NGE's Status as a Work of Art...

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

Incisivis
Scribe
Scribe
User avatar
Posts: 259
Joined: Jan 06, 2005
Location: Canada
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Incisivis » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:18 pm

To an extent, I'm playing Devil's Advocate: I believe that any critic worth their words would NOT consider a work automatically excluded from a canon of capital "A" Art because it's animated/science fiction/heavily merchandised.

But if you're searching for reasons why Evangelion is not considered Art, these superficial factors do play a role, even when they shouldn't.

And I also believe that non-Japanese exploration of Evangelion is indeed legitimate, from a cultural, emotional, or psychological, etc. standpoint, and Great Works, even ancient ones, can be enjoyed by other cultures.

But I also believe that the question of whether or not Evangelion should be integrated into an artistic canon should look at NGE in its native Japanese context, because that's ultimately where Evangelion's greatest cultural impact was/is, and integration into a Canon is determined partially by said cultural impact.

As to a notion of NGE being "flawed": while its ambiguous nature is mostly a strength, there are times when it feels like altogether too much is being "held back" and basic facts about the series' world and the nature of important objects (such as the Angels' goals, or the origin of Kaworu's body), possibly necessary for a viewer to feel they have a good grounding in the work, feel absent, or are contradicted, or presented a good time after the fact (things like the Red Cross Book or the Evangelion 2 guide).

There are degrees between a narrative that spoon-feeds and one that's vaporous, and Evangelion's position on that scale changes widely depending on what aspect of the series you're looking at. Sometimes I enjoy this ambiguity, sometimes it's frustrating.

I don't want an NGE with all the wrinkles ironed out (one reason that I've mostly been indifferent to Rebuild), but I can't accept its nature unreservedly, either.

Of course, you could say that that is one thing that might make great art: Anno did say "Evangelion is a puzzle", and whatnot: it frustrates, it makes you think, etc. But I can imagine that to some critics, it comes off as a strike against the series, even if in other ways, the series is superb.

I also don't believe there is a universal qualifier for what makes Great Art, though I'm not a relativist/literalist either. Evangelion has some of the qualities I'd recognize as being those of a truly Great Work (mostly its emotional complexity and unflinching view of humanity's dark side), but on other aspects of it, I'm hesitant.

And VoidEater is right: the series is "young" yet, and works of Art need history as well as cultural importance and sheer quality, to vindicate them as well.
"No live organism can continue to exist sanely within conditions of absolute reality; even dragonflies and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream"--Shirley Jackson
I liek Shinji
LiveJournal and Fan Fiction

VoidEater
Matarael
Matarael
User avatar
Posts: 580
Joined: Sep 11, 2008
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby VoidEater » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:00 pm

^ Better than I could say it
"I would like to see a clown remake of 'Terms of Endearment' or 'The Thorn Birds.' Or maybe a big disaster movie, like 'Towering Inferno.' That's stuff I'd pay to see. Nothing says entertainment more than burning clowns."

Eva Yojimbo
Redbeard
Redbeard
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 8005
Joined: Feb 17, 2007
Location: Somewhere Over the Rainbo
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:19 pm

Incisivis wrote:But if you're searching for reasons why Evangelion is not considered Art, these superficial factors do play a role, even when they shouldn't.
Fair enough. I guess my problem is that eventually all of that stuff is forgotten. Does anyone really care that Bach was employed to write those glorious Cantatas of his and thinks that makes them 'less art'? I don't think so. Normally, I wouldn't think this much of a problem, but I do see a real lack of notoriety outside the anime community and this poses a real threat to its potential for posterity. By the time people stop caring about the fact that the work was also used for monetary gain it could already be forgotten.

Incisivis wrote:There are degrees between a narrative that spoon-feeds and one that's vaporous, and Evangelion's position on that scale changes widely depending on what aspect of the series you're looking at. Sometimes I enjoy this ambiguity, sometimes it's frustrating.
I guess I've always been more or less apathetic to the notion, because when I think of what I consider to be NGE's real claims to greatness very little of it has to do with its mythological world and the questions about it that remain unanswered. I've often even said that NGE's intentional obfuscation of narrative events is a great catalyst and impetus for people to dig into it more deeply; kinda like how 2001:ASO doesn't explain itself, and invites people to interpret various aspects. If a work is too self-explanatory most have a tendency not to look any deeper (even though there often is a deeper), however, with works that really want to get those deeper aspects across there's really very little recourse other than to either spell everything out or, do like NGE did, and make the aspects that people initially latch onto sufficiently ambiguous to spark an interest about everything else. Mystery creates a desire to solve it; and leaving a mystery unanswered leaves it up to the audience to solve and, along the way, they might find things of much more importance than simply answering the mystery.

