Is "Evangelion" truly ground breaking??

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Is "Evangelion" truly ground breaking??

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Postby Evangelion217 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:13 pm

I was just wondering what makes "Evangelion" so ground breaking for it's time, and how it has made such an impact within the medium of anime. I know how it transcended it, and took it to another level. But I was wondering if there were other animes during the mid 90's that tried to do what "Evangelion" did, but wasn't popular enough to get that type of buzz and recognition. And if so, then does that really make "Evangelion" ground breaking?? Is it ground breaking in the way that "2001: A Space Odyssey" was ground breaking for it's time?? Or is it ground breaking like "Citizen Kane" was back in it's day??
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Postby Squirrel Ninja » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:25 pm

Obviously, you can say a lot for the technical and storytelling prowess of Eva, which seems to be what your doing if you want to talk about it next to 2001 or Citizen Kane. I think what Eva did though was simpler than that. Looking at it in the context of Japan, it took the Japanese otaku subculture and addressed it directly. It analyzed it, criticized it, pandered to it, and ultimately rejected it. What's key though, is that it did this through anime, the subculture's own personal medium of sorts.

By it self this is a pretty cool thing, but we in the west don't have much reason to care about something like that. The reason Eva is still remembered and globally popular is because somewhere along the line, it stopped just talking about otaku, and got at the insecurity and loneliness inherent in humanity. This in my opinion, no anime before or since has been as emotionally powerful as Evangelion, that's what makes it ground breaking.

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Postby THE Hal E. Burton 9000 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:32 pm

um, where do we start?

first of all, it is probably the most popular entertainment medium to have psychology overtly play a role in both the plot and theme

I would even go as far to say that Evangelion did the same for postmodernism, but I would think most give Godard or Tarentino credit for that

it should also be noted that it basically shredded to pieces the mecha genre with regard to the characters involved, especially character development, though a few will argue Ideon and the first Gundam did this

and I hate to state the obvious, but it is probably the absolutely most bizarre ending to anything EVAR

there's a few technical things Evangelion gets credit for, such as late night anime in Japan (and arguably everywhere else)

it made a very niche anime house like Gainax, I might get killed for saying this by certain film snobs here, sort of like what United Artists in America was originally, a BIG BIG DEAL in Japan

and what Squirrel Ninja said
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Postby Evangelion217 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:32 pm

Squirrel Ninja wrote:Obviously, you can say a lot for the technical and storytelling prowess of Eva, which seems to be what your doing if you want to talk about it next to 2001 or Citizen Kane. I think what Eva did though was simpler than that. Looking at it in the context of Japan, it took the Japanese otaku subculture and addressed it directly. It analyzed it, criticized it, pandered to it, and ultimately rejected it. What's key though, is that it did this through anime, the subculture's own personal medium of sorts.


See, I feel that it's very much ground breaking for it's medium. But is that really based on fact, or a general consensus? Can we say that it's not so much a ground breaking anime, but an anime that borrowed many techniques and stories from other animes, and simply made them more innovative or unique?? Were there other animes during it's time that tried to do what it did?? Just wondering.

By it self this is a pretty cool thing, but we in the west don't have much reason to care about something like that. The reason Eva is still remembered and globally popular is because somewhere along the line, it stopped just talking about otaku, and got at the insecurity and loneliness inherent in humanity. This in my opinion, no anime before or since has been as emotionally powerful as Evangelion, that's what makes it ground breaking.


I agree. I'd say that it's the most powerful piece of cinema. And within it's own medium, the only animes that come close to it's greatness is "Fooly Cooly" and "Cowboy Bebop" in my opinion. :)
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Postby Evangelion217 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:39 pm

THE Hal E. Burton 9000 wrote:um, where do we start?

first of all, it is probably the most popular entertainment medium to have psychology overtly play a role in both the plot and theme


I agree. But I think the existential themes are becoming pretty tedious in anime. It needs more variety at this point. :wink:

I would even go as far to say that Evangelion did the same for postmodernism, but I would think most give Godard or Tarantino credit for that


Godard, Bunuel, and maybe David Lynch?? "Evangelion" might have had a big part in it, but I think Godard tackled it during the 60's.

it should also be noted that it basically shredded to pieces the mecha genre with regard to the characters involved, especially character development, though a few will argue Ideon and the first Gundam did this


