[EVA] Moura interviews with Gainax people & others

Immano immano at katamail.com
Thu Dec 17 10:39:22 EST 2009

Even if the simplification you purpot were as straightforward as you  
make it look, I don't understand how do you come up with  the  
implication that taking into account what specific sort of exotic and  
cool imagery indicates a will to use it as the very measure of the  
relevance of the show, particularly since I've yet to see anybody  
involved in the discussion not just make that point, but even deny  
that the coolness factor was there (a fact I'm inclined to believe  
would be irreconciliable, to the religious nuts you evidently see in  
your interlocutors). If you were a warmonger and somebody told you  
they were in favor of neutrality, by the pattern you've shown you'd  
accuse them of defeatism or collaborationism. Just like that, there  
just doesn't seem to be much of a basis for your claim.


Il giorno 17/dic/2009, alle ore 16.09, V V <frumious99 at yahoo.com> ha  

> I am sorry but this is one of the very common interpretations of the  
> series that I simply cannot agree with, and I will make a more  
> thorough rebuttal, but nonetheless.....your argument could basically  
> be boiled down to "but the cross symbols are used so prominently"
> And a lot of fans said "but the religious symbols and terms are used  
> so commonly"...then multiple Gainax creators openly said "these  
> symbols have no meaning to an Japanese audience other than to look  
> exotic, we just put them in to differentiate it from other shows"  
> and Anno himself said "they're just called "Evangelion/Gospel" to  
> sound cool"
> It all comes down to "but they're used so prominently", which is  
> addressed by Tsurumaki saying "yes they're used very prominently,  
> but that really didn't mean anything"
> Worse yet this led to things like Jaffe going off the deep end,  
> and....reading the Kabbalah was bad enough, but his compulsion to  
> try to convince others that it has something to do with Mesopotamian  
> myth? Yikes.
> Why....why is it that people think a story only "has meaning" or "is  
> worthwhile", if it has extremely complicated references to religion?
> For example.   you could *conceivably* point out references to  
> gnosticism in "The Matrix"....bad example, though, as the matrix  
> writers actually consciously thought about gnosticism.....but the  
> point is, that the story could be appreciated on a thematic/ 
> philosophical level, without explicitly referring to religion.   
> Again. bad example.
> Why is there a compulsion that in order for Eva to be "good" or  
> "meaningful" it just HAS ton have these religions things?
> Eva had no religions meaning or message.  Its themes were social  
> commentary and psychology...none of which are changed by simply  
> acknolwedging that the religious images meant nothing.
> Now on other shows we might talk about "the influence of religion"  
> as we never find out if its "real" but there are "religiously devout  
> characters"
> Seele are presented as a bunch of fanatics like Aum Shinrikyo, and  
> at no point are their religious beliefs presented as objectively  
> real, just a twisted interpretation of all the aliens and stuff (I  
> mean "the Dead Sea Scroll" are really the alien manual left behind  
> by the First Ancestral Race, a la "Stargate")
> --- On Thu, 12/17/09, once at ix.netcom.com <once at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
> From: once at ix.netcom.com <once at ix.netcom.com>
> Subject: RE: [EVA] Moura interviews with Gainax people & others
> To: "The english-language evangelion mailing list." <evangelion at eva.onegeek.org 
> >
> Date: Thursday, December 17, 2009, 3:59 AM
>> And as I said, NGE's people are not occultists or even esoteric
>> scholars! They are scientists who have inside info and techniques
>> which lead them to mock their more timid, less skilled
>> colleagues/employees/serfs.
> Yes, they indeed have many of the aspects of scientists, including,  
> of course, psychologists. Which met Kabbalistic ideas via C.G. Jung,  
> someone not unknown to Gainax, although I personally regret that at  
> no point in Eva does the following exchange occur--
> Misato: What is it supposed to mean?
> Shinji: I don't know, sir!
> Misato: You don't know very much, do you?
> Shinji: No, sir!
> Misato: You better get your head and your ass wired together or I  
> WILL take a giant shit on you!
> Shinji: Yes, sir!
> Misato: Now answer my question, or you'll be standing tall before  
> the man.
> Shinji: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality  
> of man, sir!
> Misato: The what?
> Shinji: The duality of man! The Jungian thing, sir!
> Misato: (pause) Whose side are you on, son?
> --that's why I compared them to scientist-occultists like Kircher or  
> Newton--but "inside info and techniques"--that's the meaning of  
> words like occult or esoteric; that is, dealing in secret or hidden  
> knowledge. By contrast, scientists in the real world, as a general  
> rule, seek to keep their research open, in the world of peer review.  
> They frequently discover things that were heretofore secret, but  
> they don't form a cabal and keep it secret; they reveal things about  
> what they have learned. You don't get taken seriously as a scientist  
> otherwise; they want to "see your work." Nobody has ever won a Nobel  
> based on research they kept secret. Also, I imagine listing "the  
> secret Dead Sea Scrolls" as a reference wouldn't fly in most real- 
> world biology journals; that's more of an occultist, esoteric  
> scholar move.
>> Visual motifs, empty allusions all. I asked for what religious
>> substance there was, and you pass off as good specie these impostures
>> and chaff.
> I'm not actually arguing for religious substance per se. I don't  
> believe in Kabbalistic ideas, and I don't believe that Gainax does  
> either. I also don't believe a positronic rifle would be a practical  
> or even safe weapon in Earth's atmosphere, or that a giant being  
> shaped like an 8-sided die could hover over a city with no apparent  
> means of support. Yet I can see the function these things play in  
> the series as it was actually made; I don't have a problem with  
> bullshit science for the sake of fiction, or bullshit religion  
> either, or, in Evangelion, a problem with the mixing of the two.
> Evangelion is not a novel, consisting of its words. You wished to  
> show something about religion in Evangelion by doing a search on the  
> word "God" in the script. I wished to show something about religion  
> in Evangelion by searching its iconography in the actual anime, a  
> work which begins--but certainly does not end--with its script and  
> dialogue.
> Evangelion is not equivalent to its script, nor its dialogue; I dare  
> say it would have had a much smaller audience if it had remained a  
> script. Evangelion's visual elements are not a secondary expression,  
> in a dependent relationship to a core meaning that lies in its  
> script and dialogue. The visual elements are as equally "Evangelion"  
> as anything spoken in the dialogue--equally significant to any words  
> spoken. On what basis shall we argue otherwise, in a deliberately  
> visual medium? Most especially deliberate, because in animation,  
> it's not like something can wander onto the set?
> (This also suggests the limitations of comparing the fandom of Lord  
> of the Rings with that of Star Wars or Evangelion. In the first  
> instance, the original work was created as a novel and experienced  
> as a novel, and existed only as such among the public and scholars  
> alike for decades. A much stronger critical argument can be made  
> that the Rings films are an adaptation made at some remove from an  
> original. But whereas Tolkien's novel is a work in itself, the  
> scripts and dialogue for Star Wars and Evangelion are not completed  
> works--nor, of course, being film and TV scripts, were they ever  
> intended to be such).
> Again, Evangelion is not a novel, or a radio drama. Despite its  
> reputation for talkiness, there are extended scenes (and not just to  
> save money) where reading the dialogue would tell you nothing about  
> what happened, because there is no dialogue. If dialogue was not  
> seen by Gainax as the only element that can advance the narrative,  
> it seems dubious to view the series' visuals as meaningless until  
> proven otherwise; or to fail to apply the reverse standard, and say  
> what is in the script cannot likewise be empty.
>>> Presumably there was a choice of ways in which NERV's deepest  
>>> secret could
>>> be kept restrained; in a giant steel box, for example, or encased  
>>> in that
>>> famed special bakelite. If, for some reason, it absolutely had to  
>>> be secured
>>> hanging up with each arm out, perhaps it could have been, I dunno,  
>>> supported
>>> by straps or bands? The method these non-religious people chose,  
>>> however,
>>> was a bit weird in its non-religiousness: crucifixion, complete  
>>> with stakes
>>> through its hands and a spear in its side. You mention the
>>> non-denominational centopath for Yui and her graveyard; what about  
>>> the
>>> billions of crosses we see rising from the Earth in EoE, and which  
>>> settle
>>> again into the Earth as crosses? Is that not supposed to say  
>>> something about
>>> the nature of the human essence in the world of Evangelion, or is  
>>> it just
>>> pure coincidence it looks like a cross? The crucified poses of the  
>>> fallen
>>> mass production Evas? The cross of light they form between  
>>> themselves? The
>>> cross sealing the entry plug? The shadow of the cross behind Gendo?
>> Cross-shaped explosions. Enough said.
> Actually, if the explosions had been the only use of the cross, I  
> would have agreed with you there. But I discussed a whole  
> paragraph's work of other examples above. The image is continued, in  
> various forms, almost into the final minutes of the film. It would  
> be interesting to go back and make a version of EoE where we cut out  
> every scene where you can see a cross, and see how much footage we  
> have to remove.
>>> But if one takes what Gainax says about there being no religious  
>>> elements in
>>> Evangelion too literally--and then bothers to watch what they  
>>> actually put
>>> into Eva--it becomes like that old Groucho Marx joke: "Who are you  
>>> going to
>>> believe--me, or your own eyes?" All I'm saying is that nobody  
>>> would have
>>> ever bothered them about religion in Eva in the first place if,  
>>> you know,
>>> they had simply managed to avoid accidentally putting in all that  
>>> stuff in
>>> the plot about crosses, crucifying, spears, Angels, sephira, fig  
>>> leaves,
>>> apples, serpents, the number of the beast, heaven's door, God.
>> How much would we lose if all the demons were replaced by dinosaurs?
>> Would Gunbuster/Diebuster have been better if they were *demonic*
>> aliens? If not, then why would Evangelion have been worse if they  
>> were
>> not angelic aliens?
> I didn't say better or worse; it would be different, and the  
> differences are not to be assumed as arbitrary in purpose or  
> meaningless in effect. If the world is going to end because of a  
> natural disaster, that's one kind of story. If it's going to end  
> because of an apocalypse induced by a secret cult raving about a Red  
> Earth Purification Ceremony, it's not like that's interchangeable  
> with "hit by a giant meteor" and it makes no difference to the kind  
> of story you've made. Particularly, that tone made a difference to  
> Japanese audiences after 1995.
> Let me put it another way. I apologize if this is untrue, but I  
> assume that "Gwern Branwen" is not the name you were born with--that  
> you chose it for yourself deliberately, because you liked the  
> particular character of that legendary name, its associations, and  
> its overtones, as opposed to choosing some other name from some  
> other tradition, or going by something more prosaic, like "Carl  
> Horn." ^_^ I might say, "How much would you lose by calling yourself  
> Bellerophon, or Gareth of Orkney? They were sons of kings, too."
> -- 
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