Is it possible to decrypt Evangelion?

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Is it possible to decrypt Evangelion?

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Postby Archon Eva » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:28 am

Is it? Lots of people spend hours on end(Including myself) trying to decipher Evangelion, we look at every aspect, pick up on every mistake, we search for the message.

When Anno created Evangelion he said that he had burnt his emotions into it. Was the message he was trying to get across "Emotions are like philosophy, they are hard to understand and will never be fully understood."

Evangelion is philosophy in itself, not the philosophy provided, but that people keep on wondering, instead of thinking philosophicly they try to decipher evangelion.

Is t possible that the philosophy in the last two episodes was only to show the veiwer there was philosophy and make them watch it obsesivley?

Evangelion is like Philosophy, impossible to decrypt.

Your thoughts?
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Postby Oz » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:25 am

I think it isnt necessary to fully "decrypt" Evangelion to understand it. Only a huge community can go through its insane number of details. It would be impossible for only one person to do it.

Archon Eva wrote:When Anno created Evangelion he said that he had burnt his emotions into it.

NGE was the result of his depression.

Archon Eva wrote:Was the message he was trying to get across "Emotions are like philosophy, they are hard to understand and will never be fully understood."

... huh? Evangelion means a lot of things to a lot of people, but that sounds simply confusing. Emotions are like philosophy? You dont need to compare something to philosophy to make it seem complicated. Philosophy on its own is easy to understand, but its main questions cannot be "answered in an exact way".

Archon Eva wrote:Evangelion is philosophy in itself, not the philosophy provided

"Not the philosophy provided"? Evangelion takes a lot from pre-existing material, and it is not only philosophical - it is also heavy on its psychological and social aspects.

Archon Eva wrote:Is t possible that the philosophy in the last two episodes was only to show the veiwer there was philosophy and make them watch it obsesivley?

Evangelion's rich content can easily be noticed throughout the series, and the last two episodes werent only made for that. It was the logical follow-up for the show at that point (even if the way it was done was forced by budget issues). The TV ending might have caused controversy, but it was only a small fraction of the reason why Evangelion is so obsessively examined. Besides, the TV ending is more about its psychological aspects.

"Decrypting" may be a bit weird word to use when you talk about understanding art.

All of the possible "messages" have been found already so there isnt anything to be advanced on that part, but there are a lot of details that still cause disagreement among fans.

EDIT: In a way, NGE was also Anno's trap for otakus.
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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sat Nov 28, 2009 10:43 am

My opinion is that Evangelion has a "lucid dream" consistency to it. While nothing is explicitly or often even implicitly clear, was can nonetheless attempt to "decrypt" what is generally going on. All things considered, I think the general fandom has had modest success in understanding the show.

I wouldn't hold that Philosophy is impossible to decrypt, and similarly for the messages and themes of Evangelion. I think we have understood a good deal of the overall message and even the emotions that Anno placed in the show. Unfortunately, we have yet to compile our thoughts into some kind of cohesive presentation. This is, in part, what the Commentary project is all about. The Wiki is also an attempt to accomplish this as well.

The best way of understanding Evangelion was and remains to ask questions, engage in debate and hear others opinions. Continually watching the show helps, but it's important to subject ideas to scrutiny. By reading the ideas of others, and sharing our own we all come to a better understanding of the show.
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Postby AuraTwilight » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:48 pm

It's pretty much already been decrypted, so yea.

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:02 pm

I've always stuck by my statement that NGE is like a puzzle of a Rorschach; you'll spend your time putting the pieces together only to find that, in the end, it still requires your own personal input and interpretation to get anything out of it. NGE is as rich in nuances, details, and ambiguities as any (representational) work of art I've experienced and, as Reichu once said, what keeps us coming back to discuss is that despite the fact we all saw the same series we disagree over what exactly we saw.

I don't really think art (in general) is something to decrypt but merely something akin to a mirror. An artist tries to express some aspect of life as they see and we try to figure out just what that expression has to say to us or what it makes us realize or contemplate. Works like NGE are more provocative than others because it doesn't simply hand us answers and forces us to work and put ourselves into the process to get something out of it. And when we all come together it seems very representative of humanity in general that so many people can get so many different things out of it; even if it is the same series.
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Sun Nov 29, 2009 7:32 pm

AuraTwilight wrote:It's pretty much already been decrypted, so yea.


Agreed. Though there are a few parts about it that confuse myself still.

And there's also the fact that some questions regarding the show just can't be answered (For example: What were Adam & Lilith like before arriving on Earth, Why couldn't more insight on Yui's past/motives be shown, and some other things I'm forgetting).
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Re: Is it possible to decrypt Evangelion?

