Train motif question?

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Train motif question?

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Postby peterw » Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:51 pm

I was reading the Theory and Analysis section of evageeks. I came across the Train section....I'm still reading the rest of the site.


I have a question about the Train Motif section: Are people reading more into that element than what was intended?

Here's what I mean:

1, Shinji and cast, are only 14, they don't drive. Misato is the only one, who is often shown with a car.

2, Character development or exposition took place at school, in the eva, in HQ, in apartment, on escalator, in elevators, in Misato's car.....and on gov. funded public transportation: train?

3, From a production point of view, they are looking for a new, more interesting backdrop to have expositions, chara dev. & other plot points.

So, a train could be used without any prior thoughts into symbolism. Or the: Gainax production member: "it's going to be boring if we keep using the escalators scene for the 500th time?"

4, Trains, or public mass transport, is a common object in Jp society. It will be something in their (Gainax production staff) psyche, or subconscious. Which means that it's an easy pick to use as a background.


On the other hand, the only, from the information I came across about trains, JP did have concerns (paranoia?) about trains being fire hazards when it was initially introduced in Japan.

I don't know if there's more symbolism to trains than the usual "progress, technology, industrial age, travel" etc with respect to early era. With respect to today's era, trains are common mass transport.


I think, personally, there isn't anything to the train motif. It's like saying "The Eva series had tons of the apartment, the apartment must be a symbol for something bigger" or "Eva series featured a lot of shots of character development and exposition in daylight, the daylight must mean something more"
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Postby planet news » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:24 pm

Anno uses trains and train tracks outside of Eva though. Shiki Jitsu is one example. I don't think the decision to use the train is either purely for ease or purely for perfection of symbolism but a dialectic between the two.
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Postby NemZ » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:40 pm

The reason so much interest is focused on the train conversations is because in nearly all cases these occur in Shinji's mind, not on an actual train. Regardless of what it means to us, clearly trains have a strong meaning to Shinji.

If I had to hazard a guess why, I'd say it's probably because when Gendo abandoned him it was the act of handing him a ticket and suitcase, then leaving him and the train station. That was undoubtedly a very traumatic event, but he was stuck in a train surrounded by strangers on what seemed like a never-ending trip, nowhere to seek comfort except to sink down deep into his own mind, nothing to do with his pain but bury it.
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Postby sephirotic » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:03 pm

The train dreams are a recurring simbolism in the human mind and is deeply studied and theorized by Freud with different correlations with stages of sexuality experiences.

You can be sure, elevators, trains and oceans shots are not only stetical in evangelion.

Try reading Freud's studies about the dreams, it´ll be very interesting.
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Postby AuraTwilight » Sat Jun 05, 2010 12:57 am

View Original PostNemZ wrote:The reason so much interest is focused on the train conversations is because in nearly all cases these occur in Shinji's mind, not on an actual train. Regardless of what it means to us, clearly trains have a strong meaning to Shinji.

If I had to hazard a guess why, I'd say it's probably because when Gendo abandoned him it was the act of handing him a ticket and suitcase, then leaving him and the train station. That was undoubtedly a very traumatic event, but he was stuck in a train surrounded by strangers on what seemed like a never-ending trip, nowhere to seek comfort except to sink down deep into his own mind, nothing to do with his pain but bury it.


I believe the first train sequence is the one in which he has a conversation with Leliel/His Subconscious, personified as himself as a four year old, right? So I'd guess this is exactly the case.
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Postby NemZ » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:27 am

View Original PostAuraTwilight wrote:I believe the first train sequence is the one in which he has a conversation with Leliel/His Subconscious, personified as himself as a four year old, right?


Yes, along with shots of himself crying beside a suitcase and gendo walking away. the next two train experiences (ep 19 and 20) also deal with his feelings of betrayal for Gendo... but midway through 20 it generalizes to feelings of betrayal/abandonment from anyone, thus allowing it to be used in P3II in a situation in which Gendo isn't even brought up.

Also, note that in ep4 when Shinji runs away, he spends as much time as possible on a train, alone in a crowd with his SDAT...

SPOILER: Show
...and in Rebuild the SDAT is revealed to have been Gendo's. Perhaps a final gift to help him pass time on the long trip?
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Postby IkariRei » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:18 am

I don't think the train scenes occur only in Shinji's mind.
It would be so if it weren't for Touji's scene when he was unconscious and saw Shinji and Rei arguing and was wondering why.

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Postby Dark doom » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:39 am

Wouldn't the Train scene' have happend to other charector's to?
Rei in particular.
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Postby toe mash » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:10 am

@ NemZ

I think the scene in episode 4 where he decides to not get on the train also enforces your view. As in, this time he doesn't have to be totally alone, so there is no reason for him to get on the ronery train.

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Postby TheLobe » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:38 am

I recall a long discussion on the discussion on wheather Anno not deliberately saying something is reason to discount it. It doesn't matter wheather anyone "thought about" the symbol, the point is its there, and people can damn well interpret it as they like.

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Postby AuraTwilight » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:37 pm

View Original PostIkariRei wrote:I don't think the train scenes occur only in Shinji's mind.
It would be so if it weren't for Touji's scene when he was unconscious and saw Shinji and Rei arguing and was wondering why.


Note that Toji was just raped by Bardiel, and um...Rei wasn't in the room.

Wouldn't the Train scene' have happend to other charector's to?
Rei in particular.


Why?
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Postby Dark doom » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:09 pm

Rei was the key to the whole crazy Instrumentality project.
If anything she should be the one going through the most stress and be forced to reflect on her existance and perpoise.
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Postby Legendary » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:14 pm

I always thought it was a play on "train of thought".

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Postby AuraTwilight » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:16 pm

View Original PostDark doom wrote:Rei was the key to the whole crazy Instrumentality project.
If anything she should be the one going through the most stress and be forced to reflect on her existance and perpoise.


Yea, but she has no reason to envision a train or anything.
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:49 pm

Trains being a popular mode of transportation makes them a fitting image to use as symbolic motifs and they are by many directors in a lot of media. Besides Anno, Hou Hsiao-hsien used them heavily in his ode to Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu in Cafe Lumiere. But in NGE the train takes on the symbolic quality of being Shinji's personal hell since it takes him back to the day that Gendo abandoned him and sent him away on the train. If the train was merely meant to be a logical mode of character transportation it wouldn't pop up during the mindfuck mometns and there wouldn't be such extended scenes on trains like those in Ep. 4.
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Postby NatTheWriter » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:03 pm

Also, Asuka:

SPOILER: Show
Image


Train tracks.

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Postby Legendary » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:20 am

I'm wondering if the train motif of introspection on trains drew anything from Sinclair's novel "Babbitt", in which the central character, after concluding "he cannot run away, because he can't escape himself", has a dialogue with his conscience on the train. Considering that Babbitt is a criticism of middle class America and Eva is supposed to be criticizing middle class Japan...

Well, it's just a thought. An amusing parallel, at the very least.

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Postby Monk Ed » Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:38 am

I suddenly realized a culture gap here that is not being noticed in this thread. In Japan, most public transportation is jam packed. Like, barely an inch of breathing room. The fact that the hell-train is always completely empty except for one or two other people would strike a Japanese audience immediately for its sense of loneliness. There must be nothing that feels lonelier in Japan than being on an empty train. (Except for being on a full one... :( )
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Postby Ornette » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:35 am

View Original PostMonk Ed wrote:In Japan, most public transportation is jam packed. Like, barely an inch of breathing room.

Only during certain hours of the day and on certain trains. I've been in trains in Nagoya during rush hour and could find seats. Trains in Tokyo were pretty crowded arond rush hour, but at night they seemed fine. A good bit of the people who work in Tokyo actually commute from smaller nearby cities, so the lines that run out to those cities are pretty packed. There were plenty of times, especially on a weekday night (trains only run until 1am), where there were only 1 or 2 people in the car with me.

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Postby Monk Ed » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:40 am

View Original PostOrnette wrote:Only during certain hours of the day and on certain trains. I've been in trains in Nagoya during rush hour and could find seats. Trains in Tokyo were pretty crowded arond rush hour, but at night they seemed fine. A good bit of the people who work in Tokyo actually commute from smaller nearby cities, so the lines that run out to those cities are pretty packed. There were plenty of times, especially on a weekday night (trains only run until 1am), where there were only 1 or 2 people in the car with me.

:chinscratch: I see... Yeah, maybe it wouldn't stand out any more to a Japanese audience, then. Not that the emptiness of the train car doesn't stand out enough as it is.
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