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Evangelion in American popular culture.


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Snomaster1
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:52 pm Reply with quote
Recently,Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block showed the first "Evangelion" movie called "Evangelion 1.11:You Are (Not) Alone." These movies are the most recent incarnation of a franchise which has been big in Japan,spawning video games,parodies,clones,manga,etc. The characters have shown up on everything from razors to baby wear,which is surprising to me.

From what I've seen of the anime,it's one of the gloomiest anime I've ever seen. The whole tone of the show is very dark. And yet,this show churns out this sort of merchandise like crazy. "EVA's" success in Japan can't be underestimated,but it also has some success in the United States. Surprisingly,we've done our own tributes to this very gloomy show.

In the original English-language manga "Aoi House,"there's a character called Onii-san who gives one of the characters advanced technology. He looked like a SEELE monolith. In "Justice League's" first season episode "Legends,"the Justice League were battling EVA-like robots that were controlled by Lex Luthor. One of the creators of that series,Bruce Timm once drew his own versions of Rei and Asuka but I haven't been able to find them.

In the "Invader Zim" episode "Hamstergeddon,"a gigantic hamster attacks Zim's ship in the same style as the Evangelion Unit-02 did in the second episode. A second episode in the series,"Megadoomer" referenced the need for power in the EVAs. In issue #4 of the Marvel Comic "Mystique,"the title character discovered a factory of Russian-built anti-mutant Sentinels that looked like beefy Evangelions. That's no coincidence. Jorge Lucas,the guy who drew the comic,was a big "EVA" fan and he wanted to do a homage to the series.

One of the artists for the webcomic "Penny Arcade" drew an anime-themed poster for Sakuracon 2009. One of the main characters,Gabe is dressed like a EVA pilot and a fruit juicer that looks like EVA Unit-01. It was part of a series of anime-themed posters that were drawn for that event. In the Disney film "Pooh's Grand Adventure:The Search for Christopher Robin,"there is a shot of a honey-covered note that had the word "SEELE" on it. No word if Disney's going to do an "Evangelion"-inspired cartoon but it has been accused of plagiarizing from anime in the past.

The animated film "Robots" had one of the characters,Fender carried a spear that looked like the Spear of Longinus from "Evangelion." Another animated film with "Eva" references is "Teen Titans:Trouble in Tokyo." It used the design and sound effects of the elevators that went to the Geofront in the headquarters of the Tokyo Troopers. In another scene,there's a truck with a NERV-type logo on it passing by.

Animated cartoons and comic books aren't the only places where Hollywood's done it's tributes to "Evangelion." They've also shown up in live-action films and tv shows. In the film "Michael Clayton,"the title character's son,Henry has a lot of toys in his room. There are two EVA action figures straddling a desk lamp. The film "One Hour Photo" has one of the characters,Jake wanting an EVA Unit-04 action figure. Seymour "Sy" Hersh who was played by Robin Williams gives him a Mass Produced Evangelion action figure later on in the film. Surprisingly,Robin Williams is a fan of the "NGE" series and wanted to include the action figures from his collection in the film.

The tv show "Rescue Me" that was shown on the FX channel,had a scene in which Tommy Gavin,played by Dennis Leary,goes into another character's room. That room had a poster of the "Animerica" cover of "The End of Evangelion." The Cartoon Network series "Generator Rex" might have been inspired by "NGE." There's a huge,world changing event in that one,but it wasn't caused by a meteor crashing into Antarctica. It happened with tiny machines called nanites spread out all over the planet in a huge explosion in a foreign country.

The nanites change people and animals into out of control monsters and one guy called Rex is able to cure them. There is a NERV-type organization called Providence that has a Gendo Ikari-type leader called White Knight who never really leaves his office.

Will we see more influences of "EVA" in American culture? I don't know but judging how big it is over in Japan,some of that might seep over here and we might see a lot more of them in the future.


Last edited by Snomaster1 on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jose Cruz



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:02 pm Reply with quote
NGE cannot become very popular in the US given the state of the popular perception there towards animation and comic books. Japanese levels of popularity are possible only in Japan, even in Korea animation is not as remotely as popular as it is in Japan. Mature serious animated series like Evangelion are only accepted as a part of mainstream popular culture in Japan.
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walw6pK4Alo



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:19 pm Reply with quote
Jose Cruz wrote:
NGE cannot become very popular in the US given the state of the popular perception there towards animation and comic books. Japanese levels of popularity are possible only in Japan, even in Korea animation is not as remotely as popular as it is in Japan. Mature serious animated series like Evangelion are only accepted as a part of mainstream popular culture in Japan.