I also think these sort of 'flaws' give it a very humanistic character that's absence from a lot of works I think of as almost untouchable, god-like masterpieces; I consider films like 2001:ASO or Citizen Kane 'perfect' on one level, but on another I think that perfection lends them a coldness which prevents me from being poignantly moved by them. I don't think it's possible to really penetrate the human condition in the presence of a perfect presentation, and the fact that NGE is willing to open itself up to narrative flaws to explore those depths ends up being much more of a strength than a flaw or, rather, a strength in the flaw.

Incisivis wrote:Evangelion has some of the qualities I'd recognize as being those of a truly Great Work, but on other aspects of it, I'm hesitant.
What other aspects? For me, NGE is, perhaps foremost, a masterpiece in the marriage of form and content; where the two are inextricably linked in how they become almost like a living organism.

Incisivis wrote:And VoidEater is right: the series is "young" yet, and works of Art need history as well as cultural importance and sheer quality, to vindicate them as well.
I just hope by the time that it's old that it hasn't completely left the collective consciousness of the art world all together to even be considered.
Cinelogue & Forced Perspective Cinema
^ Writing as Jonathan Henderson ^
We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

THE Hal E. Burton 9000
Elder God
Elder God
User avatar
Posts: 5751
Joined: Feb 03, 2007

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby THE Hal E. Burton 9000 » Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:07 am

another reason Evangelion isn't considered art is in some minds "it hasn't stood the test of time yet"

entire bodies of work of some Classical music composers (like Bach) weren't considered "art" until long after they had passed away

a film like Blade Runner wasn't thought to have artistic merit for some time as well
- TEH Fabulous Hal E. Burton 9000

P.S. For those wanting to discuss a matter with yours truly not pertaining to the general topic at hand, PM me. Please and thank you.

Incisivis
Scribe
Scribe
User avatar
Posts: 259
Joined: Jan 06, 2005
Location: Canada
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Incisivis » Thu Jun 18, 2009 1:08 pm

To an extent, I agree with you, Yojimbo: I'm really only interested in the emotional and character-driven aspects to the series, which is why I don't participate in many debates on these forums.

(That and I'm lazy)

However, sometimes the lack of details on the series' mechanics is worrying, and I can see it being perceived as a fault to anyone trying to evaluate Evangelion, even if they otherwise know it's good to be thought-provoking and leave a little for the audience to figure out.

And in addition to the "test of time" issue that we're now discussing, it's also true that science fiction as an officially defined genre is rather young, just as animation is a rather young medium. Perhaps both animation and science fiction will gain more respectability as time goes on.
"No live organism can continue to exist sanely within conditions of absolute reality; even dragonflies and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream"--Shirley Jackson
I liek Shinji
LiveJournal and Fan Fiction

VoidEater
Matarael
Matarael
User avatar
Posts: 580
Joined: Sep 11, 2008
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby VoidEater » Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:41 pm

Eva Yojimbo wrote:Does anyone really care that Bach was employed to write those glorious Cantatas of his and thinks that makes them 'less art'?


No, nor do any of the great masters of visual works get similarly dinged. But few are aware of Great Art written for the (for example) recorder, outside of a small group of literati, so the medium has a say in a couple different ways.

Eva Yojimbo wrote:For me, NGE is, perhaps foremost, a masterpiece in the marriage of form and content; where the two are inextricably linked in how they become almost like a living organism.


I'm not sure I understand the meaning of "form" here - narrative structure? Medium?

Eva Yojimbo wrote:I just hope by the time that it's old that it hasn't completely left the collective consciousness of the art world all together to even be considered.


Perhaps that would be a mark of passage into canon of itself.
"I would like to see a clown remake of 'Terms of Endearment' or 'The Thorn Birds.' Or maybe a big disaster movie, like 'Towering Inferno.' That's stuff I'd pay to see. Nothing says entertainment more than burning clowns."

Eva Yojimbo
Redbeard
Redbeard
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 8005
Joined: Feb 17, 2007
Location: Somewhere Over the Rainbo
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Thu Jun 18, 2009 7:27 pm

Incisivis wrote:However, sometimes the lack of details on the series' mechanics is worrying, and I can see it being perceived as a fault to anyone trying to evaluate Evangelion.
I guess, at least, I couldn't deny that it exists and could be perceived as a fault. On the other hand, one of the most wonderful things about the series is that just when you think you have an answer to something, that answer seems to provoke five times as many questions as it answered; it's almost like digging towards the center of the earth in that you may get deeper and gain a greater understanding of what's going on under the surface, but the breadth of what's there is so huge you could spend a lifetime and never cover it all.

Incisivis wrote:And in addition to the "test of time" issue that we're now discussing, it's also true that science fiction as an officially defined genre is rather young, just as animation is a rather young medium.
SF is actually a quite old genre that has, perhaps, only recently gained much recognition for being an artistically potent one; but we're still talking "recent" as in "the last century" because Asimov, Heinlin, Clarke, and Dick aren't exactly "new". Animation, however, has been around for ages, and I'm pretty sure Eisenstein once even praised it for being one of the greatest of arts.

