Anno vs. Otaku (critcism, self-reflection, etc)

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

Moderator: Board Staff

Ray
Elder God
Elder God
User avatar
Age: 27
Posts: 5642
Joined: Feb 10, 2014
Location: USA
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Ray » Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:22 pm

You're kind be missing the whole point thaeon.

Eva is A Greek Tragedy. Shinji is Oedipus, Rei is Jocasta, Gendo is Laius, and the Angels and Seele are the god's controlling everything behind the scenes for their own reasons.

The point of tragedy is to build up a character (or characters) develop them, showcase their positive qualities and their flaws, and then have their flaws and refusal to change said flaw be what ultimately damns them and ruins everything.

The flaw in the characters in Eva is their inability or unwillingness to communicate out of fear of being hurt. Their inability to communicate is what causes more pain for each of them, and what inevitably causes the end of the world. We're to take away from Eva that we should be more open with each other, because the benefits of relationships are worth far more than any pain we could cause each other. True our fears and failings may not cause the end of the world, but refusing to communicate with others out of fear of being hurt will only cause more misery in the end than it will prevent. If they had opened up and talked to each other would it have changed things for the characters? Yes.

But would we the audience have learned anything or been taught a lesson or be discussing it in detail on a forum if that had been the case?

I'm upset Oedipus ended with him impregnating his mom and gouging his eyes out. But would we be discussing his grand tragedy and the nature of free will if it had been a happy ending?
Last edited by Ray on Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
People say "be yourself" but that's bad advice, if we were all to "be ourselves" many of us would stop wearing clothes. -Chuckman

LordThaeon
Lilith
User avatar
Age: 31
Posts: 128
Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Location: USA
Gender: Male
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby LordThaeon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:34 am

As much as I hate it when people tell me "You just don't get it." I'm glad that you have the decency to put some reasoning behind it. Thanks for that courtesy.

I get the tragedy element of this series. Believe me, this element is strongest in the character of Shinji because he actually does attempt to better himself and reach out to others. It just always fails due to factors beyond his control.

But I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is a Greek Tragedy.

In the Oedipus sequel of Antigone, Oedipus' uncle Creon refuses to give burial rights to one of his dead nephews because the man rebelled against his brother who was the rightful king. Dutiful to her family, Antigone gives burial rights to her brother and is imprisoned for it. Creon is warned that this will bring disaster and tries to repent, but Antigone's already killed herself, Creon's own son tries to kill Creon in rage and dies in the process, and Creon's wife kills herself in grief.

This was very sad and I can understand that this tragedy was both avoidable and inevitable because of the traits of the characters. Creon is a duty bound individual with a strong sense of justice who cares for his people. His refusal to comply with the burial rights for his rebellious nephew were due to the belief that honoring this traitor would be an insult to the lives lost during the war that he started. Antigone is also duty bound to her family and has her own sense of right and wrong which leads her to defy Creon's decree knowing what would happen.

I'm not being critical of evangelion's thematic application because it doesn't have a happy ending. What annoys me is that everything is contrived to go wrong even if it makes no sense. How the series conveys its themes is the dumb part that doesn't sit well with me. How am I supposed to take the "Don't Run Away" theme seriously when only one character is actually put in the spot light for supposedly running away? Or that this character is the only whose actually trying to put one foot in front of the other? Just because the theme is profound that doesn't give the show an excuse for spotty execution. Again, refer to my Pokemon 1st movie example.

While we're on the subject of a Greek Tragedy, what was Shinji's fatal flaw? What did he do wrong to deserve the crap that he went through? Not standing up for himself? He does that several times and gets shut down by the hypocrites. Not communicating with others? He actually does the most to try and reach out to others, but the handful of people who aren't using him or screwing him around end up dead (Toji, Kaji, Rei II, Kaworu). Running away from his problems/responsibilities? Who's the one who came back to save everyone's ass when Zeruel was about to murder them? Who's the one that undid Instrumentality?

In a Greek Tragedy, the character often brings their own fate upon themselves. But I don't see how Shinji did this. Once again, he only failed because the plot needed him to fail.

Furthermore, SEELE and Gendo are not gods (not even metaphorically). They're just individuals who think reality sucks and decide to run from it with a convoluted scheme to turn humanity into orange juice. The kicker? Their plans wouldn't have gone far in a non-contrived world because they're almost designed to fail. The big reason being that Gendo sucks as a commander.