Well, comic book movies do just fine, but only when you make the transition to live action. Animation still carries the burdens of "children only" and will probably never shed them. Even in Japan, Ghibli films are for the family, and animation for adults are considered nerdy.

Eva could be a success as a live action adaptation, assuming the right mix of budget and writing go into it. I'd rather see something closer to District 9 than Skyline. Right now, all this stuff can hinge on Pacific Rim's success. As far as any of the little bits of proliferation in American pop culture, they're probably injokes, in-references, or because Robin Williams like Eva. DBZ, Pokemon, and Sailor Moon have by far been more noticed in the public consciousness than Eva.
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Kruszer
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:12 pm Reply with quote
No, because anime is not popular, it's an obscure niche hobby, therefore it will not influence "popular" culture. The only way it would have a chance and become part of the public consciousness is if that live action NGE project from like a decade ago ever gets off the ground which is highly unlikely. Average Joe doesn't give a flying rats ass about some cartoons otherwise.

Last edited by Kruszer on Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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EricJ



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:25 pm Reply with quote
Snomaster1 wrote:
Will we see more influences of "EVA" in American culture? I don't know but judging how big it is over in Japan,some of that might seep over here and we might see a lot more of them in the future.


Over the last fourteen years, Eva fandom, and/or obsessive net conversation thereto, seems to have caught on most frequently with anime-illiterate newbies just now seeing anime for the very first time in their lives via Cartoon Network, and trying to frantically show off in public that they've heard of every anime title ever made.
As the title says, You Are (Not) Alone. Razz
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walw6pK4Alo



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:58 pm Reply with quote
EricJ wrote:
Over the last fourteen years, Eva fandom, and/or obsessive net conversation thereto, seems to have caught on most frequently with anime-illiterate newbies just now seeing anime for the very first time in their lives via Cartoon Network, and trying to frantically show off in public that they've heard of every anime title ever made.


Hell, even seasoned obsessive viewers like me know that there are still hundreds of titles we've never encountered before. And I make it my business to track down the obscure and forgotten one-shots out there. Maybe their view of anime seems smaller because they know less, like early astronomers. This is true in most hobbies, they always go deeper than one would first observe.
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Ambimunch



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:18 pm Reply with quote
Jose Cruz wrote:
NGE cannot become very popular in the US given the state of the popular perception there towards animation and comic books. Japanese levels of popularity are possible only in Japan, even in Korea animation is not as remotely as popular as it is in Japan. Mature serious animated series like Evangelion are only accepted as a part of mainstream popular culture in Japan.


Yeah I agree, its highly unlikely that NGE or even the NME will become a huge success in the west at this point. Maybe not as much as in the past, but anime is still maintaining its popularity---so the problem lies with peoples perception of animated shows. Fans of the genre can argue that there are plenty of mature anime for older people, but an average person will still regard the genre as a "cartoon". And thats the problem, the stereotype that cartoons are for kids. Even many Marvel/DC films are enjoyed by adults, but these same adults never read the comic books because "thats a medium for kids". Evangelion has its big dedicated fanbase in Japan and a smaller one around the rest of the world, and even with the rebuilt series, I cannot see this fanbase blowing up making the anime very popular outside of Japan.
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TitanXL



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:24 pm Reply with quote
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
Well, comic book movies do just fine, but only when you make the transition to live action.


Comic book movies aren't all that much like comic books, though So if you're fine with Evangelion not being Evangelion anymore and just "giant robots fighting" then yeah, it might work in a live-action adaption. For starters, I can see them throwing out all the sacrilegious Christian imagery in an effort to make it non-offensive enough for the average movie goer. Especially if they want a PG or PG13 rating to target the biggest audience possible, sort of like how they used Hydra instead of Nazis in the Captain America movie.
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Ambimunch



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:52 pm Reply with quote
TitanXL wrote:

Comic book movies aren't all that much like comic books, though So if you're fine with Evangelion not being Evangelion anymore and just "giant robots fighting" then yeah, it might work in a live-action adaption. For starters, I can see them throwing out all the sacrilegious Christian imagery in an effort to make it non-offensive enough for the average movie goer. Especially if they want a PG or PG13 rating to target the biggest audience possible, sort of like how they used Hydra instead of Nazis in the Captain America movie.