VoidEater wrote:But few are aware of Great Art written for the (for example) recorder, outside of a small group of literati, so the medium has a say in a couple different ways.
cue? the recorder was quite popular in the Baroque era; Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, etc. all wrote some great works for it (I was just listening to Handel's recorder sonatas the other day). Not sure what you mean by "the the medium has a say in a couple of different ways."

VoidEater wrote:I'm not sure I understand the meaning of "form" here - narrative structure? Medium?
Both, as well as cinematic form; everything converges. For instance, the early episodes are marked by tradition in terms of narrative and dramaturgical construction, animation/art, and cinematic form (many of Anno's framing schemes are reminiscent of classic cinema ala Welles, Ford, etc.), while, in the second half, with its various shifts in terms of thematic/narrative juxtapositions, dramatic and character progressions, etc. all of the forms begin to reflect this radical shifts; Anno moves away from a carefully composed style and, cinematically, starts borrowing from directors like Godard, his narrative construction takes on a much looser flow and he begins employing devices like ellipses and more chaotic editing patterns; this all adds to the tension that the work (in conjunction with the characters' psyches) is collapsing in on itself. Further, he begins stripping away the narrative to get to the truth underneath (this can be seen in the mindfuck scenes), and by the time we get to 25/26, the narrative "lie" has been torn away and we're left with an incredibly sparse look into the characters' psyches and, through that lone medium, Anno's own self-expression. That ripping away of the fictional persona to get to the themes underneath is reflective of that of the characters having their personas ripped away to get to their truths.

It's utterly brilliant and I've never seen anything quite like it in fiction and certainly not in animation and film.
Cinelogue & Forced Perspective Cinema
^ Writing as Jonathan Henderson ^
We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

Incisivis
Scribe
Scribe
User avatar
Posts: 259
Joined: Jan 06, 2005
Location: Canada
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Incisivis » Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:15 pm

Yojimbo:

I like to dig deep, I like to think, but not every incident of ambiguity provokes that.

I was operating on the usual perception that SF as a separated genre started with Shelly's "Frankenstein", even though that is debatable.

While that makes it venerable in some ways, that so many hold the view that SF does not have any possible artistic merit suggests that things still have some "growing up" to do before a science fiction work can be considered unreservedly for inclusion in a "canon" of "serious art", and I think it has to do with the relative youth of concepts such as "science fiction" and "fantasy". I'm optimistic that some time down the road, though maybe not in our lifetimes, the stigmatization of genre works might disappear.

And all of this is true for animation, as well, both the material's relative youth and the future possibilities.
"No live organism can continue to exist sanely within conditions of absolute reality; even dragonflies and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream"--Shirley Jackson
I liek Shinji
LiveJournal and Fan Fiction

VoidEater
Matarael
Matarael
User avatar
Posts: 580
Joined: Sep 11, 2008
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby VoidEater » Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:46 pm

@Eva Yojimbo: I get it, yes. In 25/26, the narrative is even intentionally corrupted, beyond a deconstruction, with the alternative external reality content.

NGE being SF anime does have its hurdles. Like great recorder music, today's cultural context is limiting (just as work for hire perhaps created a greater barrier to admittance to canon at one time). But Bladerunner is a good example of a work that did get remembered, around which a body of commentary was generated, that has achieved a rather wide awareness as well as appeal.

I'm not sure Rebuild remedies whatever flaws the mainstream audience might find in NGE, or that a LAEM could build that bridge (the work may be too identified with cultural and medium-based biases). But then, bringing a pieced-together corpse back to life was, I'm sure, at one time viewed as fantastical (and therefore disposable) as giant angel clones masquerading as robots.
"I would like to see a clown remake of 'Terms of Endearment' or 'The Thorn Birds.' Or maybe a big disaster movie, like 'Towering Inferno.' That's stuff I'd pay to see. Nothing says entertainment more than burning clowns."

Gendo'sPapa
Elder God
Elder God
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 5115
Joined: Oct 24, 2006
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Gendo'sPapa » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:27 pm

While I'd put NGE into the category of art, I'm not surprised it's not more recognized as such.

It exists in a medium of entertainment that's, let's face it, SHIT.

Anime is the Graffiti of Moving Pictures. It's a lowbrow form of expression that with the exception of a few key individuals is mostly a playground for the emotionally and intellectually stunted.

When I first heard of anime I truly believed it was Animation For Adults- I misinterpreted that as Animation with Ideas. Not so. Animation For Adults really meant Animation For Grown Up Children. Most anime, even the ones in the medium's "Mature" Heyday (70s & 80s) was primarily juvenile and shallow. Blood and boobs with a weak subpar intellectual "Theme" to appear serious.
I.E. - "What does it mean to be human?" I don't know...I was too busy looking at the big chested naked robot crush a dude's skull during sex.

