The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby sephirotic » Thu Aug 12, 2021 11:32 pm

View Original PostKonja7 wrote:
View Original Postsephirotic#927952 wrote:Rebuild for me is only fun because I absolutely love the original Evangelion and still is my favorite piece of fiction ever, so more action, more of the characters interaction is always fun. But when I think that some new fans will see Rebuild before the original series first or never even see the original series makes me sad and wish for Rebuild to be erased from history.


Honestly, the idea that new fans couldn't enjoy Rebuild movies seems extremely exagerated.

I saw NGE first, but I was never a big fan. Instead, I really enjoyed and become a big fan of Rebuild movies.

I didn't mean new fans wouldn't enjoy the Rebuild if they watched it first, but that it would spoil the experience of the original series.
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Re-watching Eva since 1999
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Fri Aug 13, 2021 3:44 am

Finally saw it and here's my initial, (very) long-winded thoughts in essay format. I'm spoilering it for the sake of you guys' scroll-wheels.

SPOILER: Show
World-building (and World-Destroying) of Evangelion - 1.01+2.22+3.333+(3.0+1.01): This is the Suspension, Beyond Belief

Compared to 3.0, which was notoriously reticent to explain the whys and hows of its newfangled setting, Thrice is dedicated to filling in old underlines. But the delay has colored the viewing experience a shade, making it hard not to feel palpable elation or dread as minute one begins, having over the years remained in suspense to find out what it was we watched a decade ago--no one could say if 3.0 (and Rebuild as a whole) checked out or not, even if they felt more or less sure about their gut instinct. Whether intended or not, part of what watching Thrice means is that 3.0 looms large in mind, almost like a picture-in-picture, new pieces of information grafted back to try and make sense of an entire other film--not a problem in itself, and something that could have potentially been novel if not for the fact that Thrice's infodumps are both rapid-fire and, after all this suspension of what could have been belief, pretty much nonsense. Many have already defended Thrice's rapid pacing in the same way they defended 3.0's inscrutability, as a means to place the audience in Shinji's shoes empathetically; the point is to feel overstimulated. But that excuse doesn't stand to reason for long because while Shinji took a proactive role in 3.0, he's apathetic from minute one of Thrice, though we as an audience are eager to piece things together, and so Shinji's role becomes a tagalong slumped in the corner. Although she's no proxy for the audience, Rei begins to function nearly as well, fresh eyed and reacting to what details the script throws her way, but though the village from her perspective is calm and patient, everything goes as rapid as anything else, including herself when she unceremoniously melts.

Perhaps the calculation was "if we don't dwell on it, the faults won't be detected," or a simple case of script length conflicting with budget and runtime limitations. Nonethless, Thrice begins at a sprint. Back when, distilling NGE's plot into a tetralogy was already chaffing at the runtime, far before there were 14 years of brand new mostly unreferenced chronology. Despite the breakneck pacing, 1.0 & 2.0 were at least heavily grounded in their real-world setting in terms of character; everyone was motivated (or not) by their sense of purpose within rigid bureaucratic structures, there was a sense of realism to the fact they had authorities under which they bristled, and this created instant relatability to their duties, even bridge bunnies or schoolchildren. Montage scenes were spent inside giant silos, metropolitan Neo-Tokyo, environmental restoration projects and a civilian life plagued by the effects of a recent crisis. Come the time-skip the afforementioned was totally laid to waste, and but to replace it nothing that did remain was dwelled on and what retroactive explanation we would ever get, turns out, would occur in 2-3 second glimpses a film later. Ignoring how effective lack of information was (or wasn't) to bring us into Shinji's confused perspective at the time of 3.0, in effect it meant no one was motivated by anything but unrevealed pasts, secret plans and what might have been (who could be certain?) make it up as you go sci-fi magick.

The post-timeskip setting, no longer able to run from light of day, can best be described as scorched-earth in the not strictly apocalyptic sense. The absence of a near-conspicuous pretty much everything, as wrought by the most recent of who can keep track of how many by now Impacts, feels less like an effective premise and more like the hand of the writer reaching down through a black hole, crumpling up every country, and thus any nitty-gritty, perhaps challenging real-world constraint, for the sake of not having to bother. The suspiciously threadbare quality of the post-timeskip setting also turns out to have applied, no surprise, to the characters who inhabited it and the events that occurred therein, as ridiculous as this all along: every world government has collapsed into Gendo on one end and Misato on the other, the nearest comparison to the dramatic effect of which are saturday morning cartoons where no one matters but He-Man and Skeletor et al. Sure the bad guy is always around the corner, about to close in with sinister iron-clad machinations, and maybe the heroes show momentary doubt and a setback or two as they flip a thousand times and run up the side of a building, but the jeopardy and stakes are as much a gesture as the commercial breaks, and we all know how it proceeds.

Everything works and looks as it does just 'cause--sure there's catastrophic near-annihilation of the race, but this isn't really getting anyone down, or at least not enough to prevent them from jiggling their busts and throwing out their hips in super-stylish, immaculately designed sci-fi gear. A lampshade is hung in the pre-credit sequence when the pink bridge bunny gripes about skintight suits, the conceit being that all appearances aside, they must merely need to be skintight 'because science,' neglecting that the designs are half greebles and racing stripes, clearly useless and clearly highlights to emphasize bust, pelvis, etc. in new and unexplored ways. Not even the previously unglamorous and strictly unspecial tertiaries register as mere humans anymore; nerdy male bridge bunnies get plugsuits, and even Gendo has a sleek, sexy redesign. Misato is brooding and tragic while cosplaying in some patchwork recreation of famous anime ship captains, made possible by whoever might be Wille's fashion designer, impossible to imagine as an actual character and not merely the real-life otaku who neglect to pen them. Plugsuits and battle regalia are one thing, but the idea that Gendo spends his time in his drafty, devoid silo ruffling up his hair with bedhead mousse every morning in his bathrom mirror is another. Who cares about looking like they're on the cover of Newtype when the world is all but destroyed? But increasingly outrageous aesthetics and commerce has long since overtaken Eva's enduring qualities as a story, the omnipresence of which Eva Doritos and the Radio Eva fashion line attests to and at a more consistent rate than Eva's presence as a theatrical event. In-universe in Rebuild our hero characters wage war against the devastation of world catastrophe, but in our very own real world the very process through which world destruction occurs is through mechanical warehouses squirting molten PVC into molds of these stylish folks en masse. One imagines a sun-blistered hunter-gatherer 1,000 years from now picking at the ash heap of debris that's become of once first-world nations, finding a smudged figurine of Asuka or Rei (who can tell, the head is missing and the colors faded), what once was a mere lewd 14-year old a new century Venus of Hohle Fels, and deeming it no practical use and throwing it over their shoulder or sticking it into a potato sack to jack off to later.

At least Thrice's opening village brings us back to a lived-in setting; brutalized to the point of what would be considerably reasonable insanity, everyone has become confident, worldly and stern, the village life ideal. Not to be a pessimist and say outright that such an attitude and community is impossible given the setting, it's just that the population number plummeting so low is less significant as a horrible fact and more suspicious as a drafting convenience: just the right size for nothing negative to be organically developing, and thus explored, just the right scope for a purely rhetorical tool, little more than a prop, none other than a snowglobe (what with the spotlight of green against all that crimson), full of hyperbolic grace and generosity, merely to contrast with the toy ship that is Wunder, and its fleet of irrational misunderstanding assholes. Immediately compassionate to Shinji, super welcoming to Rei as an outsider, fresh off the product line of the nemesis though she is, and compared to the typical Eva pessimism, almost like a Hallmark fantasy. But in reality, once the population grows past a certain point, reaches a certain saturation, very real problems are going to rear their head, and not because of limits forced upon them from outside the dome--they'll eventually modernize, industrialize, and pollute--in fact, they could conceivably have all the modern problems of real-world Japan. What then?

Jump ahead a few action scenes to the climax, and when the inevitable Instrumentality occurs, it's treated less as an actualization you might not be ready for and a defiling wisdom you might never recover from, and more like a mcguffin, wielded by Gendo to get what he wants, handed off to Shinji to get what he wants. It's almost like the trajectory the setting takes is from one that's plausible enough to one outright implausible, and then even further into a completely solipsistic platonic realm, but without the maturity or self-scrutiny of a Charlie Kaufman script or any earlier example of the same conceit. Each half of the movie is left suffering from its own different blindness--the village is ideal, there's nothing negative--and Shinji exiles it anyway and transmutes it into modern live-action Japan, but nothing of modern Japan's qualities, positive or negative, are alluded to. We're left divorced from the prior setting but withheld from the new one. The film constantly shifts around what could conceivably resemble anything real and serious, neglecting opportunities at every turn, and instead uses the existence of Evangelion Units themselves as a bizarre scapegoat--all you need do to fix the universe is pull yourself up by the quantum bootstraps, attain total cosmic control, wish away industrial eldritch abominations, and talk everyone out of their secret foibles. The apotheosis of our godhead-dipped Shinji ends up being mundane, the kind of talismanic willful optimism you can find just as easily in the grocery store bestsellers rack, on Oprah, or through a vision board. All questions one might still have--about the setting, about what particular characters may or may not themselves understand--are summarily discarded as obstacles should they risk getting in the way of the predetermined wholesome end. Although much has been made of the "long desired" finality of Thrice, the presence of conventional resolutions only bleeds out and undoes what was once distinct from the narrative; it was interesting in episode 26 and End of Evangelion that there wasn't a final battle, nor a heart to heart between father and son obligated by the trite notion that it must occur no matter what, no matter how genocidal the father, no matter if the absence, omission or subversion could have been more interesting, realistic, effective, novel, etcetera.

The world-building is discarded by Anno through Shinji, but never in the realm of endless internet analysis does something escape the fate of swirling forever in posterity, and the byproduct of Thrice's loredump excretions is, well, exactly that. Before I get a stick and begin poking into it, full-disclosure: lore was not the grand point of Eva for me. It's always been its sense of emotion and its formal experimentation with its medium, the design philosophy and visual storytelling, the (previously) delicate handle on character and setting. But the thing is, with Eva of old, if you did want to focus on the lore, it was rewarding enough to track and felt like it added to the atmosphere if anything. When I did a rewatch recently, me and my viewing partner (who also took an interest to the lore purely as an added extra) felt like in our teasing-out of the big picture that while we ran into places where information or clarity was withheld, there never felt like huge gaps in logic, not in terms of something not working with some effort on our part, and not in things seeming like they were being discarded without justification. It was easy to form a perspective on the lore in a way that dovetailed neatly into the experimental sequences and overall meaning. Seele is there from the start, and although they clearly turn into something different than their initial appearance, they do so with consistent rate & rhythm. The spear is introduced slowly, the way Angels, Evas, Lilith et al function is introduced at a good clip, Human Instrumentality is there since the opening credits, Rei's origins, the origin of Nerv, etc. all have their time. When everything goes down into surreal territory, the sequence of events leading to it track as real events that unfold, even if certain elements are inscrutable or the physics of the spears verges on the ridiculous. The overall nebulous armageddon of it all contributes to the feeling of a difficult and alienating world, even if you can't get a grasp of, say, the Doors of Guf. Nonetheless, the idea of Human Instrumentality checks out as a hard sci-fi premise and Shinji's purely psychological journey that it affords also feels like a solid tracing of something from Point A to Point B. The series and what it presents itself as morphs over time, but it's a morph you can swallow and track.

Now we have Rebuild, where even before the phantasmagoria begins, the physics of the spears out of nowhere apparently function under the whims of human emotion, Misato's ship is capable of transformation in the same 'just because' fashion of Unit-02 morphing into a cat, there's a third, new spear out of nowhere, not to mention a "Book of Life" that somehow explains and doesn't explain Kaworu's loop, which I struggle to understand the workings of (if I don't chalk it up to purely figurative metacontext operating as literal plot device). NGE seemed like you could squint and make sense of the calculus, so long as you didn't get too close to what were maybe some rough rafter beams. But in Rebuild there seem not to even be connecting joints. Case in point, Seele once had the benefit of being an obscure, mystic organization with religious eschatology beliefs and fealty to the arcane, so as to drench the hooey in thick enough shadows. But now all of that has been shouldered onto Gendo the all-powerful (and thus dramatically impotent) plan-wizard. Nothing in NGE compares to the absurdity that he's contrived Rei and Kaworu's interactions with Shinji as a means to lead the plot to its goal, confident that their interactions will give the plan either exactly what it needs or in the worst case can easily be incorporated into anyway. Even Seele talked about compromises, backups and powerlessness on their part. But how is it Wille scrounges for scraps but Neo Nerv can spit out newly-minted tech in perpetuity? At the end of the day, these are just random elements that don't dovetail or fit in with everything else, or at the least have any sense of buildup to their inclusion. NGE set limitations and discarded them, but not to this haphazard extent. Whereas Eva Units once had to operate under the restricting principle that they need connection to a power source, now we can say, thanks to the unending convenience of the timeskip, 'well, they formulated a way to get around that business.' Much like the Nemesis series, the supposition crazy new forms of tech occurred in the intervening years is just an unrestrained excuse to indulge in new designs and action sequence pyrotechnics.

Although a tremendous effort is undertaken to hide the shallow waters at the drama's core with run-on technobabble gobbledegook, the whole of the Rebuilds is basically a long-winded calculus--old elements and rules from the old show are put into new forms, a new "anti-universe" is appended, things melt and transport and woosh by the camera. What suffers most is a sense of character--something, as a result, my review has mostly avoided as well. Things jump ahead, get obliterated, rewritten and propped up for money shots too fast for the characters along for the ride to sufficiently exist, their desires and actions strangled and dragged by plot requirement or snubbed in favor of another color-bomb acrobatic mech romp interrupted here and there by jargon. 1.0 & 2.0 had a lot of shorthand, scenes working as stand-ins for several at once, characters getting folded into each other, etc., yet it was easy not to get lost in the breathless condensation because you had interior reference to the original as you watched and parsed, and perhaps part of the calculation from a scriptwriting sense was to rely on old knowledge as a safety net when glossing over the plot. 3.0 & Thrice feel much the same, but with the huge exception that whatever longer-form material there is to fall back on doesn't actually exist. As a result, each story beat is so preoccupied with justifying itself retroactively, backtracking and playing keep-up, that we never get a foothold until the events which erase the scenario unfold. As one example of egregious narrative expedition, Misato makes a heelturn of taking responsibility within the same scene we're given a 30-second insight into what she's heelturning from anyway. Each moment is too top-loaded, and because so little time is spent living inside the scenario as a time and place, I almost feel in many ways the post-timeskip script often forgets the timeskip even occurred, as strange as that sounds, simply because the characters aren't believable as people who ever lived outside of exposition. There's no moment where they just are, no sense of the gravity to the setting as they've seen it or what it's like to strive from inside of it. When characters do talk, they often say things to each other they should both already know, because they're not really talking to eachother, but the camera.

A setting works or it doesn't, and I'm not sure I can say with confidence that post-timeskip Rebuild even counts as one. It's more like a painted backdrop for the characters to exist in front of in forms detached from anything remotely resembling life or how real people are, and then they're swallowed up in another complete setting change when metafiction (read: Instrumentality) overrides the time-skip and everyone just becomes a symbol or self-reflexive comment on themselves. The problem is that this metafiction is very restricted and reticent to actually stare itself in the face; why not go all the way and have Rebuild question its existence as a commercial property? The answer is likely that the money is greatly enjoyed, and the largest share of audience-goers want the kind of smile from Shinji that disposes of any notion of lasting or forthcoming discomfort. Those who treat Evangelion on par with Schopenhauer would do well to remember that Eva has since become a sizable portion of Japan's overall economy and Anno a real estate speculator. As the saying goes, "systems don't teach you the means to topple them."
Last edited by Axx°N N. on Fri Aug 13, 2021 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby ElMariachi » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:27 am

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:Was looking back over this thread due to this exhange here, and funnily enough this last (I think) joke post looks less like a joke to me. Now, I don't think anything resembling this will happen, but in the interim between this post and Shin's imminent western release, we've already gone from Anno saying "I never want to look at Eva again" to "I don't feel like approaching these characters at all right now, but maybe some day?"

Do you have the link for that NYT article?
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:30 am

View Original PostElMariachi wrote:
View Original PostAxx°N N.#927798 wrote:Was looking back over this thread due to this exhange here, and funnily enough this last (I think) joke post looks less like a joke to me. Now, I don't think anything resembling this will happen, but in the interim between this post and Shin's imminent western release, we've already gone from Anno saying "I never want to look at Eva again" to "I don't feel like approaching these characters at all right now, but maybe some day?"

Do you have the link for that NYT article?

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/06/movi ... -anno.html
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby LightDragonman » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:33 am

Honestly, Axx pretty much summarized a lot of my problems with the film. Once again, Anno prioritizes themes over narrative coherence, and it just doesn't work out. I too, will spoil what I wrote in several other threads on this site to explain my thoughts.

SPOILER: Show
(Note: A lot of this writing is me being writing a similar review to a certain former internet reviewer's thoughts on a film I found very much like it, so my thoughts are gonna line up quite a bit. If you find lines from my post to be almost the same as his, that's why.)

Well, I just finished watching 3.0+1.0.

To be honest, I fully entered into it expecting to just be blown away, with a satisfied feeling at the end. Maybe that's not the right word, given the franchise's history, but at the very least, I expected to be just wowed and left in awe at what Anno and crew delivered in the end. Even if 3.33 snuffed out a lot of my enthusiasm for the franchise, I was still more than willing to give this film the benefit of the doubt. If Anno could pull off one last epic twist, which given the lengthy development and possible rewrites, was also expected, than all else could be forgiven.

Heck, I quite enjoyed the works Anno made during the long 8 and 1/2 wait between films. He excels in the sort of pseudo-philosophical crap that I eat up like candy, and given his renewed creative juices following Shin Godzilla, I sat down with the high hopes that he'd, at the very least, justify all the suffering and character-bashing of Redo, and pull out all the stops.

On the whole, watching 3.0+1.0 was easy. Heck, I'll even say I had a much better time watching it than I did with 3.33, as it was nowhere near as mean-spirited or full of contempt as that one was. Writing about my feelings on it though? That's an entirely different kettle of fish. I say this because I really, really want to say that it was the ending the franchise and all of us deserved, and one that I liked as much as the original series and 2.22 (still my favorite out of the entire saga). Yet sitting down thinking it over after having seen it, I really can't.

For that matter, I think I came to a glum realization while watching the credits roll. We had spent the past 8 and 1/2 years of our lives debating over what it all meant, what exactly Anno had up his sleeve, how each of the characters connected to both each other and their original selves, when really, this is how it was always gonna end. A whole bunch of slow character-building moments at the beginning, a very long, visually dense action-packed climax, and a reset button ending with the fates of some characters left up in the air. There was no real big twist or shock planned at all. Show's over folks. Go on home.

To be fair, getting a completely closed off ending with all the questions answered isn't to be expected from Eva. After all, one of the major draws of the franchise is its open-endedness that encourages the viewer to come up with their own interpretations. But I was just hoping for something more. They could've gone whatever crazy route they wanted with this saga, and instead what we ended up with was, surprisingly, rather predictable, despite all the unsubtle religious and spiritual terms and ideas thrown about willy-nilly.

There are other problems with it sure (some really lackluster CG near the end, certain characters not getting enough development or screentime, resolutions to some relationships feeling rushed or unearned, symbolism that's only there to look cool, areas which felt like padding), but the thing is, the original series has similar problems, yet it worked. Heck, the previous Rebuild films, even 3.33 had that, and they still worked too. I think this film went wrong because it whole-heartedly leaned into the mystical and mind-screw territory, without really having enough build-up to really justify it. The films worked best when it was centered on Shinji's connection to the others, and how he and those close to him grew from them, and I just wanted to see more of that, not a whole bunch of abstract and visually dense imagery that really means bugger all when you start to analyze it.

And it's not just me simply wanting my favored ship or the like to come canon or have closure. A lot of things get that in this film. But it all just feels buried under the weight of everything that is jockeying for screentime. Lots of things explode, colors are assaulting the senses, nightmarish imagery is shown, and yet it all feels hollow. And it all culminates in an ending that is essentially a reset button, alongside making it clear that Anno clearly views it as less of a story and more of a way to express his own personal feelings at us.

To be fair, the original was that as well. But it was much more effective in it for a reason. The franchise's main source for its themes, beyond the mere window dressing of the religious symbolism and Freudian subtext, was that of the Hedgehog's Dilemma. How we all crave the affection and connection we share with others, and yet they also cause us to feel pain. Said pain may lead to us isolating from others to stay safe, but it is not at all what we as humans need to truly live. The world is filled with hardships and painful times, but it is all worth enduring it and living, because through them warmth and love can still reach you. Running away from all that just because you don't want to get hurt deprives you of what is beautiful in the world, and said beauty makes this harsh life worth it all in the end. More to the point, it is through it that we can learn to love both others and ourselves, and we can endure thanks to that.

And here in 3.0+1.0..................it all ends with an Impact that basically causes a reset button on the heroes' lives. Some have said that all the philosophical navel-gazing of the original show was little more than pretentious nonsense, and to an extent that may be true. But there's a reason as to why it became such a cultural touchstone. It was the very rare series that managed to tap even the dimmest basement-dweller and make them think about their lives, if only for a moment. For this film to not do it as well just leaves me with a hollow feeling.

I often said that I had this feeling watching the previews, and upon seeing the film, I hate to admit it, but I really do think that this is Eva's equivalent to The Matrix Revolutions. It's a film that, while having high ambitions and loads of themes and spectacle, ends up feeling anti-climactic and not as impactful as I hoped.

That said, I would still tell people to watch the movie. After all, my thoughts are just the thoughts of one person. Who knows, you may end up coming to the complete opposite of my final thoughts. Just for me though, I expected to be blown away, and yet by the time the credits rolled, I was left feeling nothing.

.....................Dang it, this saga could've been so fricken cool. I can't believe it.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Fri Aug 13, 2021 4:54 am

View Original PostLightDragonman wrote:I too, will spoil what I wrote in several other threads on this site to explain my thoughts.

Just saw your post in that thread and was gonna suggest it would be a shame if it wasn't in here or elsewhere. Good thoughts. I think it's important to point out as you do that old Eva and new Eva aren't so different in many ways; they're Anno flouting what he wants when he needs to to express himself. It's just new Eva didn't have the runtime or planning (or inspiration?) to pull it off again. And I didn't realize until one of your other points that it's true, NTE really doesn't feel like it has a central thesis like NGE did with the Hedgehog's dilemma.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby kuribo-04 » Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:24 pm

Shin is a masterpiece IMO. A film that takes the visual language Anno has constructed in the franchise and repurposes it, toys with it, and all to give not only Rebuild, but Eva as a whole a conclusion, something I did not expect. It was definitively an answer to all that had come before.

Add to that innovative things like the village bit. Who would have expected #farmerRei lol. Yet it fits in perfectly, showing the characters growing out of their shell, showing they can live a completely different life. Almost like a wake up call.

I definitely need to think about this movie still, the whole meta aspect of it is a lot to unpack (Evangelion Imaginary lmao), but I can't put into words how satisfied I am with this movie.

Also Asuka and Shinji confessing omg ;_;
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Sun Sep 19, 2021 9:01 pm

View Original Postkuribo-04 wrote:Shin is a masterpiece IMO.

I think your post would be better suited to this more general reaction thread here.

This thread is for in-depth critical analysis. If you were to elaborate on your take it would be more fitting.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Blockio » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:08 am

No, this post is just fine here. kuribo layed out his reasoning for why he thinks it is good in perfectly adequate detail; critical analysis does not mean that you have to be critical of the movie. Saying that you liked how it handled certain aspects and plotlines is a perfectly justified first post into this thread; elaborating on the exact specifics in later posts in response to questions that may arise is generally the wiser option than putting down a massive block of text first thing; debate is a back and forth of questions and answers more so than trying to anticipate and preempt every question in advance
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby dzzthink » Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:12 pm

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:Finally saw it and here's my initial, (very) long-winded thoughts in essay format. I'm spoilering it for the sake of you guys' scroll-wheels.

SPOILER: Show
World-building (and World-Destroying) of Evangelion - 1.01+2.22+3.333+(3.0+1.01): This is the Suspension, Beyond Belief

Compared to 3.0, which was notoriously reticent to explain the whys and hows of its newfangled setting, Thrice is dedicated to filling in old underlines. But the delay has colored the viewing experience a shade, making it hard not to feel palpable elation or dread as minute one begins, having over the years remained in suspense to find out what it was we watched a decade ago--no one could say if 3.0 (and Rebuild as a whole) checked out or not, even if they felt more or less sure about their gut instinct. Whether intended or not, part of what watching Thrice means is that 3.0 looms large in mind, almost like a picture-in-picture, new pieces of information grafted back to try and make sense of an entire other film--not a problem in itself, and something that could have potentially been novel if not for the fact that Thrice's infodumps are both rapid-fire and, after all this suspension of what could have been belief, pretty much nonsense. Many have already defended Thrice's rapid pacing in the same way they defended 3.0's inscrutability, as a means to place the audience in Shinji's shoes empathetically; the point is to feel overstimulated. But that excuse doesn't stand to reason for long because while Shinji took a proactive role in 3.0, he's apathetic from minute one of Thrice, though we as an audience are eager to piece things together, and so Shinji's role becomes a tagalong slumped in the corner. Although she's no proxy for the audience, Rei begins to function nearly as well, fresh eyed and reacting to what details the script throws her way, but though the village from her perspective is calm and patient, everything goes as rapid as anything else, including herself when she unceremoniously melts.

Perhaps the calculation was "if we don't dwell on it, the faults won't be detected," or a simple case of script length conflicting with budget and runtime limitations. Nonethless, Thrice begins at a sprint. Back when, distilling NGE's plot into a tetralogy was already chaffing at the runtime, far before there were 14 years of brand new mostly unreferenced chronology. Despite the breakneck pacing, 1.0 & 2.0 were at least heavily grounded in their real-world setting in terms of character; everyone was motivated (or not) by their sense of purpose within rigid bureaucratic structures, there was a sense of realism to the fact they had authorities under which they bristled, and this created instant relatability to their duties, even bridge bunnies or schoolchildren. Montage scenes were spent inside giant silos, metropolitan Neo-Tokyo, environmental restoration projects and a civilian life plagued by the effects of a recent crisis. Come the time-skip the afforementioned was totally laid to waste, and but to replace it nothing that did remain was dwelled on and what retroactive explanation we would ever get, turns out, would occur in 2-3 second glimpses a film later. Ignoring how effective lack of information was (or wasn't) to bring us into Shinji's confused perspective at the time of 3.0, in effect it meant no one was motivated by anything but unrevealed pasts, secret plans and what might have been (who could be certain?) make it up as you go sci-fi magick.

The post-timeskip setting, no longer able to run from light of day, can best be described as scorched-earth in the not strictly apocalyptic sense. The absence of a near-conspicuous pretty much everything, as wrought by the most recent of who can keep track of how many by now Impacts, feels less like an effective premise and more like the hand of the writer reaching down through a black hole, crumpling up every country, and thus any nitty-gritty, perhaps challenging real-world constraint, for the sake of not having to bother. The suspiciously threadbare quality of the post-timeskip setting also turns out to have applied, no surprise, to the characters who inhabited it and the events that occurred therein, as ridiculous as this all along: every world government has collapsed into Gendo on one end and Misato on the other, the nearest comparison to the dramatic effect of which are saturday morning cartoons where no one matters but He-Man and Skeletor et al. Sure the bad guy is always around the corner, about to close in with sinister iron-clad machinations, and maybe the heroes show momentary doubt and a setback or two as they flip a thousand times and run up the side of a building, but the jeopardy and stakes are as much a gesture as the commercial breaks, and we all know how it proceeds.

Everything works and looks as it does just 'cause--sure there's catastrophic near-annihilation of the race, but this isn't really getting anyone down, or at least not enough to prevent them from jiggling their busts and throwing out their hips in super-stylish, immaculately designed sci-fi gear. A lampshade is hung in the pre-credit sequence when the pink bridge bunny gripes about skintight suits, the conceit being that all appearances aside, they must merely need to be skintight 'because science,' neglecting that the designs are half greebles and racing stripes, clearly useless and clearly highlights to emphasize bust, pelvis, etc. in new and unexplored ways. Not even the previously unglamorous and strictly unspecial tertiaries register as mere humans anymore; nerdy male bridge bunnies get plugsuits, and even Gendo has a sleek, sexy redesign. Misato is brooding and tragic while cosplaying in some patchwork recreation of famous anime ship captains, made possible by whoever might be Wille's fashion designer, impossible to imagine as an actual character and not merely the real-life otaku who neglect to pen them. Plugsuits and battle regalia are one thing, but the idea that Gendo spends his time in his drafty, devoid silo ruffling up his hair with bedhead mousse every morning in his bathrom mirror is another. Who cares about looking like they're on the cover of Newtype when the world is all but destroyed? But increasingly outrageous aesthetics and commerce has long since overtaken Eva's enduring qualities as a story, the omnipresence of which Eva Doritos and the Radio Eva fashion line attests to and at a more consistent rate than Eva's presence as a theatrical event. In-universe in Rebuild our hero characters wage war against the devastation of world catastrophe, but in our very own real world the very process through which world destruction occurs is through mechanical warehouses squirting molten PVC into molds of these stylish folks en masse. One imagines a sun-blistered hunter-gatherer 1,000 years from now picking at the ash heap of debris that's become of once first-world nations, finding a smudged figurine of Asuka or Rei (who can tell, the head is missing and the colors faded), what once was a mere lewd 14-year old a new century Venus of Hohle Fels, and deeming it no practical use and throwing it over their shoulder or sticking it into a potato sack to jack off to later.

At least Thrice's opening village brings us back to a lived-in setting; brutalized to the point of what would be considerably reasonable insanity, everyone has become confident, worldly and stern, the village life ideal. Not to be a pessimist and say outright that such an attitude and community is impossible given the setting, it's just that the population number plummeting so low is less significant as a horrible fact and more suspicious as a drafting convenience: just the right size for nothing negative to be organically developing, and thus explored, just the right scope for a purely rhetorical tool, little more than a prop, none other than a snowglobe (what with the spotlight of green against all that crimson), full of hyperbolic grace and generosity, merely to contrast with the toy ship that is Wunder, and its fleet of irrational misunderstanding assholes. Immediately compassionate to Shinji, super welcoming to Rei as an outsider, fresh off the product line of the nemesis though she is, and compared to the typical Eva pessimism, almost like a Hallmark fantasy. But in reality, once the population grows past a certain point, reaches a certain saturation, very real problems are going to rear their head, and not because of limits forced upon them from outside the dome--they'll eventually modernize, industrialize, and pollute--in fact, they could conceivably have all the modern problems of real-world Japan. What then?

Jump ahead a few action scenes to the climax, and when the inevitable Instrumentality occurs, it's treated less as an actualization you might not be ready for and a defiling wisdom you might never recover from, and more like a mcguffin, wielded by Gendo to get what he wants, handed off to Shinji to get what he wants. It's almost like the trajectory the setting takes is from one that's plausible enough to one outright implausible, and then even further into a completely solipsistic platonic realm, but without the maturity or self-scrutiny of a Charlie Kaufman script or any earlier example of the same conceit. Each half of the movie is left suffering from its own different blindness--the village is ideal, there's nothing negative--and Shinji exiles it anyway and transmutes it into modern live-action Japan, but nothing of modern Japan's qualities, positive or negative, are alluded to. We're left divorced from the prior setting but withheld from the new one. The film constantly shifts around what could conceivably resemble anything real and serious, neglecting opportunities at every turn, and instead uses the existence of Evangelion Units themselves as a bizarre scapegoat--all you need do to fix the universe is pull yourself up by the quantum bootstraps, attain total cosmic control, wish away industrial eldritch abominations, and talk everyone out of their secret foibles. The apotheosis of our godhead-dipped Shinji ends up being mundane, the kind of talismanic willful optimism you can find just as easily in the grocery store bestsellers rack, on Oprah, or through a vision board. All questions one might still have--about the setting, about what particular characters may or may not themselves understand--are summarily discarded as obstacles should they risk getting in the way of the predetermined wholesome end. Although much has been made of the "long desired" finality of Thrice, the presence of conventional resolutions only bleeds out and undoes what was once distinct from the narrative; it was interesting in episode 26 and End of Evangelion that there wasn't a final battle, nor a heart to heart between father and son obligated by the trite notion that it must occur no matter what, no matter how genocidal the father, no matter if the absence, omission or subversion could have been more interesting, realistic, effective, novel, etcetera.

The world-building is discarded by Anno through Shinji, but never in the realm of endless internet analysis does something escape the fate of swirling forever in posterity, and the byproduct of Thrice's loredump excretions is, well, exactly that. Before I get a stick and begin poking into it, full-disclosure: lore was not the grand point of Eva for me. It's always been its sense of emotion and its formal experimentation with its medium, the design philosophy and visual storytelling, the (previously) delicate handle on character and setting. But the thing is, with Eva of old, if you did want to focus on the lore, it was rewarding enough to track and felt like it added to the atmosphere if anything. When I did a rewatch recently, me and my viewing partner (who also took an interest to the lore purely as an added extra) felt like in our teasing-out of the big picture that while we ran into places where information or clarity was withheld, there never felt like huge gaps in logic, not in terms of something not working with some effort on our part, and not in things seeming like they were being discarded without justification. It was easy to form a perspective on the lore in a way that dovetailed neatly into the experimental sequences and overall meaning. Seele is there from the start, and although they clearly turn into something different than their initial appearance, they do so with consistent rate & rhythm. The spear is introduced slowly, the way Angels, Evas, Lilith et al function is introduced at a good clip, Human Instrumentality is there since the opening credits, Rei's origins, the origin of Nerv, etc. all have their time. When everything goes down into surreal territory, the sequence of events leading to it track as real events that unfold, even if certain elements are inscrutable or the physics of the spears verges on the ridiculous. The overall nebulous armageddon of it all contributes to the feeling of a difficult and alienating world, even if you can't get a grasp of, say, the Doors of Guf. Nonetheless, the idea of Human Instrumentality checks out as a hard sci-fi premise and Shinji's purely psychological journey that it affords also feels like a solid tracing of something from Point A to Point B. The series and what it presents itself as morphs over time, but it's a morph you can swallow and track.

Now we have Rebuild, where even before the phantasmagoria begins, the physics of the spears out of nowhere apparently function under the whims of human emotion, Misato's ship is capable of transformation in the same 'just because' fashion of Unit-02 morphing into a cat, there's a third, new spear out of nowhere, not to mention a "Book of Life" that somehow explains and doesn't explain Kaworu's loop, which I struggle to understand the workings of (if I don't chalk it up to purely figurative metacontext operating as literal plot device). NGE seemed like you could squint and make sense of the calculus, so long as you didn't get too close to what were maybe some rough rafter beams. But in Rebuild there seem not to even be connecting joints. Case in point, Seele once had the benefit of being an obscure, mystic organization with religious eschatology beliefs and fealty to the arcane, so as to drench the hooey in thick enough shadows. But now all of that has been shouldered onto Gendo the all-powerful (and thus dramatically impotent) plan-wizard. Nothing in NGE compares to the absurdity that he's contrived Rei and Kaworu's interactions with Shinji as a means to lead the plot to its goal, confident that their interactions will give the plan either exactly what it needs or in the worst case can easily be incorporated into anyway. Even Seele talked about compromises, backups and powerlessness on their part. But how is it Wille scrounges for scraps but Neo Nerv can spit out newly-minted tech in perpetuity? At the end of the day, these are just random elements that don't dovetail or fit in with everything else, or at the least have any sense of buildup to their inclusion. NGE set limitations and discarded them, but not to this haphazard extent. Whereas Eva Units once had to operate under the restricting principle that they need connection to a power source, now we can say, thanks to the unending convenience of the timeskip, 'well, they formulated a way to get around that business.' Much like the Nemesis series, the supposition crazy new forms of tech occurred in the intervening years is just an unrestrained excuse to indulge in new designs and action sequence pyrotechnics.

Although a tremendous effort is undertaken to hide the shallow waters at the drama's core with run-on technobabble gobbledegook, the whole of the Rebuilds is basically a long-winded calculus--old elements and rules from the old show are put into new forms, a new "anti-universe" is appended, things melt and transport and woosh by the camera. What suffers most is a sense of character--something, as a result, my review has mostly avoided as well. Things jump ahead, get obliterated, rewritten and propped up for money shots too fast for the characters along for the ride to sufficiently exist, their desires and actions strangled and dragged by plot requirement or snubbed in favor of another color-bomb acrobatic mech romp interrupted here and there by jargon. 1.0 & 2.0 had a lot of shorthand, scenes working as stand-ins for several at once, characters getting folded into each other, etc., yet it was easy not to get lost in the breathless condensation because you had interior reference to the original as you watched and parsed, and perhaps part of the calculation from a scriptwriting sense was to rely on old knowledge as a safety net when glossing over the plot. 3.0 & Thrice feel much the same, but with the huge exception that whatever longer-form material there is to fall back on doesn't actually exist. As a result, each story beat is so preoccupied with justifying itself retroactively, backtracking and playing keep-up, that we never get a foothold until the events which erase the scenario unfold. As one example of egregious narrative expedition, Misato makes a heelturn of taking responsibility within the same scene we're given a 30-second insight into what she's heelturning from anyway. Each moment is too top-loaded, and because so little time is spent living inside the scenario as a time and place, I almost feel in many ways the post-timeskip script often forgets the timeskip even occurred, as strange as that sounds, simply because the characters aren't believable as people who ever lived outside of exposition. There's no moment where they just are, no sense of the gravity to the setting as they've seen it or what it's like to strive from inside of it. When characters do talk, they often say things to each other they should both already know, because they're not really talking to eachother, but the camera.

A setting works or it doesn't, and I'm not sure I can say with confidence that post-timeskip Rebuild even counts as one. It's more like a painted backdrop for the characters to exist in front of in forms detached from anything remotely resembling life or how real people are, and then they're swallowed up in another complete setting change when metafiction (read: Instrumentality) overrides the time-skip and everyone just becomes a symbol or self-reflexive comment on themselves. The problem is that this metafiction is very restricted and reticent to actually stare itself in the face; why not go all the way and have Rebuild question its existence as a commercial property? The answer is likely that the money is greatly enjoyed, and the largest share of audience-goers want the kind of smile from Shinji that disposes of any notion of lasting or forthcoming discomfort. Those who treat Evangelion on par with Schopenhauer would do well to remember that Eva has since become a sizable portion of Japan's overall economy and Anno a real estate speculator. As the saying goes, "systems don't teach you the means to topple them."



Very thorough review. For Shin Eva, sometimes the emotional subtext can be quite thin, and any significant desire to engage with the movie is sidelined with questions about the narrative, creative direction, timelines, plotholes, and meta-meaning. On the whole, it seems like it resolves the franchise on a happy note though, so there isn't too much to debate.
Last edited by dzzthink on Wed Sep 29, 2021 11:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:31 pm

View Original PostBlockio wrote:kuribo layed out his reasoning for why he thinks it is good in perfectly adequate detail; critical analysis does not mean that you have to be critical of the movie. Saying that you liked how it handled certain aspects and plotlines is a perfectly justified first post into this thread; elaborating on the exact specifics in later posts in response to questions that may arise is generally the wiser option than putting down a massive block of text first thing; debate is a back and forth of questions and answers more so than trying to anticipate and preempt every question in advance

I beg to disagree, it seemed like general statements and snap reactions. I would ask questions, but since every line can be followed up with "why?", "how?", or "in what ways?", I can't do that or it would be omnislashing.

@kuribo-04, the thread could use more analysis from those who think highly of the movie. I didn't say anything as a means to discourage you, on the contrary I'd love to see you elaborate.

View Original Postdzzthink wrote:Very thorough review. For Shin Eva, sometimes the emotional subtext can be quite thin, and any significant desire to engage with the movie is sidelined with questions about the narrative, creative direction, plotholes, and meta-meaning. On the whole, it seems like it resolves the franchise on a happy note though, so there isn't too much to debate.

Yeah, I don't even think critical analysis is the best way to engage with the movie on its own terms. The best way to engage is emotional. But since I didn't connect at all with it emotionally, or at least felt prevented from doing so because of the method and ingredients involved, analysis was all that was left for me to figure out why exactly that happened.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby hui43210 » Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:23 pm

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:
View Original PostBlockio#931383 wrote:kuribo layed out his reasoning for why he thinks it is good in perfectly adequate detail; critical analysis does not mean that you have to be critical of the movie. Saying that you liked how it handled certain aspects and plotlines is a perfectly justified first post into this thread; elaborating on the exact specifics in later posts in response to questions that may arise is generally the wiser option than putting down a massive block of text first thing; debate is a back and forth of questions and answers more so than trying to anticipate and preempt every question in advance

I beg to disagree, it seemed like general statements and snap reactions. I would ask questions, but since every line can be followed up with "why?", "how?", or "in what ways?", I can't do that or it would be omnislashing.

@kuribo-04, the thread could use more analysis from those who think highly of the movie. I didn't say anything as a means to discourage you, on the contrary I'd love to see you elaborate.


AXX, what you're doing right now is the prime example of backseat modding. You have no right to be acting as an authority of what is allowed to be posted in this thread, that's up to mod's discretion. While you claim you aren't trying to discouraging kuribo, when your initial response is to tell him to post in another thread, you're basically singling to the poster to get lost. Please engage respectfully, and cease backseat modding.
I mean, predictability is the central attraction and the narrative hook that we've all come to expect from the Evangelion franchise. How come Anno can't realize this? Twice? - FreakyFilmFan4ever

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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:51 pm

I'll cease giving input on what is or is not appropriate for the thread, I apologize. My intention wasn't to mini-mod, and I made it very clear in each case that I didn't want them gone from the thread at all, but that I thought they should elaborate more and thus post more in here if inclined. I sincerely thought they might have preferred that thread.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby kuribo-04 » Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:52 pm

Tbh it kinda gave me the impression that Axx had problem with my post itself. But if you say that wasn't the intention I believe you.

However I feel like I have to let the film sink in still before I go into much more detail.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby nerv bae » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:08 am

My experience with Eva: I watched the original series and EOE for the first time in my life when they came to Netflix in 2019. I rewatched these two or three times since, most recently a month before watching all four rebuilds for the first time when they came to Prime in 2021.

I jumped into this thread for the first time this week, and I've read the first page of posts from March and the last two pages of posts since May. My impression is that many of the posters in this topic 1) have a net-negative impression of NTE / Shin and 2) have been invested in Eva for a lot longer than me.

As a newcomer to Eva, I think that Shin and NTE as a whole have "artistic validity." I guess there are some flaws that people who are more inclined to literary / film analysis than I am might anchor on, or that people who have shipping opinions might take issue with. But I'm not a big literary / film analysis guy and I don't have a horse in the shipping races at all. In general I think the rebuilds are an extraordinary accomplishment and I'm glad they exist in the world; their existence doesn't detract from my original series and EOE experience at all.

Maybe this post is a bit too general for this topic per @Axx°N N.'s post above and if so I'll try to be more specific if I see a good opportunity to do so in following posts.

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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:24 am

@nerv bae, seems pretty specific actually and is an interesting thing to think about. I can't speak for everyone, and I know friends who recently got into NGE but then heavily disliked NTE. But as for me I'm more or less what you described; I got into Eva when I entered college for a literature degree, a couple years before the Rebuilds began to exist, as an offshoot of getting into, specifically at the time, surrealist literature and film, especially with a mystic bent. I enjoy anime as a genre secondary to my preferences for kinds of storytelling. What I got from OG Eva is really different from what I got from NTE, and it feels like they require different approaches as an audience member, and that they hit different kinds of enjoyment factors. Or to put it another way, what I require from a story for it to satisfy me was satisfied by NGE but not by NTE, to the extent that they feel like different categories or methods, maybe even different genres. This might be reductive, but NGE to me is unlike most anime, whereas NTE is very much like many anime, especially modern anime. This is neither a good nor bad thing, but it's basically an objective difference, it seems to me.

As a technical, musical and visual spectacle there are many things I appreciate throughout NTE and the production (as shown in the art books) is insane in its breadth of detail; most of what I didn't like lands on the side of storytelling, largely in terms of character development and pacing. I went in with a high preference for psychological themes and ambiguity, and a low tolerance for action scenes, quick cuts, fanservice and exposition. But when I fault Shin, I'm aware that they might be positives to someone else, and I don't think discussions of the artistic validity of NTE/Shin have to inevitably end up as negative appraisals. In the end, it all depends on what your definition is of "artistic validity", which has been controversial since Greek times, and several artists and philosophers and critics have viciously disagreed over time.

Just to clarify where I'm coming from, I don't want there to be the feeling that views that skew negative should dominate the thread.
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Postby nerv bae » Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:23 am

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:This might be reductive, but NGE to me is unlike most anime, whereas NTE is very much like many anime, especially modern anime. This is neither a good nor bad thing, but it's basically an objective difference, it seems to me.

I haven't watched very much anime in my life, which might be influencing my perspective a bit. Could probably count the number of anime series I remember watching on one hand!

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:Just to clarify where I'm coming from, I don't want there to be the feeling that views that skew negative should dominate the thread.

Maybe I'm being unfair to the topic, having skipped pages 2 through 8. I will try to dive back into these and respond to points made in them, if I can think of something to add.

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Postby nerv bae » Fri Sep 24, 2021 10:20 am

Alright, marched through pages 2 through 8! Here's a live compilation of quotes and responses from my tour; this'll probably be boring for everyone except brand new posters like me:

View Original PostRLLRRR wrote:What I mean is Rei is cast-off as a side character, despite being the second (or third, depending on your view) most important character to the story. Anno casts Shikinami off as a side character as well. Sure, she "possibly" has a content life in a world free of Eva, but she certainly deserves a little more closure than she actually gets. Like I said before, 3.0+1.0 is a culmination of over two decades of Evangelion (regardless of whether or not NGE and the Rebuilds are related). If this is truly Anno walking away from Eva forever, you'd think he'd treat everyone that made him who he is with a little more respect.

Not trying to pick on @RLLRRR with this quote because I saw a lot of sentiment like this: that the characters didn't get what they deserve, the characters aren't treated with respect, and so on. It's hard for me to tell whether this sentiment signals dissatisfaction with how the story has been told (a legitimate aim of this topic) or dissatisfaction with the story itself (not legitimate, in my eyes -- we don't get other stories, we get the rebuilds as they're presented to us, right?).

View Original PostUrsusArctos wrote:Japanese viewers have sought to immerse themselves in the Evangelion world and hope to make it in their image - and Anno flips it thematically by not placing us, the viewers, in Shinji's world, but by reversing it, literally showing his characters escaping into our world. In doing so, he's asking his audience this question - "Couldn't this be possible for you too?" It's very much a reverse-Isekai work that way, and for an audience that has been raised on Isekai (otherworld) anime over the past decade, it's a solid question. Not to mention, like I said previously, that it meshes perfectly with the way fairy tales end: with the hero/heroine finding peace and satisfaction in the mundane world. (And what world could possibly be more mundane than real life?)

The implication? Shinji can find peace and happiness in the real world - our world - therefore, so can we, the audience. There's no need to repeat the message of End of Evangelion, or for that matter, its horrors. People need to live and reach out to each other even if it is painful - a point made explicitly in EoE, and implicitly in the events of both 3.0 and 3.0 + 1.0.

Reverse-isekai is an interesting take on the ending!

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:Shin Eva when reduced to the whole Asuka & Shinji & Mari thing is basically just (500) Days of Summer but with quantum mechs.

:rofl:

View Original PostGendo's Glasses wrote:
    ...
  • The fandom has had a long time to come to the conclusion that they've solved Eva, the impossible to understand story.
    ...
  • The NTE's problem is that it hasn't had the same amount of time or fan-theorising, really.

I'm glad I've joined the fandom at such an exciting time, when finally all four movies are squarely in front of the western audience and widely available for analysis. I know everyone has been working on the first three for years, but there's still so much to figure out!

View Original PostAxx°N N. wrote:For the sake of posterity, for those future readers looking back over everything after the film drops and who want a snapshot of EGF pre-release but post-leaks (and perhaps to stimulate discussion now or in the future), I've compiled a couple of tangents that took over unrelated threads during the interim.

Oh wow, more threads to pull on! New-to-topic readers joining the topic this month should probably jump back to this post. I will have to explore these links.

View Original Postswagbuckking1 wrote:@Shinji Ikari Expy

I don't think your assessment is fair regarding those who express disdain for the way WILLE were with Shinji and the pilots. ...

One thing I think the last film two films do brilliantly is highlight the differences between condemnation and compassion. I've talked about this here:
post/922034/Has-3010-improved-or-worsened-Rebuild-for-you/#922034.

I cheered for @Shinji Ikary Expy when he came into the topic guns blazing but this is a thoughtful response by @swagbukking1.

View Original Postswagbuckking1 wrote:In my opinion, I actually believe WILLE are reasonable, compassionate and understanding people (they are supposed to be the good guys after all) but they were written to be uncharacteristically paranoid and supportive of extreme punishments against Shinji. I believe this was done simply to have Shinji match the mental state he was in during EOE in order to progress the story and artificially initiate his need to "grow up".

But on page 8, @swagbuckking1 makes some effortposts along these lines that I'm not convinced by. My broad and unnuanced response is that, no, WILLE's actions are well-written to be appropriately paranoid given the circumstances.

I think most of the opinions I quoted above were based on the script and bits of camrips, without benefit of seeing the actual film. Apologies if I'm quoting stuff that's obsolete!

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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby kuribo-04 » Fri Dec 03, 2021 1:35 pm

Answer to this post:
https://forum.evageeks.org/post/932794/So-I-should-go-ahead-and-watch-the-Rebuilds-right/#932794

What am I supposed to feel when I watch minutes of mindless sniping of a billion-fold horde of enemies?

I just don't see how the scene is mindless. It is super well choreographed and planned out. You see Asuka and Mari using up all the tools they brought with them, thus getting weaker every second. It's really more about that than the confrontation against each individual Mark.07 Eva.

It's not so much the storytelling of those action scenes, my dislike is more on the technical side. The EoE fight scene has an incredible sense of weight, and you can't just chalk it up to that scene having a stronger realism than before, which it does, because almost all the fight scenes from the old material feel more grounded and more tangible to me than the Rebuilds, Zeruel being an obvious one to me. Everything in Shin feels floaty and like models flying around, or like someone crashing a bunch of toy figurines together.

I think that is just part of the over the top style. I think there is still some weight to the Evas, but they certainly feel more mobile than before. But when you have scenes like Eva-02 turning into a cat in 3.0 and that sort of stuff, I'd say it's definitely intentional. You obviously don't have to like it, but I think it's unfair to to the film to compare it to what NGE and EoE did if it isn't even trying to imitate that.


I don't appreciate how it feels that every time someone has something negative to say about Rebuild, they get pressed, but no one who says how excellent they were has someone attempting to give their opinion serious rebuttals

I'm honestly not too much on EGF lately, so I have no idea what the majority here thinks, or how debates go. Like I might as well be on the minority's side as far as opinions on Shin go.
I certainly didn't want to pressure you. I just love the film and wanted to explain why I feel differently, but in the end I'm just another user with another opinion, you are obviously free to feel differently.
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Re: The flaws and/or artistic validity of Shin and NTE as a whole

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Postby Axx°N N. » Fri Dec 03, 2021 11:02 pm

In the context of the original thread that was posted in, it's certainly a matter of taste. I explained what I didn't like, it goes without saying those reasons might be, for someone else, the exact justification for why they love the creative decisions of NTE.

I have no qualms with the idea of outrageous action, it's the execution that renders those scenes impotent to me. I actually really like the opening 10 minutes in Paris in terms of its choreography, but the overcomplicated hordes of mechs just don't make me feel anything, the motivation behind either faction is pretty vague, the idea there's any stakes to the frantic NCIS-tier down-to-the-minute group-hacking is hard to swallow, and the story relevance for something that eats up 10 minutes of an already resolution-burdened film is unjustifiable in a narrative sense.

You embellish exactly why I find the descent scenes boring; you're describing, like I was, a video game scene. Player character unloads their massive clips of items at the same copy-pasted enemies over and over again, the stakes are tied to ammunition depletion, there's no human drama happening until the time at which the action has to stop, as if a cutscene needs to trigger for the story to matter again. And I'm not saying on paper that couldn't work with the proper execution; it's not the first time Eva has paralleled videogame ethos and Asuka is of course our panfaced gamer addict; but I've felt more excitement actually watching people play video games, if the enemies are designed well and the difficulty of getting the win is palpable. Thrice doesn't linger enough to build up the campaign, the feelings either pilot has, it doesn't even really have them react in the moment enough. They just do their job and we're forced to watch, or at least that's how I feel.

The other problem is so much of it feels overdesigned. Do we need a million enemy units on screen? Does it get anything across a hundred less wouldn't? Is there or isn't there a saturation point where it becomes ridiculous, and not even in a fun way? New suit designs, new mech upgrades and designs, all cool on a store shelf; but if there's no sense for the storytelling need, much less a need as voiced by the characters, it just becomes noise. I actually really like that a lot of mech salvaging is going on, what with Jet Alone being grafted onto Unit 02 (something only fully extrapolated by one-second freeze-frame). But the camera jumps around and cuts so much out that we don't even get to feel the gravity of the need to salvage nor much if anything of the reality of the mechanical effort. I'm sure many things have a reasoning one can glean in an artbook, but none of it is expressed on-screen and so it's just a bunch of aesthetic choices waltzing around. Why do the enemy units have skull faces? To spook everyone?

The other thing about the CGI is that, while I always prefer cel animation, CGI can be done well, outrageous or grounded. But I find it distracting when the quality ramps up and nosedives within the same scene, a purely technical fault that has nothing to do with tone, and the sense of gravity disappears and reappears at will, probably as dictated by how much it's bristling against budget constraint. I think it's unfair to fault a production for its budget, but a production is only as impressive as how much it can sensibly and creatively deal with its limitations. 1.0 was actually really grounded in terms of at least the Evas, it's 2.0 onward you get pole-vaulting mechs and cars swirling on pavement like it's ice. You can probably chalk that up to the change in focus and approach between films. Regardless, by the time of Thrice it feels like an effort to put every design idea one can possibly have on-screen at whatever cost, even that of good rendering. I like Wunder's design sketches, but the 3D model has PS3-era jagged edges and is an eyesore, and certain scenes feel like frames are being dropped like a video game under duress when the fan gets really loud.
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