforce only religious themes because that is what symbols do by definition. As NGE isn't a show about religion, those religious references aren't symbols and can't be treated as such.
No. This is the symbol fallacy that I ranted about in here. Just because the symbols originated in religion doesn't mean they only contain religious themes. That would be like saying that a swastika must be a religiously sacred symbol because that's how it was used originally in Eastern regions and it can't be associated with the Nazis who appropriated it for their own use.

Symbols like the Christian cross don't just stand for "Jesus died for our sins so you should worship Him and God the Father," which is largely the extent to which the symbol is tied to Christianity. Its associations with things like death, rebirth, sacrifice, a burden, etc. are not innately religious even though these themes were used to tell religious stories. You can still keep those meanings without the rest of the religious baggage. To say you can't is to be grossly ignorant of how symbols work to begin with.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:The relation between Adam (signifier) and a glowing giant (signified) is an arbitrary relation.
The relation between Adam (signifier) and Genesis Adam (signified) is equally arbitrary. The name Adam can be given to anyone. There's nothing about the word Adam that is innately connected to the Biblical Anno. You can't argue that the depth of connection between a signifier and sign is proof of its innate connection. The fact that the word "tree" means this thing is completely arbitrary. But because we associate all kinds of things with trees, it can be used as a symbol in art to represent many associated themes. The same thing is done with Adam: Adam, the first human in The Bible is translated to the first human in NGE. Eve was made of Adam's rib in the Bible, Evas were made from Adam in NGE. The reinforcements hold. They aren't there "just for looks".

What's more, the types of symbols that are connected to their meaning (as you described) usually reside in the realm of visual rather than textual signs. This frequently crops up in languages where the written language is meant to visually represent the thing it refers to. That's the "innate" connection you're referring to, but your Adam/Biblical Adam example doesn't apply in the least.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Those signs don't summon any additional ideas like the virgin birth, sin, or martyrdom.
Nor do they have to. If I use a tree as a symbol for the birth of a human, I don't have to consider that trees are born from seeds and sprout from the ground rather than reproducing sexually. The point of metaphors, allegories, and symbols isn't to deeply connect every single aspect from the original context to the new one. If that was the case, then nobody would ever use them. Instead, the point is to subtly suggest connections between an old context and a new context in subtle ways that prevent the authors from coming out and explicitly explaining everything.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Evangelion is a sufficiently vague show, and with not having plenty of official things that were never shown outside of Japan, our desire to have some meaning (humans are meaning machines) lets our creative faculty run rampantly.
If our creative faculties were "running rampant" then our interpretations would not be so multitudinous and consistent with what we're shown in the series. You can't just asspull interpretations and make them fit with what's there if they don't or were never meant to without a ton of shaky logic.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:And just because you discover an alleged allusion it doesn't mean it's there.
Errr, they're obviously allusions... unless you think that all of the religious symbols weren't meant to be referring to The Bible.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:The religious symbols are embroidery around a secular story.
And religious symbols can be used to reinforce secular ideas. You act as if every moral lesson or theme that The Bible espouses must be connected to its mythology to exist at all; as if themes of death, rebirth, sacrifice, etc. didn't exist in literature and oral stories centuries before The Bible was written. The Bible or Christianity as a religion doesn't OWN these themes any more than it OWNS its symbols, and you and many others are in a severe need of a crash course lesson as to how allusions work in fiction.

View Original PostAllemann wrote:You, people, repeatedly forget to put off your western-centric glasses and position yourself in the perspective of native Japanese watching the show on TV.
Why do we need to put yourself in the perspective of a native Japanese VIEWER? This doesn't even make sense. Anno KNEW that the series was going to be shown in Japan, so how is it possible he could be so concerned about communicating with a Japanese audience while, at the same time, confusing them with symbols that you claim none of them would know? Which is it?