Unlike film/painting/sculpture Japanese Anime is viewed as (and rightly so) fluff. It's bad storytelling and bad story structure hidden behind attractive pictures. Whether it's Huge Gun, Huge Boobs, or worse, Super Cuteness anime has offered little in the way of art. It's attractive but for the most part doesn't say or do anything.

Of course there are the exceptions. The few actual ARTISTs who work in this medium. The few who work hard to tell stories but they're few and far between. Listening to interviews with most of the majors there are very few animation masters who actually sound like they're trying to say anything through their work. Mostly it's "The fans think it would be cool." I'm not looking for Flowery Self Expression but more than "It be cool" would be refreshing.

NGE is art. No doubt in my (prejudiced) mind. But a key reason it can be viewed as art is because it critiques the cliches of the medium it's a part of. It's an anime ABOUT anime. (And so much more too of course.)

But if what you're looking for is "Scholarly Approval" of Neon Genesis Evangelion it's never really gonna happen. There will be the individuals in art, film, literature, etc who will speak out for Evangelion as artistic expression but it's never going to be accepted as a just truth. An art class is never going to cover "The Isms of Evangelion" or a film class on "Directorial Style In Evangelion". You're never gonna open a textbook and sandwiched between Gustav Klimt and Leonardo DaVinci find EVANGELION. (I just grabbed two artists names out of a hat there) There's the fault of the medium.

I'd say the fanbase doesn't help in that degree. A film like Raging Bull is never going to be demeaned by having it's hardcore fans building "Fansites" about how Kewl their Favorite Character is. I could just see it- "Joey LaMotta is so Sexy! Here's my crappy fanart of Me and Joey!" (That's Joe Pesci people).

Eva is Art. But it's art that's hidden under the crap of a horrible medium.

(looking forward to the "Anime is Not ALL Shallow Crap" arguments. Note- I did not Say ALL. I said most.)

Timstuff
Lilin
Lilin
User avatar
Posts: 1420
Joined: Jul 14, 2006
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Timstuff » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:54 pm

Gendo'sPapa, you pretty much hit the nail on the head for why I don't call myself an "anime fan." There are some animes that I like, but there's also tons of crap out there too. I've got a pretty high tolerance level for kitsch, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of the "anime fans" I know seem to be obsessed with things like Yugi Oh and Naruto, and yet when I see them I think "this is just a junky show for little kids." The "adult" stuff isn't much better most of the time either, because they do the same thing except they use a darker art style, add blood, T & A, and give the characters some hokey "deep, philosophical" conversations. It's not really any better than the cheesy kid's show though-- it's just going for an older audience.

There are plenty of stand out works, but it's still a mixed bag, just like with Western TV. Some of it's actually good, while most of it is junk which may or may not be entertaining.
DeviantArt profile being re-invented... Check back later.

chee
EGF Hate Machine
EGF Hate Machine
User avatar
Age: 32
Posts: 3382
Joined: Jul 16, 2007

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby chee » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:21 pm

Everything that Gendo'sPapa just said.

Eva Yojimbo
Redbeard
Redbeard
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 8005
Joined: Feb 17, 2007
Location: Somewhere Over the Rainbo
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:37 pm

VoidEater wrote:But Bladerunner is a good example of a work that did get remembered, around which a body of commentary was generated, that has achieved a rather wide awareness as well as appeal.
True; but I wonder how and where that kind of canonization happens. I think film has it a bit easier because if it's visually interesting then it's usually going to find a place in the canon. Perhaps the great irony in this is that animation is a medium with unlimited visual potential, yet it seems to extraordinarily underappreciated by the very community who will tell you they watch film for the visuals.

VoidEater wrote:I'm not sure Rebuild remedies whatever flaws the mainstream audience might find in NGE, or that a LAEM could build that bridge (the work may be too identified with cultural and medium-based biases).
I think the best thing Rebuild and LAEM could do was make people aware of the original. Even if, say, LAEM was turned into a giant, Michael Bay-ish blockbuster it still might provoke enough interest to get people watching the original. In a real world, this interest might lead to enough of the right people seeing it and getting a hold of it and canonizing it.

What do you mean by cultural/medium-based biases?