But if you strip away the religious imagery that the show has and you level out the complex relationships between characters....then what is left? I think the show is more about human relationships rather than the mech fights, plus if they make the evangelions actual "mechs", as in their hands explode rather than bleed when cut off, the show will lose all that it has going. In other words it would suck lol, so yes, unless we want another "Evangelion Evolution" (hope you see what I did there), lets not hope for a live action
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Sleverin



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:06 am Reply with quote
The Judeo-Christian iconography used in the show isn't sacrilegious, it's just odd and poorly used. The background story for Evangelion seemed like it could have been really cool and almost seemed to try and have an interesting message/concept. What I find interesting is that everyone cares about how character development and their interactions when I found all that stuff a bit meh and stilted. To make this really big in America, it would have to be redone to the point where it would be in name only, Americans really aren't super big on fighting robots. This would probably have to be Godzilla level B-movie cheese to get it really popular.
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Snomaster1
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:42 pm Reply with quote
My biggest criticism of "Evangelion" has been it's too dark and gloomy for me. It needed a much more hopeful tone to this show. I've never understood why this show has the popularity it has in this country much less the enormous popularity it has in Japan. I liked the more lighthearted manga like "Neon Genesis Evangelion:Angelic Days" and "The Shinji Ikari Raising Project."
Believe it or not,there's yet another "NGE" manga called "Neon Genesis Evangelion:Comic Tribute." This one has the "Evangelion" characters in comedic situations. While there were some humorous situations already in "EVA,"much of the show was dark and gloomy. It needed a lot more light and a lot less dark and it would have been a great show.

Also,Sleverin said that Americans aren't really that big on fighting robots. That's altogether untrue. The "Power Rangers" series and "The Transformers" franchise has been successful here and they have giant robots. I guess it has to be the way they're presented that makes them work. The giant robot genre can work here. It's just has to be tweaked a bit to make them more palatable to the American public.
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ailblentyn
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:01 pm Reply with quote
Of course EVA has great historical and emotional importance to a lot of Australian fans, as it was shown on television in prime time in the '90s — where it was a huge, huge hit.
It seemed SO new and SO cool, and turned lots of people (like me) on to anime. It's still my "ultimate anime", and I'm not ashamed of that.
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Snomaster1
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:45 pm Reply with quote
Well,ailblentyn. I've got a question for you. Did "EVA" have an influence on Australian comics,cartoons and films? Were there references to it in your popular culture? I'm amazed that "Evangelion" was so popular in Australia,because the Australians are such a friendly,laid back,happy people. I'm surprised that such a dark show would be so popular Down Under. It's just plain strange to me.
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Animehermit



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:37 am Reply with quote
TitanXL wrote:
walw6pK4Alo wrote:
Well, comic book movies do just fine, but only when you make the transition to live action.


Comic book movies aren't all that much like comic books


I agree that while most comic book movies aren't really a lot like their counterparts, the biggest ones coming out right now are a lot like their printed brethren. That and the 3rd highest grossing film of all time is one of the most like it's comic counterpart, part of the reason for it's success.

I think the real thing everyone should focus on with adaptations is not how accurate it is to the source material, but the people actually making it. If someone like Shane Black wants to make a Death Note movie, that has me excited. If someone talented wanted to make Evangelion? I would be equally excited.

Having said that, I don't think Eva would work as a live action movie, it's supposed to be a deconstruction of mecha tropes, it doesn't work in a medium where mecha doesn't exist and it's audience doesn't know the tropes it's deconstructing. Who knows maybe if Pacific Rim does well enough we might see this become something, but not now or in the near future.
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ailblentyn
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:01 pm Reply with quote
@ Snomaster1
I don't know. I haven't lived in Australia for much of the time since 1999. Perhaps someone else can enlighten us both.
I think the best answer to your confusion about why Australians like the show is that Australians just have excellent taste. Very Happy
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