Think about it. If Shinji had been a complete coward that half of the anime world believes him to be, what then? What if when Gendo first brought Shinji to Nerv and told him to pilot the Eva, Shinji wouldn't budge even when seeing injured Rei? Angels win, End of story. Why? This man's plan heavily relies on a character who he himself neglected. Shinji had neither the knowledge or training for the eva and the fact that Shinji does pilot the eva has nothing to do with Gendo's inherently self-defeating plan.

The Bardiel incident was also an example of Gendo's terrible command. He spaces out all of the evas so that they're easily taken out one by one without being able to support each other.

The Zeruel showdown speaks for itself. If Shinji didn't come back then Gendo and SEELE are screwed.

In fact, on further analysis it seems like Misato is the one who does most of the actual work in Nerv and shows any competence as a strategist/commander. If Gendo were to be mysteriously murdered, would Nerv's capabilities be damaged in the slightest? I doubt it.

Yet, the story treats Gendo like he's the stronger character and Shinji is the weaker one. Even though the opposite would be the truth. But no matter how you spin it in a philosophical or thematic fashion, Gendo sucks as a commander and he kind of sucks as an antagonist. He has no power apart from whatever the plot says that he has and that the characters give him. It's all an illusion that the story blinds the characters from seeing.

Why can't they see this and other illusions? The story won't let them see it and contrives things to keep it that way. The whole "people are flawed and human" argument can only go so far when characters are consistently self-destructive to where it makes no sense and the story expects us to hate the character whose actually trying to be proactive.

I see the "point." I also see that the "point" is flawed in itself and yet treats itself like it's message is something that everyone needs to hear or they're somehow weaker/dumber for it. Even if it's a message that's been heard before and conveyed much better.
FF Profile

"Please explain that again without insulting my intelligence."

KatsuragiSansa
Embryo
User avatar
Age: 34
Posts: 21
Joined: Nov 02, 2014
Gender: Female

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby KatsuragiSansa » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:52 pm

I get that these characters all need therapy and I do sympathize with folk like Shinji and even Misato despite my hang-ups about their characters. But just like real-life, there comes a time when an individual needs to nut-up, shut-up and do something. They can't just hang on to their problems and expect no one to call bs on it. They can't just stay in square one and not get right criticized for their inability to move-on.

If these were really organic characters then they'd change and develop like them. Misato admits that she's a bad guardian, but never does anything to correct her mistakes like tell Asuka to stop acting like a bitch or actively taking responsibility. Instead, she lets her own problems keep her from helping Shinji and Asuka during the times when they need her most. Maybe that's the point, but don't expect me not to hold Misato accountable.


As a very mentally sick and dysfunctional person, I disagree. Sometimes, you're SO broken inside, there's no way to fix what's wrong with you, even having the best of intentions... you end up hurting your husband, your children, etcetera because you're SO frightened of facing your demons or committing suicide, the only option for you is to go on as you are, a broken person. However, traumas don't affect EVERY aspect of who you are, so you can still grow in all the aspects that aren't particularly suffering from that negative influence from your past. So a character that's as complex as a person can still grow in some ways and still stay stalled in others.

Besides the hypocrisy theme to the series, I think there might be a little bit of hope in telling someone else to do the exact same thing you can't (not running away from your problems, fears and responsibilities). My mom has always told me not to smoke. She was a heavy smoker and she always said she didn't want me to make the same mistakes she did because the price was too high and she'd rather I didn't end up fucked up like that. I see myself doing that to others who ask me for advice sometimes, telling them things that might sound hypocritical, but it's because I love them that I wish they could escape that thing tying me down. In a way, if they succeed, you feel it like a small personal victory against an old adversary, even if it is not won BY you.

I'm not defending Misato or Gendo, but I'm in a similar place in life so I can relate to them and understand how someone can recognize they're lousy guardians/parents/whatever and not do anything to change that. Maybe it seems EASY to do from the outside, telling Asuka not to be a bully or what have you, but for the person who is still SO NOT OVER something traumatic from the past (closely related to what they're neglecting to do), it feels like an Herculean task, an impossibility. No matter how many times you tell yourself that you'll do better next time, when it comes, pain, panic and old memories and hurt tie you down and you just let your chance to mend things and take the right path pass... and feel powerless and empty.

