EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

This is the place to start: Feel free to introduce yourself, have general conversations and casual discussions about all things Evangelion, including chit-chatty topics like "Sachiel is adorable" or "Which Eva kicks the most ass?"

Moderator: Board Staff

YTPrenewed
Embryo
Posts: 40
Joined: Oct 04, 2020
Gender: Male
Contact:

EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby YTPrenewed » Mon Jul 19, 2021 11:17 am

NGE in general is sometimes made out to be a "cynical" show, but that's a little oversimplifying. Things that are "cynical" in one way can be seen as optimistic in another for the exact same reason.

The more "cynical" it is about how a guy with fangirls, a guy whose friends think more highly of him than they do of each other, can still say "no one wants" him, or about how someone's colleagues can respect her judgment even on her craziest-sounding of ideas and she can still think they'd publicly berate her over her sex life, etc... the more optimistic it is about why any real-life equivalents of said friends don't need to blame themselves for not being friendly enough, or said fangirls for not making their fawning over him obvious enough, or colleagues for not making their respect for someone clear enough, etc...

Obviously there's more to its reputation for cynicism than just stuff like that (no obvious cynical/optimistic pairs on the more core elements come to mind... yet...) but hopefully you get the idea.

With EoE, however, I get that it's not just a difference of degree, but of kind. It's not a 44-minute epilogue about their continued anxieties around everything else after the war is over. It reveals it to be still going on, with new assailants whose cruelty is now front and center. (After an opening act of war criminals slaughtering the unarmed as they beg for mercy, shapeshifters who offer their victims one last embrace almost sound endearing in comparison.) That obviously isn't the kind fear that depends on how you talk to yourself about it. And yet, the movie ties it to those that are. Asuka cathartically casts aside her anxieties altogether, Misato suddenly powers through her own to do what has to be done, and for a brief moment even I was frustrated at Shinji for failing to do either of these things.

And yet, it's exactly in this that I think EoE has a cynical/optimistic pair of its own. Yeah, it can in one sense seem cynical to say that a someone's issues may eventually hold them back, even with a mentor and commanding officer opening up about how she powers through her own issues, and the opportunity to make amends to a squadmate he had wronged. In other shows, characters have gotten a second wind from less.

But for the same reason... that's still optimistic about why you don't have to choose between judging someone for letting that stop them (in EoE, there's plenty else to judge Shinji for) and blaming whoever else happened to be in his life most recently for handling him wrong. No matter what they do, they might not reach everyone. At least they tried.

And also, on the aforementioned "make amends" part; that remark of Misato's was a far more unmistakable defence of the ideal of redemption than, let's say, the US prison system, and a far more memorable one than any from, let's say, shows like MLP:FIM where it could just be chalked up to just faking it to keep kids happy, and/or just cut down on their squabbling over petty things. A little harder to say about a show not meant for kids or for those who prefer everything sugar-coated.

And it is in THIS, that you can find further common ground between a story that ends in a strangulation scene against a sea of blood and one that ends in a smiling faces montage against a blue sky and clouds. The further a show goes into the thorniest of subject matter, the more unforgettable it is when any message within it sounds rosy!

Kendrix
Defender of Puppy Boy
Defender of Puppy Boy
User avatar
Age: 27
Posts: 6570
Joined: Jul 27, 2010
Location: Germany
Gender: Female
Contact:

Re: EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Kendrix » Tue Jul 20, 2021 6:17 am

Personally I think that's the wrong question.

Is cynical a bad thing? Why treat that like an accusation something must be defended from.

Honestly both cynical & optimistic stuff can suck & be fake as hell, ppl get unreasonably down on both depending on what's currently in vogue or what they themselves prefer; life obviously has both depressing & worthwhile parts.
So what matters ´much more is like.... is it real?
Is it a believable conclusion for the trajectories the characters were on? That's all that matters to me, & that's what seems to have mattered to the makers too, see that one quote about how "they did not want to lie"
Alas poor Kaworu, I knew him well...

Blockio
Full/Super Moderator
Full/Super Moderator
User avatar
Age: 22
Posts: 2669
Joined: Dec 03, 2017
Location: vtuber hell
Gender: Male

Re: EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Blockio » Tue Jul 20, 2021 6:40 pm

I quite agree with Kendrix; describing anything is cynical/optimistic as a means of delegitimizing it is hardly a stance worth engaging with, as it inherently comes from a predetermined mindset of "this is bad, now I just have to find a thing to stick it on"; it's not an argument, it's a strawman, like saying that every piece of fiction in a given genre is automatically bad. someone personally might not like things with that characteristic, but that has no bearing on the actual quality of it.

