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RE: Manga versus Newtype


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Aaron White
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Joined: 23 Aug 2002
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 12:08 pm Reply with quote
It's true that Eva, and anime in general, uses Western religious symbolism for cheap mystical frission, the same way western entertainers sometimes sprinkle Eastern religious elements into something for the same effect. I certainly woudn't want to argue that the makers of Eva had a thouroughly worked-out theological underpinning for the show. At the same time, Hideki Anno credits Carl Jung's writings with helping him out of his breakdown and inspiring his return to work. Jung wrote a great deal about western religious symbolism, so it's lilely that Anno used the Sephiroth and crucifix et al. with some understanding of what they meant. The Sephiroth's concept of a God-designed order to the universe fits with Dr. Ikari's attempt to reshape that order, and the crucifix's concept of suffering for the human race adds a ghoulish cast to the plight of Adam. So regardless of whether the creators fully understood or cared about the meanings of these signifiers, they did use them with some sense of purpose beyond simple exoticism.
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Neilworms



Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 155
Location: Chicago IL

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 4:19 pm Reply with quote
All of this symbolism is hogwash; it was simply meant to make the series more exotic or "cooler" to japanese people. It is just like in Star Wars, their are references to Eastren Religion, but the mythology of star wars is not a copy off of Buddhisim/Shintosim/Taoism/Hindusim etc. it wasn't meant as commentary on eastren religion or as analysis of eastren relgion in relation to a social problem, or norm of humanity.

The mythological refrences in Evangelion have more to do with Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the valley of Wind than any actual judeo-christian symbolism.

Lilith was a copy of the god warrior in the Nausicaa manga... in fact when I read that manga, I was playing the buzzing sound effect in my head when I saw Lilith. Not to mention Anno actually was in charge of animating the god warrior in the Nausicaa film.

If you haven't noticed, it is quite common for Gainax to refrence other series (look at FLCL; with its refrences to Inital D, the original Lupin III TV seres etc) this is just another instance of it.
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Case



Joined: 09 Apr 2002
Posts: 1016

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 4:42 pm Reply with quote
Armblessed wrote:

I guess one could say that Manga is offering their opinion right back at NewType, but when the CEO of Manga writes a letter to the editor of NewType it becomes a big deal.


Thanks for the response Armblessed!

Interestingly, your response brings something interesting to my attention that nobody seems to have commented on yet: This letter is not your average letter to the editor. Those get sent directly to the staff, and usually only a handful of people ever get to see them. This was an open letter, meant to be read by the public and discussed as we have been here.

Why did Mr. Gleicher release this as an open letter? Was he honestly trying to criticize Newtype for what he perceived to be a major shortcoming in their product? Or, perhaps, was he really trying to invalidate Newtype's article in the eyes of the general public?
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Aaron White
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Joined: 23 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 5:45 pm Reply with quote
Well, like I say, the symbolism is being used for mystic and exotic frission, but since Anno credits Jung with reigniting his fire, and Jung's writings revolve around Western religious symbolism, it makes sense to presume that Anno had that symbolism on his mind as more than just some cool exotic stuff.

Anyway, let's look at Adam again for a moment.

SPILARS SPOYLARS SPOOLARS


probably too late for that, but oh well.

Now, if I've got this straight (no warranties expressed or implied) Adam, the originator of humans and angels, is nailed to the cross with the Lance of Longinus piercing his side and Lilith masking his face. In Christian thought Jesus is considered to have redeemed the original sins of Adam and Eve by suffering on the cross to pay the debt of Adam and Eve's sins, that is, dying on the cross in their place. So putting Adam on the cross AND piercing his side as Jesus's was pierced is a brutal parody/denial of Jesus's redemption of humans, which fits Dr. Ikari's and Seele's view that humans still need to be "fixed." And obscure details like the traditional name of the spear that pierced Jesus's side and the name of Adam's original wife in Jewish folklore suggests that Anno and co. have done their homework.

If this all seems like woolgathering, well, maybe it is, but in my defense, Eva is a product of the Postmodern (and post-Jungian) age, and like such icons of postmodern art as Finnegan's Wake, Last Year at Marienbad and Gravity's Rainbow, Eva trades on the idea that symbols don't have One Correct Meaning like a math equation, but a range of possible meanings. As long as you don't color too far outside the lines, you can find however many undertones the symbols and narrative will bear in a work.

So you can love or hate Eva; no problem. But don't write off its possible plethora of meanings and suggestions; postmodern works of this sort are meant to serve as a jumping-off point, not a self-contained question-and-answer session.
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Slim Shinji
ANN Reviewer


Joined: 03 Jan 2002
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 6:27 pm Reply with quote
...except that it's not Adam on the cross, it's Lilith. Adam is embedded in Gendo's hand. Rei takes Adam from Gendo into herself and then joins with Lilith.
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Aaron White
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Joined: 23 Aug 2002
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 6:33 pm Reply with quote
Snap! Oh no you di'n'!

Oh well; I never promised I had my details straight. I stand by my general thesis, though.
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Aaron White
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 6:36 pm Reply with quote
Until someone shoots it down, too.
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EarthCurrent



Joined: 15 Nov 2002
Posts: 1
Location: Laramie, WY

PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 8:44 pm Reply with quote
If we're looking for the main reason that Manga was so quick to lambast ADV's possible involvement in some sort of bad review conspiracy, I think most everyone needs to understand that there has been bad blood between Manga Ent and ADV for several years now.

Manga especially dislikes ADV's marketing strategies, stemming from ADV's claims that Ninja Resurrection (an ADV title) was a sequel to Ninja Scroll (a Manga Title). A lot of people fell for this trick when Ninja Resurection first came out, and every time I've broached the subject with the few Manga Ent employees I know asking what they thought of ADVs sales tactics for Ninja Resurection, I've learned they took it real personally and have let me know they hardly appreciated ADV for trying to make money off of tricking their costomers and by using a reference to a title in Manga's library to do so.

So Manga acquired the movies for Eva, and will be making money by marketing off of the EVA TV series' success. Considering their history with ADV, of course they are going to be a bit sensitive toward any statements they see as possibly coming from the ADV camp. I can hardly blame them, and this is not because I dislike ADV (I've actually started to appreciate them in recent years), I just feel I understand where Manga is coming from in this case.
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