"Curse of Eva"

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition"). The final instalment made its debut in Japan on March 8, 2021.

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Postby Dancougar82 » Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:57 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Yeah, no. The show itself is canon by definition. If you're arguing against it you can't help but be wrong.

There are ships to be shipped, yes, but srsly, this is one hill you don't want to die upon. It will not end well for you.


You're arguing personal interpretation, based upon what one character says without context. If Asuka says "The hills are made of sherbet." on screen would that make it so? In 2.22 when she tells Rei 'DO YOU WANT TO FIGHT!?" Does she literally mean that or was that sheer bravado to make her seem rough? Any estimation of the characters meaning is unknowable to us.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:01 am

This really isn't something open to interpretation. It's literally what she says: The Curse of Eva.

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Postby Bagheera » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:00 pm

View Original PostDancougar82 wrote:You're arguing personal interpretation,


No, I'm not. I'm arguing based on what she says and the fact that she hasn't aged. It's explicit, and calling it fannish BS ignores what's actually on the screen.

based upon what one character says without context.


It's based on what she says with context, said context being Ritsuko's statements about the Children being altered and Asuka's and Mari's and Rei's appearances in Q (and Shinji's direct comment on such re: Asuka) compared to other characters. There is no reason not to take Asuka's statement at face value.

Any estimation of the characters meaning is unknowable to us.


That's absurd. If Misato says "I love beer" are we to suppose her intentions are unknowable?
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Postby Chuckman » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:01 pm

Maybe she fears beer will reject her and is just keeping up appearances.
the prophecy is true

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Postby pwhodges » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:00 pm

I guess you'd think me dull and unimaginative if I suggested that she might actually have meant what the words she uttered mean; it's been said before....
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:03 pm

And particularly moreso when you examine the words spoken themselves-- it's quite literal.

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Re: "Curse of Eva"

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:13 am

I cannot believe I'm making a double post after six years.

Curse of Eva Part Two, Electric Boogaloo, or: Nuke actually studies Japanese and Linguistics for four years, earns separate degrees in both, earns a certificate in Japanese studies from a Japanese university, and becomes an actual professional translator

I recant my earlier posts in this thread. Seventeen-year old me was foolish, and took the UTW-THORA translation at face value. The word in question used is 呪縛, pronounced jubaku. The full phrase is Eva no Jubaku, which the definitive camrip from 2013 of the Japanese BD translated as "Curse of Eva".

As far as I can tell, the first ever instance of "Curse of Eva" in translation appeared in an early post by Xard, in which he was analyzing synopses of the theatrical release of Q on release day. Whether or not he was the inspiration for future translations is unknown, but the UTW-THORA translation is the same, as well as the English dub from Funimation Entertainment. (I don't know if the sub is the same; I can't find an English rip of the actual BD, and I left mine at home in America. Harumph.)

But let's talk about the Curse of Eva. The word for curse in Japanese is 呪い noroi. Why am I mentioning this? Well, because later in Q, Kaworu talks about the "curse of the Lilin" placed on Shinji, the DSS choker. Noroi, not Jubaku. Before you dismiss the significance of this because the dub of Q uses the word "curse", know this: the English dub of Ha, 2.0, translates jubaku as "confines" after Unit 01 absorbs Zeruel! And in the English subtitles from the Platinum release of Evangelion, jubaku is translated as "bindings" when Unit 01 bursts its shoulder restraints!

So how the hell did we get to "bindings" or "confines" from "curse"? Well, the answer is simple. Jubaku is actually the word for a binding spell. The first kanji, 呪, means spell or curse; the second kanji, 縛, means tie or restraints. The compound simply takes both meanings and turns them into one expression, a binding spell. This word appears in card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! and in anime like Jujutsu Kaisen. However, it is often officially translated as all of the above. Bindings, confines, and curses are all official representations of jubaku.

"So it doesn't mean anything!" you cry, dismayed. Well, not necessarily. By translating jubaku as "curse", as the Q dub did, we're getting keyed into the magical or otherworldly nature of Asuka's affliction, but not the element of binding. You could argue that by translating it as "bindings" that we lose the otherworldly element, but I submit to you this: the lack of any physical binding is more than enough visual context, combined with the metaphorical use of "bindings" or "shackles" or "fetters" being common in English, to imply that the "Bindings of Eva" are metaphysical. If you wanted to be accurate to the letter, you could say "The Binding Curse of Eva". Clunky, but it does the job.

However, I prefer options like the three I've listed above, and I'm going to use Bindings of Eva in this post going forward.

UrsusArctos said to me, "Are you sure you want to use words like "bindings" or "shackles"? Those are what go on the Evangelions, so maybe you're just trading the overemphasis of magic "curse" has for a less accurate comparison." However, we know that in previous films and in the TV series, jubaku was used to refer to the bindings on Unit 01 that stopped it from evolving or changing, so I think it seems quite appropriate to use a word with known connotations to restricting the Evangelions to refer to restrictions on the pilots themselves.

So, what effect does the Bindings of Eva actually seem to have on the pilots? Well, in Q, we've got two pilots who have existed in the real world and haven't aged a day in fourteen years: Asuka, and Mari. The only thing both of them have in common is that they've exceeded plug depths of an appropriate limit, visible in Asuka's case when Unit 03 is taken over by Bardiel and in Mari's case where she activates the backdoor code in Unit 02. We know from Ritsuko's lines that pilots who oversynch with their Evas like this won't be able to return to their humanity, but unfortunately this line is as vague in Japanese as in English, so it isn't of much help to us here. All we can do is look at the pilots themselves and attempt to draw conclusions from what we see, and the only explicit clue we're given is that neither Asuka nor Mari have physically aged.

That's all we ever get told in Q, and it's a bit of a shame we were left with those scant crumbs for seven years with no further elucidation. However, thinking about the "curse" of Eva as a binding, as a restriction, makes the concept seem a whole lot less nebulous and more grounded. It also makes Asuka sound less like she's being intentionally vague, and more like she's giving an actual answer.

What I want to do with this thread bump is shed light on a translation of a complex idea that may not have necessarily made the nuances of the Japanese term clear. If we end up adopting Bindings of Eva instead of Curse of Eva, I'd be pleased as punch-- but Curse of Eva is in the dub, and it might even be in the sub as well, so it may be so entrenched we'll never change it. However, even if we continue calling it the Curse of Eva, we now have this deeper, more nuanced understanding of what exactly it is that Asuka is describing. It's not a random magical element introduced to the world of Evangelion that is never explained again.

Instead, it's a concept we know quite well: the Evangelions squeezed tightly in the fist of humanity, preventing their transformation into something more. And now Asuka is caught in this titanic fist, except now those very bindings placed on the Evangelions by humans have deprived her of her own humanity.

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Re: "Curse of Eva"

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Postby UrsusArctos » Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:10 am

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:UrsusArctos said to me, "Are you sure you want to use words like "bindings" or "shackles"? Those are what go on the Evangelions, so maybe you're just trading the overemphasis of magic "curse" has for a less accurate comparison." However, we know that in previous films and in the TV series, jubaku was used to refer to the bindings on Unit 01 that stopped it from evolving or changing, so I think it seems quite appropriate to use a word with known connotations to restricting the Evangelions to refer to restrictions on the pilots themselves.


During our Discord conversation, I was thinking of the confusion with 拘束 in Episode 19, but now that you've explained yourself in full I see the logic of your argument. The translation of 呪縛, jubaku and the idea that you present make complete sense.
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Re: "Curse of Eva"

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Postby Kendrix » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:36 am

Thanks for the elaboration!

It brings to mind that conversation in TuaT where Asuka tells ReiQ that the pilots, like the EVAs, were engineered with certain "restrictions"
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Re: "Curse of Eva"

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Postby baldur » Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:04 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:I cannot believe I'm making a double post after six years.

:resurrect:

Great post, though. Personally, I still like "Curse of Eva" for a variety of reasons, but I appreciate the nuance you've brought to the conversation. Very interesting stuff.

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Postby Archer » Fri Apr 23, 2021 8:06 pm

View Original Postbaldur wrote:
View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox#920607 wrote:I cannot believe I'm making a double post after six years.

:resurrect:

Great post, though. Personally, I still like "Curse of Eva" for a variety of reasons, but I appreciate the nuance you've brought to the conversation. Very interesting stuff.

Yeah, it’s interesting to see the implications of what it means in the original language but I think Curse of Eva is the better localization choice by far. There isn’t really an English word that fits better for a supernatural affliction with undesirable effects.

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:32 am

For the record, it's not a supernatural affliction with generic undesirable effects. It's very specifically a binding or restricting spell. "Curse" doesn't get that across, and even in Japanese there's a separate word if you just want to say "curse". It may not be a terrible choice, but it certainly (in my opinion) leaves a lot to be desired.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:36 am

Is the word we are looking for here simply geas? Yes, Celtic loan word, I know.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Apr 24, 2021 6:46 am

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:Is the word we are looking for here simply geas? Yes, Celtic loan word, I know.

Ursus mentioned geas to me when we were chatting while I was writing my essay. A geas has an element of punishment if you violate it, doesn't it? And attaining power of the geas is adhered to? I can see why some people might think it a good solution, but translating jubaku as geas might create more problems than it solves. I can see people frantically rewinding the films, trying to find examples of punishment or reward related to the Bindings of Eva. It's not a translation choice I'd endorse.

Though, Japanese actually has a native rendering of geas. From a translation theory point of view, using a loan word that is recognized in Japanese only muddies the waters further. The Japanese translation of geas is 禁忌 kinki, which means a taboo. Another reason why I wouldn't support the translation of jubaku as geas.


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