As for a non-judgemental question of if EoE is more cynical or more optimistic, while reading are obviously going to differ from person to person, I find it to be a quite strongly optimistic movie; it's a journey that starts at the lowest point, and from there on has a trajectory only pointed upwards; the whole movie is ultimately driven towards overcoming hurdles and accepting oneself, and while it cuts off in a place that is still bleak, the trajectory is firmly pointing upwards
I can see why Gendo hired Misato to do the actual commanding. He tried it once and did an appalling job. ~ AWinters
Your point of view is horny, and biased. ~ glitz2hard
What about titty-ten? ~ Reichu
The movies function on their own terms. If people can't accept them on those terms, and keep expecting them to be NGE, then they probably should have realized a while ago that they weren't going to have a good time. ~ Words of wisdom courtesy of Reichu

BernardoCairo
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar
Age: 19
Posts: 676
Joined: Dec 27, 2020
Location: Brazil

Re: EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby BernardoCairo » Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:59 pm

I agree with Kendrix and Blockio. That said, if I had to answer this question, I would say that no. Keep in mind that there is plenty of room for discussion and personal interpretation here. Anyway, I wouldn't call it "cynical", but realistic.
The End of Evangelion is a lengthy movie that takes its time to subvert expectations and tell a believable story, making good use of its already established cast of iconic characters. It uses these people as narrative devices to comment on Hegel, Schopenhauer and the pain of communication. This is reflected in its imagery (which can be described as "melancholic"). Still, it's full of optimistic moments, I would say (the last 15 minutes of this film are just beautiful and hopeful).
The End of Evangelion depicts the world as an imperfect and unfair place. Things may not go as you planned. You're gonna hurt the people you love and they're gonna hurt you back. However, it's worth living. It's not about being happy all the time, which is infeasible. It's about trying to be a better person everyday, enjoying the moment and acknowledging that nothing will ever be absolute.
Humans are defined by their own limitations. Absolute freedom is equivalent to nothing. A world in which everyone is the same person is lonely. We need to be different in order to understand who we truly are. We need boundaries.
Pain exists, but it can be forgiven. That's what the last scene is about, in my opinion. It honestly embodies my entire experience with Evangelion.
Just sit here and waste your precious time. When you want to do something, don't do it right away. Don't do it when you can. Read my posts instead. It's the only way to live a life without regrets.

YTPrenewed
Embryo
Posts: 40
Joined: Oct 04, 2020
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby YTPrenewed » Sun Jul 25, 2021 4:56 pm

Oh I'm fully aware that "cynical" isn't necessarily a bad thing either. For every person complaining about cynicism in a show there's probably another hyping it up to talk about how edgy their favourite shows are. I just wanted to drive home that what even counts as "cynical;" whether good or bad; is more subjective than it's made out to be.

With that said, I'd like to push back against the "realism" part. Consumer demand simply doesn't incentivize realism when the movie is supposed to be about real life. I'm not sure why fantasy metaphors for real life would be that different. If anything the only thing they'd be metaphors for is human nature, something inherently murkier than history. At least history's about what happened; of which we have documentation; regardless of what was going through the minds of those involved. With human nature we can only make best guesses about what's going on in people's minds. Best guesses often left to the same walks of life that were wrong about everything from the value of polling to the relevance of the brain scans that warned us fictional violence would cause real life violence. (How'd that work out for Scandinavia with its heavy metal music? Hell, real-life Japan's pretty peaceful too, especially compared to the Japan portrayed in anime.) This isn't to say their best guesses are worthless; far from it; but we shouldn’t need to treat them as absolute truth.

A more meaningful goal than so-called "realism;" if anyone could even define that within fantasy metaphors; is dissent. Dissent against conventional wisdom. Dissent against popular opinion. Dissent against echo chambers. If reason is on your side, you welcome dissent, if only as an opportunity to refute it without having to put words in anyone's mouth. The more unconventional, the better. Not for the sake of "neutrality" but for independent thought, or at least variety. The Simpsons mocking both sides of the political spectrum through its portrayals of each. Batman Returns defying tradition and political correctness through its portrayal of Catwoman. Etc, etc...

And it doesn't get much more dissident than portraying a teenage boy as genuinely failing to be cheered up by some fawning fangirls.
Last edited by YTPrenewed on Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BernardoCairo
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar
Age: 19
Posts: 676
Joined: Dec 27, 2020
Location: Brazil

Re: EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby BernardoCairo » Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:39 pm

I feel like you "super interpreted" what I said. Sure, The End of Evangelion doesn't set itself to be an exact portrayal of reality. Like many things, it exaggerates circumstances in order to emphasize emotions and concepts (that's basically the Third Impact in a nutshell).
In my post, I was talking about a very specific element of the movie. That is, how it deals with "positive" and "negative" situations. In this regard, it basically goes hand in hand with my subjective perception of reality. There's no such thing as "absolute". Nothing is perfect, but that's fine. You can always strive to be a better person and enjoy the "little moments". The End of Evangelion is full of love and positive messages. Still, it's not afraid to tap into depressing and intense themes. Shinji was able to reject Human Instrumentality and save himself. However, the Third Impact and what he did to Asuka still happened. He must deal with the consequences of his actions (even if that's an "unpleasant" thing to do).
Of course, it's fiction being used to comment on real life issues.
Just sit here and waste your precious time. When you want to do something, don't do it right away. Don't do it when you can. Read my posts instead. It's the only way to live a life without regrets.

YTPrenewed
Embryo
Posts: 40
Joined: Oct 04, 2020
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: EoE 24th anniversary thread; is it really a "cynical" movie?

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby YTPrenewed » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:12 pm

Eh, I tried to word my post to address all 3 replies at the same time as best as possible. Kendrix mentioned the realism angle as well.


Return to “Evangelion General and Chit-Chat”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 0 guests