Maybe you have to be really really broken to understand where some of the characters are coming from. At any rate, I think the fact that they're SO mentally fucked up is what makes them believable and (to me at least) easy to relate with.

It's VERY hard to become a paternal figure or a role model for a younger person when your own relationship with your parents and role models is so fucked up. Well, I don't know about Gendo, but his childhood couldn't have been all happy if he turned out to be such a crappy parent.

Bryan
Adam
Age: 31
Posts: 94
Joined: Mar 01, 2013
Location: Orange County
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Bryan » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:59 am

Yes, I absolutely agree. This is a fundamental philosophical aspect that I too know all too well. I don't think neurology has progressed enough to prove this so for now I will have to say it is my opinion. If these words cannot approach respect that this is the true reality of some mentally sick people then we will have to agree to disagree LordThaeon.

LordThaeon
Lilith
User avatar
Age: 31
Posts: 128
Joined: Apr 20, 2012
Location: USA
Gender: Male
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby LordThaeon » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:32 am

View Original PostBryan wrote:Yes, I absolutely agree. This is a fundamental philosophical aspect that I too know all too well. I don't think neurology has progressed enough to prove this so for now I will have to say it is my opinion. If these words cannot approach respect that this is the true reality of some mentally sick people then we will have to agree to disagree LordThaeon.


Cool.

I'd suppose that the "broken stuff" is more identifiable with people who've been through it and so they're more forgiving and understanding.

I still stand by my previous statements, and I'd still call Anno unnecessarily anvil-heavy, but the neurological angle is a good deal of food for thought.
FF Profile

"Please explain that again without insulting my intelligence."

KatsuragiSansa
Embryo
User avatar
Age: 34
Posts: 21
Joined: Nov 02, 2014
Gender: Female

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby KatsuragiSansa » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:18 pm

View Original PostLordThaeon wrote:I'd suppose that the "broken stuff" is more identifiable with people who've been through it and so they're more forgiving and understanding.

I still stand by my previous statements, and I'd still call Anno unnecessarily anvil-heavy, but the neurological angle is a good deal of food for thought.


Like someone else already stated, if characters fitted in conventional behaviour patterns and things ended up peachy for Shinji and everyone else, NGE wouldn't have been the anime icon it has become precisely because it was very different from everything else in the market. It would have been just a very cool giant robot show and chances are we wouldn't be discussing it in a forum so many years later.

About the characters, it's not that I'm forgiving, but having been there does help you be understanding and I sincerely hope you never have to go through anything that puts you in such a position because it sucks. I can't forgive myself for the damage my traumas cause on those around me and maybe not Gendo, but some of the other characters indeed do feel some degree of guilt over the collateral damage their limitations deal to whoever's around.

Back to the original topic, don't you agree that NGE offers you a new perspective on narrative and character development (or the lack thereof) compared to other movies/books/stories available? I can't remember the last time I saw so many dysfunctional characters together, interacting in a way that might make you believe they're actually sane-ish because they're out there instead of locked up in a padded room. Besides the double standards and hypocrisy, I believe that the psychological/neurological mind fuckery is one of the primary aspects that make this anime remarkable and memorable.

mechashiva
Tunniel
Tunniel
User avatar
Age: 30
Posts: 181
Joined: Oct 22, 2014
Location: United States
Gender: Female

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby mechashiva » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:56 pm

Maybe not necessarily just otakus but maybe the kinds of people who would already be otakus: withdrawn, quiet, awkward, can't really relate to others, etc. Even though Shinji doesn't seem to be an otaku for anything specific but I think its less about being a rabid fan of something and more of his self-inflicted isolation from others and need to escape from his problems.

As for Anno being anvil-licious, I think in this case really driving home the idea that problems (i.e. Angels) can be big and scary and hard to handle but running away from them/avoiding them does not make them go away. I think this especially rings true for teenagers which is why all the EVA pilots are teens. The Angels are kind of like the adult responsibilities teenagers are afraid of but need to face and breaking away from your parents' authority and becoming your own person means carrying on for yourself and not just avoiding it/running from it or relying just on the praise or validation of others.

um, but yeah.
:rolleyes:
"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."-Pablo Picasso

GAP
Matarael
Matarael
User avatar
Age: 33
Posts: 575
Joined: Dec 01, 2008
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby GAP » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:15 pm

I am not an otaku but that doesn't stop the series from resonating with me in ways that I cannot even fathom. I do agree with the OP on some matters but I think it wasn't all that anvilicious as it did more or less end on hopeful note.
Fall into GAP! Guernsey Adams Pierre

mechashiva
Tunniel
Tunniel
User avatar
Age: 30
Posts: 181
Joined: Oct 22, 2014
Location: United States
Gender: Female

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby mechashiva » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:19 pm

I agree. You don't need to be a nerd or otaku to learn to take responsibility for your actions and live life for yourself and not for others. I'll admit, the ending the second time made me verklempt -o-;
"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up."-Pablo Picasso

chaosakita
Leliel
Leliel
User avatar
Age: 26
Posts: 721
Joined: Nov 17, 2009
Gender: Female

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby chaosakita » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:50 pm

I don't think you have to be a shutin NEET otaku to be a target for the show, and I'm not sure where anyone got that the supposed message of the show was only meant for such people.
Avatar: Shinji and Kaworu get ice cream

GAP
Matarael
Matarael
User avatar
Age: 33
Posts: 575
Joined: Dec 01, 2008
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby GAP » Thu Nov 27, 2014 7:49 am

View Original PostLordThaeon wrote:Cool.

I'd suppose that the "broken stuff" is more identifiable with people who've been through it and so they're more forgiving and understanding.

I still stand by my previous statements, and I'd still call Anno unnecessarily anvil-heavy, but the neurological angle is a good deal of food for thought.


I'll admit that Eva is not the most consistent in its philosophy and its story is not for everyone but as anvil heavy as the message, it is nevertheless an anvil that needed to be dropped on otaku and its message is still hopeful.
Fall into GAP! Guernsey Adams Pierre

Alaska Slim
Frigus Ignoramus
Frigus Ignoramus
User avatar
Posts: 4955
Joined: Oct 08, 2007
Location: The Land Up Over
Gender: Male

Example. Bl

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Alaska Slim » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:08 am

View Original PostRay wrote:The flaw in the characters in Eva is their inability or unwillingness to communicate out of fear of being hurt. Their inability to communicate is what causes more pain for each of them, and what inevitably causes the end of the world. We're to take away from Eva that we should be more open with each other, because the benefits of relationships are worth far more than any pain we could cause each other. True our fears and failings may not cause the end of the world, but refusing to communicate with others out of fear of being hurt will only cause more misery in the end than it will prevent. If they had opened up and talked to each other would it have changed things for the characters? Yes.

But would we the audience have learned anything or been taught a lesson or be discussing it in detail on a forum if that had been the case?

Hideaki Anno's approach is something I've likened frequently to Jack London's To Build A Fire. Initially, the original draft of that story featured an ending with the protagonist surviving, though losing a few fingers and toes to frostbite. He says to the men who rescued him that he learned a lesson about the importance of the buddy system.

But London wasn't satisfied with this result, as he felt it lacked impact. So instead, the published version of the story features the protagonist succumbing to the cold after a drawn-out, desperate struggle to survive, and seeing the hope in each attempt to save himself be dashed right before his eyes. The last scene features the dog, his only companion, leaving his body in search of another master.

Of course, Hideaki Anno wasn't *quite* this hopeless with Evangelion (YMMV), as he leaves Shinji both alive & open to the possibility that he could improve himself. But whether Shinji succeeds, just as in life, was left uncertain; with the show instead asking the viewer to find their own way to resolve Shinji's story.
Last edited by Alaska Slim on Fri Oct 30, 2015 1:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
"It's all fun and games till one of you gets my foot up your ass." - FofR, TrivialBeing.net Webmaster

"I blame teenage girls for everything." - Dr. Dave

"God is in his Heaven, and free men walk upon the Earth" - Rev. Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute

seaoflcl
Embryo
User avatar
Age: 27
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 26, 2014
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby seaoflcl » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:52 am

View Original Postchaosakita wrote:I don't think you have to be a shutin NEET otaku to be a target for the show, and I'm not sure where anyone got that the supposed message of the show was only meant for such people.


Exactly. Honestly, this meme of Evangelion being a show to "crush" otakus literally keeps me up at night it rustles my jimmies so hard. I think it's deeply denigrating to a show I love above all things, a show with universal and deeply personal messages about how humans try to relate to one another.

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence." -J.R.R Tolkein

It's not some kind of lame masturbatory "ha-ha".

In fact it bugs me so much, I think I will write an article finishing it off for real.

Nuclear Lunchbox
Agent Ahegao
Agent Ahegao
User avatar
Age: 23
Posts: 10367
Joined: Dec 13, 2012
Location: Japan
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:43 pm

It's not a show that was designed and built to crush otakus like a big ol' anti-nerd machine, but I'd be interested to see how you argue that there aren't any anti-otaku themes inside Eva.

Ray
Elder God
Elder God
User avatar
Age: 27
Posts: 5642
Joined: Feb 10, 2014
Location: USA
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Ray » Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:39 pm

I recommend you check this video out if you're looking for argument fuel.

While I don't agree with everything he says, I find his analysis of the "Audience Author Membrane" fascinating.

http://blip.tv/foldablehuman/s3e2-end-of-evangelion-and-the-audience-author-membrane-6540094

It's obvious Anno at least at the time had a serious bone to pick with his audience. The whole thing from beginning to end was just punishment and shaming Otaku for rejecting reality where you are hurt and can hurt others, for a fantasy where you get what you want how you want.

Notice how in End of evangelion he gives fans everything they asked for and felt they were denied by the last 2 episodes. Anno perverted all the fan service into a dark parody of itself all just to make a pointed statement about how disgusted he was with hard core otaku, including himself at the time.
People say "be yourself" but that's bad advice, if we were all to "be ourselves" many of us would stop wearing clothes. -Chuckman

Gendo'sPapa
Committeeperson
Committeeperson
User avatar
Age: 36
Posts: 5390
Joined: Oct 24, 2006
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:45 am

Anno wasn't trying to hard. If he had just done his job without going the extra mile I'm 110% certain none of us would be here talking about a 20-year old TV show.

Dataprime
DNA Donor
DNA Donor
User avatar
Age: 31
Posts: 2507
Joined: Oct 23, 2013
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Dataprime » Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:50 am

Now Eva has morphed into the very thing Anno feared I think. A heavily marketed, cash-cow
driven buy material goods.
He message seems almost lost now.

Gotta Catch them all: Evangelion

I genuinely love how good Evangelion hurts
- Suicidahlia

She's so cute. Like crazy cute. Like "She's giving me the diabetus" cute. - Gendo'sPapa

Nuclear Lunchbox
Agent Ahegao
Agent Ahegao
User avatar
Age: 23
Posts: 10367
Joined: Dec 13, 2012
Location: Japan
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:19 pm

It doesn't seem totally cash-cow driven, though. The Evangelion that Anno was directly involved in maintains his message-- which is why it remains important that he be involved with the projects as they come out. Sadamoto did a good job too, though (maybe he fucked up, I haven't read volume 14 yet) so maybe it just matters that Eva be headed by somebody with a good head on their shoulders.

Ispellnogood
Tunniel
Tunniel
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 159
Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Location: Lalaland
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Ispellnogood » Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:02 pm

I actually think Anno's always wanted Gendo to be seen as the hero character for eva. The whole series does seem like a justicfication for this stoic depressed man to end the world.

Ispellnogood
Tunniel
Tunniel
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 159
Joined: Jun 27, 2010
Location: Lalaland
Gender: Male

Anno's anti-otaku intent? [renamed]

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Ispellnogood » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:54 pm

Note: This has been merged with seemingly related tangents started by Ispellnogood from two other threads. It may be a bit hard to follow at times.

I can remember Sadamoto saying "the anime is more through the eyes of Gendo, while the manga is through the eyes of Shinji".

I've always got the feeling from Anno's evangelion that Shinji was a character that was forced on him. Like someone said listen we're going to have a young male lead, someone veiwers will relate to, Your guy can be his father. The lines like "Why don't you understand your father" and that fact that the anime never really says that Gendo is in the wrong for anything really, even when he destroys the world it's what everybody wished for.

To me EoE renforces this idea, as it reeks of the same petulence that 'Shinji bashing' stories have.
And for Gendo to go from starting third impact in the anime and getting thanked, to preaching about how "death creates nothing", makes no sense to me. It seems that he was trying to fight seele and prevent third impact, only when their defeat is assured is he forced to start it.

I know you can say that what anno does with Shinji, is to wake Otaku out of their anime dreamworld. But the few Gendo Otaku can live their quite easily, and their shipped with Rei to boot.

Does anybody else notice this?


Return to “Evangelion TV Series + EoE Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests