Yamaga: EoTV planned from the start, EoE was an afterthought

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Yamaga: EoTV planned from the start, EoE was an afterthought

Postby NAveryW » Sat May 29, 2010 6:46 pm

You (probably) read it here first, as I don't think I've read what I'm about to say anywhere on the internet. I regret that I didn't bring my camera to the History of Gainax panel, but I expected it to just be a video. It wasn't. Though I didn't record the event, SSD was there and can back me up.

According to Hiroyuki Yamaga, they had no budget problems with Eva, but they did have scheduling problems. This is consistent with Tsurumaki's statements in the Red Cross Book. Whas I found really surprising, because I've never seen this stated anywhere, is that Yamaga insisted that Neon Genesis Evangelion's television ending was planned from the beginning. In his (translator's) exact words, they thought "Wouldn't it be interesting if the show ended this way?". I asked if the alternate ending in the 1993 proposal was made up because they knew nobody would sponsor the show's real ending, but Yamaga didn't know what I was talking about. He said that if I got my information from the internet, someone probably made it up. I said the proposal was printed in Newtype, repeated (at translator's request) that it was from 1993, and Yamaga responded that he didn't believe the show had an ending at that point.

Someone else later asked the old question about if EoE was created as revenge against the fans who hated the TV ending, and Yamaga responded again that the TV ending was planned from the beginning, and everyone at Gainax was satisfied with the ending, but they still wanted to do more Eva when they were finished so they made the movies.

SSD then asked redundantly about episode 25' being based on the intended script for 25, and Yamaga once again stated that episodes 25 and 26 of the series were planned from the beginning and people believe otherwise because fans like making up rumors.

This explains the minor inconsistencies between EoTV and EoE: it probably hadn't been decided yet under what circumstances Ritsuko was shot, for example, so in episode 25 she was shot in the back, implying a sneak attack or that she was trying to escape, whereas in EoE she was shot in the chest. When EoE was written, they probably took those few glimpses of reality seen in episode 25 and wrote the story around them.

I find it odd that Yamaga knows nothing about the proposal-- or I did, until I remembered how much he'd forgotten about writing Mahoromatic by 2009. So I guess it shouldn't be surprising he has no memory of a document from 1993. I can think of two explanations for the proposal's ending in which twelve Angels descend from the moon and the Human Instrumentality Project is halted: it could be that Anno felt nobody would sponsor a show with the ending he wanted to do; or perhaps, as Yamaga said, no ending had been decided at that point, so Anno put in a temporary ending just so he could have something to show. Either way, it makes sense for the proposal's ending to be fake, as I find it hard to believe they'd intended to animate twelve Angels attacking at once.

But there is one problem with the idea that the proposal's ending was never meant to be: why, as we know is the case from S² Works, did Anno ask Sagisu to write themes for Arka?
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Postby the_seventh_child » Sat May 29, 2010 6:54 pm

So, someone wanted to make moar Eva, and pierce the crap out of Eva-02 and Asuka? Huh. Interesting.
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Sat May 29, 2010 6:57 pm

Yamaga is a bit of weird dude, as I understand it. I want to say the first time Yamaga, Anno, and Yasuhiro Takeda sat down together, Yamaga "forgot to breathe", and fell out of his chair.
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Postby Ornette » Sat May 29, 2010 7:04 pm

I wonder how much of those scheduling problems had a hand in how EoTV turned out as opposed as their originally planned ending.

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Postby Legendary » Sat May 29, 2010 7:05 pm

Very interesting. However, I must note that Proposal doesn't actually have much of a planned ending, and that a concept similar to EoTV could easily fit within its final episode. Note that description of it is "ON THE STAGE of the destroyed laboratory, all drama and mysteries are CONCLUDED" (emphasis mine). EoTV ultimately took place on a stage, and it concluded mysteries and drama. It didn't resolve them, merely concluded them.

After all, it's blatantly clear that the TV show changed from the original Proposal (Real!Episode 04 was made up when they realized they needed it, abandoning the birthday plot, Episodes 13-15 were heavily altered and became Episodes 19 and 20, Leliel was inserted to show Angelic interest humans, Eva-05 wasn't a MP Unit, "At least, be human" originally happened to Shinji, not Asuka, and Kaworu arrives much earlier and seems to have somewhat less impact), so I see no reason to assume that the plot details enclosed in Proposal have to be discarded completely.

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Postby BrikHaus » Sat May 29, 2010 7:05 pm

Yamaga has consistently demonstrated that he's an idiot. I wouldn't believe anything he has to say. They probably planned EoTV as much as George Lucas had planned the prequel Star Wars trilogy.
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Sat May 29, 2010 7:27 pm

Yeah, I'm taking it with a grain of salt.
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Postby NemZ » Sat May 29, 2010 9:18 pm

Much as I'd like to accept evidence that EoE was an afterthought, I find this a bit hard to swallow. I think it's much more likely that from 14 onwards Anno was changing things drastically, thus creating all the scheduling issues.

Perhaps Yamaga just wasn't particularly "in the loop" as far as future planning was concerned?
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Postby Legendary » Sat May 29, 2010 9:23 pm

Come to think of it, I find the claim that there weren't budget issues to be wrong. A clip show halfway through a 26 episode show is generally a good sign that something is in the budget.

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Postby JKun76 » Sat May 29, 2010 9:56 pm

Isn't this the guy who wrote the ending of Evangelion involving Zombies and werewolves? :p

Anyways...you know, I've always wanted to see a Evangelion spinoff based on the proposal, that'd be totally awesome.

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Postby NAveryW » Sat May 29, 2010 10:04 pm

View Original PostJKun76 wrote:Isn't this the guy who wrote the ending of Evangelion involving Zombies and werewolves? :p
That's Yamashita.

While I understand the problems with Yamaga's statements, the fact is I don't think I've seen or heard any statements by anyone at Gainax that contradicts them. Tsurumaki didn't say anything about budget problems when explaining why the cel count dropped in the Red Cross Book, and just yesterday I tried in vain to find any evidence that 25' was based on the originally planned script for episode 25.

As it is, it appears to me that, at least by the time real production started on Neon Genesis Evangelion, the plan was to have a character-examination ending that didn't resolve the plot. The way Yamaga phrased it, he made it seem as though Gainax in general was in on the ending from the beginning and determined that was the direction they wanted to go.

Other details along the way, such as Shinji's birthday party, Kaworu's early appearance, and Leliel, don't have much bearing on how the end of the story turned out overall.

As we have Yamaga saying (several times) vehemently that NGE's TV ending was planned and I've seen nothing from any Gainax member that contradicts it, I think it's best to assume that the commonly held assumption that EoE was the intended ending is false. Actually, I think it's best to try to find and translate as much information on the matter as possible, but I won't be much help there.

In particular, I'd like to find confirmation that The Prisoner is one of Anno's favorite shows. If he was familiar with The Prisoner before starting production on Eva and loved it, I can certainly see him wanting to do something similar with his anime.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sat May 29, 2010 10:36 pm

While I find this interesting it seems to be (like everything else in NGE) something that provokes more questions than it provides answers to. It seems totally counter-intuitive to end such a heavy, narrative/character driven series with two episodes that completely fail to resolve the narrative. I could understand that coming about via budget/time/scheduling/censorship/etc. problems, but to be planned is just really bizarre. It also seems strange that they would plan that as an ending, execute, and then decide to - almost arbitrarily, it seems - go back and do EoE. It's even odder when we consider how much more EoE is like the rest of the series in terms of its fusion of characters/narrative and allegorical themes and symbolism.

I dunno, but I think like the others I'm taking this with... perhaps more than a grain of salt, but less than absolute truth.
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Postby Legendary » Sat May 29, 2010 10:40 pm

View Original PostNAveryW wrote:Other details along the way, such as Shinji's birthday party, Kaworu's early appearance, and Leliel, don't have much bearing on how the end of the story turned out overall.

My point there was that NGE's plot deviated from the Proposal's many points along the way, and that it's entirely possible that the Twelve Apostolos were originally planned to appear in time for 24 and 25, get killed (ala Kaworu, theFinal Angel getting killed in 24) and then have a Prisoner-esque 26.

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Postby Lucretius » Sat May 29, 2010 11:14 pm

View Original PostAnno wrote:For the big finale, we were going to have Shinji fight Kiel on top of a skyscraper, and Kiel would fall off and just barely be hanging on, and Asuka would say "Don't kill him, Shinji! You'd be just like him!" and Shinji would help Kiel back onto the roof, but end up shooting Kiel anyway when Kiel pulls out a gun. But that would be too cliched. Plus, I spent all the animation budget for that episode on a Sailor Moon style skirt. For um..my niece. Yeaah. <_<

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Postby ObsessiveMathsFreak » Sun May 30, 2010 12:15 am

Yamaga's statements resemble the line that Anno consistently took on the TV series ending, despite the fact that EoE (The End of Evangelion) was announced only weeks after the shown ended. I suspect this is official Gainix line that everyone (who counts) is rigidly towing.

As it is, it appears to me that, at least by the time real production started on Neon Genesis Evangelion, the plan was to have a character-examination ending that didn't resolve the plot. The way Yamaga phrased it, he made it seem as though Gainax in general was in on the ending from the beginning and determined that was the direction they wanted to go.

I don't dismiss this suggestion entirely, and given the predominance of the human instrumentality project in the show, I would consider a more psychological ending of this type being preplanned to actually be quite plausible. But I seriously doubt we would have seen what we eventually did if their hadn't been so many budget and production issues.

As we have Yamaga saying (several times) vehemently that NGE's TV ending was planned and I've seen nothing from any Gainax member that contradicts it, I think it's best to assume that the commonly held assumption that EoE was the intended ending is false.

I wouldn't be too quick to jump to conclusions here, primarily because I very much doubt that EoTV was the intended ending either. To my way of thinking, given these statements, it seems more likely that while a psychological "instrumentality sequence" was indeed planned, but they also originally intended to insert some of the EoE type material as exposition explaining what was going on. Given the reaction of most people to the final two episodes, I very much doubt they were preplanned to come out in the way they did.

Actually, I think it's best to try to find and translate as much information on the matter as possible, but I won't be much help there.
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Postby NAveryW » Sun May 30, 2010 12:30 am

View Original PostEva Yojimbo wrote:It seems totally counter-intuitive to end such a heavy, narrative/character driven series with two episodes that completely fail to resolve the narrative. I could understand that coming about via budget/time/scheduling/censorship/etc. problems, but to be planned is just really bizarre.
Again, if anyone can find confirmation that Anno is a fan of The Prisoner, it should not be hard to believe that he wanted to do that sort of ending. Anyone familiar with The Prisoner should be aware that the ending answered the show's mysteries as cryptically as possible and is very hard to take literally, and that the backlash to the ending was so strong that creator and star Patrick McGoohan had to go into hiding. I don't remember where I read that The Prisoner was a favorite of Anno, but I do remember Carl Horn insisting it inspired NGE.

I feel that as president of Gainax (at the time Eva was made, right?), Yamaga's statements "outrank" anything fans write on the internet without attribution. I also feel that we should try as hard as we can to cross-reference his statements with those of other staff members for inconsistencies. As I've said, his statement about the quality drop being due to time constraints and not due to budget problems is entirely consistent with what Kazuya Tsurumaki said in the Red Cross Book: "The schedule was an utter disaster and the number of cels plummeted, so there were some places where unfortunately the quality suffered." Tsurumaki said nothing about going overbudget or the budget being cut due to TV Tokyo disliking the show's content.

That said, there was a different ending tentatively planned at some point during pre-production, as the proposal proves, and Yamaga has made contradictory statements in the past and even during that one panel. For example, someone asked about the international anime industry and Yamaga mentioned that anime studios, including Gainax, now have an international audience in mind and try to make series Americans will like. However, a few questions later, Carl Horn asked about how the language barrier affects internationalization, and Yamaga responded that it's impossible for them to tell what shows foreign audiences like so Gainax just does things the way they've always done-- making shows for Japanese audiences.

My guess is that the poor fan reaction to EoTV did influence the decision to create EoE, despite Yamaga's statement that it was (just) because the staff wanted to make more Eva. If everyone had loved EoTV, we probably wouldn't have gotten EoE. The theatrical program for Death and Rebirth does say, after all, "The voice of the fans grew stronger and stronger as they demanded a proper ending to the drama, explanations of the mysteries, or even a new story. In order to meet these expectations, a cinema edition was planned -- this is EVANGELION DEATH AND REBIRTH."
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Sun May 30, 2010 1:07 am

Yamaga claimed Eva had time issues, not budget.

At any rate, it's standard fare for anime to at least have one clips show to help draw in new/more fans, money-saving reasons aside.

And to clarify, according to Yamaga, Anno wanted more Eva, which is partly why EoE was made.

I'll write more if I recall anything else, though Yamaga DID start answering my "Was TV 25 and 26 originally going to be movie 25 and 26, but changed due to time or budget?" question with "chigamasu" (that's incorrect). :3
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Postby Kutta » Sun May 30, 2010 2:09 am

Someone will have to catch Hideaki Anno and beat all the information out of him, at some point.
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Postby Mr. Tines » Sun May 30, 2010 2:32 am

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote:At any rate, it's standard fare for anime to at least have one clips show to help draw in new/more fans, money-saving reasons aside.
Exactly -- a recap episode put in at the start of a new cour when other shows that have been competing for attention may have finished.

I don't think that either Dennou Coil or Book of Bantorra, to cite a couple of examples from the last few years, had any particular budget issues. NGE episode 14 was only half recap, and actually did something to advance the story in the second half, unlike Bantorra's all recap, all the time, episode.
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Postby slothen » Sun May 30, 2010 2:37 am

View Original PostKutta wrote:Someone will have to catch Hideaki Anno and beat all the information out of him, at some point.


I nominate brikhaus to lead the hideki anno seek-and beat-down team.
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