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Postby Ironfoot » Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:26 pm

Archon Eva wrote:When Anno created Evangelion he said that he had burnt his emotions into it. Was the message he was trying to get across "Emotions are like philosophy, they are hard to understand and will never be fully understood."


I wouldn't compare emotions with philosophy strictly for the sake of comparing impossibilities of understanding. Philosophy is hardly impossible to understand, it can be understood by others. Emotions, not so much. It is a different type of intelligence not everyone understands. Certainly some characters in the series do not, which makes their analysis a bit difficult.

From my point of view, it may be impossible to decrypt true meanings behind certain things in Evangelion. You have to get inside the minds and hearts of the characters themselves to truly understand where they're coming from. The relationships between the characters may never reach a true conclusion because we truly don't know exactly what's going on in their heads. This is partly where fanfiction comes from after all...

Other things such as plot devices may be figured out using the cryptic undertones of the dialogue and applying them using a logical assumption based upon an already established fact. This is easier to do as a character's actions are easier to figure out.

Evangelion is philosophy in itself


It's not Evangelion itself that's philosophical, its the people within it. The people always make the series, they make the countries, they make the forums. A name is just a name, but the people behind the name make it popular or make it horrible.

To be honest, I was thinking of this same question the other day. I then realized that since people cannot be fully understood (let alone understand themselves), parts of Evangelion will remain impossible to decrypt. It's just like life itself, people can never be fully understood, but we try to understand others as best as we can. In the meantime, we try to understand our own inner thoughts and feelings. I think this is why Evangelion is very distinct from other anime because it really draws a realistic parallel to the lessons of life itself due to the realistic complexity of the characters.

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Postby cogitoergosum » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:56 pm

Archon Eva wrote
Evangelion is philosophy in itself, not the philosophy provided, but that people keep on wondering, instead of thinking philosophicly they try to decipher evangelion.

Is t possible that the philosophy in the last two episodes was only to show the veiwer there was philosophy and make them watch it obsesivley?

Evangelion is like Philosophy, impossible to decrypt.

Your thoughts?


Evangelion was influenced by Existentialism. Existentialism is a philophy that can be traced back to the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard. In fact episode 16 is titled "Sickness unto death, and", which is an obvious reference to Søren Kierkegaard's book, The Sickness Unto Death. If you want to find out about the connection between Existentialism and Evangelion visit here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neon_Genesis_Evangelion_(anime)#References_in_popular_media, or to learn more about existentialism I’d recommend visiting here http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/exist.html.
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Postby DatDude » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:34 pm

Go out meet a nice girl get a life evas message has done its work.
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Postby Hexon.Arq » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:20 am

Every human being is allotted a certain amount of time to devote to contemplating Evangelion. When you have exceeded your time, you have officially entered into madness territory.

At least, it would be official if we only knew how much time was allotted. I believe the answer is revealed in a specific frame of the series--probably in episode 23.

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Re: Is it possible to decrypt Evangelion?

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Postby J_Faulkner » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:27 pm

Archon Eva wrote:When Anno created Evangelion he said that he had burnt his emotions into it. Was the message he was trying to get across "Emotions are like philosophy, they are hard to understand and will never be fully understood."

What do you mean by "understood"? If you mean understand the main themes and ideas presented, then sure, lots of people can understand Evangelion quite easily. If you mean understand exactly what Anno tried to convey, then of course that's impossible, just as it is with any other piece of animation.

Archon Eva wrote:Evangelion is philosophy in itself, not the philosophy provided, but that people keep on wondering, instead of thinking philosophicly they try to decipher evangelion.

I do not comprehend this sentence.

Archon Eva wrote:Evangelion is like Philosophy, impossible to decrypt.

This statement is too vague. What do you mean by "Philosophy"? The old man that lives down the road from me has a philosophy. What do you mean by "impossible to decrypt"? Decrypt what in Evangelion?
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:55 pm

People who actually know Anno personally may even have a clearer understanding of the film. I recently wrote a short sci-fi script where I made everything in it analogous to my experience at film school. Some people might see a metaphor to drugs in the script, but very few will recognize all of the little touches I put in the script as parts of my life. They'll just see it as elements that help tell a story about zombies and space ships.

Likewise, Anno probably put a lot of little props or names placed amidst religious iconography in Evangelion that only deal with his personal life. It's possible he's the only one know the metaphoric meaning behind this thing on the table in that scene of a certain episode. We'll never know.

Archon Eva wrote:we look at every aspect, pick up on every mistake, we search for the message.

You'll never see an intentional meaning in a "whoops, I missed something" mistake.

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Postby J_Faulkner » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:07 pm

FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Likewise, Anno probably put a lot of little props or names placed amidst religious iconography in Evangelion that only deal with his personal life. It's possible he's the only one know the metaphoric meaning behind this thing on the table in that scene of a certain episode. We'll never know.

This gives rise to the real danger of reading into Evangelion a certain meaning, based on one's own experiences, when Anno may have intended a completely different meaning based on his personal experiences.

The overarching theme of Anno struggling to find a point to his seemingly useless existence is clearly evident and I think that is the level of detail that we can be reasonably confident with. I don't think there's too much value in speculating about the meaning behind minute details when you've already got a pretty heavy theme like that.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:03 pm

J_Faulkner wrote:This gives rise to the real danger of reading into Evangelion a certain meaning, based on one's own experiences, when Anno may have intended a completely different meaning based on his personal experiences.
I don't see why this is a danger; Anno himself said he wanted the audience to find their own answers and relate NGE to their own lives. While it's certainly true NGE is Anno's personal expression of his struggle with depression and all of that existential goodness his mode of expression is abstract enough where it resonates personally with those who can identify even if their experiences were different. Personal interpretations should be encouraged except when we are exclusively trying to figure out what Anno was expressing or what it meant to him.
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Postby J_Faulkner » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:08 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:I don't see why this is a danger; Anno himself said he wanted the audience to find their own answers and relate NGE to their own lives.

The danger is not in relating one's life to NGE, if this means relating to the theme of struggling with the point of existence as portrayed.

The danger is in thinking that Shinji's (or Misato's etc.) problems and solutions are, fundamentally, exactly the same as one's own situation. Then one becomes blind to the unique situation one is in and the unique path each must follow.

Why paint your life onto another person's life?

I much prefer to paint my own life.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:17 am

J_Faulkner wrote:The danger is in thinking that Shinji's (or Misato's etc.) problems and solutions are, fundamentally, exactly the same as one's own situation.
I don't think anyone would believe their problems and solutions are exactly the same as any of the characters. Problem-wise, I don't know of anyone who has to deal with piloting mechas to save the world from Angels (the other problems are of a more general nature). Solution-wise the series doesn't really provide the characters with any specific and concrete solutions other than "things might not always be what you think they are because if you change what you believe you will essentially change yourself" which seems pretty relatable to most everyone.
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Postby J_Faulkner » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:28 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:I don't think anyone would believe their problems and solutions are exactly the same as any of the characters.

However, note that I said "fundamentally" to imply that I was referring to the psychological problems of Shinji, Misato etc.

Eva Yojimbo wrote:Solution-wise the series doesn't really provide the characters with any specific and concrete solutions other than "things might not always be what you think they are because if you change what you believe you will essentially change yourself" which seems pretty relatable to most everyone.

"Solution" may be the incorrect word here. Perhaps "path towards some resolution of the conflict". In the series and the film, it is clearly shown how Shinji goes crazy in solitude before becoming sane. Now what message does that give to the viewer? It suggests to people that a path to improved psychological conditioning is to shut yourself off and go through some self-induced cycle of hate and despair in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. But this is not always the best route.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:01 am

J_Faulkner wrote:However, note that I said "fundamentally" to imply that I was referring to the psychological problems of Shinji, Misato etc.
But even most of the psychological problems are fairly general and relatable. Many people have been abandoned by a parent and and feel worthless because of it and have sought praise to support their egos to supply what they never had. Afterall, Anno's own depression certainly wasn't caused by the same things that he depicted in the characters. As much as I empathized and identified strongly with Shinji I can certainly recognize where our problems differ and especially on the difference between the origins of those problems (I had loving parents eg).

J_Faulkner wrote:...it is clearly shown how Shinji goes crazy in solitude before becoming sane. It suggests to people that a path to improved psychological conditioning is to shut yourself off and go through some self-induced cycle of hate and despair in order to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
I strongly disagree with this interpretation. If anything, the series suggests that this kind of self-imposed isolation is extremely harmful. By shutting himself away Shinji seeks further into his depression and sense of worthlessness and in EoE it's revealed it's revealed that one of the main reasons he wants to come back is to see his friends. In EoTV when he learns that he's alright being himself he's immediately greeted by everyone else. The only benefit that's shown to come out of it is in the regard that we have to find the origin of the problem in order to get better. When that origin is psychological we have to, first, recognize it, understand how we got here from there, and how to "fix it". In the chase of NGE and it's cast it was primarily a case of "if you change the way you view reality then your own personal reality will change"; this is manifested in the in-series reality of EoE.
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Postby tomrule123 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:31 pm

In my opinion, the real way to answer that is asking the main man himself, Hideaki Anno. After all, he created it. (or was it someone else? Anyway, he's one of the big ones.)


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