View Original PostAllemann wrote:It would. You're the author.
Aha. And authors don't lie and they have a complete and unimpeded understanding of what they create? Not only that, but they are the absolute owners of every symbol they use and are free to redefine them at will, to hell with how those things are actually defined and used in real life? Well, I'll say, you have a different understanding of art than anyone I've ever met.
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Postby Born of Lilith » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:18 am

I can't believe that the symbolism in Evangelion is meaningless. Too much evidence to the contrary. It's like if a musical group made a mind-blowing progressive rock album and then one of the band members said "nah, we set out to make shitty garage punk; you're just imagining things."
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Postby A.T. Fish » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:05 pm

This fandom war about the meaning (or lack there of) of the religious elements in Evangelion apparently stems from the unwillingness to recognize the middle ground on the subject. I'm not one who believes there is much meaning to the religious stuff, but it's not like I'm saying there is no meaning to it whatsoever (in fact, they are what drew me into the series), and it's not like the people advocating for their meaningful nature argument that they are the leading element in the story.

I believe that in the process of creating Evangelion Anno had a story in mind and then he decided to add elements from religion that would fit his story, he didn't just throw them in there randomly, he used them consistently, making a lot of analogies between them and elements in the plot. To understand these analogies previous knowledge of the meaning of the religious stuff is required, but the story itself can be understood without it.

It's not like I'm trying to butcher the series and dispose of everything referencing religion as if they were solely ornamental pieces, but they are not the central element in Evangelion. They complement the story and add another layer of depth to it, yes, but they remain as an auxiliary device to develop the central plot.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:14 pm

"Just to look cool" doesn't mean "making no association with the associated meaning-cloud". It's like having a character say "It is accomplished." at the end of some self-sacrificing deed, making a big nod to John 19:30, without assigning religiosity let alone divinity to the character.
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Postby The Abhorrent » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:42 pm

View Original PostBorn of Lilith wrote:I can't believe that the symbolism in Evangelion is meaningless. Too much evidence to the contrary.


I think I summarized that a bit incorrectly last time, the general point is that the religious symbolism in NGE isn't religious (in my opinion). It's difficult to take the cross-shaped explosions seriously. At most, it suggests that Seele is run by a bunch of religious fanatics. Could it still have meaning? Definitely, though it's more likely to mirror the original meaning than allude to the fact it's a religious symbol or be divine.


A couple of examples:

1. In episode 21, Gendo is shown to have the shadows behind him form as a cross across his back. This particular scene is shortly after Yui's disappearance, and Fuyutski is confronting him for being absent too much despite his loss. One of the traditional meanings of the cross is that of burden, and the whole scope of Gendo's plans throughout the series seem to imply he's taken on so much of the burden on himself to obtain his goal, or maybe he blames himself for Yui's supposed loss and is taking (rather extreme) measures to correct it. In any event, it's the use of religious symbolism to convey a non-religious objective.... I think.

2. The name "Angels" originates from the english dub, in the original Japanese the word used directly translates into "messenger". This slight change makes sense in the context of the series, as angels are traditionally considered messengers from God. The Angels are messengers from Adam, who is in turn viewed a god-like being. The Evangelions themselves are even described to be "made (by man) to be as a god". I suppose this could be interpreted as some form of religious meaning.... or that Seele is run by a bunch of religious fanatics. The phrase "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from science" could be at play here, as beings as powerful as the Angels and the Evas could simply be so powerful that lesser beings view them as gods (in other words, it could simply be relative and not involve absolute power over everything, just seemingly absolute power over everything we understand so far).
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Postby Xard » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:57 pm

1. In episode 21, Gendo is shown to have the shadows behind him form as a cross across his back. This particular scene is shortly after Yui's disappearance, and Fuyutski is confronting him for being absent too much despite his loss. One of the traditional meanings of the cross is that of burden, and the whole scope of Gendo's plans throughout the series seem to imply he's taken on so much of the burden on himself to obtain his goal, or maybe he blames himself for Yui's supposed loss and is taking (rather extreme) measures to correct it. In any event, it's the use of religious symbolism to convey a non-religious objective.... I think.


Not to mention Gendo is announcing initiation of plan which aims at Godhood, making ep 21's framing one of the instances where the religious baggage is undeniably meaningful and loldeep.

Really, I think most of the people fall to the "middle way" here. My disagreement with Jimbo isn't in abstract sense but rather in the extent to which he carries his theory - something he does with many other aspects of his eva analysis too. Too implausible, too many ifs, too much fanwank. Internal consistency with show alone doesn't make them beliavable.
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Postby The Abhorrent » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:21 pm

View Original PostXard wrote:Not to mention Gendo is announcing initiation of plan which aims at Godhood, making ep 21's framing one of the instances where the religious baggage is undeniably meaningful and loldeep.


A good point, though as always, debatable. The question of why Gendo wants to obtain godhood can simply be him wanting to obtain as much power as possible.... or could it simply be the only possible means to his ends (getting Yui back)? There's also the matter of if a the traditional villain motive of obtaining godhood is religious or simply taking the concept of being power-hungry to it's logical conclusion.

This entire debate could simply be a matter of Evangelion proving yet again that every single scene, image, and symbol can be viewed in multiple ways. There are a dozen perfectly reasonable correct answers and not a single wrong one, not to mention it's entirely possible that there is no best answer either (no matter how hard some of us may try to prove it as such).

Another thing to consider is lens of which the viewer addresses the series. The christian faith not being common amongst the Japanese is one possibility, but another could be someone who was brought up under that faith but has since chosen to not believe in it (either partially or entirely). They could be trying to avoid seeing it in a religious context (unless it is explicitly stated to be so, which isn't the case in NGE), despite them being perfectly familiar with the faith as it is shown. They don't want to see in that context, at least not initially.
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Postby BiQ » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:37 pm

View Original PostThe Abhorrent wrote:2. The name "Angels" originates from the english dub, in the original Japanese the word used directly translates into "messenger".


I know this is pedantry, but I beg to differ on the origination of the term "Angel", it was [s]mistranslation[/s] by GAINAX, [s]which ended sticking[/s]:
SPOILER: Show

Image

That's from renewal ep 24, 24' is exactly the same and I'm 100% positive it was like this on those .vivo fansub files I saw back in 1999.

Edit: ok, so it was intentional. Any way, it originated from GAINAX.
Last edited by BiQ on Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Xard » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:44 pm

GAINAX wanted shito translated into Angel, just like they wanted Jinrui Hokan Keikaku be Human Instrumentality Project instead of Human Complementation Project

View Original PostThe Abhorrent wrote:A good point, though as always, debatable. The question of why Gendo wants to obtain godhood can simply be him wanting to obtain as much power as possible.... or could it simply be the only possible means to his ends (getting Yui back)? There's also the matter of if a the traditional villain motive of obtaining godhood is religious or simply taking the concept of being power-hungry to it's logical conclusion.


These details don't really matter though because they've all combined under the symbol which is by nature rather vague.

View Original PostThe Abhorrent wrote:This entire debate could simply be a matter of Evangelion proving yet again that every single scene, image, and symbol can be viewed in multiple ways. There are a dozen perfectly reasonable correct answers and not a single wrong one, not to mention it's entirely possible that there is no best answer either (no matter how hard some of us may try to prove it as such).


People like me who are after the most trustworthy and least questionable interprepations (some uncertainty is inevitable) stuff like this is like a red flag :P

I can't even claim to be one who came up with this "interprepation" in the first place, the script emphatizes appereance of cross in the cut and Reichu discussed it in detail years ago

I used Platinum's translation "path to godhood" here, but it's another ambiguity. It's just "kami e no michi", and you can take that a number of different ways. "Michi" is "road", "way", "path", etc. (Literal or metaphorical.) The particles "e no" mean "to" or "towards". But the biggest problem -- and a recurring one -- is the complete and utter ambiguity of the term kami in NGE.

Kami is intrinsically a Shinto concept (Google it), but the term was later co-opted to also encompass the various concepts of "god" or "divinity" present in other cultures. Aside from a shrine in episode #03, we don't really get any Shinto in the show. We don't really get any REAL religious stuff, either. Seele are just naming what are inherently sci-fi elements (extraterrestrial entities and technology, etc.) they've found after stuff in their wacky religion. That at least means that kami is religiously loaded in that Judaio-Christian, Seele sort of way, but we're not dealing with the actual Judaeo-Christian God (YHWH). The term is actually used pretty liberally, all things considered.


In any case we're talking about what SEELE considers divine/kami in the show in any case so I'm not talking about "Godhood" in westerns terms per se. Because all judeochristian haberdashery in the show is already linked with Angels, Seeds of Life etc. this "interprepation" (there's reason why I called it undeniable) holds even if we think of the terminology and aesthetics as signifying nothing more than science fiction elements inherent in the show.

View Original PostThe Abhorrent wrote:Another thing to consider is lens of which the viewer addresses the series. The christian faith not being common amongst the Japanese is one possibility, but another could be someone who was brought up under that faith but has since chosen to not believe in it (either partially or entirely). They could be trying to avoid seeing it in a religious context (unless it is explicitly stated to be so, which isn't the case in NGE), despite them being perfectly familiar with the faith as it is shown. They don't want to see in that context, at least not initially.


If we want example of anime director who uses Christian imagery and symbolism in meaningful way and has intimate history with religion look no further than Mamoru Oshii - the man even considered becoming a priest before losing his faith for whatever reason in early 80s which led to the magnificent, soul searching masterpiece of existential despair that is Angel's Egg.

Afterwards Oshii has had long career of using Bible quotes etc. while not necessarily discussing or illuminating Christian themes, saying he uses Bible "for its philosophy". So usage of Christian imagery and symbols in Japanese anime and not let it have anything to do with simply Christianity is not unheard of
Last edited by Xard on Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Ornette » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:50 pm

View Original PostBiQ wrote:I know this is pedantry, but I beg to differ on the origination of the term "Angel", it was mistranslation by Gainax, which ended sticking:

GAINAX was well aware of the shito/tenshi=apostle/angel translation and did it on purpose as part of the whole western religious symbolism thing. They requested that ADV retain this translation when they released it in the states eventhough the shito/tenshi business is kind of ambiguous on its own.

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Postby Allemann » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:57 am

View Original PostXard wrote:Not to mention Gendo is announcing initiation of plan which aims at Godhood, making ep 21's framing one of the instances where the religious baggage is undeniably meaningful and loldeep.


Seele constantly describes the FAR, their artifacts, and creations like they were in a religious relations, but I wouldn't classify Gendo's remark as referring to any religion in particular. For Seele the FAR are gods, so they treat them and describe them accordingly to their perception of them. The cross-like shadow over Gendo is that usage of religious symbols for which I'm aiming. It's just there for bolstering the scene.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:59 am

View Original PostA.T. Fish wrote:This fandom war about the meaning (or lack there of) of the religious elements in Evangelion apparently stems from the unwillingness to recognize the middle ground on the subject...
Wait... but I agree with you and I'm probably the most adamant "religious symbolism has meaning" defender on this forum. So, if by your definition of "the middle," I'm actually in the middle, then it seems that there IS no middle. There's simply the worlds of "the religious symbolism has meaning" and "it doesn't". Yes, within the former we might disagree over HOW much meaning it has, but I don't think any meaning I've ever proposed is so outrageous as to not make sense given what we're shown (again, nobody's every objected to any of my interpretations to a "they don't fit with what we're shown" extent).

View Original PostThe Abhorrent wrote:It's difficult to take the cross-shaped explosions seriously.
I don't think the crossplosions have MEANING as much as they have PURPOSE. See my thread on the subject here.

View Original PostXard wrote:My disagreement with Jimbo isn't in abstract sense but rather in the extent to which he carries his theory - something he does with many other aspects of his eva analysis too. Too implausible, too many ifs, too much fanwank.
So, Xard, where and why do I carry my theories too far? You insisting that they're "implausible, with too many ifs and too much fanwank" isn't really addressing anything I've actually said. What's funny about this is that you seemed to completely concur with me on the subject when I was first introducing you to the Jungian connections (which I still think are the most important aspects of the symbolism) and I haven't heard a single objection out of you since then.

Is what I'm requesting so absurd? I offer interpretations and others actually comment on them? I mean, if you object to what I'm saying then that's fine, but instead of just throwing out random crap like "it's too implausible, too many ifs, too much fanwank," why don't you actually point to something I've written and use a nifty little thing called logic to make a case why it actually IS any of these things? Surely if what I say is carried to such outrageous links then this should be remarkably easy to do.

Allemann wrote:For Seele the FAR are gods, so they treat them and describe them accordingly to their perception of them.
And that makes it different from any religion how? BTW: I love that you've quoted me out of context in your signature without actually addressing what I said. Real classy.
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Postby Allemann » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:05 am

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:And that makes it different from any religion how?


Most religions don't worship extraterrestrial in the biological sense, and what Seele does isn't religion but cultist devotion (ever read Lovecraft?).

BTW: I love that you've quoted me out of context in your signature without actually addressing what I said.


That out of context shtick is getting old.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:23 am

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Most religions don't worship extraterrestrial in the biological sense, and what Seele does isn't religion but cultist devotion.
You're going to have a hard time really explaining the difference:

re·li·gion
–noun
1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

-I would say almost the entirety of 1. falls in line with what Seele's doing with regards to their relationship with the FAR/SDSS/Seeds/etc. Granted, you have to stretch some of these a bit to apply; Seele certainly carry out their plans based on their own "holy text" almost like a devotional/ritual observance, and their moral code is more like an ideological code governed by those beliefs. Maybe you want to argue that the series doesn't present the FAR or Seeds as creators of the universe, but they DO present them as the creators of Earth and mankind, which, while certainly limiting their god-like powers, isn't really so completely dissimilar to believing that any other God/Gods created the Earth and man.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects:

-Fits Seele

3.the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices:

-Fits Seele

6. something one believes in and follows devotedly;

-Fits Seele

View Original PostAllemann wrote:That out of context shtick is getting old.
So? How is that quote not out of context? It's one thing when innocuous, funny comments are taken out of context for humorous effect, but that's not the case here as what I'm saying is pretty importantly tied to this discussion. The second comment is especially bad on your part since I was addressing that one specific comment. Obviously, if the staff makes a comment that actually fits with what we're shown in NGE then you should take what they say over what I say. Obviously, I (and many others) don't feel that applies in this case. Also, I wasn't even the first to say the first sentence. Xard said the exact same thing (essentially) here.
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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 Xard » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:27 am

View Original PostAllemann wrote:Seele constantly describes the FAR, their artifacts, and creations like they were in a religious relations, but I wouldn't classify Gendo's remark as referring to any religion in particular. For Seele the FAR are gods, so they treat them and describe them accordingly to their perception of them. The cross-like shadow over Gendo is that usage of religious symbols for which I'm aiming. It's just there for bolstering the scene.


Well, I said pretty much the same thing:
Because all judeochristian haberdashery in the show is already linked with Angels, Seeds of Life etc. this "interprepation" (there's reason why I called it undeniable) holds even if we think of the terminology and aesthetics as signifying nothing more than science fiction elements inherent in the show.


Looks like there's some sort of miscommunication going on here.

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:So, Xard, where and why do I carry my theories too far? You insisting that they're "implausible, with too many ifs and too much fanwank" isn't really addressing anything I've actually said. What's funny about this is that you seemed to completely concur with me on the subject when I was first introducing you to the Jungian connections (which I still think are the most important aspects of the symbolism) and I haven't heard a single objection out of you since then.


Of course I concurred on those elements as they were absurdly obvious in retrospect. But you never, not even back then, managed to sell me your "big picture" which required far more evidence than the basics we agreed on: and you never really produced any such evidence.

I can't cite any specific examples from all your blabberings that propably cover hundred pages worth of material by now because I don't remember the details any more, but as far as I can tell your claims have not fundamentally chjanged. I guess I could play the same rhetorical trick you tried to use recently and note the fact you've never managed to truly convert anyone with these "analyses" but that wouldn't be any real answer.
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Carl Horn » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:33 am

It would be interesting if Evangelion was written in such a way to show a fundamental culture war going on between NERV and SEELE; if SEELE was portrayed as religious fanatics but NERV maintained a secular view towards events--if we saw scenes in private where Gendo and Fuyutsuki rejected any unscientific talk of angels, original sin, redemption, and ancient prophecies. But I don't see such a gap between SEELE and NERV in the actual series. They differ in final goals and are antagonists to each other, but I don't see NERV's basic view of existence and events being that much different.

At the very end of EoE, Fuyutsuki asks Yui, whether man, in creating Eva, was trying to make a clone of God. This would have been a perfect moment for Yui, in her gentle, motherly fashion, to chide her old sensei for talking this way; he should have said "clone of an entity deriving from an immensely powerful ancient alien species." You could say, God is meant here as a metaphor, but why should they speak metaphorically? Aren't they both supposed to be scientists? Yui talks of the immortality of the Eva and how it would be eternal proof of man's existence. Is that scientific either? How does she know the Eva will be immortal? Why would it not be subject to entropic decay like everything else in the physical universe?

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Postby Xard » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:30 pm

I think it's a myth Eva is entirely "secular" story in its focus - it was after all inspired by Nausicaä to large extent, especially in philosophical and "religious" matters. Yui, Eva-01's "Godhood" etc. coincides awfully well with the vision Miyazaki developed in Nausicaä manga.

Even in first promotional material Eva was marketed as something which would tacke all kinds of Big Questions about existence of God and whould it mean to us if we could definetly answer the question, nature of evolution etc.

Given that all other of these things get fair deal of exposition it's baseless in my opinion to claim the extent of religious/God stuff in Eva is analogous to "just" scifi trappings. I think End of Evangelion resulted in birth of creature that might as well be called divine, post-III Impact Rei aka Lilth/Adam amalgation that has transcended spacetime contiinum
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Allemann » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:03 pm

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:You're going to have a hard time really explaining the difference:


You're waving me with a dictionary? Please!

a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs


The origin of the universe is never addressed in NGE, nor does Seele express any cosmogony, having no documents upon which to base it. And when it comes to human origins, it is clearly implied in the show that no deities of traditional religions or a mysterious divine reality behind scenes were participating in it, but that its origination is in activities of another highly advanced species, who was here after the universe was brought into being. Seele knows this full well, but it is their opinion (or maybe a predictable reaction if humans are inherently religious beings) that pseudoreligious behavior is the most adequate response to these facts, as this species is still some kind of a creator indescribably superior to humans.

A thing to note is that Seele doesn't worship the FAR; on the contrary, it is against what FAR has intended for the human race. The proper object of worship for Seele is their own ideas of what human destiny should be, and to realize these ideas it relies only on its own capabilities - scientific knowledge and political influence. Seele members don't pray to anyone, especially not to the FAR. Even their chants are pure formulaic expressions, which aren't intended to cause anything.

And when it comes to Seele's moral code it is almost nonexistent; they behave like amoral secularists. With all this in mind, to compare Seele with traditional religion is more than strained.

a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects


the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices


something one believes in and follows devotedly


Almost any human gathering that lasts over a week fits this description.


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