See, that's what was I getting at. But I think "Evangelion" manages to stand out a lot more, because it explored it's characters through bigger and bolder themes by Freud, Jung, and who ever.

and I hate to state the obvious, but it is probably the absolutely most bizarre ending to anything EVAR


Yes, and no. It's bizarre, original, and emotionally impacting. But have you seen David Lynch's "Inland Empire??" :grin:

there's a few technical things Evangelion gets credit for, such as late night anime in Japan (and arguably everywhere else)


Really??!? I didn't know that.
Last edited by Evangelion217 on Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby Squirrel Ninja » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:46 pm

Evangelion217 wrote: Can we say that it's not so much a ground breaking anime, but an anime that borrowed many techniques and stories from other animes, and simply made them more innovative or unique?? Were there other animes during it's time that tried to do what it did?? Just wondering.


Though I can't say with complete authority, it's natural to assume that Eva borrowed techniques from the anime that came before it. As a general example, the cut of the water droplet, used throughout the series, is almost exactly the same as a cut from the 1985 film Angel's Egg. The cut is even used in a similar fashion (to transition between the mental and physical). In so far as plot goes, naturally it took a lot from various Mecha and Shoen anime, because it was a deconstruction of those genres.

It's not as though Eva's making any one of these things "more unique," but it's the way all the parts come together that make it great. I'm not aware of any other anime that tried to do what Eva did at the time, but I think it's safe to say that none were as successful. In the time since though, a lot of shallow anime have tried for the "mind fuck ending" or "deep themes" only proved to be trying way too hard. Focusing on these things seems to cheapen what Eva did in terms of being a work of art for the sake of making it a thriller or text book respectively.

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Postby THE Hal E. Burton 9000 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:54 pm

Evangelion217 wrote:
I wrote:there's a few technical things Evangelion gets credit for, such as late night anime in Japan (and arguably everywhere else)
Really??!? I didn't know that.
well, here's the deal

after Evangelion's original run back in 1995, it was syndicated late at night in Japan, it was a different audience (the otaku crowd) as opposed to the average Japanese kid, and that was what made Evangelion so damn popular by the time EoE came out, and kept it popular in Japan to this day

not all, but many animes to this day are now deliberately broadcast late at night hoping to do what Evangelion did in getting "hot", that second wind, etc.

it's been copied in other countries as you may note, and you thought Cowboy Bebop and other anime on AS in North America was an original idea

there's another point that I forgot to mention, and that is the "look" of Evangelion

the Evas simply did not look like men in mechanical suits like the other mechas had, they were comparatively "otherworldly"

and of course the use of actual photographs and other "experimental" techniques in animation was truly a groundbreaking thing, people in all of anime have been trying to do something just as "amazing" ever since
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Postby Evangelion217 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:59 pm

because it was a deconstruction of those genres.


I'd like to think it's a work of deconstructionism. But I mostly feel that "Evangelion" is more like an onion. You peel off one layer and another, to only find more layers.

It's not as though Eva's making any one of these things "more unique," but it's the way all the parts come together that make it great. I'm not aware of any other anime that tried to do what Eva did at the time, but I think it's safe to say that none were as successful. In the time since though, a lot of shallow anime have tried for the "mind fuck ending" or "deep themes" only proved to be trying way too hard. Focusing on these things seems to cheapen what Eva did in terms of being a work of art for the sake of making it a thriller or text book respectively.


I agree. Animes like "RaXephon", and "Aquarion" simply miss the point.
The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.

"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby Evangelion217 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:10 am

there's another point that I forgot to mention, and that is the "look" of Evangelion


Oh I know the look was ground breaking. No question about that. During my first viewing, my jaw dropped at the look and designs of the Evas. That was outstanding. And it's ironic that it hasn't been copied as much as it should have. This great anime was made back in 1995, and you just don't see those designs in most modern mecha animes right now. Most mecha animes copie the look of "Gundam", which isn't a bad thing.

and of course the use of actual photographs and other "experimental" techniques in animation was truly a groundbreaking thing, people in all of anime have been trying to do something just as "amazing" ever since


See, now that's what I was asking for. I kept wondering what makes it so ground breaking, and you basically gave me one of the answers that I was looking for. I've never seen anime use actual photographs until I saw "Evangelion." But the experimental techniques was probably used in different live action films from the past. You know, like avant garde cinema. Which is basically what "Evangelion" is to me.
The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.

"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby THE Hal E. Burton 9000 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:21 am

Evangelion217 wrote:
I wrote:there's another point that I forgot to mention, and that is the "look" of Evangelion
Oh I know the look was ground breaking. <snip> And it's ironic that it hasn't been copied as much as it should have.
I would argue the reason for this is Evangelion attempted copycats of RaXephon, E7, etc., haven't been as successful, the same thing goes for what Squirrel Ninja said about those anime with "deep themes" and "mind fcuk endings"

and of course the use of actual photographs and other "experimental" techniques in animation was truly a groundbreaking thing <snip>
See, now that's what I was asking for.
that's what I was previously alluding to with regard to Gainax
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Postby BrikHaus » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:33 am

Evangelion217 wrote:But I mostly feel that "Evangelion" is more like an onion. You peel off one layer and another, to only find yourself crying in a cold shower after your mind has been thoroughly raped.

Fixed.
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Postby Evangelion217 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:33 am

I would argue the reason for this is Evangelion attempted copycats of RaXephon, E7, etc., haven't been as successful, the same thing goes for what Squirrel Ninja said about those anime with "deep themes" and "mind fcuk endings"


I meant the look of the mechas in "ReXephon." They seem to draw more simularities to "Gundam."
The fate of destruction is also the joy of rebirth.

"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby Evangelion217 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:34 am

BrikHaus wrote:
Evangelion217 wrote:But I mostly feel that "Evangelion" is more like an onion. You peel off one layer and another, to only find yourself crying in a cold shower after your mind has been thoroughly raped.

Fixed.


LOL!
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"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby Reichu » Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:54 am

Evangelion217 wrote:I meant the look of the mechas in "ReXephon." They seem to draw more simularities to "Gundam."

In b4 "Raideen".
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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:05 am

Evangelion217 wrote:I meant the look of the mechas in "ReXephon." They seem to draw more simularities to "Gundam."
The RahXephon is more a reworked Reideen than (directly) a Gundam; the Evangelions were based on ideas of folk monsters like oni.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:05 am

I think where Evangelion was groundbreaking was in its incorporating of ideas and influences outside of anime that from then on became permanent fixtures in anime itself. In its cinematic language which moved so effortlessly through styles and theories, in its overall structure and formalism, in its intricately layered allegory, in its use of pervasive symbolism, in its incorporation of classic literary techniques, in its deconstructionism and metafiction, in its heavy philosophy/psychology and social criticism... it's not likely that NGE individually pioneered any of these in anime, but in terms of incorporating them all so brilliantly within a single work I certainly think it was. Then, of course, there's all of the mindfuck moments which to this days I haven't quite seen their like in anime or film... well, I'll rephrase, I guess you can find examples in film/anime which somewhat echo those elements, but usually they're either isolated or within something built around them (Lynch, Godard, Resnais, etc.). I think NGE must be the first film or anime series of any kind that so meticulously sets up the tropes that it later obliterates. To say it's a bait and switch is to really simplify it, but the way Anno and co. play with expectations is masterful and I've not seen its counterpoint in film or anime anywhere.

There's also so many individual elements I wonder about... I mean, EoE, from roughly the second half onward, looks so iconoclast and I wonder how much of that is utterly original, how much were innovations, and how much was strongly borrowed from somewhere else. Or elements in the mindfuck sequences of 16, 20, 22, 23, such as those rapid fire montages or using lines to represent character dialogue.

In the art and animation, well, I'd have to leave that topic to people more knowledgeable than myself. I know that one of NGE's initial draws was its incredible animation which was surely groundbreaking at the time... especially watching the mech animes that preceded it. Most today that grow up on CGI anime battle sequences don't realize how luxurious NGE was in these areas for its time. It made what come before it look positively medieval.

I think, perhaps, what NGE did more than anything was completely obliterate the kinda self-imposed limits that anime had placed on itself over the years of having to fit so nicely into genres that played by the rules. After NGE it was like the outside world flooded into anime and it showed how something so idiosyncratic and 'small' as the animated mecha genre could be universal and discuss themes that could affect anyone. It showed that animation could be as powerful a vehicle for personal expression as it was for entertainment. Again, I know there was 'serious' anime before NGE (Grave of the Fireflies, Barefoot Gen, Miyazaki, Oshii, etc.), but it seems like to me that NGE pulled everything into the vortex of anime and showed that there WERE no limits. In a way, the Citizen Kane comparison is apt, because Kane's biggest achievement was in its synthesis of the entire body of film theory that had been created to that point and in its innovations of them; NGE is much the same.
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Postby I Accidentally Dracula » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:51 am

I agree that Evangelion was ahead of its time with fairly deep, psychological characters that went beyond the '80s and '90s fads of completely random teenagers with big robots that worked just because they worked, but I think it gets more credit than it should.

So it has aliens that explode into crucifix shapes, borrows bits and pieces of Biblical history to sound cool, and follows a fairly standard end of the world plot. Not really genre-breaking. It's certainly a unique take on the real-world "we evolved from aliens and that's why we're here" theory, but it tries to be too complicated for its own good at times.

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Postby BattleMonkey » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:06 am

Eva gets a bit too much credit on many things, though it did break ground, though it was largely in the mecha genre itself.

Mecha anime has gone through several phases over the years, with the early super robot type shows which were more for a younger audience originally. Mecha shows in general were always the same type of deal till Tomino came along with Mobile Suit Gundam which completely changed things around to allow mecha to be more of a drama, though the genre kept much of the same cliches and formulas going for many years. After Gundam we got tons of shows that were very similar with very little variation in style. The war drama became pretty common.

Evangelion came in the mid 90's and brought with it something completely different to anything seen in mecha genre before. Deep character drama that dealt with real world issues for one, which we do get a bit of with post Gundam material, but instead of simply being about the angst attached to fighting, we get more personal insight into characters. Psychological aspects usually were never went that deep into, as the shows generally are marketed for preteen audiences. It pushed boundaries for a TV show, not so much anime in general, but for TV it was pretty edgy stuff.

The story itself was much more complex than anything seen before hand, just look at mecha shows that came before and they all had plots that played by the numbers or followed an extremely formulaic structure. Eva showed that one can do more with the genre and treat its audience with a bit more respect, or at least to make something that older audience can appreciate. After Evangelion we've gotten many shows that have tried to be very similar or attempted many new things, it opened the door to allowing creators to step outside the box the genre was trapped in.

It wasn't ground breaking because of religious symbolism, it was ground breaking because it broke out of the mecha genre mold that we saw repeated year after year.

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Postby Evangelion217 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:12 pm

I think where Evangelion was groundbreaking was in its incorporating of ideas and influences outside of anime that from then on became permanent fixtures in anime itself


That's what I was thinking. What it takes from it's own medium isn't groundbreaking. It's what it takes from other pieces of cinema that makes it groundbreaking, original, and innovative. But what I'm questioning is it's originality. I'm wondering if there were OTHER animes during the time of "NGE" that attempted to do the same thing. I guess this might never be answered, since it's so hard to find any other anime that does almost exactly what "NGE" accomplished. The only other anime that has been mentioned is "Gunbuster", but that came out in the late 80's and I still haven't seen it yet.


but it seems like to me that NGE pulled everything into the vortex of anime and showed that there WERE no limits.


That's probably true, but that same argument could be used for "Grave of the Fireflies" and "Akira." Which don't have the depth of "NGE/EOE", but people who dislike anime, can be truly effected by "Akira" and "Grave of the Fireflies." So I feel the standard was set with those animes, "NGE" just took them to another level. And without a lot of production value to boot(lol).


So it has aliens that explode into crucifix shapes, borrows bits and pieces of Biblical history to sound cool, and follows a fairly standard end of the world plot. Not really genre-breaking.


It was certainly genre breaking for mecha anime. And the stuff I see in "NGE" are imagery and visual motifs that I rarely seen a lot in anime, and live action cinema. The only art form where I can actually see that kind of imagery is literature.

It's certainly a unique take on the real-world "we evolved from aliens and that's why we're here" theory, but it tries to be too complicated for its own good at times.


I disagree. It's confusing, but because of it's ambiguous nature, I never felt it was too complicated. A mind fuck? Yes. Too complicated?? No. :)
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"Komm Susser Todd" is the most up-lifting song about depression"- Evangelion217

It's stange that "Evangelion" became such a hit. All the characters are so sick!- Hideaki Anno

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:42 pm

Hey, mj, you should really edit multiple posts into one; mods don't like double/triple posting around here. ;) What I do is right click -> open anything I want to reply to and copy/past it all into one post.
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