-----------------------------------

Gendo'sPapa wrote:It exists in a medium of entertainment that's, let's face it, SHIT. Anime is the Graffiti of Moving Pictures. It's a lowbrow form of expression that with the exception of a few key individuals is mostly a playground for the emotionally and intellectually stunted... Unlike film/painting/sculpture Japanese Anime is viewed as (and rightly so) fluff. It's bad storytelling and bad story structure hidden behind attractive pictures.
But none of this is the fault of the medium, it's the fault of its (primary) audience and the artists and production companies that try to craft and sell it to that audience. This has nothing to do with the artistic potential of the medium. I go back to my comic book example; for ages it was perceived precisely the way animation is now; but it only took a few authors that utilized the idiosyncratic potential of the medium to its fullest advantage to create genuine masterpieces that even snobs couldn't dismiss.

Point being that it doesn't take much to make people see the potential in a medium, and there's no work in anime that is a better example than NGE. Sure, there are others that have a good deal of merit on their own - I'm especially thinking of the works of Miyazaki, Oshii, Kon, Takahata, and Ueda/ABe - but none have the breadth and depth of NGE. And I just can't help but think that if just a few of the right people got a hold of it it could become a kind of canonized phenomenon.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:"What does it mean to be human?" I don't know...I was too busy looking at the big chested naked robot crush a dude's skull during sex.
Sounds vaguely similar to Ghost in the Shell; which genuinely does have a bit of thematic interest, but even more on the cinematic level. Also interesting is that Oshii even got his own write-up in Senses of Cinema.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Listening to interviews with most of the majors there are very few animation masters who actually sound like they're trying to say anything through their work.
Well, that's a rather modern artistic ideal anyway. Ever since people could make money through their art it's primarily been created towards the purpose of just that. Shakespeare obviously wrote on subjects to appeal to his audiences; the crux of the matter isn't whether or not someone is creating with an audience in mind, but what kind of artistry can you put into the work in spite of that. In film, Hitchcock is the ideal of an artist who crafted entertainment for an audience and all his artistry went towards that, which turned this kind of 'fluff' entertainment into a genuine area for cinematic study.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:But a key reason it can be viewed as art is because it critiques the cliches of the medium it's a part of. It's an anime ABOUT anime.
True. I like to paraphrase the criticism of Godard's Breathless for NGE; It's at once an homage to Japanese mecha anime and an attack on the very ideas of Japan, mecha, and anime. That level of deconstructionism and metafiction is one of its many layers that would seem to be of genuine interest if it became part of a canon.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:But if what you're looking for is "Scholarly Approval" of Neon Genesis Evangelion it's never really gonna happen. There will be the individuals in art, film, literature, etc who will speak out for Evangelion as artistic expression but it's never going to be accepted as a just truth.
I wouldn't say 'never'. In reality, NGE is precisely the kind of work that fits well into the scholarly arena. It does so precisely because of its breadth, depth, and subtlety in so many areas. It's the perfect source for which, say, a class of 50+ could view it you could get 50 different essays on 25 different themes within the series. How many works of any kind offer that? There's not many, and those that do exist are likely all part of their respective canon.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:An art class is never going to cover "The Isms of Evangelion" or a film class on "Directorial Style In Evangelion".
Well, animation is neither art or film; it's a hybrid of the two (the same way comics are a hybrid of art and literature). However, towards the later, there ARE actually film classes that have used NGE as part of the curriculum. I'm guessing it's not popular, but I have actually talked to students who had to write a paper on it for school and went online to research. NGE would actually fit right into a film class focused on directorial style, because Anno succinctly borrows from so many of the masters and his versatility has a tendency to call on whatever he needs at the time. But NGE is a textbook full of classic filmic ideas, especially in its editing which is nothing less than a complete masterclass course; Anno effortlessly shreds through Eisenstein's montage theory (and uses every variation on it) before moving onto more abstract forms such as Godard's elisions, match cuts, expressive framing devices, etc.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:There's the fault of the medium.
Why is it the medium's fault?

Gendo'sPapa wrote:I'd say the fanbase doesn't help in that degree.
That's one of the reasons I started this thread. It seems to me most of the fandom is happy with NGE being a geeky-kind of obsession and couldn't care less about its status as a work. But, in a weird way, I think even this site is a mark for NGE; how many works bring together such a diverse range of fans? From aesthetes to anime geeks, the intellectual and entertainment crowds, those who appreciated the sexiness of the characters to those who appreciate the existential depths, those who empathize with its depiction of depression to those who only dislike it for that reason. The fact that such a work can breed such discussion and discord even amongst the fandom must surely say something good about it.
Cinelogue & Forced Perspective Cinema
^ Writing as Jonathan Henderson ^
We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

Gendo'sPapa
Elder God
Elder God
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 5115
Joined: Oct 24, 2006
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Gendo'sPapa » Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:28 am

It's certainly refreshing to see an actual discussion on this website. And on the Chit-Chat board no less, the Topic Nazi's must have missed it.

Though I just want to say I'm not exactly clear on what it is you're trying to say? If you're attempting to convert people to accepting Evangelion as art than the message boards on EvaGeeks is not the right forum to achieve this. You're dealing with fans here who for various reasons have already come to their own terms with Evangelion in various degrees.
I just see this as some kind of discussion that can go in circles forever but to what end?


