Death of the Author and Anno

For serious and at times in-depth discussions only, covering the original TV series, the movies End of Evangelion and Death & Rebirth.

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:53 am

View Original PostChuckman wrote:The problem of a translated work raises a whole other issue- is Neon Genesis Evangelion, as adapted by ADV, a work in and of itself, due to the choices made in translation, like calling the alien creatures "angels" instead of messengers or apostles?


Of course. It is not a text Anno wrote, so it can hardly be considered the same work. The same holds for the English dub -- that's yet another translation, and it's directed by a different individual to boot.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:46 pm

Copying my thoughts over from the other thread, I would agree with the notion that the intent of the author can be important for the interpretation of a work; however, I also believe that it is possible to disregard the author's intentions entirely and to derive your own meaning from said piece.

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:14 pm

The real issue comes when someone starts disregarding parts of a text in order to maintain his interpretation of other parts of the text. For example, a friend of mine saw Cloud Atlas and thought that the story had nothing to do with the idea of reincarnation, but was rather an etude in causality throughout the ages. (Probably because Hugo Weaving didn't explicitly state in the film "I am a reincarnated version of the last character I played." The family he comes from seems to be more dependent on being told things in a movie, while being shown things seems to go right over their heads.) But upon re-watching the movie, his thoughts changed abruptly when it came to the subject, and now he suddenly sees that the whole movie is all about reincarnation.

Now, there are a lot of the points in the film where reincarnation is heavily implied, but would it be wrong to read the back of the DVD case and use that as evidence to support the idea of reincarnation in the film? Sure, they're both congruous with each other, but that doesn't make it right to use one to interpret the other. Other things need to be considered in the this scenario, and congruity shouldn't be one of them. (After all, what if the point was incongruity, meaning you should use one to interpret the other, but rather take them as a whole and enjoy the inconsistencies between them?)

So, if Anno's original cut of Episode 21 leads a viewer to assume that Misato killed Kaji, is Anno's statements saying that Misato did not kill Kaji part of the text? Is his revised cut part of the same text as his original cut, or a different text all together? If he were to simply print on the case of OA Episode 21's DVD case "Kaji is killed by someone other than Misato," would that statement be a part of the text?

If they are, is the viewer's opinion also part of the text? Which text is proper text? Is there a such thing as proper text?
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Postby Chuckman » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:22 pm

Anno's statements an interview combined with the text lead to the interpretation that Misato is, or holds herself responsible, for Kaji's death even if she played no direct part in it. People were taking a literal meaning from an arragements of shots that's meant to imply feelings of guilt.

It's still possible to come to that conclusion without his addition. I always assumed that Kaji's death was a direct result of his own actions. I didn't draw the connection that Misato blames herself for his death until I heard that people thought she was literally the one that shot him.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:41 pm

Well, I guess the question I was going for was "Are the two different cuts of Episode 21 part of the same text?" Also, "Would it be wrong to use author's text outside of the show in interpret text within the show, whether the Author's texts apart from the show are spoken to a crowd, written in a book, or plastered onto the very DVD case?"
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Postby Bagheera » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:44 pm

It's a different text in the same way a draft and a final copy are different texts. The Cloud Atlas comparison doesn't work because the back of the DVD box wasn't written by the guy who wrote the story; it's commentary from some random guy whose voice is no more relevant than anyone else's. The DC edit for 21 amounts to Anno revising his work to more accurately reflect his intent. People may prefer the broadcast version, and that's fine, but the DC/Renewal version is Anno's final word on the subject. If we're looking at his story and the message he wanted to convey that's the version we have to examine, since the very act of releasing it tells us he thinks the original version was inaccurate/incomplete.

What the author says outside the text doesn't count. He can point out parts of the text he wants us to note, so we can more readily grasp his intent, but if what he's saying doesn't jibe with what's in the text it's meaningless.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:55 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:People may prefer the broadcast version, and that's fine, but the DC/Renewal version is Anno's final word on the subject. If we're looking at his story and the message he wanted to convey that's the version we have to examine, since the very act of releasing it tells us he thinks the original version was inaccurate/incomplete.

What about moments where Anno re-edited Death to specifically remove the Director's Cuts from the final version, then place a title card in the work stating "This is how Evangelion: Death was meant to be done"? Does this mean that the Director's Cuts aren't text to Death, and therefore possibly not text to even The End of Evangelion as well?
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Postby Chuckman » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:29 pm

Is director's cut the direct episodes, or a marketing term? There's a difference if the DC material was excised for broadcast and then restored, or added later.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:33 pm

I believe it was a marketing term, or at least a term we placed on it ourselves. Much if not all of the new scenes that are in the "director's cuts" we actually animated after the OA versions' releases.
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Postby Bagheera » Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:43 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:What about moments where Anno re-edited Death to specifically remove the Director's Cuts from the final version, then place a title card in the work stating "This is how Evangelion: Death was meant to be done"? Does this mean that the Director's Cuts aren't text to Death, and therefore possibly not text to even The End of Evangelion as well?


I would say they aren't text to that version of Death. There are different texts to Death as well, of course. At a guess I would say the original version was a vehicle for the new material, which was removed once it was put in its rightful place. After some consideration we got the final version, which has some of the new material added back in. The final version is the final version of Death, but it says nothing about the series or EoE -- the final versions of those are the Renewal versions and EoE, respectively.

View Original PostChuckman wrote:Is director's cut the direct episodes, or a marketing term? There's a difference if the DC material was excised for broadcast and then restored, or added later.


A difference, surely, but not one germane to the discussion at hand, I think. In the one case Anno would be restoring his original vision, while in the other he's clarifying matters to better express his ideas. The final work is his final word on the subject either way.

The actual term is Renewal of Evangelion. It's the remastered version of the show that includes material from the original Death along with cleaned up picture and sound and such.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Ornette » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:09 pm

"Director's Cuts" was probably an ADV thing. Those discs were sold in North America with "Director's Cuts" as the title. They're referred to in other places as "NPC", or "New Production Cuts". It's marketing and it's not a "re-cut" of the film, inserting in footage that wasn't originally used. It was redone, with new footage.

But while Anno being the director, and often times the overall "overseer", the actual content of the episodes, scripts, visuals, story boarding, e.g. the creation of the work, is more than just what was in the brain of a single Anno. Unlike a book who could have been written by a single Author and edited by a single editor under scrutiny of the author, NGE was a creation of dozens of people. So even if Anno says something, it's not necessarily in line with Tsurimaki's vision.

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Postby Chuckman » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:11 pm

I can't recall any instances of the other production people contradicting him. At least, nothing on the level of, say, Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford's views on Blade Runner.
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Postby Azathoth » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:29 pm

I think Tsurumaki mentions in the 2.22 CRC that he always read Shinji as a doormat until Anno told him "no, Shinji's very stubborn and won't do things he doesn't want to". Unfortunately I've forgotten pretty much all the context of this, mostly I only remember it because hearing that line was pretty pivotal to my opinion on 2.22.

nb. the reason why i keep posting about this line is because i can't find it and wish someone who knows where it is would link me to it.
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Postby Bagheera » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:49 pm

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:I think Tsurumaki mentions in the 2.22 CRC that he always read Shinji as a doormat until Anno told him "no, Shinji's very stubborn and won't do things he doesn't want to". Unfortunately I've forgotten pretty much all the context of this, mostly I only remember it because hearing that line was pretty pivotal to my opinion on 2.22.


Yeah, that line resulted in a seismic shift in my thinking about Shinji. It wasn't just NTE!Shinji, either; that colored my views of Shinji throughout NGE and EoE as well. It explains so much about why Shinji's depression is so relentlessly self-destructive -- he's dead set on hating himself, and he's so bloody obstinate that he can't imagine thinking about himself any differently. Everything that's happened in his life has told him he's a hateful human being, and so that's become his reality. It really makes me wonder what happens to him post-3I; if he calms down once he's no longer alone will the lesson of Instrumentality stick? And if it does, what then? How else might that obstinance be directed? It's a fascinating question for me.

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For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Chuckman » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:55 pm

Shinji's obstinancy is the motivation behind all his interactions in EoE, including That Scene. He wants her to hate him so he'll be justified in his own self loathing. Rei III and Misato scare him but they refuse to hate him; she's his last chance.

The one thing he truly lacks the will to do is kill himself. He contemplates suicide as early as Episode 2, when he sits on the other side of the guard rail at the overlook. I think that's Episode 2, anyway. Maybe three. The one where he runs away.

There are no instances of him running away once he decides to do something. His dedication to completing an objective borders on suicidal at points. It's interesting to me how his "running away" is portrayed. He comes off as petulant and whiny, especially during his confrontations with Gendo, but in the West it's a pretty common narrative for the action hero to strike out on his own but ultimately come back to and submit to authority, but do it with sufficient grumpiness and flair that he appears defiant and sends the message that it's okay to conform as long as you're badass and get the chicks, and really it's for the best. (Action media tends to be very fascist in in its politics, equating violent action, subservience to larger and conservative forces, and support of the Establishment with a specifically heterosexual type of sexual power with a seriously homoerotic subtext. Shinji's journey is amusing if considered in this light when you consider that the superweapon he rides into battle is his two hundred foot tall mother with a big metal dick on her head for no particular reason; even the head of Unit 01 is fairly phallic in shape, without the horn)

It's a theme, or a running gag, in Evangelion that characters do things that are heroic, but are huge assholes in the process, so they come off as unsympathetic.
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Postby Mr. Tines » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:20 am

View Original PostChuckman wrote:I think that's Episode 2, anyway. Maybe three. The one where he runs away.
Episode 4. After two episodes of Sachiel and one of Shamshel.

Also
Anno on Shinji wrote:A cowardly young man who feels that his father has abandoned him, and so he has convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.
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Postby Chuckman » Thu Aug 08, 2013 1:54 am

So my reading does differ from Anno's, then, if only slightly. I see him as going to great lengths to convince himself he should commit suicide. He wants it to be justified. Although, that's more of a thing in EoE than in the series proper.

I'd also disagree with:
Anno wrote: Both are unsuitable-lacking the positive attitude-for what people call heroes of an adventure.


If anything Eva goes to great length to explain why qualities which are treated as heroic in fiction are signs of a self-destructive personality.
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Postby Bagheera » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:13 am

View Original PostChuckman wrote:So my reading does differ from Anno's, then, if only slightly. I see him as going to great lengths to convince himself he should commit suicide. He wants it to be justified. Although, that's more of a thing in EoE than in the series proper.


I don't think that's true even in EoE. He's justifying his self-hatred, but apart from that scene in the very beginning (which is arguable) he never even attempts suicide. He wants someone else to deal with it.

If anything Eva goes to great length to explain why qualities which are treated as heroic in fiction are signs of a self-destructive personality.


The people in the show don't have those traits. Shinji is obstinate and acts to please others rather than out of any sort of principle, and Misato fights for revenge and out of desperation (rather pointedly avoiding reason and common sense in the process). IMO the show is pretty consistent at showing that even when these people are doing the right things its generally for the wrong reasons; there's nothing particularly heroic about any of them.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Azathoth » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:34 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:The people in the show don't have those traits. Shinji is obstinate and acts to please others rather than out of any sort of principle, and Misato fights for revenge and out of desperation (rather pointedly avoiding reason and common sense in the process). IMO the show is pretty consistent at showing that even when these people are doing the right things its generally for the wrong reasons; there's nothing particularly heroic about any of them.


That's...basically exactly what he said. Traits like "unbending will" and "hunger for vengeance" are generally treated as heroic or at least antiheroic in anime, but Eva portrays the people who possess them as assholes, plain and simple.
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Postby Bagheera » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:41 am

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:That's...basically exactly what he said. Traits like "unbending will" and "hunger for vengeance" are generally treated as heroic or at least antiheroic in anime, but Eva portrays the people who possess them as assholes, plain and simple.


That's because those aren't heroic traits unless they're coupled with the right mindset. How many villains out there are motivated by revenge? There's nothing heroic about that in and of itself. I think Anno's right on the money here. These characters very much do not have the positive mindset needed to turn those qualities toward heroic ends.

Also, did you catch the link to the Tsurumaki interview? You'd said you were looking for it.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.


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