The Satire of Evangelion

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Re: The Satire of Evangelion

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Postby Sachi » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:39 pm

I think Ray is on the right track regarding Satire, but I don't think they necessarily need to be funny. Satires aim to paint things in certain ways in order to prove a point. Instead of being funny, it can be made exaggerated or ridiculous (not necessarily ludicrous, but absurd to a point). For example, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is a satire of the American South during that time, and is less focused on comedy and moreso on exposing the culture for what it was back then.
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Re: The Satire of Evangelion

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Postby ShonHam » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:20 am

I wouldn't say that Eva is necessarily a "Satire" of mecha anime so much as it is a deconstruction (hate to use the word due to oversaturation but it's the best way to describe it). If I was to make a direct comparison, I would say that Eva is for the mecha genre what Watchmen or The Boys are for Superhero Comics - as both take the base concepts/appeal of the genre and twist it to such a perverse extent that it almost becomes something unrecognisable.
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Re: The Satire of Evangelion

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Postby fnikhall » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:57 am

Yeah I would also jump in and say that satire isn't necessarily a comedy as far as I understand. Parody on the other hand, which seems to share similarities with satire due to both being able to be funny, does pretty much have to be humorous. The difference between satire and parody I think is really clearly illustrated by the movies Scream and Scary Movie. Scream is a satire of the slasher genre, commenting on cliche tropes and stretching them to their extremes, yet it retains a seriousness and it can be enjoyed as a pure slasher film and not a satire at all. Scary Movie is very funny but it is not a satire it is a parody. It doesn't take tropes and stretch them really, it just makes fun of them by pointing and laughing and takes the general plot of a slasher film and makes fun of it in general.
Satire seems to me to have to almost be based in a certain amount of seriousness. For example you have to accept certain premises and then follow them to their most absurd conclusions, which can sometimes be funny but sometimes not. Another example of this is Swift's "A Modest Proposal" which accepts certain premises to call attention to the absurdness of said premises but is not really comedic. Scary Movie doesn't accept the premises of a slasher film and follow them to their absurd conclusions at all. Instead it just laughs at the premises in the first place.
All that to say, a satire isn't necessarily funny.
Is Eva a satire? eh, I don't think so. It definitely accepts the premises of the mecha genre but it doesn't necessarily take them to a more absurd conclusion. It also doesn't make fun of the premises either obviously. It instead, examines the premises and finds other ways to respond to said premises. Oh, a young teenager has to pilot a giant robot to save the world? Ok, done. But how would that really happen? It's here that Eva shows that it's a deconstruction. It takes the premises apart and reassembles them in a new way that still seems familiar but also different.
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Re: The Satire of Evangelion

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:39 pm

Just so we’re clear on terms, here’s how these words are usually used:

Satire - Humorous deconstruction of an idea or property.

Parody - Humorous homage of an idea or property, usually done out of love.

Roast - Praising an idea, a person, or a property via humorous sarcasm.

While there’s humor from time to time in Eva, it’s no comedy, so claiming it’s comedic nature in any fashion might be difficult as a result. The only thing about Eva that’s a satire might have been the AU scene in Ep 26 mirroring Slice of Life anime, but many anime didn’t find mainstream success in that genre until after Eva like that do now, so that’s unlikely. It seems more like something picked out by viewers in retrospect rather than something that’s intended by the filmmakers at the moment.

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Re: The Satire of Evangelion

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Postby Shinji Ikari Expy » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:36 am

I hate this idea that Evangelion is a "deconstruction of mecha."

Whenever someone says Eva is a "deconstruction of mecha," I want to know which classic mecha show they are talking about (remember that it had to come before Eva, in the 80s to early 90s).

When pressed, people who buy into this myth might say "Gundam," but how is Eva a deconstruction of it? The original Mobile Suit Gundam had an angsty protagonist who sometimes refused to fight -- a prodigy at piloting combat mecha who ultimately felt his talent was a curse. Eva takes many of the ideas of Universal Century Gundam and improves on them, but it's a stretch to call it "deconstruction."

So, which old mecha anime are we talking about? Space Runaway Ideon? Not really - it's got nothing to do with coming of age or teenagers. Mobile Police Patlabor? An action-comedy police show - it doesn't take itself seriously.

How about Anno's earlier work, Gunbuster? That's closer to the truth - Evangelion does subvert some of the tropes in that show - but that's basically Anno evolving as an artist and becoming more sophisticated in his worldview. Not a deconstruction of "mecha."

Contrary to what you read on /a/, mecha (which is not exactly a "genre,"), is a diverse category of anime with many interesting and memorable entries. Classic mecha anime had well-thought out stories and three-dimensional characters in a variety of settings - just like anything else with staying power. It's not "about the robots," the robots were always just a part of the setting.

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Re: The Satire of Evangelion

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Postby fnikhall » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:15 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Just so we’re clear on terms, here’s how these words are usually used:

Satire - Humorous deconstruction of an idea or property.

Parody - Humorous homage of an idea or property, usually done out of love.

Roast - Praising an idea, a person, or a property via humorous sarcasm.


While this is generally how those terms are used, that is not their entire use. Some of the more well known traditional instances of Satire might not fit in the more generalized term. Just because the majority of cases the term is used describe one thing that does not encompass all of its applications. So to disqualify the discussion of how Eva functions as a satire off the bat because of a lack of comedy seems premature to me.

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote: While there’s humor from time to time in Eva, it’s no comedy, so claiming it’s comedic nature in any fashion might be difficult as a result.


Again, the claim of satire isn't based exclusively on comedy. I tend to agree that Evangelion isn't one big satire but I think it's an interesting discussion and lens to try and view the show through. For example, a hallmark of satire is the use of irony and Eva is ripe with irony, though it is not usually humorous. An example of humorous irony is in "Both of you, Dance Like you Want to Win" when Asuka and Shinji can't work together at all but the only way to defeat the angel is to work together. A more serious or dramatic example of irony is pointed out by Shinji when he sees Asuka acting all mature and grown up but she really is just a child too. In fact, the hedgehog's dilemma, which is one of the biggest themes of the show is ironic in nature in that it is impossible for the hedgehog to get close to others despite that being the very thing it needs.

All that said, I would still hesitate to call Eva Satire although I think there are satirical elements to it in some ways and it sometimes uses the tools of satire. However, I feel like Eva doesn't use the tools of satire to criticize or ridicule, which is the purpose of satire and another differentiator between satire and parody. As you said, parody is an homage and meant to be a kind of recreation of something where as satire is done to criticize something or point out something in the thing it is satirizing.
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Doesn't mean it's there" – There, There. Radiohead


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