As for your counter argument.
1. Yes, anime being fluff is not a fault of the medium but the point is that's where anime is and has been since it's inception. It has the opportunity to be an artform but for now you have to SEARCH to find any "valid" art. The comic book comparison is an effective one because they both do exist on a similar wavelength (both started out and have their bread & butter in pleasing teenage boy's fantasies.) and like any other medium there are artists present who use the medium to tell things of value. For comic books I'd put WATCHMEN among the greats in literature (though the less said about the shallow music video like Zack Snyder adaptation the better... it's cool but fails in my book as anything more than that) and there may be a few others here and there but for the most part both mediums are shallow, sexist forms of entertainment. The intellectually elite can see beyond the crap for the works of value but if you're asking Joe Smith on the street what he thinks of it and it's "Fluff".
Artisitic value can be found in almost everything (Hell, there's someone out there I'm sure who's pushing forth a Commercial Porn Director as Artist- stranger things have happened) but I'm not exactly sure what it is you're looking for? Are you waiting for Cahiers du Cinema to list Evangelion as one of the great works of cinematic art? I love their writing but these are guys who list Carlito's Way as the best film of the 90s (I love DePalma but expressions like that are all like, you're opinion man).

2. The "What does it mean to be human" and sex robots was just something I pulled out of the air. I've seen Ghost in the Shell once and it was alright. I'm just saying that as a whole anime just retreads the same shallow ideas without offering much that one could consider NEW.

3. I'm not even going to touch the issue with the animation masters not trying to say anything with their work. It's one of those wasteful discussions that all boils down to fueling the point of the individuals argument. Shakespeare & Hitchcock are too easy an escape. Tell me how...the direction of Critters 2 can be construed as artistic expression and you've got an argument beyond the same one I've had to sit through repeatedly since Freshman art.

4. I agree about NGE & Godard's Breathless. Interestingly enough I feel the two works share a similar editing structure which help overcome many flaws in both works.

5. "Scholarly Approval"- what's the point? It should all boil down to the individual. You could get 50+ students to watch "Caddyshack" and could have get 50 different essays on 25 different themes to come out. When people get passionate about books, film, comic books, whatever they'll see and create things that aren't actually there. I'm a diehard Alien fan and could easily write a 50 page essay on thematic elements present in ALIEN RESURRECTION but that's only truth to me. It's things I'm personally creating to create validity towards my own ideas (you know, instead of creating my own stuff). I'm not saying NGE is without intellectual and thematic expression but after 15 years of fanwanking I'd put forth 95% of it is just that- constructs pulled out of thin air. It's the same with most art. 5% is present in the creation itself. 95% is pulled out of people's asses.

6. It's back to High Art Education. A place where just because it's taught in a class doesn't make it any more valid. It's all hearsay. And once again, Eva being taught in a class environment doesn't surprise me. If the professors a fan that's his/her opportunity to express his views and interests to willing students who will suck anything up. When you're not dealing with the absolute subjects- Math, Science, and ones that deal more in the artistic venue- Literature, Film, Painting anything's for grabs. Hell, let me teach a film class and I can promise you Evangelion would take up the bulk of the semester. Give it to someone else and they could make "Ghostbusters" the focus. It's all about the expressions of ideas in the individual's I'd say that makes higher learning valuable and not the art itself. One of the biggest strengths with Eva is it's Swiss Cheese like "Plot" which leaves much room for interpretation and chances to focus on other things in the work.

7. When I say fault of the medium I mean what's it has become. 30+ years of Big Breasts, Big Guns, and the relationship between success and who can draw the prettiest big Bug Eyes has left anime with the POPULAR (note- Popular) perception of being a Lower Form of Expression.

8. Finally, as for EvaGeeks, I wouldn't get too hard up on the site itself. Popular forms of entertainment draw all sorts of individuals and the Internet has only made this more prevalent. I don't browse those sites but I'm certain there are hundreds of other works that draw people with just as many interests and varied personalities as the peop's on this site. Let's not create false visions of self importance here. Being a diehard Evangelion fan does not make you a more worldy individual than a diehard fan of.... Twilight. (Once again just pulling something out of the air).

...Well, that kept me busy during a boring couple minutes at work. Gotta get back to business but it's great to see an actual discussion on here. I personally stand behind the believe of Evangelion as ART. Worthy of being in a museum and having Huge Books written about it. But the most important aspect is how the individual feels about this Anime. Not the majority. I can sit through 30 classes where 30 different scholarly individuals with Bachelors Degrees in Snobbishness can explain to me how Andy Warhol's films are "True Expressions of Art & Genius" but I stand by my (bias) believes.

To quote the Dude: It's all like, your opinion man.

Whew.

VoidEater
Matarael
Matarael
User avatar
Posts: 580
Joined: Sep 11, 2008
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby VoidEater » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:56 pm

Eva Yojimbo wrote:What do you mean by cultural/medium-based biases?

Just the typical "if it's anime it's fluff" kind of thing.
"I would like to see a clown remake of 'Terms of Endearment' or 'The Thorn Birds.' Or maybe a big disaster movie, like 'Towering Inferno.' That's stuff I'd pay to see. Nothing says entertainment more than burning clowns."

chee
EGF Hate Machine
EGF Hate Machine
User avatar
Age: 32
Posts: 3382
Joined: Jul 16, 2007

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby chee » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:47 pm

Eva Yojimbo wrote:- I'm especially thinking of the works of Miyazaki, Oshii, Kon, Takahata, and Ueda/ABe - but none have the breadth and depth of NGE.


:um:

Gendo'sPapa wrote:It's certainly refreshing to see an actual discussion on this website.


This is boring and pretentious, let's go back to discussing how the Fruit of Knowledge influenced Kaworu into becoming a futanari in order to seduce Shinji.... "Verifiable"? What's that mean?

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Also interesting is that Oshii even got his own write-up in Senses of Cinema.


I read that article a while back, and it's a pretty good read for newcomers trying to approach his work. I also recommend Brian Ruh's Stray Dog of Anime, if you can find it.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:It's a lowbrow form of expression that with the exception of a few key individuals is mostly a playground for the emotionally and intellectually stunted.


This is true of any audiovisual media that gets commercialized. The only difference is that anime tends to be more outright obnoxious/blatantly adolescent in doing so.

EvaYojimbo wrote:It seems to me most of the fandom is happy with NGE being a geeky-kind of obsession and couldn't care less about its status as a work.


Hey guys, what Eva character you would you have sex with?

EvaYojimbo wrote:Anno effortlessly shreds through Eisenstein's montage theory (and uses every variation on it) before moving onto more abstract forms such as Godard's elisions, match cuts, expressive framing devices, etc.


Don't forget the random tel-ops, Helais Pour Moi and Weekend are full of them.

EvaYojimbo wrote:This has nothing to do with the artistic potential of the medium. I go back to my comic book example; for ages it was perceived precisely the way animation is now; but it only took a few authors that utilized the idiosyncratic potential of the medium to its fullest advantage to create genuine masterpieces that even snobs couldn't dismiss.


QFT.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Yes, anime being fluff is not a fault of the medium but the point is that's where anime is and has been since it's inception. It has the opportunity to be an artform but for now you have to SEARCH to find any "valid" art.


Also QFT.

Timstuff
Lilin
Lilin
User avatar
Posts: 1420
Joined: Jul 14, 2006
Contact:

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Timstuff » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:18 pm

Evangelion has depth, but I think a lot of people put it on a slightly higher pedestal than is accurate. It's still mass market entertainment, but it's in the upper tier of it due to having very thoroughly thought out characters. I've met plenty of people who think that the G1 Transformers cartoon should be considered on the same plane of depth as Lord of the Rings, but I think that those people simply watched the cartoon too much and ended up over analyzing it.

I'm not saying that Evangelion's depth is imaginary or superficial at all, but I do think that many people have been staring at it so long that they start just seeing the brush strokes instead of the painting. It's an excellent story with great characters with some very strong themes. However, it's still entertainment, and it's primary purpose is to be enjoyed by the audience. When you start getting too obsessed with minute details that perhaps even the writers themselves hadn't noticed, perhaps that's when it's time to take a step back and say "ah, that's right... it's a TV show!"
DeviantArt profile being re-invented... Check back later.

chee
EGF Hate Machine
EGF Hate Machine
User avatar
Age: 32
Posts: 3382
Joined: Jul 16, 2007

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby chee » Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:20 pm

Timstuff wrote: When you start getting too obsessed with minute details that perhaps even the writers themselves hadn't noticed, perhaps that's when it's time to take a step back and say "ah, that's right... it's a TV show!"



Thank you.

Eva Yojimbo
Redbeard
Redbeard
User avatar
Age: 35
Posts: 8005
Joined: Feb 17, 2007
Location: Somewhere Over the Rainbo
Gender: Male

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:57 pm

Gendo'sPapa wrote:I just want to say I'm not exactly clear on what it is you're trying to say?
I see NGE as a truly transcendent work of art; one that deserves to be in some kind of canon. However, as I perceive it, most of the biggest Eva fans don't seem intent on promoting it this way (or promoting it at all). I take every chance I get in all kinds of various places - both online and off - to promote the series and get a diverse range of people with a diverse range of interests into it; I've had a lot of great success across a really wide spectrum (from a 17yr old movie buff, to a 55yr old intellectual aesthete) and it just seems to me that the only reason this series ISN'T canonized is because of lack of exposure to the right people (meaning those outside of anime and the Otaku community).

The purpose for this discussion would be to, perhaps, get more people to appreciate it in this manner and maybe promote it as such to people outside such a limiting sub-culture.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:For comic books I'd put WATCHMEN among the greats in literature... and there may be a few others here and there
Sandman is equally as good (and, IMO, better) than Watchmen. Beyond that: Maus, Blankets, Jimmy Corrigan, Berlin, Epileptic, The Contract With God, and Black Hole (from what I've read).

Gendo'sPapa wrote:if you're asking Joe Smith on the street what he thinks of it and it's "Fluff".
I don't think Joe Smith thinks about such things at all; anymore than any Joe or Jane thinks about the artistic relevancy of, say, Transformers. To most it's all escapist entertainment and whatever helps them escape the best is what they like.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Are you waiting for Cahiers du Cinema to list Evangelion as one of the great works of cinematic art?
That would be nice. The French seem to be embracing animation more and more; what with Persepolis and The Triplets of Belleville.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:as a whole anime just retreads the same shallow ideas without offering much that one could consider NEW.
I really don't think the intrinsic power in anime is to explore themes (probably no medium can do that better than literature) but to use its inherent abstractness to be really expressive. Ebert once talked about the abstractness in animation helping a film like Grave of the Fireflies to really drive home the idea, as to where in a live-action film the concrete image of a girl starving to death would be too much. I think of works that could only work in anime; like FLCL or Kare Kano or Lain and think "that's where the true potential lies". Animation has an ability to work on that musical level that Kubrick alluded to when he said that's how all film should work (on the unconscious and emotions) before anyone ever thought of the ideas or themes.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Interestingly enough I feel the two works share a similar editing structure which help overcome many flaws in both works.
I'd be interested to hear you talk more on this topic if you feel like it.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:"Scholarly Approval"- what's the point?
Posterity. Popularity fades, and even with mediums that are now in formats which can preserve them indefinitely there's no reason to think they will be preserved without a good reason.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:When people get passionate about books, film, comic books, whatever they'll see and create things that aren't actually there... I'd put forth 95% of it is just that... It's the same with most art. 5% is present in the creation itself. 95% is pulled out of people's asses.
I don't think that's entirely correct; often it's not about what's there but relating what's there to things that aren't. Some works work on archetypal levels that allow them to fit into thousands of contexts and, through the comparison, prove insightful. Shakespeare wrote Hamlet hundreds of years before Freud, yet it's hard to deny the very Freudian nature of the play. In many ways, the ultimate test of any work is just how malleable it is and how it continues to be relevant long after its initial contexts have eroded away.

With NGE I see a work that can easily be analyzed in a diverse and vast array of contexts and yield insights; part of that is precisely because it's dealing with such archetypal themes and subjects that are relevant across such a diverse spectrum. All the more remarkable is just how much of an individualistic expression it is. Anno, like many of the great works, has taken the extremely personal and linked it to the universal over and over again. I'm sorry, but I just don't see that in Caddyshack or (much) in Alien.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Give it to someone else and they could make "Ghostbusters" the focus.
And yet, there's probably a reason why studying Citizen Kane is mandatory while Ghostbusters is not.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:I'm certain there are hundreds of other works that draw people with just as many interests and varied personalities as the peop's on this site.
I HAVE been on many such other boards and while there are certainly always a somewhat diverse range of people there are also generalities and majorities of the groups that stand out. Put another way, I can conjure up a good idea of the general fan of many works, a general idea of general features that most include. I can't do that with NGE. What is the "general" of this fandom? NGE also has a group the likes of which I rarely see in any such fandoms and that's the group who has been profoundly effected by it; not just in the sense that they loved it and became a fan, but that it literally effected and changed their life. I'm guessing you won't find many who say that of, say, Naruto, Inuyasha, or even Cowboy Bebop.

Gendo'sPapa wrote:It's all hearsay... the most important aspect is how the individual feels about this Anime. Not the majority.
I kinda disagree. As Orson Welles said: "Give them too much and they won't contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That's what gives the theater meaning: when it becomes a social act." and art very much IS a social act. It's not through individuals but through a majority of individuals that decides what lasts and what doesn't. Sure, individuals can be very important to that process (look at TS Eliot's impact on the modernist movement) but it's always taken more than the ephemerality of the individual.
Cinelogue & Forced Perspective Cinema
^ Writing as Jonathan Henderson ^
We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

BattleMonkey
Leliel
Leliel
User avatar
Posts: 719
Joined: May 17, 2009

  •      
  •      
  • Quote

Postby BattleMonkey » Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:00 pm

If poop smears on a wall is considered art, even Naruto has a chance.


Return to “Evangelion General and Chit-Chat”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests